16 June 2015


by Andy Weddington
Tuesday, 16 June 2015

"We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth the others are here for I don't know." W. H. Auden

Marines help.

That is just the way it is. 

About five years ago I met a Marine who after completing his obligated service pursued a career in law enforcement retiring a police Captain. 

We met, serendipitously, aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island - attending a ceremony honoring a mutual Marine friend's Marine father. 

Before our meeting I'd read, purposely, his newly published first book 'And My Mother Danced With Chesty Puller' - a nonfiction account of his experiences as a young Marine including combat in Vietnam as a Huey door gunner. Great story! I've read it twice.  

Seeing a photograph of someone is not seeing someone. 

Bruce Hoffman is a big man. Big. Mountain size. And one of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when meeting him was the amount of cloth required to make his uniforms - Marine and cop. 

Then thinking what an imposing figure he must have been in uniform. And what a big target, considering his line(s) of work. 

In short order I found out Bruce was all Marine. It was summer time at Parris Island. It was hot. And humid. Bruce commented to a sergeant major that he'd noticed black flags hanging from poles and wondered the meaning. The sergeant major explained black was one of several color flags that indicated heat conditions and that each flag, depending on the recruits training day, restricted physical training. The flags also applied to permanent personnel. 

Bruce thought a moment and said, "We didn't have black flags in Vietnam."

From three years of duty in a recruit training battalion at Parris Island, I knew what was coming next.

The sergeant major smiled and said, "Yes sir, but these recruits are not yet Marines." 


As I remember, Bruce (a graduate of Parris Island) nodded - in agreement. 

Once in a while I hear from Bruce. Email. He sends along things only Marines appreciate. I do. 

These days he is again a public servant - a councilman in his community. Recently he offered it is the most frustrating job he's ever held. But added that it is also the most rewarding. 


I need not ask, for the answer I know.

Marines help. 

And Marines help Marines. 

Bruce has recently published 'Clicking Mics' - a book about his career, spanning several decades, in law enforcement.

Just out, I've not yet had chance to pick up a copy but will. No doubt it will be good. No doubt. I will read it at least twice. And now I plan to again read his first book - as primer for the new one. 

So, Marines, and all, I recommend Bruce's books. Available at: www.hoffmanbooks.com

Please consider adding them to (the head of) your list. Semper Fi. 

In closing and full disclosure, Bruce was not aware I was going to publish this short comment. Nor am I compensated - from any source. 

I just want to help - help a Marine - because Marines help me. 

As another author I know, Marine Staff Sergeant Bob Hall, USMC (Retired) says, "Marines go to the head of the line." Visit: www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com for information about his many fine books - nonfiction; fiction; and poetry. 

Marines help. 

Post Script

Marines, please pass along today's comment; if only the two links - to help Marines. Help. And, yes, Bruce's mother really did dance with Chesty Puller. Read the book!

For a good book on recruit training pick up a copy of 'Pride and Discipline - Hallmarks of a United States Marine' by Colonel D. J. Myers, USMC (Ret). Colonel Myers graduated from Parris Island. Thirty years later he commanded the regiment. A Marine friend and I wrote - Marines helping a Marine - a Forward for his book. 

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