At The Commander’s Shoulder: A Marine Radio Operator In Vietnam

Raymond Wempe


Raymond Wempe grew up in Massapequa Park, New York, and joined the Marines in the summer of 1966 because he thought it would be “cool.” After surviving the sand fleas and Boot Camp at Parris Island, he deployed to Vietnam in May of 1967. He had been trained as a radio operator, and served in that capacity at both the battalion and company level. After returning from Vietnam, he was assigned to the 2nd Recon Battalion, and completed a cruise in the Mediterranean before leaving the military. He then joined the Suffolk County Police Department, and served there for 33 years. In this interview, he talks about his training at Parris Island and being an RTO (Radio Telephone Operator). He describes calling for med-evac for wounded Marines, and his training for the 2nd Recon Battalion. He discusses his work on the police force, and some of the challenges he faced. Finally, he recalls coming to the aid of another Marine unit that was pinned down on a beach, and the difficulty he had coordinating for their relief because so many of their leaders had been killed.


conflicts Vietnam War
topics Camaraderie Leadership Life After Military Returning from War USMC
interviewer David Siry
date 10 July 2017


name Raymond Wempe
institution John Jay College
graduation year 1981
service USMC
unit 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines
specialty Radio Telephone Operator
service dates 1966 1969