Donor Spotlight - Al Pasquale
By Roxanne Baker
It’s been almost 60 years since Al Pasquale marched across the parade deck at his boot camp graduation at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island (MCRD PI) on May 6, 1955. As he looks at the faded black and white photo of fellow recruits standing in perfect formation, he’s reminded of the brotherhood to which he is so closely connected.
“I’m looking at myself as an 18-year-old young man looking over the shoulder of the senior DI. I’m looking at 60 other Marines—some who didn’t see their grandchildren grow. That’s very emotional.”
At graduation, Pasquale was 5-foot-4-inches and 128 pounds and a different person than he was just months earlier.
“It was the proudest day of my life when I graduated boot camp, because I proved something to myself and my family. I proved that I could excel,” Pasquale said.
Pasquale was selected for aviation operations and went to the Naval Air Technical Training Center (NATTC). He spent a year at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point handling the administration for pilots conducting training missions to various locations. He then reported to Marine Corps Air Station Kaneohe Bay via Camp Pendleton in October 1956. He was stationed there for two years with Marine Transport Squadron (Light) 161 (HMR(L)-161) and did war game training on ships with British and Australian troops. His role was to sustain operability of the aircraft and update log books for pilots.
In October of 1958, Pasquale got orders to return to the mainland and was sent to Brooklyn Navy Yard until February 1959. He then was discharged as a corporal and spent another four years in the Marine Corps Reserve.
After the Marine Corps, he moved to Philadelphia and spent 30 years in sales management. He also became involved in choral singing; a passion he continues to this day. He leads community theatre and musical productions, which involve singing and dancing. He was also a ballroom dancer and competed professionally; his favorite dances were the Latin styles of cha cha, mambo and merengue.
“Even when I was in the Corps, I loved to dance,” Pasquale said. “I was a ham, I loved it.”
Pasquale said it’s important to maintain the Marine Corps connection in retirement. He has been a member of the Marine Corps Association for 20 years and receives his Leatherneck magazine each month. He also frequently participates in Marine Corps reunions, and he’s planning the 60th reunion of his 1955 MCRD PI graduating class slated for June 2015. He has been on two cruises, traveled to Marine Corps Base Quantico twice, visited 8th and I in Washington, DC, and visited MCRD PI four times on reunion trips.
“The wives and Marines get together under the same roof, and we trade sea stories. We sometimes embellish the sea stories, and the women look at us like we’re crazy and we have a good time.”
“We as Marines have a camaraderie second to none. We have a brotherhood. Semper Fidelis.”