The three most important things the Marine Corps does for the Nation are make Marines, win the Nation’s battles, and develop quality citizens. The first two are objectives that can been easily recognized. Make Marines–more than 30,000 citizens graduate Marine Corps recruit training each year. Win battles–Battle of Iwo Jima, Battle of Okinawa, and Battle of Derna, all of which can be read about in history books. The last one can only be known by those who have the pleasure of knowing one.
Marine Corps Veteran Angus “Gator” Alberson, a native of Hartford, Alabama, served in Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 451, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina from 1966-1970. Today, Alberson owns American Machining and Manufacturing in Varnville, South Carolina, and is a prime example of the Marine Corps’ third objective.
“I remember sitting in class with the recruiter when my friend Bill whispered something in my ear,” said Alberson. “The recruiter said, ‘Hey Red!’ because he was a redhead, ‘If you got something to say then you can stand up and tell us all.’ It was funny because Billy always had something to say, but he was at loss for words.”
“I would say that incident with my friend Billy made the Marines stand out,” said Alberson. “That and they have the sharpest uniforms in the world. Also, my uncle was a Marine, and he was the one that I looked up to the most.”
Alberson shipped to Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, in August 1966. After graduation and completion of his Military Occupation Specialty School, Alberson was given a choice of duty station due to his superior performance during training. Alberson chose to carry out his duties as an aircraft mechanic at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
“When I got to VMFA-451, I actually ended up working on the flight-line because that’s where they needed people,” said Alberson. “I never left; I never went to the engine shop, but it ended up being a good thing because I really enjoyed it– catching the birds, sending them out and getting to meet all of the officers. It was a good job, probably the best I’ve ever had.”
Alberson married his wife Johnette in 1969 and completed his service tour in 1970. He had originally wanted to return to Alabama but agreed to stay local to Beaufort, South Carolina because his wife didn’t want to leave her hometown.
“I got out of the Marine Corps on a Friday, and that afternoon, I stopped at a tool and dial shop that was right outside of town and spoke to a guy named Turner Tootin and asked for a job,” said Alberson. “He told me to be there on Tuesday morning, and I stayed there for eight years.”
Over the years, Alberson and Mr. Tootin became good friends. Mr. Tootin even helped Alberson start his own business. From taking him to get a loan from the bank, helping him to get the machinery he needed, and even giving him work out of his own shop, Mr. Tootin did everything he could to help get Alberson on his feet.
“The Lord put me in the right place at the right time and put me with the right people,” said Alberson. “However, I realized over the years that when people ask you to do a job, they don’t want excuses; they want the job done, and I feel that realizing that had made a big difference.”
Alberson has taken on many different jobs over the years. Some are individual projects and others are bigger repeat orders that come from outside businesses.
“It was near 20 years ago that I had a Lieutenant and Sergeant that came here from Parris Island and wanted the pull-up bars,” said Alberson. “So we sketched it up here about 20 years ago and have been making it for them ever since.”
“The pull-up bars are used throughout the Marine Corps and enable us to inspire a competitive nature while visiting high school students, county fairs, and large national events,” said Staff Sgt. Justin Lundy, Enhanced Marketing Team Marine with 6MCD. “Having an interactive element at an event provides the public with more than just a conversation.”
In addition to the EMV teams, the pull-up bars are also located in every Marine recruiting office and a few other select locations.
“It’s neat seeing all the exposure with the Marines using the pull-up bars we make here,” said Alberson. “I remember my son sending me a picture of the Marines using one at the Liberty Ball game not long ago.”
Alberson is both proud of his service and the work that he and his team do at the business location. At his facility, Alberson showcases his Marine Corps service by displaying a Marine Corps flag outside the building and by hanging up Marine Corps paraphernalia on the inside.
“The pull-up bars give the community an opportunity to demonstrate their own abilities to earn a prize and create a competitive environment amongst their peers,” said Lundy. “The Marine Corps is unique in this aspect because we are the only branch that conducts pull-ups during physical fitness tests.”
“I really see the pull-up bars as my way to give back to the Marine Corps,” said Alberson. “I think the Marine Corps really gave me the drive, enthusiasm, the ability to stick to it–to all of this stuff. I look at it like the Marine Corps is still giving after all of these years. The Marine Corps is one of the best things I have ever done for myself in order to get my head together.”
Alberson explained that the Marine Corps has made a lasting impact in his life, and he often reminisces on all of his old memories. He met many good friends throughout his career that he still keeps in contact with to this very day.
“It’s the best there is; I don’t know how to say it otherwise,” said Alberson. “Sometimes I wish I would have stayed in, but then again, I think the Lord was involved. He only knows what lies ahead.”