1974 · [Various places in the United States, Greece, and Italy, as described belo
by Kinley, Vernon Howar
[Various places in the United States, Greece, and Italy, as described belo, 1974. Printed memory book, accompanied by photo album with 182 photographs total (166 corner- mounted in album, 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches; and sixteen loose, 8 x 10 inches). Memory book: Folio. Red leatherette embossed in black with photo of Marine color guard on front cover, "First Battalion, Platoon 130" stamped on lower right of front cover. Photograph album: Folio. Red leatherette embossed with gilt Globe and Anchor on front cover. Some wear to extremities of both volumes. Some photos with light fading, loose photos starting to curl. Very good overall. An engaging collection of photographs and additional material, documenting African- American soldier Vernon Kinley's (1945-2004) service in the U.S. Marine Corps. The memory book from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego is similar to a high school yearbook, featuring all the activities the recruits took part in during boot camp, right up to graduation, including individual photos of all the graduates. The photograph album begins in September 1965 (based on date stamps on the photos) with images of Kinley and his fellow Marines on-base and engaged in field exercises. There are also images of Kinley visiting his family and attending a county/state fair, possibly as a recruiter. Also in this section are two (of a total of five) photos of Kinley and friends prominently displaying the record album, "Miles & Monk at Newport." In August 1966, Kinley was assigned to duty on ship, and takes numerous photographs of the ocean, the ship's interior, and fellow marines and seamen. The first stop featured in the album is somewhere in Greece, and then they are off to Italy (although it seems more likely that Italy would have been first). There are few photos of typical tourist spots; most shots are of Kinley and friends in restaurants and bars. By December 1967, he is back in the United States serving as a guard at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island (he includes a log entry and guard roster from his time there). He also appears to have a (apparently white) girlfriend. The last series of photos include several of a Halloween party and miscellaneous photos of friends and fellow marines.
The additional material includes promotion certificates and accompanying rank insignia for Kinley's time in the Marines: Private First Class (6/16/64), Lance Corporal (9/16/65), and Corporal (6/21/67). He also has his Good Conduct Medal and his certificate of completion for "Tactics of the Marine Rifle Squad." On a draft resume Kinley notes that he served as an "Administrative Aide," and in "Supply, Security, [and] Military Police" during his time in the Marine Corps. According to the records at Dayton National Cemetery, where he is interred, Kinley served in Vietnam; however, there is no record of his time there in this collection. In the few years after his discharge he worked as a salesman and plater, mostly in Springfield, Ohio. By 1971 he was in Los Angeles, working as a salesman and security guard and, according to an unsubmitted job application, looking for work as a parking attendant. We were unable to find further information about Kinley; however, his obituary in the SPRINGFIELD NEWS- SUN (12/12/04) notes that he was a member of the Institute of Divine Metaphysical Research (founded by one Henry Clifford Kinley, possibly a relative) in Los Angeles, and was employed as the Regional Secretary for the NAACP.
Although African Americans served as Marines during the Revolutionary War, from 1798 to 1942 the Marine Corps refused to recruit African Americans and other minorities. Even with President Truman's Executive Order 9981 in 1948 to desegregate the armed forces, the Marines did not fully integrate until 1960. No doubt the work was not completed by 1964, but Kinley's pride in his service is clear
(Inventory #: WRCAM55476)