Two Old Jarheads Meet For The First Time

First Meeting
BusterC and Gyrene

as related by Gyrene
Gyrene and BusterC
This picture was taken Sunday 17 March 1996

I met BusterC for the first time in the Chenango Memorial Hospital in Norwich, NY, March, 1996. He was quite ill and I thought it might cheer him up a bit. Besides, I really did want to meet him.

My wife (Sandollar) and I arrived at the hospital about 9:15 Saturday morning, March 16, 1996. We asked the nurses to have Buster's wife, Tissy, come out of the room so we could meet her. She is a very nice lady, by the way. Then she went back into the room and told Buster that he had visitors.

Up to now he had never seen me or even a picture of me, so he had no idea who I was. Furthermore, since he wasn't expecting any visitors, this was a complete surprise to him. I was even a little hesitant to surprise him this way but his doctor thought it was a good idea.

He was a little punchy from the medication and was lying there in a slight daze. When we entered, he looked up at me with a scowl on his face as if to say, "Who the hell are you and what do you want here?"

I said "Where is that scruffy looking, belligerent buck sergeant that thinks he's a cotton-picking general!" (On the chat channel I had been harassing -- er, teasing -- him about being an insubordinate, belligerent buck sergeant. He is a former Marine Corps Sergeant, I am a former Marine Corps Staff Sergeant.)

His eyes opened wide, his mouth dropped open, and a shocked expression came over his face. After a brief, stunned silence, his face lit up and he said "Well I'll be damned." He knew me then because we had talked on the phone and he recognized my voice.

After we had all introduced ourselves and settled down to talking I pulled another one on him.

Two days earlier, on Thursday, he was complaining that the doctor wouldn't let him smoke and that he was dying for a cigarette. I asked him then if he had tried his thumb and got back one of his big "hahahahahahahahahahahas."

The next day I went out and bought a pacifier. I hunted all over town for a GI Joe jungle camouflaged pacifier but couldn't find one so I had to settle for a baby Sylvester pussy cat.

Anyway, I asked him if he was still dying for a smoke and when he said yes I handed him the pacifier. He started laughing. And Tissy started laughing. My wife and I joined in and we all had a good laugh.

He was hungry all the time, probably because of the nicotine craving, as well as the hospital food. He frequently asked Tissy to get food for him. So I went back to the car and brought up a banana. I handed it to him and told him I thought it might match his personality. More laughs. And he didn't turn it down, either.

Every time we went out we would smuggle food back in for him.

On Sunday morning I brought him a doughnut and a St. Patrick's day cupcake (it being St. Patrick's Day) all decked out in thick green icing. I told him I smuggled the doughnut out of the mess hall but had to pay for the cupcake.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

That was a very short but greatly enjoyed weekend. One I will always cherish. I wish that first meeting could have been videotaped. I would love to see the expression on his face again.


My getting to know BusterC is one of those marvelous once-in-a-lifetime experiences. We first communicated by email on December 20, 1995, when I received an email from some guy claiming to be another jarhead. Little did either of us know what would develop from that innocuous beginning.

In January, 1996, he told me about a chat channel he frequented and invited me to meet him there. I did. And have been hooked on chat ever since. I started hanging out on the chat channel and we spent many hours chatting, especially in the wee hours when neither of us could sleep. Even so, until we met face-to-face, we were still strangers.

Yet from the very beginning there has been almost a mystical quality about our friendship. We have much in common and are more than just friends. He is my friend, my Corps brother, a fellow veteran, and my comrade in arms. It has been one of the great pleasures of my life to know him. I was a very lonely old Marine in a time of personal difficulties and was very despondent. He has brought more joy to my life than I can ever repay.

I consider BusterC one of the finest men I have ever known. A genuine American patriot and hero, in an age when they are hard to find. He is also one of the two best friends I have ever had. The other "best" friend is also another former Marine Corps Staff Sergeant and Vietnam vet. By a strange twist of fate, I was the one that managed the computer model that assigned enlisted Marines to Vietnam. So I caused both of them (along with tens of thousands of other Marines) to be ordered to Vietnam. In spite of that they are my best friends. Go figure!

And Tissy is just the same. My wife (Sandollar) and I and Tissy and Buster have really hit it off. Seems like we have known each other all our lives.