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Re: War time buddies
The Army also used the rotation system. What were commonly called "points"
were earned according to how close a soldier was to the frontline. The
closer, the more points earned each month. Although I *think* the points
required may have changed over time, the number I've read most often is 36.
When a soldier had earned that number he was eligible for rotation home.
Generally, it took a combat soldier between 9 and 12 months to earn the
needed points, and support troops about 18.
The rotation system had wide ranging negative effects on unit cohesion and
combat efficiency, a concern at the time. Late in the war there was some
limited discussion of increasing the number of points required for rotation,
in response to concerns over these negative effects. Also, toward the end
of the war there was a very brief and limited experiment with "four man
packets" whereby 4 men went through the entire training and assignment
process as a packet so that when they arrived at their new unit they didn't
feel so alone, and had a built-in support system. Commanders were very
pleased with the packet, but the war ended before it could be widely used.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Beth Cullom" <email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2002 12:57 AM
Subject: Re: War time buddies
> Hello. I am new to this group. I joined and have
> been reading posts for about three weeks, but I feel
> that I now have something to add to the question of
> maintaining wartime buddies.
> My father, now deceased, was a Marine private in WWII
> on Kwajalein with the VMB 613; in 1952 he returned to
> the Marine Corps as a "lifer" and went to Korea, this
> time as a lieutenant. After eight months leading night
> patrols on the western outposts, he was wounded,
> shipped home and medically retired.
> Throughout my lifetime, I will be fifty in July, I was
> surrounded by my father's Marine Corps talk, attitude,
> and values. Within this Corps milieu, I only heard
> the names of a few men, friends from "Kwaj," yet it
> was clear that it was my father's Korean War
> experiences that made him the man he was; why did he
> speak so little about that war?
> When WWII's fortieth anniversary media blitz began in
> 1991, the VMB 613 began getting together with biannual
> reunions. In fact, they will be getting together in
> Peoria next week; in 1994 they returned to Kwajalein
> where they were welcomed and asked to march in a
> parade by the Kwajalein people. My father had been
> seventeen when he went into WWII, yet he and his
> friend's bonds, while taking a forty-year hiatus,
> remained strong. When my father was in the hospital
> in 1998 dying, the word went out among the VMB 613 men
> and every single man telephoned him.
> Conversely, my father did not keep in contact with
> anyone he served with in Korea. While he maintained
> friendships with other Korean War veterans in our
> area, they were not from his group and he did not see
> them in Korea. The Fox Co., 2nd Bn., 5th Marines have
> been having reunions for about a dozen years now, and
> while my father spoke with the leader of the group on
> several occasions, he never attended a reunion. It
> was through my efforts to better understand my
> father's war experiences that I have spoken to and
> written to dozens of Korean War veterans, plus I
> joined this list. I posed the very same question
> about longevity of friendships to these men and what I
> have found is that the men who have responded to that
> question agree with my mother's opinion: it was the
> rotation system, which the Marine Corps used during
> Korea and Vietnam that was responsible for the men not
> bonding as personally with one another as they had in
> Perhaps the veterans from this list can clarify what
> the rotation system was, how it worked and if they
> think that it was in anyway responsible for men not
> staying as personally close to each other as WWII
> veterans. Also, did every branch of service use
> rotation or only the Marines?
> Thank you.
> Beth Cullom
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