My name is Brian Keith McKnight, named after the actor Brian Keith, who was in westerns my parents, Richard and Marcia McKnight, used to watch. Dad was in the Air Force for 20 years and when he retired, they decided to move from Delaware to Osceola, Iowa, where Dad had grown up. I was in my teens when we moved here: I attended Clarke Community High School for my junior and senior years, and graduated here.

I enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1993, and had my Basic and MCT Training at Camp Pendleton, California. MCT is Marine Corps Combat Training, which goes into a little more detail than Basic. We were trained in urban assault — how to enter and evacuate houses, how to live out in the field, digging and living for awhile in foxholes.

My MOS (Military Occupational Speciality) training was at Oceanside, California. My MOS was amphibious assault crewman. The amphibious assault vehicles (AMTRAKS) were the updated version of the LST (Landing Ship Tank) used in WWII. The Navy transported the Marine infantry to their invasion point, the front of this vehicle dropped down in order for men and equipment to go ashore. In WWII these were open on top, the models now are enclosed. From the top they look like a big coffin. They have two hatches on top and a hatch in back. In the latter case, the whole back drops down and men can disembark that way or from the top where there are two manholes, one with a Mark 19, which is a grenade launcher, and mounted on the other is a 50 caliber gun. The maximum speed either on land or water is 35 miles per hour. There were three branches — one was communications, one was maintenance, and the other was transporting Infantry.

Our unit was on call to go to Korea — in fact, we had our bags packed, but we didn't go, and my training was cut short. I had just two weeks left of my MOS School before graduation, when one day the platoon was running and the Achilles tendon on my left ankle snapped. They did surgery after which I was in a cast for a few months and then medically discharged. I was in the Marines about 1 1/2 years and discharged in late 1994. This rupture and surgery has healed quite well, giving me only some discomfort when the weather changes or if I run, which I don't often do anymore.

I moved back to Osceola and was married that same year to Coresa Ann Courtney. We had two children — Carrie-Ann Marie who was 13 as of November 9, 2008; Andrew William who just turned 10. He was named after his mother' grandfather (William) and my grandfather (Andrew). After 14 years, in February 2008, Coresa and I were divorced and were granted 50/50 custody. At the present time, I live south of Osceola and work for Swine Graphics on their Clover Street farm north of Weldon.

I sometimes wonder how different the world will be for my children from what it was in the lives of their namesakes. Will we have come any closer to the peace my great-grandfather and grandfather, great uncles, father and uncles, cousins, my brother and myself were willing to fight for? It seems to go on and on.




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Last Revised June 8, 2015