We'll All Die As Marines: One Marine's Journey from Private to Colonel
Author: Jim Bathurst
Publisher: iUniverse (2012)
Binding: Paperback, 562 pages
We’ll All Die As Marines is one man’s memoir of marine life from a lowly private to a full bull colonel. Colonel Jim Bathurst has written a memorable and compelling account of his life as a marine of over thirty five years.
A young native coming from the shores of the Chesapeake Bay young Jim Bathurst had a real problem trying to matriculate from high school. Lacking direction and absolutely hating going to school young Mr. Bathurst begged his parents for their signatures releasing him to of all place the United State Marine Corps. The author starts the long trip from Basic Training at Parris Island to the Infantry Training Regiment. Along the way he gives a full and descriptive view of life in the Marine Corps as a private in the late 1950’s.
Becoming accustomed to a marine’s life the author thrives on life which is full of tradition and discipline. We find him going up through the enlisted ranks becoming a Drill Instructor and becoming a man not only accustomed to taking orders, he learns how to lead men as he is schooled as a platoon leader.
While still an NCO Bathurst has a tour of duty in Japan and later in 1966 he does a 13 month tour in The Republic of Vietnam. He relates his combat tour as lessons in leadership and shows the esprit de corps that takes on the élan that is known as a combat marine. With these hard lessons in his pocket Bathurst rotates back to the States and is assigned to the prestigious ceremonial platoon known to all as the 8th & I. The author relates all the hard training and scrupulous attention to detail with this famed unit.
During this time span Bathurst is commissioned a 2nd Lt and his career as an officer takes off as he skyrockets through the officer ranks with assignments in Okinawa, the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, training with the Army at Ft. Bragg, Airborne training at Ft. Benning, Marine Barrack at Lemoore, California, Armed Forces Staff College and the Recruiting Station in Chicago, Illinois. Quite a full career!
This is the basis of a full and enriching career with a tutorial of what is the true Marine Corps. This is an excellent memoir for all who want to truly learn the meaning of Semper Fi.
Reviewed by: Richard Geschke (2014)
For seventeen-year-old high school dropout Jim Bathurst, the Marine Corps's reputation for making men out of boys was something he desperately needed when he enlisted in March of 1958. What began as a four-year hitch lasted nearly thirty-six years and included an interesting assortment of duty stations and assignments as both enlisted and officer. We'll All Die As Marines narrates a story about a young, free-spirited kid from Dundalk, Maryland, and how the Corps captured his body, mind, and spirit. Slowly, but persistently, the Corps transformed him into someone whose first love would forever be the United States Marine Corps. It documents not only his leadership, service, and training but also regales many tales of his fellow Marines that will have the reader laughing, cheering, and at times crying. In this memoir, Bathurst reveals that for him-a former DI who was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V" Purple Heart, and a combat commission to second lieutenant-the Corps was not a job, a career, or even a profession; it was-and still is-a way of life.