My Red Marine Jacket

I’m a member of the Marine Corps Association. I joined it out of respect and admiration for the Marines I’ve known and worked with, particularly General Al Gray. My bias in favor of Marines is undisguised. I supported them with intelligence on and off for thirteen years in Vietnam. Three of the principal characters in Last of the Annamese are Marines.

Because I’m a member of the association, I have access to the Marine Shop, an online merchant. A little over a year ago, I spotted in the Marine Shop catalogue a brilliant red sports jacket with brass buttons showing the words “Semper Fidelis” and “Marine Corps” above and below the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, the official emblem and insignia of the United States Marine Corps. My taste in clothes runs to the subdued with dark colors, like black and navy blue. But this jacket fascinated me. So I bought one.

Every time I wear the jacket—usually out to dinner—I am the center of attention. A surprising number of people recognize the Marine Corps connection. When I wore it to the American Legion Christmas party last year, the color represented both the season and the Corps.

I tend to be a quiet, shy person, not very talkative in gatherings. I’m learning what it’s like for people to turn and stare at me. I think I like it.

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