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"...I felt that I was doing more for the Marine Corps by influencing young men to enlist, than I was sitting on my tail...and playing radio operator" (audio interview, 00:31:05.0)

   Donald Huston Ericson
Collection image
Donald Ericson in boxing pose, Marine Corps Station, El Toro, California [1952]
War: Korean War, 1950-1953
Branch: Marine Corps
Unit: 1st Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW), 3rd Marine Division
Service Location: California; Japan; Korea; North Carolina
Rank: Sergeant
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Donald Huston Ericson's pugnacious motto, "don't mess with me unless you want a fight," helped him fit right in with the Marine Corps. Ericson served stateside as a middleweight fighter on a Marine Corps boxing team, eventually fighting in the National Golden Gloves. He often found himself working with recruiters, going to high schools around southern California to put on a show and encourage young men to enlist. While deployed to Japan, an injury to his brain during a fight ended his boxing career, but not his love for the Marine Corps or the sport. In later life he became an official for the U.S.A. Boxing Program.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (6 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (91 min.)
»Transcript
  Photos
»Photo Album  (7 photos)
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 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (6 items)
Enlisting in the Marines. (03:50) Basic training in California; drill sergeants tear you down, build you up. (08:37) Joining the Marine Corps boxing team; traveling around with recruiters. (04:20)
Boxing aboard ship to Japan; fighting a Navy boxer much heavier than himself. (03:47) Boxing in Korea; fight with Chuck Whitley, light heavyweight champion; brain injury that ended Ericson's career. (05:01) Final thoughts on the Marine Corps; "I was one hell of a Marine." (00:28)
  
 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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