"The smoking lamp is lit for one cigarette. The right guide will light it and pass it down"
MCRD 1956 Bob Luebbert
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GRAVE OF DAN DALY
Thought the readers may be interested in this photo. He is related to me on my mothers side of the family, I found his grave at the Cypress Hills Cemetery in Queens, NY. It was all over grown with weeds and the headstone was filthy, so I scrubbed the headstone with soap and water and cut the grass. It is sad that these true heroes have been forgotten. http://www.grunt.com/otherbs.htm Semper Fi
SHOULD GET ANOTHER MEDAL
My wife's family bought me this goddam contraption for last Father's Day. An 89 year old with a computer. Should get another medal or something. It's like a firefight getting this done.
MY WIFE UNDERSTOOD
Hi Sgt. Grit;
My wife gave me one of the Arlington Ridge KA-BAR knives and wooden stand for it for Christmas. I have it displayed on its stand under a display case which contains all the medals and honors that were presented to me by the Marine Corps. I was not aware that there were only 250 of these knives created. Knowing this, I am even more proud to own one, and even more proud of her for thinking of me in that most special way on Christmas Day. When I opened the package with the KA-BAR in it, I teared up and felt an emotion that I had not felt in many years. It was not a "flash-back" or anything, it was a feeling of pride for being a Marine, and a feeling of joy that my wife understood the kinship and honor that we Marines carry with us all the days of our lives. I am a disabled Marine, having suffered combat wounds in 1975 during the Mayaguez incident and was medically discharged in 1976. I read your newsletter from the first word to the last word in every issue. Thank you. D. Dye Sgt USMC 1972 - 1976 and forever
GOIN' TO THE MOVIES
Read the story about the DI who took his platoon to the movie to show them the theater and then marched them back. Must be an ongoing thing over the years. Back in the old corps (PI 1952), I remember our DI yelling out of his hut " PLATOON 475, FALL IN!! WRAP YOUR CRUDDY TOWELS AROUND YOUR CRUDDY NECKS WERE GOING TO THE F----N MOVIE. All hands turned to and fell in, in what must have been record time, our towels in place to reflect headlights of traffic. We marched for about a mile to the outdoor theater next to the post grinder. The platoon halted, and was marched to our seats in the rear of the theater. All was accomplished by the numbers. As it got darker and the movie started and the titles of the movie appeared, the loud voice of our DI bellowed out. " 475 FALL IN!! After falling in, the command LEFT FACE, FORWARD MARCH!! was given, and we march out of earshot of the moviegoers, the SOB over the sound of our tromping heels bellowed "I SAW THIS F----N MOVIE!! 475 went back to its Quonset hut quarters and had a field day.
1952-55 .................................. The story of showing the recruits the theater brought back a memory of when I went through boot camp at PI. That day we really must have screwed up bad; but, on the schedule our platoon was scheduled for an outdoor movie. We were about eight weeks old at PI and when we found out we were going to the movie, our spirits were at the highest. The drill instructor told us to get our buckets and flashlights for road guards. Off to the outdoor movie. When we arrived, the DI commanded us to sit. Since there were no seats, we sat on our buckets. The DI said "who said you can sit on your buckets? Pick up your buckets and place them over your heads". During the entire movie, we listened to the movie with our buckets on our heads. He even lit the smoking lamp. It was difficult smoking with that damn bucket over our heads. So much for our first and last movie at PI.
Major USMC Ret.
..................................................... The story about the movie theater reminds me what happened to us at San Diego recruit depot at Christmas 1966. We were told by our D.I. we were going to a movie for Christmas. When we got to the theater there was a bank of pay phones across the street. The D.I. said anyone who wanted to call home could do so, and anyone that wanted to see the movie could do so. About 1/2 the platoon opted to call home. I went for the movie. When I came out the 1/2 of the platoon that wanted to call home was still standing in the street and calling "HOME" at the top of their lungs. I later found out that's what they did the entire time I watched the movie. I learned from that to think about what every D.I. might be really saying. It saved me a lot of stupid problems. I now work in a law department investigating accidents, and I still listen to what people say very carefully. What people say and what they really mean can be very different. There are a lot Bull Clintons in the world.
CPL. Vogel (Retired)
hey bud, you asked for an interesting story and I remembered one that was especially heart warming. as our tour in the nam was progressing nicely and friendships were being formed, I became especially close to a fellow marine and had even sent and received mail from his family. As the fellow marines birthday was approaching his sister and mother asked if i would receive a care package for him and give it to him on his birthday. i, of course, said yes......some weeks later a badly damaged box came. this box had not only been crushed, and dropped ,it was partially open and some of the contents had been exposed. The box contained a cake, or reasonable facsimile of one, a can of icing and letters made of candy that were supposed to say the greeting. I took the cake, well actually the remaining 3/4 of it and formed it into a nice version of a birthday cake. it was easy to form because when cakes get stale they are somewhat like concrete. i iced it and put what letters had not been lost or damaged. it looked like a dirt clod with the words "hapy birda grit."...... best damn birthday party i've been to and the best cake i can remember
SSGT D.J. Huntsinger
ps: yes it was my (Sgt Grit) cake.
Dear Sgt. Grit
My name is Michael Brandon Guinn. I am enrolled as a student at Bledsoe County High School in the state of Tennessee. I am a senior there and will be graduating in June of this year. Finally. I am going into the military. The Marine Corps. My ship date is July 2nd. Talk about a teen with motivation. My recruiter, Sgt. Policarpio, a true motivator deserves my utmost appreciation. Her and Gunny Miller care more about the Corps and myself getting into the Corps than I ever thought anyone could care about something. I cannot yet call myself a United States Marine, but I dream every day and night of the day I become one. Notice I said day also. The Marines are all I think of anymore. I am learning all I can about Marine Corps History, gettin prepared for Basic, and studying my "The Making of a Marine" book. For the past few months now I have been running on pure motivation. Soon to be a Marine,
WE ARE ALL WITH YOU
I look forward to your newsletter every month. In your 05 Jan letter there was a note from Julia who will be going to boot camp on June 25. I would like to say that she should remember one thing as she gets ready to go in.
WE ARE ALL THERE WITH YOU!
IF YOU QUESTION YOURSELF, REMEMBER,
WE ARE ALL WITH YOU.
Lcpl Mark Matthies
GOD BLESS THE CORPS
MY FAVORITE IS 'DOC'
My favorite (nick name) that I will hold with a great deal of pride till the day I die is "Doc". Believe me, you have no idea how ... I can't even think of an appropriate word (first for everything). There is no greater feeling than to be called "Doc" by a Marine. I haven't felt prouder in my life than when this Marine I'd never met before walked up to me while I was off duty and in civilian clothes, and he said "Hey. Are you Doc Bryant?" I told him I was, but that I didn't recognize him as one of the Marines I'd treated ( I try to remember all of my patients. ). He said, "No. You've never seen me before, but Corporal Jones told us that if we ever got dinged up that we should come to you, cause you'd take good care of it." My friends, I was so proud and at the same time so humbled that this Corporal would tell his warriors to come not only to a Doc, but to Doc Bryant. Just thinking about it humbles me. Yeah. I think of all of the nicknames I've had in civilian life and out, "Doc" will be the one I will have tattooed on my soul for eternity. In fact I do believe that's how I want to be greeted at the pearly gates. I want St. Pete to look down at me and say, "Welcome home, Doc. Enjoy your retirement."
Thanks for listening.
Patrick "Doc" Bryant
SPECIAL PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFITS FOR VETERANS
Did you know that one out of every four adult Social Security beneficiaries has served in the military? We want our veterans to know about an important prescription drug benefit available from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). A 30-day supply of prescription medications costs only $2 through the VA (disabled or low-income veterans can receive medications for free). To take advantage of this benefit, a veteran must have been honorably discharged from the military, must enroll with the VA, and must be seen by a VA doctor. The VA may charge for a doctor visit, but your insurance may cover this charge (disabled or low-income veterans can visit doctors for free). If you would like to find out more about this and other health benefits through the VA, you can call, toll-free, 1-877-222-VETS (1-877-222-8387). For information about military service and Social Security, check out our fact sheet. http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10017.html Maybe everyone else already knew about this - - and I don't know whether this benefit extends to people who are NOT YET 65, but your customers could ask that question. But for those that don't yet know about the change in the law - it could save them thousands a year in prescription costs!!
George M. Banker
Happy New Year
Correction...Tarawa, NOT Okinawa I will begin squat thrusts forever, begin.....
In response to Sgt. Paul W. Long's e-mail, I would like to point out that the basic story is correct, except that the island in question was Tarawa, not Okinawa. Okinawa took weeks to secure and required the landing of reserve forces. I have forgotten the name of the Japanese admiral (commander of forces on Tarawa, or more correctly, Betio), and, unfortunately, we can't ask him for confirmation, because he too was killed in the 76 hours of hell that was Tarawa.
.................................. In response to "Okinawa"...
I just thought I might add my 2 cents...
"The Japanese Commandant had boasted 'One million men cannot take Tarawa in one hundred years...' 5,600 Marines took the island in three days."
From: Line of Departure: Tarawa, Prof. Martin Russ, or Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa, Col. Joseph H. Alexander, USMC. Not sure which book, I used both for my high school Forensics speech, both are very good reads.
(I've been looking for an opportunity to contribute to and tell you how much I enjoy your newsletter. Every two weeks my passion for becoming a Marine becomes even stronger, much to the dismay of my mother. The stuff you sell is pretty cool too.)
High School Sophomore
I TAKE A LOT OF FLAK AT SCHOOL
Dear Sgt. Grit & All Past, Present, and Future Marines: I enjoy reading the stories of those Marines that came before me, even though I am only 16. I have been interested in the Corps since I was 4 years old. I began my poster collection when a old China Marine/D.I. gave me two of his favorites. Since then I've done everything that I could that involved the Marine Corps. I've been to Devil pups, and I even P.T. with my Recruiter. For doing these kinds of things I take a lot of flak at school, being labeled as an extremist. To this my answer is usually, "Without people like me, you wouldn't be here today, so you should be thanking me, and those like me." It is for these reasons I like your newsletter. I enjoy seeing young people like myself seriously interested in the Corps, and people that I look up to who are still proud of what they did. I cannot wait to join this summer, and even more so can't wait to graduate Boot and officially become a member of the brotherhood, to which I will remain, "Always Faithful." Oorah and Semper Fi!
OUR FIGHTING MEN
My father, a WWII Marine and veteran of Iwo Jima, found this poem the other day while going through some old papers. He said he can't remember exactly when or where he got it but it was somewhere in the South Pacific. I thought you might enjoy it. Let me know if you need any further information.
Thanks, & Semper Fi ! Kenneth Bramlett
"OUR FIGHTING MEN" ---Guadalcanalâ€¦Jan. 1943.
A Marine told his buddy, on Guadalcanal,
"The Army is coming, think of it, pal."
The corporal answered him, "All right then",
"Let's build a nice clubhouse for Our Fighting Men."
"They can have entertainment, and maybe a play,
Recreation advisors from the W.P.A.
U.S.O. Hostesses and movies galore,
For the Army gives morale a very high score."
"One thing," said the chow hound, "We'll eat better now,
Depend on the soldiers to drag in that chow.
They'll start post exchanges, have ice cream no end,
Life has to be pleasant for Our Fighting Men."
A Seabee rolled up and asked, "What's the score?
The cruisers and wagons all laying off shore,
While scads of destroyers are sweeping the bay
Is the Army finally landing today?"
They dashed up the beach when the boats hit the sand;
Steel helmets, fixed bayonets and rifles in hand.
Marines washing clothes asked, "You lads going far?
What the hell is your hurry, have you heard of a war?"
"Shut up !" said the Marine Sergeant, "Go limber your legs,
and swap this Jap helmet for a case of real eggs.
This barking at soldiers must come to an end..
You must be respectful toward Our Fighting Men."
"Their generals out rank ours, so they'll take command,
New rules and new orders will govern the land,
They'll have some M.P.'s to show us around,
When the Army takes over, it sure shakes the ground."
"We can take it." said the Raider, "It won't be long,
'til the Admiral bellers, and we'll shove on.
And a little while later we'll be landing again,
To make Bougainville safe, for Our Fighting Men."
MY FATHER AND I
Hey there Sgt. Grit,
I have been a loyal subscriber to your news letter for quite some time now. I just want to say it has kept the dream alive for me. Reading the stories from the "old corps" and the new has made me so proud. You see my father was in the Corps during Viet Nam and my older brother is in now (29 Stumps) and I am in the delayed entry program here in Delaware. My father & I attended the Birthday Party up in Philly this past year and I have to admit, it brought many tears to my young eyes. Seeing my father interact w/everyone as if they were best friends was pure joy to me. But one thing that I will always remember is the things I heard from the old timers. Most men never get a chance to meet one of there heroes, let alone a few dozen of them. I have. But the one thing that keeps my dream of becoming a Marine alive is when 4 Marines bought me a beer at the bar. Four different Marines from four different wars (WWII, Korea, VietNam, Desert Storm) said to me "thank your for keeping our family alive, for you have entered into the eternal band of brothers" Sir may the boot ask a favor of all those salty Marines out there, Sir?! If any one has served with my father (STEVEN JOHN HAUCH) please contact me @ email@example.com. For fathers day I would like to reunite my dad w/some of his old buddies. Thanx so much Sgt. Grit,
WOULD FIND THE OTHERS MOTHER
Dear Sgt. Grit:
I needed someone to share this experience with, it is too good to keep to myself and the others involved. Please bear with me. I served actively in the Marine Corps from Sept. 1969 - March 1974. I was medically separated and revisited Bethesda Naval Hospital until final separation in 1979. The story I am about to relay to you I have expressed to the People that publish the FOX 2/5 Newsletter. While serving in the Republic of South Viet Nam with the 2nd Bn. 5th Marine Reg. on Oct 27, 1970 during a sweeping Operation of the Que Son Mountains. A day that started out like most other days cool, and wet. The 2nd Platoon was on line and our objective was to flush out enemy troops to our waiting sister Company. As the sweeping advanced we could see the top of the hill that was our objective. Everything was quite, too quite, you know how you get that feeling that something is not right? well we had that feeling. Our steps became more deliberate and careful of any trip wires and booby traps. Our squad (1st squad) got separated from the rest of the platoon because of the terrain and heavy underbrush. About 75 yards from the top of this hill all hell broke loose. We had been surprised by a number of NVA Hard Corps troops. (you can tell because they were disciplined and picked their targets with slack, stop and squeeze). I caught a glimpse of one of them as he was firing an RPG, when I looked and saw where he was aiming I yelled for the Marine to get down, too late.....the grenade made contact with his flak jacket as I was yelling. My friend was vaporized. I immediately broke cover and gave chase I was nearly out of ammo so I grabbed Doc Dinzers 45 and continued to give chase inflicting a mortal wound to the RPG launcher and several others. You see Jimmy Miller and me were the best of friends and now he was gone. Jim and I had a pact that no matter what happened to us the survivor would find the others mother and tell her what happened. I searched for years for the Miller family in Lancaster, Pa. There are many Millers there and I did not want to talk to the wrong one. Years went by and my sleepless nights continued. Then on Oct 25, 2000 I received a copy of the Fox 2/5 Newsletter. Right there on page 7 was a paragraph reading "Looking for anyone who knew James (Jim) Edward Miller" .............. The hairs on my arm and neck rose and my heart began to pound very hard, my eyes welled up and I lost it. Finally, after all these years some has found me. My wife asked what was wrong? I showed her and we both wept for a while. I finally mustered up my courage and made contact with the person that had placed the ad. It was Charles Miller, (also a Marine) Jim's brother. Charlie was in Viet Nam and was wounded in the Que Son Mountains in 1969. The same mountains that took his brothers life. After talking to Charles on the phone I sent the Miller's Photos and a video of my slides that contained slides with Jim Miller and others from Fox 2/5. I was directed to Mrs. Dorothy Miller, Charlie and Jim's mother. We made a phone call and have written to each other since. Oh yes, did I tell you that the phone call and package was mailed on Oct 27, 2000 ? Exactly 30 years later right to the day. I hope to be able to put enough money together and visit the Millers this coming summer. Once again indirectly Marines have taken care of Marines. Because of the newsletter I have found peace with the Millers.
Dennis OScier, Sgt. Ret. USMC
CERTAINLY NOT FOR YOU!!
And God bless you, Sgt. Grit. I helped coach my kid's high school football team this year and one of the real (paid) coaches (and a good one at that), who was educated in private schools and played football at an ivy league college when America's best were serving in 'Nam, kind of sniffed at my Force Recon Association Baseball Cap (which the kid's loved). He asked me, "Why do all you guys wear all that Marine Corps crap?" "Certainly not for you," I told him. "We like know who we can trust in a crowd. It's the world's most exclusive fraternity but you kind of "had to be there' to understand." I thought back to that little exchange when I read the two pieces about the Santa poem and Marine iconography in the work place in today's letter.
SASEBO, JAPAN 1945
I remember landing in Sasebo, Japan in September 1945, the city had only been bombed a total of five times, but the ' center of the city was completely destroyed, the only thing standing, believe it or not was a Catholic Church right in the middle of the city, the dead were still amongst the ruins, the smell was unbearable, it was a deserted city only the Japanese Police still stayed in the city, the people had fled into the mountains, and oddity was that an old gentlemen in his 80s greeted us and told us he had been a US Marine in the 1880s and had lived in Japan after leaving the Corps, he was able to prove this to us with his discharge, he was interned but had been released when the surrender took place. We set up a perimeter at the Ainoura Naval Base and it was about three day later they started coming down out of the mountains hungry and scared, but once they found out we meant them no harm, we couldn't get rid of them, they were all over the place. Our biggest problem, we thought was the troops coming back from Korea and Manchuria, at least the ones that surrendered, Sasebo was the entry point. We ended up with so many rifles, samari swords,etc. we gave every Marine in the division a rifle and sword to take back to the states.We were there from Sept. thru December and then rotated back to the states (On Points). Gene L. Gustad
Sgt. Grit....On 26 Dec. 2000 another Marine was needed at Heavens Gates for a change of watch. Royce M. Krepps D/2/8/2nd Mar Div.,WW II left us to stand his watch. He had been awarded 2 Purple Hearts in action during the battles for Guadalcanal, Tarawa,and Saipan.Royce and his brother Claude were both wounded in the battle for Saipan. Both had enlisted at the outbreak of WWII. Royce was only 17 at enlistment and Claude was 22. Their father Claude Sr.,age 45, couldn't stand to see his two sons in war and enlisted in the Army 3 months later. Royce was as "Gung Ho" about the Corps and his Country as his brother and I are. Semper Fi Uncle Royce, Semper Fi. Anyone wishing to contact Claude Krepps Jr. can Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and all messages will be sent on. J.Blake USMC 58-62
PROUDEST MOMENT IN MY LIFE
The proudest moment in my life like many others occurred on the parade deck when the Senior Drill Instructor dismissed our platoon. I was now a Marine Private!!! I was decked out in full dress blues complete with shooting badge, and the â€œI was around in 91â€ national defense ribbon. I then proceeded to Lindberg Airport when I spotted a Naval Officer approaching. I popped a salute that only a Marine could properly render. As I was saying, â€œgood afternoon Sirâ€ I realized that this wasnâ€™t a Naval Officer, but a Pilot for Continental Airlines. I was a little embarrassed. While on the plane back to Chicago, I talked to a few people about the â€œNavalâ€ officer that I had saluted. The result of the conversation was that the pilot might have been an officer in the military at one point in his life. We also decided, that even though you normally wouldn'tâ€™t salute a civilian it would be a good PR move to return a salute from a civilian if one was given. My family greeted me at Oâ€™Hare airport on a sunny July day. The conversation from the plane was still on my mind when we left the airport and entered the top of the parking deck. I immediately spotted a lady who was saluting me. So I came to attention and popped a salute that only a Marine could properly render. As I was saying â€œgood afternoon Maâ€™amâ€ I realized that she was not saluting me, she was just looking for her car. Her right hand was shading the sun from her eyes. This was the proudest day of my life. I was just a little bit eager to show off my newly earned title.
Semper FI Marines
WATCHES US IN AWE
Once we had secured the island and established our perimeter we started conducting squad sized and platoon sized patrols outside our perimeter and into town. Well during these patrols we would have all these Haitians that would follow us (sometimes hundreds of them) singing and praising us for coming there and helping them. So my squad is on patrol and we have a small crowd behind us and each street we patrol down, whoever sees us stops what there doing and watches us in awe. Makes you feel like a movie star or something. So were moving around looking for anything out the ordinary but all is well.....so far....... Then comes this dog (not the same one in my last story) who is walking down the street towards us minding his own business. Unfortunately our point man isn't to fond of dogs and besides, who knows what kind of diseases there carrying. The dog walks right in the middle of our formation making our point man very nervous. The dog stops and looks around at us curiously and the point man breaks out the pepper spray. Now the dog is behind the point man which means he is in front of the rest of the squad and to top it off the wind was in our faces. My squad leader knows what the point man is about to do and he knows what's about to happen. Our squad leader tries to tell him not to do it but its too late. He sprays, the dog runs away and the spray just carries amongst some of the squad members. So about 4 or 5 of the squad is coughing, breaking out of our patrol column, and just itching and crying looking like a gaggle fu**. The Haitians are looking at us like were nuts. lol.. Man did we look unprofessional in a hurry. Needless to say the point man got an earful when we got back. On the Bulletin Board by Don Crockett
TALK ABOUT EMBARRASSMENT
Probably one of my most embarrassing moments came upon my arrival home from boot leave in December 1952. I took the bus from PI to Bennington, VT where I lived. My father picked me up a the bus station at whatever the early morning hour was. Probably around 0800 or maybe a bit earlier; I don't recall. Anyway, being December in Vermont, one might expect to find snow and ice on the road, right? Right you are, but to a newly made Marine Corps PFC, ice and/or snow was no deterrent. On the way from downtown to the farm, we stopped to buy the Sunday morning paper. My dad asked me to run into the newspaper store and get the paper. Walking tall across the street, my new stripes were shining, my chest was puffed out, my greens were really squared away, and I strutted like I had just single-handedly won the Korean War. Then - the ice. I stepped on a patch of ice and fell flat on my butt. This, my friends, never happens to a Marine! Boy, talk about embarrassment! Thank God it was too early in the morning for the natives to be up and about. >From the Bulletin Board by Chris Vail
YOU'RE SURROUNDED BY BROTHERS
Best of the holidays and the new year to you and your organization. Your newsletter reminded me of Christmas in Chu Lai, 1966. I was with 1st Shore Party Battalion, looking forward to rotating in early February. We had no Christmas tree, but cut one out of a 4x8 sheet of plywood, painted it green, used red, white and yellow paint for the tree decorations and "icicles". The tree was hung over the hatch to the mess tent. One of the recently arrived replacements was wallowing in self-pity, telling us how his family Christmas was normally celebrated at home...bemoaning the fact he'd be absent and far away this year...that he wished he was home with his girl. A buddy ribbed, "Hey, lad, anybody ever tell you you're depressing? What are you telling us? You miss your family? You miss your main squeeze?" The young Marine answered, "Well, sure. Don't you?" My buddy shook his head and commented, "Look around you, boy. You're surrounded by brothers. Can't ask for a bigger or better family than you've got here." The new guy was embarrassed, but the point was clear; celebrate whatever Christmas you've got. Lord willing, there would be other Christmases, better Christmases, but I have to admit that I remember that one as special because I spent it in good company. We shared a few choruses of holiday songs with irreverently modified lyrics, and included the new guy. As we celebrate the holidays, let us remember that the baton has passed to a new generation. Wish a young Marine a merry Christmas, invite one to dinner if there's a base nearby, and keep them in your prayers this year. Give to Toys for Tots, and have a wonderful holiday.
Ed Palumbo 1964-68
A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP
When I was 16, I had the honor of meeting a former Marine (now guarding the gates with Chesty) by the name of Harold Barr. He was a gunsmith and he also made a holster for my first pistol. I had no interest in joining the Marine Corps at that time but his stories will stay with me always. Harold was part of the first wave during the attack on Tinnian where for the first few days, sleep was not an option. Eventually each Marine had a chance to catch a few winks (with eyes wide open of course). One night when it was Harold's turn he figured that the safest place was in the machine gun nest, knowing that his comrades would wake him if they needed him. He remembered waking up some time during the night and seeing tracers flying over head. With his temporary loss of hearing from rifle fire and incoming rounds, the sounds were muffled but he could feel the ground vibrate when his buddies would return fire. He promptly went back to sleep knowing that his life was in the best of hands. The next morning, just before dawn, he awoke to find those same two Marines still there with him but to his surprise there were dead Japanese throughout their position. When Harold asked what had happened, the response was, " We got over ran last night and we just took this position back about an hour ago,..... we thought you were dead!"
MAY I SALUTE YOU?
by Patricia Salwei
I approached the entrance to Ft. Belvoir's medical facility last year as an old veteran puttered towards me. Easily over 80 years old, stooped and slow, I barely gave him a second glance because on his heels was a full bird colonel.
As they approached, I rendered a sharp salute and barked, "Good morning, Sir!" Because they were heel to toe, I began my salute as the old veteran was about two paces from me. He immediately came to life! Transformed by my greeting, he rose to his full height, returned my salute with pride, and exclaimed, "Good morning captain!" I was startled, but the full bird behind him was flabbergasted. The colonel stopped mid-salute, smiled at me and quietly moved on. As I entered the clinic, the utter beauty of the encounter preoccupied me. What prompted the old man to assume that I was saluting him? Perhaps he just thought, "It's about time!" After all, doesn't a WWII vet outrank us all? I turned my attention to the waiting room taking a moment to survey the veterans there. Service people rushed around, loudspeakers blared, the bell for the prescription window kept ringing. It was a whir of activity and the older veterans sat quietly on the outside seemingly out of step, patiently waiting to be seen. Nobody was seeing. My old friend stayed on my mind. I began to pay attention to the military's attitude towards its veterans. Predominately, I witnessed indifference: impatient soldiers and airmen plowing over little old ladies at the commissary; I noticed my own agitation as an older couple cornered me at the Officer's Club and began reminiscing about their tour in Germany. To our disgrace, I have also witnessed disdain: At Ramstein AB terminal, an airman was condescending and borderline cruel with a deaf veteran flying Space A; An ancient woman wearing a WACS button was shoved aside by a cadet at the Women's Memorial dedication in D.C.; A member of the Color Guard turned away in disgust from a drunk Vietnam vet trying to talk to him before the Veterans Day Ceremony at the Vietnam Wall. Have you been to a ceremony at the Wall lately? How about a Veteran's Day Parade in a small town? The crowds are growing faint. Why do we expect the general public to care if we don't? We are getting comfortable again. Not many of us around that have been forced to consider making the ultimate sacrifice. Roughly 60% of today's active duty Air Force did not even participate in Desert Storm. I always lament about the public's disregard for the military. I do not count all the days I stayed in bed instead of going to a ceremony or parade. It was my day to be honored and I deserved to sleep in. It's just like a 28-year-old, whose weapon was "Microsoft PowerPoint Slide Presentation" during the last conflict, to complain about recognition. Sometimes I wonder who is going to come to our parades in 20 years; will anybody look me up in the Women's Memorial Registry? The answer lies in the present. We will be honored as we honor those who have gone before us. The next generation is watching. It is not my intention to minimize the selfless service of our modern military; my comrades are the greatest people I know (and frankly should be treated better). But, lately I'm wondering if the public's attitude towards the military isn't just a reflection of the active duty military's attitude towards its own veterans. It's time to ask - do we regard them, do we consider them at all? How does our attitude change when the hero is no longer wearing a uniform? I was proud to wear my uniform. Can I admit that I thought I was cool? There is no denying that there is something about our profession, combined with youth, that feeds the ego a little. We have all seen a young pilot strut into the Officer's Club with his flight suit on. He matters; he takes on the room; he knows he can take on the world. But, one day he will leave his jet for a desk, and eventually he will have to hang up that flight suit. A super hero hanging up his cape. How will we measure his value then? He will no longer look like a pilot, an officer, a colonel. He'll just look like an old man coming out of the clinic with his prescription. But, is he less of a hero? Will anybody remember or care about all the months he spent away from his newborn daughter while making peace a possibility in the Balkans? Probably not. Our society has a short memory. Maybe it is not for the protected to understand. Rather, it is my hope that when a young lieutenant walks by him they will each see themselves reflected in the other - one's future, the other's past. In that moment, perhaps, the lieutenant will also see the hero, now disguised as an old man, and thank him. The truth is there are heroes in disguise everywhere. I use to wonder why people would want to chat with me when I was in uniform - telling me about their four years as a radio operator in Korea. So what? I wasn't impressed relative to my own experiences. Now I understand that they were telling me because nobody else cared. Proud of their service, no matter how limited, and still in love with our country, they were trying to stay connected. Their stories were code for: "I understand and appreciate you, can you appreciate me?" The answer is, yes. I separated from the Air Force in February. I'm out of the club. Still, I want you to know that I'll attend the parades, visit the memorials, and honor you. All this while my kids and your kids are watching. Then, maybe, someday when I'm an old woman riding the metro, a young airman will take a moment of her time to listen to one of my war stories. I, in turn, will soak in her beauty and strength, and remember. Today as I reflect on my adventures in the Air Force, I'm thinking of that ancient warrior I collided with at Ft. Belvoir. I'm wondering where he is, if he's still alive, if it's too late to thank him. I want to start a campaign in his honor - Salute A Veteran. What a great world this would be if all our elderly veterans wore recognition pins, and we would salute them even if we were out of uniform and saw them coming out of a Seven Eleven. Yes, this started out as a misunderstanding on my part. But, now I get it. That day was the first time in my life that I really understood what it meant to salute someone. Dear Veteran, I recognize and hail you! I do understand what I have and what you have given to make it possible. So I'm wondering if we meet on the street again - may I salute you?
I was on my way to evening chow with another recruit (we had early chow duty). Up to this point, the only Marines I had seen wearing an overseas cap had been officers. As the Corporal approached, I saluted crisply (the other recruit did not). We both got quite the lecture :) by this Cpl (who I hope went on to be a DI - he was that good at it). We were dismissed, and the other recruit, looking straight ahead says, "I'd really rather we didn't salute any more NCO's..." We did our best, but we both just broke out laughing. Thank God there wasn't anyone around to see that! We'd have been doing mountain climbers for years!
I have never seen a more upset SSGT!! The fire that came out of his eyes and the smoke from his ears was deserving of a field promotion to SGT Major. I was on barracks duty at Cecil Field. This meant that they had to make busy work for us until our school started at NAS JAX. We would wash/wax the CO's car, clean the offices at Admin. and cut the lawn. I was cleaning the CO's office when the PFC that was cutting the lawn came rushing in. He had 15 new silver dollars!!! All he had done was salute 15 new warrant officers. They had just come from their promotion ceremonies and were going to admin. to have their SRBs updated. The first one to spot them was the Marine who had just finished cutting the lawn. The SSGT that worked in admin was expecting these Marines and had his sights on those silver dollars. I wondered why he was peeping his head outside every few minutes. They were early.
Semper FI Marines
EARLY DAYS OF THE FORGOTTEN WAR
RE #15806 HAT PIN. IF THE DESCRIPTION "1ST MAR BDE-FMF"STANDS FOR 1ST MARINE BRIGADE DETACHED-FLEET MARINE FORCE THEN THIS BRIGADE WAS FORMED OR RE-FORMED WHEN KOREA BROKE OUT. THE 5TH MAR REGIMENT WAS REINFORCED AND WE LEFT SAN DIEGO IN JULY. THIS BRIGADE FOUGHT WITH FEROCIOUS PRIDE AT THE PUSAN PERIMETER. THREE TIMES OUR PISSY ASS LITTLE BRIGADE REPLACED THE ARMY 24TH DIVISION TO PUSH THE NORTH KOREANS BACK ACROSS THE NAKTONG RIVER WHEN THE ARMY COULDN'T HOLD THE RIVER CROSSING. THE THIRD TIME THEN COL MURRAY TOLD THE 24 TH DIV COMMANDER THAT IT'S UP TO THEM TO HOLD THE LINE AS WE WERE GOING BACK TO MASAN TO GET ABOARD SHIP AND JOIN THE 1ST MARINE DIVISION. THIS ULTIMATELY LED TO THE INCHON LANDING. BUT THE 1T PROVISIONAL MARINE BRIGADE DID SERVE IN KOREA WITH PRIDE. THOUGHT YOU MIGHT ENJOY A BRIEF HISTORY ABOUT THE EARLY DAYS OF THE FORGOTTEN WAR FROM A GRUNT THAT LIVED IT.
JOHN T ROBERTSON
A lesson to be learned from the enemy in a positive sense, sure, he had a great ability to survive, to dig in, to endure great hardships, but our people can do all of these things even better if they have to. "The Story of Ray Davis" BK385 $19.95 http://www.grunt.com/books3.asp Gen. Davis, MOH, signs each book.
"We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained." --George Washington
ENTHUSIASM--Is what I practice all of the time. Even if I have to fake it! Chesty Puller's Rules of Success, Page 28 http://www.grunt.com/books2.asp BK201, $7.95
"America was not born of a single people or a single tradition or a single movement. Rather, our nation was born of a single idea -- one that transcends the mere material attachments of other ethnicities. Our nation was born of the peculiar notion that all men were born to be free. Thus, America is the best expression of the highest aspiration of mankind. Best we safeguard such a sacred trust for all other nations with all the fervor and ardor we can muster. Therein lies the American spirit." --Teddy Roosevelt
And of course I got a bad time on the ship when I brought a set of dumbbells with me to work out aboard ship daily. But I have always been convinced that a young Marine has got to be as strong and in as good shape as possible, prepared for any situation. That night, when most of the troops were too tired to take maybe one turn carrying their wounded buddies, the weights paid off. "Chosin Marine" , page 44 http://www.grunt.com/books4.asp BK403, $14.95
"No arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women." --Ronald Reagan
God Bless America!!