LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN
July 29th, 2005
Gunnery Sergeant LaSalle Vaughn, from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, joined the Marines in 1942 and was assigned to the Stewards' Branch, where he became an accomplished baker and chef. During his career as a Marine he served at Parris Island, in officers' clubs at various bases, and as the chef for several generals. He lives in retirement at Port Royal, South Carolina.
INTERVIEWER: Okay, sir, (STAMMERS) we do this with all Montford marines. We make sure we get the name, caption, right. So, so can you start out by stating your full name, full name.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Full name, okay. Uh, LaSalle Rogers Vaughn.
INTERVIEWER: Can you spell that sir?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Capital L-A, capital S-A-L-L-E, middle name R for Rogers, Vaughan, V-A-U-G-H-N .
INTERVIEWER: Rogers or Roger?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (OVERLAPPING) Rogers, R-O-G-E-R-S.
INTERVIEWER: Okay, and today's date.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: July 21st. (TECHNICAL)
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) Today's date, uh, July the 21st, 2005.
INTERVIEWER: Thank you, sir, okay. Now. (TECHNICAL)
INTERVIEWER: (CONTINUED) Uh, Mr. Vaughn, can you tell us a little bit about your background before you joined the Marine Corps, like, where you were born, and education?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Now I'm from, uh, (COUGH) Baton Rouge, Louisiana. That's my home, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Live in South Carolina now, but the thing about it, when I was a young man, come like, 14, 15, you know, Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana. That's where I was born and raised, in the capitol. And, uh, I used to go to the movie all the time, and just before they start the movie, they always was some Marines on their with their blue uniform and the red stripe go down.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) You know what I'm talking about. You understanding me? But I didn't have no idea that the Marine Corps were discriminated. I didn't know until I really got out of boot camp. Got out of boot camp, and I found out different about the Marine Corps. It was about 100 and some years, they had never had a Black person in the Marine Corps at that time. They didn't have any at all. So I wanted to join. So I was drafted in by the President Roosevelt.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) You remember him, President Roosevelt. Met him and his wife at Montford Point as, shook hand with him. And anyway, uh, I got a, I was living in Chicago for about a year, work at Walgreen Drug Store. And my daddy called me, said, you have got a letter. I'd only been there about two months, said, you had, I was 17, say, you have got a letter from the President of United State, and you been drafted in the Armed Forces.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) He didn't say the Marine Corps. He didn't say the Navy. You've been drafted by the President of the United State. And I got his signet right here. Uh, what I'm saying, it look like it written by hand, didn't look like no rubber stamp.
INTERVIEWER: Can you tell me a little bit about that visit, the Presidential visit at Montford Point, how it all happened?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (OVERLAPPING) (STAMMERS) Yeah, (STAMMERS) when he came to Montford Point, you know, he had this convertible, and a wife named Eleanor Roosevelt, I think. That was his wife name, Eleanor Roosevelt. And she didn't wear these fancy dresses like, uh, President Clinton and all these, Bush and all them got these, uh, four, $5000 dresses on. So he was coming at, uh, check it out.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) He had a convertible, but it wasn't glass-proof. It was just like convertible just go back. I ain't talking about when President Kennedy, he had one of them too, when he got shot. And what happened is, uh, uh, he couldn't get out because he was cripple. He couldn't walk. But his wife got out. And she looked around, because (STAMMERS) had (WORD?) way, he couldn't just drive the car around.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) You see what I mean, so she got out and she came back and checked a few tents and what have, we didn't have no building out there. We didn't have nothing but tents when he came down at Montford Point. You understand what I mean? And (STAMMERS) President Roosevelt, (STAMMERS) get back to Chicago. So I came home from Chicago, had family people there. I was living with my auntie (STAMMERS) my uncle.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And I came back, see what my daddy had for me, get this letter, you have been drafted. So I got a telephone call to go to New Orleans. New Orleans (STAMMERS) , 80, 80 miles from Baton Rouge. Go to New Orleans so you can be checked in, into the, to the Navy. And I told my dad, I don't like the Navy. I don't like the Navy and I don't like the Army. I wanna go in the Marine Corps.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) So I went in where the guy asked me a question. He said, LaSalle, I never forget and I be 82 years old in, in November, but I never forget what he say. He said, uh, what branch you wanna go in, the Navy or the Army. I said, I don't like either one of them. He said, well, you got to go in one of them. (STAMMERS) I say, no, I don't. See, if you don't, I'm gonna have to call the FBI.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) I said, call them, because I don't wanna go in. I said, I wanna go in the Marine Corps. You see, I tell you what you do. You get on back to Baton Rouge, stay a couple days, and he gave me a date, and you come back, and you be in, you got to make your mind up, what you're gonna do. So about, maybe a week, or a little old week before he called, (STAMMERS) my dad say, you better go ahead.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) If you don't, you might get in trouble. So I, I went back and the same recruiter, the guy was there. He had a little office and everything, checking everybody in on the waterfront in New Orleans. And (STAMMERS) went back, and he said, uh, have you made your mind up, Vaughn? I said, no, I haven't, and he had a blue suit and everything. I said, I wanna wear one of them same suits you got on.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) Just like that, and nobody, nobody (STAMMERS) , he said, well, you gonna have to go in the Navy and a guy came, I never forget, he came in, uh, uh, uh, what was his rank? I think he was a Warrant Officer. He came in at the time. He said, I want you to hold everything for Vaughn, because I think he can go in the Marine Corps, but he got to take a test.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) That's when the President passed it, came out of that order. And I forgot the order, but you probably remember the order, saying that we are going and say, you got to make 74, uh, more (SOUNDS LIKE) to pass to go in the Marine Corps. That's exactly the words he told me. Said, he go in the Marine Corps.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) I took a test, I made 74. I'm alright. After that, he made plans, say, well, you go home and take care of your business. (STAMMERS) You know, I still hadn't gone in yet. (STAMMERS) That was in, in '41. That was in '41. So what happened? He said, well, I want you do back here at a certain time, then I'm gonna send you to Montford Point.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) I said, I never heard of the place. What, Montford Point? I said, that's overseas way, isn't it? (STAMMERS) Just like, upper, you know, just talking with him, just like I'm saying, you understand what I mean? And, and I got, I'll be 82 years old, and I still got a clear mind. And I look way back with that, you know, if I were talking to you 10 years ago, I'll remember what you saying.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And anyway, I went back, he marked me up. I think that was in November, November of 1941. He said, I'm gonna send you, you gonna, you gonna go ride the bus, the Greyhound bus. (STAMMERS) You can, you can go from Baton Rouge, you can go back home and say goodbye to your mom and daddy. You can ride the Greyhound bus all the way to North Carolina. I said, I never heard of North Carolina before.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) I said, long as I've been living in Louisiana, I thought North Carolina was up north. (STAMMERS) North and South, South Carolina and North Carolina. I had never been to these areas before. So anyway, I got on the Greyhound bus, and I got on that Greyhound bus and when they took me all the way to Montford Point. They had lot of other guys from that, from Louisiana. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) two other guys on my street was on the same bus that I was on.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) We went there. We got to the gate. And, and (STAMMERS) one of my, uh, buddies, who was a MP, Black, at the gate at Montford Point. Let me tell you what happened. And I walked inside that gate, and all I could see was nothing but Black people. And I'd say, what in the world going, that's what I say to myself, nothing but Black, nothing but tents. No mess hall, no theater, and all those things, that was supposed to be there.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) You understand what I mean? Didn't have no swimming pool, didn't have no rifle range. You understand, these ain't what I'm making up. I'm telling you what really happened, in Huff, in Johnson, you remember now, I was there with him. I was in the wedding with him when they got married. Huff and Johnson, what really got me, we didn't have no GIs. And they appointed Colonel Woods appointed, you remember that name Colonel Woods?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) He appointed Huff and Johnson, Hashmark Johnson had been in the Navy for four years. He had been in the Army for four years. You understand what I mean? That's what he had been in, in Pigtown. And today, I'm trying to figure out, did they go through boot camp, because when Woods, Colonel Woods picked them, I knew Woods and his wife, both. When he picked those guys, and you know how he picked them? If they had a big mouth and they was doing a lot of cursing, you know, and scaring a lot of people and everything, you know, you know what I'm talking about?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And when I got there, they was issuing out stripes every week. And I guess you wonder why I only made Staff Sergeant. That's a long story, so it'll take a long time for me to repeat these things. (STAMMERS) You see what I mean, they (STAMMERS) Black guys didn't have no rank. When you walked in that gate, you was a private. And that was including Huff, Johnson and some of the guys (STAMMERS) , so they picked them as, uh, DI.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) Now remember, when, when the only DI school was on Parris Island. I was stationed with it five years. And I was in a hell place. I'm a get around to that, too. Though I (STAMMERS) , I wanna let you know, I, I told my wife before I left, I wanna tell the truth and I wanna tell it like it was, and thank God I'm still living to tell it. I've been waiting on this day. I've been waiting on this day.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) My wife, oh, but she's a Christian person. We've been married almost 60 years. She say, honey, say, uh, you need to forget. God say you need to forget. I said, I ain't forget, but I cannot forgive. I say, I still go (SOUNDS LIKE) though, anyway, Huff, Johnson, it was picked in the only DI school was on Parris Island, not in San Diego, where they got one. They getting ready to close that place down now.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) But (STAMMERS), uh, Huff now did not have the opportunity to go, so what they did is send six White DIs (STAMMERS) , that's who brought me through, the White DI, name was Henderson. They brought him to train some DIs right out in the open field. And they stay there about, before I left there, I was in Montford Point about 14 months, because I run a bakery shop, when they had it line up.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And I was there when they organized the (SOUNDS LIKE) steward branch. You ever heard of that before? You ever heard of that? The Stewards Branch. Now (COUGH) , the, the thing about it, Huff and Johnson. (STAMMERS) Both of them is dead. They was friends of mine. Both of them is dead, and I'm not lying on them. The thing about it. They pick the DIs, about six of them with loud mouth to scare everybody, you know, like the boot camp.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) Sergeant Henderson was my DI. He had five White (STAMMERS) was sent. Reverend Wood requested, uh, Colonel Wood requested, uh, to send some DIs down there to train. And they didn't go to school as DIs. They (STAMMERS) train them right in front of my face. You know, long thrust, short thrust, you been all, through all that? And the thing about it, they didn't, the, they was disorganized, Montford Point.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) Completely, they didn't have no rifle range. We had to learn how to swim in the Atlantic Ocean. You know, Atlantic Ocean run right through Montford Point, right on the side. You understand what I mean? Right on the side. So anyway, uh, Montford Point was, was a hell place, was a hell place, and it couldn't have been no discrimination because, uh, they only had Colonel Woods.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) They had, uh, uh, a Second Lieutenant, and then later on, they got a First Lieutenant. Them's the only White guys there other than a DI. (STAMMERS) You see what I'm talking about. And the, the thing about it, and I never forget those days long as I live (STAMMERS) thing about it, and (STAMMERS) lot of guys, you ever heard of Uncle Tom before? I had, uh, I hate to say this, but I, I worked with a lot of them. And I worked with five Generals in a Marine Corps. (TECHNICAL)
INTERVIEWER: But let me, let me ask you, I just wanna go back to one thing, And you, when you told me (UNINTELLIGIBLE) , you had indicated that, uh, President Roosevelt came to Montford Point. And what was your impressions of him being there and, you told me a little bit about what Eleanor Roosevelt did and all that. But what were your impressions of him being on the camp?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Well, at the time, it was organized in all these, uh, uh, 51st Division, 52nd Division and all these, uh, uh, uh, motor pools and whatever like that. I don't know what was the reason. My impression was, uh, since he was a part of it, he wanted to find out what was going on, because it was about 50 acres of land. And the guy's name was Montford Point who bought 50 acres of land for.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) So what I'm trying to say that everything had been planned, maybe not one year, maybe not two year, maybe three years. What are we gonna do with these Black people when they come in? You understand what I mean? And when we got there, they would rush in, (STAMMERS) like, (STAMMERS) two or 300 a day. Now I (SOUNDS LIKE) how in the world are you gonna organize platoons and everything like that and you got all these tents. You got the mess hall and everything. I work around the mess (UNINTELLIGIBLE) sent into a boot camp.
INTERVIEWER: If I can remember, tell me a little bit about the trip, Baton Rouge to Jackson.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (STAMMERS) Baton Rouge to Jackson, number one, I had to get in the back of the bus in Baton Rouge and my home because you couldn't ride in the front. You had to, if there's any seat back there, in the back, if you didn't have no seat back there, you go back there and stand up until somebody get a seat. They had about eight or nine seat back there for the Blacks in the Greyhound bus.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) So the thing about it, we drove all the way, uh, (COUGH) from, uh, Baton Rouge, coming through South Carolina and North Carolina and (STAMMERS) stopped the bus to get a hamburger. And we had to get somebody to get one for. Little communities, they were discriminated. Hollywood community, you probably heard of Hollywood, South Carolina, and, and, uh, other community. I got lot of stories about Kinston and, and Fayetteville (UNINTELLIGIBLE) .
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) (STAMMERS) You know what I'm talking about? So anyway, on the Greyhound bus, they took me, they was take, not just me, were more than just me on that bus. They took us all the way to the main gate, to the main gate, like I'm trying to say. And it wasn't no welcome (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you say, well, we glad to see you here. Uh, uh, something like that. And that some our own men was welcome you when you go in there.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And the guy (STAMMERS) so many of us, and we had to start cutting down trees. I didn't know nothing about no trees cutting down. I was born in the city, right on the street. You see what I'm saying? And all them street, and they didn't have them, uh, electric saws. They had on two handle. You grab one handle, he grab the other, and then that's the way we get it cut down.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And we used to save all the sawdust and anybody ever told you about this sawdust (WORD?) ? We had one about 20, 25 feet tall, nothing but sawdust, nothing but sawdust from the trees. (STAMMERS) On, on that land was nothing but rattlesnake, moccasin snake and big old bear. Big, black bear on there, because I was standing guard duty one night, and the guy, (STAMMERS) they didn't give live ammunition, because, uh, when you stand guard duty, because they say you might shoot yourself.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) You know what I mean? So anyway, this particular night that I'm gonna take a break on that, this particular night, they put me on guard. I was a private. They put me on guard duty, and I never forget what the Officer of the Day say, say, you know your general order? I say, yeah, be especially watchful during this time, to challenge, to challenge all persons and allow no one to pass without authority.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) So as you can see, I know my order. All these years, and I been retired for 41 years. (STAMMERS) You see what I'm talking about? So I had a lot in my heart, you understand what I mean? But anyway, (STAMMERS) got off the bus. We got off the bus and went in, and I think he had like a hot dog. And I was hungry, because my momma didn't, I think I had a piece of cornbread, a couple apples and couple oranges on the bus.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) But I had no idea we couldn't get off the bus, and I didn't have no more than about $10 or $15 in my pocket. So you see it was hard, you understand what I mean? And that's when I met Huff. Because I think I got there before Johnson did. I got there before he did. You understand what I mean? So that's the story on Montford Point, time being.
INTERVIEWER: Now, uh, doing great. Okay, uh, now you probably, uh, covered this already, but can you think of any other incidents where you encountered racism at the Camp?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (STAMMERS) You know, when, when Black people, it's more Black than it is other color, uh, (STAMMERS) you don't find no racial. It, it, it's nothing there. You might get in a fight or something like that. But like I say, they only had three White person on there at that time, and we didn't see them but every now and then. Colonel Wood, I may see him every once, every two weeks (STAMMERS) , you see what I mean? So...
INTERVIEWER: (OVERLAPPING) What was your impression of Colonel Wood?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (COUGH) Colonel Wood was a, everybody loved him 'cause he was a easygoing man. Colonel, (STAMMERS) yeah, (STAMMERS) that's what he was, a Colonel, and (STAMMERS) he was easygoing. Everybody gonna love you when you're easy. When you started getting rough and started talking about, uh, rules and regulation, and another thing to add on this, that, uh, uh, (COUGH) they didn't go by Military Code of Justice.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) Now that worried me. All these article 15 and article 200 and what-have-you. You know all about the Articles. I know you been through them, being a Colonel. But the thing about it, we went through rocks and shore. You ever heard of that before? That means a person, I got busted two times, because the guy, the White guy, when we was on Parris Island, when he called me certain name, and I, I (SOUNDS LIKE) went right like this.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) I went to, just (SOUNDS LIKE) hand two on that hand so when I hit a guy, I knocked two of his teeth out. And that's what I did. And (STAMMERS) the thing about it, uh, uh, went to the, the Colonel's office. Went into the Colonel's office, and he didn't even get a story. 'Cause he say I reduce you from, from buck (STAMMERS) , you ever heard of buck sergeant? In front of the mess hall, they take you down there in the front of the mess hall.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) Now I wasn't working for (SOUNDS LIKE) general then but in front of the mess hall, take in the front of the mess hall and what they do before you go in they eat dinner in the evening time. Then they'd have a, guy that come and pull your stripes off. You ever seen anything like that? Pull your stripes off. They pull the buck sergeant off and the guy, another guy was corporal, he come and give it to him to get (SOUNDS LIKE) sew a corporal on that. You know what I'm saying to mean? But it, it's a long story. Now I ain't got the (SOUNDS LIKE) pairs on, I got to get in there until you get to it.
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Tell me. At, at, at Montford Point, what was the attitude of men in general, spirit and all that?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Oh gracious, all of them had bad attitude because they wasn't looking for what happened. Because I was one of them. I was evil all the time.
INTERVIEWER: What do you mean what happened?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (OVERLAPPING) (STAMMERS) What happened because the thing about it, they wasn't expected (STAMMERS) it wasn't nothing ready. Colonel Wilson ain't had nothing ready. It wasn't nothing ready. You didn't have no rifle range. And you didn't have a, they was teaching judo too. They didn't have the place even set for that. They didn't teach karate. It was judo, how they kill. You know, you jump on them, way you did hit (WORD?) and what have you.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And a lot of guys was still home sick. They was young men just like I was, 18 years of age. You see where I'm trying to come from? They, so, it, it was bitter, it was a, there's a fight amongst each one of us at time.
INTERVIEWER: Did things get better the longer you stayed there? (ALL TALKING AT ONCE)
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (STAMMERS) Well I got, I got orders in 19, uh, 1943. And I'd been there ever since '42. And I got orders I, (STAMMERS) got orders to report to Parris Island, South Carolina. I only lived two blocks, I mean two miles from Parris Island where I live there now. That's where I live. It was Sergeant Drake who you're going to be interviewing. That's when I met him. We'd been knowing each other 50 some years. And the thing about it, we got to Parris Island. We went to Yamasee, you ever heard of Yamasee?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) They had a barracks behind the train station. We came in on a bus and they kept us over night in the barracks and somebody pick us up the next morning, take us to Parris Island. And as God is my witness what I'm saying now is the truth. And God is my witness, and he is in my presence right now. (STAMMERS) Let me tell you what happened. Came the bus, the MP got on the bus White, didn't have no Black MPs then. No Black MPs. It was there, didn't have a Black MP there until 1949.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And you got on the bus, he say boy what, what are you doing with my uniform on. And I was a guy, you know, used to fighting all the time. And I never get, I jumped up and the same guy out there, he the one who grabbed me. He said no bro', we called each other bro'. Said no bro', say, you know, you'll get in serious trouble. Let me tell you what happened. They took us on the Base.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And they had (SOUNDS LIKE) tents for us, a lot of beautiful barracks, and I goes over there to the commissary just about every day. And big old beautiful barracks, they had tents and the weather was four degrees in the winter time. Four degrees in the winter time. We had a wooden stove in the barracks where other Marines were living they had gas stoves. And I'm a witness. I think me and him were the only two out there 25 is, is living. You understand what I mean? So anyway. We could not go in the PX. We could not go in (STAMMERS) and (SOUNDS LIKE) listen (WORD?) , we could not go in the staff truck and we only had one staff when (STAMMERS) that time. We could not, we could not parade on the parade ground.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) Everything was segregated. Everything, I got this on the tape too. The other guy came all the way from Washington D.C. to interview me. At the Marine Corps Air Station. It was two of them, came to interview me and I told them just like it was. I wasn't going to make anything beautiful. I'm telling you, like I was telling the men who interviewed today. I, you never was stationed on Parris Island so you can't never tell me one of the guy, the big first guy, you, you met, you never been on Parris Island.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) We was just like prison. It felt like prison. Now it never been changed since then it didn't make no change until the '56 when I served for '56 when I first started working with the General.
INTERVIEWER: Why did you go, why were sent to Parris Island?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Huh?
INTERVIEWER: Why did they send you to Parris Island?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: It's, they send 20, at that time they was sending so many to Quantico, so many to Cherry Point. What, what they was doing, they was issuing us out. Just like they been doing.
INTERVIEWER: To do what?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Huh?
INTERVIEWER: To do what?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: To be working at, only place you could work. You could work as a cook at the Officers' Club. I worked there for five years. And then you got to work only two job. If it's a, it's a BOQ where the officer lived. That's only you couldn't work at motor pool, you couldn't be in administration. You, you, you couldn't, I remember when they made the first change over there. And the, the thing about it, everything we, at night time, it was certain street we couldn't walk on.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And you wouldn't believe this. In 1945 guess what they did, the Federal Government?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: They built a barracks for us in, in '45. It, we was there, we got there January the 5th, 1944. That's when we was arrived at Beauford, uh, at Parris Island, South Carolina. And they (STAMMERS) barracks was about maybe about a half a mile from the Officers' Club. And let me tell you what they had in the barracks. They had recreation room. A sleeping quarters. Uh, you wanted to go the, uh, dental dispensary or you wanted something like, uh, you had to put in and ahead of schedule like a week.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) You understand what I mean? Let me tell you what else they did. And I'm on Parris Island and I live it take me two minutes, it, about ten minutes to get from there, from there to Parris Island. And what they did they build a club just for us because we couldn't go. About five blocks from the Officers' Club. That's what they did. And I was in charge, I was just a, a buck sergeant then.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: I was in charge after I get through cooking, because I was the Chief Cook at the Officers' Club. Five years. You understanding me? Five years. In 1945 and '46 the war was over with. You see what I mean, now? Now you didn't know I had a long like you thought I'd come in and say a few words. You know, okay, anything that you want to make, I ...
INTERVIEWER: Let me ask you this. Uh, I don't, when, when you were at Montford Point.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Yeah.
INTERVIEWER: Uh, did you ever go off base on leave?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (OVERLAPPING) Yeah. I used to go off base, I used to go to Kinston, I used to go to Wilmington, and Fayetteville, and, you know, the first thing they looking for is a USO. They had USO there but the blacks couldn't go in. Kinston, Wilmington, and Fayetteville. That's, that's where they live in the town, that mostly the troops.
INTERVIEWER: What was it like in them towns for you, when you went? When you went to those towns what was it like going there?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (OVERLAPPING) What, what was it like? You couldn't, they had, they had signs on the stores For White Only. That mean you couldn't go in there and get a hamburger. So I had a friend named Tony from, from New Orleans, and he, he looked just like a white person. And what he did, he said, well, okay, boys, hey I'll go in there and, uh, what you want? I'd say, I'll take two hamburgers.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) We outside, on the sidewalk, on the sidewalk, and got to you what there with me in the day. On the sidewalk. He went and sat at the counter, my, he, he was a black person just like me. He sat at the counter. And he ordered the hamburgers and everything. He ate his at the counter and then he came out. That was in Fayetteville, North Carolina. All the stores had signs on there, signs, just like they had in Buford County when I first. My wife is from Buford County. And it was a hard town too. And they had signs the same way there.
INTERVIEWER: When you were in, uh, Parris Island.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Yeah, in, on Parris Island.
INTERVIEWER: When you went off base?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Yeah off base. Let, let, let me tell you about Parris Island. I stayed there five years. And I, uh, uh, we used to walk to, you, we had to walk to Buford because the white cab driver wouldn't pick us up. They wouldn't pick us up at all. Buford was a segregated place, I don't know why, uh, I think because I married my wife there. And we'd been there for good, good gracious, almost 40, 50 years.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) Because I'd brought all my, I got five boys and two girls, and, uh, all of them was raised right there in Poor Boys, South Carolina. And that place had signs up there, place they had a USO there. We could not go in the USO. We had to principal at the High School there to make where we could come in and entertain, inside, uh, the school. You understanding me? And, and then the police would put us in jail for little or nothing.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And then in the morning he'd say I left the door open, and, and that time I was cooking at the mess hall, not the mess hall, at the Officers' Club. I was cooking, and the police said, All right, Vaughan, we, we had got in a fight there. And he pulls me and he left the door open, he say, I know you got to go back on Parris Island and cook. We had to walk all the way back.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And do you know far Parris Island from Buford? About three and a half miles. We'd get on the highway like that, I didn't have no car. And Drake, none of the guys had cars. No black guy or Montford Point Marine had a car on that base, until I won one, a 1932 Chevrolet in a dice game. Then I started using that cab. You know.
INTERVIEWER: Did you, did you experience any, uh, acceptance from white people at all? Did you, can you remember? You know, being treated...
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (OVERLAPPING) Uh, uh, at what location you talking about now?
INTERVIEWER: Well anywhere, while you were doing this whole Marine Corps experience?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Yeah. And the, the, what really got me, uh, I used to ride a lot on the Greyhound Bus, to different places. And I even went to pick up a guy in Virginia one time, they picked me to pick up another guy, he was black. And I still had to, he had handcuffs on him. And still had to sit in the back. So I told the, the, the, uh, bus driver to stop at the next police station.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) It didn't do no good though. This was in Virginia. I'd be going to North Carolina, you understanding me? He stopped and said, well, ain't nothing we can do, he said, you got to get in the back. The police officer, you understanding me? They had him in a jail in, uh, in Virginia, that's where they had him in jail at. And then my job was to go and pick him up and bring him back to Parris Island.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) You understanding me? Instead of picking a white person to do it, they picked me. At that time I was Staff Sergeant. I was Staff Sergeant. But the thing about it, you'd be surprised, when I was on the train in 1953, we had 23 trains leaving from Camp Lejeune. Now it, everything was over with then. I'm talking about it was still discrimination. It was still, and it'd been discrimination ever since Day One, when I went in the military until 1964.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) That, that's a long time discrimination on the Bases. I couldn't get one of my son that go in the Marine Corps, they went in there, and four of my kids went in the service. And my oldest son LaSalle, and, and Henry James, and they went in the Air Force, the Army, and the Navy. That's what they went into, my four boys. Now he's more from a, (SOUNDS LIKE) a brought in, like hundred dollars to go in the Marine Corps.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) He said, Daddy, my oldest son was born on Parris Island. Now, I, I, I got to bring this up. They had the Navy Base, not the, the, the, the, the new one is in Poor Boy, about three blocks from my house. The Navy Base and the Navy Hospital was on Parris Island, where my first son was born. And they had rooms in there just for the black mothers. I'm talking about a Federal building. You, you see what I mean?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And there ain't nothing you could do about it. I didn't know a whole lot about the Marine Corps then, but I found out when I served, started working for these Generals. That's when I really got told, I got educated with the Generals.
INTERVIEWER: So between the, from the time you went to, to Montford Point.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Yeah.
INTERVIEWER: To the time you left Montford Point, you didn't have any experiences with whites that you could consider positive?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Not on Parris Island the whole five years I was stationed there.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: When I lived there I went to Camp Lejeune.
INTERVIEWER: All right, and you said at Montford Point there were no other whites, except for...
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Yeah in the Montford Point Camp Lejeune and at (SOUNDS LIKE) Fort Pott either. (TECHNICAL)
INTERVIEWER: After you left well of course, you left Montford Point 'til you went down to, uh, Parris Island an you had experiences there. But after they closed Montford Point, uh, you, were you still at Parris Island?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: I was still at Parris Island from January the first 1944 until 19, I was transferred to Camp Lejeune in 1949.
INTERVIEWER: What did you do down there?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: I, I was working in the officers mess, in Paradise Point.
INTERVIEWER: How long did you stay there?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: I stayed there, I left there and went to working for Jones, in Philadelphia, who was taking care of the clothing, and I was transferred there two different times with two different Generals.
INTERVIEWER: Did you ever go over seas? Were you overseas?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Yeah, I went overseas with the gentleman. That's the only time, I went to Japan and that was in 1953. I was on the Mount McKinley Flag Ship, you ever heard of that? There's a lot of guys I know been on that, because they just had a, a, a few enlisted man's on it. The rest of them were nothing but Admirals, Generals, and Colonels and everything, you understanding me. And the two-star General I went to get food.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) Let me tell you this. We was at a Army base, almost two years, me and the General, and he wasn't in charge of the base, name was General Proffer.
INTERVIEWER: Did you ever see any combat?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: No, never seen it, only, only on the, uh, the Montford Point, where everybody saw the fighting. (LAUGH)
INTERVIEWER: Okay. Did you, did you serve in the 51st, 52nd?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: I was there when they was organizing though. I left for, when the went to Atlanta and got in all that trouble, Atlanta, Georgia.
INTERVIEWER: Tell me a little bit about that?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Atlanta, Georgia, they left there on the 51st Division, I think, uh, they op, they was organizing when I left. And they had, well they had lot of men, and the first time they were giving any guns, live, live ammunition. They walked into restaurant looking like they a couple hundred. Now they had, it was the white guys, the Lieutenants and Captains and everything, they was in charge, they was in charge.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And the people didn't want to serve them in Atlanta, Georgia. And they, and they, the, the guys got mad. They was hungry. They got mad and they started turning the, the place upside down inside. They didn't shoot nobody, until one guy pulled a gun out, you know, they called the police and he pulled a gun out. And one of the guys said, now I wasn't there, but I knew the guys who was there.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And he say, uh, we don't want to shoot nobody, because the war don't start right here. It ain't supposed to start in there in Atlanta, Georgia. Just like that. And the police say, feed them, after the Lieutenant went up there, the Captain or somebody went up there and said, Feed them. Feed them so they can get out of the city. Yeah, so he...
INTERVIEWER: Did, did you, during your whole time in the Marine Corps, did you develop any white friends?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: No, well, well I did when we went on the, uh, uh, when we, we went to (SOUNDS LIKE) Guiford, there was an Army base over there I was telling you about. And they had some, uh, that was an Army base so they had a lot of white guys on the Army base, and they had, uh, uh, not only the, uh, uh, uh, I was operating with some of them on the Flag Ship.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) But I had a special pass, I didn't have to do no more cooking or nothing, I was just along with the General, two star General. Separate anywhere I did have some friends over there in Japan, when I was over there. And then when they got back to the States and I ran up to some of them in the commissary and some in the hospital, and different places like that, and they acted like they didn't even know me. So that, that's the way, it was, as long as no women was involved, the men's could always get together in the Marine Corps.
INTERVIEWER: You, uh, you know you're part of history, having been a Montford Point Marine. You're a Tuskegee Air Man, I know Buffalo Soldiers and saw the movie Glory probably with the World War, I mean the Civil War African Americans. How, what do you think is the historical significance of the Montford Point Marine Base? I mean, how do you believe that your service and all the service of all them guys during that period of time affected history?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Well my, my belief that it hadn't not been for the Montford Point Marines where we organized these different, uh, uh, places in different states, we got about 37 states now, last time I counted on, 37 states. And everything would have died. Nobody would have never heard nothing about Montford Point. Because we went to a library several times to look for something, some indication in, in the library about the Montford Point Marines.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And wasn't nothing in there. Nothing in there. And then I went to the museum over there near the, the, the booth, that's when I'm in a, I'm in a museum too. And the guy down, Sergeant Drake flew down there with me. He's in a museum on Parris Island. Not, uh, Camp Lejeune, they got one of them going over there too, in Camp Lejeune.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) But the thing about it, uh, the only thing, if we hadn't started the Association when we did, it would have just, you'd never, nobody never would a heard about it. If I had never told my kids what I had been through, they never had thought, I needed to sit down and talk to them all the time. You just don't know what your daddy been through. I've been through Hell.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) I had a guy ask me one day, say, Vaughan, uh, do you know about heaven and hell? I said, let me tell you one thing. The thing about it, I've been to hell already, so I must be going to heaven.
INTERVIEWER: Do you, do you believe now that you're a part of history, that you are a part?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (OVERLAPPING) Yeah, I really believe it. You, you, it let me tell you. In, in the Buford County area, I've spoken to the university, now they called me. I don't go around looking, at the high school. And, and in three or four high schools, and I was the first, the news on Channel 16, in, in the Buford area, Channel 16. I've been on there about four or five times.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) You know, I even once had a guy came all the way from the Pentagon to interview when I was stationed at the air station. And I was transferred once from Lejeune to the Air Station on, on Merrick 333. It was two black guys there. I made number two. And that was a squadron on a base. You know what I'm saying. The only thing I could do was just ride the plane along with them.
INTERVIEWER: Compared to you I'm a boot. But, but do you think I would have the opportunity to come along and be a lieutenant in the Marines rising on up to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, had it not been for what you had done at Montford Point? Do you think that and how so?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Yeah, well let, let me tell you. On, on the story around that. I made Staff Sergeant in 1948, when my first son was born. You know how many years I had to wait? And I never did, I took the GMST Test. I waited eight years, because I turned down and I hope the General is still living. I turned down this gentlemen, I didn't want to work for him.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And they had a order came through from the Navy Department, Stewards do not have to work for Generals unless they volunteer. You understand? So I got transferred to the General on, on, on, uh, Paradise Point, that's where all the officers live at. And got over there and got (SOUNDS LIKE) the name of this brother, about 6-6. And I walked in in the morning reported for duty from Philadelphia. That's where I left from Philadelphia.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) I had been to Philadelphia two times. And I left there and I went in the General's office, the General said, At ease, Vaughan. He said, we sure glad to have you here with us here. And the guy who was working for him was a good friend of mine. But he had been there for two years. He said, uh, liked to have, I heard you was a good baker and you can cook, and, uh, you did, you're a chef.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) You got Master Chef and all that, and he was telling me all that. And he said, my wife just love, I said, general I said, may I talk now, sir? He said, yeah, you have my permission to talk. He say, uh, I said, sir, I really don't care to work for you. Not just because you is a one-star General. I say, not because I worked for Major Generals and Lieutenant Generals. I say, but.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And he got stone mad. And he told his aide he was standing there, told his aide to go take Vaughan down to my wife, let her talk with him. And she invited me in to sit on the couch, and they didn't generally do nothing like that. Sit on the, trying to brainwash me and sit on the couch. And the aide he was right in there. I sit on the couch, oh Vaughan's we, we, it's so nice to have you here.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And the General you just left, we was cold friends, and all that guy trying to brainwash me. And I said, I say, you husband didn't call you did he? It, she didn't answer that question. And then, then, uh, I said well, I told him, that, uh, I've been working for Generals long enough. At that time I'd worked for about four Generals. I say, my wife and I met, the Generals say, honey you need to.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) You, you got other job descriptions. I had three MOS's. All of them was in the same field with food, 36 hundred, that was the food, 37 hundred and 38 hundred. I even was a bartender went on one of them things. You know what I'm saying to mean? So anyway the General told, uh, uh, his wife say, well you just get Vaughan's on out of here. He had say he don't want to work for us. Just like that.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) So I went back to the General's office. Went back to the General's office, at, at Camp Lejeune. Walked in there, and the guy about six-six like I was telling you, name was John Proffer, a Brigadier General. And he walked in there, and, and he say, uh, Sergeant Major, take him out of here. Take him out to the Officers' Club. And that's when I started to working, down at that Officers' Club.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) After he say he didn't want nothing to with me. And he was the inspector. And let me, let me get just a little bit on out. He was the inspector at, at the Officers' Club every other Monday. But me being a Staff Sergeant and been Staff Sergeant so long, I was the Assistant Mess Sergeant. You see where I'm coming from? So when he came in with the Sergeant Major that day and he walked in and the Sergeant Major, I was in there picking on the typewriter.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And the Sergeant Major, I jumped up and said, Attention, because when you in there by yourself, you don't, you, you, you just don't say, Attention. You don't say nothing. You just jump up, you see, and that's what I did. You just jump up, you know, and stand there at attention yourself. You don't say attention unless somebody in there with you. You, you see what I mean now?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) So anyway, he went put his white gloves on, and he had about, I was Assistant Mess Sergeant, at Paradise Point. He went in over where the stove was and he said the place, no at first he asked, he said, where is the, uh, uh, the Mess Sergeant? Sergeant Baker? I said he gets off every Monday sir. He gets off every, and the Sergeant Major kept holding his hands like that, you know. He was meaning to say, don't, don't make the General mad.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) You know what I'm saying to mean? And, he went back in and he came back, everything here was filthy, it was filthy. I don't know why did you become Mess Sergeant? I say I'm the senior one, I said, we believe in senior, seniority in the Marine Corps. I'm looking him dead in his eye, and I was the guy always looking out when I'm talking to you. You know what I'm saying to mean? But anyway.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) He came down, I had a, a Lieutenant Colonel was a millionaire who was in charge, and he was in the Reserves for a year. And he wasn't there that day. When he came in the next morning, I showed him that paper where he did like that, and he had one two three, two-star General. And he was just like a private. Because had one star, you know what I'm saying to mean? And the Colonel said, I'll take care of it.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) But I really believe that's the guy, because when, and it, I got a few more things and going. I waited on you guys a long time so you've got to have a little patience with me. Uh, anyway, uh, the general (CLEARS THROAT) I, I, uh, let me see. I was a Staff Sergeant in '40, and then Gunney Sergeant came out. You remember the Gunney Sergeant came out? Because it wasn't, (SOUNDS LIKE) didn't go no, I didn't, seven.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) That's the highest went through the whole armed forces. Seven. And, uh, he seventh only making $97 a month. Now, you wasn't even born then I don't think. He was making (SOUNDS LIKE) seven dollars a month. So I was working for the General, General Robert B. Lucky, you ever heard of him? He was a two-star General on Parris Island, I worked for him in 1956 to '58 and he was appointed as the Senior Man on the Board.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And he, he told me he say, Vaughan, say, I, I'm the senior man, we going up to E-8 and E-9. He say I'm going to find out, why have you been held back like this? He looked for my record I had the Sergeant Major look for the record in the Pentagon. Couldn't find it. And the first thing came to my mind when he told me that, I told him about General, uh, General Proffer. Because he got transferred to the Pentagon.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And I must be, the, the General Lucky say, I tell you what I do, we're going to make you Gunney Sergeant. He called me on the telephone. Now that was one of the nicest people I had, I was with Generals, but I had some nice people with the Generals and their wives. I took care of their kids, I did their cooking for them, I used to drive their car, the, not the official car, I used to drive car number one. And take it home, and, and, and when I didn't have no car? Vaughan, take my old car there and take it home with you on the weekends, so, okay.
INTERVIEWER: Can you tell me, that reminds me to ask you something. What are you feelings today about having been at Montford Point?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Well, number one, uh, Montford Point really, uh, I would say the Marine Corps really made a man out of me, because if I'd a stayed, if I had not been drafted and went in the Marine Corps, I probably would have ended up in jail. I was around with the little crooks out there on the streets in Baton Rouge, we had a lot of little gangs. And I was in one of them. You know what I'm saying?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And my dad always say, if you keep on going with these boys, you're going to end up in trouble. So anyway, when, when I came in, I didn't like the way that I was treated. It, it, it, it, it, it looked at, like, like the Montford Point Marines, they wasn't nothing like a dog or a cat, or something, that was in my mind, you know what I'm saying to mean?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And always say that, I say that I mean all the time. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, and liberty for all, and that mean me too. When it say liberty for all, you know what I saying to mean? So I automatically fit in there. I fit in there. So what I'm, what I'm trying to say, that, uh, uh, uh, it made a man out of me.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) It made a man out of me to, I always, I was in the Marine Corps, I used to, uh, just get up where I didn't understand nothing. Or I'd get up and hear the speech, and Vaughan you didn't know that? I said, that's why I got up. And sometimes you, you say things, you know, and the guy get mad, you know, in sarcastic way. You know what I'm saying to mean?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) Because we had school at the Air Station for two years and you had to go to school, when I was stationed over there in 1960. Then I went to Little Creek, Virginia. Do you know I've been to seven different station? I ain't been to no one or two station. I got them all listed. And I went to, I didn't count these two, two times in Philadelphia, two time in, uh, uh, what were the other place was? And, and two time in, in Camp Lejeune. You, you see what I'm talking about?
INTERVIEWER: Are you proud of your service?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Yeah, yeah, that, that's why you should see my car down there. It, it have my grand daughter brought me here. You should see my car. I got on there, I'll take Marines. My son had, he live in Colombia, he's (SOUNDS LIKE) involved in Colombia, one of them. And, and he got a sign he made for me, I'll take Marines, but he named it, that's the name of my song.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And it became famous. Do you know Colonel Culotte, way he pronounce his name, uh, the commandant? And James Jones? I talk with them, personal. I was invited to the Green Berets, what you call that? Not the Green Berets, uh, when they had...
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Huh? Sunset Parade. Do you know it was only, uh, Evan, myself, and Drake down there? And the guy in Fort Washington. He didn't want to close up Montford Point, he didn't want to, in '49. And the thing about it, it, it the place wasn't that big, for a reception. And the, the, uh, uh, the guy was, the General, two star General was standing at the door.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) So I went out and I said, Sir, my name is Vaughan, I said, when are they going to open this place up? He said, do you have a invitation? I said, yes sir. He said, I'm the Assistant Commandant. And I took him one of my t-shirts on the, and on the back of the t-shirt, I'll Take The Marines, you know what I'm saying to mean? And the thing about it.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) When I got in there, it had a lot of women's in there. And they found out that I was with Admirals and Generals and everything, you know. And they heard that they had a guy up there worked for five Generals. And they came over to me for recipes. (LAUGH)
INTERVIEWER: If you had it to do all over again, would you join the Marines all over again?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Not in the condition that I had in the Marine Corps. Uh, uh, what, would mean the condition. I wasn't treated like a man. I was, wasn't treated right and that hurt. And my wife, some time I cry about this. My wife always tell me, say, honey, why don't your forget it? I say, I can't forget it. The guys just called me names and everything, and get away with it. I said, think about it. I love the Marine Corps but the people in the Marine Corps. That's what I used to tell them all the time.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) My wife was a Christian lady, she's been through the Bible about 10 times and she always talk about that. Say, honey why don't you, I say, I can't forget, I forgive them, but I can't forget it. I've been mistreated. I was cheated from my rank. Waited almost nine years and passed the GMST test. And didn't get it. Retired it was 1940 until I retired in 1964, and you pull my jacket off and the, and the, in the Pentagon and you'll see where I was promoted at.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And I had outstanding fitness reports from the General. Outstanding. I had one excellent one time. So you, you, you know, you see what I mean. It isn't that I was getting in trouble all the time. You know what I'm saying to mean? Well the, that's what really got me. (TECHNICAL)
INTERVIEWER: Mr. Vaughan, is there any, I told you we'd give you a wrap question, if there's just anything you want to say, go for it.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Yeah, now, mostly, uh, the way we was treated was, well it was not just the guys enlisted men. It was lot of officers. Who ignored us and treated us just like we were, let me tell you what happened one day at the Officers' Club, and they had the theater there, it was segregated, on Parris Island they call it the right there by the Generals Office on Parris Island. I worked in that building.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And upstairs when, when I was dating my wife, we had to go upstairs and all the white had to go downstairs. And if you went down and downstairs, and, and sat in one of those seats, they'd throw you out the, out the theater, you know what I'm saying, and I'm telling you, it was just that bad. It was just that bad. So one time, uh, uh, the officers, about 6:30 in the morning, they come in and get grits and eggs and stuff like that, we opened at 6:30 in the morning.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And we used to work like 13, 15 hours a day. Now that's against the law. At that time it was against the law. Thirteen and 14 hours a day and on weekends and, and what have you. So anyway, uh, I was in the movie that night with my wife when we got married, that was in, we got married in 1946, the same woman, she's still with me. And I used to take her there. She was working for the Chief of Staff on the Base, next to the General.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And the thing about it, so they went to the Officers Club, nobody was there. And they just come to a conclusion that Vaughan's is the Chief Cook, and he should have been here. But I was off the next day. And so anyway, they held a meeting on me, in the Officers Club, and wanted to charge me with, with the (SOUNDS LIKE) they can take you out there and shoot, you? What you call that?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Not treason, no not treason. See, on the job, you don't walk off. You don't walk off.
INTERVIEWER: Dereliction of duty?
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: That, dereliction of duty, that's what it was. So anyway, it wasn't in the meeting, so they called all these guys in who went to the movie that night and they called them in, say, uh, did you see Sergeant Vaughan's at the movie last night? Say, yeah, we saw him with his. Did he tell you all not to come this morning? Said, no he didn't tell us that, the next morning, he didn't tell them nothing like that.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And I didn't get a chance to talk with him, and the older guy. So they, they dismissed it. They came there in the morning time to get hot grits, hot eggs, and ham and bacon and all these good things you see. You see what I'm talking about? And that was at the Officers' Club that I was there for five years. Now this Officers' Club is open to enlisted man, the staff, the non-commissioned and any commissioned officers. You know that, don't you? They changed that.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) They eliminated a lot of them clubs and things. You see what I mean? But anyway, uh, I went through (WORD?) was my hardest place, that's where I was determined to stay there. I didn't leave. I was just that kind of fella. I was always gung ho. I was that kind of fella. And I raised all my kids and all of them got top jobs. My oldest son is, in, in, in San Antonio. He got over 3000 members in the church.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) He retired as a Captain of the Air Force. My son number two, he's the CEO at one of the biggest hospitals in Washington DC. My next son is the, uh, uh, next, (STAMMERS) Metro, he's a superintendent, you know the Metro in DC? The trains and all that stuff? He worked himself up to Superintendent. That's what, then my other kid is in the, he was in the Navy. And he, I tell them all the time, you is in the wrong branch, son.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And he was, uh, (LAUGH) I hope nobody gonna hear that on tape. And, (COUGH) I tell you, you're going to be a white collar job. Then I got my only daughter. She's a lawyer in (WORD?) . Yeah, and I wasn't, when I was Cobra, I was making 66 dollars a month. Because when I went in, you wasn't getting $50 in cash money. And if you got in a dice game, you was in, if you lost those, you was in trouble.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) You didn't pay nobody, you know what I'm saying, to me. So, that's about all I can do. I got plenty more, but I did bring a couple of tapes that I was interviewed from. (TECHNICAL)
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And I meant to bring you guys one of my tapes too, I bring you one at the meeting when I come. You know what I did, uh, off the record, I, uh, passed, I went through the Commandant, and he sent me to somebody else at the, uh, at the, at another base, and he, he told me that he will take care of you, (STAMMERS) I , I can't pronounce that guy's name, (WORD?) .
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) You know, the, the confident, before (WORD?) . (WORD?) I got letters in my briefcase on him, right now. And they was very nice to me. So anyway, he had a, (WORD?) in the Pentagon, he okayed it, and guess what his name? Vaughn. The guy think I'm (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Vaughn, V-A-U-G-H-N. So, I got an order from (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for 4000 (WORD?) . 4000 (WORD?) .
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) I had a guy in Columbia that print them. And this guy was pretty hot. But anyway, (STAMMERS) every Thursday, (STAMMERS) the family who kids is graduating, uh, then they graduated on Friday morning, I go to a lot of them. You graduate the next morning, and the thing about it, they buy like four, and they was buying like four and five sets, take one to grand mom.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) And take one to granddad, and take one, you see what I mean? In two months, I sold every one of them. Then I found out that I was being discriminated, when I went back and put all that. And I had to meet with John Validino (SP?) , did you know him? He just made, uh, a good friend of mine. He (STAMMERS) , he just made Two Stars at Okinawa.
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: (CONTINUED) I never worked for him, but he just got, I was just see, (STAMMERS) he thought he had to come to see my office. I got pictures of everybody in that guy that I met, and (STAMMERS) Admiral, you know, uh, Admiral that, uh, in Chicago? I was at a banquet for him, (STAMMERS) he (UNINTELLIGIBLE) .
LASALLE ROGERS VAUGHN: Yeah, yeah, uh, his name is Black and he's Black. You, Admiral, you did, one they got, and he's in charge of all the Navy churches. (STAMMERS) You know what I'm saying, now, now gentlemen, I know I'll never light out. I, I got a lot of (WORD?) back here, and I been so glad to come here and get some of that off of my chest.