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PILOTS CAN GRUNT TOO

U.S. Marine Corps pilots are trained to operate advanced aircraft in often dangerous situations. These pilots are the only aviators in the U.S. military who are taught the basics of infantry tactics prior to flight school. This ensures every Marine is a rifleman. Though the chances of an aviator leading a platoon of infantry Marines are slim to none, there are cases where pilots are embedded in infantry units.

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Sharp and Sober

Iwakuni, Japan in the mid 1950’s, My good buddy Nick Dubovick and I returned to base after a pretty wild night on the town. The next morning I found a crumpled piece of paper in my pocket, entirely written in Japanese. Didn’t ring any bells with me so I asked Nick if he had a clue. He said that he found the same paper in his pocket so we showed them to our Japanese houseboy. He said that they were from a tailor shop and that we had bought a couple of sport coats.

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Believed Everything I Heard

We had landing nets at 29 Palms. That’s right, landing nets right out there in the middle of the desert. They were at the enlisted swimming pool. The enlisted pool was huge and I remember hearing it said the pool was larger than Olympic size.

At the deep end it had a diving tower (at least that’s what we used it for) with platforms at 20, 30, and 40 feet in addition to the one meter and three meter spring boards on the side. Twenty feet was fun and you could almost do a belly flop from it with no damage. Thirty feet was where you had to start watching what you were doing and from forty feet, you could do some serious damage if you were not careful.

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MARINE OF THE WEEK

“They were so close you could see their hands throwing grenades”

Lance Cpl. Thomas Adametz
Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines – The Professionals, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF)
Operation Iraqi Freedom
April 26, 2004
Award: Silver Star

Following the seizure of two key buildings along a vital avenue of approach into the company’s sector, Lance Corporal Adametz and his squad moved into the northern most building and provided security for his platoon’s position. The enemy’s fierce attack of rocket-propelled and hand-thrown grenades onto his platoon’s position resulted in four serious and numerous minor casualties. With disregard for his own safety, Lance Corporal Adametz exposed himself to grenade and small arms fire in order to provide suppressive fire facilitating the evacuation of the wounded Marines. Picking up a squad automatic weapon from a wounded Marine, he delivered withering fire on enemy forces 25 meters away. Lance Corporal Adametz’ aggressive actions and devastating fire were critical in repelling the enemy’s attack. By his bold leadership, wise judgment, and complete dedication to duty, Lance Corporal Adametz reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.

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Wish-I-Were’s

It’s interesting to read the stories about how different wanna- be’s suggest or pretend to desire the name Marine. When I was a young 2nd Lt in flight training in Pensacola in the 70’s, I still remember several Navy Ensigns (even one or two Annapolis Grads) quietly murmuring how they wish they were Marines. It was evident to them that with only a few months of military service under our belts and not much experience at anything, Marines are something different and special.

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In Memory Of…

I had the honor and the privilege to serve with “Iron” Mike in Vietnam..He was a perfect example of what a Marine is supposed to be. When I checked into my unit, he greeted me and told me not to worry about a thing-I couldn’t die unless he gave me written permission. Now he is with the ages-“Old Marines never die, they just go to hell and regroup!”

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So anyways, we’re on this float—

It’s 1969 and I’m with Fox Company, 2nd. Bn./ 2nd Mar. Reg/ 2nd. Marine Division on a Caribbean float. We’re doing jungle training in Panama with the Black Palm Jungle Survival school; which is run by the Army’s Green Beret unit. We were waiting to learn about using a Zip Line for a river crossing. It’S true, we were riding on zip lines years before it became a fun experience that you paid to do. Like I was saying, we’re standing around this Army Captain as he demonstrated how to make a floating device from our ponchos. I guess he didn’t understand that Marines know how or are taught to swim before leaving boot camp. He also told us how to use a zip line in order to get back across this same river. When questioned about the safety of this wire, the captain stated that he would give a month pay to learn what it felt like just before this wire broke. Well, we took our turns swimming across this stream and climbing up this tree using a ladder. I’m not sure where this ladder came from. I never saw anyone humping one of these in the bush. But I digress, I was number three in line so I’m sure about this. A Marine put the strap over his head and under his arms—he takes one step off and about to become air born when—you guessed it—the wire broke. We got it fixed without the benefit of instructions from the Green Beret. We finished the training without further incident or this captain. By the way, he never made good on his promise to give the Marine his paycheck and I’m sure this young man could have used the money—-a PFC only made about $105.00 a month back then. Now for those who are wondering about making a floating device using your poncho, you lay your poncho flat on the ground and take off all your clothes and put them in the center. Then using your boot laces, you tie the four corners together and get into the water holding on your poncho. You then quickly get out of the water and open the poncho up and get redress. My concerns about this: no weapon came across with you (maybe that’s why “they” exchanged the M-14 for the M-16—it must float), you are butt naked standing on the river bank trying to dry off before putting your clothes back on (I guess the enemy have to stop laughing before they can shot you full of holes), and , lastly, you may have noticed that I didn’t say anything about your pack and other gear that is still on the other side of the river. I guess that would be the least of your concerns as you are running through the jungle butt naked, bare footed, wet, and without a weapon. No wonder those Green Berets are so tough and few. oh well, it’s like Capt. George, my CO, told me as my feet were turning a different color from being so wet for so long (remember the floating device), I finished the Black Palm Survival Training.

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The Night I Averted War with Canada

During the summer of 1993, I was a gunnery sergeant, serving as the assistant operations chief for 2d Reconnaissance Battalion, 2d Marine Division, having just finished a platoon deployment to the Mediterranean with the 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit.
2d Recon Battalion was then located on Onslow Beach at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. We pretty much had the place to ourselves, other than the beach goers or units occasionally training on the training beach. Located about a mile from the beach was Drop Zone (DZ) Falcon, one of the largest DZs on Camp Lejeune. The Canadian 1st Parachute Regiment was encamped at DZ Falcon. For whatever reason, division had placed them under the wing of 8th Marine Regiment, though it seems that it would have been logical (there’s that word) to place them with us, as we not only had the airborne capability, but were located much closer. Our 1stSgts allowed them to use our shower and laundry facilities. The battalion also opened our small club, the Harbor Site, to them. Our small battalion was heavily committed, so there usually wasn’t a lot of our Marines in the club.
One night during that summer, I was standing staff duty, assisted by Sgt. Garritt Duncan. We had been in the First Gulf War together, and Duncan later retired as the battalion sergeant major. The duty phone rang, and it was Brenda, the club manager. She said to me, “You need to get over here quick. Those Canadians have a girl in here and she’s naked!” Immediately, the tone of her call made me think that some forcible and unwanted activity was about to take place upon some innocent young damsel. I checked to ensure that I had a round chambered in my 9mm pistol, thinking that I may have to shoot some Canucks, which would likely trigger a war. When I entered the club, what I saw was not what had been described. A shapely young woman, wearing only her panties, was dancing suggestively with what must have been the youngest and most inexperienced Canadian soldier, as his mates cheered him on, his face as red as the maple leaf on the Canadian flag.
I asked who was the senior man in charge, and was directed to the deputy company commander (what we would call the executive officer). I told him this had to stop. He didn’t seem too concerned, and responded with something like, “Okay, I’ll take care of it.” However, he wasn’t in any hurry to take care of it. He seemed more interested in taking in the show. Now, full disclosure—I was a young man, and wasn’t averse to looking at an attractive woman, but I also knew that these events, particularly with alcohol and a high male to female ratio could get out of hand. Pretty soon she took the young paratrooper into the head and locked the door. I don’t know what happened, but you can probably imagine. As I could see that our allies were in no hurry to stop this, and without the real authority to stop them without creating an ugly scene, I decided just to let it play out, unless it turned into a riot (it didn’t). I went back to the duty hut, which was only about thirty yards away, and told Sgt. Duncan he may as well enjoy the show, too. Finally, the party broke up and the normal peace of Onslow Beach returned.
I wasn’t sure what to record in the log book, so I wrote nothing, though I did tell the battalion sergeant major about it the next day. A couple of days later, an agent from the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) showed up, and asked me what happened that night. It turned out that the battalion commander had gotten a call from the division chief of staff, Col. Van Riper, the brother of Lt. Gen. Paul K. Van Riper. There were reports of a hooker from the Norfolk, Virginia, area working the Canadians. I told them what happened, and heard no more of it. However, driving toward mainside past DZ Falcon, I saw this same woman, with a collie on a leash. getting out of a white Mazda Miata with a blue officer’s sticker on the windshield.
I don’t know what happened to her. I assume she made a good bit of money off the Canadians and was told not to return. Not long after this incident, the Canadian 1st Parachute Regiment was found to have abused detainees in Somalia, and was disbanded by the Canadian government.
That night I was certainly on the horns of dilemma, but I like to think that I may be credited with maintaining the prolonged state of peace we enjoy with our neighbors to the north.
Semper Fi,
Wayne Dillon
SgtMaj. USMC (Ret.)
1975-2003

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How serving in the Marine Corps helped prepare Rob Riggle for Hollywood

Rob Riggle is known for his roles in “The Hangover,” “Step Brothers,” “Dumb & Dumber,” and countless of other characters in movies and TV shows.

But before the 47-year-old made his mark in Hollywood, Riggle served in the Marine Corps for 23 years.

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