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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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Firewatch At NATTC Memphis

The Marine barracks at NATTC Memphis were two story wooden buildings from the WWII era when I went to aviation mechanics school there in 1960. This made it necessary to have a firewatch on duty after lights out for obvious reasons. This duty always fell to the new Privates right out of boot camp, like me. Continue reading “Firewatch At NATTC Memphis”

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Real Rifles At Parris Island

At Parris Island in August of 1960, we still had the “REAL” rifles (M1 Garands) with stacking swivels. The stacking swivel actually had two very important uses. Number one was to enable the weapon to be stored in the upright position when hooked to two other rifles in a “teepee”. Continue reading “Real Rifles At Parris Island”

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Toughest Time In My Life

The toughest time in my life was after getting out of the Corps as an E-5 with a disability. An ongoing battle fighting to get the right help from the VA. I loved the time I was in the Corps and brotherhood is like no other. Between the contaminated LST’s and the tainted water at Camp Lejeune Continue reading “Toughest Time In My Life”

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Requesting Permission At P.I.

Parris Island, Platoon 374, the private needs to make a head call, but first he has to request permission to speak to the Drill Instructor for the privilege.

SIR, THE PRIVATE REQUESTS PERMISSION TO SPEAK TO THE DRILL INSTRUCTOR SIR! Continue reading “Requesting Permission At P.I.”

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Comm Equipment Used In The Corps

Today, this 79 year old Marine was reminiscing about the old days and wondering what type of communication equipment the Marine Corps uses now days, its got to be high tech. In the mid-fifties we used field radio equipment like the AN/PRC-8, 9’s and 10’s and the AN/GRC-9 which used a hand cranked generator for power to transmit. Cranking that thing was fun, not. Continue reading “Comm Equipment Used In The Corps”

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The Good Ship Lollipop

I don’t like to swim in the ocean. Sand gets in places it was never meant to be. That may be ironic since I wound up in the Marines. I had never been on any water craft bigger than a 15-foot fishing boat when I joined the Corps in 1958, so I had never experienced sailing on the deep blue. By the time I shipped over to Okinawa I had only flown commercial a couple times on Bonanza Airlines between San Diego and Phoenix – the first time on a DC-3, the second on a small turbo-prop. I hadn’t experienced air sickness either time so I was unprepared for what was ahead. Continue reading “The Good Ship Lollipop”

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Memories Of A Kaneohe Marine

Foreword by Dave Trojan, Aviation Historian

These stories were collected, compiled and edited over several years. Some of them have appeared in the Sgt. Grit newsletters at grunt.com, however this is the first time they have been gathered together to give readers a firsthand account of what life was like at MCAS Kaneohe during the early 1960s. Norm Spilleth was a Marine Corps Corporal and Plane Captain from 1960 to 1964 who served in VMA-212, the Devil Cats. Continue reading “Memories Of A Kaneohe Marine”

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