This is a tale that recounts an example of caring and leadership. This is a story about Master Sergeant Herman Brittman and the debt all the snuffies in Weapons Training Battalion, MCRD, Parris Island, SC in 1952, owed him.

I had enlisted at the tender age of 17 in June of '51, and finished boot camp in August. Having fired a high score, I was returned to the island and was sent to school to be a rifle coach. I did not want to be a rifle coach. I wanted to go to Korea where marksmanship really counted. I had a plan. I would purposely fail the course, and as everyone knew, that put you on the next draft for the land of the morning calm. I failed the course. The battalion Sergeant Major informed me that they were not taking smartass 17 year olds in Korea, and that I was to report to the battalion police shed. There, I met MSgt. Herman Brittman.

He was tough and demanding, and he was going to be there every day for what looked to be years.

Suffice to say that Herman was a big Marine. He scared me more than any D.I. ever had. With the D.I.s, I thought I recognized that my time with them had an ending. Not so with Herman. He was tough and demanding, and he was going to be there every day for what looked to be years.

Herman had another side to him. A side that every good leader must have to carry out his obligations. He was fair. At that time, we had a Battalion Commander who decreed all Marines had to wear Class A uniforms to the slopchute, which was beneath the barracks, after 1700 hours. When Herman found out about it, he said, "That ain't right. The troops should not be forced to pay extra laundry bills to go to the slopchute."

That evening, MSgt. Herman Brittman showed up at the slopchute in dungarees. The Sergeant of the Guard informed him of the battalion order. He replied that he was aware of it. He was then informed that if he did not leave, he would be placed on report. He replied that that was exactly what he wanted. It was done, and he left.

I, of course, do not know what took place between the Colonel and the Master Sergeant. I do know that from that day on, we could go to the slopchute in dungarees.

I got to Korea. Often, while I was there, I wished I was a rifle coach and drinking beer in Beaufort. I finished up a career in the reserve program. I have often thought of the example MSgt. Brittman set that day, and wanted to share it as a tribute to a fine Marine. There, Herman, I've paid you back!

Semper Fi!