Sun, Dec. 15

Always a Marine, Rimrock’s John Maddox gives back with Post 135

American Legion Post 135 Cornville’s John Maddox served in Vietnam with the U. S. Marine Corps. (Photo by Bill Helm)

American Legion Post 135 Cornville’s John Maddox served in Vietnam with the U. S. Marine Corps. (Photo by Bill Helm)

RIMROCK – As with many Americans who serve their country in the armed forces, Rimrock resident John Maddox came from a military family.

His father served in the U. S. Navy, a career man with 22 years. Oldest brother also went into the Navy. His youngest brother was in the U.S. Air Force. And three of the Maddox family, John included, were – are marines, because once a marine, always a marine.

For Maddox, military pride isn’t just a catch phase. It’s a part of his life as much as his name, rank, serial number.

“When you’re in a military family, you have a sense of pride in what the military does to ensure our freedoms,” Maddox says. “It’s ingrained in you. It’s a sense of duty.”

When Maddox joined the U. S. Marine Corps in 1972, American soldiers were dying in Vietnam, and there was no end in sight to the war.

“I felt that joining was only right, to do my part,” Maddox says. “Peace talks were going on in December of 1972. Christmas was pretty hectic. There was supposed to be a cease fire, but somebody forgot to tell the North Vietnamese.”

Barely an adult at 19, Maddox says it was “unnerving” to serve as a mechanic without a fire arm, then typical for his duty as a non-combat marine.

“In today’s military, you have a weapon at your side,” he says. “I was always a working target. You’d hear it zing by you.”

Though a strong memory, Vietnam was in Maddox’s rearview mirror by spring 1973 as he went to the Philippines to wait for orders. Then, off to Japan before San Francisco and then finally in November of 1973, home – El Centro, California.

“Met my mom at her work,” Maddox recalls. “I was a week early. She started crying.”

For two years after Vietnam, Maddox worked a Reserve Training Unit in San Diego before spending three years at the El Toro base in Tustin, California. Not one to say enough is enough, Maddox spent 29 additional years as a civil service federal employee under the Department of Defense.

“My whole life has been surrounded by the military,” Maddox says.

And then, upon retirement, Maddox found another way to stay active – so to speak.

“I really didn’t become active in a Veterans organization until I retired,” Maddox says. “When you retire, you tend to reflect a lot. I knew that I had the time. I just felt that sense of giving back to the military structure, that mindset for people before me or after me.”

His military home of sorts these days is American Legion Post 135 Cornville. As a resident of the mon-municipality that is the Beaver Creek area, Maddox saw a need for representation that Post 135 began to fill with its first fundraiser in 2013.

“I wanted to support my country,” Maddox says. “When I heard about 135 and how they did outreach, I looked into it. Giving back means a lot. It’s an honor for me to be able to do something, not just for the overall community but also for the Veterans community.”

As chaplain, and as captain of the color guard and the honor guard, Maddox and Post 135 leads “a lot of flag ceremonies, we go to schools, and we do flag etiquette training.”

Post 135 also handles memorial services for deceased veterans, as well as Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veterans Day ceremonies.

Post 135 will be at the new military park in Cottonwood today for the flag raising. But earlier in the day, the group will be doing a flag raising ceremony at Montezuma Castle. Maddox would agree that a Marine’s job is never done.

“We took an oath to protect the constitution – and you never rescind that oath,” he says. “I’ve always felt a sense of honor. There’s a sense of oneness. That’s what a Veteran is. Gave of themselves.”

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