On July 12, 1968, Washington Gov. Dan Evans had a special task: swearing in 80 new recruits to the U.S. Marine Corps.
It was an unusual ceremony because the recruits were part of an unusual group: the Evergreen Platoon was made up solely of Washington residents.
This past weekend, some 43 years later, two dozen or so of those original 80 were together again. Evans wasn’t there, but they were joined by another special guest, retired platoon Cmdr. Roy “Gunny” Gallihugh, the man who shepherded the unit through basic training more than four decades ago.
The 3041 was a special group, he recalled, noting it was one of his “honor platoons.” The proud members still are quick to note they together won 11 of 12 pennants contested in the various training competitions, including drill, marksmanship and leadership.
When basic training was over, many went their separate ways. In the end, as many as 32 ended up in Vietnam.
One lost both of his arms in the fighting. Six of the Washington boys never returned.
Three years ago the members of the 3041 decided to get together again and were received at the state capitol by their old friend, former Gov. Dan Evans.
Doug Simpson, who is writing a novel based on the 3041, said the event “ended up being more than a reunion. It was a way to remember the guys we left behind.”
This weekend the men, their spouses and friends enjoyed themselves and reminisced at the Dungeness River-side farm of platoon member Chuck Looney and his wife, Pat Severson-Looney.
The weekend’s events included a toast — two bottles of champagne shared by all — to honor and recall all the members of 3041, those living and those lost.