Saturday, September 06, 2003


Los Angeles Times

August 1, 2003

'Marine General' Held After Loaded Gun Found

Uniformed man seeks a weapons permit at the San Bernardino sheriff's

By Hector Becerra, Times Staff Writer

A Hesperia man who walked into a sheriff's station in full Marine dress
uniform to apply for a concealed-weapon permit was arrested Thursday on
suspicion of impersonating a veteran of a foreign war and having a loaded
handgun in his Mercedes-Benz, authorities said.

Lawrence Murphy Jr., 62, was dressed as a decorated two-star U.S. Marine
Corps general when he walked into the San Bernardino County Sheriff's
headquarters, said Sgt. Jack Phillips.

"He was wearing ribbons that identified him as having served in Vietnam,"
Phillips said.

"A person that age, I don't know why they would come in wearing a full
Marine uniform under those circumstances.

"It raised a bunch of red flags."

Murphy never served in the military, Phillips said. With Murphy's
permission, investigators checked his 1992 Mercedes-Benz bearing a
personalized license plate "GEN 2" and found the loaded gun, which led to
the weapon charge.

Investigators serving a search warrant at Murphy's home found an assortment
of U.S. Marine Corps uniforms and military ribbons, Phillips said.

A Marine flag and a prisoner of war flag hung outside his home, Phillips

"Maybe he thought the uniform would help him get the license," Phillips

Military duty, however, has no bearing on getting a license for a concealed
weapon, the sergeant said.

5 August

MILINET: A Sea Story

By: SSgt Clyde Queen, USMCR (HD)


Speaking of people who pass themselves off as Generals, let me tell you something that happened to me. Back in 1955, I was sitting at the counter of a "greasy spoon cafe" which was half of the building that housed the Greyhound bus terminal in Santa Ana, CA. One afternoon, while having a hamburger and cup of coffee (On a Marine Corps buck Sergeant's pay, it was about all I could afford at the time.) A old scraggly looking fellow came in and took a seat about three stools down from me.

He wore an old khaki shirt & pants, and a pair of old brown shoes that were paint splattered. He had about a four day growth of beard, and was badly in need of a haircut. He ordered a cup of coffee, and sat there glancing over at me.

This stranger kept staring at me, and I kept expecting to hear the old song, "I was in the Corps back in 'whenever,' can you spare me a dollar for another glass of wine?"

Finally he spoke. He had a deep southern accent. "Sarge, you from out there in El Toro?" he asked. "Yep, I'm from El Toro," I replied, and kept eating my hamburger, trying to avoid looking at him. "What do you do out at El Toro Sarge?" I replied, "Oh a little bit of everything, and not a hell of a lot of anything." (I kept on eating.) Finally it comes! "I was in the Marine Corps he says. I retired after (32 years ??) in the Corps." (I thought to myself, "Good grief! How in the hell do they always find me?")

He kept taking about the Marine Corps, so I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. I asked him, "Hey Buddy, what was your last duty station when you retired from the Corps?" He said, "My last Duty Station was Cherry Point, North Carolina. But, I was also out at El Toro, and the Commanding General there now, is a good friend of mine."

Figuring I'd trip him up real good, I said, "Oh yeah! That's that big Marine Corps infantry base back there." To which he immediately replied, "Oh no Sarge, there ain't no Infantry at Cherry Point, that's a Marine Corps Air Base!" (I thought to myself, "Well, by God he got that right, maybe he was in the Corps after all.") So, I asked him what his rank was when he retired. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I sort of figured that maybe (just maybe) he was perhaps a Staff Sergeant when he retired.

He replied, "Well Sarge, I was a Major (and I damn near spit my coffee out) and then he went on to say "General." To which I immediately replied, "Now look you old fart, if you were in the Corps, and you retired as a Staff NCO, be proud of it. The Staff NCOs are the backbone of the Corps. Don't try to blow smoke up my ass by telling me that your were a Major General."

He then wanted to know why I thought he was trying to "Blow smoke up my ass," and asked me why I didn't believe he was a MAJGEN. I pointed out his physical appearance, and told him if he was a MAJGEN that he certainly would not be in a "greasy spoon" coffee shop, drinking coffee with a buck Sergeant.

He said, "Well Sergeant, just so you won't think I'm blowing smoke up your ass, I want to show you something. He reached into his wallet, and pulled out a Marine Corps I.D. Card. It had his photo in a Marine Corps uniform with three stars on the collar, and identified him as "R.E. Sanderson, LTGEN USMC Ret. (He explained that they gave him the 3rd star upon retirement.) I just about choked on my coffee, and hamburger, and broke out into a sweat. Stuttering, and trying to find the right thing to say, I started trying to apologize. He said, "No, no, Sarge you don't need to apologize, you said what was on your mind, and I respect that."

About 8 or 9 months later, I was transferred to 12th Marine Corps Reserve and Recruitment District, 100 Harrison Street, San Francisco. I was assigned for a while to the Public Relations Section with Captain T. J. Caulkin, the PIO. That office had a bio on every retired Marine Corps general in the 12th MC District. I went to the file, and I'll be damned! There was an 8 X 10 black & white photo of the General I had been talking to in the "greasy spoon cafe" It was no other than, Maj Gen R. E. Sanderson, USMC Ret. He WAS NOT a phony!

As it turned out, the General loved working around his house and in his garden, and he didn't bother trying to "Look like a General," when he was doing hard work around his house. He had extended an invitation to me and my young wife to visit him someday at his home, but unfortunately, I never got a chance to take him up on it.

Ever since that time, if someone tells me that they are a General, or a Colonel, or whatever, I take them for their word. Someone else will have to prove that they are not who they say they are. One experience of calling a general officer an "Old Fart," and telling him that he looked like a frigging bum, and damn near calling him a liar. . .and not ending up losing my stripes and spending some brig time, is something I never want to experience again..

Semper Fi,

Clyde H. Queen, Sr.
Formerly H&MS 15, MAG 15
Squadron Training NCO
MCAS, El Toro (Santa Ana) CA