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The What Don’t work?

Although the Marine recruiting stories glamorize everything we do, some jobs in the Corps are about as exciting as watching paint dry.

One of those jobs was flight line avionics repair for helicopters.

I was with the reserve air wing unit, HMM-764, in the late 1960’s and we had metal fatigued UH-34’s that had made their way back from Viet Nam complete with bullet holes and worn out avionics.

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Am I a Marine, I feel I am!

After serving 6 yr, 5 mo, and 19 days US Army, 27Feb1961 to 15Aug1967, and being civilian for approximately 5 years, I decided to re-enlist to be able to retire from the military with 20 years service. At age 29, and having an Honorable Discharge from the US Army as an E-4 with over 6 years service, the only branch that would take me was the USMC. I was sworn in 24Jul1972, passed the initial PFT with a dislocating left shoulder doing the pull-ups that was witnessed by one of the DI’s, the rest of the PFT was a piece of cake, even for a 29 year old, old man. I was also the only man in my platoon with Jump Wings on my breast as I was in the 82 Airborne, while in the army. During my first 28 days of training I was able to help the YOUNG men in my platoon learn , ‘The Code of Conduct, General Orders, Chain of Command, how to make a rack, and how to field strip and reassemble a M-14 Rifle, blindfolded in under 2 minutes. Then one day while I was on a message run from Medical Rehabilitation Platoon, the same DI saw me, I wish I could remember his name, had me strip to the waist, and instructed to “give me one good  pull-up” if I could. As I jumped to grab the pull-up bar, my left arm dropped useless to my side. The Drill Instruct told me, with a string of usual expletive delete’s to go to sick call and instruct the corpsman to have my shoulder repaired.  The next 8 months was a different story as they were spent at Balboa Naval Hospital. During that time before and after my shoulder surgery, I assisted the Master Chief (E-9) with control of the Marine and Navy recruits during their recovery and subsequent discharge from the military. Also while there I was told the recruit platoon I started with graduated number one in the Training Regiment. I didn’t get my EAG, and because of that some say I'm not a Marine. However with what I did, I feel as much a MARINE as any that successfully complete their training. Am I a Marine? I don’t know, but from what I learned while at Balboa Naval Hospital, and the fact that I have an Honorable Discharge from The Marine Corps. I feel I AM A MARINE. Semper Fi! I welcome any and all comments, but will not change my mind!

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I am Legacy

Have you ever wondered about who you are in this life, in this world? What is your purpose in life? What will be or IS your contribution?   After watching American Sniper, I wondered. Chris Kyle was a defender of our country and protector (overseer) of the troops he was with. That was his purpose.    Looking back, I wondered what my purpose was, what did I do or what was I doing…. I recall going to my Marine Corps squadron's several years ago, when Iraqi Freedom was being fought. The squadron was on their way back off of the carrier. There was a small crew from the squadron that was there to attend the reunion (lead team) and I was able to dine with a Marine that was with me from the time I was at my AFUN school. He has achieved the rank of Master Gunnery Sergeant and was telling me of some of the operations that they did off of the carrier.   While he was telling me that, I was feeling less and less of a Marine. I did not feel worthy of claiming the title because during my time with the squadron there were no wars, or battles. We were the 'transition' squadron, making the change from the older F-4 Phantoms to the new F/A-18 Hornets. We learned. We maintained. We were awarded trophies for being safe and being able to keep all of our aircraft 100%, we traveled.   What MGySgt Monroe said next nearly brought me to tears. He said "Guyer, what we did back then was setting the bar for these kids that are coming into the squadron today. We set that bar so high and they are trying to reach it so much, it is the new standard. And, because of that, we were able to bring back EVERY ONE. We lost no Marines while we were there…because of what we did then. You should be proud"   After the movie and reflecting on what MGySgt Monroe said, I now know more about who I am and what I am doing….my contribution.   I have been in aircraft maintenance for 30 years now and I am currently a maintenance instructor getting young men and women ready to take their Airframe and Powerplant licenses. I challenge my students, they are the next generation to keep, maintain and make those flying machines safe. They will be the ones that will be working on those machines that can make man break the bounds of the earth.   I am the beginning of a Legacy. What I am doing now is setting the bar for those I am teaching to reach…..I am making a difference. 

Yountville “All Marine Day” BBQ and Picnic

On Sunday, 21 September 2014, the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Northern California holds its annual YOUNTVILLE "ALL MARINE DAY" BBQ AND PICNIC. It is a free event to all Marines, Marine Veterans, FMF Corpsmen, their Families and Guests in camaraderie and brotherhood.

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Heartbreak Ridge

Love reading the Sgt. Grit Newsletter, I have a contribution some may find interesting.

In the summer of 1986 Clint Eastwood was directing and starring in 'Heartbreak Ridge' as GySgt Thomas Highway.  It's a bit hokey with lots of inaccuracies but still contains enough to hold the attention of most Marines.  Highway's recon unit is supposedly based out of Camp Lejeune but in fact the movie was filmed at Camp Pendleton and MCAS El Toro only one month before I reported to VMGR-352 / MAG-11 / 3rd MAW (my last duty station before leaving active duty).  Clint had even signed the overhead control panel with a Sharpie on the flight deck of tail # 019, a KC-130F.  (The KC-130 is a rugged, reliable, versatile, awesome aircraft, been flying now more than 50 years)

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Best chow

In 1954 I was assigned to Brig Company at Camp Pendelton and one of the areas of responsibility in addition to guarding the brig was to man the two most northern gates at Pendleton and to serve as shore patrol in San Clemente. To do this there was a small MP station in the southern edge of San Clemente that housed and fed those stationed there. It was duty to die for as we had rooms with closets instead of lockers and only two to a room. The mess hall was supplied by the 1st Division mess hall out at the tent camps. It was almost like have your own short order restaurant. Breakfast chow was ordered with eggs how you wanted them followed by in many cases steak, or bacon, maybe some sausage, and if you were homesick for the larger mess halls, SOS on order. Fridays were at that time fish and most of it wasn't fit to eat, not there, we had it fried, baked, broiled and each piece done just for you. The only problem on Fridays we would attract visiting brass and seats were hard to come by. It's no longer there but there are lots of fond memories as I pass the site today. How did they do it, easy, what the hell was a mess feeding 5000 going to do with a box of left over steaks or fish or an extra box of pork chops. 

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