Segment 1


[Annotators note: Interview started off in mid conversation about the format of what the interview is going to be]. Richard Lee Greer was named after two grandfathers. He was born on 20 October 1917 in Cincinnati. Greer’s father was an executive in furniture manufacturing. Greer grew up during the depression in Rocky Mount Virginia. Greer was 12 years old when the depression started. The men who ran the industries in the town Greer lived in ran them all at a loss throughout the depression years to keep the people employed. There was never a bread line in the town Greer grew up in. Greer was the oldest of 10 children. Greer went to work right after high school. He worked for a year at 12 and a half cents and hour until he earned enough money to go to National Business College which he finished in two years. Greer was listening to music on the radio on the Sunday afternoon Pearl Harbor was attacked. He went the few blocks to the local newspaper and got a copy of the paper announcing the attack. The following morning [Annotators Note: 8 December 1942] Greer quit his job and enlisted in the Marine Corps. The recruiter asked if he wanted to go the OCS and he said no. He wanted to go straight to Paris Island. Greer chose the Marine Corps because he had decided when he was 12 years old that if anything ever broke out he was going to be a Marine. There were a lot of guys from Roanoke at Parris Island when Greer was going through boot camp. Word went around that 44,000 young men joined the Marine Corps on 8 December 1941. Since Greer lived on the riverbanks and in the mountains of Virginia, training on Paris Island was easy for him. Some of the people Greer trained with were sent to New River [Annotators note: Marine Corps Barracks New River, now Camp Lejune]. One or two guys were assigned to the same weapons company Greer was in and one of them was in his platoon. Greer's Senior Drill Instructor was Sergeant Evans who came from FMF [Annotators Note: Fleet Marine Force]. Greer learned a lot from him. Corporal Brown was very tough and treated all of the recruits the same. They were all dirt. The training they had was very good. Greer was in a machine gun company. His weapon was a Browning 1917 water cooled machine heavy machine gun. Because of his education he was called on numerous times to go down and help the First Sergeant. This led to him being acting First sergeant at times for years.


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