On a Good Marine

Richard entered the United States Marine Corps in 1927. The period between World War I and World War 2 were obviously relatively quiet, but Richard served with distinction for a decade in the Marines, first at the Marine Barracks at Quantico before finishing his service at Parris Island in the recruit depot there. As with most Marines, Richard entered as a private, but his excellent service record and his deportment saw him promoted to he rank of Sergeant Major by 1937 and the end of his career.

Interestingly, Richard had a visage that looked tough and mean—which was perfect for the Marines. Some people said that he looked like something off a recruiting poster. Yet, those who knew him well later said that his manner was actually quite mild and that he had a sweet disposition.

A look at his service record shows that he had two incidents in his decade of service that might make someone question Richard’s judgement. The first incident was that he was accused of assaulting an ice man, and the second was that a stenographer said he made her feel uncomfortable by “chasing her” down a hallway. Neither person brought charges against him, so both situations were put down as one’s word against the other ones. Still, not a bad record for 10 years of service.

Once, the British Royal Marines sent a private from their ranks to be trained by the US Marines as a goodwill gesture, and it was suggested by his superiors that Richard be made this Limey’s caretaker, to show him the ropes of how the American Marines did things. Richard assumed this role eagerly, and he took this English Private Pagett under his wing. The two became fast friends, even though Private Padgett’s demeanor was the exact opposite of Richard’s. The pair—one American marine and one British—became inseparable; they shared quarters, ate together, and where you saw one, you usually saw the other. Sadly, Padgett one day become overexerted and suffered heat exhaustion; he died while on duty in the United States. Richard seemed to take this loss hard; he was not the same after that for some time, many people said.

Richard, too, died while in the service. His heart gave out one day, and he was found to have died in his sleep. Many in the corps were crushed by this news. That’s how many people were touched by his life and his years of quiet service. Richard was buried at Quantico with full military honors.

You will be surprised to learn that he was only 11 years old when he died.

His full name was Silent White Richard, but the Marines knew him and loved him as the English Bulldog, Jiggs, the Marine Corps mascot.

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