The pride of a Marine Corps Veteran
Going from being raised one of the hillbillies of Tennessee and Kentucky, to the US Marine Corps in 1955 and then to the shores of Vaitogi, American Samoa, a proud Marine tells his lifelong story— that of US Marine Master Sergeant Charles “Chuck” Hatcher.
“I had lived the busy lifestyle of a retired Marine and I got tired of it, so when my Samoan love Sauimoana Faleafine Hatcher really wanted us to move back to her homeland, I thought I would take a shot for the first time and see,” he said with a wink.
“Wow, to my amazement, I didn’t know why she even left here in the first place. I loved it then, I am still loving every moment of it now, in the bushes of Vaitogi and our lovely farm that sustains us and many other relatives and friends.”
To fill out the details of his life, Hatcher said he was a flashy Marine from the beginning, with a first wife out of the Philippines, and he had raised his first five children from that marriage.
He served through the years of the Viet Nam war and came out shining. “I was an Aviation Supply Officer for the Marines and I had security clearance during the whole war time. I was hardly home, but it was during those busy years I made one trip back home, and my cousin Merlin Jackson, who is my idol, called me and said, “I have a Samoan beauty working for my cafeteria that I want you to meet!”
“That was the first time I had ever met a Samoan girl and she was all I wanted in a lady!” he told Samoa News.
“Three years later, in 1968, I was married to her, and up until now, I am still the happiest Marine alive, satisfied and well taken care of, here in paradise!” Charles Hatcher said proudly about his life.
Sauimoana and Charles have two children; daughter Christina Maria and son David Ray Hatcher ll who is also serving in the US Army. This Veterans Day, Hatcher did not join the Veterans at their major celebration, saying he is a happy and satisfied retired Marine at home.
Asked about the Viet Nam war, he said, “Most of the information given to us at the time was top secret; we could not even share information with our wives. So you see, some of what we had to do especially in that war, laid with the many of us who fell then, and stayed buried within our proud Marine hearts.”
Before his seventeenth year, he went to school in Tennessee, saying that until he was sixteen, he had been a “hillbilly to the bone”. His cousin, Merlin Jackson, who was a Marine, urged him to enlist in the Marine Corps. “I did then and I never lost that bond in my heart for the Marine Corps— I loved every moment of being a Marine!”
He retired after 22 years of service and fell back on his talents as a musician, saying he “lived a wild life then.” When he came to Samoa, he joined Harry Miller and the band. Then, suddenly, twenty-six years ago, he had a major stroke. He is recovering, he says, but as a Marine, “you should never tint that image with ailment, at least in public,” he laughed.
He was born July 29, 1938 to parents Ralph Hatcher and Obeira Robertson-Hatcher of Murray, Kentucky. He has five sisters and two brothers: Mary, Charles, Brenda, Ralph, Dorris, Carol, Wanda and David.
His favorite brother David came here “just to check him out” in July 2013, and “he loved this rock of ours— he is coming again!”
David had come to see his brother’s home, ”where I am to lay after I turn 99 years old”— and Hatcher told Samoa News that his brother’s favorite bar is Tisa’s Barefoot Bar in Alega.
Samoa News wishes the best to all Veterans, those who came out to participate, and especially those who— due to age or illness— remained home during their grand celebration this week.