Richard A. Perkins
U. S. Marines
WWII US Military
Dates of Service: 05/20/1945 - 1947
Rifleman, 1st Marine Reg 1st Marine Div, C Company

Dick was born in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, as the youngest of three sons to Dr. Joseph A. Perkins, a general practitioner and radiologist, and Louise Berry Powers Perkins. During World War II, Dick recalls his family donating the wrought-iron fence around their three-acre property to a scrap-iron drive. He donated all his toy soldiers and tanks for a rubber drive. Dick graduated from Randolph-Macon Military Academy in Front Royal, Virginia in May of 1945, and joined the U.S. Marine Corps a week later. "They were tough and I wanted to be tough. They were the best," he says of his decision. While in boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, Japan surrendered. The news, he recalls, was withheld from trainees. "We were in training for one thing only, the invasion of Japan," he says. After boot camp he left on August 20, 1945, for Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. From there he was sent on to Norfolk, Virginia, where he shipped out to Tientsin, China, arriving in October of 1945. His mission was to guard the city against Chinese communists until a nationalist government could be established. In an engagement with communist bandits, he earned a Purple Heart when he was wounded in the leg by a mortar shell. It exploded so near him he eventually lost hearing in his right ear. While in China, Dick saw duty as a chaplain's driver. His company served as a guard for General George C. Marshall who was traveling on an 800-mile rail trip to meet with Russian leaders at Mukden, Manchuria. Dick returned to the States on the USS Wakefield in "February or March" of 1947, and was discharged at Quantico, Virginia. He attended the University of Pennsylvania for about 18 months, then finished his degree in economics at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia. Dick began work as a systems analyst for Thalhimer's, a Richmond-based department store. He then joined Moore Business Forms in marketing, a career that eventually brought him to Shreveport as sales manager for Bancroft Paper Company. He later entered the real estate business. He married Alma Pitt on June 29, 1953. They have two sons and four grandchildren.