Sergeant Myles Blazi USMC
1971 – 1975
Enlisted in the US Marine Corps in December 1970 (delayed buddy program, still in high school) and reported to Parris Island on June 14, 1971.Following graduation from PI in August it was on to ITR at Camp Geiger then Cooks and Bakers School at Montford Point.
My first permanent assignment was at MAD, NATTC, Millington where I was assigned as a Cook in the Main Messhall where we served 5,000 meals each meal period. My NCOIC was Gunnery Sergeant Ed Butts and my Food Service Officer was Captain N. Marie Keale who both had a great influence on my enlistment. I later served with Major Keale in Okinawa.
I was promoted to Cpl and became the duty NCO at the Marine mess barracks where we housed a total of 250 Navy and Marine Messmen . It was here that I learned a lot about responsibility, respect, military bearing and became a leader of Marines.
Here I married my high school sweetheart, who moved to Millington where we lived in off base housing. We thought we knew it all in those days. Thought we could live on love alone. Do you know what I am saying? Do you remember? She soon became pregnant and that added a whole new set of circumstances to life which we hadn’t anticipated. Gunny Butts and Capt Keale helped a lot during this time. My wife and I were invited to their homes for dinners and outings. Food was always given to us because “we made too much anyway”. I met many friends at Memphis but none as good and real as these two Marines.
It soon became evident that with my limited pay we couldn’t make it without
additional income.. Gunny Butts and Capt. Keale got me a part time job at the
SNCO club as night cook. Wearing civvies and getting paid. Gunny Cecil Dickey (club manager) liked me enough to ask for me on a permanent basis during regular hours. I was assigned there as chief cook. I also worked evenings and weekends on occasions with the civilian cooks for extra money. What an experience! I rubbed shoulders with the best SNCO’s that the Marine Corps had. I will never forget them.
In June 1974 I received orders to Futemna Okinawa for a one year tour. Started working in Main Mess hall and then transferred to Officers Closed Mess. Worked there for about 6 months as chief cook (Sgt) and then went back to mess hall as night cook for the balance of my tour.
What a wonderful place Okinawa is. I do wish I could return for a visit. Expo 75 was coming in August of 1975 and the whole Island was abuzz. Sadly, I left in June of 75 and didn’t get to see it.
I have turned into a Marine Pacific War Buff since returning from Okinawa. I just wish the Corps had stressed more history instead of VD classes. I did get to visit many war sites but am sorry I didn’t know more then.
I got a Dear John letter while on Oki. Oh well, that’s in the past.
I returned home to Pennsylvania. Divorced and remarried. I now have a wonderful wife and son. He is now 22 and graduating from college in May. Although my present wife wasn’t part of my 4 years active duty she is well aware of Marine Esprit de Corps. Having attended many Marine Corps Birthday Balls over the years she is now acutely aware of our brotherhood.
I belong to the Patrick W Milano Marine Corps League in Harrisburg Pennsylvania. Incidentally, my grandmother was a charter member of this auxiliary (husband and son were in Marine Corps, son KIA on Saipan). I serve as the deputy representative of the MCL to Lebanon VAMC. I have been doing this for 20 years. I have great pride and also feel humbled when I walk into the hospital. It makes me feel good to see veterans helping veterans. Someone is always willing to push a wheelchair patient, get them food or drink, or help them bowl.
I usually go to the hospital about 5 times a year with my best friend Rich Corbit, (former Marine) who is the Representative to the hospital for all of Central PA. for the Marine Corps League.
He and I also attend ceremonies every year either at the Wall in DC or at services close to home depending on our schedules.
I came upon hard times in 2000 due to medical problems and ended up leaving my job as Lead Purchasing Agent at Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant after 28 years on the job. I am currently not working but looking.