This is to certify that
Sergeant Benjamin A. Drake, Sr. USMC
has successfully completed the
training prescribed for Philippine
Recon Company - 3rd Recon Bn, USMC
 
RECONX 1 - 74
Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines
 
 
ABOUT THIS SCHOOL
 
This was NOT a school, in the traditional sense. It was an amazing ADVENTURE that only an organization like the U. S. Marine Corps could, or would, take a fellow like me and send me off to do. 
 
I was selected, along with I believe 7 other Marines. We had Major Hutzler, a Staff Sergeant, two Sergeants, plus myself, and a couple junior NCO's and enlisted. As I have detailed elsewhere, this training team did all sorts of wonderful stuff while in the Philippines. But we had a mission, which we accomplished. We were to train the Philippine Marines in jungle warfare, Guerrilla warfare, various Recon tactics, and demolition's, which was my specialty.  I had been through demolitions school on Camp Pendleton, DaNang, VN and the first 7 courses in EOD School at Indianhead, MD Naval Base. I didn't finish, I'm sorry to say because my wife was badly hurt in a car wreck.
 
You have never really appreciated apprehension, until you are training most all Philippine Marines in demolition's and you are the only person there who does not speak Tagolog. We had one person who translated, but we had two people always watching him as his translation and English skills were poor at best. But in typical Marine Corps fashion, we came through OK and retain a memory of that 60 days that no one can steal away from me. 
 
After the training was done the Philippine Marine Corps held a get together and we all did the expected Marine things. There was a ceremony where we all received one of these certificates and inducted each other into the others Marine Corps. I have a set of Philippine Marine Corps insignia and was welcomed by about a hundred Marines into their Corps. Wonderful memory. 
 
As for spare time, the group of trainers went for a boat trip to Corrigador (sp) where General McCarther gave his famous "I will return" statement. I always wonder if General Chesty Puller would have left?, Oh well, another story. We discovered you have to be tough to go to Corrigador. It rained most of the day and we were soaked and cold. Then we didn't get fed and you know how Marines are when they don't get fed. But the island was worth seeing. It's hard to believe so many men died here. We toured the "Mile Long Barracks", and the underground tunnels where the allied command was located. 
 
Another day we went to Bataan and were toured where the death march was held, or at least a small part of it. It was something to hear the stories and know they were true. A couple of the other Sergeants and I saw a wild bore and pulled out Bolo knives and went running after him. Fortunately for us, he got away. We all later laughed and said how badly it would have gone for us if we had caught up with that 1,000 pound, tusked bore. 

To see a small scanned view of the original certificate, click here. (14K).