Remembering Old Man Jack


I had begun reading “FixBayonetsUSMC” when I can; he is a fellow WordPress blogger and served in the United States Marine Corps for three decades.  Recently, we exchanged comments about our sailors on his blog – the author has high admiration and gratitude toward the US Navy.

Also, it has now been two years since I was honored to have served as a pallbearer at Old Man Jack’s funeral.  As some of you readers may know, Old Man Jack was a sailor in the USN during WWII and endured combat.  He definitely fit the “stereotype” of a salty sailor but I loved him.  And I think he loved me.

His neighbor, Mr. Johnson USMC, lived next door to Jack for about 60 years.  He also endured combat during WWII.  Mr. Johnson and I went to his funeral together.

Now, both have passed on.

I miss them both.


By coincidence, I received an email which contained random thoughts from sailors.  Whether true or conjured up, I thought of Old Man Jack and Mr. Johnson fondly as I read them.  I can almost hear Jack spitting these out while sitting in his departed wife’s blue wheelchair… in his garage complaining about my cigar.  He especially liked talking about the fights they picked with the Marines.



“Most sailors won’t disrespect a shipmate’s mother. On the other hand, it’s not entirely wise to tell them you have a good looking sister.”

“Sailors and Marines will generally fight one another, and fight together against all comers.”

“Three people you never screw with: the doc, the paymaster and the ship’s barber.”

“Skill, daring and science will always win out over horseshit, superstition and luck.”

“Never walk between the projector and the movie screen after the flick has started.”

“A sailor will lie and cheat to get off the ship early and then will have no idea where he wants to go.”

“Sailors constantly complain about the food on the mess decks while concurrently going back for second or third helpings.”

“Contrary to popular belief, Chief Petty Officers do not walk on water. They walk just above it.”


Remember and honor our people that have served – or are serving – in our military.

19 thoughts on “Remembering Old Man Jack”

  1. I would liked to have known Old Man Jack … and I have known men like him for most of my life. Men such as he (and Mr. Johnson) are gems of American military history. My greatest fear, given the direction this country is heading, is that one day, all they suffered for, all they fought for, will be wasted on a culture that no longer appreciates them. It doesn’t seem right, somehow.

    I’ve added you to both of my blogrolls, Koji-san. This is a blog I would like others to read.

    Semper Fidelis,

    1. Thank you again, sir, for your visit.

      It isn’t right. I wholeheartedly concur. I do my best to try and ensure they are remembered but as you allude, our American culture IS headed in the wrong direction. Heck, our “Commander in Chief” (gag) has rarely visited our currently wounded in hospitals – let alone field hospitals. Even Marilyn Monroe braved freezing winter conditions in a spaghetti strap dress to visit our troops in Korea to thank them…and without reservation visited our wounded in a Tokyo hospital.

      They are gems. They are shining from above…and I hope they see us waving hello.

    1. I’m sure you would have, Curt. And I’m sure he would have loved to hear your stories from your Peace Corps days. I’m sure he could relate to the cuisine. I got to tell the story of how he got “ill” from trying to make his own brew while on one of those stinkin’ islands.

  2. “Never walk between the projector and the movie screen after the flick has started.” That’s a good one! It really was fantastic that you could call these two men your friends. And I know that they must have truly been appreciative of your tremendous interest in them and their lives. I can understand how you would miss them.

      1. I know, but when I get back to WWII, I’ll try to put in more personal stories from other veterans. I wish I had more letters, but that’s all there was. I miss him a lot.

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