Antonio (Tony) Lee Abbott, U.S. Marine, 1996 - 2012

Tony Abbott served as a corporal in the U.S. Marines in Okinawa, Japan.

Tony Abbottt served as a corporal in the U.S. Marines in Okinawa, Japan.

When Antonio Abbottt was a little kid he want to Honolulu to visit his grandparents.  They watched the 4th of July parade where Mr. Abbottt saw an impressive formation of “Marines, before I knew they were Marines”, marching in their dress blue deltas, in short sleeves, “larger than life.” Ever since then he knew he wanted to be a Marine. 

Mr. Abbottt moved to Hoonah in 1983 and graduated from Hoonah City High School in 1992.  After graduating from AVTEC, a culinary program, 1995, hedecided to give the Marines a try. He had tried before but had been in trouble and was told to go get recommendations- he did and was accepted.  Mr. Abbottt signed the papers on December 3, 1995. 

Boot camp was not what he expected, he remembers that in receiving, some of the other recruits just shut down, “I had never seen anything like that.”, and it kind of unnerved him.  He didn’t experience any racism in boot camp- “there was no time to pick sides in boot camp and even if that was your thing, you probably didn’t need to be there.” 

When he graduated from boot camp, he said it was the first time his dad and he connected.  His father was in the Navy during the Vietnam War in the mid to late 1960s.  His father served on a destroyer.  Graduating from boot camp gave Mr. Abbottt a “clean slate” with his father, who was proud of his son.

Mr. Abbottt earned the rank of corporal after a year and nine months. 

He always got care packages from home, often containing smoked salmon and seaweed.  His fellow Marines would tell him “you gotta tell your Mom to send some more of that stuff!”  Of course, that smoked salmon was quite popular!

Maintained readiness, most of the time in the field, very little time in garrison. 

His job was to make sure the vehicles had every tool needed to make it mission ready.  He was also in charge of Avengers (the Avenger Air Defense System, designated AN/TWQ-1 under the Joint Electronics Type Designation System, is an American self-propelled surface-to-air missile system which provides mobile, short-range air defense protection for ground units against cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, low-flying fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters).  Their motto was: “If it flies, it dies.”

While serving in Okinawa he got out a great deal and even visited castles.  During his travels as a Marine he got to see Thailand, Phuket beach. Was on the USS Dubuque, (USS Dubuque was an Austin-class amphibious transport dock, the second ship of the United States Navy to be named for the city of Dubuque, Iowa) on one of its last voyages.  They engaged in joint exercises with the Thai Marines.  He also got to see Australia in 1997, where they had joint exercises with the Royal Rockhampton Air Force. “We got a lot of leave and a lot of liberty while we were in Australia!”  It was so hot they had to get up at 3:00 in the morning to do their physical training and were done by 9am. “It was black flag weather, over 95degrees.”  Then it would get over 100 and they had to stay in their tents and hydrate.

Mr. Abbott said he would have stayed but there were things he wanted to do- he wanted to cook- he always had but wanted to be a Marine first.  At the end he said, “I’m done, but I loved every minute of it.”  It was time to make room for other, young Marines to take the rings…