Nashvillian John L. Sales (b. April 7, 1947) served in the United States Marine Corps from May 1966 to May 1968. He underwent boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, basic training at Camp Geiger, North Carolina—part of the Camp Lejeune Marine facility, and advanced training at Camp Pendleton, California. He was flown by transport plane to Vietnam in December 1966. This collection consists of letters written home to his mother, photographs taken in country and on board the USS Iwo Jima, and miscellaneous items.
A member of Co. A, 1st Battalion, 4th Rgt., 3rd Marine Division, Pvt. Sales saw action in the northern sector of South Vietnam from December 1966 to June 1967, stationed at such places as Da Nang, Phu Bai, Hue, near the DMZ, Dong Ha and elsewhere in Quang Tri province. Sales received the Purple Heart medal, having been wounded twice in Vietnam—once in February 1967 by a sniper as he was crossing a rice paddy; secondly, in an April 10 night ambush by Viet Cong as his patrol was encamped along a trail. After convalescing on the USS Iwo Jima he left Vietnam in June 1967 to finish out his tour of duty in Okinawa. Sales returned stateside to in San Diego on the troopship General Nelson M. Walker in December 1967, leaving a canvas bunk covered with Nashville-related graffiti.