Richard served in the USMC for 22 years from 1980-2002 until he retired. He was a CH-46E mechanic and crew chief until 1999, when he was promoted to 1stSgt and from then on, he flew a desk. Having arrived at New River Air Station after completing all required schooling, in June 1981, he was attached to Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 162 (HMM-162). During his free time, Richard attended Emergency Medical Technician Training (EMT) at Coastal Carolina Community College and was a member of the Jacksonville Volunteer Rescue Squad. Little did he know that this training would come in handy a short two years later.
HMM-162, served as the Air Combat Element (ACE) for the 24th MAU, and was on station from May-Nov 1983. It was during this time Richard’s EMT training would be used extensively. Immediately after the barracks bombing, Richard was released from his duties as a helicopter crewchief, so he could assist the USS Iwo Jima’s medical staff in triaging and treating the wounded. He grabbed his medical kit from his aircraft and started treating the first survivors as they arrived by helicopter, on ship. He would spend all day helping to treat and care for the wounded.
Richard joined the Beirut Veterans of America in 2012 and has served as the Membership Chair since 2015. For Richard, anything to do with his time in Beirut is painful to remember. He felt if he joined and got involved it could somehow help him heal the "wounds" and provide the opportunity to meet other Marines and Sailors with the same experiences. Not only did he reconnect with his brothers from HMM-162, but made new friends from the other MAU's, as well as a British Peacekeeper who was with the Queen's Dragoon Guards. Richard has also met Gold Star Family Members with whom he has become good friends with since joining the BVA. It is an honor for Richard to have gotten to know them and the loved ones they’ve lost. While he never met those Marines, he feels like he knows them through their families and is humbled to hear their stories.
The BVA motto is “The First Duty Is To Remember” and Richard feels that he has tried to live up to this, by joining and being a part of something that is larger than himself. “As long as we remember them, they will always be with us.”
Richard currently works for the US Department of State as a physical security specialist, where he ensures that all of our diplomatic facilities meet all of the required security standards.
Richard married the former Laura A. Williams of Calumet City, IL in 1984. Her father was a retired Marine, and Richard and Laura met in Jacksonville, NC. They have two beautiful girls Nicole and Hailey, two dogs - Hagrid and Luna and a fat cat - Neville. Those of you that know Richard, know that he’s an avid Harry Potter fan, hence the names.
Richard can be reached by contacting him at [email protected] and for more information please visit https://www.beirutveterans.org/