- Slides: 25
KHR Project By: Savannah Bagley, Jordan Stone, & Alyssa Montejo Period 5
As you continue through life and hold memories of your military service, always know that… King High Remembers 2011
Guenther Griebau Born on June 21, 1937 in Hamburg, Germany Guenther was born to a ships carpenter and a stay at home mom.
Childhood The Griebau Family stayed in Hamburg, Germany for 9 years. After the 2 nd World War, his parents got a divorce. Guenther stayed with his father, and his sister stayed with his mother. His main source of meat as a child was rabbit meat because his family raised rabbits. Griebau was growing up in Nazi, Germany during WWII. His family’s house was bombed to the ground twice as a child. He spent months living in drainage ditches without electricity or water. Although he went through all these trials, he still fought for America.
Coming to America While working as a ships carpenter, his father met a woman in America and always wanted to go back to marry her. Three years after his parents’ divorce, Griebau moved with his father to America. He would never see his mother or sister again. On October 23, 1949, they started their journey to the states. They lived in New York for a while, then settled in Chester, California. “America is the most beautiful country in the world!” says Griebau.
If there was one thing Guenther lived for, it was sports. It was hard for him to understand English, but despite that nothing else got in his way. He loved playing sports as he was offered 3 baseball and 3 football scholarships. Guenther turned these opportunities down for something he wanted more. Disappointing his father, Guenther Griebau wanted to join the U. S. Marine Corps instead.
Military Service--U. S. Marine Corps June 1956 - June 1982 Served for 26 years and 13 days As a freshman in high school, Guenther knew he wanted to join the Marines. He had his goals and was driven to achieve them. He joined the Marines because it presented a physical challenge. It was easy for him to accept the Marine Corps because he grew up in a disciplined country. Guenther felt he was built to be a Marine. He enlisted in 1956 and prepared for the Vietnam War.
First Days in Marines He loved the Marines, and he wouldn’t pick any other military branch. He went to boot camp in San Diego, California. His first days were rough, and the Marines’ boot camp was the most intense. “Those first days were hell, absolute hell, ” states Griebau. Guenther first started as an infantryman. Once they saw how fast he could type, he was changed to be a clerk in administration. This benefited him because it allowed him to have more travel opportunities. He was first stationed in Camp Pendleton, California.
Time of service: During Vietnam War The Vietnam War from 1945 -1954 was a war between North and South Vietnam. The South was fighting for Anti-Communism, and the North was fighting for Communism. The U. S. supported Southern Vietnam financially to try to contain the spread of communism. The Tet Offensive by the north turned to U. S. against the war, and in 1973 they withdrew from Vietnam. In April of 1975, South Vietnam surrendered to the north and Vietnam was reunited.
~American Embassy~ Saigon, Vietnam This is where Griebau was assigned to for 18 months in 1969. He was a body guard for Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker. The Northern Vietnamese wanted to kill the American Ambassador and any American in general.
American Embassy Promotion Gy Sgt. Griebau Later, Griebau was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant by the ambassador. It was his duty to protect the ambassador from the Viet Cong who frequently attacked the embassy. Each promotion was a major accomplishment and honor to Griebau.
Guenther’s Memorable Moment at the Embassy The embassy killed a man that was working for the Viet Cong. They promised his wife money to support her and her kids. She was upset and told the embassy she was going to go there and burn herself and her children. It was Guenther’s job to make sure they were safe and didn’t burn themselves. When she arrived, Guenther pulled her and her kids into the embassy, but left her mother outside the embassy gates because he had no instruction to let her in. The press heard about it and soon they were at the embassy. …
Guenther’s Memorable Moment at the Embassy cont. Guenther went outside to allow the lady’s mother to join them inside the embassy. When he opened the gate to let her in, the press rushed in to try to get questions and pictures. The situation then became a serious security issue and Guenther tried to keep the press out. The press got out of control so he had to shut the gate. As he was closing the gate, he slammed it on the cameraman’s camera lens. The man was very upset because his lens never got replaced, but in the end Guenther was able to keep the woman and her children safe. Haha poor cameraman!
View on Stress Guenther Griebau was always confident, therefore he never really had stress. “People bring stress upon themselves, ” says Griebau. He didn’t see much combat, so he was never really scared or stressed out while in Vietnam.
Discrimination In Vietnam, Guenther didn’t experience any discrimination. He felt that not liking someone had nothing to do with their race, but with who they were as a person. Guenther believed that discrimination was blown out of text. “Everyone has someone they hate, but it’s not because of their color. I have a lot of friends and enemies in every race, ” says Griebau.
Places Traveled Guenther Griebau has traveled around the world 10 times. Places he’s traveled include Italy, Australia, Japan, Vietnam, and many places in the U. S. He loved that he was able to travel. This is one of the reasons why he loved the military so much.
Entertainment On his down time, Guenther liked to stay active and have fun. He played sports and hung out with his friends. He also loved to travel.
Highlight Guenther’s highlight was his life in general. He felt he was never cheated and was very blessed. He had opportunities in life, and was thankful for what he had. Coming to America was also a highlight of his life. He appreciates this country so much. Joining the Marines was a huge highlight of his life as well.
His Last Military Days Guenther’s last day in the Marines was very sad for him. He left because he didn’t get along with one of the sergeants he was working with. “It was a sad day ending something you love after 26 years, ” says Griebau. Guenther was proud of what he has accomplished, and he wouldn’t have wanted his military days to be any different. Retired: June 30, 1982
Life After the Military Guenther Griebau retired on a Friday and had another job by that next Monday. He worked for Toyota and owned his own traffic school. Now he is involved with Veteran organizations, and he belongs to the American Legion. He is now on the board of directors for Riverside National Cemetery and works with the blind. Guenther attends reunions once a year and has many friends from the military. Also, he is involved in community service, and he loves helping people.
Proud to be A Marine …And this is what he showed us. These flags mean so much to him.
King High Remembers “I love this program, ” Griebau says. “I will be here every year that I am still alive. ”