Monday, June 4, 2012

Do You Know Where You Were When Kennedy Was Shot ? Well Winston Sure Does..Thanks Winston for Sharing the Story

Well most of us proably remember where we were when we heard that news,but Winston or friendly 3rd avenue ex-pat sure knows where he his story:This is a cool story,

I gave my middle daughter, Michelle, a shell that is almost 49 years old. I will tell you the story of the shell. I was stationed at The US Naval Station, Sangley Point, Philippines from 1962 to 1964. The station was right on the Manila Bay, across from Manila. My first post was at the Officer's Landing, where the ferry came in. I got promoted later to the Main Gate. Then Corporal of The Guard. One of my duties was being in charge of the detail of the raising and lowering of the American Flag, and The US Naval Flag. Also I was in charge of many burial details, for World War 2 Philippine veterans. After about 6 months I requested a transfer to the Brig Section, which was granted, and i was in that section for 18 months.
 I started as an assistant turnkey, then became a turnkey, then Assistant Brig Warden. One of my duties was to be on the official US Marine Color Guard, for the entire Philippines. 3 members and I of the Brig Section were responsible to represent The United States at various events, including the anniversary of  General MacArthur's return to the Philippines at Leyte. One of the members was to become my brother-in-law, and he also resides here in Vancouver, Washington. I had a separate duty of being in charge of firing the "Ceremonial Cannon" that was a permanent fixture near the airfield. We fired this cannon whenever important dignitaries were being honored.
President Kennedy was the president at the time. He was assassinated November 22, 1963 in Dallas. In the Philippines it was November 23rd. I was returning to base that night from having a great time in Manila. Going through the Main gate, the Philippine guard told me the president had been assassinated. I thought he was talking about the Philippine president. He said no, that it was the US president. I walked the approximately 2 miles back to the barracks stunned. The next morning, at 8;00 am, November 24th 1963, Philippine time, I was called into the Commanding Officer's office for a meeting with the Colonel and the executive officer, a major, and the ranking NCO, a Sgt/Major. I was informed that  we  were to start firing the ceremonial cannon at 12:00 noon, once every 1/2 hour on the dot, for 24 hours. I was to be the NCO in charge of the detail of that task. The first shell we fired I kept as a keepsake and had it sawn down to about 5 inches, and had it engraved with my name, rank, and date of my service in the Republic of the Philippines.
 John ( Winston to us) thanks for sharing those memories......        HF&RV - Les

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