The Commitment — No Turning Back. 1966-1968

After his April 1, 1966, enlistment and the end of the HHS spring term, Norman Jr. started work on July 5 at a Public Day Camp (as a Nature Study Specialist, who would guess?) in Scarsdale, NY. One of his students there was 10-year old Carol Weston, who today is a very successful writer of children's literature, based in Manhattan. Norman's sister Linda had married on March 12, and their Dad had tragically been felled by a fatal heart attack on May 16. Norman's petition to reenter Vanderbilt Law School was denied one week later, on May 23. On June 22, he wrote to John Russell:

"John-baby! I got the final word from the Commandant, so it is definite now that I will
report to Quantico on Aug. 22nd. ... Like, is it OK to bring lots of underwear with me,
or am I required to wear what they issue? ... Do I get Christmas vacation? ... I've
decided that when I get out of the Marines, in 1969, I want to finish law school, then
get an M.A. in biology."

On July 11 Norman Jr. received his orders to report to Quantico, VA, for Marine Corps OCS beginning Monday, August 22. We have done the research, and in 1966 the Taylors of Tabernacle Camp Meeting began on Friday, August 19. Considering Norman Jr.’s love of Camp Meeting, his immediate and extended family, and his many friends, it is my conclusion that he traveled by car to Quantico on Friday, August 19, 1966. Not only did he miss Camp Meeting ─ as it would turn out the final Camp Meeting he attended was in August, 1965 ─ but he also missed the Memorial Service for his Dad held that Sunday, August 21. He finished OCS (41st Officer Candidate Course) on October 27, just nine days after Linda’s first son Michael Nicholas was born. Norman Jr. immediately reported to the Marine Corps, The Basic School (TBS), in Quantico on October 28, graduating with BasicClass 3-67 (Fox Company, 2nd Platoon, with Will Fahey, Ruff Fant, Joe Gerry, Ed Kropp, Steve Joyner, and Mike Hemmert, with Jerry Paull, commanding) on March 29, 1967. He was then assigned to H&S Co., 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines, at Camp Lejeune, NC, where he served briefly as Platoon Commander before assignment to the Ground Defense Force at Guantanamo Bay. Here he served as Assistant Platoon Commander, 81 mm Mortars, over May ─ mid-September. During this time, on July 17, Norman Jr. received orders to report to Camp Smedley Butler, Okinawa, “by November 1” in preparation for service in Vietnam. The one record of leave taken that I have found is after his reassignment from Camp Lejeune on October 12, 1967 ─ from October 17-November 1. The photo below (next page, bottom left) was cropped from a picture taken with his Mom, Aunt Lib, and Uncle Marion in the living room of his grandparents' home on North Washington. I conclude that this was during the 16 days' leave at that time. He also visited others, like Sally and Mo Cavin, during this time. Joe Myers, who was serving as a Legal Officer at Camp Lejeune, also saw Norman Jr. shortly before he left in October, 1967. Norman Jr. drove his car to New Orleans, said goodbye to Linda and her family, and flew out for Travis AFB, CA, en route to Okinawa.


 
Quantico. The Basic School Class 3-67.  Fox Company, 2nd Platoon. Circles, front row: Will Fahey; 2nd row (L-to-R): Ruff Fant and Jerry Paull; 3rd row: Joe Gerry; back row: Ed Kropp, Steve Joyner, Norman Lane, Mike Hemmert. Gold circles, Killed in Action, RVN. Others Killed in Action, RVN: Keepnews, Harrell, Gozdan, Gall.

 
Norman, photo-graphed in spring, 1967. The photo as printed is dated April, 1967. A companion photo with his grandmother Lane suggests that this may be at his TBS grad-uation exercise, possibly March 29, 1967, in Quantico.    
 
 
 
Norman, photo-graphed in the living room of Uncle Marion and Aunt Lib's (his grandpar-ents) house on North Washington. Possibly October, 1967.