A Marine’s sketches of military life to be preserved by Camp Pendleton museum

Ron Burton joined the Marine Corps fresh out of high school in 1952, reporting to Parris Island in South Carolina for boot camp. The 17-year-old recruit, thousands of miles from his home in Pennsylvania, began drawing while off-duty. He didn’t know it at the time, but Burton was recording history with his cartoon-style sketches that captured glimpses of military life — the mess hall, an enlisted club, a drill sergeant giving orders, a Marine in Dress Blues. One drawing shows two young Marines on Christmas Eve 1953, drinking beer alone, slumped in their chairs at a table in an enlisted club decorated for the holidays. In the background a radio is playing, “I’ll be Home for Christmas.” “It was after the Korean War and I was feeling sad because it was my first Christmas away from home,” Burton said. “I wanted to capture that feeling.” Another shows a Marine washing his cup and fork and spoon in a trash can filled with hot, soapy water outside the mess hall at Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Edenton, North Carolina, after the Korean War. A Marine is waiting behind him, ready to wash his dishes. Those drawings are among 12 the retired local Marine captain has donated to the Cam...

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