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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 - July 10, 2003

PI was like entering an alien world. My senior DI was M/Sgt Quiller, Herbert D. He was among other things a philosopher and genius with the English language, sort of like a Marine Eric Hoffer. (Hoffer was a longshoreman who wrote books, not that Quiller, H. D. would ever write a book) Herbert D. could use the word f*ck as a noun, pronoun, adjective, verb, and adverb in one sentence. He gave me many things to take with me through life.

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There are outstanding pics on this page. Take a look and add your own. Share your memories and experiences. Send them in now. We all like to see how "lean and mean" we used to be.

Now on to your outstanding stories.


this is just a minor thing that popped up in my head. it amazes me sometimes how people notice the smallest things. i was a funeral director in VA and we had a service at Arlington for a man, if i remember correctly, had served in the army. we arrived early and proceeded to watch the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier. this was early/mid spring so keep in mind i had on a suit and top coat. the guards did their thing and everyone was starting to leave (people on field trips, etc) an older gentleman was walking by me and in a low voice simply said "semper fi". it kind of caught me by surprise. (he noticed my tie bar) i returned with a low öoh rah. (he responded in kind. my boss asked me what that was about, so i proceeded to explain. anyway. when i have days that are unbearable, there are times when, out of the blue, that scene just pops up in my memory and makes me smile and hold my head a little higher than the moment before. just though you might be interested in that little bit of info. s j stine


Sgt. Grit:
Today is June 29, 2003. I have just returned from North Carolina earlier this week from my father's funeral. My father is Captain George C. Allen, USMC Ret. He passed away on June 18, 2003 at home with his wife, daughter, son and daughter-in-law in attendance. I thought that I would tell you a little about him and his service.

Pop joined the Corps in December, 1935 as a Music, (bugler). He had never played a musical instrument in his life nor knew anything about music. But his sister signed the papers for him to join and a Music was the only MOS available. He was sent to Parris Island and joined a platoon of Musics.

At the end of training, each of the members of this platoon was offered the chance to become a Pvt. Pop always said "I took the Pvt. for the money". ($2/month) All of the Marines took the chance at Pvt. except 1. Pop said that later that 1 became Sgt. Major of the Marine Corp Band.

Pop served many different duty stations including, Recruiter, 1946-1949 in both Jackson Miss and Columbia SC, serving on board the USS Worcester, Atlantic Fleet and off the shore of Korea, 1949-1951. He would tell stories of his many adventures and of misadventures that occurred. Once as Sgt. Major of the Eight Engineers, Pop made an assignment of a newly arrived Marine. This Marine was sent to the Bridge Section. One day later the Section C.O. was back with this Marine since he had no idea what to do.

The Conversation went like this:

C.O. Why did you send this man to me?

Pop - His record says that he had experience in Bridges and Girders.

The Marine - No I don't, I design Brassieres and Girdles. Everyone laughs Pop - Can you drive? Marine - Yes, I can drive.

Pop - to the C.O. You needed a driver now you have one.

In 1952, Pop entered the Commissioned Ranks as a Second Lieutenant, (Temporary). He was stationed in Charlotte North Carolina as the only Marine Officer in the Induction Center. In fact at his funeral, several of the people told me that Pop had inducted them or their siblings.

Pop was stationed in Japan, S-1 - Personnel, Norfolk, Va. Assistant G-1, Personnel. Pop had been promoted to Captain in 1954 and finally as Officer in Charge, Transit Platoon, H.Q. Co., Marine Barracks at Treasure Island, San Francisco, Ca. Pop once told me that a significant number of Marines who passed through on their way to the Pacific during 1958 to 1962 had his signature on their orders.

As all of the commissioned ranks had been temporary, in 1962 the Corps gave him a choice of retirement (26 years 6 months, 21 days) or reverting back to the enlisted ranks. Pop retired in June of 1962.

Pop and his family returned to Matthews, North Carolina where he attended Belmont Abbey College and obtained a degree in History and Education. In 1964, Pop became a teacher at Parkwood High School in History. Three years later, he transferred to West Mecklenburg High School and taught History, and Occupational Economics. Pop's greatest joy was the OE classes. These were students that were not going to college, and needed the basic of living such as keeping checkbooks, work ethics and learning to live in our world. Pop retired again in 1979 so he and my mother could travel. Pop would always tell me that if the Recruiter that signed him up saying that the Corps would take care of him until his death, had known that he was to live this long, he would have kept his mouth shut. But the Corps has been Pop's life since that day in 1935.

While my father had been retired for over forty years, the Marines at Camp LeJuene sent a most professional group to provide the military portion of the graveside service. The flag service, led by a Captain, Master Sgt, and Staff Sgt. was one of the utmost respectful and reverent ones that I have seen. I was unable to thank them at the conclusion of the service, but I know that they were aware of our gratitude. During his whole life, he continually remembered the Corps and Simper Fidelis. He was very proud to be a Marine, to have been a Mustang Officer and to have been a teacher. At the end, the Corps was there for him. I once again thank the Marine Corps for their faithful service both to the country and to its members.

Yes, I too served in the Marine Corps as well as my son. Thank you for the chance to tell about one of the greatest men, I think, the world has seen, and a United States Marine. If there are those who happen to remember my father and wish to contact me,

David E. Allen
Sgt. 1970-1976


I have agreed to give a special reduced price to a selection of USMC and USA items. If you would like to support 3/23 efforts you can do it with Sgt Grit. I will ship a package every Friday per the orders I receive that week. You have two options, a $9.95 or a $19.95 package. You will not be charged shipping. Your invoice will show shipping, but you will not be charged shipping only $9.95 or $19.95. (Programming limitations) Read more about the program from Lt Col Craig Berry's letter and see the product below.


First time writing, but have been a SGT. GRIT customer for year's. Every Marine I come upon, the first thing I ask them is "Are you receiving Sgt. Grit's Newsletter?" If not, I write the web site down and tell them to check it out. I have given the web-site address to hundred's of Marines over the years. Anyway, sorry to get off the subject of this e-mail. This is in response to Ed Moore's "FOR SALE: MCAS EL TORO" in the 26 June 2003 newsletter. The Marine's that are shipping out of California, now go to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, CA to fly out (either commercial or military aircraft). The Marine's have their own staging area where they congregate waiting to leave. This has been going on since El Toro closed. MCAS El Toro is now Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (where TOP GUN used to be) down by San Diego. I hope this shed's some light on Mr. Moore's subject and I know it is short and to the point.

Susan K. Allbee,
Cpl, USMC Ret'd (Medically) 83-89

Sadly Ed, " . . . the times they are a changin' ". Marine aviation vacated MCAS El Toro several years ago. They just side-stepped into NAS Miramar when the Navy decided to move its' aviation operations, to include the "Top Gun" school, to NAS Fallon, NV. I was last at MCAS Miramar in July of '01, and can assure you that any air deployments of Marines will be handled with the same efficiency as was provided at MCAS El Toro.
Semper Fi - Ron Reynolds MGySgt,
USMCR, Ret 0291/8541 - '70 - '01

Sgt. Grit:

The Navy decided Naval Air Station Miramar (San Diego) was too rough for them so they moved out. The MARINES took it over a couple of years ago and moved from El Toro down the road to Miramar (Formerly NAS MIRAMAR, Home of TOP GUN). Now our helos and fast movers get to buzz all over San Diego (This actually really pissed off some area residents because unlike the Navy, our MARINE pilots like to fly low!).

Semper Fi!
Cpl. Hernandez


Sgt Grit,

Just got finished reading Cpl Papietro's letter about initially not wanting to join the Corps and after laughing, it reminded me of my own funny story. My cousin Freddy was a Marine in the early 60's and I remember always being impressed by his photo and medals every time we visited my uncle John (my dad's brother). I used to tell my mom that I wanted to be Marine when I grew up and she always eagerly changed the subject and suggested I do something else. After I graduated high school and realizing that I was not going to be able to play football in college, I decided to follow in my dad's and brother's footsteps and join the service. Still fascinated with the glory of the corps, but feeling a bit lazy, I started to entertain thoughts of joining the air force. I wanted to learn how to operate heavy equipment and someone sold me on the idea that the air force was the way to go. to the recruiting office I went. When I walked in the air force recruiter's office he was not there, but the Marine recruiter asked if I needed any help. When I replied that I was looking for the air force recruiter, he said, "he's out to lunch, but come on in and let me give you some information on the Marine Corp and you can watch a film. I laughed and begged off, and he just smiled and turned back to his desk. I read a few magazines and after what seemed like an hour I got up and decided to talk to the navy recruiter. When I stuck my head in his door, the Marine looked up again and said, "He's out to lunch, ..they're all together..the army, navy and air force are all out to lunch and probably won't be back for awhile". "Why don't you come in here and let me give you some information, I'm just trying to keep you from getting bored until they all get back". But that Sgt. was slick. He knew I was eager to join some outfit and he just couldn't wait to land the bait! I laughed at him again and said something to the effect of. "naa, you're not getting me to sign any papers to be a Marine" But, after sitting for so long that my rear parts were getting numb, I decided that I was slicker than he was and would just watch his film to patronize him. You know...let him think he was getting to me. Well, let me tell you, I couldn't have been any more than ten minutes into that film when a wave of pride and courage came over me. Hell, I wasn't even a Marine yet and I felt the pride! Then I got a look at the dress blues, the silent drill team and heard the history of Iwo Jima and Tarawa and Hue City and that's all I needed. I stopped the tape and asked the recruiter where to sign! I couldn't wait to get to Parris Island and join the brotherhood! The rest as they say is history! Cousin Freddie, if you are reading this...Semper Fi!!!!!!

Mike Kunkel Cpl 0331, Lima 3/8 Wpns Plt 81-85


Sgt. Grit,

Usually I don't even read a letter signed future marine, but the letter that talked about knowing what being a Marine is all about, really got my goat. First of all there can't be a "future marine' if there are no "Ex Marines." You earn the title upon graduation at MCRD. I know freedom of speech is a right in your world, but hold a respectful tongue. If a Marine dishonors himself, then he is no longer a Marine, but it is the right of only other Marines to criticize. Anyway, I wanted to tell you about the situation that lead to the title of my letter. A young man and his father came into my office, of course I had all the Sgt. Grit bumper stickers that my wall could hold. The young man was very interested, so I promptly showed him my son's boot camp picture. His father said "He's just a Wanna Be." I replied "At one time we were all just Wanna B's."

Semper-Fi. Mac
J.L. Allen
Sergeant of Marines


Sgt Grit, I enjoyed reading John Patietro's comments in your previous newsletter. It appears that John and I had similar experiences at the same recruiting office in Rochester, NY. I along with two friends from Avon, NY joined the corps in July 1958. We intended to join the Navy to "see the world". When we arrived at the old Federal Bldg in Rochester there were two USMC Recruiters standing outside on the steps having a cigarette. We asked them for directions to the Navy Recruiting office. They said "follow us". Being young and impressionable (seniors in high school) we obeyed orders and followed them to the USMC Recruiting office. When we questioned that this in not the Navy office we were told to look at the sign behind their desk which stated: Department of the Navy, United States Marine Corps. Were told that the Marines were the elite arm of the Navy and we had every opportunity to see the world in the Marines as in the Navy. We said ok and one month after graduating from high school we were in Parris Island being eaten alive by sand fleas and DI's. I went to 8th & I right out of boot camp and became a member of the silent drill team and from there to 2nd MarDiv at Camp LeJeune. I loved my experiences, the Corps and to this day can't thank those recruiters enough for changing our mind.

Semper Fi
Bob Rowe Former Cpl USMC


Back in the 1950's we called Warrant Officers who held 03 or 08 MOS and identified by bursting bomb insignia on left collar as GUNNER all other WO's were called Mister as were Lieutenants. I recall once when an 01 WO that I had addressed as Mister advised me to call him Gunner in the future. An old Tech (Gunny) who witnessed this told me "Corporal, if I ever hear you call the Mother F***er Gunner, I will have your ass" I understand now in the new Corps all WO's regardless of MOS are called Gunner and Lt's are no longer called Mister and it is very rare to address a Captain as Skipper.

This if true is a big disappointment. To this day I use deck, bulkhead, hatch and overhead around my house. Times do change but this old gravel cruncher won't

Semper FI
Joe Joyce


Reply to Capt. Tom Downey question.

I have a question that perhaps our current Marines will answer for me. What is the difference between a "combat utility garrison cap" and a "combat utility field cap"? In my day, the term "garrison cap" referred only to the "fore-and-aft" cap (called by some a "p--- cutter").

Capt. Downey, The Combat utility garrison cap is the normal (for say) cover for the utilities (camies), the Combat utility field cap is the boonie cover.
SGT Boudreaux USMC

Sgt Grunt,
The following will answer one part of Capt. Downey's uniform questions in the 26 June newsletter. Sir,
The Combat Utility Field cap is the new digital boonie cover in either dessert or woodland pattern, while the Combat Utility Garrison Cap is the digital 8-point soft cover in either dessert or woodland pattern. The "fore-and-aft" cap is still known as the "Garrison Cover" or "P---- Cutter". Hope this helps...Semper Fi

SSgt C.J. McGuire
Drill Instructor
Weapons & Field Training Battalion
Edson Range (MCRD)
Camp Pendleton, CA.


The old "Gunny" was getting to be an old man, he was sick, and he was in the hospital.

Anyway, there was this one young nurse that just drove him crazy. Every time she came in, she would talk to him like he was a little child. She would say in a patronizing tone of voice, "And how are we doing this morning Gunny", or "Are we ready for a bath", or "Are we hungry?"

The old Gunny had had enough of this particular nurse. One day, after he had received breakfast, he pulled the juice off the tray and put it on his bed side stand. He had also been given a Urine Bottle the evening before to fill for testing. The juice was apple juice. So..... you know where the juice went.

Well, the nurse came in a little later and picked up the urine bottle. She looks at it. "My, but it seems we are a little cloudy today Gunny....."

At this, the old Gunny snatched the bottle out of her hand, pops off the top, and drinks it down, saying, "Well, I'll run it through again, and maybe I can filter it better this time."

The nurse fainted...... The old Gunny just smiled



I just wanted to take a minute and share a recent experience. I currently provide tech support and training for approximately 44 Army Reserve Centers in 8 states (Comm). It's a pretty cool job after 35 years in the business (5thCommBn, 3rdMarDiv,FMF/2511 - RVN 65/66).

Anyway, it is well known throughout the command that I am a Marine and the usual ribbing works both ways. I was working in a center this past month and an Army Master Sergeant came into the equipment room and said that he had just came back from PI where he attended his sons graduation. He stood there and as tears filled his eyes he told me that he had never been so moved as when his son received his EGA and became a Marine. He further stated that if visiting their home you would never have known that a career soldier lived there but that now the Marine Corps Colors fly in front with "Old Glory", there is a Marine Corps throw on the sofa, and when mother goes to the store she is usually wearing a "My Son Is A Marine" shirt (she has more than one). He said that the Corps in fact is unlike he had ever imagined and he realized that there really is a Brotherhood not found anywhere else, including the Army he has served in for 20+.

I smiled, wiped some "sweat" from my eye and asked that he pass a "Semper Fi" to his son for me.

That folks is what it's all about!!

Semper Fi


Quite frankly I too am saddened by the closure of MCAS El Toro, as was Ed Moore. Unfortunately I was only based at El Toro from Sept. '95 to Feb. '98 as the Airfield Operations Clerk Cpl C. J. Boll. However, I do know that this is one of the many bases closed by our illustrious former President Bill Clinton. Personally I feel that this was one of the most integral bases for Marine Air Traffic on the West Coast that the USMC had to utilize. I mean we pushed the most tin in times of need i.e. WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and should have been Operation Iraqi Freedom. Not to mention hosting one of the, if not largest air shows on the West Coast. This for a lack of better terms was the Mecca of West Coast Marine Aviation. The closing this air station was a big mistake. Sure the residents of Irvine and Lake Forest may be happier that the skies are a bit more quiet less air traffic and noise, but is that a valid reason to close a strategic air station like El Toro? I should say not. In fact the airfield has been there before these cities were even a twinkle in any builders' eye. I've answered to many noise complaints from residents of these cities about the aircraft operating within the area. My thoughts have always been...Oh boo hoo the jets are too loud, or the helicopters are rattling my windows, well let me tell you this Genius, the Damn base has been there since 1944, (I could be off on the time) but you were dumb enough to by a house near the base because your real-estate agent said this was prime property. I don't know about everybody else that may read this but if I'm buying a house I'm going to do a little research and find out...hmmm is this in line of a major airport or airbase or just simply what actually goes on around here, what am I moving to? I don't know, maybe I'm the dummy, but one thing is for sure, the whiners got their way. The base is closed and now these people can now free there time up to find something else to complain about. This is also another way for Democrats to demonstrate how to reduce the annual budget? Or as they have worded this whole process, the "BRAC"...Base Realignment and Closure something that never really sat well with me. What's next reduction in Education...oh wait, reduction in education is S.O.P. Sorry, I'll get off my soapbox, but to answer Ed's question; the air wing was pretty much split up the last I heard. The majority of the fixed wing was to go to MCAS Yuma, and the rotary wing was to be moved to MCB Camp Pendleton. Some exceptions of course were made, but that's the long and short of it. If you didn't get my subtle hint, closing El Toro was a bad move as was many other bases; the bastards got their way! Keep in mind these will be the same people that will be saying once again, "Why did this happen to us! Or better yet, ME!"

Cpl C.J. Boll 7041, USMC


"Dan" is a Marine, a former California Highway Patrolman and a retired Sheriff of Thurston County here in Washington. He's in his sixties and diabetes has him confined to a wheel chair. He can't get around much in it because a shoulder injury has destroyed his rotator cuff. He's waiting for a motorized chair. I get by to see him a couple of times a month and a finer guy you'll never meet. Generous and kind to a fault.

I am the Commandant of the Lewis County Detachment of the Marine Corps League. We try to involve him but, he just can't get around much. I know he'd love the magazine.

I'd like you to subscribe him and let me pay. Your form didn't seem to want me to do that. Or I am not that computer literate yet. Either way....

Second, I'd like to put his name and situation out there for Marines to write him. Being an ex law enforcement type...I'm not sure how he'd take to his name and address being out in cyber space. So...those who'd like to write him, can contact me at my personal e-mail: I'll print and deliver to him and he can pick and choose to communicate at his discretion. Just address the E-mails to "Sheriff Dan."

If all this sets well with you, let me know and I'll pay his freight and look for replies for him at my other address. If not...well, it was an Idea. Semper Fi Marine: And thanks for considering this matter. I 'preciate it muchly;

Al Denison

PS: 'cfetime' is for : "Coffeetime" My HQ 1/11 FDC callsign.


Sgt. Grit

I've been getting your emails and I wrote a poem about the bravest men.. I've Joined the Marines and I leave July 28th , I would like you to put my poem in your next Newsletter thank you oorrraahhh

Force RECON....
Now all Marines are brave and bold
But there are a few made from a different mold
Their the ones dropped behind enemy lines
Stalking and tracking deep in the pines
They've mastered the shadows, Their Men in the Night
Their few in numbers but bread to fight
Whether its the Jungle of Nam or the deserts of Iraq
They wont be seen till its time to attack
They jump from a plane and swim miles to shore
Their job is never done, the toughest in the Corps
Their the men of Force Recon, more like machines
Since their like ghosts theirs only one way they can be seen
We all know the Dress Blues are worn by the best
But these BALLSY men have two pins on their chest
One pin is a scuba head the other are gold wings, both worn proud
They signify Marines qualified for diving and jumping through clouds
Is this job crazy, insane or a calling from God
When asked to go on a mission they'll smile and nod
Faithful to the man next to him, for him he'd swim the Nile
If Death came a knockin he'd meet him with a smile
I just want to thank these brave and mysterious souls
O and they know they're the best, they don't need to be told.



Thought all the devil dogs out there would get a kick out of this.

While returning from the family vacation trip, we stopped at the mall in Ft. Smith, AR so my wife could buy another nurse's lab coat. The kids and I were parked by the four recruiting offices. We went to the Marine office, and found it to be locked. (No doubt the hard-chargers were out enlisting a few good men and women) My three year old son, known affectionately as "Moose", started heading to the next office. I said, "No, Moose, don't go there. Those are swabbies." He responded, "Swabbies?" I asked, "You don't want a swabbie, do you?" "Uh-Huh" Then I had to ask," What are you going to do with a swabbie?" He responded with "Put him in the bath tub."

The Moose shows the signs of being a Marine some day, and he is only three.

Semper Fi,
Mac McCourtney


Sgt. Grit,

Just wanted to let you and all the readers know that I am enjoying the info and the stories I am getting from the newsletter. I am the proud MOM of a newly graduated Marine (6/20/03) from Parris Island, SC. He truly loves the Marines, his new brothers and all he has done so far and all he has yet to do. He is considering a career, I believe he will do so and will be very good at it.

I am amazed at the difference in him since boot. He has found something he loves and is very proud of what he is doing and of himself. It has done so much for him in so many ways. He has had some very rough times in the past few years. Like all Mom's I just want him to be happy in whatever he chooses to do. I am proud of all of our young men and women who are in the military and I really appreciate all they do for us. I have several friends who have family in Iraq and realize my son could be there or elsewhere at any time. I have tried to write to some of our soldiers to let them know we are thinking of them. I thank God for the brave young people and pray he takes care of all of them and their families.

Thanks, for the chance to write to you and for the newsletters you send.

Yours truly,
Marine Mom


It involves one willing Marine of the female persuasion, one sheep some Vaseline, and one @sshole LCpl. And one Gunny that owed a Cpl a favor (something about a bar fight on BC Street).

This LCpl was always bragging about how many women(one of them being a friend that we knew he didn't) he could get, and how much he could drink. So with some help from some friends, and a strategically placed bucket by our table at the EClub. I...err I mean a friend drank him "under the table". Well upon helping the Marine to his room, he was nice and passed out in his bed. With the assistance of the said lady Marine he was stripped down and smeared appropriately with Vaseline. Grabbing sheep strategically we cut some wool off of it in two places and placed that wool into the Marine's hands along with other places which stuck to the Vaseline. We let some of the our friends in on it. The Gunny pulled a "surprise" barracks inspection. You should have seen the guy he was totally in shock and embracement. Needless to say he didn't brag much anymore.

Bill Cpl 93-99

Well - when I was living in the barracks in El Toro I got along 'okay' with my roommate but occasionally he would sneak his girlfriend in when I wasn't around, whereupon I was expected to do the 'right' thing and stay scarce. I was stumbling home from the E-Club one night and was at least three doors down when I heard "the squeaking". You know the one. It's the noise only a 40-year old government-issue metal rack can make when two people are onboard.

I was tired, a wee bit drunk, and pretty much fed up with it so I walked to the door, punched the combination (1-2-4) and swung the door open while calling out "Hey John, WHAT'S UP?" I swear the "squeak, squeak" STOPPED in mid-squeak! I walked to the head in the rear of the room, thereby allowing the young lady to get out from under my roomie. When I got done, they were sitting (almost) casually on the bed, trying to sort out their clothes. That was the last time I recall his having any visitors...

Semper Fi, Yucca-Man, Sgt, USMC 1988-2000 6521 IYAOYAS


This company served in the Korean DMZ from the 1953 truce till the 1st Marine Division left Korea in 1955. There will be a story about the company in the August Leatherneck. We have found 16 former members. We are looking for more. If you served in this company contact Joe "Red" Mulkern at Who knows you might find somebody that owes you money.



Hey Sgt Grit,...

Hmmm favorite c-rat, now isn't that dating us old farts a little !! Well I think mine would have to have been the beans and m---fu----, yeah I'm a sick puppy, but with enough hot sauce, they were great. I think the other field chow I really liked was the LRRPS when we could get them, the spaghetti was the best of those, sure it took a good bit of water to reconstitute it, but you sure got enough to get full on.

Semper Fi,
Gunny B

Sgt Grit,

My favorite C-Rat was the ham and lima beans. Once you learned to eat them, you didn't go hungry, because most Marines didn't like them. The absolute worst was the sausage patties.

Harry Watson,
GySgt, USMC (Retired)

Sarge, For me it was and always will be that good ole' puke in a can better known as "Ham and M----rF-----s":aka: Ham and Eggs. This was about the only one I could tolerate eating with any sense of gusto!!

Ed Jones

C-Rat cooking at its finest

It's 1966 I'm attached to the 1st Battalion 5th Marines as an forward observer radio operator. The FO teams are in a GP tent with a wooden floor sitting on rocket racks with one end of the tent attached to the side of the hill and the other about 8 feet up, kinda like a hillside home in California. We are on Hill 54. It's the rainy season and there is red mud everywhere. It gets into everything and gives our uniforms a reddish tint (The old cotton utilities for those who remember). I'm tired and hungry and alone in the tent. I had previously purchased some rice and an aluminum saucepan with top from the local "Ville". I really like rice. The Marines had never served rice and I missed it. So I decided to make myself some chicken and rice. I put water and rice in the pot with some C-rat chicken.

We made stoves by cutting holes in the side of a C-Rat bread or cookie can with a Church Key (can opener. this is before the pop top cans) we would put the blue heat tabs in the little stove and cook our C's. If we wanted to boil water for coffee or the "Everything drink" made by putting the coffee, sugar, fake cream and chocolate powder in our canteen cup, we would use a bit of C-4 explosive. The lit C-4 would boil water in just a few seconds, whereas the heat tabs would take forever.

So I placed the stove on the wooden floor next to my rack and, Being tired and impatient, I loaded it up with the C-4, lit it and placed the saucepan with the chicken rice and water on top of the stove. About 2 minutes later I could see steam coming out from under the lid of the saucepan so I lifted the lid to stir it.......... just in time to watch my entire meal drop through round a hole in the bottom of the pot, through the round hole in the bottom of the stove, through the round hole that had burned through the wooden floor and finally, come to rest in the red mud about 4 feet below the floor. At that point I put the lid back on the pan and went to sleep and dreamed of food.

Semper Fi,
Arty 66-67 D/2/11 - B/1/5 - A-102-5

Sgt. Grit:

The C-ration I could tolerate the longest was Turkey Loaf. I was with a reconnaissance team from 1st Recon Bn and we could not heat our food and that narrowed it down a little bit for me. Of course everyone liked the fruit too.

Doc Bob Buehl Vietnam 1968

Had to laugh at Capt. Peters story about sending C-Ration fruitcake to friends at Christmas I wish I had thought of that. At I time when the Corps is again involved in so much around the World few chuckles helps.

I also served in the late 50's and early 60's and found fruitcake one of the few things I could eat along with beans and franks. Ham, forget it, I never saw it. I did have a little trick with the coco, which everyone seem to dislike because it was like cement, I would crush it in a canteen cup and mix in that powered cream or milk "what ever that stuff was" and add boiling hot water to make a drinkable coco to go along with the fruitcake. To this day I guess I am one of the few people that I know that actually likes fruitcake.

Semper Fi
Tom Tafel,
USMC 57-63

I don't mean to beat a dead horse (maybe that is what was in those beef patties?!) but I wanted to share a story. I am not a Marine, but my son is, recently returned from Iraq: I was in the Army 68-71 in Panama and Colorado.

Anyway, bivouac in basic training found us introduced to C-rations. Everyone was throwing away these little packets of tissue paper, but fortunately I knew they were TP and collected them all from the trash.

When everyone later made a bee-line for the latrines, I sold them to the hapless joes for $1 a package. I made more money in one day than I did all month as an E-1!

Bill Gisel
Proud father of Lcpl. David Hamann
HHC 2/6 Camp Lejeune

As a driver in motor t I frequently found myself the forgotten man during chow time. since most everyone hated c rats I was usually able to keep a stock of food in my 5 ton which I filled in with pogybait. I was still pretty boot when I was detailed to fort bragg with a m109 arty unit. these guys were all short timers with an attitude one crew was especially wild. all the c rats they wouldn't touch and I couldn't scrounge and my peanut butter went into the barrel of their gun!

the first time this happened I made real sure I was someplace else when they resumed firing. this went on for over two weeks the guns always were deployed in a tight "w" formation with this crazy crew in the back. the guns in front smelled like a landfill and were surrounded by a cloud of flies. I often wondered what they were doing during night firing.

we drove the army nuts for a month

j crotty


I've never written, but enjoy the news you print. Though sometimes my eyeballs try to start sweating (as the D.I. explained according to your newsletter) when I read the notes from Marine moms and parents of Marines that are serving today. Let me say to all Marines and all those who served our country a big "Thank You!"

As for my vote for the C-rats, the worst were the eggs and ham (there really was such a thing as green eggs and ham). They were getting rid of any surplus from WWII and Korea when we were in Vietnam, I'm convinced. I remember one can having the date 1945 and this was in 1968. The best C-rats for me was the pecan cake roll. I buy them when I go grocery shopping even still (under cellophane, not in a can).

Vietnam 1968

Re "Crats."

There was a common practice at the time (Japan 56/57) for cooking them fast.... You'd put the can on the sterno (with machine gun clips used to support it) let it heat until the top "popped." Immediately take it off turn it over and puncture a small hole in the "up" end to take the pressure off and let it heat until stuff came out. Needless to say is was kinda risky and required serious attention but it did work and was quick. However the downside was demonstrated at the evening meal another Marine was cooking in our shelter half that didn't meet the requirements........... I should have a purple heart and it took some time to clean the spaghetti from the tent and out of our bags and hair...... He was called "The Vulture." I came to understand why. Real funny to the rest of the guys as I remember...... I wasn't of the same mind at the time. Now it's funny every time I think of it. Ironically enough spaghetti was the best Crat......... pork sausage patty's the very worst unless you enjoyed chewing on leather straps dipped in acid. Crat camels were the worst smokes......... If you got those two in your ration you were in for a world of hurt.... And off the trading list. Exception would be made only if you were exceedingly "short" but even then there were "conditions." ... Which could be ugly.

Gary Mc Ginn 55/59 B/1/3

In Nam we opened a case of c-rations that had to be from WWII and found a package of Camel cigarettes with the old green wrapper. I sent them home in a letter and have them today. I know they're worth some BIG BUCKS, but every time I look at 'em I can remember exactly the time and place I found them. To hell with the BIG BUCKS and long live the memories of all my brothers Killed-in-Action in that useless and god-forsaken war!

Semper Fi to my brothers

Favorite C-Rat - Ham and Lima beans - what else?

Mike Rounds

Enjoyed the "c" ration stories and want to add mine. As a young platoon leader in the First Marines in the late fifties, I made a practice of trading for and picking up the fruit cakes. No one liked them. When Christmas came, I would paint the olive drab cans white, put Xmas stickers on them and mail them to my civilian friends and relatives who loved them--or at least they said they did! Of course they always sent me something much nicer. Chuck Peters, Captain, USMCR forever.

And who says "Occifer's" don't have a sense of humor ?


Beef Steak and Potatoes, and Ham & Lima Beans

(Raised in the South, love them beans)

John R. Wright, Cpl
USMC, 1966- Forever

Sgt Grit,

I had the pleasure serving in the Marine Corps from 1978-1988, I dined on both c-rats and mre's.

I remember once being asked how many holes were in a c-rat cracker, during a meritorious promotional exam, strange question I thought but being the motivated marine I knew the answer (32) which believe it or not ultimately became the tie breaker. I know that I'm dating myself but I actually became found of them.

My first experience with dehydrated food(MRE) was in Beirut in 81,82,83 and I so dearly wished that I had my c-rat that dated back to the 40's.

Maybe I'm old but give me that box with the little olive drab cans an my John Wayne any day!

Semper Fi Mike Flaherty


Know yourself and seek self-improvement.

Be technically and tactically proficient.

Develop a sense of responsibility among your subordinates.

Make sound and timely decisions.

Set the example.

Know your Marines and look out for their welfare.

Keep your Marines informed.

Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.

Ensure assigned tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished.

Train your Marines as a team.

Employ your command in accordance with its capabilities.

Mark W.Matthews


Sgt. Grit,

It started with a note in your Newsletter looking for any Marines graduating on May 7, 1964 with Plt. 318 MCRD. We have a nice little group emailing each other now, thanks to you . We are still looking for more and using the Internet to find one another. Our group is now planning to meet once again after 40 years, on May 7 2004, maybe on those yellow footprints in SD. We would like to locate our Drill Instructors and need some help. Does anyone know the whereabouts of the following: L. C. Johnson, Joseph D. Viera, W. W. Stevens III, J. L. Washington and J. A. Rayo. We would appreciate any help.

Semper Fi.
Sgt. Charles G. Ynman Jr. 2081182
Viet Nam 65 - 67


Sgt. Grit,

I love reading your newsletters, I learn a lot from them and seeing as how I leave in 6 days for boot camp I appreciate them even more. I can't believe that in just 13 weeks from Sunday I am going to be a Marine. I am so excited! Everyone always asks me if I am scared or nervous but more than anything I look at it as a learning experience, one that I will never forget. I have received a lot of support and encouragement from friends and family and I just wanted to tell them thank you. I also want to say thank you to my recruiter for all that he has done for me and always believing in me. Thank you SSgt Reyes!!! I look forward to coming home from Parris Island and being able to read these emails and know that I am a Marine too! Good luck to all the future Marines out there!

Semper Fi!!!
Shauna-PFC Wahlquist


A young Marine officer was in a serious car accident, but the only visible permanent injury was to both of his ears, which were amputated. Since he wasn't physically impaired he remained in the Marine and eventually rose to the rank of General. He was, however very sensitive about his appearance.

One day the General was interviewing three Marines for his personal aide.

The first was an aviator, and it was a great interview. At the end of the interview the General asked him, "Do you notice anything different about me?" The young officer answered, "Why yes, sir. I couldn't help but notice that you have no ears." The general got very angry at the lack of tact and threw him out.

The second interview was with a female Lieutenant, and she was even better. The General asked her the same question, "Do you notice anything different about me?" She replied, "Well, sir, you have no ears." The General threw her out also.

The third interview was with a Marine Gunny. He was articulate, looked extremely sharp and seemed to know more than the two officers combined.

The General wanted this guy to be his new aide and went ahead with the same question: "Do you notice anything different about me?" To his surprise, the Gunny said, "Yes sir. You wear contacts lenses."

The General was very impressed and thought, What an incredibly observant Gunny, and he didn't mention my ears.

"And how do you know that I wear contacts?" the General asked.

The sharp-witted Gunny replied, "Well, sir, it's pretty hard to wear glasses when you don't have any ears."

Submitted by Bob Long


Sgt Grit:

From your Newsletter #48

"God did bless America, he gave us Marines!

Terri Church
DevilDogMom of Cpl Nelson, USMC"

um...I thought the Devil gave us Marines......hence Devil Dogs!

Semper Fi forever and a day.
Richard Gobin

Sgt. Grit,

Please do the Marine Corps a favor and let all our friends and family know there are no "Drill Sergeants" in the Marine Corps, We are Blessed with the elite of the elite, The United States Marine Corps Drill Instructor, or D.I. The best that train the best.

USMC Parris Island,S.C. D.I. 52-53

Until next week,
Semper fi!!
Sgt Grit

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