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.