The telephone interrupted the serenity of a Hawaiian evening—as well as my pleasure at doing absolutely nothing at the moment—after an active day at Headquarters, Fleet Marine Force, Pacific (FMFPAC). An evening call at the chief of staff’s quarters usually meant bad news. Not so this time, in the summer of 1984. The caller was retired Marine Major Bob Hoskins. We had shared an office 26 years earlier when he was the S-3 (operations and training officer) of the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment and I, then a first lieutenant, was his assistant S-3.
Hoskins was a 4th Marine Division veteran; he had served in all its World War II campaigns—Roi-Namur, Saipan, Tinian, and Iwo Jima. He had gone ashore at Iwo Jima as a company gunnery sergeant, and to his amazement survived the entire operation without being hit. That was a first for him. After Iwo had been secured, he was flown to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, where he underwent officer training in preparation for the assault on mainland Japan.