George Marvin Served in the U.S. Army from 1963 to 1965

George Marvin served during the Vietnam War Era in the 4th Division, B Battery, 29th Artillery.

George Marvin was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1963.  Regarding boot camp, he said, “I enjoyed it, to tell you the truth, I really did… a lot of hard work, a lot of firing weapons of different kinds…you didn’t have to pay for the bullets!”  He said it helped that he was in pretty good shape from the hard work he did in Hoonah.  The hardest part was the forced marching in the desert, “Nothing but sand.  That was pretty rough.  Being the shortest guy in the unit I was always in the back, but I kept up with everybody.  I had a good time and met a lot of nice guys.  It was good for me to learn discipline, take orders and learn how to be a good soldier.”

Mr. Marvin said that growing up in Hoonah helped prepare him for his military service.  “You had to do a lot of chopping wood, sawing wood, fishing, purse seining out at Inian Island, halibut fishing… also in high school I did a lot of running, cross country running, basketball…” 

He served during the beginning of the Vietnam War era.  “It wasn’t something we were scared of because we were being prepared for battle.”  After boot camp he was sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma to be trained in artillery.  “We learned how to operate those big guns, machine guns, bazookas… we learned how to operate those big canons, my specialty was the 105.”  This was the standard U.S. light field howitzer in World War II and saw action in both the Korean and Vietnam wars.  “I was just a young kid and we had a good time firing those big guns…but they were long hours and lots of training, gee whiz, sometimes 18 hours a day, getting ready for battle.  We had good teamwork, a great bunch of guys there who all had the same attitude, nobody complained, it was pretty nice.” 

He was sent to Fort Lewis, Washington where in the summer he had to train in the desert around Yakima, “It could get really hot out there.  Lots of snakes around the place.”  Then he was sent up to Fort Wainright outside of Fairbanks.  When he got up there it was -24 degrees.  Mr. Marvin bivouacked there, at night it got down to -50.  “I had never been in that cold of weather before, so it was kind of different.  But we were well prepared, so it was no big deal. The Army took good care of us.  Nobody froze to death… Then I became an assistant gunner.  I don’t know how in the heck they chose me.”

He got word that his unit was going to ship out to Vietnam, but George Marvin’s father suffered a heart attack.  His pastor wrote a letter to the Army and Mr. Marvin received an early discharge to be with his father.  Fortunately, his father survived for another couple of years. 

George Marvin