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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. I - Page 197« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Mrs. Marguerite Oswald Resumed)

Mrs. Oswald.
where I was working and said, "Mother, I want to join the Marines, and I have quit school."
Now, Mr. Kreeger-and he may be leaving-Mr. Frank Kreeger who is owner of Kreeger's Specialty Shop, and all of the personnel there-this is a very small shop, and Miss Lillian, who was manager, knows of this. I became very excited and I started to cry. And they let me go home with Lee.
So Lee was determined at age 16--his birthday was going to be October 18th, right--and this was October 7th--was going to join the Marines. So what Lee wanted me to do was falsify his birth certificate, which I would not do. And he kept after me, like a boy.
Now, this is a normal boy, wanting to join the Marines.
"I don't see why you don't just put that I am 17 years old."
I said, "Lee, We cannot do that."
He said, "Everybody else"----
I said, "No, I am not going to do it."
For 2 or 3 days Lee and I bickered back and forth about me falsifying his age.
So I have a very good friend, Mr. Clem Sehrt, who is an attorney in New Orleans, La. I called him and told him I had a personal problem. I had not seen Mr. Sehrt since early childhood. I knew the family. That Lee was not of age and he wanted to join the Marines. And he quit the school and told them we were going out of town.
He said, "Marguerite, I cannot advise you. It would be unethical. But a lot of boys join the service at age 16."
So he could not advise me.
My sister, Mrs. Charles Murret, 757 French Street, knows of the complete story. And so does my brother-in-law, Mr. Charles Murret, who also said, "Let him join, let him go. If he wants to go go badly, let him join the Marines."
I, at that time, was living at 126 Exchange Place, which is the Vieux Carre section of the French Quarter of New Orleans.
And, by the way, the papers said we lived over a saloon at that particular address.
Gentlemen, if you have this information, that is just the French part of town. It looks like the devil. Of course I didn't have a fabulous apartment. But very wealthy people and very fine citizens live in that part of town, and there are hotels and saloons, and courtyards where the homes are.
So I was very upset.
There was a colonel on the street that I stopped--I didn't know him--I said, "Sir, I would like to talk with you." I told him about the boy wanting to join the Marines and I didn't know what to do. I was frantic. And he was insistent that I let him join the Marines at age 16.
So he advised me, "Well, if he doesn't want to go to school, let him join the Marines. It is done all the time."
Now, I was not too happy about this situation.
Now, a recruiting officer from the Marine Reserve in New Orleans, La., was in my home the next day when I arrived from work, with Lee, in uniform, in the home when I got into the home. He introduced me to him and he said, "Mrs. Oswald"--he didn't tell me what to do. He was very vague about the thing.
I said, "No, Lee is too young, age 16, to join the Marines. They are liable to send him overseas."
He said, "There is less delinquency in Japan and those places than we have here."
He saw nothing wrong with it.
What he was doing was telling me to falsify his birth certificate, but not in plain words. He was telling me it would be all right for the boy to join the Marines. He came to my home personally.
So I went to an attorney with Lee, because here is the thing.
Lee's birth record is in New Orleans. And I knew that the Marine Corps could easily check on this child, age 16--his birth record. So in order to have a happy situation, so I could work, and to see Lee, I went to an attorney and paid $5 and said that I lost Lee's birth certificate, and kind of motioned to the
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