This 93-year old gentleman reports, “I was not at the Battle of Tarawa, but I almost made it.  I just want to be clear about that.”  
I was 23 when I enlisted in the U.S. Marines in September 1941, a little over three months before the attack on Pearl Harbor.  
I was a half-track driver with the 4th Platoon, Regular Weapons Company, 2nd Marine Regiment in the 2nd Marine Division.
I had fought in the Battle of Guadalcanal, but I contracted malaria there.  I went to New Zealand with my unit for the rest and training prior to Tarawa, but I was eventually sent home shortly before my unit’s departure to Tarawa due to recurring and intensified attacks of malaria. In short, malaria decided I did not go to Tarawa; I didn't make that decision!
In many ways, I was just plain lucky not to have been at Tarawa. I could easily have been killed there, but as it was, I almost died anyway – from the malaria.  Over the past 67 years, I have had to be very careful with my health because of the very real possibility that the malaria might attack me again.  That disease never really leaves you.    
As partial proof that ‘Once a Marine, Always a Marine’ applies to Vincent, he has been active in numerous ways for several decades with the California Chapter of the Second Marine Division Association, for whom he recently served as Past President.
Vincent, we thank you for your many decades of service to our Marines, both on the field of combat and on the home front.   Your example of dedicated service continues to be a superb example of a highly principled citizen to thousands of young people with whom you meet regularly in California.
Received 22 November 2010 
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