Jacksonville, North CarolinaThe first thing Carroll William Braxton remembers about June of 1943 is the heat. It was hot in Manassas, Virginia when he and two buddies caught a train to Quantico, and then another to Jacksonville, North Carolina. Braxton was 18, and as World War II engulfed more of America’s mental and physical bandwidth, he didn’t want to wait to be drafted. He wanted one of those sharp, blue uniforms sported by United States Marines.
Then came the scorching abuse.
“They made us line up and empty our pockets, and shouted, ‘We don't want those knives in here,’ I guess they thought we always had knives, you know," Braxton says. "And I remember I was wearing a hat, and