Major Glenn Ferguson, age 96, talks to Hometown Heroes about starting the Marine Wife Recognition Award in honor of his late wife. Ferguson served in the Marine Corps from 1939 until 1963, retiring as a major, and is the son of a World War I Marine. The interview takes place at Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, San Diego, CA.
Hometown Heroes: I see all these trophies. These are given out each year, and we see the Marines on the wall who outperformed all of the other Marines on that specific duty for that specific year.
Then we have this plaque over here on the wall that says: Irene Ferguson, Marine Wife Recognition Award. How did this happen? Where did this come from?
Major Ferguson: It's just that a lot of Marines believe that it's the wife that frees us to go overseas. When the General and I discussed it, we thought it would be a good idea that we show our appreciation to the wives, because you travel all over the world. You won't see monuments or statues to them, yet they deserve them as much as we do.
The thing that I like to make sure that I don't miss is the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation Gala where the awards are made by the General, and the women tell about the exploits of their contemporaries.
Hometown Heroes: And if it has your wife's name on it, she must have set the standard for Marine wives.
Major Ferguson: Well, I'd like to think that she does, but Marine wives have been supporting their men for decades long before either one of us showed up. It's always been that way. As a matter a fact, I guess it was even worse in the years gone by.
Hometown Heroes: What does it take to be a Marine?
Major Ferguson: Well, you have to dedicate yourself. A Marine can't just walk in and live the way so many of them do. They're sloppy and indifferent, especially on the jobs that they do. They have to be exacting. Sometimes, we put men of a little rank in very important jobs, and they expect them to outperform. That's the Marine way.
Like the sergeants used to say, "Don't ask questions. Do it."
Hometown Heroes: Lastly, what does it take to be a Marine wife?
Major Ferguson: Well, it takes a lot of guts. It takes a lot of work, a tremendous amount of work and dedication and understanding, a lot of understanding. A lot of forgiving, because the husband too often is gone, not there to comfort neither her nor the rest of the family. So, she has to do it all.