Sgt Grit Marine Corps Merchandise

Welcome to our Marine Corps Newsletter archives. Here you can find USMC articles and memories sent in to us by fellow Jarheads and their families. Enjoy!

Sgt Grit Marine Corps Newsletter - February 15, 2002

I have used this on my youngest daughter several times this week. The Corps teachings and values are timeless, even though my youngest wishes they weren't.
Sgt Grit

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How about some stories about C-Rations and MREs. I liked Tabasco in most of mine, I liked the Spaghetti best. What did you heat with, what did you do when you couldn't heat, etc....? Send to

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Enough shop talk, now on to the good stuff.


Sgt. Grit
Thank you for the great site, for the newsletter, and for the quality Marine (stuff) you make available. I had something kind of neat happen to me at the L.A. airport in October of 1976. Some of you may remember the Cincinnati Reds "Big Red Machine" winning the World Series in 1976, in Cincinnati, the same time that I am trying to get home from my tour on Okinawa. I walked up to the counter in L.A. with ticket in hand, (purchased in Iwakuni), doing the sea-bag-drag, tired, and wearing the same uniform I had been in for two days (you know, you've been there) to find all flights to Cincinnati have been over sold and I have been bumped... I was not a happy Marine. I let everyone at the counter know I was not a happy Marine. I was in the middle of telling some other folks I was not a happy Marine, when I heard a voice behind me say "I'll get you on that flight Lance Corporal".

I look over my shoulder to see Mr. Ed McMahon. You know Ed McMahon, "Heeeerrres Johnny", ED MCMAHON! I was not aware of the fact, but I soon learned, Ed McMahon is a former Marine. Ed McMahon who at that time I am sure was a multi-millionaire and had no worries at all of getting on the flight, stopped, to help a fellow Marine in trouble...He got me on that flight, First Class I might add.

That happened over 25 years ago but I will never forget it. Ed McMahon could have turned his back, but he didn't, he took it upon himself to come to a Marine in need and I will always be grateful. Some folks may read this newsletter from time-to-time and think many of the issues we raise are petty, like whether or not to use former Marine or just Marine... If you ain't one of us you don't get it... That's all there is too it! Semper Fi... Do or die Cpl R.D. Davis '75-'78


Sgt. grit, maybe you want to put this little tidbit in the news letter. for about thirty years I've been looking for a buddy that I served with in the corps, well on Friday, Feb 1, 2002, thanks to internet technology and my daughter in law, I was able to locate my buddy in Birmingham Alabama. I called him and before to long we will once again re-unite, the moral of this story is if your looking for someone that you were in the corps. with don't give up you will find them. To all the guys and gals in the corps past and present I say SEMPER-FI. and God Bless JerryM.


Sgt. Grit, A couple of weeks ago I sent you an E-Mail telling you that I was looking for a Marine buddy that I was in the Corps. with over thirty years ago. I was hoping that you would put the message in the newsletter. As it turns out my buddy gets your newsletter, but that is not how I found him It took old fashioned Marine Ingenuity. Where there's a will threes a way, anyway what matters is that I found my old buddy Dwight L. Cobb from Alabama, and we are planning a reunion in Washington where our friendship began. As for the traitor John Walker Lindh he should be tried for treason after being found guilty as he is he should be shot because we are at war and the last time I looked being found guilty for treason the condemned should be shot. Until next time, Semper-Fi Jerry M, a former Marine Sgt., Retired Detective, NYCPD.

Sorry, I cannot enter every request for a buddy search. But as the stories above indicate it can be done. There is not a 'silver bullet' web page, an all knowing data base, simple phone number with all the answers, etc... To find buddies you must "Adapt, Improvise, Overcome. It is worth it. Click on "Buddy Search" at


I have my attitude on, and my soapbox in hand and I am going to vent because I am so f*^%&^g mad I cannot see straight. On the news this morning was Mr. Ted Turner, former husband of the traitor Jane Fonda (aka Hanoi Jane). He was, and I heard this with my own ears, saying that the terrorists were "brave". He also said many nice things praising Fidel Castro. He also lambasted our president. He went on to state that 9/11/01 was partially our fault because of the abject poverty in the world. Well, may I answer this moron. Brave is not flying into a building and killing unarmed women, children, and general nice unsuspecting folks. Bravery is being 18 years old in a jungle and not knowing what will happen but you wear the eagle, globe, and anchor, and you answer the call with honor and commitment to do good. Abject Poverty?? Be a young marine just getting out, have a family , and no job.....starting from scratch with nothing but a driving force to success that was nurtured by some maniac with a drill instructors cover .We all know what it was like to live on a lance corporals pay. Mr. Turner.....spend some of your billions on the poor. Every marine gives to some charity. If I needed something, I am sure that a fellow Marine would help. If the word got out that a Marine family was in need, Marines would come out of the woodwork to help. Mr. Turner, you are a dead loss. Go to a veterans cemetery and pray for forgiveness. I have honor, pride, and a proud heritage that lives on through younger have Hanoi Jane Don, Thanks for letting me vent.
SSgt DJ Huntsinger, 68-75


Some people think we came from hell, other think we should all go there. Then there are the wise ones who are glad we are around.

So what does it take to be a Marine? I admit, you have to be a bit foolish, a little daring, somewhat adventurous, looking for a challenge and according to most parents-crazy. Why? Because we are special. We train differently, we act differently, we think like no others, we take chances where others never would, we do more with less,We are overflowing with pride.

We wear our uniform with pride, we hold our heads up high with pride and our families are proud of us. Our country respects us, there are those who are not fond of us and the enemy fear us. So, unless you've been a Marine, no one really understands us or what it takes to be a Marine. We are damn proud to be called "Marine".

You can find a former Marine in all walks of life. People say we're dummies, stupid, crazy, obnoxious, animals. They just don't know. I have met former Marines who are lawyers, doctor, artists, police captains, business owners and just about any profession you can imagine. And every former Marine I have met is just as proud now as when they were in the Corps.

Our ways in life and in combat are unconventional, unlike others, daring foolish or rude at times, impetuous, usually tough but always successful. We have been called, "America's 911". We know how to "take it" and we know how to " dish it out". We have gone through boot camp or OCS and became sensitive, caring and loving. Sensitive to what people say about us, caring for our fellow Marine and loving our Corps and country.

The men and women of the Marine Corps are highly motivated and held in high esteem by those who love us, hate us and fear us. We have an ego the size of Texas and a history to back it up. No one can ever take that away from us because we have earned it. When you join the Marine Corps, it's because you want to be a Marine. I know.

Over the past century, we have been looked down upon, insulted, spat on rejected, degraded, used, abused, exploited and taken advantage of. We love it! We can take it; that's what makes us a Marine. This special treatment.

We are respected and admired by other countries yet not in some social circles in our country. That is just fine because we shall be here, prepared to fight when our country needs us again. And we ask for nothing. That's what it takes to be a Marine.

Gen. George S. Patton could not have said it any better when he said, "The highest obligation and privilege of citizenship it that of bearing arms for one's country."

If it weren't for these crazy, foolhardy, vulgar, wild, gutsy, braggarts who joined the Marine Corps, we would not have a country, a free country. A free country that allows others to call us names. We have protected this country and died for you. Thank you for that honor
By Martin E. Shapiro—RVN 1965/66, 1st Bn., 9th Marines


Dear Sgt. Grit,
On my son's first Sunday on leave after graduating from boot camp, we went to church as usual. Only this time, my Marine went in his Delta Blues instead of a suit. As he walked into the narthex, some of the choir members got a glance at him and started clapping. Soon everyone was turning around to see what all the clapping was about. Then THEY started clapping. Needless to say, his face turned a little red, but he sure was proud to be wearing that uniform. After the service, so many people came up to talk to him and tell him how proud they were of what he was doing. We are also very proud of his decision and have become a Marine your newsletter(THANKS!), Leatherneck magazine, and listen and read every news article about the Corps..(wish we could join up, too)
Semper FI! Proud parents of PFC. JD Milstead


SGT. Grit:
Thanks for a terrific newsletter! I just finished reading the latest issue and the letter from Bill Biggs entitled "a round of applause" brought back the memory of about my five minutes of fame. I was a young PFC stationed at Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station in "78" when I began attending a Baptist church over in Waipahu. One Wednesday evening, the church hosted a choral group from Liberty Baptist college that gave a live concert in the sanctuary that night. In the midst of their songs, they launched into some patriotic music and included was a beautiful rendition of the Armed Services Medley (All four Services Songs) and it just so happened that the last one of the songs was the Marine Corps Hymn. I had listened with excitement and pride to the other songs but out of pure habit and training and pride, when they launched into our Hymn, I came sharply to attention in the middle of the crowd! The crowd as well as the choir Director and my Pastor immediately noticed and was so impressed, that he had the group stop their performance and repeat the song! He also went into a small tirade directed at the other service members in the congregation, directing them to stand when their respective song was sang! I had the distinction of being the ONLY Marine in the crowd that night, but what a memory that was.
Thanks for letting me share the memory, I look forward to your next letter. Semper Fi. Larry D. Hamm Sgt. 77-89


Sgt. Grit:
I read with interest Freddie Cooper's article in your 2Feb02 Newsletter, referring to LtCol. Robert J. Modrzejewski III, Medal of Honor (MOH) awardee, as one of his inspirational guiding icons. This mention brought back memories of my experiences in Vietnam with then Captain Modrzejewski when I was a 36 year old Mustang Second Lieutenant (former Master Gunnery Sgt.) and Asst. Division Adjutant and/Awards Officer of the Third Marine Division in Vietnam. I had the privilege to be tasked with investigating and verifying then Captain Modrzejewski's MOH citation. I simultaneously worked on a second MOH recommendation for then SSgt. John J. McGinty. Their MOH recommendations were for the same actions that took place during Operation Hastings in Quang Tri Province, in mid July of 1966.

Captain Modrzejewski and SSgt. McGinty, members of K Co, 3rdBn, 4th Marines during Operations Hastings, fought during one of the largest operations at that time in the Vietnam War. Throughout the course of four days of fierce fighting in rugged jungle mountain terrain very close to the DMZ, their company killed over 200 of the enemy, captured large numbers of their weapons and large quantities of medical supplies. McGinty estimated that his platoon killed at least 150 North Vietnamese, with one squad alone accounting for 35 to 40 of them, and was quoted as saying "We certainly messed them up beautifully." Captain Modrzejewski, finally reduced to firing only his .45 caliber pistol, remarked that "It's not too often that we have to requisition .45 cal. pistol ammunition." Both officers were also wounded during this Operation.

Modrzejewski and McGinty were the first dual MOH awardees for Marines since the Korean War (where I served as an ATA Section Leader with WpnsCo-1stBn-5thMarines and later as a Platoon Sergeant with EasyCo-2ndBn-5thMarines on OP Vegas).

I returned to the U.S. in 1967, and on March 12, 1968 was invited to the White House when then President Lyndon B. Johnson presented Medals of Honor to these two heroes. In the cherished picture I later received, I am shown shaking hands with the President as then Second Lieutenant McGinty and Major Modrzejewski are standing on my right wearing their new MOH's. The Marine pictured in front of me in the receiving line was 1stLt. Chapman, son of then Marine Commandant Leonard F. Chapman. The lady behind me in the receiving line was Mrs. Chapman.

I heartily concur with Freddie Coopers' characterization of LtCol.. Modrzejewski. Anyone who receives our nations highest award for bravery that can be given to any individual is certainly worthy of being a role model for anyone. I was also pleased Cooper brought these memories back to me. Semper Fi. Gerald F. (Jerry) Merna 1stLt., USMC (Ret.)


The young Marine was weary
And he sought a little rest
With his helmet for a pillow
And his rifle on his chest.
He has seen the gunships fire.
He had heard the cannons roar.
He had seen the Navy's power
As he made his way ashore.
Then he thought about his rifle
And he found it rather small,
With the gunships and the cannons
It was nothing much at all.
The efforts of a rifleman
Meant little, it would seem.
Then, as he slipped to slumber,
He dreamed himself a dream.

The man who stood beside him
Held a musket in his hand
And close around his neck he wore
A heavy leather band.
"When I was on Old Ironsides"
The apparition said
"There were cannonballs and cutlasses
Wherever danger led.
There were pistols too, and daggers
At every fighter's side
When the ships would come together
On the rolling, heaving, tide.
But when it came to boarding,
With the battle fury hot
It was rifles, always rifles
That made the telling shot."

The apparition faded
And standing in its place
Beneath a shallow helmet
He saw another face.
"When we were in the trenches
In the Wood they call Marine
There were mortars, tanks, and cannons,
More than I had ever seen.
But when the final charge was made
To push the Germans back
It was rifles, always rifles
At the point of the attack."

The face changed only slightly
And the helmet stayed the same
But the island that he spoke of
Had a more familiar name.
"They hit us very early
On the day the war begun.
On the wings of all their bombers
We could see the Rising Sun.
Our pilots and our gunners
Who fought and fell at Wake
Wrote a story full of glory
That time can never shake.
But when the enemy drew near
To make his final reach
It was rifles, always rifles
That met him on the beach."

There next appeared a shadow
In a swirl of stinging snow
And it breathed a fierce defiance
And its eyes were all aglow.
"In 'Fifty at the Chosin
When the big guns couldn't talk
And the First Marine Division
Took a fighting, freezing walk,
When all the world, except the Corps
Had counted us as gone
It was rifles, always rifles
That let us carry on."

The scene was changed to summer
And the face was hard and lean
And the tired eyes were fired
With the light that says "Marine".
"At Khe Sahn when they shelled us
We were wrapped in rolling smoke
And the thought of our survival
Was a grim and ghastly joke.
But when the waves came swarming in
To finish the assault
It was rifles, always rifles
That called the final halt."

There next appeared a general
As solid as a tank
With three stars on his collar
To signify his rank.
His stature and demeanor
Were the military type
And in his hand he carried
A stubby little pipe.
His jaw was squarely chiseled
His eyes were clear and keen
And his bearing left no question.
He was all Marine's Marine.

"The message they're conveying"
The burly General said
"Is that through our troubled history
The rifles always led.
We've had cannons, tanks, and mortars
We've had weapons by the score,
We've had battleships and fighter planes
To complement the Corps.
We've a most impressive arsenal.
That's obviously true,
But the final thrust for victory
Has always been with you.
It was rifles, always rifles
When the Corps was sorely pressed
And the rifle that you carry
Must meet the final test.
So sling that rifle proudly,
For everything we do
With mortars, tanks, and cannons
Is just an aid to you."
The young Marine awakened
And put the dream aside,
Though now he clutched his rifle
With a certain touch of pride.
And then he chanced to notice
That lying near his hand
Was a stubby little pipe
And a heavy leather band.

(R.A. Gannon)


I am currently a LCpl stationed at MCAS Beaufort SC. I can grantee to any retired or former Marine that these phrases are still in use today. I was called "Hard Charger" from the time I entered the Corps, and to this day I get called nicknames earned by past Marines such as "Leather Neck", and "Devil Dogg". We still use the word "GeeDunk" on an everyday basis, that's the area where the snack and soda machines are kept. "Pogey Bait" is still used but the last I heard it was at boot camp. And FMF, the FMF was a mystical place to all if us in "A" school waiting to get to the fleet and out of school. I just wanted to assure Gunny Rhodes that those phrases are still in use as well as any others you can think of. They are actually taught in boot. Semper Fi LCpl Steven Brownlee HHS MCAS Beaufort .................... In reply to the question about the terms Poagee Bait, GeeDunk, etc...When I left active duty in 1988 they were still in use. Since then I have heard them very infrequently. When I use those words with my Marines now they look at the Battery Gunny like he is an ancient dinosaur. Oh well, I try to keep the past alive, if only for my own memory. GySgt. A.J. Camacho BTRY "A". 1/14, Aurora, CO .................... I don't know what a Gidunk is, but we still say pogie bait and hard-charger (at least us grunts do, it hurts the pogues' feelings). And while some of us still talk about the FMF, most of us now just call it the Fleet. Semper Fi Cpl Steven "Ding" Won Wpns Co, 2nd Bn, 24th Marines


Sgt. Grit:
Reading your latest Newsletter and the stories about boot camp prompts this report on my recent visit to Parris Island, SC.

Last week my wife and I were on our way home to Virginia from Florida when we made an unexpected visit (January 29th, 2002) to Parris Island. My wife had never been there, and I had not been back in 55 years, when I went through boot camp with Platoon 47 in April 1947. While my wife thoroughly enjoyed her visit, to say that I was thrilled to be there and see only some of the many "changes" is no small exaggeration.

As we toured the base taking many pictures we were so proud of the soon-to-be Marines we witnessed going through various phases of training to earn their Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. From the Marines at the main gate to the Marines at the Reception Center, their appearance, courtesy and knowledge were outstanding. Seeing the current Drill Instructors in action was a sight to behold -- they do such a superb job and all appeared as we would expect them to, trim, lean and professional. I wanted to stay longer, but time did not permit doing so.

I thought back to the many recruits that I sent to this famous training ground during my 22+ years in the Corps while on two tours of recruiting duty (New York City & Nyack (Rockland County) New York 1950-1952) and Owensboro, Kentucky (1956 - 1960). My memories also went back to how and why I became a Parris Island recruit so many years ago.

My Uncle Eddie Haiduk was a tough WWII Marine who saw extensive combat in the South Pacific. He told me his nickname was "Sgt. Zippers" because he was "busted" so many times during his time that they found it easier to put his stripes on with a zipper since they took them away from him so often. Of course he was exaggerating, because his service was exceptional. But when I told him I was going to join the Marines (I was, then barely 5'3" and 118 pounds soaking wet), he told me I "wouldn't make a pimple on a Marine's A**." (How many times have Marines heard or used this phrase?)

While I later learned that he only said this to challenge me to do what I said I would, I surely did not disappoint him when on my 17th birthday I began my Marine Corps career. (The Corps successfully later "stretched" me several inches and added some 30 pounds, must have been the chow!).

When I made Sergeant in 1949,I thought my Uncle could never have been more proud of me--he thought I "walked on water." I also remember a valuable "lesson" he taught me in a New York City bar where he brought me about a year after boot camp to "show me off" to his buddies. After he bought a couple of rounds (my money was no good there) the bartender told us to "drink up, the next round is on the house." I told the bartender "no thanks, I had enough." As the bartender walked away, my Uncle grasped my arm and said "you never turn down a drink when the house is buying!" Needless to say, we got that "free" drink and this then 18 year old Marine never forgot his former Marine Uncle's admonition!

I would then go on to serve in all the enlisted grades, culminating in my promotion to Master Gunnery Sergeant.. When I was commissioned Second Lieutenant in 1966, Uncle Ed's admiration grew a thousand fold and he thought I was the one who made the waters part. ( Before he died in a VA Hospital he told me he always regretted not staying in the Corps, and lived his missed experiences through my career.)

After service in Korea (First Marine Division, 1952-1953) and Vietnam (Third Marine Division, 1966-1967) I retired in October 1968 as a Mustang First Lieutenant. I am very proud that two of my brothers, James and Richard, also became Marines, also going through Parris Island's boot camp, and both also served in Korea. Jim and I served in the 5th Marines at the same time. Jim's son John, my nephew, is a Marine Major teaching at the Amphibious Warfare School at Quantico. Another brother joined the Navy and also served in Korea. (Our oldest brother was killed in action in WWII when a Japanese submarine sunk his LST-577 in the South Pacific in 1945).

If my fellow Marines haven't been back to Parris Island (or San Diego) since they completed boot camp, I heartily recommend they don't wait 55 years to do so. I was lucky I got this second opportunity. Semper Fidelis. 1stLt. Gerald F. Merna, USMC (Ret.)


Sgt Grit
I would like to comment on the debate of the terms Ex-Marine or Former Marine. My father and my twin brother, both Marines and wartime veterans, are now no longer paid members of our beloved Corps, I myself am a Marine on active duty. The way Marine burns in their hearts, there is only one answer to this debate. If every Marine, active duty, reserve or in the 1st Civ Div. are like them, no EX or former is right, only US Marine. God Bless the Corps and the United States! Semper Fi 1st Lt. Shannon Arnwine ................

Sgt Grit and fellow Marines,
I am really sick and tired of reading or hearing of Marines, no longer on active duty, be referred to as EX or FORMER. If being a Marine is a state of mind. . . If it is having the mark of our beloved Eagle, Globe, and Anchor seared on the innermost place of our being. . . If being a Marine and wearing the emblem is earned by a right of passage. . . Who the hell has the right to take that away by calling a Marine an EX- or a FORMER-?

People in the media do it out of ignorance, they don't understand the true meaning of "Marine". We, who do understand, need to educate them, by politely correcting them, and explaining "Once a Marine, Always a Marine".

Recently our brother Marine, serving with the CIA, was killed in the prison uprising in Afghanistan. The news media referred to him as an Ex-Marine or Former-Marine. I submit that when the (Active Duty) Marines buried him in Arlington National Cemetery, they didn't render honors to an EX- or FORMER-Marine. He may have been in Afghanistan with the CIA, but he was a MARINE. It wasn't CIA operatives that laid him to rest. It was Marines.

I am a Marine. I am no longer on active duty - I retired from active status, but I am a U.S. MARINE and will ALWAYS be a U.S MARINE. No one has the right to take that away from me or anyone that earned the title and served our Corps.

The Marines that assaulted Okinawa or Iwo Jima; the Marines that recaptured Hue City, or fought in the jungles of Vietnam; the Marines that recaptured Kuwait are and forever more will be Marines.

The civilians and members of our sister services may not understand the point I am trying to make. BUT every Marine that reads this should understand and put this Ex- or Former- crap in the can where it belongs!!
Semper Fi,
Steve Bruce
MSgt USMC (retired)

Sergeant Grit,
It's interesting to see the ways each Marine (inactive, prior, retired, or previous) shows the pride of earning the title. Whatever the moniker we use, it is full of respect, respect for ones' self, for those who served before us, those who served with us, those who serve now, and those who will serve in the future, and this is what makes being a Marine so special.
Machine gunners view of marksmanship: One shot, one kill, again, and again, and again...
Sgt. B.

Sgt. Grit,
We seem to get caught up in the semantics of former Marine or X-Marine, or just plain Marine. I almost agree with most that an X-Marine is one who got less than honorably discharged, or actively pursued a medical discharge to spite the fact that they could have continued active service. They have forfeited their right to call themselves anything with the name Marine associated with it. There are always exceptions but, read the book, "One Tough Marine" to find out what a real Marine endures for the honor of the name. Other than that how about "Marine since 19XX", which stands for the year you earned that distinction.
Jim Doud, Sgt. Marine since 1973


Sgt. Grit,
I just started reading your newsletter in November of 2001. I think it is one of the best publications ever. I just started reading some of the first Newsletters from your archives. I wanted to comment on the Air Force memorial and Coors beer. First off I myself would not drink a Coors beer if I was dying of thirst. I drink Guinness or any other beer that has a little substance. Secondly why can't the Air Force put their memorial some place else. Which brings up a story. While stationed on Okinawa a bunch of us in the squad bay decided to wear Hawaiian shirts for St. Patrick's Day while out on the town. Needless to say there was drinking and carrying on. We were asked to leave a few bars. Of course in one bar there was the Air Force guy that wanted to hang out with us. We told him that was not a good idea. He tried to plead his case, he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, and he worked with the wing on Iwakuni, and he just liked Marines. We still were telling him he needed to get lost when Honcho came up and told YOU GO NOW, I CALL JP. We let Honcho know we were not in charge of the men. Well sure enough here come the JP's. They walk right up to us and want to know who is in charge. You got it we all turned and pointed to the Air force guy. The look on his face was classic. He started protesting that he did not even know us and blah blah blah. Of course the JP's didn't fall for this after all he was dressed the same and was pointed out by at least fine hard charging Marines. Last I saw of this guy was the JP's dragging him out of the bar still protesting. I wonder what ever happened to that guy. So I guess the moral of the story is drink good beer and nothing good ever comes of the Air Force trying to hang out with the Marines. If we need them we will call.
Paul Sandoval CPL. U.S.M.C. 79-84


In 1954 I was stationed at South Camp Fuji, just outside Fujioka Japan. I was due to leave the next day.

It was roll call and the troops were heading out the door to the parade ground.

Cpl Coleman said "Hey its roll call get out that bunk". I made the mistake of saying " Forget it I'm outta here". Just then many hands lifted my bunk with me in it and proceeded to the parade ground.

The whole 1st Battalion was on the parade ground and I'm sitting there at attention in my skivvies. Lt. Ford came by looked at me smiled and shook his head. Those guys were great. Former S/SGT Norman Barnes Wpns Co. 1st Bn 3rd Marines 1953-1954


Sgt: I would like to hear from any Marines that went thru M.C.R.D. in one of S/Sgt. Baileys Platoons. I went thru one , then went to Korea. I was with the 1st Div., 7th Marines in Easy Company. When I got back I was a Jr. D.I. in M.C.R.D., one platoon was with S/Sgt. Bailey, then with Platoon # 256 then Platoon # 388. I received my discharge in 1956 but I'll always be a Marine till I die. I'll go out Kicking fighting like I learned in the Corp. Is there any of you out there that remember good old Camp Matthew's, the forty (40') tower for abandon ship drill , AGONY HILL. Lets hear from some of you Old Salts. Sgt. Robert M. Wallen 1364225 USMC 1953 to 1956


I have been reading your news letter with much enjoyment for sometime, and the incidents of others brought one such back to me that I would like to share. Possible others out there, who like me, have looked upon the youth of our nation with some doubt, may be encouraged. I was checking my bags in at the curb,back when you could, at the Ontario airport two years ago. I had just returned from the 1st Div. reunion in San Diego and had my red cap on with all the correct attachments. I handed the young man who had checked my bags a few bills, he told me "I don't want that". Seeing my confusion at such a wild act, he pulled a medallion from under his shirt. Showing me the Star Of David he asked, "Do you know what this is"?

I replied that of course I did, he replied, "Well sir I just want to thank you for what you did for my people". I was taken aback and very surprised at his gesture, my son in law who spent three tours with our Corps in Nam said to me, "That boy doesn't know there were no Marines in Europe does he"? I told him I accepted his honor for all Marines every where and it made me feel good for a long time, still does.

I am a Marine of 1950, A/1/5 , 51- 52, have all the residue of my age, gray hair, old bones that ache, eyes that are a bit dim, but a million memories of the great men I served with, who to this day still call me brother. That young man helped me see our future being in good hands.
Sgt. William P Bussey, no longer on active duty, but still a Marine


Been out for over thirty...........still managing a manufacturing plant.........all my staff are former Marines, seems that's all that apply for such a tough position. We all have an understanding of what is expected of them and what they can expect from me..........THAT'S WHY WE'RE THE NO. 1 OPERATING FACILITY IN THE COMPANY! NO SUCH WORD AS CAN'T! THE FEW, THE PROUD, THE CHOSEN ONES! "63 to 67" Sgt. Nam vet A-1-7



I went through Parris Island 1962-63. We had a recruit named J.E. Gardner, who had just turned 17.. His girlfriend kept sending him letters reeking of perfume. The Drill Instructors gave him enough time to write her to stop and told Private Gardner he would eat the next perfume letter. Girlfriend did not stop, and Private Gardner ate several letters before the Platoon. Lamar Reynolds ...............

Plt. 2083, Parris Island, 1979. We were having our first "real" inspection, "DI's Inspection". Several DI's from the other platoons in our series were present assisting and inspecting, so there were maybe six or eight total. Most recruits (maggots, pigs, pukes,etc.) were doing pretty good. Inspection arms, general orders, knowledge. Our DI's were doing their job well. One of our platoons DI's, a short, young, Sgt. was working my area .My turn came and I passed. My bunkmate, I will call him C.W., was next. C.W. did good, answered all the questions, knew his general orders, and his rifle was clean enough. (They were "never clean", as A DI could find dirt no matter how much you scrubbed and brushed). Well, C.W. was handed back his rifle, dropped the hammer, and closed the dust cover, and went to port arms. PASSED!!! But this is where Ole' C.W. made his mistake. As he went to grasp the barrel to go to order arms, he mis-calculated the trajectory of his right hand, and hit the front brim of the DI's smokey cover and sent it flying off the back of the DI's head to the deck. That is also where my eyes fell to for an instant before I reeled them back into their sockets, as did those of the DI and C.W..

Well, Ole' C.W. totally lost his military bearing upon committing his faux pas, broke the position of attention while blubbering an apology to the DI, and moved to retrieve the desecrated cover. By this time the short circuit of disbelief in the DI's brain had been repaired, and he cut loose on poor Ole C.W. with a barrage of cursing, screaming, and spitting like I had never seen. To make matters worse for C.W., several other DI's saw the whole thing and were immediately upon him with their ire. At first it was all I could do to keep from bursting out into laughter, but when the other DI's joined in on C.W.'s carcass it quickly lost it's humor. The poor guy had the look in his eyes that "all was lost". C.W. got PT'ed on the quarter deck pretty good that day. After Boot Camp we were roommates for about eight months at aviation school, and I never let Ole' C.W. forget about that day.
SGT. Dave Stutesman 79-83


The term gyrene is a jocular reference to Marines which was first used in England as early as1894. It was used in the United States around the time of WW I. Its exact origin is unknown, but it did appear to have a derogatory meaning in its early usage. It has been suggested that the term may embody a reference to pollywog, a naval slang term for a person who has not yet crossed [the equator], hence, a landlubber.

That may be true, but I always figured it was taken from the term used for army men (G.I.) and combining that with Marine to make Gyrene. I'm probably wrong. SEMPER FI, Steve Singleton


Dear Sgt. Grit- I really enjoy reading the stories in your newsletter each week and would like to share one of my own with your readers. I'm a proud Marine wife of 9 years but this wasn't always the case. After my husband and I had been married for a year he made the decision to enter the Armed Services. His first and only choice was the Marine Corps. After hearing this I begged, pleaded and cried for him to reconsider and when this failed, I threatened divorce. I was under the belief that all Marines played hard, fought hard and drank hard which was not conducive to a happy marriage. He was unmoved and a few weeks later, the night our son was born, he went to the MEPS station and raised his right hand. Two weeks later he placed his feet on the yellow footprints at MCRD San Diego and hasn't looked back since. It was clear very early on how much of a role the Marine Corps would play in our marriage but I stood by his side through long hours and frequent deployments. I have to say, there's not a finer group of people than the Marines and I know this first hand. Two years into our first tour of duty at Camp Pendleton I had to have an emergency blood transfusion but wanted to use a relative's blood which would cost a lot of money that our insurance wouldn't cover. The blood bank informed us that for every donor that gave a pint of blood in my name, I would receive a credit toward my bill. I'll be damned if I didn't show up to my doctor's office the next day for the transfusion with a line of Marines wrapped around the building donating blood in my name. The very thought of this brings tears to my eyes seven years later. These men didn't know me but all they cared about is that a Marine's family was in need. When I felt better a few weeks later I wanted to thank these Marines so for a solid weekend I baked up a storm and make care boxes for each of these Marines. When I left their formation that morning after delivering the boxes the platoon gave me a heartfelt ooh-rah and I got goose bumps all over. At that moment I knew that the deep and abiding love that my husband felt for his beloved Marine Corps was felt by me as well. A year later my husband said that his four years was up and he appreciated me allowing him to follow his dream of being a Marine but now we could have a "normal" family life. I looked at him and said, honey- if you leave the Marine Corps, I'll divorce you! Semper Fi Marines. Thank you for all that you do.
The proudest of Marine wives- Dawn Kuehne


Well...geez where to begin I have so much to say. :) First off, Oorah! I'm a Marine Corps brat and darn proud of it! I'd like to send my deepest thanks out to all you Marines of past and present, and those of you nice sweet ones kickin some bootay in Afghanistan. Knowing you guys are around just gives me this funny tingly feeling inside that just says "I have the Marines, and your country doesn't, so Ha!" Well anywhos, here's a kicker for ya if you didn't know this already. I come from a biker family, and I basically have always had a lot of respect since I can last remember for all veterans and active duty and reservists. By the time that I was 15 years old, I had adopted 4 MIA's. One from every branch of the service except Coasties, they are just a bit harder to come by. Anywhos (I babble profusely sorry), we went up to a biker swap meet up in Pomona or somewhere like that, where at the very end of the building was a group of Vietnam Vets. Well..i kinda just felt like walkin on down there and saying my thanks. So I walked right on down there and told them I just wanted to thank every one of them for everything they have done and have given to this country. All the guys in back stood up, the ladies kind of just looked at me with a shocked look on their face but immediately thanked me, they all stood up and gave me big ol HUGE hugs. Apparently I became a story between everyone who wasn't there after I walked off, after about 30 minutes of chattin with them, and up they walk and there's this HUGE guy I'm talking like 6'7 just massive, says "Hey you guys!!!!!!!!!!" Wide eyed I was like.....No freaking way! Big John. Biker, Marine, served with the Walking Dead, a 1/9'er can you believe that? Ended up playing Sloth on the Goonies. So next time you see a biker wearing Red and Black, usually flannel or beads on their vests or jackets, give them an Oorah or a Thank you..They served in Vietnam. Semper Fidelis Ride, Fly , Drive safe Oorah
Christina Smith Proud daughter of a Master Gunny


To all who reads this.
I am a Veteran Marine. Got out in 90 as a Cpl. I was with STA 1/5. My brother got out in 91 as a Sgt with the 8th Marines. He went back in 3 months ago as a L/Cpl. I may regret stating this but since my brother has been back in the Corps he has expressed disappointment in the way the Corps seems to have gotten soft. Minimal PT, the option of removing gear from your ALICE to reduce weight or simply having it trucked to the next bivouac as a few examples. Can anyone explain why this has happened ? I am sure the Corps was harder when our Fathers were in and it seems it was harder when I was in than it is now, but how soft can it get and still retain the pride and the edge ? My brother stated that some of the boots from SOI don't know hand signals, don't know how to wear the dress uniform etc.......... has the ball been dropped or has the mentality and philosophies progressed beyond my mental capabilities. ? I am VERY PROUD to be a Veteran Marine and always will be. At the same time I am almost embarrassed to repeat what I have been informed of. Any responses/explanations encouraged.
Todd A. LeClair from Illinois


Dear Sir:
This is a thank you letter to all Marines, former and present who have come in my life and help me be the kind of men and father that I am today. Twenty one years ago, I step on those yellow footprints at Parris Island, S. C. I was one of about 80 kids, 6 foot tall, a skinny 150 lbs. and did not know how to speak English. 13 weeks later, as a member of Platoon 1106, A Company, 1st Battalion, I was one of about 50 who earned the title US Marine. I served for 7 years (Sgt/6082), wanted to make it into a career, but my future wife threw a monkey wrench at my plans so I got out. Life has thrown at me some pretty ugly fast balls. Thanks for what the Marine Corps has taught me, I made it up to this point. Now I'm in the Law Enforcement field with the US Immigration and Naturalization Service. As a habit I'm still pressing my uniforms, shine my boots and getting a regulation haircut. Still get very uncomfortable when my hair touch my ears. To Maj. "Mad Dog" Smith, Maj. Boyd RIP, SgtMaj. Alvarado, SgtMaj. Longoria, SSgt Mckenney, Pvt. Justice, my DI's GySgt Brown, SSgt Zachary, Sgt Davis, Sgt Fink I am proud to say SEMPER FI. Thank you very much. Your dedication to the Corps and to your fellow Marines did made a difference in their lives. I know, I was one of them.
Melvin F. Rolon


Dear Sgt Grit:
I enjoy your newsletters immensely. Have not read this week's but thought I'd pass on this information. The Wall Street Journal dated today, Feb 11 has a front page article about the shortage of buglers for military veteran's funerals. Former Marine Tom Day has put together a grass roots movement called "Bugles Across America".

Where an honor guard is requested, a 1999 federal law requires the military to dispatch one to a veteran's funeral to fold the flag and escort the coffin. A bugler is not mandatory, but the alternative is "Taps" being played discreetly from a boom box. The WSJ states "...the Pentagon expects a daily average of about 1,600 veteran deaths this year.." The military only has about 500 musicians capable of playing "Taps", but many have other jobs or are attached to major military units and cannot help. Mr. Day has managed to recruit about 160 buglers across 43 states, but that's not nearly enough.

I was moved by this article and so on behalf of Mr.. Day, I thought I would pass along the website address, if anyone can help out. I found it doing a search for Bugles Across America.
Semper Fi!
Tania Liles (Former) GySgt
God bless America!


August 1948. Separation Center, Camp LeJeune.
After several years of serving with America's finest, we're about to leave the Corps and return to civilian life and with it, the dreams of having a bed to sleep in, eating all the food we once enjoyed and simply throwing time tables and schedules out the window.

But one thing we did forget. There is no free lunch. To access these dreams, you need money and the best way to obtain money (outside of being born with it, marrying it, or stealing it, which is not conducive to good health) is to get an education and work hard.

Little did I realize that this dream would also carry with it, one of the most memorable and mystifying experiences of my life.

Later in life I ran into a case of Crescendo Angina, where the pain and blockage is so severe, the patient could experience an immediate heart attack. It was 2AM. The nurse on duty tried heavy medication, including three shots of morphine. The pain still would not subside and the nurse muttered, (as she told me later on) "you're not going on my watch."

By noontime the next day, I was being rushed by ambulance to MGH. Although heavily medicated, I was still alert enough to talk to the ambulance inhabitants as we proceeded.

As we proceeded from the ambulance down the hallway, someone started whistling the Marine's Hymn. I heard the hymn all the way into the operating room.

Obviously the operation, which consisted of seven bypasses, was a success, or I wouldn't be writing this story. After several weeks of recuperation, I decided to see my doctor and nurse friends at Mt Auburn Hospital and thank them for the excellent care they gave me and to find out, who was the brother Marine that helped me through this ordeal. My first stop was the head nurse who was male. "What outfit were you with?" I asked. "What are you talking about," he replied. " I wasn't in the Marines" "Then who whistled the Marine's Hymn going down the hallway at MGH when you guys rushed me in? He replied, "I didn't hear anyone whistling"

Dumbfounded, I asked the other nurses. They all had the same reply. No one whistled the Marine's Hymn.

I later talked to several doctors and psychiatrists for an explanation. "Could it have been the heavy medication.?" I asked. They all replied it's possible but the nurses told them I seemed to have been coherent during the transportation and didn't seem "to be out of it".

One psychiatrist, I felt had perhaps the best explanation.

As he said, "Remember your training. Marines are trained to go into the fight knowing they'll come through because their brother Marines will always be alongside them, come Hell or high-water. You were trained to believe in your brotherhood. I know. My son's a Marine. Your training probably made you sense you were going into a fight and suddenly the Marine's Hymn gave you the strength to survive.

Whatever the reason, I'll probably never get a completely satisfying explanation as to why I heard someone whistling the Marine's Hymn going down that corridor. There is one thing I do know. The brotherhood that we all experience from boot camp-on, never leaves us for the rest of our lives. And I'm certain that has helped many Marines get through the tough times.

Even to this day, every time I hear the Marine's Hymn, I still hear the lyrics in my head and feel myself marching in parade, proudly carrying an M1 on my shoulder. God bless the Marine's Hymn. Never let the brotherhood die. Bill Cuccinello


Dearest Marine Brothers,
Once again it is time to remember our Corps' proudest but deadliest moment in history. Next Tuesday will mark the 57th anniversary of the landing at Iwo Jima. I know that I speak for all of you when I say that I am honored to be part of the Marine Corps and all of it's history. For those of you who receive this e-mail and are not Marines this is what happened:

What started as a quick, violent attack on February 19, 1945, turned into 36 days of some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting the Marines would ever encounter. The amphibious assault on Iwo Jima was considered to be the "ultimate storm landing," with a striking force of 74,000 Marines. The US sent more Marines to Iwo than to any other battle, 110,000 Marines in 880 Ships. The U.S. Marine 4th and 5th Divisions led the invasion, with the 3rd Division in reserve. The first day saw more then 2,400 American casualties but, during the battle U.S. Marines, killed an estimated 20,000 Japanese and captured over 1,000 prisoners.

The Marines successfully invaded and conquered the 8 square mile island on March 25, 1945. After 5 weeks of continuous fighting, the U. S. had suffered over 26,000 Casualties, including 6,800 Dead. The Battle for Iwo Jima earned 27 Congressional Medals of Honor for Marines and Sailors, of which more Posthumous Awards were bestowed than for any other single operation during WWII.

Of the flag raisers pictured in the famous Joe Rosenthal photograph only three survived. The others were killed in action on Iwo. The picture is the most reproduced picture in the world. Please take some time out of your busy lives to remember the day and lives that were lost to secure the freedoms we are enjoying as we speak. Thank You. Semper Fidelis

"Among the Americans who served on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue. --Admiral Nimitz"


"We had strayed a great distance from our Founding Fathers' vision of America. They regarded the central government's responsibility as that of providing national security, protecting our democratic freedoms, and limiting the government's intrusion in our lives -- in sum, the protection of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They never envisioned vast agencies in Washington telling our farmers what to plant, our teachers what to teach, our industries what to build. The Constitution they wrote established sovereign states, not mere administrative districts for the federal government. They believed in keeping government as close as possible to the people."
--Ronald Reagan

"The people's good is the highest law."

"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their country."
George Washington, 1789

He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life, is, or very soon will be, void of all Regard for His Country.
--John Adams.

There's is something about a person who joins up and becomes a United States Marine. We never forget our true friends, we keep our ten cent friends at a distance, we know our enemy as we know ourselves, and we are always faithful. To the lady who wrote Sgt Grit that letter I'm proud of you and your entire family. My very best to your son.
Semper Fi J. Ritz, Jr. Sgt. USMC Ret. Scout Dogs Viet Nam, 1967-68

God Bless the Marine Corps
Sgt Grit

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