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 - October 30, 2003

"To often, the do-gooders of this great nation don't get around to coming to grips with it. Why don't we think about blowing a few people away before it happens?"

Ret. Commandant, Gen. Al Gray,
about terrorism at the memorial service on the 20th Anniversary of the bombing of Marine Barracks Beirut, Lebanon.
From Marine Corps Times Magazine

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WOMEN MARINES......LOOK..............

Woman Marine Decal-D1009


Like to fell out of my chair by the info. from Paul Renfro in the last letter and the similarities. I enlisted April 02, '50, to MCRD, Diego, and wound up in the lst Batt. lst. Reg., in K. And that was Chesty's last regimental command. We were on a forced march, 55 on 5 off, for 3 hours to get to a hill before the gooks did. As we saddled up the third time we walked about a hundred yards around a bend and lo and behold, who was there, but Chesty himself, with just his driver, about three to five miles in front of the lines. The first I knew of it was this voice, HOW YOU DOING OLD MAN!!!! I looked up and he was looking at me, (18 yrs.) and scared me beyond words. As I weakly said "fine sir", my feet rose about a foot off the ground, and it took, (to me), probably 3 seconds to go the next 50 yards to get out of his site. Then he was transferred to the states and that's where Renfros' story continues. AND for anyone, with the question about Airedales, ask them the same question when the F4U's are flying UNDER your ridge line clearing the way for your assault, if they are MARINES!!! AND, once more to the Doc, who does our job and theirs also, as he knows, there are no medics in the Corps!!!!!!

NC, ll08487, 50-52
Chestys' last Reg. Command


Was in Nam 69-70 and convoyed to LZ Baldy thru DaNang from Quang Tri. There were only 7 of us including our "CO", 1stLt. Bowman. We were part of a mobile air traffic control unit (MATCU) and were to control the air traffic in the Baldy area. We arrived in the rain late at night and were given an empty hooch not being used by the artillery unit there. A couple of days after arriving the "arty" guys discovered they had some "air wing" guests on board. Someone conveniently "forgot" to advise us of a firing mission one night and that the .175 mm gun that was being used would be firing directly over our hooch, I know now why it was empty...needless to say, the concussion dismantled everything inside, including us, and we managed to give our grunt comrades a nice laugh. About 2 weeks later while in our small portable "tower " sitting on empty oil drums, I found 2 Marine F-4's on a strike just north of Baldy. I decided a "pay back" was in order and raised our 2 warrior pilots on the radio. When told that there were many grunts at Baldy who had never seen F-4's up close, they agreed to a "high speed low pass" down Baldy's pathetic runway. I have to say, they never saw them coming and they never saw them leaving. All that was left was deafening noise and jet blast fumes and grunts laying all over the ground. I denied everything to our Gunny, but I know he knew....What I best remember though, was after eating B rats and C rats for many H-46 brought in a load of steaks and salad and ice cream for "OUR" Birthday and all over "old Baldy" we were Marine brothers...some did it better, some did it longer, some did more but all gave some and some gave all....but we were, and still are Marines. Semper Fi to all my brothers. My son is now a 1stLt and a Forward Observer for the Artillery in the 12th Marines....imagine that!!!

former Sgt. Ron Brigance USMC 66-70


I don't know if they still do it or not, but when I was stationed at Camp Lejeune in the middle 70's there was an 8 man tackle football league. I was with the Marine Corps Service Support Schools and we played other teams from the base. We wore normal tackle gear, pads, helmets, etc, and our uniforms were green. So, of course we were nicknamed the "Green Machine."

We had a pretty good team for the two years that I played. I was one of the few officers that actually played on the field. And that is pretty much how I busted both knees and my left leg. We won the base championship my first year but I was sitting on the sideline the last two games of the season because of a busted right knee. But I came back the second year.

The teams were made up of mostly young and energetic guys who had played high school and college ball. I, was a 31 year old, 145 lb, 1st Lt, with no school ball experience. But I loved the game and since I gave it my all, my coach, (our Lt Col) kept me around.

In the second year we were doing very well and in 1st place again. We were going to play the Engineers and they had a particularly big team. Their halfback was a huge guy that normally ran right over people. The game was to be on a Saturday so the Col had us out there practicing each evening. On Wed both our starting and backup quarterback could not attend practice and the Col asked me to take on the roll of the opposing QB for practice. I told him I was not much of a QB but would do my best.

We got into the huddle and I told the guys that I would close my eyes and throw the thing as far as I could and that one of them should run down the field and catch it. Boy was I nervous. So, the ball was snapped, I dropped back, closed my eyes and heaved it as far as I could. Lo and behold, one of my guys ran under it and went for a touchdown. When we got back into the next huddle I looked at the guys and told them that there was nothing to this QB job and that this time I would roll out and throw another touchdown pass. I think my helmet must have looked like it was ready to burst because of my swelled head. The guys in the huddle, mostly young enlisted men, looked awfully funny at one another and then we broke the huddle.

I should point out that I was pretty well liked as an officer. Having been former enlisted myself, I was very much in tune with them. Though I knew the line I was not allowed to cross with them, I was an officer that they could talk to and get the straight scoop from. Also, the officers above me understood this and I was usually the guy that additional duties were given to particularly if they involved enlisted personnel.

So here I was, up at the line calling the signals and then the ball was hiked to me. And then, .......all 7 of my guys fell down, on purpose. And the defense jumped on me and reduced my swelled head to a normal size. They also reduced my left knee and left leg to a tingling sensation. However, I got back up and went on with the practice, except that now I no longer thought of myself as Joe Montana.

At the end of the practice we had to run a few laps and I noticed a really strange feeling in my leg and knee. I ran up to the Col and told him that I thought something was wrong. He pulled up my knee pad, looked at me and told me to turn in my gear because I was through for the season. D*mn knee was purple and the size of a grapefruit. Lord I was crushed, two years in a row, not in at the end.

I drove over to the hospital, still in my football uniform, and walked into the emergency room. A really cute, red-headed Navy nurse was at the counter. She asked me what my problem was (I think she was having a bad day) and I showed her my knee which was now the size of a small watermelon. She said to have a seat and I did. 45 minutes later a doctor walked by me, looked at my knee and asked me how long I'd been sitting there. I told him and he asked me why I hadn't told anyone I was there. I told him who I had reported to and I thought he was going to have apoplexy. He chewed that poor girl out and they then put me on one of the carts for the exam.

I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea. I love all those Navy docs and nurses and Corpsman. I have a couple of interesting stories about Corpsman, but that's for another time. Nurses and I sometimes had some problems, but I always realized how much we needed them and how hard they worked for us.

So, with that in mind, the doc began to examine my knee. He was playing with it like a large breast, squeezing and rubbing it, all the while asking if it hurt. I kept telling him that it didn't hurt. Two of his doc buddies came by and the three of them were having a swollen knee convention. The two new docs were both dressed in their pretty white uniforms because they were not technically on duty. After they found out how it happened they were making all kinds of snide remarks about Marines and our intelligence levels. Then the guy on duty tells me that they are going to have to drain some of the fluid that had built up in the knee. I said OK. I have never been afraid of needles, knives or blades, having been a fencer in college.

The doc pulls out this huge suction pump thing with a needle the size of my index finger. The three of them were grinning from ear to ear and waited for my reaction. I looked them straight in the eye and told them I fenced with sabre's longer than that. I don't think that was the reaction they hoped for. Then they got serious and gave me a local in the knee. The doc in the smock (how do you like that) pushed it in and began trying to suction the stuff out. He had very little luck and only about an inch or two of the purple stuff was sucked out. He got real frustrated and pushed the thing in so that it was scrapping the bones or cartilages or whatever is in the knee.

Now, that hurt. And I told him that unless he was trying to suck marrow from the bones that he was not going to get a lot. They all laughed at that, thought it was a big joke. Then one of his buddies said that he would squeeze the knee while the other guy worked the pump. And they did, for several minutes, until the guy doing the pump got really frustrated and pulled the needle thing out of the knee. And as he pulled it out, the other guy squeezed and out of the hole left in the knee gushed a flow of purple blood and goo, right on this guys beautiful white uniform. The guy looked down at himself and said "My wife's going to kill me." I was the only one doing the laughing after that. They put me in a hip cast and told me I'd have it on for 6 weeks.

I went back to work two days later and that d*mn cast drove me nuts. So, four days later I got in the tub and soaked it off and wrapped the leg like a mummy. I went back to the hospital three weeks later and the doc took one look at my leg and said "Where in the hell is your cast!" I looked at him with a straight face and said "Why the doc I saw last week took it off." He asked me who it was because they did not write anything in my folder. I said "No offense doc, but all you Navy guys look alike to me." He then took me down to x-ray and said that the bone was knitting fine and that he guessed it was ok to continue the wrap. However, that ended my football playing days and my dreams of Marine Corp gridiron glory.

I am happy to report that the guys on the team all stopped by and told me how sorry they were for letting me get crushed like that. And I wished them luck and told them I hoped they blocked better for the next idiot with a swelled head.

Steve Eslin

Pvt to 1st Lt 1966-1978


1973: I was an 18-year-old 0151 at Camp Courtney, Okinawa. Day started when we went to pick up our Admin Chief at Naha Airport in a deuce and a half. On the way back, the Gunny "insisted" that we secure liquid provisions at the Seabee package store to properly celebrate the Birthday. By the time we returned to the motor pool area, suffice it to say that we were very well "lubricated". Apparently, at some time that evening I attempted to "crash" the Officer's Ball, grabbed a handful of cold cuts at their buffet, and took off running. A butter-bar OD pursued me back to my barracks, pulled his .45 and convinced me to accompany him. I spent the rest of the evening in the brig, awakening with the worst hangover I've had up to that point or since (strangely, this hangover produced bruises...apparently it was supplemented by several "counseling" sessions from the brig guards, who decided that I was too mouthy). Next day, I was summoned to my CO's office, and stood before the man. "Lance Corporal" he said " I would suggest that you learn Okinawan, because you will be staying here for a very long time after I am done with you!" This, of course, helped my hangover. After I recovered, strangely, I heard no more of it. I laid low for the remainder of my tour, and rotated back to my next duty station in a couple of months...I was a very good boy. On the day of my EAS, my 30-year Top advised me that I was the beneficiary of " Chesty's Amnesty". "If you don't kill anyone, you get a break on the Birthday!" he said.

Quite a memory...I celebrate every year!

Lcpl E.B., 72-74


Semper Fi Grit,

I have contributed a couple of times to your newsletter and enjoy it thoroughly. Once again, I have something that I would like to share with you. I remember coming home from boot camp and everyone one telling me that I had changed. I was now cocky and confident, and loved all things that had to do with the Marines. Last Monday night I was able to see the "attitude" in someone else. I work part time in the Green Turtle bar in West Ocean City, Maryland as a bouncer. (Imagine that, a Marine as a bouncer). Having this hook up, I was able to get the owner of the bar to sponsor my softball team. After finishing in second place we took the trophy to the owner. While there, I noticed a man sitting at one of the bar tables who was missing his right arm below the elbow. I also happened to notice that he had a Marine Corps emblem on the belt watch he had. I asked one of the waitresses to send him a beer on me. After finishing my dinner, Emily advised me that the man wanted to speak to me. I introduced myself and gave him a hearty Semper Fi. We talked for about 20 minutes and I could not believe how upbeat and positive this guy was. He lost half an arm and both legs due to a grenade in Vietnam. Thinking he may be bitter, I was pleasantly surprised to hear him declare that he was more pissed of at having to leave the Marines than from the disabilities that he incurred. He related to me that he initially lost his hand. While in the hospital, the doctor informed him that they would have to amputate the lower part of his arm due to the damage he incurred. His first thoughts were of the USMC tattoo on his right forearm. He then asked the doctor if it would be possible to save this tattoo when the amputation occurred. The doctor told him that it may not be possible, so he responded "F**K IT, Take the arm off above the elbow then." It just so happened that the doctor was able to save the tattoo which he proudly displays on the very front of that stump on his right arm. This is the Marine Corps Attitude. I gave him my card and told him that the next time he comes to Ocean City to call me so we could talk again. That goes for all of you Marines. Green Turtle West Ocean City Maryland and ask for Bill.

Bill Hedrick Jr
1985 - 1998
Marine Forever


Sgt.Grit, This year the United States Marine Corps will celebrate its 228th Birthday. Marines all over the world will come together in groups large and small to recognize this event. Locally, there will be a gathering of a few good men on Friday,7 November to mark this day. Please join with active and former Marines at a dinner to be held in the LCpl Thomas Noonan room, located in the Fiddlers Green Restaurant at 58th West 48th Street, N.Y.N.Y. An open bar, beginning at 5pm, will be followed by a steak or salmon dinner to be served at approximately 6:30 pm. Cost, which also include taxes and all tips, is $45.00 per person, payable at the door. We will always make room for another Marine, get in touch with an old friend and bring him along. He's guaranteed to be in good company. Semper Fidelis, (Dwight Powers for) Jack O'Connor.


This is just an added comment.. Airdales are "real marines" As a former FMF c/m I can truthfully say the sweetest sound I ever heard was that Huey coming in for my patients under any conditions at any time. When I needed an airdale they were there and wanted to know just where and when and they went. Thank God for the Marine airdales and thank God and the Corps for training them so well. THEY ARE MARINES!!!!

DJ HERDINA HM1 FMF aug 68 to dec 94

D*mn glad to be associated with the Marines


I had an interesting experience recently with regard to the difference between the Marine Corps and the other branches. My 18 year old cousin called me this past June to discuss joining the military. He had already spoken with the Army, Navy and Air Force. The Army offered him a $20,000 signing bonus and the Navy and Air Force made similar offers. He called me to ask what I thought the Marines would offer. I told him, unless things have drastically changed since I was in from '88 to '92, not a D&#n thing! I said if its money you're looking for, go join the other services because that's not what the Marines are offering. I explained that in a few months all that money will be gone, but join the Corps and you'll receive something that lasts forever and that no one can ever take away. Well, he graduated from MCRD San Diego October 10, 2003. He called me the following Monday to tell me that he now understands what I was talking about. In speaking with him, I could easily tell that he is definitely changed. What a difference a summer vacation in beautiful San Diego can do for a person!! Semper FI

Kevin O'Dwyer, '88 to '92


I'm hoping this gets in your next newsletter. I stepped on the yellow footprints of PI the morning of March 17, 1972. I can't remember everything that happened that morning but I'll never forget the name of the meanest SOB I have ever met or will meet. His name was Sgt. Lee.

I was with Platoon 233 and graduated on 19 June 72. During my stay there, Sgt. Lee made it clear to everyone that he was there for one reason, and one reason only - to either make us MARINE'S or get us the hell off of his island. Our platoon was one of the first to have AIT included in our basic. 13 weeks of pure hell. Prior to enlisting, I had 3 years of ROTC in Tampa, Florida of which I was part of the Color Guard, Honor Drill Platoon, and Rifle Team. My recruiter warned me not to let anyone know that I had been in ROTC. Well, to make a long story short, when we were preparing to go to the rifle range, I wrote home to tell my mom where I would be for the next couple of weeks. About a week later I received a package, and as everyone knows - all packages must be opened in front of the DI - Sgt. Lee asked what was in the package. My mother had sent me all my medals and shooting certificates from the ROTC rifle team. When I explained to Sgt. Lee what they were he asked what kind of rifles we used. I replied to him that we used 22 caliber target rifles. At this time, Sgt. Lee told me to write my mommy and inform her that we know longer used "pea-shooters". I want to thank Sgt. Lee for everything he taught me. I am proud to say that I have a ten year old son who says he's going to be a MARINE just like his daddy.

Semper Fi and many thanks.

Ben Hunter


I would like to say that Marines make great educators. I served from 1970-1980 and when I got out went to work in the oil fields of Texas. I worked off shore for a while and decided to get an education. I graduated from Lamar Univ. in 1986 and went to work for the Texas Youth Commission (Juvenile Corrections) I became a teacher in 1990 and earned my Masters in Education Administration in 1999. It took me 13 years to do 12 years of High School because I did not like it, but the Marines gave me the strength to not only complete my education but to work in a place where most students have either given up on themselves or the rest of the world has given up on them. I know I will lose many of these students to crime and gangs but I can save a few and my time in the Corps gives me the discipline to continue knowing that somewhere around 1/2 will not make it. Marines do make great educators and great role models for our students.

Semper Fi.

David Ellison
Assistant Principal
Gainesville State School
USMC 1970-1980

CANNOT RECALL "ohhrah" and Sgt Major John fine Marine ,who didn't drink, smoke, chew,nor go out with girls who do.......He was the 1stSgt of HqCo, RTR at MCRD San Diego, circa a hard-charging young Sgt, and being one of the DI's in Special Training Branch (Correctional Custody, Casual, Physical Conditioning Platoon, Motivation Platoon, the Hand to Hand instructors, etc. ) I, and many others, participated in many, many, noon time runs with the 1stSgt and the CO, Captain Wunderlich......cannot recall ever hearing of, or hearing ,an "oohrah".......might just be faulty memory, and maybe some of the others who were there at the time will speak up to either confirm, or advise me that once again, I'm full of it.......maybe Savoie, Myers, Fitzmaurice,Cohen,Scott.....all DI's at the time will speak up here (BTW...was a plankholder in the now defunct Motivation Platoon....a memorable two years) ....Semper Fi, Don "Dick" Dickerson, Mustang Major of Marines, (RET)


Sgt. Grit,

I am a reporter for the Wayne County Press in Fairfield, Illinois. I am a veteran of active duty service in the Marine Corps, as was my great-uncle Jesse C. Rockett Jr., who passed away recently. I wrote this column for my newspaper after Jesse's death and thought your readers might appreciate it. I would like to report at Jesse's funeral he was carried by six Marines and a Marine Corps color guard from the St. Louis recruiting region were present and handled the flag-folding and firing squad duties.

Thank You,

Braden Willis III

Semper Fi, Jesse Rockett

Jesse C. Rockett Jr., 75, died in room 5210 at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville at 8:15 p.m. Monday.

He was a husband, father, brother, uncle and my great uncle, my maternal grandfather's brother. He was also a retired United States Marine, one of my inspirations to join the Marines in 1986.

As soon as Jesse was old enough, he left Springerton (Illinois) with a buddy from Cisne named Flexter and caught a train to St. Louis to enlist. He served during the waning days of World War II in the Pacific Theater, participating in the occupation of Okinawa. He later won the Bronze Star in Korea. His unit endured a night of hand-to-hand combat after being nearly overrun.

He served in one of the Marine Corp's first helicopter squadrons. He had brushes with some famous, and some infamous, Marines, most memorably "Pappy" Boyington of "Baa Baa Black Sheep" fame, Ted Williams, Jonathan Winters and Lee Harvey Oswald.

"Well, I didn't actually meet Ted Williams," Jesse explained. "But, I did salute him once."

Twenty years later he retired as a Gunnery Sergeant, or as Marines affectionately call them, a "Gunny."

Not too long ago, my father and I took Jesse to see the film "Wind Talkers" in Evansville. Jesse cringed at the hand-to-hand combat scenes so graphically portrayed on the screen. I asked him if he had seen a lot of hand-to-hand combat during his tour in Korea.

"One night of hand-to-hand is a lot," he replied.

One summer a few years ago, dad and I took Jesse to Parris Island, S.C., where he was molded into a Marine over 50 years ago, as I was in '86. (My dad was a "Hollywood" Marine, having completed boot camp at MCRD San Diego in '66.) We were treated like royalty at Parris Island.

Jesse was a "China Marine," meaning he had once been garrisoned on mainland China, an old post stood by Marines for many years, but discontinued, I believe, in the 1950s. A China Marine is treated with great respect by fellow Marines because so few served there. Jesse was one of the last ones still alive.

We were treated to a visit with the base Sergeant Major at Parris Island, the highest ranking enlisted man on the Island. I told him Jesse's Marine Corps record and the Sergeant Major dialed a phone and spoke into it, hung up, and said a government vehicle and driver were outside waiting for us to use for our visit at the Island.

"Go where you want, stay as long as you like. The driver will be glad to take you to whatever you would like to see," the Sergeant Major said.

"Nah, I've got these two," Jesse said, motioning with his head towards my dad and I.

I worked for Jesse when I was 16 and he operated a gas station on Carmi's east side. I have many fond memories of that job and of the many stories Jesse regaled me with.

While I was working there, he began having throat problems. He was eventually diagnosed with throat cancer.

Since 1984, he had battled cancer off and on in various spots on his body. His voice box was removed. He taught himself how to talk without it. He never complained.

Eventually, he got tired of being tethered to an oxygen bottle. Monday, at the hospital, his condition began to rapidly deteriorate. Medical professionals offered a ventilator. Jesse refused. He was ready to go.

The family was called in and began arriving Monday afternoon. I left work at 4 p.m. and made the drive over. On the way, I called the Evansville (Indiana) Marine Corps recruiting station.

I told a Staff Sergeant whom I had never met Jesse's Marine Corps record. I told him of my familial connections with the Marine Corps. My Uncle Jesse, my dad, me, my brother, my father-in-law, my brother-in-law, two of my first cousins, many life-long family friends and seven of my high school classmates all enlisted and did at least one hitch. My brother-in-law is on his third hitch.

I told the Staff Sergeant Jesse was on his death bed and if he could find time to stop by and visit it would mean a lot to him and his family. He didn't know if he would be able to make it, he said. I thanked him anyway and hung up, never expecting to see him.

Around 7 p.m., the Staff Sergeant I had spoken to, accompanied by a very young looking Sergeant, walked into the hallway outside Jesse's room. In their world famous dress blue uniforms, the two Marines walked into Jesse's room and shook his hand. His breathing had become very labored. He didn't speak. But he knew they were there. He smiled.

The family profusely thanked the two Marines. They will never know the impact they had on the entire family that day. Marines take care of their own. I've always known that was true. Now everyone in the family does. Semper Fidelis-Always Faithful, the Marines' Motto, exemplified.

The entire family crammed into the little hospital room and gathered around his bed. Everyone joined in and sang a few Hymns. While we were singing, Jesse calmly drew his last breath and met death head on. He had lived up to another old Marine Corps saying, "Hey diddle diddle, right up the middle."

Jesse made a good exit. He met death on his terms. He was ready. And in the end, death lost, as another old Marine assumed his post in Heaven.

"If the Army and the Navy,
Ever look on Heaven's scenes.
They will find the streets are guarded,
By United States Marines."

-from "The Marine's Hymn"


To John Postulka HM2, Navy Corpsman in the 16 October 2003 Newsletter.... Watch the Movie "Tears in the Sun" starring Bruce Willis. In the opening scene on an Aircraft Carrier, a Naval Officer (did not catch his rank) tells the Bruce Willis Character to "go see the medic". Later in the movie the Corpsmen are referred to correctly ("Doc" is a Corpsman). I was saved by Navy Corpsmen when I was wounded during the Mayaguez Incident in 1975 and these courageous and selfless souls will forever be in my thoughts and prayers. Our Marine Corps League Detachment has a Corpsman as a full and distinguished member, and he is as much a Marine as any of us. I, for one, will NEVER be guilty of calling a Corpsman a medic. Medics are like EMTs, Corpsmen are (in my mind) closer to performing the duties of Doctors!!!!

D. Dye, (former) Sergeant, 8652, 2/9, 3rd MarDiv
(attached TD June 1975), combat disabled


As a CO of a Young Marines Unit, We have a small Marine Corps birthday bash, Our youngest is 8 and the Oldest is 17 what a turn of events. The Young Marines are surprised to find out that the Marine Corps has been around and alive for 228 years. We try very hard to instill those values to the next generation of Marines Courage Honor And Commitment. We may not have the dress blues and stand only in woodlands, but proud of you the Young Marines Stand.... Thank You for the price of your youth and your lives, the debt we can never repay.

Semper Fi..... John R. Norman III


You asked how some of us are celebrating the Marine Corps birthday --- I have transferred to the Air Force after 14 years of active duty in the USMC, specifically the NYANG, and will be in Antarctica for Nov 10. I hear they put on quite a celebration, there are many former Marines not only in that unit but that support the Antarctic mission. So I will definitely let you know how that goes.

Deb Gardner


This is October and Halloween is coming up, so I thought you might enjoy a ghost story. I was stationed at 3rd M.P. Battalion just outside of Danang in 1970. This compound was at the base of Hill 327 (members of 19 will have vivid memories of this place). I was assigned to Bravo Co., Security Platoon whose responsibility was for our perimeter security. I had been in Vietnam for about two weeks or so and was put on bunker 8, a 50 caliber bunker, as the assistant to the 50 man. Between bunkers 8 and 9 was a one man, 60 caliber machine gun bunker dubbed 8 alpha. Whoever had this bunker covered the only gate in our fence lines in case we got hit. A small stream ran down the right side of the bunker, made a bend and cut a deep trench behind the bunker. Because of this you had cross a bridge (a ten foot 2x10) to get to the bunker. It was a very clear, and to me in February, a very warm night. At about 2:30 a.m. I went down to give the guy on 8 alpha a chance to talk to someone and get a cup of coffee. After about twenty minutes or so I looked toward bunker 8 and saw a Marine standing about half way between 8 and 8 alpha. He stood about 5' 9" -5' 10", had on a backpack and was carrying an M-14, which made me wonder because all Marines in 1970 had been issued M-16's. Naturally I challenged whoever was standing there, and when he did not answer my M-16 came off safety. As I challenged him again I was wondering why the two guys up on 8 were just looking at me. About this time whoever the Marine was stepped out into the middle of our fighting trench as though it did not exist, and then stepped back. As I challenged him for the third and last time he literally doubled over and flew backwards like he had been hit. I stood up in wonder and put my rifle back on safety because I could not see anyone on the ground. The guy who was assigned bunker 8 alpha came back and carefully checked the fighting trench. There was nobody around and the two guys on bunker 8 had not seen anybody. Later I was told many stories about 8 alpha and they all entailed people who were not there. The fun part is that nobody believes this, or many of the other stories about 8 alpha, except the people who were there with me.

Cpl S. Fox (at the time PFC)
Danang 1970


In 1969 I was on Vieques Island for the Marine Corps Birthday, with a double reason for celebration, it was a year since I had returned from the Nam, Hue City, Tet Offensive of 68. I was just twenty years old in 69.

After my fair share of Rum & cokes, I decided to try the Bar's "Special" a double shot of Bacardi's with a half a shot of Crème de Menthe in a stem glass, strike a match to it so it would burn for about ten seconds (pretty deep blue flame) and bottoms up. If you made it in one toss, the second one was on the house. Not a problem, first one went down the pipes smooth as silk. The second one was not a problem either, all I really remember after that was the call to mount up on the 5 ton trucks for the ride back to Camp, I turned around on the bar stool, which I had not gotten off of all night, stood up took one step and saw the floor coming up to greet me. Not a thing I could do about it.

Next morning, at morning formation, I look over at my Buddy who had caught duty for MP the night before and he's got this whooper of a shiner on his left eye.

So I said, "What happened to you?" his reply was "I tried to help you onto the dam_ truck last night you S-O-B."

I guess it was a pretty good Marine Corps Birthday Party, as Birthday Party's go.

Semper Fidelis,



A month ago I was invited to attend a party at a friends house. Not knowing a soul I just stayed out of the way. >From a distance I heard this voice, " Hey there Marine". Sure enough I was wearing one of my Sgt. Grits shirts (one of many). Looking over in the direction from where the compliment had come from I spotted a elderly gentleman. As I walked over he stood up and stuck out his hand. Then he with pride said "Semper Fi there Marine" I responded with pride "Semper Fi you old Salt". We then introduced ourselves and I was asked to sit down. The Marine told me of the islands he had "Hit the beach" as he put it, during WW 2. This went on until he got to the part where him and his outfit were sent to Australia to prepare for the attack of the Japanese homeland. Weeks later they heard about his "outfit" not having to take on the "homeland". Soon after he got out of the Corps with pride knowing that he and his" 30 caliber" water cooled machine had done their job. When the Korean war broke out he reenlisted in the Corps hope to pick up his "30" and join Chesty. When he got back on duty he was told that he was now a "BAR" man. After taking up this new weapon he was off to "war" again. It didn't take long before his unit was in the thick of it. In one of the North Korean suicide attacks he received 2 purple hearts. One for an arm wound and a one in the leg. Once he was wrapped up and taken to the rear he was told how lucky he was. The "doc" told him of the three rounds that the BAR had taken for him. The old "sarge" then asked me if I had made it to Viet Nam. Then it was my turn share my story. We parted soon after with a loud "Semper Fi" What a lucky man I was to have shared my afternoon with this "old Salt". Three hours of respect from both sides had passed. A while later I was told that he had never shared any of his time in the Corps to anyone. "He never talks about the war to anyone." "Sound familiar guys"??.

Not long after I made the trip to the First Marine Division reunion out in Palm Desert. I picked up a unit patch, a division patch, and a cover that had a patch that said "Purple Heart-Korea" on it. These were passed on to the "old Salt." A gift from one Marine to another. That brotherhood never leaves you my brothers.

"Welcome Home"

Good night Chesty where ever you are.

Steve Schultz
Sergeant of Marines
Semper Fi !!


I don't know if this is what you are looking for as to Marine Corps Birthdays but here goes. It was Nov. 10, 1945 and I was stationed at 23rd and Constitution Ave. in D.C. My buddy and I, both PFC's had liberty that night and decided to go downtown. As we were walking by the Mayflower Hotel, one of the finest in D.C. at the time, we noticed a party of some kind going on inside. Of course we entered and found ourselves in the midst of a large group of Marine Officers. Casually we bellied up to the open bar and got a couple of drinks, found a empty table, and sat down. We even managed a couple of dances with the Ladies. After a while we realized maybe we were not supposed to be guests at the Marine Corps Birthday Ball for officers. I remember we did get a few funny looks but we finally made our way to the door and left. I will have to say that the officers that were present were very nice to us and no scene was made. Maybe it was because of our ribbons and the Purple Heart of my buddy's chest that let us get by with it.

Good memories
George Mead


As a former member of the Foreign Service I would like to thank all MSGs and former MSGs for the Marine Corps Birthday Ball at every American Embassy and Consulate worldwide. It has always been the number one event every year at any diplomatic post, anywhere. And all of us 'really old' Marines are always treated like royalty. Thank you!

Barry Weathersby


Hi there Sgt. Grit,

I love the newsletter, and at our MCL meetings, the contents are quite often discussed. I do want to take exception to the one Marine asking about "Drill Instructors". When I was in boot camp, we had a male "DRILL INSTRUCTOR", who taught us to march. He was a Staff Sergeant named Shoemaker. Actually, it was a very funny beginning as he had us all lined up and ready to go. Everyone got the "forward march", figuring that was what he had said, but the next command scattered people everywhere. It sounded to me like he had yelled out "rip hah", and looking back on it, I still laugh. We did soon learn what the grunts he made meant, but it did take awhile. I still love to march, and when the locals request that the MCL march in a parade, we do so with a color guard and the rest of us behind. I tear up when the crowd makes the nice comments they always do for the service people. We are lucky enough to march behind a local band that is all veterans, and they know the right "beat". Keep up the good work, and I love your catalog, and the things I have purchased from you.

Wanda E. Hunter



This year I will spend the Birthday deployed in QATAR. I was deployed in Thailand at the Rose Garden, Nam Phong for the 197 Birthday. So this time we will have to figure something out for the big day. There are 4 Marine dresses in Army clothes who were activated reserves (2) and us 2 Guardsmen. There are 3 active type in our a/o so we will figure something out for Our Big Day. No swords to cut so will have to use the leatherman.

Semper Fi



In early August, I posted a l'il note stating that the Recruiter had just stopped by and scarfed up my eldest ....enroute to MEPS for the eventual Magic Bus Ride to the Land of Yellow Foot Prints. I rec'd a good amount of replies and support from you hard chargers out there. Again, many thanks. At this point in time, I just want to relay, that the kid is about two weeks from Graduation. I have every letter he wrote, and it is amazing at the "change" that has taken place. I guess it strikes a different chord when it is your son........At each stage and obstacle he reached down in there and pulled out some extra stuff, and he's gonna make it. He now writes and tells me I was right ( that's a first) He and his Platoon were marching past Receiving the other day, a new Platoon was "forming" up and the guys with Smokies were having a good time.... he remarked on how disoriented he was then.....Remember.....

What is remarkable, it will be almost 30 years to the day from when I marched across the Grinder.....the proudest day of my life, to be eclipsed only by my son's Day. I only hope I can remain my usual stoic self, but the Private feels he will be seriously challenged.

God Bless the Corps !!!!!!!


The MCL Detachment 736 of Aztec New Mexico will be hosting the Birthday ball at the Holiday Inn in Farmington, New Mexico on November 8, 2003. We have tried to have a semi-formal affair every year. The ladies look forward to it. If any Marine or Friends of Marine are in the area and would like to attend, please e-mail to

Semper Fi

MSgt L.E. Trujillo


I just wanted everyone to know it isn't just the airwing. A few years back I attended a Vietnam reunion in South Florida and had a similar experience. There is a hill at this gathering and on Saturday night the different branches take their turn on the hill looking for old friends. Of coarse the Marines out man them all every year. Well as I walked around asking for anybody from motor T I was told who cares this is about grunts. That was the last time I participated in the gathering. I remember the happy faces of those same grunts as they piled onto my 5ton at the LZ's to return 1st Mar. Div for R&R or to return to the World. You see flying during monsoon time can be pretty hard and walking was out of the question! The 3500's can be a blessing at times. Just thought Id share. Semper Fi and Happy Birthday to ALL you Jarheads.

L/Cpl Glenn Zak
11th M.T. Bn.
RVN 69/70


I was stationed at 29 Palms from 1957-60 and met briefly with one of my buddies in 1966 when he came to work in St. Louis from Michigan. After that time there was no contact with him or anyone else. wrapped up in my civilian life..In 1998 some of those memories hit me one Sunday evening when I heard a song that was always being played in the barracks so I picked up the phone remembering where my 1964 buddy lived. got his number from information and gave him a call. when he picked up the phone it was like being back in the barracks and his first comment to me was, you're not gonna believe this but I was just thinking about you earlier today..anyway it was like being 18 all over again and back at the Stumps..we started throwing out names and within the next week we had contacted some 3 other Marine buddies and planned a reunion a few months later in Michigan at a lake house which he owned ..We played some golf, drank some beer and reminisced like crazy.. I'm from Missouri, there was one from Minnesota and Illinois..since that time we've had a reunion of 12 in St. Louis, 15 in Vegas and twice a year some four or five of us get together for golf, either in Michigan or California..When we go to California we stay in Palm Desert, it's just a few clicks from the Stumps and we make a visit..last May, 04 we invited our former Communications Officer whom none of us had seen since 1960, to join us..He was at that time a 2nd Lieutenant, and after some 25 years in the Corps., he retired a "Bird" Colonel..It was a fun time..I know he really appreciated the invite. We still have that bond..You Marines out there who haven't gotten back with your buddies, take it from me, it's never too late..It was the best phone call I ever made.. God Bless.. Semper Fi.. Cpl E-4 Joseph Fedl USMC 1957-60 and Forever


Sgt. Grit,

After recently watching "Down Periscope", my wife teased me by saying that with all the Naval related movies she likes, maybe she'd have to watch a "Marine movie" to see if she liked them, too. Upon pondering the best selection, I came to this conclusion; there are too few that accurately portray the Marine Corps. Why do you suppose that is? Think about that while reading my short list:

Full Metal Jacket (1st half only!)

Sands of Iwo Jima (one of the best of the WWII era films)

Aliens (okay, not USMC, but they conveyed the attitudes)

Starship Troopers (again, not that it was intended, but they captured a bit of our flavor)

Heartbreak Ridge (only the Gunny Highway character)

And so quickly it's over. Hollywood just doesn't seem to be able to Marines without pushing the character to the extreme and that's a shame.

Your thoughts?

Michael A. Thornton


I was medically discharged in 94 due to an injury from Desert Storm that never healed, even after surgery and after having two brain surgeries last year to remove malignant tumors I am limited to my activities but I will be joining others at a local Tavern to raise a toast and cut a cake. I was able to watch last year but I will be joining in the singing and have actual champagne. I still fight the recurrence of two more of which one has shrunk and disappeared. Visit my site for more info on brain tumors. Happy birthday Marines.

Sgt. David M. Hartway


Dear Sgt. Grit,

i actually found your web site yesterday and it is a great site. And today I just wanted to show my girlfriend all the cool stuff on your web site. And i saw the "where will you be on the Marine Corps. Birthday" and to be honest, i will be at book camp. I leave for Parris Island on Oct. 27 2003. So i just wanted to say that.

John Schmidt


Sgt. Grit:

I just read your 10/17 newsletter and noticed the letter from "Jim Davis, Sgt. USMC(Ret)" a Marine who trained with Marine Scout Dogs at Ft. Benning in 1969. In 1965, as a 1st Lt., I was the platoon commander for the First Marine Scout Dog Platoon. This was the first time the Marines used scout dogs since WWII. We trained at Ft. Benning and we (36 Marines and 30 Marine Scout Dogs) went to Danang RVN on three C-130's stopping along the way at El Toro, Hawaii, Guam, Wake Is., and the Philippines. We set up a base camp near Danang (Ammo Dump & 9th Motors) at the base of a hill. These Marine Scout Dogs and their Marine handlers have been credited with helping to avoid 10,000 additional casualties.

This is no secret to those who were out in the field on patrols. One of our original dogs was also named Kaiser and his handler was Cpl. Salazar. Kaiser was KIA in July 1966 and we named our base camp "Camp Kaiser".

Excuse me for the rush of memories!

Semper Fi,
Bob Wilder


Sgt Grit,

As I am currently writing a book about certain periods of my Marine Corps career, I find funny little "true" stories from some of the hard chargers I served with. I was reminded about an incident I had had with a squad stove while in the bush at Camp Lejeune. We were out at one of the training areas and as always I had a trusty squad stove, which gunny loved because he sort of had his "lifer juice" every morning. well not being satisfied with the performance of said stove, I modified it a "little" I had had a friend of mine who worked for third echelon maint make an adapter for the fill port so I could screw on a CO2 cartridge. I tried that and it did work better, but not like I thought it should, so I screwed with it more {big mistake} well, I never tested it , just made the aperture bigger and stuffed it in my foot locker until the next field op. That fateful morning was like any other, chilly, damp and prime for hot coffee. I turned on that stove to wet the burner, lit it to warm it up good and then turned it on volcano heat. You would have thought I touched off a jet engine, the flame shot up outa that thing about 8 feet !! I suddenly had all the unwanted attention any young Marine could want. Gunny comes running over and tells me to shut it off. You couldn't get close enough it was that hot. It burned like that for maybe 15 minutes and went out by itself. Come to find out the only reason it went out was because it melted the metal around the top of it. So..... for the next 10 days, every position we moved to, I had to dig a 6X and we had a burial ceremony for that poor squad stove. and needless to say, they wouldn't let me run the squad stove any longer.

Semper Fi
Gunny B


Maybe it was 93 I cant remember. Anyway I was celebrating the ball. Top Zeleniak And my self Cpl.Murphy were at the bar in our blues of course and needless to say I was bombed. The bar tender with her infinite wisdom cut me off. The nerve. So basically I 'm told cause things are a little fuzzy at this point I told the bar tender if I cant drink nobody can drink and I pulled the fire alarm. The whole 3/11 marine ball at 29er palms came to a screeching halt. Base Fire arrives evacs everyone I get a ride by my master sergeant back to barracks. For some reason PMO comes calling at about 3 in the morning. But figured I was to drunk to arrest. Well, all worked out not even a page 11 in my SRB. No body actually saw me pull the alarm except some guys wife who I probably was trying to hit on. I couldn't remember she didn't come forward so no case, Thank God and Chesty Puller for that one.

Semper Fi

Travis Murphy Corporal 90-94


Dear Sgt Grit,

I would like to tell you about a project undertaken by some 7th Marine Viet Nam vets. A lot of us feel that we never really finished the job in Viet Nam...not because we didn't do our job...but because the politicians didn't do theirs. We have been waiting for over 30 years for our leaders to finish the is time that we Proud Few get going and do the job ourselves.

Project Dai Loc is the building of a medical clinic in the village so well know to many who served with the Magnificent 7th Regiment. This clinic will help to provide the stability and good future for the very people we defended in the 60's. It will also enable those who participate to return to Viet Nam and complete a positive mission through their humanitarian efforts. All will be deeply moved to learn just how much the Vietnamese people appreciate our efforts...both in the 60's and also the present. Team members will not really be surprised that Marines are regarded not only as heroes for their humanitarian work, but also as legendary warriors by the Vietnamese soldiers who opposed us. The deep respect we receive is AWESOME, and the reconciliation between our two peoples is truly healing. We are seeking former 7th Marines to become both team members, and also supporters of Project Dai Loc. Every cent we raise will go directly toward the clinic, and 20 or more Marines will be selected as Team 7 members to perform the mission.

Vets with a Mission will be our parent NGO and will do all the coordination for the mission. VWAM has been recognized as a leading provider of humanitarian assistance to Viet nam since 1989 (check out Oliver North's book, "One More Mission")...and all donations and costs are tax deductible.

The mission trip to Viet Nam will be about 3 weeks long and will include both the construction of the clinic and providing a MEDCAP for the villagers. After Team 7 returns home, the grateful Vietnamese local government will provide doctors and nurses to run Dai Loc Health Station. It will be a permanent monument to both the Marines who build it and support the project...and also to our brother Marines who gave their lives in combat. The trip will also include plenty of time for team members to visit other areas they served in... we are planning side trips everywhere from the DMZ to Duc Pho...and there will be no fox-holes or c-rats...we will stay in decent hotels and eat good chow.

For many of us (in our mid to late 50's) this will probably be the last opportunity to go back and set things right...and to see the country of Viet Nam as a beautiful place with wonderful people...not a war-torn battlefield. Please, Sgt Grit, help us to get the word out on this great endeavor...and maybe you'd like to join us for "One Last Mission."

Attached is our flyer for the Project Dai Loc...please check it out and also visit VWAM's website.

Thanks for you help,
Steve Scott, 2/7 66-67


26 October 1942, Sixty-one Years ago today.

Sergeant Mitch Paige and his machine gun platoon (36 Marines) were the only force standing between a Japanese Regiment and their plan to shove the First Marine Division from a fragile beachhead back into the sea.

This 1500 man enemy regiment attacked all night. By the next morning Sergeant Paige was the only Leatherneck not killed or wounded. Nine Hundred and twenty enemy causalities were in front of his seven water cooled-thirty caliber machine guns. It had been one horrific night filled with hand to hand combat. The remaining attackers fled at sunrise back down the hill to their regimental command post as they were chased and shot by Sergeant Paige.

President Roosevelt awarded the Medal of Honor to Mitch and a battlefield promotion to Lieutenant. This critical action in America's first offensive pacific campaign of the war was a turning point. Our Marines went on to victory throughout the South Pacific.

Mitch always a humble man when recently asked by Colonel Bates and Major Prentice about his World War II action, he simply states, "I was just doing the job I was trained to do."

Today's Mitch Paige has the same humility, the same candor and the same love of America he has always had. Our country and Marines, past, present, and future, are lucky to have .... a Marine named Mitch.

Last August 31, Mitch Paige turned 85 and is still fighting a battle against heart disease in Southern California.

This is a special year to remember Colonel Mitch and his charming wife Marilyn.

Lest we forget....

P     T     B      O  U  T


Brothers and Sisters,

I would just like to let all of you now something, My name is Corporal Todd S. Rapoza and I am currently stationed with MSG Detachment Montevideo, Uruguay. Well, yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Marine Barracks Beirut. about a week ago we sent a letter to the Ambassador requesting permission to display the Marine Corps colors in the lobby of the Embassy with a list of all those who perished in that unjust act. Well, do to the fact that it wasn't directed to by senior officials he declined the request. But, being the decisive Marines that we are we took the initiative and placed a Marine Corps standard and also a list of our fallen brothers right here on Post One, for all those who entered to see, and do to our actions others followed and placed their own lists of names on their office doors.

God Bless all who served past and present for you are what makes this country worth fighting for, the traditions and legacies you left for us to follow.

And to Mrs. Patty Godin, I just wanted to know that I attended MSG school with Sgt Wheeler, we were actually in the same detachment, though we were both LCpl at the time. I can't believe he picked up Sgt already. Just goes to show that this truly is a small world(and Marine Corps) we live in.

Marine Mothers are mothers to us all.

Cpl Todd S. Rapoza
3rd Lar 01-02
Msg Det Shanghai 02-03
Msg Det Montevideo 03-present


Sgt Grit -

I have experienced several memorable Birthday celebrations. For my first Marine Corps birthday celebration I was stationed in Iwakuni, Japan. I had the distinct honor and privilege of being the only female member of the Air Station's color guard. We presented the colors at three birthday celebrations in three days. My pride in the Corps and in my fellow Marines was never greater. Since that time I have made it a point to participate in a birthday celebration every year, even after I left active duty. I once had the honor of attending an HQMC Birthday celebration in Washington, D.C. When the master of ceremonies asked all retired and former active duty Marines to stand and be recognized my heart again filled with the same pride I felt during my first Marine Corps Birthday celebration. I did not expect such heart felt recognition from my active duty brothers and sisters. We retired and former active duty Marines continually support and appreciate those who serve our Corps and our country without asking for anything in return. This year I would like to wish each of you a Happy Marine Corps Birthday.

Cpl Wendy J. (Cunningham) Cox
USMC 93-97 2dMarDiv NBC


In 1960 I went to the Marine Corps Ball in Hollywood California. It was truly a gala event, with headliner entertainers in pop and cou