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JOHN HARPER GAYTEN

August 10th, 2005


Corporal John Harper Gayten, from Cannon, Mississippi, served in the Corps during World War II.. A member of the 5th Ammunition Company, he was stationed at New Caledonia in the South Pacific. Leaving the Corps after the war, he moved to the Washington. D. C. area, and now resides in retirement in Washington, DC.


INTERVIEWER: Sir, could you, uh, state your name and spell it for us?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Uh, the name, my name is John Harper Gayten, that is J-O-H-N, H-A-R-P-E-R, G-A-Y-T-E-N.

INTERVIEWER: And could these, these are questions that we ask of every Montford Point. (TECHNICAL).

INTERVIEWER: (CONTINUED) Could you say today's date sir, Wednesday the 10th of August?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: It is Wednesday the 10th of August.

INTERVIEWER: 2000.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: 2000 and five.

INTERVIEWER: Um, now can you, can you, uh, tell us a little bit about your background before joining the Marines? Uh, where you were from your family, a little bit about your education?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Uh, I was, uh, born into a family of, uh, Montgomerys, that was my, uh, uh, maternal, uh, grandfather's name. Uh, his name was Harper Montgomery and he was born somewhere in, uh, Louisiana, very near to New Orleans. And he was part Cherokee, or Choctaw Indian. And he was eventually married to another lady whose name was Burton. She was also of mixed origin, uh, racial origin, Negro and, uh, Choctaw, Chickasaw.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) They were they settled in the area of, uh, of, uh, somewhere between, uh, New Orleans and, uh, I suppose Alabama going, uh, going from, uh, if you would go from west to east or east to west. And, uh, this is, uh, this was the beginning of the, uh, of the, uh, the Montgomery clan. The Montgomery clan came the, the various branches because, uh, the family (STAMMERS) Montgomery family consisted of about four boys and four girls.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And, uh, and (CLEARS THROAT) from these beginnings, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) emanated the, uh, the, uh, names of, uh, of, Carters, Gaytens, Reeves and eventually Denworth. Those were the offshoots of, uh, this particular family.

INTERVIEWER: Could you tell me a little bit about your education?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Uh, my education, uh, consisted of, uh, elementary and junior high and high school and finally college, four years, four and a half years of college or something of that nature.

INTERVIEWER: Why did you join the Marines?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Uh, well (CLEARS THROAT) while growing up, uh, I became enamored with the, uh, uh, Marine Corps life by, uh, observing what was going on in the, the various pictures (CLEARS THROAT) featuring, uh, people like Dick Powell. And Victor McLaughin and a few, few of the others, but they were the predominant, uh, actors that, uh, gave me an inkling of, uh, what I would like to do.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) You know if I, um, uh, if I were ever to join the (STAMMERS) join the any branch of the service. And, uh, also I, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) later on I, uh, had, uh, something there they call ESP, uh, it came through in, in the form of a dream. And there I was depicted as in a Marine uniform.

INTERVIEWER: How did you feel about the Marine uniform?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: I had no great, uh, interest, it just, I just happened to come about, if you, if you're referring to the dream it didn't, didn't, uh, do anything for me there. It just, just happened, but, then, uh, as time went on and eventually the war came about, the World War II came about. Then, uh, I started thinking in terms of, uh, of what branch of service I would, I would like to be in.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) You know in case, you know, I did, uh, I was selected to go into service. And so I eventually chose the Marine Corps.

INTERVIEWER: When you joined, uh, the Marines, were you aware of the fact that the Marines had never admitted African Americans?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: Did that influence your knowledge to, to join if, if it did, how in what way?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: No, it, uh, that, that, that fact did not, that did not influence me at all. It was just the fact that I (CLEARS THROAT) that everyone, um, (CLEARS THROAT) in my age group at that time, uh, was going into the Army. And so I decided that I, I didn't want to go into the army, I went, so I chose the marines.

INTERVIEWER: Okay when you, do you remember, let me start over and ask you, do you remember the day you left home? Can you tell us a little bit about that day, what things were like, and then the trip to Montford Point, can you talk just a little bit about that too?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Uh, the day that I left home was a bright sunny day in April. (TECHNICAL).

INTERVIEWER: Mr., Mr. Gayten could you give us the year too, you know, April 1943? (TECHNICAL).

INTERVIEWER: Um, I'm sorry, sir, could you start, start over by telling us about the day you left home and, and, uh, the trip, how you traveled to Montford Point, the trip down?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Uh, (CLEARS THROAT) excuse me, I remember (CLEARS THROAT) the day that I left home it was (CLEARS THROAT) the day was a bright April day, it was one day after the Easter Sunday 1943. If you'll excuse me, this has never happened before, but it just so happened that I never showed any emotion at the time to my mother and grandmother. My grandmother was sitting in a chair by the, by the window.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And my mother suddenly realized that her son, last son, was leaving home and so she ran into (CLEARS THROAT) the kitchen of our home and of course I was speaking, I began speaking with to my grandmother. And she told me that things would be all right. But I showed no emotion because I was, at that time I was a very stoic young man.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And I showed no emotion about anything at the time. I was, uh, I had become a boy scout, I was the first Black boy scout in my particular town of Cannon, Mississippi. And, uh, I developed this, uh, attitude of stoicism, (WORD?) so but after the, the conversation with the grandmother who had told me that everything was gonna be fine and I turned and of course I remember I was dressed in my Easter suit, the suit that I'd warn the day before.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And so I marched (CLEARS THROAT) out of the home into the street, down across the main street of the city and on to the street we went to our (CLEARS THROAT) had gone to attend school for all those many years. And so I went to the school and I said goodbye (CLEARS THROAT) along with two (CLEARS THROAT) two other (CLEARS THROAT) people who went, who were going to the Marine Corps from the city.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And we all said goodbye to the principal and to our classes. And then we departed we departed for the local, uh, uh, place in which we were, we were (CLEARS THROAT) going to debark to the Marine Corps. So after (CLEARS THROAT) uh, uh, leaving, uh, the, uh, my hometown we went to the, went to the Capital, uh, which was Jackson, 24 miles away, some 24 miles.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And, uh, it was there that we, we got our final instructions, uh, as to what we were going to do (CLEARS THROAT) next. And especially (CLEARS THROAT) on our travels to, uh, Montford Point. I think there was one stop between Jackson and, and, uh, Wilmington. And that was Meridian, Mississippi, we stayed overnight there and, uh, the next day somewhere around 5:00 we arrived at Montford Point.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) After having had, uh, a meal in, at Wilmington, North Carolina. So those were the steps leading from home.

INTERVIEWER: Sir, when you got to the camp, you got there and you, uh, looked at, you got off the bus and you looked around, what were your first impressions of, of Montford Point?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: My first impression was that it was just a, a training station and, uh, I, uh, had no, no real, uh, uh, I guess, guess exhilaration or non-exhilaration about having gone, gone there. It was just a place in which I was supposed to have gone and that was it.

INTERVIEWER: Did, did you notice any instances of racism at the camp while you were there?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: No, no, there was no racism, uh, I didn't, I didn't observe any, they were always, uh, you know, (WORD?) contests between, you know, among, among the people who were, uh, among the recruits. And, uh, always conversation about (CLEARS THROAT) the outside and, uh, what we had all missed and so forth. It was really a jovial time for me because, uh, you know, uh, I'd been, been at home all those years.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And so the only (CLEARS THROAT) places that I had traveled were in, the, in the area of (STAMMERS) of Mississippi, Mississippi (CLEARS THROAT) and the various towns in, in Mississippi (CLEARS THROAT).

INTERVIEWER: What, were you gonna say something else?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Uh (CLEARS THROAT) in most of the travels, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) as I said was, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) we went to, uh, Mississippi around Mississippi. And, uh, and so there were (CLEARS THROAT) there was nothing, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) grandiose about (CLEARS THROAT) about my new, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) about my new, uh, environment there. I'd just considered it to be a, a, a, camp for training.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And I also, uh, it was, it was nothing novel to me, uh, uh, too because I had, uh, gone to boy scout camps in, in, the capital, around the capital of Jackson. So it was just another camp to be trained, so it didn't, didn't bother me at all. (TECHNICAL).

INTERVIEWER: Uh, when you, when you were there I believe they made a transition from White drill instructors to, uh, Black drill instructors and can you talk a little bit about the difference between the, the drill instructors or anything you can recall about the, the White drill instructors and the Black drill instructors and the transition?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Uh, I was not privileged, uh, uh, uh, to, um, to (CLEARS THROAT) to the dual system of White and, uh, and Black drill instructors. Most of my drill instructors were young Black men.

INTERVIEWER: Okay, does that answer your question, uh, can you tell me what the spirit of the men were, or was, I'm sorry, at uh, Montford Point when you was, when you were there, the general overall attitude, uh, was it gung ho, was it, were people, just, just what were your impressions?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Uh, it was pretty much as you said, as you mentioned, gung ho as, as we uh, later acquired the term there. Uh, I don't think anybody, I don't think that was prevalent during at, during at that time, gung ho. Uh, I think it was acquired, uh, a few years later. You know as, as the war went on, but, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) uh, everyone was, uh, outgoing.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And personal (STAMMERS) bravery, um, uh, you (STAMMERS) you might say (UNINTELLIGIBLE) was, uh, prevalent there among the recruits. Every one of them, of course, everyone, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) not everyone but for the most part, most of the recruits in my unit were teenagers. You had a few people who were over the teenage, uh, uh, level.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And so, uh, we were always manifesting our, or trying to manifest our, ourselves, you know. And, and (CLEARS THROAT) into the roles of, uh, of, uh, a very, very, uh, uh, uh, yes, (WORD?) or whatever you want to call it there. So, uh, that was, that was the, uh, that was the mold. Everybody was, uh, brave and everybody could do everything.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And, uh, we were anxious to get going, uh, get, get going in the, in the way of, way of training so that we could get into the war. And so that was, that was the attitude.

INTERVIEWER: What uh, what kind of experiences did you have off base when you were on liberty, or when you went back home? As, uh, as a Black Marine, any reaction, experiences?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Now, you said when I went back home?

INTERVIEWER: Yes, both, yes sir, both while you were on liberty in Jacksonville, and then when you went back home, can you talk about?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: It's a strange phenomenon there, I was never on liberty at any of the local, local areas, like Jacksonville or, uh, Kinston or those other places they used to mention. I would hear them speak of it and of course I met some people who were recruited from there, they were marines there. They recruited from, from those areas, but, I, I never went on, on, liberty there. In fact I never went on liberty at any of those places. I never went on liberty, uh, in this state as I can recall.

INTERVIEWER: When you went back home, can you talk about the reaction of people to you back there?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: I never went home, I never went on furlough.

INTERVIEWER: What, what did you do while you were at Montford Point?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Well, first of all we had the, the regular (CLEARS THROAT) uh, military drills. We would clean rifles, clean our rifles, we would, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) study the manual, the Marine Corps Manual, and we would study parts of the, uh, rifles. We would, uh, attend church on Sunday and we would, uh, uh, go on military (CLEARS THROAT) extra military drills.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) Uh, while, uh, beside, beside the regular, regular drills of the day. And we would, uh, occasionally, uh, be marched to, uh, the, the base movies.

INTERVIEWER: What were your experiences in the Marine Corps after leaving Montford Point?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: After leaving Montford Point, uh, after leaving Montford Point, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) it was really getting acquainted with, with the, (CLEARS THROAT) uh, people while traveling across the country. Uh, in the various towns that we slept in, uh, going from, uh, North Carolina over to the Pacific Coast. Uh, we would, uh, we were, we went across country by train of course.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And we slept in the, in some of the various, uh, cities, uh, we stopped I believe in, uh, in St. Louis. Uh, uh, Ogden, Utah where they, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) drove the last spike, you know, up to, to connect the, uh, uh, Pacific and the, uh, the Union Pacific and the other part of the railroad. The, uh, from east to west, east to west.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And of course we stopped, uh, in Wyoming, and, and several other places there before we eventually came, uh, got to, uh, the California area which was, uh, San Francisco and Oakland.

INTERVIEWER: What did you, where were you headed when you were going across country and, uh, where did you serve and what did you do when you got there?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Uh, (CLEARS THROAT) we eventually, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) ended up in (CLEARS THROAT) in the, uh, Bay, Bay area of San Francisco and Oakland, Oakland, California and, uh, it was there (CLEARS THROAT) that we, uh, would go on our daily drills around the area bordering, bordering the bay. (CLEARS THROAT) And, uh, we were situated next to a naval base there.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And I don't think (CLEARS THROAT) liberty was, was made available, available to us there.

INTERVIEWER: Did, did you go overseas?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Yes.

INTERVIEWER: Where did you go over there and what did you do?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: From, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) from Oakland (CLEARS THROAT) and the San Francisco, we, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) we, uh, traveled, uh, uh, westward and then we broke off going, uh, south, southwest with, uh, which, uh, I guess, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) skirted some of the, uh, I guess the nearby islands, uh, uh, they, uh, the Bay Islands from San Francisco.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And then of course, we eventually broke into the, to the main ocean part of, uh, of the Pacific. And it was there that we, uh, spent about 24 days, 24 to 25 days I believe, traveling. We traveled across the equator to, uh, to, uh, the island of, uh, New, Newvale Caledonia, I think they call it Newvale Caledonia, it's French, it was a French island. And, uh, that was our, my first stop at, uh, after, after leaving, uh, San Francisco.

INTERVIEWER: The, the unit, can you tell us what the name of the unit was to which you were signed, you were assigned when you all went overseas, and what its mission was?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Uh, we didn't know exactly what was, what we were going to do before we left. Uh, uh, but, uh, on the way we were told that we were, we were going to become a supply unit. And that unit, uh, was the, uh, 5th and the 6th Marine Depot. Uh, and so we were, that was, uh, after we had left the, uh, left the mainland of the, of the United States.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And so we eventually ended on, ended up on the island of, uh, New (CLEARS THROAT) New Caledonia, a French island in which, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) uh, I guess you might say housed many American, uh, units, army and marines. Army, marine and, and navy units. And so it was there that, uh, we began, uh, serving as a marine deport.

INTERVIEWER: Did you ever experience, uh, combat?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: No we didn't, I never experienced combat, uh, I don't know what eventually happened to some of the people that was transferred out of my, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) my unit after we had become Seventh, uh, further up the Pacific. After leaving New Caledonia, uh, some of them, (CLEARS THROAT) may have, uh, done, become attached to fighting units. But, uh, I never learned which ones were actually there. (TECHNICAL).

INTERVIEWER: The, the question is, sir, uh, what did you do on a daily basis as a member of the Depot Unit? What, for the time you were over there, if you would tell us how long you were over there and what your daily routine was like?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Uh (CLEARS THROAT) we rose early (CLEARS THROAT) early and, uh, there were, uh, sometimes there were exercises, uh, physical exercises and, uh, sometimes there weren't. But, uh, after (CLEARS THROAT) uh, becoming a, adjusted to the area we would go out on work details. Uh, uh, some would, uh, uh, uh, go to a, a, port areas and work, work on the dock.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And some would go to, uh, area supply, supply, uh, uh, places and we would work from there. (CLEARS THROAT) And, uh, at the, (CLEARS THROAT) throughout the day we would work until around, uh, 4:00 or 5:00 and then we would, uh, return to base. We would, uh, be furnished uh, a lunch from a traveling, uh, kitchen. And, uh, we would have, uh, dinner at the, at the camp.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) In the evening we would attend, we could attend the movies, local movies and, uh, on the weekends a lot of us would get liberty. That was my first, uh, I encounter with what, uh, they call liberty in the service. So we would go into, into the town from the out camps, which were out in the mountains. Which, uh, were sort of plentiful, uh, in New Caledonia. The terrain was, uh, beautiful, the terrain was red, red a red clay.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) A red, uh, red, uh, and, uh, the beaches around, uh, were sandy and the sky was, of course, azure blue. (CLEARS THROAT) The city itself of (CLEARS THROAT) had, uh, old French architecture. And, uh, we went to go downtown and (WORD?) other servicemen, if we wanted to we would go to some of the movies and, uh, we would remain there until a certain time, then we would return to camp. (TECHNICAL).

INTERVIEWER: And, uh, if so, give examples and under what circumstances?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Uh, I encountered a friends in, uh, after we left, uh, after my unit left, uh, New Caledonia, uh, I encountered a lot of White friends up on the island of, uh, La Bonica, they call, uh, La Bonica, uh, that was one of the Solomon Islands. Uh, actually, uh, uh, (STAMMERS) a sub group of islands called, uh, the Russell Islands and, uh, this particular islands housed, uh, a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) unit.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) Naval unit, marine and, uh, several army units, and, uh, it was there that, uh, I began, uh, becoming a, I guess a, a, acquainted with uh, Whites who attended our, our local church. And, uh, and, uh, some (UNINTELLIGIBLE) worked. Uh, on my job in the, in the, in the, in my particular unit.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) Uh, one was, uh, a high ranking (STAMMERS) what do you call that, a, a chaplain and, uh, several were people with whom (CLEARS THROAT) I worked, uh, when I went out on detail. A lot of them were Gentiles, some were Jewish and, uh, they were (STAMMERS) diverse races, didn't really make any difference because, you know, we all spoke the same language and, uh, and, uh, I, uh, I didn't encounter, actually encounter any, any racism.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) Or anything of that nature, we spoke, we talked and, uh, when (CLEARS THROAT) when we had occasion to meet at the, uh, at the, uh, what do you call those places, the canteens, everything was as normal as possible. So, uh, I didn't encounter any racism while I was there.

INTERVIEWER: What do you think is the historical significance of the Montford Point Marines?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: What is the historical...

INTERVIEWER: Significance, why is, why is Montford Point Marines history? I mean, why do you think?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Well first of all, it's a beginning of a of a new era, you know, in the, uh, in the, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) manner of military, of the military, uh, American military life. Uh, prior to that, prior to my, uh, going there I can't remember ever seeing any, any, uh, uh, Negro Marines. And, uh, so this was something, this was a, this was a novel feature, you know, of my life.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And, uh, I just accepted it, uh, being of course, being a young, I guess and, uh, uh, being not, being not the person, uh, being the person, uh, who was, uh, who was not, uh, who was never, uh, excited about, uh, extreme change, change. I didn't, I didn't, uh, put any in any great, uh, store upon it.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) But, uh, I think I, uh, (CLEARS THROAT) really learned to appreciate it more, you know, uh, as time went on. You know, the fact that, uh, this was a place in which most of the Blacks, Blacks receive their initial Marine Corps training. And didn't, didn't really mean too much to me in, in the beginning. I, I just had to adjust to it, and (CLEARS THROAT) I later learned, as I, uh, got overseas.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) I arrived overseas that I could, uh, take, (CLEARS THROAT) courses from the Marine Corps Institute, and that is what I began doing after I, I arrived over, overseas. I took, uh, uh, courses in history and, uh, I was going to take more but, uh, afterwards, after I'd finished that course at the Marine Corps Institute, but, uh, we, we moved, uh, into another area.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And so that broke that off but I completed a course, uh, a total history course I think in, uh, in history, American History I believe it was.

INTERVIEWER: How did the Marine Corps experience affect your life, can you give us the most important influences you can think of that experience?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Well, it further stabilized my life (CLEARS THROAT) insofar as my, um, (CLEARS THROAT) background, uh, with the Boy Scouts. Uh, it gave me greater, I believe it increased my courage, you know, to face life. Uh, (CLEARS THROAT) uh, on another level, on a greater level than I, than I had acquired before I went in.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) And, uh, it helped me to eventually face, uh, face the, uh, problems that I, I probably would have shied away from had I not gone into the Marine Corps. It also helped me to, uh, to learn that, uh, I should put a greater store on, on educational values and, uh, that I should, uh, take, um, (CLEARS THROAT) uh, my natural um, uh, inclination to be inquisitive about the world seriously.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) So these are some of the uh, factors that, uh, helped me to appreciate what, what I'd learned from the Marine Corps.

INTERVIEWER: What, to sum it all up, what are your feelings now about having been a Montford Point Marine?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Well from this time, uh, I feel that, uh, it is a greater honor than I had envisioned before. Before, I had not put to much store up on, you know, having gone there. But, now, uh, that it has happened and, uh, some of the things have good that have, that have emanated from it. I, I feel much better, I feel much better oriented, uh, to a life and to a, having, a been a member of, of the Marine Corps at that particular place.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) I'm also happy that a lot of, of, uh, young men, young Black men, uh, had the privilege of going there, otherwise they would not have known anything about the Marine Corps or, for that matter, what the difference is, differences, uh, were among the service the, the various services of the United States.

INTERVIEWER: It's been 60 plus years since you put that uniform on and went off to serve in the Marines. If you had it to do all over again would you, and tell us why?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Well first of all, I would do it because I was, uh, inclined to be patriotic in the beginning. And, uh, I guess I must have been, uh, some, uh, some, somewhat of a, a, a legionary, uh, um, person. And, uh, it was something that, uh, that I really wanted to do. And I, I would not, I don't think I would (STAMMERS) I, I would hesitate to do it all over again.

INTERVIEWER: Thank you, sir, do you, is there anything else you would like to say to us?

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: Yes, I would like to say that, that I encountered so many good people, so many very strong wills, very strong charactered people in the Marine Corps that I probably would not have encountered had I remained home. Some I have met since I was a marine there and a lot of them I never saw again. (CLEARS THROAT) But, it (STAMMERS) sort of bolstered my, uh, my concept of life in general.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) I feel that I was able to carry on, whereas I might not have been able to carry on, on a normal plane, on a, (CLEARS THROAT) on as if, if, uh, I had not gone to the marine corps. So I am truly happy that I spent time there, it helped me (CLEARS THROAT) to realize some of my goals in life. It helped me to become a better person, a stronger person.

JOHN HARPER GAYTEN: (CONTINUED) A person oriented to doing everything right and even, uh, increased my general integrity in life. And it's some of these things that I appreciate for having gone into the Marine Corps. (TECHNICAL).


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