View Full Version : MCB Hawaii legend hails farewell to troops

06-14-04, 06:16 AM
MCB Hawaii legend hails farewell to troops
Submitted by: MCB Hawaii
Story Identification #: 2004611151629
Story by Cpl. Monroe F. Seigle

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii(June 4, 2004) -- With 13 promotions and 32 years of experience under his belt, a Marine Corps Base Hawaii legend is saying goodbye.

If you ask Lt. Col. Danny Strand, former antiterrorism officer here, how he managed to be promoted so many times, he will just smile and tell you, "I had some of the best officers and noncommissioned officers in the Marine Corps teach me everything I know."

Strand was only 16 when he decided he needed to find a job. His grandparents, with whom he lived, were struggling financially. Although he was between his sophomore and junior years of high school, he decided the military would be a job he could perform in well.

"I remember I called the Air Force recruiters first," recalled a smiling Strand about his youth. "I told them I wanted to join, and the first thing they asked me was if I had a high school diploma. When I told them 'no,' they hung up on me, and all I heard was the line go dead."

Attempt number two was a call to the Army. The recruiter asked him if he graduated high school as well. The recruiter told him that since he didn't graduate high school and he was so young, he would more than likely not pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test.

"The last call I made was to the Marines," said Strand. "I told the recruiter I wanted to join and he asked me three questions: He asked me where I lived, how to get there and how long it would take from where he was [to get to where I was].

"Once I gave him the directions to my house, he told me he would be there in 45 minutes. I remember him arriving in 35. When he arrived, I was standing in the driveway," Strand continued. "He had a clipboard in his hand, and he looked at me and said, 'Are you Strand?' I told him I was, and he handed me that clipboard and said, 'sign here.' That was my recruiting speech," Strand said with a chuckle.
Strand turned 17 years old, Aug. 25, 1972. Three days later, he was at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S.C., to begin recruit training. Although he was the youngest recruit in the platoon, he earned the rank of private first class upon graduation.

It was shortly afterward that Strand decided he loved the Marine Corps. By the time he was age 18, he had already attained the rank of corporal. More impressive still, he was a sergeant by 19.

Strand often says he is both "married to the Corps" and his wife, Wendy Strand, whom he married at 19.

"I told my wife I could not afford to be married until I made sergeant," said Strand with a voice that demands attention. "I remember I was promoted to sergeant May 1, 1975, and 17 days later, my wife and I got married. She has been a good wife and stood by me through all the hard times."

"Life in the Marine Corps has not been easy," recalled Wendy Strand. "I remember the long hours my husband put in while he was on the drill field. Life in the Corps takes a toll on spouses just like it does the Marine. Through all the hard times, he has always been the kind of Marine you expect Marines to be."

Strand was selected for the rank of gunnery sergeant during his tour as a drill instructor. Upon completion of drill instructor duty, he was promoted to warrant officer by the commanding general of MCRD, San Diego.

He earned the rank of chief warrant officer 3 before earning a temporary commission as a first lieutenant, in the status of limited duty officer. He became a permanent officer in '90, when he was promoted to the rank of captain.
Although Strand was promoted to the rank of major in '96, he didn't think he would attain the rank of lieutenant colonel before retiring.

"The year I was promoted to lieutenant colonel, there were 50 other officers up for promotion in my [military occupational specialty] and only 26 were selected," he said with a solemn look on his straight-edged face. "There were 24 Marines that were passed over, and I honestly think that some of them had a better record than I did. Many of them were great officers and outstanding Marines. I was really surprised when I was informed that I was selected."

Strand is scheduled to retire from the active duty ranks in approximately two years, after he completes a tour as executive officer of Marine Corps Logistics Base, Barstow, Calif., his next duty station. Many here say that MCB Hawaii is losing a great Marine.


Lieutenant Col. Danny Strand, former anti-terrorism officer aboard MCB Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, is scheduled to retire from the active duty Marine Corps ranks in approximately two years. Photo by: Cpl. Monroe F. Seigle