Navigating with A Few Good Men

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Robert S. Gilliam III ’64
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Autobiography of an enlisted man determined to do more for his country by becoming an officer in the United States Marine Corps and by leading a rifle platoon in combat in Viet Nam. It begins in Parris Island, SC, the infamous boot camp where boys grow up and become proud United States Marines. This is the story of a college drop-out who made good serving his country, rose to become Commanding Officer of Foxtrot Company 2nd Battalion 4th Marine Regiment, and was honorably discharged as a Captain. He went on to complete college funded by the G. I. Bill, became an innovative international corporate banker on Wall Street, plowed through unemployment following the hostile takeover of his bank, and changed careers mid-life to become a highly regarded financial counselor and life insurance salesman. A consummate do-it-yourselfer, he completed his dream retirement home when his builder failed. His success story is filled with irreverently humorous and politically incorrect anecdotes as well as stinging caricatures. It is told with candor in the vernacular of the times with flash backs to his teenage years when he was a farm hand and a caddie between his four years at South Kent School, at the time a Spartan character building boarding school in rural northwestern Connecticut. Veterans of Viet Nam will relate well to his vivid descriptions of life in the bush, of receiving communion in the field before his first jump from a helicopter into a hot zone, and of learning the ropes as a boot 2nd Lieutenant. After Viet Nam while a student at Columbia University’s School of General Studies, he blew the whistle on rampant cheating, survived bitter retribution from its faculty, and went on to graduate with bona fide Honors. Here is a relentless champion of doing the right thing. Most importantly, this is a tribute to more than A Few Good Men who helped him succeed and forge his own moral code.

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