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Cross / Promotion and Demotion in the Marine Corps

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Cross: I made corporal because the test you have to take and everything and I just knocked the top out of it. So, I made corporal and a lot of people get jealous because you’re not supposed to be making rank that fast. I got demoted because I had on my sheet eleven, I had about ten counts of direct disobedience to an NCO. One of them was, I had a weekend, a ninety-hour weekend. I didn’t have any money, so I couldn’t go anywhere. Then, I had silk pajamas. They didn’t like that, you know. So, here I’m laying up here with silk pajamas on and the sergeant came in and said you got to stand guard duty. I said, “I’m on a ninety-hour pass.” He said, “Well, you have to get out the barracks.” I said, “This is my home. What you mean I got to—I’m going stay right here in my bed.” He said, “Well, that’s a direct order. You are ordered to be on guard duty.” I said, “Well, I’m ordering myself to just lay right here in this bed,” and so I did. I had something like that. When they would tell me to do something, I just, whether I thought I should do it and if I thought I shouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t do it. So, I had about ten counts. I had to leave my company to go to another company for the guy to take one of my stripes. He demoted me from corporal to PFC. So, I lost my stripe and got more money if I—so, anyway, that’s what they did. When it was time for—then, an order came where they were moving the Second Marine Division which was Camp Lejeune to the West Coast. They were bringing the Third Marine Division from Korea. So, everything in the Second Marine was going to the coast. I said well I’ve dodge Korea for all this time. Came to the East Coast to get away from it. So, they called me into the office and they said if you don’t have six months to do, you won’t have to go. So, I had four months to do so I didn’t have to go. They loaded up everything. Tanks, all the medical supplies, put them on trains and went to California with all that stuff and here I am, waiting for my discharge. Just four months to do. Didn’t have to worry about it. So, I dodged the War. That’s my experiences in the Marine Corps. Well, there’s one I need to tell you about. (inaudible) and Schultz and I went to Washington D.C. Going to see everything. So, we caught the bus and went to Washington D.C. and then I noticed at the bus station—it was integrated in the restaurant. So, we said let’s get a room at the YMCA. It’ll be cheaper than going to a hotel. So (inaudible), Schultz, and I went to the YMCA and they gave them some cards to fill out and Schultz said, “He want a card, too.” This girl behind there, she gave me a card, so I filled it. We showered and changed clothes and said let’s go out on the town. Let’s get us a good steak at a restaurant and then we’ll see what else we want to do after then.

Interview Interview with Herbert Cross
Subjects Discrimination or Segregation › Discrimination or Segregation of Public Accommodations
Military › Korean War
Military › Discrimination in Military
Military › Military Bases and Posts
Tags United States Marine Corps
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Interview date 2016-06-20
Interview source CRBB Summer 2016
Interviewees Cross, Herbert
Interviewers May, Meredith
Duration 00:04:17
Citation "Promotion and Demotion in the Marine Corps," from Herbert Cross oral history interview with Meredith May,  June 20, 2016, Lufkin, TX, Civil Rights in Black and Brown Interview Database,, accessed May 27, 2020