First Duty Station

Marine Corps Barracks, Navy Yard, Wash. D.C.

The first social obligation after calling on the Commanding Officer, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. was to call on the President at the White House. Protocol established days and hours for courtesy calling. The President was not receiving on the day I called and presented my card. Ten months later while at Basic School, Philadelphia Navy Yard invited to and attended a White House Garden Party hosted by Mrs. Roosevelt. The President reportedly had been taken ill and could not attend.

On Inauguration Day 4 March 1937, Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Washington, D. C. provided a detachment of Marines to guard the President while in the Capital Building en route to the elevated inauguration Platform facing the Library of Congress. An East entry and West entry into the building were provided. At the end of each route was a wooden enclosed elevator built to accommodate a wheel chair. This confirmed rumors of the President being dependent on a wheelchair. I, as well as the general public, was not aware of this at this point. I had charge of the detachment guarding the East route. The President took the West route. Once again, I failed to meet or see President Roosevelt close up as would have been the case had the East route been taken.

 The Marine Barracks, Navy Yard, Washington, D. C. provided a two platoon rifle company to the periodic dress blues battalion Evening Parade at 8th and I. The four lieutenants at the Marine Barracks Navy yard served as a platoon leader on a rotation basis.

8th and I was no strange place to 2nd Lt. Rothwell having been living a little more than a mile from it and visiting there a number of times in the 1920's. Little did he realize then that some day in the future he would be participating in a parade there leading a platoon of Marines.

 My 8th and I Sunset Parade visits came “full circle” one evening in 2006.

 A family friend who had served in the Marine Corps in the late 50's asked if the Rothwells would like to attend an 8" and ISunset Parade (Evening Parade) with him and a friend. He not only would make arrangements for seating but would do the driving. Arrangements for the seating would be made well ahead of time to obtain the better seats. Not only were Mrs. Rothwell and Iseated in the first row of the special guests section but in the row behind seated together, were our friends, my son Charles (USMC in the 60's), his wife, Sandra, their son and my grandson Patrick. My initial reaction was upon seeing our seats that the early application really paid off but soon all turned to be a big surprise to me. Heard my name announced on the public address system then a synopsis of my USMC career and mention of my being a platoon leader in the Evening Parade of 70 years ago. I soon learned that all had been planned as a surprise which it certainly was. At the conclusion of the parade, the two guests reviewing Flag Officers, General Robert Magnus, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps and Admiral Edmund P. Giarnbastiani, Jr. Assistant Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff, Department of Defense accompanied by the C.O. 8th and I, Colonel Terry Lockard came to where I was seated shook hands along with a few kind words.

These handshakes, in fact, made my 8th and I Evening Parade experience come "full circle” first as a civilian spectator in the 20's, as a participant in 1936 and as an honored guest in 2006.