The Vietnam War


Gramps welcomed GPS member Col. Marv Garrison USMC(Ret) at the February meeting
and learned how he came to be a marine although not his original intent. From there we
learned of his fascinating career flying many different aircraft in military situations.
Marv told of his decision to transfer from being a Navy Cadet to the Marines when a Marine addressed his group of cadets and asked for the Marine cadets to respond. When none did, he commented on the aircraft they would most likely be flying for the Navy, the TBM, and the group broke up. Marv spoke to him then and decided to go with the Marines because the likely aircraft assignments would be so much better.

While a cadet, to get his Wings, Marv needed an instrument rating and spent 5 weeks in a C-45 getting the rating. After getting his rating, he discovered that he needed a total of 200 hours. During this time he had met and was befriended by the man responsible for The Great Santini movie. He flew the AD-1 Skyraider, the first version of that aircraft. After getting his wings as a second lieutenant, the unit needed an instructor and “Santini” recommended Marv. He was the only 2 Lt. Instructor in the Corps at that time. He then was assigned by “Santini” to Washington in the Nuclear Special Weapons unit, the assignment was made to avoid a less desirable assignment that he was about to get. Next he went through jet transition and flew the Grumman F9F Panther. He then went to Japan, the command there said they already had too many nuclear delivery pilots and he was sent to Korea.

In Korea he was introduced to the war via mortar attack and resulting foxhole occupation! He flew F3Ds, the night fighter, there. He described almost being out of fuel near an airbase where the lights were out and having to land urgently at a very short runway with only one arresting cable. While at that base, Chu Lai, he followed the procedure for his unit at Da Nang that required all pilots to carry pistols at all times. He went to the officer’s club where he was
informed that no one was permitted to carry pistols and ended up having to buy the group a round! Once while there, his wingman lost contact at a high G condition and stalled over Marv, causing him to have to eject after the planes collided and his plane broke in half. The wingman also survived. We are very grateful to our friend Marv, for his excellent service to our
country and especially for presenting his adventures to us at GPS.


About Author

Leave A Reply