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Fighting The War At Home

I was once an infantry Marine, and this is my war story.

Spring of 2006, I am holding my rifle straight out with both hands in a half-squatting position yelling, “A hand grenade’s kill radius is five meters, Lance Corporal!” My team leader is three inches from my sweaty face when he shouts, “And what is the fragmentation radius?” My knees begin to shake as I shoot back, “15 meters, Lance Corporal!” Continue reading “Fighting The War At Home”

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When Shadows Danced Under A Fading Red Star

When I open my eyes, I wonder if I’m dreaming. This entire operation has seemed unreal from the start.

It is pitch black and silent. I loosen the top of my sleeping bag, and my fingers reach out to feel the icy metallic floor. I move my body and bump into full ammo boxes. I remember now, I fell asleep in a Humvee. Continue reading “When Shadows Danced Under A Fading Red Star”

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Root Vets

Attached are four pictures from my first tour in Beirut in 1983. The top left photo is a pic of me and my best buddy Tim Wheeler from Portsmouth Ohio. We are getting ready to go out on patrol. Tim is on the right of the photo with the M60. The photo was taken on the second floor of what I call the American University, but not sure if that is correct as another Marine a few years ago who is also a Root Vet had another name for the structure when he replied to a previous post to Sgt. Grit. Continue reading “Root Vets”

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Desert Utilities Still Fit

I read with amusement Mike Kunkel’s letter and photo (20 Apr) of him trying on his service uniform. Seems that is a common fate for most of us as we add on the mileage.

On the 25th anniversary of the First Gulf War, I thought I would see if my desert utilities still fit. I was so skinny then Continue reading “Desert Utilities Still Fit”

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Taps For 1stSgt Dick Petterson

Taps were held on Saturday, Dec. 19th for 1stSgt Dick Petterson, USMC Retired. Attached picture: (L-R) Maj Rich Risner, SSgt P.T. Cong, 1stSgt Dick Petterson and me. We served together in Chu Lai in 1968 where he earned a Bronze Star with Combat "V" and a Purple Heart. You can read about him in my book, "Civic Action". His career spanned over 20 years beginning in 1955 as a machine gunner then retiring as a 1stSgt in 1978. He joins our former boss, Maj Rich Risner who passed in 2005 – "then there was one." Semper Fidelis Rich and Dick.

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Cigarettes And C-Rats

I joined the Corps in July 1956.  Spent my time at MCRD, then Camp Pendleton and on to Asia for two tours in the Phillipines.  When we were out in the boondocks, we still had c-rats from a long time before that.  The Lucky Strikes and Chesterfields were so old we had to hold them upright or the tabacco would fall out.  A few draws and they were burned up!  The c-rat fruits were good, but the stews were a gut churner!  They had a greasy layer on top that would turn your stomach.

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Life Is Great

Seeing an article about a pith helmet brought back memories of my Platoon days – the loudest noise in the world was the DI hitting on your helmet with his swagger stick – Great days! I am a WWII & Korea Veteran MSGT. I now hold two records oldest living ever sky diver in Louisiana at 95 plus and oldest living sky diver in the U.S. Life is great!

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Clearly Wearing A Pith Helmet

Regarding Marines wearing pith helmets, I can't say for sure that I remember our PMIs or the guys that ran the range towers at Parris Island wearing them, but below is a picture of my buddy Cpl. Tim Wheeler wearing one as he was running "A" tower at the LeJeune range. This would have been around 1984. Tim was too short to go back on the second MED with us so he got assigned to the rifle range to finish out his enlistment. Not sure if he was a PMI but he did work the towers and he is clearly wearing a pith helmet in this photo. I told him I thought the pith helmets looked stupid, but he said they were required.

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Pith Helmets Continued

I was reading an entry from Sgt. (E4) T. W. Stewart, USMC 1952 – 1955 on the past wearing of Pith Helmets.

I was stationed at "C" Co. NAS Agana, Guam for 18 months between 1966 and 1968. Our regulation uniform was khakis, blouse and trousers, and regulation cover was a Pith Helmet. I still have mine with the large, black EGA still screwed on to the front of it.

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