Tag Archives: United States Marines

Semper Fidelis—Always Faithful. The Few. The Proud.

The twelve year old girl’s father sat there looking at me as if I was something scrapped from the bottom of a slimy trashcan.

“Were you in the Marines?” I asked.

He looked suspicious and said yes.

I pulled out my old Marine Corp ID, which I still carried. The volcanic atmosphere vanished and the air-cooled. We spent the next half-hour talking about the Marines and Vietnam. Simper Fi was stronger than his daughter’s attempt to get rid of me with lies and deceit.

Before he left, he turned to her and said, “No more complaints. If Mr. Lofthouse tells you to do something, you do it.”

Just as I was starting to gain control, the regular teacher returned.  She had released herself from the hospital and demanded her job back. A month later, she left after a second breakdown. I was called again. I asked for a written guarantee that the regular teacher wouldn’t be coming back. They couldn’t give it to me. I turned the job down.

If you didn’t start reading this four part series with “It’s the Parents, Stupid“, click here.


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Razor Wire

In 1976-77, Romier elementary had razor wire on the roofs to keep vandals off. On Mondays, it was common to find fresh bullet holes in the doors. Once, we arrived to find the doorknobs had been beaten off. On another Monday, we couldn’t park our cars in the parking lot because all the lights had been shot out, and the lot was littered with shards of glass.

First Tank Battalion, First Marine Division, Chu Lai, Vietnam

That year, I made a friend with another teacher. The union rep for the school was Marshal Kahan. Soon after I was hired as a long-term sub, he came to the classroom and offered support and advice. During our conversation, I learned he was also a former United States Marine.

We stayed friends for thirty years and hiked the San Gabriel Mountains together for more than a decade before Marshall was diagnosed with leukemia. He died eight years after the diagnoses. I still miss the loss of his friendship.

The other incident is when James’s father came to shout at me, because his son’s reading score had not improved. I was alone the afternoon the father walked in unexpectedly. He cursed and accused me of being incompetent. He threw the reading book on the floor and said I’d put his son in a book that was too difficult. I shifted my body stance so one side faced him. I’d been taught hand-to-hand combat in the Marines and fought in Vietnam. If he was going to attack, I wanted to be ready.

Discover a Square Peg in a Round Hole


Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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