Harrison (Rock) and Feeley  March 1969



Alpha Company had our own Sgt Rock.  He was this black kid from East St. Louis named Benjamin Harrison Jr.   This is Rock as in Sgt. Rock, the penultimate warrior from the comic book series and keep in mind that this is in a Marine Corps recon unit – CoA, 1stReconBn, in 1968 – 1969 at Camp Reasoner, RVN.   He came over a private and I know he made corporal, am not sure if he ever made it to sergeant while in recon.  I was company clerk.

Rock was not only a big man, but his physique reminded me of statutes of John Henry the Steel Driving Man.  He had studied karate and while I’m not sure of to what degree he rose, if he didn’t want to see his hands move – you didn’t see them.  He was that fast. 

However, here’s where it gets interesting.  He was both one of the ‘dumbest’ and one of the ‘smartest’ men I’ve ever known.  His military IQ, or GCT as they call it, was 63.   That’s 63!!!  This was so low he actually had to get a waiver to enlist during a war.   

Apparently, the public education he received in East St. Louis, one of the worst inner cities in America, wasn’t in sync with the standard IQ testing.   I say this because Rock had more common sense than anyone I’ve ever known.  He knew where every dime he had ever gotten had come from . . . and where it had gone.  His upbringing had taught him how to handle himself in any kind of situation.  Add to this that he was one of the nicest and most polite men I’ve ever known.  The perfect gentleman. He never got angry. 

His bunk mate was Ben who slept on the bottom of a bunk bed that they had scrounged.  Well, Ben liked to drink and one night when he came back from the enlisted club he was quite drunk.  So much so that he tried to pick a fight with Rock.  He kicked him from below, cussed him out, called him every name in the book – but Rock never said a word.  Finally, after Ben kept this up for quite some time, Rock slowly got down, grabbed Ben with two hands, carried him to the door, kicked it open, and threw Ben across the ditch towards Echo Company – where he crumpled and spent the night. 

There was another marine in his squad, who I’ll call Homer who had the nickname of Dum Dum.  He’d been named this because he had an amazing lack of common sense.  Literally, ‘dumb as a box of rocks’ and too stupid to come in out of the rain.  Rock just sort of took him under his wing and kept him out of trouble – both in the area and particularly on patrol.  The irony?  Dum Dum had a GCT of 130 and could have been an officer.  He was from New England and had gone to some good schools. 

Rock decided that after about 6 months of going to the bush, it was time to stop that nonsense.  Somehow or another, this black kid from East St. Louis with an IQ of 63, got the job of Battalion Postal Clerk where he spent the rest of his tour.  OoohRah!


Sgt. Rock’  of  Alpha Company,

1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division

Harrison (Rock), Brentlinger, Campbell Jan 1969


Sgt. Ron Overton, AdminChief, CoA, 1stReconBn, March 1968 – November 1969

Ronald Overton

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