Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Donald Huston Ericson, who served in the Marine Corps from 1951-1955.
Donald Huston Ericson was born the son of professional boxer Don “The Terror” Long. Aware he would likely be drafted, and hoping to secure full military benefits, Ericson enlisted in the Marine Corps as a selective service volunteer in 1951. The day after enlisting, he was inducted into the Marine Corps and sent to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, Calif. After completing boot camp and rifle training, he was assigned as a voice radio operator and sent to radio school.
In 1952, Ericson was assigned to the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, 3rd Marine Division stationed at El Toro Marine Field in Santa Ana, Calif. During his spare time, the Marines at El Toro began a boxing team. Having been both an amateur boxer in high school and the son of a professional boxer, Ericson decided to join.
He competed for the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro Boxing Team in various events around California, including the 1953 Golden Gloves Tournament at the Hollywood Legion Stadium. In addition to major tournaments, he held or participated in boxing events at local high schools at recruiting events.
Following the end of the 1953 boxing season, Ericson returned to his regular duties at El Toro Marine Field. The next season, he participated in the first ever All Marine Tournament in Cherry Farm, North Carolina. Following the competition, the 3rd Marine Division was sent to Camp Gifu, northeast of Nagoya, Japan. There, he performed his duties as a voice radio operator and began boxing for the 3rd Marine Division’s boxing team. While in Japan, Ericson continued to participate in a number of boxing competitions and was eventually reassigned as a special services operator, where he organized athletic events for his fellow Marines. After spending fourteen months in Japan, he was sent to South Korea.
Several days after arriving in Korea, Ericson suffered a brain embolism. He was sent back to Japan, where he was told he could not box for six months. Upon returning to the U.S., he was assigned to Camp Pendleton, Calif, where he remained for the rest of his service.
Ericson was discharged from the Marine Corps in March 1955 at the rank of sergeant. After returning to his home in Colo., he attended Colorado University and boxed on the side.
Thank you for your service, Donald!
Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.
It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.
Editor: Kaylee Hogsed
Graphic Design: Emma Catlett