In 1980, my family left the closest place to Heaven on Earth, and moved to Norfolk, Va, where my father was to attend the Armed Forces Staff College. The day we arrived, we learned that an old family friend was also attending, and would be living right down the street from us. I went with dad as he walked down the street to greet this old friend, and I will never forget my first meeting with Wayne Rollings.
He was young looking to me, and I was only 11. He had a chew of tobacco in his cheek that would have choked a mule, and he held a yellow solo cup in his right hand, which was missing two fingers. And the thing I remember most was when he spoke, he had such a pronounced Southern accent that I couldn't understand a word he said.
The Rollings had three children, a daughter my age, a son a few years younger, and then another daughter not yet school age. Because of the friendship of our fathers, and the fact that we were Marine children (who chew nails while other kids suck on cotton candy), we became good friends. I was, after a few days, able to understand Major Rollings drawl.
Wayne Rollings was the first person in my memory that I would have described as a PT stud. He was a physical machine. He had joined the Marine Corps in 1960, and served until 1965, when he got out and went to college. He came back into the Corps in 1968 as a second lieutenant, and was almost immediately sent to Vietnam.
In September of 1969, then Lieutenant Rollings earned the Navy Cross while leading a Force Recon patrol deep in enemy controlled territory. When his patrol was engaged, he advanced under fire to protect his point man, who had some trouble with his weapon. Then he charged the withdrawing enemy troops, taking a piece of high ground where he was able to call in air strikes on all the possible escape routes of the enemy troops. He was wounded by grenade shrapnel and had several bullets go through his clothing, and one hit his gas mask, ripping it off his waist. He was also awarded two Silver Stars and a Bronze Star, and did another tour in Vietnam in 1972 as an advisor to the South Vietnamese Marines.
In 1981, he would set a world record for sit-ups. He did 40,000 in 16 hours, and only quit cause he had to pee. I think I can safely say that I haven't done 40,000 sit-ups in my whole life (in fairness, I haven't done any since my discharge from the Marine Corps.) For several years, he and some slobbering Soviet traded the record back and forth, but in '81, Rollings put it out of reach. The Russian later beat his total by doing sets of 5,000. If Rollings had done them in sets, he'd still be doing sit-ups.
Wayne Rollings went on to become a Major General. He is still a PT stud. His son served in the Marine Corps in Iraq, and his second daughter is married to a Marine. Again, a single family has taken on more of the burden so so many don't have to. I wonder if Obama thinks this is "fair"?