"You, you, and you . . . Panic.
The rest of you, come with me."
-U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt.
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KHE SANH VETS REUNION
I was invited for the second year to set up a booth at the Khe Sanh Vets Reunion. This year in Charleston, SC. I sent Shaunna and Sarah from my office. I figured they would rather deal with two 21 year old ladies than another 50+ yr old Nam vet. There is a related story below and 37 pictures on the BullSh!t page at http://www.grunt.com/reunionsbs.htm
You know.....this thing takes some time to put together and sometimes I don't feel like doing it. But by the time I finish I am amazed at the fresh, funny, historical, timeless, touching stories you Marines come up with. This is a great job. Thank you! Simply put, Marines are the best. No exceptions, no qualifications.
Thank you for you contributions to this newsletter.
Results of the C-Rat Survey
Your favorite (most tolerable) C-Rat meal?
Beans & Franks (Beans & Baby D!cks) 42%
Spagetti and Meatballs 21%
Beef Slices & Potatoes (Beef & Rocks) 14%
Meatballs & Beans 9%
Pork and Beans 9%
Turkey Loaf 9%
My personal favorite was Spagetti and Meatballs.
There are some outstanding C-Rat stories below.
....vote now at http://www.grunt.com/survey.htm
This week and next week, then run-off of the top six the third week.
4 FRIGGIN DOLLARS
My father rarely talks about his time in Korea, Sgt., USMC.. But the few he tells are priceless and funny as hell.... as told to me: ' We were pulled of the line for RnR and sent to Japan for a little while, when we were returning all the other guys had gotten samurai swords . knives , nip flags and kimonos etc etc ....Well, your father not looking forward to spending more time in this god-forsaken place decided to be different.....All the other guys were off loading with their sea-bags stuffed with their loot, all of which I totally useless now because A) you couldn't ship anything like swords and knives back and B) you really don't need anything else on your back when your on the 'front'...so, I had noticed the cheap price of booze, you could get a 5th of Canadian club for like 4 friggin dollars...so your father of course loaded up...when disembarking the ship, the other guys are carrying their stuff off, much to the dismay of the gunny checking things at the bottom of the plank....well, here I come, bottles clinging and clanging, thinking sure I'm gonna get reamed for bringing the hootch back with me"...the gunny hears the noises coming from my sea-bag looks behind him at the now huge pile of discarded swords and crap, looks at me and smirks and says, "Go ahead Marine, your the only smart son of a b$%ch in the whole battalion" and away I went.. "That night the Chinese couldda danced across the front lines, we wouldn't have noticed!!
Jack Hussey USMC
All the talk on C's brought back a lot of memories. At Khe Sanh the Marine Corps had the worst mess hall I have ever seen. This was in Nov-Dec 67. In Jan 1968 they started us on 2 packs of C's a day.
I have always and still can eat any food put in front of me. 2 pks of C's did not fill me up. I was with A-1-13. One night one of the Pvts in my section (COMM), who was about 6' 3" and 200# was complaining about the lack of food. He pulled out a pair of RR Tracks and said lets go get a couple of cases of Cs. Being a Cpl I was supposed to "know better", but I said o k. The Cs were in the 26th Marines HQs area.
The plan was: After dark I would tell the 1st Sgt that we had a land line down and would have to leave the compound to check it. I would take the Pvt with the RR tracks with me as shotgun. He would keep the armed guard busy by pretending to be a CAPT. I would slip under the 2 rolls of concertina wire and get a couple of cases of Cs.
We reached the area where the Cs were stored with no problems. The Pvt (Capt) put on the RR tracks. He went straight to the entrance to the small compound and started talking to the guard. In the dark I slipped around to the back, under the wire and into the tent. I got 2 cases of Cs and reversed my line of travel. The Pvt (Capt) was giving the guard a royal butt chewing. Seeing me leave the area, he ended the butt chewing and headed back to A-1-13. By the time we reached the compound we were laughing so hard we could hardly walk. We ate good for several days.
I refused to go on the next raid and the raiders were caught. I was 20 at the time and the Pvt was 18. We were running around Khe Sanh after dark at a time when Marines shot first and asked questions later. Every time I hear someone complain about food I think about that raid.
Walter E. Seneff Sgt
65-69 VN 67-68-69
LEATHERNECK MOTORCYCLE CLUB
I was wondering if any of the Oklahoma Marines would be interested in the Leathernecks Motorcycle Club....we are nationwide and have a couple of chapters in foreign countries...we are active, retired and honorably discharged Marines and Fleet Marine Force Corpsmen....I have recently decided to start up the Oklahoma chapter...we will be called the Indian Territory Chapter of the Leathernecks...so far I only have two other members and can not have an official chapter until we get ten members...If you know of any ole Marines who ride, please give them the web site for me:
http://www.leathernecksmc.org for national
http://www.okieleathernecks.com for Oklahoma Dennis 'Jamey' Jamison
Sgt. Grit. Your news letters are out standing and anytime I talk to another Marine I always ask if they subscribe. To get to the point can you or any of our readers clear up a concern for me. I heard on the news today that all the POWs from this conflict received the Bronze Star. I've was always under the impressions you received the medal for combat as in saving lives under heavy fire risking you own life. These folks were in combat, they were lost, and they were captured. It took the Marines to rescue these Army supply troops. The one Sgt. even said he was in supply not into guard duty. Everyone should now understand why every Marine in a Rifleman first and there MOS second so if this would happen to a Maine unit (which it never would) they would fight there way out and make the other poor fool die for his country. I'm I wrong on the thought process of the Bronze Star. I don't mean to put these down but I do feel it is an insult to those who died or wounded and receive this medal. Thanks for the time and any information you can pass on. JCS
100% BETTER NOW
I wrote the title like that to draw people into thinking I did something bad. Many people jump at a good confession.
I'm extremely proud of my Vietnam service and being a Vietnam Veteran. Living in a peasant-farming village I got to see what America was really fighting for. (It had nothing to do with politics. The people just wanted a good, safe life for their families.)
Although the PTSD crap still causes me problems, my life is 100% better now than just two years ago. I have a great, loving wife, who makes all the difference. However, at times, she earns my disability checks more than I do.
Please visit the belong link to learn the truthful experiences of a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Vietnam Veteran.
NO DRILL SGTS
This is in response to D.P. Brennan's (PI 52-53) comments about Drill Sgts. I agree that there are no Drill Sgts in the Marine Corps. They are called that in the Army. In the Marine Corps you have Drill Instructors (DIs). Drill Sgt would be a misnomer for the Marine Corps anyway as in 1964, when I went through MCRD in San Diego, I had 3 DIs - one of them was a Cpl. You couldn't call him a Drill Sgt. Semper Fi.
Robert Barnhill USMC
Cpl. 2113117 2533
1964 - 1968
THAT WAS THE FIRST
ENJOYED YOUR "C" RATS SURVEY.
I HAVE A SHORT STORY, ONE WHICH I HAVE NEVER FIGURED OUT REGARDING "C" RATS. WHILE AT TENT CAMP 2 AT CAMP PENDLETON IN JULY '52 WHILE GOING INFANTRY TRAINING WHILE TAD FROM AN ANTI AIRCRAFT BN IN THE 15 AREA, I WAS ISSUED A 3 MEAL BOX (ABOUT THE SIZE OF A LARGE SHOE BOX LEFT OVER FROM WW2. IN THAT BOX WAS A CAN OF BOSTON BAKED BEANS. JUST BOSTON BAKED BEANS. THAT WAS THE FIRST I HAD ENCOUNTERED AND THE LAST. I STILL WONDER, WAS IT A DREAM?
MSGT (RETIRED) WALTER M. CARTWRIGHT, USMC
KHE SANH VETS REUNION
Yo Grit, just a little note to say thanks for sending a lovely little lady to take care of us guys in Charleston SC for the Khe Sanh Vets Reunion. I tried my best to get her into a poker game but she said her dad wouldn't like it. We took a tour of Parris Island and boy has it changed. The mess hall is almost like a Burger King, and the people that work there are not nearly as salty as the guys that caught mess duty in the 60's. And believe it or not the food is not bad. I still ate fast and did not speak but no one yelled at us.
We had a gentleman name of Jon Caviani, who won the Medal of Honor in the Nam with us. There was a Corporal and a female lst Lt and they could not show enough respect for this man. I honestly thought the Lady Lt was going to cry when she saw the Medal. Salutes and Sirs, she could not do enough. Then there was this Capt female. She wanted everyone to know that she was good looking, that she was an officer and so what if there was a Medal of Honor winner in the midst. She did not want her picture made and acted as if the MOH was something that you see every day. I was embarrassed at her attitude. The others asked if we would send a picture and even offered to pay for them, These were the ISO people. I was very impressed with the Lady Lt and the Corporal but I was ashamed of the Lady Capt. I am sure that there were a lot of other guys that saw what I did. There was a lady DI and I told her that when I was there in 66 our DI had bad breath and no one wanted him to get in their face. I told her she could get in my face whenever she wanted. I even got a kiss from her. Made my day. Man how times have changed.
I also killed a sand flea. All the Hollywoods got a real chuckle out of that. That has to be the only animal on this planet that has only teeth and no body. I told them that this bug had waited for 37 years to get even with me for killing his grand father. Oh well, his grand son can get me 37 years from now. Really proud of what our little brothers did in Iraq, I guess before it is over we will have to go back.
Semper Fi Guys and God Bless America
Ron Shouse The Nam class of 67 and 68
WOULD ALMOST GO HUNGRY
The 'best' C-rats in 1966-70 was the cans of Ham and Lima beans. If they were not available, the Beans and Weenies. Being a boy from Texas, they were close enough to almost tolerable. The Marines and Corpsmen from the northern states would almost go hungry before eating one of those 'nasty' meals. Without any questions, the most horrible can of filth packed into a can was the Eggs and Ham. I once found a box of c-rat eggs marked 1952. Something about eating a 15 year old egg spoiled eggs for me until many, many years later.
Enjoy reading the newsletters and thanks for the opportunity to comment. This is the first time I've written so please bear with me while I get to my point.
I believe imbedded in the Corps values of courage, honor and faithfulness are the principles of integrity and accountability. I recently retired from a civilian job after 33 years of service from a company with a 150 year old history. It was only within the last decade the company decided to "instill" a set of its own core values in its employees. A lack of leadership and commitment to those values was evident from the git go.
Maybe its just that I'm older or have more time to reflect since retirement but it seems like our company isn't alone as the news provided a daily reminders of the decline or total absence of these values. I'll mention a few as I'm sure you can recall your own (these are only examples) .... a former first lady who in a recent TV interview insisted that private behavior (perhaps however inappropriate) of an elected public official's private life should not be linked to the performance of their public duty....CEO's and other corporate officials of large public company's who pleaded "I didn't know" as their companies were being investigated for accounting fraud and other wrongdoing under their watch....even high school students and parents who not only refused to accept accountability but chose to blame school officials during the recent hazing incident in Chicago.
Then while watching CNBC I heard an interviewer asking a question about William H. Donaldson who was then recently appointed as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. When questioned about how Mr. Donaldson would be able to restore confidence and integrity to Wall Street the person being interviewed didn't respond with the fact that he (Donaldson) was well respected or the former CEO of an investment company he founded or that he headed the nation's largest health insurance provider or that he was the former Chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange or a graduate of Yale and founder of Yale University's Graduate School of Management or even that he was a former United States Undersecretary of State. Instead the interviewer went back a half century in Donaldson's career and responded with a wry smile (I can only paraphrase here) "He (Donaldson) won't have any trouble with the integrity issue despite his close ties to Wall Street...he's a former Marine" (Earlier in his career, from 1953 to 1955, Mr. Donaldson served in the United States Marine Corps in the Far Eastern Theatre, first as a rifle platoon commander and later as aide-de-camp to the Commanding General of the 1st Provisional Marine Air Ground Task Force.)
I was struck by the fact that of all the accomplishments which could have been used to describe how he would restore integrity and confidence it was his after all the values instilled in him as a Marine a half century earlier.
And so to the point....it's not about Mr. Donaldson and his distinguished career but it is about how the use of a single word, "Marine" is used to characterize those values. With all due respect to all the other services (and I certainly don't mean to diminish their accomplishments, contributions or heritage)....No word more completely sums up all of those values and qualities like the word "Marine" (try it with soldier, sailor, airman...it just doesn't have the same meaning). So while you may no longer wear the most recognizable, best looking uniform, the service ribbons, medals, badges and other awards which distinguished you on active duty but you do "wear" those values (IF you choose to) and that distinguishes you forever.
So.....to the discussion about discharges other than honorable (and not to come across as "holier than thou"). If you received less than an honorable discharge it was for something you did, even if your reason starts with "all I did was..." It's the price for maintaining a high standard and the word Marine can continue to be used as the benchmark. I believe the Corps is firm but fair in administering discipline but if you believe you were inappropriately disciplined there were remedies and as a Marine I believe you would (and should) fight like hell to clear it up.
And to the writer who established the web page of famous Marines. While it is impressive to list all the movie stars, politicians, and other well known Marines I would add the name of every Drill Instructor who instilled these values and every Marine who died living up to them.
JUST TO GET A RISE
Dear Sgt. Grit,
One day I was the oncoming guard here in hell (Djibouti, Africa) and the SOG was a female Army SSgt. Keep in mind I am a lowly LCpl. Well, we had finished counting the rounds and reloading the magazines. I inserted the magazine into my trusty M16 and sent the bolt home. "God I love that sound!" I said in a semi loud voice. Well, the Army SSgt's eyes opened wide and she looked at me like I was crazy. she asked if I needed anything before she left. Just to get a rise out of her, I said, "well, I would like for someone to try and hop the fence so I could shoot them, can you arrange that?" She said she didn't think she could and then left. A few days later, I overheard her talking to a colleague in the chow hall at the table next to me. She told the story to her friend and then said how sorry she feels about anybody trying to sneak on base, "cuz the Marines would unleash hell!"
Brotherhood is what it's all about..we are all brother's to the end.
COLLECTED ALL THE CONTRABAND
Here's a quick story about C Rats from October 1975 when I was in boot camp at PI. When we spent our week or so in the bush, I remember that we used to line up at the back of a truck and they'd toss us our 3 meals for the day. Naturally, your 3 would come from the same case so you'd get 3 of the same meals. As a result, you might be eating ham and eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or spaghetti. Our DIs introduced us to nicknames for the meals.
For example, beans and franks were called beans and baby d--ks; the round candy was called a s--t disc (for reasons which became quickly apparent). Anyway, some of the recruits used to squirrel away the sugar packets and then at some point have a sugar party in their tents at night. Since we hadn't had much in the way of sweets for weeks, a packet of sugar gave you quite a glucose high. When we were packing up for main side, the DIs told us not to take any C Rat leftovers with us and they collected all the contraband. We were back at main side for a few days when a recruit reported that some of his money was missing. The DIs, of course, went bananas since Marines can steal tanks from the Army and Navy but not a penny from other Marines (even though we had yet to earn the title). So, we hadda dump the entire contents of our footlockers in front of us and the DIs went up and down the squad bay rifling through our gear and kicking it all over the place as we stood on line at attention. They were going through the gear of one recruit - Private Eng - who was directly across from me on the other side of the squad bay when one DI said, "Ohhhhhhh, what do we have here, Private Eng?" The DIs had found some leftover C Rats. Specifically, it was packets of powdered coffee and cream (or milk, I can't remember exactly) and sugar.
They tilted Private Eng's head back and proceeded to open the packets and pour the contents down his throat. First the coffee, then the cream and then the sugar. Then they got a canteen of water and poured it down his throat. Next, one DI stood near his right side and another on his left. Then they picked him up and shook him as another DI rubbed his belly and said, "Ummmmmm, good, Private Eng." I was holding back laughter so much that I almost passed out. Good thing that I didn't laugh cuz I'd probably still be down there doing bends-and-muthers.
IT WAS A WEIRD EXPERIENCE
A few years ago, I walked into a small clothing store to look at a hat for golf. The man in store had an accent and said, "Good morning, Marine." I was in civilians and was retired so my hair was normal length as most civilians and there were no decals on my car. I was not sure he had said "Marine" so I started to look at the hat. He said, "Go ahead and try it on, Marine." Now I knew he had called me Marine. I had never seen this man before or had no Marine Corps insignia such as a key chain on me.
Finally I said, " Are you calling me a Marine?" He replied, " Yes, I am sure you are one, am I wrong?
I told him that I was a retired Lt.Col. but asked how he knew. He said he spent most of his life in Lebanon and had been Marines all his life. He said he could tell I was a Marine by the way I walked and held my self as well as how I greeted him by looking him in the eye and shaking his hand. It was a weird experience as I was not conscious at all of projecting any Marine presence at the time. I guess 24 years in the regulars and reserves influences us in ways we do not see ourselves. It was a strange experience but one that many Marine may relate to.
Lt. Col. Bill Kroen
This is for Sgt. Bob Ross VMB 443 and others having a difficult time finding Emirau on a map. I agree it's difficult to find because of its size.
Emirau is at the most northern end of the Solomon's chain. Start looking at the north end of New Ireland, go north but do not cross the equator. Find the St. Mathias group of which Emirau is the smallest island. Directly west of this group are the Admiralty Islands. Emirau was secured by the 4th Marines on 3-20-44. My squadron VMF 313 arrived about June 1944. There were several thousand aviation type Marines on the island, mostly VMF and VMB. Also present was a company or two of Australian troops, a PT boat squadron, Seabees and the natives. The fighter squadrons personnel left Emirau for the Philippines on Marine R4D's late Nov. and early Dec. via Biak island and Peleliu, where Marines were still hitting Bloody Nose Ridge with napalm bombs. Rank had no privilege there in the chow lines. We then landed and operated from Tacloban, Leyte and hit the beach a couple of months later at Zamboanga, Mindanao.
A couple of good references for further search include "Marine Aviation in the Philippines" by Major Charles W. Boggs, Jr. for maps and a good low altitude photo of Emirau and "USMC a Complete History." These books may be available from Sgt. Grit or the MC Association bookstore at Quantico. If you receive Leatherneck, the July 2003 issue has a photo of Marine aces, Majors Joe Foss and Marion Carl on Emirau with Charles Lindbergh. Hope this helps.
Former Sgt. Stan Rzemieniewski
DROPPED HIM ON THE BEACH
Hey-I have yet to see anything about those Wonderful "Assault Rations" from the "Big War' that we were issued in Korea!! I remember the "Pork & Applesauce" YUK!! I always thought some "Jilted Gal" had been responsible for making that one and we were the ones destined to pay the price!! I clearly remember "Marine Wallace Franson getting seasick on a "peter boat" landing and some old WW 2 Gunny getting down in his face with a can of Pork and applesauce and making Franson "anything, But Well--A couple of us got him by the shoulders and pulled him off and dropped him on the beach until he could recover--Strange how those things are remembered!!
Semper-Fi "A MARINE FOREVER'" Sgt. Jerry L. Henson
This Marine drill instructor, completely frazzled by the ineptitude of his recruits, burst into a blue streak of swearing hot enough to blister paint. He broke off suddenly when he noticed one of the recruits had been talking in ranks. "WHAT WAS THAT YOU SAID, RECRUIT??" the drill sergeant hollered. In a quivering voice, the recruit replied, "I said, to myself, Drill Sergeant Sir, 'if that sucker thinks I'm going to stand here and take his crap . . . well, he's certainly an uncanny judge of character.
THIS MORNING I AWOKE AND SWITCHED ON
Love the newsletter, keep it up. This morning I awoke and switched on the Today show like I always do. All of a sudden I'm looking at members of the 3rdID complaining about being extended. What is this crap. During the Vietnam war 13 months was the minimum in country, out of country 13 months at an isolated base, 15 months at a remote and longer at the garden spots was the rule. These guys are bitchin about 8 months. Is this what the new Army is like? I don't hear Marines griping. We didn't hear the crew of the Abe Lincoln bellyaching. I'm sorry, but I am really surprised at this. I really hope that it is only a small group whiners and not the rule.
John Domurat USAFSS Sgt.
I am proud to report that on June 21st and 22nd the Marine Corps Recruiting Association was formed at a meeting in Dallas, Tx. The Association is dedicated to assist with current recruiting policies and to promote Corps values. WE ARE SEEKING MEMBERS. Those who successfully completed Recruiters School, all current and former Recruiters and support staff are encouraged to apply.
As a board-member you may contact me for information and applications.
Jim Simmons Sgt. 1/55-1/64
Rt. 1 Box 153C
Milo, Mo. 64767
WONDERING IF ANYONE REMEMBERS (TED WILLIAMS) IN KOREA DURING THE CONFLICT? I WAS AT K-3 (POHANG ) FIRST MARINE AIR WING AFTER THE CONFLICT AND THE STORIES WERE AROUND ABOUT TED CRASH LANDING 2 SHOT UP JETS THERE AND AFTER THE SECOND TIME WAS SHIPPED BACK HOME. IF SO WAS THIS EVER ACKNOWLEDGED AND WAS HE A HERO OR NOT? GUNG-HO
BITE MY TONGUE
Every time I see D.I. instead of Drill Instructor used, I have to bite my tongue. I feel that it shows disrespect for all the Marines that became Drill Instructors. Drill Instructors made Marines out of little boys as they did me.
I still remember the Drill Instructors of Platoon 3047, August 1956 MCRD San Diego , CA. Thanks to SSgt. Fisk , Sgt. Holley and Cpl. Owens for turning me, a 245 pound slob into a 175 pound lean mean fighting machine, that is Proud to be a Marine. I love the Marine Corps and I will go to my grave as a Marine. "Once a Marine always a Marine. " "Semper Fi"
(for all you Gunny's and future Gunny's)
The Gunny ordered one of his Marines to dig a hole eight feet deep. After the job was completed the Gunny returned and explained an error had been made and the hole wouldn't be needed. "Fill 'er up," he ordered.
The Marine did as he'd been told. But he ran into a problem. He couldn't get all the dirt packed back into the hole without leaving a mound on top. He went to the Gunny and explained his problem.
The Gunny snorted, "Honestly! The kind of Marines you get these days! There's obviously only one thing to do. You'll have to dig that hole deeper!"
"Coming soon to a Third World Country near you! "
I GOT A BONE TO PICK WITH THE NEWS REPORTING AGENCIES, YEP ALL OF THEM. I WAS WATCHING CNN AND HEARD OF THIS GUY WHO RAN OFF WITH A UNDER AGED GIRL. IN REPORTING THIS STORY THEY MADE MENTION THIS GUY WAS A FORMER MARINE. THIS IS POINT OF MY BITCH. IT SEEMS WHENEVER THEY HAVE A BIG STORY TO REPORT AND THEY FIND OUT THE GUY WAS IN THE MARINE CORP. THEY MAKE SURE THEY MENTION THAT FACT. I HAVE NOTICED THIS ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS AND THIS TIME IT GOT ME P***** OFF. SO I CONTACTED THEM BY E-MAIL AND EXPRESSED MY OPINION. I ALSO SUGGESTED WHY IS IT NOT MENTIONED WHEN A GUY IS ACCUSED OF A CRIME IT IS NOT MENTIONED IF HE BELONGED TO THE ARMY, NAVY OR ANY OTHER BRANCH OF THE SERVICE ONLY THE MARINES. I TOLD THEM I CONSIDERED THIS A SLAP IN THE FACE TO ALL WHO SERVED IN THE MARINE CORP. IT MADE US ALL LOOK LIKE A BUNCH OF PHYSCO'S. WELL I MAY BE BUT ITS BECAUSE SOMEONE P**** ME OFF AND PUT ME IN COMBAT MODE, THAN I AM PHYSCO. SO I CHALLENGE ALL MARINES TO E-MAIL CNN OR ANY OTHER NEWS AGENCY AND BITCH. THANKS FOR THE SOAP BOX TIME.
MCRD SAN DIEGO
Sgt Grit, I've been reading and enjoying (contributing a couple of times) to the newsletter and thought I'd share some info found in a report about FUTURE (next round) base closings. On the list is MCRD SDIEGO (those that hunger for the 350+ acres say that RTR can move to Camp Pendleton), and Miramar. It wasn't enough to grab MCAS El Toro (MABS-33 - MAG-33) but now, the reasoning as presented in the report, is that the base at Miramar is not going to be needed because with the cost of jet aircraft, the government plan is to reduce the number allocated to the Corps and thereby justify the elimination of multiple squadrons.
RETURN TO VIETNAM
Sgt. Grit: Made a return trip to Vietnam in February. Visited Harvest Moon battle site. Members of L 3/3 might be interested in my story with photos at www.3rdmarines.net/Vietnam_War_stories.htm. Click on Harvest Moon.
Thanks, Lt. Col. Jack Swallows USMC (Ret) Arty FO L.Co. 965-1966
10+ CHINESE ARMY DIVISIONS
Sincere thanks to Chosin Few Director Jean White for forwarding the following message.
As we are all aware it was LtGen. Alpha Bowser (then Col.) who formulated the plan under which we of the 1STMARDIV and the accompanying Army troops successfully withdrew from Chosin Reservoir. Because of General Bowser's meticulous plan and the superb leadership of Major General Oliver P. Smith, Commanding General 1STMARDIV we not only fought our way through and destroyed 10+ Chinese Army Divisions, we lived to fight another day and later many of us returned to our families and loved ones.
God Speed General Bowser as you ascend to the pearly gates of heaven and join the multitudes of Marines guarding the streets of heaven. SAEPE EXPERTUS, SEMPER FIDELIS, FRATRES AETERNI "Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever"
Howard Mason, Weapons/1/7, USMC
The Chosin Few
STATIONED THERE 1944
I'm sorry to hear about closing of El Toro. I was station there 1944 with the Guard Detachment. Tustin, Calif. was just a small village. The drive to Santa Ana was a beautiful drive with orange groves on both sides of the highway. After V J Day the Guard Detachment form a soft ball team. We played ball with teams from surrounding towns. We were well received at the ball games and had a great time.
Sgt. A J Samo 1940-1946
What were all 12 C-rations in the case? My favorite was the Spiced Beef, which came with a can of Apricots--uummmmm Yum. In 'Nam, since most people didn't like them, I traded for them for nearly a month.
The C-rat cases could even be used. With the wire binder and cardboard I made a killer fly swatter, with which I could wait 2 seconds for the second fly to land and kill two at once! Once we captured NVA rice and were short of C's so we boiled the rice in my steel helmet cover. It tasted so sandy we all decided to just starve until we got our C's by chopper.
OUR OLD UNIFORMS ARE GONE
All the interest in the closing of El Toro MCAS has stirred up mixed feelings and has brought me to writing this.
I arrived at MCRD San Diego on 12 July 1952 for Boot Camp. While there we went to Camp Mathews for rifle training etc. After completing what was then called "individual combat training" at Camp Pendleton I was sent to Treasure Island Naval Base for basic electronics and then back to MCRD for Radio Repair School. From there I received orders to report to El Toro "for further assignment overseas" (Korea). After a few weeks at El Toro we were sent over to LTA (Lighter Than Air) for staging. LTA was later called Tustin MCAF but at that time the Navy still had one squadron of blimps there being flown by reservists on week ends, and the Marine Corps was in the process of moving in and taking over with the helicopters. Upon return from Korea we came through Treasure Island again. I then finished my tour assigned to Station Electronics at El Toro MCAS. During my last month at El Toro before separation, we noticed the Marines returning from Korea were brought by air into El Toro, or at least those in the Air Wing.
Today (I believe) Camp Mathews is the campus for the University of California San Diego, Treasure Island Naval Base has been sold off, Tustin MCAF has been sold off and El Toro MCAS has been sold off. And not that long ago, before the recent war activities, we were hearing in your column about the movement to eliminate MCRD San Diego. The old Naval Training Center next door was sold off long ago.
And for that matter, I'm told that K3 in Korea where I was stationed is now a local civilian airport. I know there are commercial flights scheduled in and out of there. But that was no big loss. I can't imagine anyone but Marines being able to land and take off from that place anyway. Even the occasional Air Force plane that came in usually had all kinds of problems with our very short runway, etc. Maybe the Seabees have again extended and improved the runway.
If MCRD in San Diego is ever eliminated, it would mean the only one of my old duty stations left would be Camp Pendleton, and I was there for only a very brief time (about six weeks). Although during the last six months of my tour, we used to have to make weekly trips from El Toro to the Camp Pendleton airfield to perform preventative maintenance on the radio gear at the tower.
I understand some of the properties were not as good a deal as the buyers(?) thought they were. I read where the three very large wooden blimp hangers at Tustin are on the national historical list so they have to be maintained etc. And being wooden they were in real need of repair by the time of the final turnover. The military always maintained them but during the lengthy turnover process they fell behind. Something the new owners didn't expect and weren't very happy about. On the other hand I also understand the Navy built a brand new brig on Treasure Island about two years before it was sold off. It really bailed out the Sheriff in San Francisco who was in bad need of new jail facilities and was in hot water with the feds over his old jail's crowded and deteriorating conditions.
Some old Marine pilots who now fly commercial airliners testified that El Toro has some inherent problems with the surrounding terrain (mountains or something) which should preclude it from becoming a commercial air terminal. The hope was to make it a commercial terminal to alleviate the traffic at LAX and Orange County's John Wayne airport. In other words, it was great for the Marines but not safe enough to handle commercial passenger traffic.
Our old uniforms are gone (for the most part), our old weapons have been replaced, the old rank has been changed, and many of our old duty stations are gone but the Marines Corps keeps right on going and is still the finest there is and always will be.
T. Stewart, Sgt. (E-4) USMC 1952 - 1955
THIS IRVINE RESIDENT SLEEP BETTER
In response to Cpl., Boll's letter about El Toro being closed... Having lived in Irvine for many years I have to tell you I was sad as well when it closed. My father's first and last duty station was El Toro and when we lived there we often "visited" the base - mostly at the amazing air shows; and my dad would tell me where he did this and what he did there. I have to say though, I loved hearing the noise from El Toro - it helped this Irvine resident sleep better, because I knew just a few streets away were Marines, protecting my way of life. Now I hear the helicopters are gone from Tustin as well... I wonder if I still lived there how I would deal with all of that quiet!
IN MY OPINION
Dear Sgt Grit,
After reading one of the stories in this last news letter, I felt compelled to write. The story, "Revenge Marine Style" is total BS if you asked me. First off, it is totally unbelievable. Bringing a sheep into the barracks? Where was this at? A Gunnery Sergeant conspiring with a junior enlisted? There is no way that any professional Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant, would risk his/her career over a childish prank, even if this story had any merit. Which to me, it doesn't. This story is a total fabrication, in my opinion. I know that you except all the stories written into you, but this one should have been thrown in the sh*tcan.
Christopher Andrews Gunnery Sergeant of Marines (Retired) 1980-2002
OLE GUNNY IS STARING ME DOWN
With all that is going on I thought I tell you a funny story that happened to me at PLC in 1982. My name is Mike Gonzales and we had another Hispanic in my platoon named Vazquez. Will our platoon sergeant who was from Tennessee kept getting us mixed up. He would call me Vazquez and Vazquez Gonzales and so on and so on.
One day we were on the parade deck at Brown field and were practicing opening ranks for inspection. As with a bunch of college boys, you know he had to practice incessantly and well, I was in the second squad and Plt.sgt face our rank and yelled "Vasquez back!", No movement. "Vazquez back!" Well, ole gunny is staring me down and glowering at me and yells one more time "Vasquez back!!!! I don't know what to do, but held my position fearing the worst...
Well, somewhere from behind me I heard "I am platoon sergeant!" poor old Vasquez must have been moving from the third rank out to oblivion. Well, needless to say Gunny was embarrassed and yelled "I knew that, good candidates (we had not yet graduated)you did exactly what you were told to do.!" Gunny tells Vazquez to recover, then marches down the rank, faces me and whispers " I hate you"..
At our graduation picnic we all got a huge laugh out of it and gunny told me he was kidding. I knew that. I ran into him a few years later in Pendleton and we laughed again.
Mike Gonzales, Maj. USMCR
83-87. 90-91 Desert Storm 2/23
PISS DRIZZLE DOWN MY LEG
I was stationed at MCAS El Toro when I returned to CONUS in 1967, and I was thankful to return to southern California, having been stationed at Camp Pendleton before I out posted. Orange County was developing quickly, but the crush of houses and condos hadn't encroached too closely on the perimeter of the base. After my EAS in 1968, I returned to New York City and wondered what in hell I was doing there. I'd been "Californicated" and decided I had to return to the sunshine.
I lived 12 miles from MCAS El Toro, visited the base occasionally as a reservist or simply to revisit the areas I knew.
One of my neighbors often complained about the sound of aircraft over our homes in Mission Viejo. Apparently it interfered with a climactic moment in the soap opera he enjoyed, since flight operations were restricted primarily to daylight hours. As I was discarding the trash one afternoon, he stopped to chat and four F18's formed up thousands of feet overhead. As I gazed upward, he shook his head and commented, "They seem to be flying so low. What do you think of that?"
I smiled and answered, "That is the sound of freedom, and it's music to my ears. That is Marine air power, and it terrifies the enemies of my country. Those are Marine pilots. They are expert at close air support and they can scream in low enough to part your hair without scratching your scalp. They redefine 'air superiority' by dominating the skies whenever they fly. You ask what do I think about that? I'm not an emotional guy but it makes the piss drizzle down my leg."
I lived there for several more years, he always smiled politely but he never asked that silly question again. I now live near Portland, Oregon. For half of the year the hills are green, the sky is a brilliant blue. For the rest of the year, I feel like I'm living under a cow and I'm a flat rock. It's a fine place to live, but something is missing. I miss the pulse of Marine helicopters out of the Tustin air facility, and the throaty roar of Marine aircraft reaching for the sky. Once in a while, I can hear the aircraft from the Oregon Air National Guard, God bless 'em, but it's really not quite the same.
From the furor I witnessed over 25+ years as an Orange County resident, I'd say MCAS El Toro was closed by an influx of new arrivals who whined about the noise (in spite of the base's effort to keep it to a minimum), and to political pressures from elected officials (the best that money could buy) who cooperated with the developers that contributed significantly to their campaigns. The land that the base sits upon is superbly located. When the assessment was made on what it would take to turn El Toro's acreage into another series of expensive communities, the requirement to transport the 27-foot thick reinforced runways to nearby landfills was staggeringly expensive. The developers were unwilling to absorb it. They wanted the county or state to absorb as much of that cost as possible, but the economic reality is there aren't enough cookies in the jar to afford that.
I candidly don't know what will become of that acreage. Once the base relocated, I really didn't care. The community had changed over the years, and it was time to move on. MCAS El Toro and MCAF Tustin meant a great deal to those who'd served aboard those bases, but the general public was (not surprisingly) on the outside looking in - in more ways than the obvious. MCAS El Toro was a chapter in Marine Corps air history, but it was also the answer to this Marine's prayer when I looked for a better place to live, after I returned from Viet Nam. The last time I looked at the area from the air, the strawberry fields and citrus groves had largely been replaced by the new "cash crop" of houses and condos. Miramar's gain is Orange County's loss.
Sgt. Grit, I enjoy your e-mails, and I enjoy your products.
To our Corps...now and forever.
VETERANS OF THE PACIFIC
From a book titled Court-Martial at Parris Island, by by John C. Stevens, III, that recounts the full story of the recruits lost in Ribbon Creek in April, 1956 comes the following excerpt from pg 156: "Richard Hudson, a 1948 Parris Island recruit and later a Drill Instructor in the mid-1950's, remembers, During the time I was in boot camp there were incidents of "thumping" ....A lot of DIs were veterans of the Pacific and seemed to be an unforgiving group. I received a hard kick in the butt when I moved my foot a couple of inches after the platoon was called to a halt.
One senior DI had a routine that he felt was good for instilling discipline. He would place a very young looking DI in his platoon with new dungarees (utilities), hat pulled down to his ears, and blend him in with the others; this would be in the first couple of days before they knew each other. Once on the drill field the "shill" would start screwing up. The DI would then go into his act of beating and screaming at the individual causing him so much grief. After a period of time the PLANT would start yelling that he could take no more, "No, I can't take it. I Can't take it," drop his rifle and start running across the drill field. In the meantime, the DI had picked up his rifle and was yelling, "Get back here you son-of-a-bitch." The PLANT, yelling, "No Sir," continues to run, whereupon the DI chambered a round (blank, of course) in the rifle and fired.
The 'planted' recruit would scream and fall. The DI would then turn toward a couple of other DIs awaiting their cue and (say,) "Carry that worthless bastard off of my drill field." O.K. Sarge, we'll take care of it."
The plant was carried off the field, and the awestruck recruits' terror and fear of their drill instructor were instantly elevated to a new plateau.The routine continued with other platoons in their formative stages until an officer happened to spot the charade and, suppressing his mirth, suggested that it not be repeated.
Personal note: I was in Platoon 351 (September, 1956) in 1st Battalion which served as the role model for the movie starring Jack Webb called The D.I. In fact, the cadence of one of my junior DIs named Cpl (E-3) John R. Brown caused him to be selected by Jack Webb to play a role in the movie as Sgt O'Neill and to be a technical advisor in the movie. Despite the fallout from the court-martial, there was no appreciable transformation by our DIs to a more kind and gentle mode with us.
DAN DAILY...DID NOT SERVE IN THE MEXICAN WAR..
KEITH R COFFMAN
We old timers cannot participate in your C Rat survey because we never had the choice of the delectable menu of c rations you show.
Tom Schicker - 44-46 50--52 Serial No. 528318
I just did your pole now I would like for you to add the best they had, Ham & Eggs if you never had these you never had C-Rations
Thanks for you site, I enjoy
If you kill someone in the military do you think you would really go to hell? If so, do you think that we've taken over it yet?
Yes, the Marine Corps did get kicked out of El Toro and moved to Miramar, and that's cool. Tell me, where did those Marine Corps Pilots get their education and training?
Corpsman with H/3/5 Korea 1951-52
I remember the "C" rations well. Pork & beans was my favorite. Do any of you out there remember the Assault Rations? The were in small packs that were very good. They tasted like regular food with a lot of calories packed in small cans etc.
Joe Carpenter 0341 1958-62
I still have my John Wayne C-rat can opener I carried in Nam on my key ring today!! Best piece of equipment the military ever had!!!
Gunny Dave 68-92
Maybe the Devil did create the Marines, yet we turned out to be a blessed gift to America and the world from God!
God Bless America and her military!
LCPL '90-'94 USMC
Restore Hope Vet
"When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not our friend."
-U.S. Marine Corps