PROFILE OF A MUSEUM VOLUNTEER
Richard Poulter, Jr. was born March 18, 1958 in Fresno, California to Fresno natives Richard and Lucille Poulter. Rick and his three siblings Donald, Gary, and Brian all remain Fresno residents.
Rick attended Webster, Manchester, and Robinson Elementary Schools, Ft. Miller Jr. High School, and was attending McLane High School when he made the decision to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. Enlisting March 28, 1975, Rick received his basic training at MCRD in San Diego, California. After graduating from boot camp and receiving 10 days leave, Rick reported to the 2nd Marine Division at Camp LeJuene in North Carolina. His MOS training began with Mortars; followed by the 105 mm Towed Howitzer, crew served weapons, and 50 caliber machine guns. Rick’s unit was deployed in May, 1976 to the Caribbean and Mediterranean with Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 10th Marines Battalion Landing Team 2/8. Rick was promoted meritoriously to Corporal and served as Section Chief.
During December 1976, Rick was transferred to Okinawa, Japan, serving with the 12th and 9th Marines in the South Pacific. In June of 1977, Rick was promoted to Sergeant and served as a Section Chief. During this time, Rick continued his high school studies through Kubasaki High School in Okinawa, and received his high school diploma January, 1978. After completion of this tour, he was transferred to the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton in California where Poulter became Platoon Sergeant.
Having finished his tour of duty, a large bonus was the deciding factor and Rick reenlisted in the Marine Corps in March, 1978. He was assigned to MCRD San Diego, attending DI School. From August 1978 through December 1981, Rick performed duty as a Drill Instructor. It was during his time at Camp Pendleton that Richard met and fell in love with Marine Sergeant, Sandra Yvonne Gomez from Kennett Square, Philadelphia, PA. Upon completion of Richard’s DI duty, they were married October 31, 1981. As both were on active duty, their honeymoon was delayed while they continued their assignments. Richard was transferred to 1st Marine Division where he received individual orders for Nuclear Weapons Training, Group Pacific. That assignment was completed after three years and the team was disbanded.
Rick and Sandra now had one son, Nicholas James, and Sandra was expecting their second son Joseph. They both decided that the time had come for Sandra to leave the service. She mustered out at Twenty Nine Palms in California in 1984. From 1986 through 1989 Rick served a Joint Tour as an Instructor with USAFATC at Ft Sill, Oklahoma. He was then stationed with the 3rd Marine Regiment at MCAS Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Gunnery Sergeant Poulter and his unit were training for a West Pacific Deployment on the big island of Hawaii when they received word at the Pohakuloa Training Area that Iraq had invaded Kuwait. Kuwait was in the area of operations for Rick’s unit, so they were immediately returned to Kaneohe Bay to complete administrative procedures, say their goodbyes to family and friends, and depart for Saudi Arabia. The 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade Task Force Taro conducted raids across the Kuwaiti/Saudi border during pre Desert Storm Operations. They participated in the Battle of Ras Al Khafj, Saudi Arabia, for control of the city. His unit conducted ground combat OPS through the Burgan Oil fields, and within 96 hours of the commencement of the ground war, the Kuwaiti International Airport was secured. Total unit casualties were 13 KIAs, with a total of 147 KIA American Forces. In January 1991, Rick was re-designated from Master Sergeant to First Sergeant.
1992 found Rick in Salem, Oregon where he served as a Senior Enlisted Inspector and Instructor with the Reserve Combat Engineer Company. He retired May, 1995, remaining a member of the Marine Corps Fleet Reserve. In April, 2005 Rick was transferred to Marine Corps Fleet Retired, subject to recall by the Secretary of Defense. In July of 2005 in Fresno, Rick was invited to a Marine Corps cake cutting ceremony held at the Veterans Memorial Museum, “Home of the Legion of Valor” by Fresno Police Department Officer Jimmy Olsen. He was so impressed with the facility, his decision to move out of state was put aside to dedicate his time as a volunteer member of the museum staff. Rick’s service to the museum was a great asset to all involved, and earned him the respect of the entire staff. We were all very sorry when he retired.