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2nd Fumble, Stumble, Stagger and Gag

The name of the exercise has changed from ‘CAX’ (Combined Arms Exercise) to ‘Mojave Viper’ (If I’m up to date on that… no guarantees), but it involves infantry battalions, plus attachments and re-enforcements, moving to the Air-Ground Combat Training Center… or whatever they call that particular chunk of California Mojave desert… more commonly known as ’29 Palms’ or, ‘The Stumps’. There might be as many as ten of these exercises in a year, and were about half and half First and Second Division evolutions.

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Act On Instinct

I recall one day at PISC, we were lunging into the hanging dummy with fixed bayonet. The 2nd Lt did not like the way I growled so after the third time he had the platoon form a circle around him and then he called me into the center with him and growled at me saying he was going to show me how to do that. Then he came at me with the rifle and bayonet aimed at me. I do not remember what I did but I took the weapon away from him and had him on the ground while bouncing the rifle butt into his groin.

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Marine Math

The Korean War, in which the Marine Corps fought and won some of its most brutal battles, was not without its gallows of humor.

During one such conflict a ROK (Republic of Korea) commander, whose unit was fighting along with the Marines, called legendary Marine General Chesty Puller to report a major Chinese attack in his sector. “How many Chinese are attacking you?” asked Puller. “Many, many Chinese!” replied the excited Korean officer.

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MARINE OF THE WEEK // Only minutes after that photo was taken:

MARINE OF THE WEEK // Only minutes after that photo was taken:

1st Lt. Baldomero López
1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment1st Marine Division
Inchon, Korea
September 15, 1950
Award: Medal of Honor

With his platoon 1st Lt. Lopez was engaged in the reduction of immediate enemy beach defenses after landing with the assault waves. Exposing himself to hostile fire, he moved forward alongside a bunker and prepared to throw a hand grenade into the next pillbox whose fire was pinning down that sector of the beach. Taken under fire by an enemy automatic weapon and hit in the right shoulder and chest as he lifted his arm to throw, he fell backward and dropped the deadly missile. After a moment, he turned and dragged his body forward in an effort to retrieve the grenade and throw it. In critical condition from pain and loss of blood, and unable to grasp the hand grenade firmly enough to hurl it, he chose to sacrifice himself rather than endanger the lives of his men and, with a sweeping motion of his wounded right arm, cradled the grenade under him and absorbed the full impact of the explosion. His exceptional courage, fortitude, and devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon 1st Lt. Lopez and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

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Sgt. Ethan Mawhinney, a Pittsburgh native and a Marine Air Ground Task Force planner with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, successfully defended his championship title at the Marine Corps’ third annual HITT Tactical Athlete Competition at Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aug. 28th through 31st, 2017.

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My Summarized Story

I was born and raised in Manila, at the age of 20 I immigrated to the United States. Seeking a future and to better myself, I decided to enlist in the U. S. Marines, and was placed in the Delayed Entry Program (under Combat Arms Options). I stepped out of the bus on December 24, of 1990. Completed Bootcamp and ended up with 3rd Combat Engineers in Okinawa for a year. Spent the last 3 years in Camp Lejeune and participated on a Medetteranian deployment with 24MEU-SOC, where we did an operation in MOGADISHU, Somalia. At that time, enlistment in the U. S. Military does not automatically grants American Citizenship through a Naturalization process with the Immigration Department. I failed my first interview due to not knowing the Senator’s in my state. I’m now a naturalized citizen and retired from Civilian Federal Service. It is truly an honor and a life accomplishment to be able to earn the title, as well as serving the country as a way to show my allegiance and appreciation to the United States in giving me the opportunity to become a better person, citizen and a new path towards a new life. I am old now, and have many ailments but I feel that I had accomplished something great that I consider an exclamation mark in my life and will finish strong.

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That Special Moment in Boot Camp

Parris Inland in the summer of 1968—the summer of love for hippies on the west coast. However, not so much for Platoon 296 on Parris Inland with Sgt. Morris—not even close! We had completed about half of our training when recruits started coming in from being recycled. That’s when we learned that the Drill Instructor Sgt. Morris told us the truth about doing our entire enlistment at Parris Inland if we couldn’t get our “sh-t together” and move on Camp Stone Bay (for 03’s). I know there are Marines out there who can confirm the fear factor we were feeling. I mean, I was barely 17 and wanted to see women again before I got too old to appreciate them. But I digress, it’s 0300, the alarm goes off for a fire drill in these very old wooden barracks. We all turn out in formation with our buckets in toll and wait. Sgt. Morris was one of the meanest men I have ever known and I worked 30 years as an Intensive Probation/Parole Officer after I got out. Anyways, Sgt. Morris called one of the “new” guys out of formation and instructed him to sing for everyone. After some words with him, the new boot started to sing in a beautiful voice that was so clear and rich—-“Yesterday” by the Beetles. MAN! Sgt. Morris didn’t say another word. We were dismiss back to the barracks—there was no fire. You could almost read everyone’s mind—-we were back home holding on to that girl who promise never to leave us. I graduated from Parris Inland just about 49 years ago and can still hear him sing that song and think how appropriate it was. Foot Note: I was told that the recruit was KIA in V.N. ( or seriously wounded) and Sgt. Morris continue to use a tent pin on recruits and was court martial for abusive behavior (that was the rumor so I can’t swear to it)

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head detail

Everyone was given an assignment in boot camp on a cleaning detail. The head detail had to clean the urinals and the toilets ( without gloves ) and we all took pride in our jobs assigned to us- as if we did a poor job we got P T ‘d to a excruciating extreme – or sometimes we walked into a Drill Instructors closed hand- or like ” Divine Intervention’, we bounced off of walls – etc. One recruit was always flustered of the D I ‘s and was a jellyfish – when how as spoken too- got very nervous and stammered- The last recruit out of the head at the end of our day had to yell out, ” Sir, the head is clear.” ( If someone ran out of the head after this announcement we all caught hell. This evening- our stammering mate was the last one out of the head- and our D I that night was the biggest ball buster of the three D I’s. So befittingly the Recruit runs out and doesn’t say anything- so the D I approaches him and says, ” Num-nuts did you forget to inform me of something.’ The private come to attention and blurts out – ” Sorry Sir, My head is clear.” The D I tries not to laugh- and really busts out laughing- and runs into his quarters and shuts the hatch. A few minutes he come out and actually hugs the recruit- and tells us to take five- then hit the rack. Even the D I’s at times were human. Usually one of the three was a hard ass- and one was the comical one and one in between – one served in Korea and told us stories about the North Koreans and their savagery – a later post will describe a Marine Sgt. who was in WW 11 and some more tales.

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A group of Marines with the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Detroit unveiled the mural they’ve been painting for Marine Week Detroit on Sept. 9, 2017.

The mural was painted on the side of the Marine Corps League, Montford Point Detachment 158 building in Detroit, Mich. Five Marines put over a hundred hours of work into the completion of the mural. The mural depicts the history and accomplishments of the Montford Point Marines, who fought in a segregated Marine Corps from 1942 through 1949.

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