In 1956 Eugene Maulding was the youngest sergeant in Company-B, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. He was 18 at the time.
Most of the three years in the Corps was time spent aboard ship training for attacks that never materialized.
“The first place I went out of the United States was down to Puerto Rico on a cruise. It was late ’56,” he recalled more than half a century later. “We did a landing exercise from a transport ship called the Lake Champlain.
“Our whole battalion was aboard the ship. We climbed over the side onto landing nets and down into the landing craft alongside. From there we went ashore. It was all very cut and dry. Lots of training.
“My next adventure was a Med Cruise in ’58. We sailed from Cherry Point, NC. We made landings in Italy, Sicily, and Spain during that cruise,” Maulding said. “While we were there they had a thing going in Lebanon. The Lebanese were tearing up Beruit. We stayed aboard ship ready to be called if needed.”
Shortly after his division returned to the States his unit got word one morning at 2 a.m. to board transport planes with full battle gear and fly to Venezuela.
“Vice President Richard Nixon’s motorcade was attacked by anti-American demonstrators on May 13, 1958,” he said, “We thought we were going to be called on to rescue the vice president. It didn’t happen. Nixon flew home to Washington, DC and that was that.”
Possibly the two most interesting things that happened to Maulding during his time in the Marine Corps was when his soccer team won the Atlantic and Pacific Championship. They were the best soccer team in the service.
In addition, Company-B, his unit, made “Life” magazine for its marching capabilities. There was an inter-service marching contest with full field packs and rifles. His company marched 31 miles in 7-hours and 15-minutes as he remembered, and not a single man fell out. B-Company won the contest.
After a tour in the Marine Corps, Maulding went to work for the New York State Prison System.
“On New Year’s Day I was on my way to Sing Sing Penitentiary to begin my 28 years in the prison system,” he said. “For the next four years I worked in Sing Sing.
“One day I remember I was home when we heard the horn go off. Two guys had escaped and we were sent out in pairs to search for them. We came up with nothing, so our major told us to start all over and search the prison. He didn’t think they had escaped the facility.
“During the second search I was looking up at the ceiling and saw a ceiling light that was pushed down. I climbed up there and shined my light around the corner and four eyes were staring back at me from the dark. We caught the two guys who were serving time for armed robbery and homicide. I got a beautiful letter from the warden.
Maulding retired in 1991. He and his wife, Donna, moved to Englewood. They have three daughters: Deanna, Doreen, and Dawn.
Name: Eugene H Maulding
D.O.B: 5 Nov 1938
Hometown: Plattsburgh, NY
Currently: Englewood, FL
Entered Service: 16 July 1956
Discharged: 15 July 1962
Unit: Company-B, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division
Commendations: Good Conduct medal
This story was first published in the Charlotte Sun newspaper, Port Charlotte, Fla. on Monday, July 15, 2018 and is republished with permission.
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