In my local newspaper

Veteran awarded Quilt of Valor for place in Marine Corps lore

Retired Marine Major Richard T. Spooner is wrapped in a quilt by daughter Laura Guerrero, left, and Sharon Ford, a quilter with Quilts of Valor, during a recent ceremony at the Globed and Laurel Restaurant in North Stafford. Spooner was seventeen when he joined the Marines during WW II.  PETER CIHELKA, THE FREE LANCE-STAR

by Cathy Dyson – The Free Lance-Star

As thrilled as he was to be awarded a Quilt of Valor, Rick Spooner didn’t feel entitled to any honors, believing his only achievement was getting old. “I don’t consider being old the thing I’m most proud of,” said the 96-year-old. “The thing I am most proud of is being a Marine. Everyone can be old if they live long enough, but not everyone can be a Marine.”

Anyone who knows about Spooner’s storied past probably recognizes the place the man known as “The Major” has in Marine Corps lore — and why he’s a fitting quilt recipient. The Quilts of Valor Foundation has awarded more than 348,500 such blankets to service members and veterans with the goal of wrapping them in a healing and comforting embrace.

While the foundation honors veterans of various ranks, years of service and specialties, Spooner is a rarity, as he’s served in three wars. “It’s becoming more and more rare, that’s for sure,” said Ret. Marine Col. Walt Ford, whose wife, Sharon, made the quilt. “There’s not many World War II veterans left, and then three-war Marines are very rare.”

Then, after he finished his military service, Spooner started serving up Marine Corps history lessons along with steak and ale, at the well-known Globe & Laurel Restaurant, now in North Stafford. “He’s a walking Marine Corps history himself,” Ford said. Richard “Rick” Spooner was 17 when he joined the Marines in World War II, with his parents’ permission. Less than a year later, he was among the 8,000 Marine infantrymen who landed on Saipan on June 15, 1944. He was captured by Japanese forces but managed to escape, then went on to participate in assaults on Tinian and the Battle of Okinawa.

Spooner also served during the Korean and Vietnam wars, and retired after 29 years. Even before he left the service, Spooner and his late wife, Gloria, operated the popular Globe & Laurel Restaurant. Initially in the town of Quantico, the business relocated to Triangle after a fire, and into Stafford County when the Triangle property was seized for the expansion of U.S. 1.

Comment: Thank God for my local newspaper. This is today’s lead story, page one, above the fold. In my opinion, that’s as it should be. Just read the article and realize that somehow we will get through all this.


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3 Responses to In my local newspaper

  1. Whitewall says:

    Thanks for this find. I would not have known otherwise. Major Spooner is a true hero and a true Marine. Your very last sentence is a comfort.

  2. Fourth and Long says:

    I neglected this link to a photograph of President Gerald Ford, in an earlier post today on the strange case of Military Valet and Ex Jr Petty Officer USN Waltine Nauta:
    (Sports heroes who served).
    Hopefully TTG, will afford me this belated opportunity to correct that oversight.

    I spent a couple of years trying to aquaint myself with my ancestral roots from my evil, very very evil daddy’s side, who as I was given to understand hailed from Lithuania. Yes the same USAF 4-engine bomber navigator, ugh. Later in life after retirement he looked into his ancestry in great detail, even sending to Israel, of all places, old yellowed notes written in Yiddish for translation at the going rate. But they couldn’t decipher them, because his grandfather who wrote the notes had the family genetic flaw just like my evil daddy – handwriting so awful no one on earth could decipher it, except my mother, which is kind of interesting, but not really (unless you believe that stuff about testifying in court). He found out lots of interesting stuff though, not surprising for a man of his aptitude and connections, however modest. He decided to call it a day and rather than say Lithuania or Poland or Belarus, to go with “the Tsar’s Empire” but the Pale of settlement also would have worked, he admitted. During my own extensive foray I read many.of the translations of the lives of the prominent Rabbis, who actually for the most part were not at all benevolent confessors, but extremely cruel desotic totalitarian despots who controlled everything about the lives of their frightened flocks, down to who they could marry, arranged unknown to them when they were little kids, how they could dress, when and how much to eat and much much more. Some of them, it is impossible not to acknowledge, arranged with the Third Reich Nazis on who to send to the death camps, even forcing beautiful young Jewish virgin girls to sleep with them if they wanted to live. But, just like in the movies, of course there were some heroes. As usual from the poor common folk who believed in their religious leaders till it was too late.

    My favorite were the tales of Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotsk, probably because he lost his mind, like the prophet Ezekiel, (and St Tikhon of Zadonsk who was a model for Father Zosima, who also lost his mind but recovered, as did St Tikhon of Zadonsk, as told in his immortal The Brothers Karamazov) over the sins and utter hypocrisy of his people, and he, Menachem Mendel that is, would curse out the congregation with unmentionable vulgarity and hatred from behind the little sliding window behind which he was due to inherited custom forced to address the congregation, to overwhelmingly great embarrassment. I liked that. My evil daddy would have liked it even more, you can safely wager on that.

    I only mention any of this due to the merit of former United States Marine Corps soldier Richard “Rick” Spooner, hero of three wars, including three of the most bloody in human history, and due to the kind remembrance offered by retired United States Army officer Lt Col TTG, of the Special Forces outfit The Green Berets. Because of “The Major’s”real name, Spooner, I was able to remember Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Kotsk, because it reminded me of another Rabbi, reputedly a very real tyrant, whose name I cannot recall at the moment. He had such a very bad temper, and short fuse (just like Moses) that when it came time to say something good about him in the way of an epistolary encomium, they really couldn’t think of anything good to say about the man at all (like many of those people, remember, he was a judge – think Leo Tolstoy’s “Ivan Ilyich”) so they managed after some time to come up with:

    Well, despite all that, you can rest assured, that in his presence, and everyone who knew him can attest to it especially those closest to him, at his table as it were, it was said that “you could lap up the fear of God by the spoonful.

    Thank you USMC Major “Rick” Spooner, and the people at the Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star, for getting me to recollect all that. May you live to be over 100 years of age.

  3. ked says:

    Major Spooner! the Globe & Laurel! it’s been about 20 years…
    what great memories – what a wonderful scene… the food, the folk, the fun. was introduced to him by a consultant (retired Marine officer) for my company. of course I (civilian biz puke, AF brat) needed guidance understanding the wiring diagram at Marcorsyscom, starting w/ immersion in Marine Culture. thus, in-brief at the G&L. if ever there was a gentleman’s gentleman in uniform, Maj. Spooner is it. & when departing Quantico at day’s end, no matter the matters, one needed go no further than G&L to decompress, + a fine meal, socializing & stories (true ones, hilarious, serious). everyone was there… everyone relaxed in his presence… even (especially!) the Commandant. the course worked, I learned the special nature & role of the USMC through his unique place, its patrons & Major Spooner himself… always the most respected individual present. thanks for the reminder.

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