Joseph E. Revell, Commanding Officer, Charlie Company,
3rd Recon Bn, Phu Bai & Danang, 1965-66
Passed away 02, Sept. 2008
Excerpts by Gene Huddelston
Dan Leary got through to the hospice today where Joe was spending his last days and let me know a few minutes ago.
The hospice would not give Dan any family contacts, but Dan left his phone number with them and asked that the family call him.
When Dan or I learn more, we will let you know.
Joe was a real person, no fads, no fancy stuff.
Top Ward told me in Phu Bai that one day a helicopter would land and out would come our new Company Commander.
And Joe was he! And a great CO he was.
Joe was not all business. In Phu Bai, he asked me if I read Art Buchwald. Who?, I said.
Then Joe proceeded to tell me all about Art Buchwald and how he,
Joe, would like to be a journalist. A what? I think he did become a journalist for a while after he retired from the Marine Corps.
Since the 90s, he did it on his own with his Report from the Wall Wall rep, he called it.
He loved to write and express his opinion, always tempered with a Christian message.
After Vietnam, I was stationed at 8th&Eye. I found out that Joe was in Quantico for maybe AWS.
Anyway, I took my girl friend, Victoria Etzel, with me to meet my CO from Vietnam.
We met in the Officers Club in Quantico on a Friday evening cannot remember the name of the O Club,
but it is up on the hill to the right just after you get into the base proper. While sitting at the bar with Joe, he asked Vicki who she worked for.
She said, HUD, for Housing and Urban Development. Joe thought a moment and said in his deep voice, Well, I wont touch that one!
When I went to the head, I ran into Sgt Emery, the mess sergeant from ¾ in Phu Bai.
He helped Cpl Willis Watson Wynn put on the best buffalo beef and crab fest that anyone ever saw in Phu Bai.
It was for only 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company but Sgt Emery showed up and helped himself. What a party!
Later on at the bar, Joe found out that Vicki was from New York, and that I was more then just fond of her.
He broke into song that I sing today: My girls a corker, shes a New Yorker, I buy her everything to keep her in style.
Shes got a pair of hips, just like two battle ships, When our grandkids were here last, I sang that ditty to them, and they just howled.
Joe was stationed at HQ, Marine Corps after Vietnam. The night before Vicki and my wedding, we drove to his home in Silver Spring, MD,
and asked him to be an usher in my wedding: dress whites, gloves, and swords.
I was impressed with how well-behaved Joes and Barbaras kid were;
all the time that Vicki and I talked to Joe and Barbara, they played happily on the floor in the room and never interrupted. Joe said he would do it.
The next morning at the Naval Chapel on Nebraska Avenue in DC, Joe showed up in his dress whites trying to attach his sword to something and said,
Hud, the next time you get married, give me a little more notice!
After the Marine Corps, I lost track of Joe for years, but somehow we got back together via emails and telephone in the late 90s.
Dan and I visited Joe in 1999(?) and had a great time. When we arrived at Joes home on Binkle Street and got out of the car,
we saw Joe bounding out of his front door. He looked like Santa Claus! I will never forget looking over the roof of the car at Dan and
seeing the same puzzled look on his face: who in the hell is that!?
It turns out that Joe had rheumatoid arthritis, and the steroids had taken their toll on him,
making him gain weight. But then we heard that deep, melodious voice and knew that person in that body was none other than Joe Revell.
We had a great time that weekend. Joe confided that a man with a white beard and a dog can strike up a conversation with anyone out walking.
After a Friday night meal at Munson Beach O-Club with all the naval aviators at the bar, we retired to Joes abode.
I fell asleep on the sofa listening to Joe and Dan discussing Catholicism and religion, not unlike the conversations they had in Phu Bai!
And the discussion was spirited (by the spirits they were imbibing).
Joe loved his dogs. I know that he was deeply concerned their welfare. They brought him great joy, as dogs do for us humans.
They never consider our faults; they take us as we are and are amazing creatures that God put here for us.
Joe was a snuffy in Korea and said he barely survived. Dan can tell us more about this part of Joes life.
Joe was a born-again Christian. He told me about an experience he had, similar to what Saul of Tarsus experienced on the road to Damascus.
Joe was struck down and left in a trance. When he awoke, he knew exactly what he must do: spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.
And he did. He took the message to camp grounds all over the USA. He told me that he would drive into a campground
and put up a sign for a spiritual meeting that evening.
He said the people turned out in gratifying numbers. Joe continued this ministry until his health broke and he settled on Binkle Street in Pensacola,
his faith stronger than ever.
Dan, Frank Homan, and I visited with Joe in November 2006. He met us at our hotel, from which we went out to eat together.
We had a great visit. It was the first time we had been together since Phu Bai. Dan made a special trip to Orlando to purchase a case
for the Randall knife that the Company had presented to Joe in Danang. Joe had lost the case in a poker game with some Aussies;
they wanted his knife, but he would only relinquish the case. Intense thunderstorms were raging in the area; it was perfect.
We met with Joe again in January of this year. Joe Haire joined us too. It was a great visit.
But it was a great hardship to Joe to do it due to his physical condition.
We did not openly acknowledge it, but it was our goodbye visit with Joe. God bless him.
Joe was always there for me. We will miss him.
God rest his soul.