Where it all began... experiencing Quantico as a 20-year-old bride!

The front gate. How many times did I drive under that arch? Sometimes I used one of the other entries, but the front gate was my favorite.

Learning how to "be" a Marine Wife started at Quantico. While my husband was in The Basic School ("TBS"), I was learning how to talk in acronyms and weave baskets with the other wives of Charlie Company. Receiving a salute from the guards standing duty was an honor often given to "an officer's lady",but it was not a right. "Wives," explained the chaplain in a course on military ettiquette, "did not have any rank. Their husbands have rank." (One of the wives must have missed that lesson, because she horrified the company and embarrassed her husband when she stopped at the front gate and "dressed down" one of the guards for not saluting her.)

One of my favorite times to drive under the arch was in the wee hours of the morning after my first Marine Corps Birthday Ball. Held in Washington, D.C. at a posh hotel, my husband and I couldn't afford the cost of a room, so when the festivities wound down (around 2a.m.) I drove us home. Normally, one had to show a military i.d. to be allowed aboard the base, but when the young Marine standing duty saw my husband in his new dress uniform, sound asleep in the passenger seat, he simply grinned, saluted and said, "Carry on, Ma'am!" What a smile he received in return...!

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