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 - September 19, 2003

The detachment on heaven's streets have a new skipper.

Godspeed General Davis.
Semper Fi
Calvin Ballew
USMC Retired

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There are a great many Marines coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. My suggestion to you. Stay in touch with your buddies. Even if just a Christmas card once a year. Trust me on this. I say again; TRUST ME ON THIS POINT!!!!! In 10, 20, or 30 years you are going to have a burning desire to get together with your buddies. Stay in touch even if just a little. It will pay big dividends in the future. I get emails every day from Marines wanting to reconnect. Each year that passes it gets harder. I say again; STAY IN TOUCH.

For those of you trying to connect try my "Buddy Search" page below for help and resources.

Stay in touch.
Sgt Grit

New Items!

Many new statues added.

Hidden Menace

Covering Fire


Watched From Above


Grit- Love reading your (our) newsletter every week. Just wanted to thank all those that write in every week. They keep my spirits up as I recover from wounds at the hands of those nasty folks over in the middle east. Can not tell you the pride I have in serving my country and doing what little I could to preserve freedom and kick some tail. Would like to thank all those Devil Dogs that have served before me and give a ooo-rahhh to those boots that entering at the present.

We are Marines!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Duckmiester


While reading Cpl. "Brevet Gunny" Ray McKinley's letter about the retired Navy folks' ideas about leadership, I think it is important and very revealing to remember that one of the traditional duties of the USMC, particularly the sea going Marines, is to protect Navy officers from their crews.

Dick Hulslander
Captain, USMC, inactive


Dear Sgt Grit:

While in boot camp at MCRD San Diego in April 1964 (Platoon 225- Regimental Honor Platoon), our platoon was undergoing a field day for an upcoming inspection later that morning. We were scrubbing our Quonset huts, and field daying the head. The head was secured until after the inspection. Unfortunately, I and two other platoon members direly needed to use the head, so we decided to sneak down to another platoons area and use their head. Needless to say, as we were taking advantage of the other platoons facilities, when their DI caught us and started screaming at us. "Who in the f---k do you people think you are"? "Who in the hell authorized you to use my head"?, and so on and so on. Being relatively new recruits, we had been in boot camp less than a month, we were terrified at this DI screaming at the top of his lungs. Once his anger at us using his facilities had subsided somewhat, but not much, he decided to teach us a lesson. He ordered us into a column formation, one behind the other. He then proceeded to wrap us up in toilet paper, both individually and collectively, weaving the toilet paper around us and also tieing us together. He then ordered us to march back to our own platoon area and not break one leaf of toilet paper. Looking like mummies from head to toe, and joined together with toilet paper it took us 20 minutes to return to our own platoon. When we came around the corner of our platoons Quonset huts, shuffling and doing a very slow march, our Drill Instructor Sgt. O'Connor saw us and couldn't help but laugh.Sgt. O'Connor later told me that if we hadn't looked so pathetic he would have really made our lives miserable, not that he didn't. I never used another platoons head again.

Sgt. Paul O'Brien-Kinsey 2097636 USMC 1964-1968


Sgt. Grit,

I always look forward to your newsletter and all the stories, most of which make me laugh and some Little sad. C-rats/MRE's its all relative and knowing how Marines love to b!tch, it could be surf and turf and it won't be any different.

I was basically raised in Pearl Harbor and Marine Bks was my "hangout" also the guard bks at the Main Gate. I was knew that I would be a Marine and that dream came true in 1960. I had the pleasure of meeting so many fine men and some women in later years, its hard to remember them all, but few come to mind; Col. Wes Fox who was my Gunny, Gen. Al Gray, Gunner Jim Carrol, Maj Gene Duncan (met him at office hours, not mine), SgtMaj Skinner (RTR SgtMaj 1971) , who kept me from going to Jail on the drill field, Col. Buster Diggs, who was one on the most amazing persons and Marines I ever knew and Gunny O K Martin. The list could go on forever, but they're everywhere.

When I saw that young Marine attach the cables to pull down that statue of Saddam H., it brought tears to my eyes and I could'NT have been prouder to be a Marine. Where do we find these magnificent people, there seems to no end of them. I'll be in awe of them and wonder why I was so lucky to a part of it

N L Sheridan
1960-1990 Ret


Name tapes started in Oct 1992, as a result of the media b!tching about having trouble identifying the Marines in Desert Storm, as a young LCpl I remember distinctly the Staff NCO's B!tching loudly about it being the end of the Marine Corps.

SSgt Davis

In response to LCpl Chip Taylor's question about name tapes, the Marine Corps started putting name tapes on the cammies in 1991. I remember it well. I was a young LCpl, and we all protested that we would look like the Army! Some of us still had the EGA on our pockets, and we wore those cammies until they fell apart to show how "salty" we were!


Hello Sgt. Grit,

Name tags were not used by anyone until they went overseas for a tour of duty as far as I know, I was in from 1961 to 1965, did not get to put name tags on until we hit Okinawa, then upon our return to the states we were allowed to keep the name tags on.

Semper Fi
Cpl. Karl R Yohn, 1961-1965

I just wanted to voice my agreement with LCPL Chip Taylor's comments regarding the name tapes that are now worn on the utilities. I noticed these tapes appearing somewhere in the early 90s. I was disappointed that my beloved Corps had decided to adopt this practice, as I too think that this makes us look like we belong to the Army. LCPL Taylor, your reference to the recruit who had asked about name tapes reminded me of my own boot camp experience. I went through MCRD San Diego in summer 1984 as a member of Platoon 1062. One of our DI's, Staff Sergeant Cortez, told us that the reason we iron on the EGA and USMC on the Left chest pocket of our utility blouse is because that IS your identity! BTW: We weren't allowed to iron them on until Graduation Week (week 14) because until you graduate, you're not a Marine! Personally, I think we should cease wearing the name tapes as it looks like we are trying to "fit in" with the other branches. Marines will NEVER be like the others, and the others will NEVER be like the Marines.

--JC Finigan (1984-1988)


Reading the question from the Marine about the name tapes, I was reminded of an amusing incident at Futenma MCAS on Okinawa in 1990 or 1991 regarding them. The Commandant and SgtMaj of the USMC were on a trip in WestPac and stopped by Futenma. They were both wearing a different style of name tape to get reaction from the Fleet as to which type the Marines preferred. I guess the decision to implement them had already been made at HQMC. Well, as you might expect, there was to be a D&P, (Dog and Pony) for the Commandant on the flight line at Futenma. As the MWSS-172 SgtMaj, I was responsible for ensuring the gear was laid out on time and also, as you might expect, we were experiencing "technical" difficulties. As a result, I was a few minutes late assembling with the other SgtsMaj of the 1stMAW to chat with the Commandant and SgtMaj. As I walked up to the assembly the Commandant said something to the effect of, "Here's a fresh opinion, SgtMaj what do you think of the name tape idea and which do you prefer; the one I'm wearing or the one the SgtMaj has?" Well, I suppose the other SgtsMaj had told the Commandant the prevailing opinion (we hated the idea) so I said, "Hell General, I love the idea and I want the one the SgtMaj is wearing!". As you can imagine, the looks of unadulterated hate coming from the other SgtsMaj were pretty scary. The Commandants face lit up with a smile and he turned to the SgtMaj of the USMC and said, "See SgtMaj, I told you there were Marines out here who would embrace this new idea". He then turned back to me and asked, "SgtMaj, just what is it that you like about the name tapes?" Without missing a beat I replied, "Well General, if I had a name tape that said OVERSTREET on it, the MPs wouldn't catch me nearly as quickly as they do now". I'm pretty sure the Commandant wasn't amused, although the other SgtsMaj appeared to be.

SgtMaj Tom Schlechty USMC, Retired.


Sgt. Grit: I've been told this story is true, but of course I can't vouch for it. And it may be a little "rough" for your newsletter. But I fell asleep two nights in a row laughing about this. It sure sounds like something Gen. Gray would do and say, God Love Him! Anyway, here it is , and if you are able to use it, I know your readers will love it as much as I do!

G. F. Merna, 1stLt USMC (Ret.).

The Commandant of the Marine Corps was General Al Gray, a crusty old "Field Marine." He loved his Marines and often slipped into the mess hall wearing a faded old field jacket without any rank insignia on it. He would go through the chow line just like a private. (In this way, he was assured of being given the same rations that the lowest enlisted man received. And, woe be it to the mess officer if the food was found to be "unfit in quality or quantity.")

Upon becoming commandant, General Gray was expected to do a great deal of "formal entertaining," fancy dinner parties in full dress blue uniform. Now, the general would rather have been in the field eating cold "C-rats" around a fighting hole with a bunch of young "hard charging" Marines. But, the General knew his duty, and as a Marine, he was determined to do it to the best of his ability.

During these formal parties a detachment of highly polished Marines from "Eighth and Eye" (Marine Barracks located at 8th and I Streets in Washington, D.C.) were detailed to assume the position of "parade rest" at various intervals around the ballroom where the festivities were being held.

At some point during one of these affairs, a very refined, big chested, blue haired lady picked up a tray of pastry and went around the room offering confections to the guests. When she noticed these Marines in dress blues, standing like sculptures all around the room, she was moved with admiration. She knew that several of these men were fresh from our victory in Desert Storm.

She made a "beeline" for the closest lance corporal. As she drew near him she asked, "Would you like pastry young man?" The young Marine snapped to "attention" and replied, "I don't eat that sh!t Ma'am." Just as quickly, he resumed the position of "parade rest." His gaze remained fixed on some distant point throughout the exchange.

The fancy lady was taken back! She blinked, her eyes widened, her mouth dropped open. So startled was she that she immediately began to doubt what she had heard. In a quivering voice she asked, "W-W-What did you say?"

The Marine snapped back to the position "attention" (like the arm of a mouse trap smacking it's wooden base as it is tripped). Then he said, "I don't eat that sh!t Ma'am." And, just as smartly as before, back to the position of "parade rest" he went. This time, there was no doubt. The fancy lady immediately became incensed, and felt insulted. After all, here she was an important lady, taking the time to offer something nice to this enlisted man, (well below her station in life). And he had the nerve to say THAT to HER! She exclaimed, "Well! I never...!" The fancy lady remembered that she had met "that military man who was over all these 'soldiers'" a little earlier. She spotted General Gray from across the room. He had a cigar clenched between his teeth and a camouflaged canteen cup full of liquor in his left hand. He was talking to a group of 1st and 2nd lieutenants.

The blue haired lady went straight over to the commandant and interrupted, "General, I offered some pastry to that young man over there. And, do you know what he told me?" General Gray cocked his eyebrow, took the cigar out of his mouth and said, "Well, no Ma'am. I don't."

The lady took in a deep breath, confident that she was expressing with her body language her rage and indignation. As she wagged her head in cadence with her words, and she paused between each word for effect, "He - said, I - don't - eat - that - sh!t - Ma'am!" The lieutenants standing there were in a state of flux. A couple of them choked back chuckles, and turned their heads to avoid having their smirks detected. The next thought most of them had, "God, I hope it wasn't one of MY Marines!", and the color left their faces. General Gray wrinkled his brow, cut his eyes in the direction of the lieutenants, put his free hand to his chin and expelled a subdued, "Hummm."

"Which one did you say it was Ma'am?", the General asked. "That tall sturdy one right over there near the window, General," the woman said with smug satisfaction. One of the lieutenants began to look sick and put a hand on the wall for support.

General Gray, seemed deep in thought, hand still to his chin, wrinkled brow. Suddenly, he looked up his expression changed to one indicating he had made a decision. He looked the fancy lady right in the eyes and said, "Well, f*ck 'im! Don't give him any."


Talking about rations,I was in First Recon in 1966 and 67.We were issued (when the rear echelon didn't hide them)LRRP Rations. You just added water.They were great because of the weight factor,and so high in calories one was enough for a day. I remember the Spaghetti and meat sauce, and the Chile being better that some I've had in restaurants.I wonder if they're still around?

Sgt."Pappy" McCarthy 1st Recon.







In response to Dan , ie:newsletter 4 Sept. 2003

I did my share of keeping that Marine Corps emblem on the base theater at MCRD San Diego polished also. In June of 69 when I passed through, a detail was always assigned to keep that polished..daily I believe. I was proud of keeping it that way..I too noticed it when my son graduated in WAS shined that day. I also remember polishing many a trash can or GI can...they looked like stainless steel when we got done with em'! Chet Ragsdale Sgt. 1969-73


I've noticed that a few memories from boot camp refer to the term "turd". Some folks may not realize that this word was adjudicated as a proper term to be used about recruits by a General Court Martial at Parris Island in 1956.

To make a long story short, right after the McKean affair at Ribbon Creek, the DIs were constantly under scrutiny by a number of lieutenants. One very hot afternoon, a SSgt. of Venezuelan heritage was addressing a member of his 3rd-week platoon and used the term. He was immediately put on report and told to report to the Bn. SgtMaj.

Exercising his rights under the UCMJ, the SSgt. (whose name I can't remember - CRAFT) used the appeal process to cause the convening of a General Court.

After it was opened, the charge and specification were read and he was asked how he pled. He replied, "Not guilty! (of course)" The Court President asked him, "On what grounds, sergeant?" to which he replied, "It's an acronym, sir. It stands for "Trainee Under Recruit Discipline".

Case dismissed.


Sgt Grit ,

Another reply yo your letter. Cpl Brown wrote about General Gray being his favorite Marine. Well I am not old enough to have served under him. But I met him once. IT goes like this. I was fresh out of Boot Camp on Recruiter Assistance. The Corps was trying out the idea of going to blue sweaters with gold rank insignia on the applets for recruiters. My recruiter asked me if I wanted to go meet the Commandant. Being a young hard charger I said sure. We to a hotel's function room in Boston. With the windows to our left we see 3 UH-1's flying close to the water over the Charles river. Next thing we know someone is screaming ATTENTION ON DECK. The door was behind us so we had no idea who it was. A man walked down the aisle in a suit. As he was walking he said , " Sit down and relax. I am not the Commandant anymore." Me being a PFC I asked my recruiter who the man in the suit was. He said former Commandant General Gray. He asked about how the Corps was treating us etc...Someone asked what he was doing now that he was retired. He said trying to make more money than my wife can spend.

Sgt Shepherd


Hi Grit;

Since Cpl Ray (gunny) McKinley was kind enough to respond to my letter on leadership, I would like to return in kind. First of all a Cpl is equal in rake to a GySgt when surrounded by sailors of any rank, the only exception FMF Corpsmen.

Continue your good work and "walk the walk".

A.J.RODRIGUEZ GySgt of Marines 55-76



I was so glad to find your site! Reading from the lives of other Marines just intensifies the feeling of Family. I'm also one of the "later ones". San Diego Aug. '67, Nam '68&69. My dad "island hopper" told me about the "brotherhood" but until I was in it, I really didn't understand. Now I can't imagine not being in it!!!!! Sempre Fi ! BROTHERS !!!!!!

CPL. Allan Winkle 2369847


Hey Sgt Grit, read and enjoy your newsletter always, since retiring, I have been ask on many occasions , what makes Marines Different? after many examples, I think I have come up with the real thing, "The Fear of Failure" as Marines we do not fail, never have never will. what do the rest of you think?

A.M. Miller. USMC (ret) 79-99


OOOHHHRAAHHH is dutch for Murderer. When I was in MCT back in April of this year one of our platoon commanders taught us a good lesson. He said that he doesn't like the term OOOHHHRAAHHH due to its meaning, so he said that he would rather us say something to him that means absolutely nothing at all! So from then on every time that we saw him we would say " YUT SSgt." for some odd reason he would rather hear YUT that OOOHHHRAAHHH.

He was insane anyway....
Not a Boot, but not a Salty Dog.


In response to the question, "why and when did the USMC start using Name Tapes".

It is my understanding (though I could be wrong) that we started using name tapes mainly due to network television news. After quickly scanning over the troops in the fields, the broadcasters would often refer to us as, God forbid, the Army. So, in order to correct their misrepresentation, we placed "U.S. Marines" in bold letters. With our new high tech uniforms, along with our name tapes, we should NEVER be confused for those poggies again.

Also, this is in reference to "acquiring" items from the Army. My unit was briefly stationed on an Army post in Hawaii. After my team relieved the Army poges for guard duty, they LEFT their NVG's and brand new M-16's at the post! Needless to say we Marines took charge of the situation and full advantage of this opportunity. Along with our "new" NVG's, we field stripped their M-16's and exchanged their sparkling new guts with our old worn out ones. God bless the Army, they need it!

Semper Fi!
B.B. Holoubek (0331)


In reference to Old Bulldog,

You asked where oohrah came from. I have been led to believe that the Turkish word for "kill" is "uhrah" in which case I don't know how we started using it, but that's just what I have been told. It makes sense to me, so even if it isn't true, I still use that story cuz it sounds good and fitting for the Corps.

Semper Fi, LCpl Brobst


Dear Sgt. Grit,

I guess we can all relate, at one time or another, to Col. Kroen's experience at being identified as a Marine as he narrated in July's edition of our newsletter, whether being on active duty, or inactive.

My incident occurred a few years back when I was with General Motors in Ohio. I had been on inactive duty for a number of years and had a necessity to visit a proctologist. After going through the usual paperwork I was led back to one of the examining rooms and introduced to the doctor. We exchanged pleasantries and I was then directed to the examining table and he told me to "drop em". I turned, did as ordered and knelt down. A few seconds later the table began to rise putting my butt and me into a most vulnerable position. The good doctor was originally from Austria and in his inimitable accent said "Marine, yes?" I replied with "I beg your pardon"? Doc then came back with "I can always tell when one of my patients is a Marine. They always have their shirt folded and tucked into their trousers a certain way, and they always have the soles and heels of their shoes polished".

To this day I remember that experience with pride and a smile from cheek to cheek.

Semper Fi,
Tom Tumilowicz
1885075 - Cpl.


Hello Sarge,

Some time ago I told my story about fighting brain tumors and the Marine attitude that has kept me through it. After two surgeries last year I still ended up with two more growing. I am still humping and my latest MRI results said one has DECREASED in size to 7mm in diameter the other? well it read like this-- can no longer definitely be identified. I'm working full time again as well. My purpose for my letter today is really to see how many storm veterans might be going through this as well. I received a phone call the other night it was from a friend of mine who was in the navy, his younger brother served in desert storm in the Corps was being admitted to the same hospital I was at a year and a half ago and had a tumor removed just yesterday the 5th of Sept. I started writing a book to help others stay positive and put up a website I knew the syndrome was there but to know a Marine that served and have the same doctor removing the same from him is not merely a coincidence is it? Can't be, Use my website to donate a story of your own or if you know of one. It's time to stand and fight again will get a message to me since I'm working on the submit link on my website. I'll keep on keeping on in the mean time. The VA has not denied my claim as of yet either. I was injured in the storm and was medically put out in 94.

Sgt. David M. Hartway


sgt. grit,

i read an article in your summer issue that i received in august.
it was about a marine in Iraq and the way he lived from day to day. it was a very moving article for me cause my son is one of the few the brave, a marine. he graduated in July 2003 from alpha co. and was top of his class. he is now in training at nc.for infantry. i never knew how the men of war really lived on a daily bases. my son says he is always in the field using weapons and that's OK with him. he is ready to go to Iraq if needed. i fear for him, but i guess its cause im a mom and im suppose to do that. i give the marine Corp my utmost respect for the training that they go through. their are others in my family that are in other forces but nothing like the marines. i can honestly say i am very proud to be an American and to have the freedom that i have, thanks to all the forces (especially the marines) for this freedom. when i hear foreigners complain about things here i tell them go back to where you came from and see if you get better then this. my husband is a Vietnam vet. and has told me so many horror stories and it really makes u wonder.i just want to say god bless all our marines near and far and i hope they all come home very soon.



What makes a Marine A MARINE!!

Ask a Marine what's so special about the Marines and the answer would be "esprit de corps", an unhelpful French phrase that means exactly what it looks like - the spirit of the Corps, but what is that spirit, and where does it come from?

The Marine Corps is the only branch of the U.S. Armed Forces that recruits people specifically to Fight. The Army emphasizes personal development (an Army of One), the Navy promises fun (let the journey begin), the Air Force offers security (its a great way of life). Missing from all the advertisements is the hard fact that a soldier's lot to suffer and perhaps to die for his people, and take lives at the risk of his/her own. Even the thematic music of the services reflects this evasion. The Army's Caisson Song describes a pleasant country outing. over hill and dale, lacking only a picnic basket. Anchors Aweigh, the Navy's celebration of the joys of sailing, could have been penned by Jimmy Buffet. The Air Force song is a lyric poem of blue skies and engine thrust. All is joyful and invigorating, and safe.

There are no land mines in the dales nor snipers behind the hills, no submarines or cruise missiles threaten the ocean jaunt, no bandits are lurking in the wild blue yonder. The Marines Hymn, by contrast, is all combat. We fight are Country's battles, First to fight for right and freedom, We have fought in every clime and place where we could take a gun, in many a strife we have fought for life and never lost our nerve.

The choice is made clear. You may join the Army to go to adventure training, or join the Navy to go to Bangkok, or join the Air Force to go to computer school. You join the Marine Corps to go to War!

But the mere act of signing the enlistment contract confers no status in the Corps. The Army recruit is told from his first minute in uniform that "your in the Army now",soldier. The Navy and Air Force enlistees are sailors or airmen as soon as they get off bus at the training center.The new arrival at Marine Corps boot camp is called a recruit, or worse, (a lot worse), but never a MARINE. Not yet, maybe never. He or she must earn the right to claim the title of UNITED STATES MARINE, and failure returns you to civilian life without hesitation or ceremony.

Recruit Platoon 2210 at San Diego, California trained from October through December of 1968. In Viet Nam the Marines were taking two hundred casualties a week, and the major rainy season operation Meade river, had not even begun, yet Drill Instructors had no qualms about winnowing out almost a quarter of their 112 recruits, graduating eighty one.

Note that this was post - enlistment attrition; every one of those who were dropped had been passed by the recruiters as fit for service. But they failed the test of Boot Camp, not necessarily for physical reasons at least two were outstanding high school athletes for whom the calisthetics and running were child's play. The cause of their failure was not in the biceps nor the legs, but -in the spirit. They had lacked the will to endure the mental and emotional strain, so they would not be Marines. Heavy commitments and high casualties not withstanding, the Corps reserves the right to pick and choose.

History classes in boot camp? Stop a soldier on the street and ask him to name a battle of World War One. Pick a sailor at random to describe the epic fight of the Bon Homme Richard. Everyone has heard of McGuire Air Force Base. So ask any Air Man who Major Thomes McGuire was, and why he is so commemorated. I am not carping, and there is no sheer in this criticism. All of the services have glorious traditions, but no one teaches the young soldier, sailor or air man what his uniform means and why he should be proud of it. But - ask a Marine about World War One, and you will hear of the wheat field at Belleau Wood and the courage of the Fourth Marine Brigade, fifth and sixth regiments. Faced with an enemy of superior numbers entrenched in tangled forest undergrowth, the Marines received an order to attack that even the charitable cannot call ill - advised. It was insane.

Artillery support was absent and air support hadn't been invented yet, so the Brigade charged German machine guns with only bayonets, grenades, and indomitable fighting spirit. A bandy- legged little barrel of a gunnery sergeant, Daniel J. Daly, rallied his company with a shout, "Come on you sons a b!tches, do you want to live forever"? He took out three machine guns himself, and they would give him the Medal of Honor except for a technicality, he already had two of them.

French liaison- officers, hardened though they were by four years of trench bound slaughter, were shocked as the Marines charged across the open wheat field under a blazing sun directly into the teeth of enemy fire. Their action was so anachronistic on the twentieth - century battlefield that they might as well have been swinging cutlasses, but - the enemy was only human; they could not stand up to this. So the Marines took Belleau Wood. The Germans called them "DOGS FROM THE DEVIL"

Every Marine knows this story and dozens more. We are taught them in boot camp as a regular part of the curriculum. Every Marine will always be taught them! You can learn to don a gas mask anytime, even on the plane in route to the war zone, but before you can wear the E.G.& A and claim the title you must know about the Marines who made that emblem and title meaningful. So long as you can march and shoot and revere the legacy of the Corps can you take your place in line.

And that line is unified spirit as in purpose. A soldier wears branch of service insignia on his collar, metal shoulder pins and cloth sleeve patches to identify his unit. Sailors wear a rating badge that identifies what they do for the Navy. Marines wear only the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, together with personal ribbons and their CHERISHED marksmanship badges.

There is nothing on a Marine's uniform to indicate what he or she does, nor (except for the 5th & 6th. regiments of the second Marine Division who wear the French forager for Belleau Wood) what unit the Marine belongs to. You cannot tell by looking at a Marine whether you are seeing a truck driver, a computer programmer, or a machine gunner.

The Corps explains this as a security measure to conceal the identity and location of units, but the Marines penchant for publicity makes that the least likely of explanations. No, the Marine is amorphous, even anonymous (we finally agreed to wear nametags only in 1992), by conscious design. Every Marine is a rifleman first and foremost, a Marine first, last and always! You may serve a four year enlistment or even a twenty plus year career without seeing action, but if the word is given you'll charge across that Wheatfield!

Whether a Marine has been schooled in automated supply, or automotive mechanics, or aviation electronics, is immaterial. Those things are secondary - the Corps does them because it must. The modern battle requires the technical appliances, and since the enemy has them, so do we, but no Marine boasts mastery of them. Our pride is in our marksmanship, our discipline, and our membership in a fraternity of courage and sacrifice. "For the honor of the fallen,for the glory of the dead", Edar Guest wrote of Belleau Wood, "the living line of courage kept the faith and moved ahead". They are all gone now, those Marines who made a French farmer's little Wheatfield into one of the most enduring of Marine Corps legends. Many of them did not survive the day, and eight long decades have claimed the rest. But their actions are immortal. The Corps remembers them and honors what they did, and so they live forever. Dan Daly's shouted challenge takes on its true meaning - if you die in the trenches you may survive for now, but someday you may die and no one will care. If you charge the guns you may die in the next two minutes, but you will be one of the immortals.

All Marines die in the red flash of battle or the white cold of the nursing home. In the vigor of youth or the infirmity of age all will eventually die, but the Marine Corps lives on. Every Marine who ever lived is living still, in the Marines who claim the title today. It is that sense of belonging to something that will outlive your own mortality that gives people a light to live by and a flame to mark their passing.

Passed on to a Marine from another Marine!

Former Sgt. Nick Sparacino 2/9 Viet Nam 1966
D. Chief of Police Oak Forest Il.


Here's a good war story: In the middle of the war, an Iraqi soldier came running toward a US Army position waving his arms and signaling that he wanted to surrender. It was around Najaf or Karbala, if I remember correctly. Under interrogation, the Army found out that the guy's unit was way over to the east, so they asked him, "Why did you come all the way over here to surrender?"

He answered,"There are Marines over there."

Bob Rader 1405534


Sgt. Grit,

We would like all former members of the 26th Marines that served on Iwo Jima and in Vietnam to contact us about a book that is being written. We also need to know of any names of KIA's/DOW's on Iwo Jima and in Vietnam that served with the 26th Marines.

Please contact us at:

Semper Fi,
Gary A. Gruenwald
Former Sergeant of Marines


Sgt Grit,

Just wanted to check in and tell another "Marine" story.

Just came home from shopping at the mall with my wife and forgot about the story until I read your mail. Anyway...while checking out the new Raven's hats (getting geared up for the pounding they are going to put on the Brown's tomorrow) in an athletic clothing store, the young boy behind the counter saw my USMC tattoo on my forearm and asked if I was in the Marines. I replied that I was in from 81 to 85, but am still a Marine. He nodded his approval and stated that he was going in next June. I wished him luck, and he replied that he was ready. I felt compelled to offer some advice, so I suggested that he just do what he is told and not to take anything said to him by the DI's too personal. His reply was that he knew all about boot camp at Parris Island and how to handle it because he had attended ROTC and some "mini" boot camps. I just looked at him, and he sensed that I had been taken back a bit by his comment. But, to his credit he corrected himself and said, "but I know that is nothing like the real thing at Parris Island." I left him with a simple, "you got that right." I walked away smiling to myself and thinking that he would be OK especially after those DI's get a hold of him. They'll put that well-meaning confidence where it belongs!

Semper Fi,
Mike Kunkel, Cpl. 0331, 81-85


This for Sgt Lewis Wood, and all others. I do remember the places you wrote about. I was with HQ Battery 2/12, 66/67. When I arrived in country in Feb 66, we were on a small hill over looking the south end of Danang Air Base, also Little Dog Patch. We rode and walked the roads all around , Hill 327. And later went south, Hills 22, 32( I think) 65. There was Dog Patch and Little Dog Patch. The Fuel Dump was up the road from Little Dog Patch. The Ammo Dump was up from there, also I think 8th MT, and the Brig. I was in Comm, and ran wires from Air Base area out to Hill 22, then later out to Hill 55 area. My last Compound was just north of 55. We called the "Sand Box". We also had wires out to Marble Mountain. 30 Days after I left for the world, HQ 2/12 moved up to Dong Ha. Was I ever lucky. I met one of my DI's just west of Danang on another booby trap problem. He was a Demo Man.

John Amorim, Sgt 63/67.


Sgt. Grit,

I am a Junior in high school. I am definitely joining the military. Why not the best the MARINES? I have been in contact with my recruiter and he offers me no b.s. SSgt. tells it like it is. The other branches offer you bonuses and whatnot. He told me "if your lookin for money your in the wrong office, we work hard and are the first to fight." I in turn told him, "I am lookin to be the best." I have been talkin to him a lot. He is helping me in my search for colleges. He is also offering me guidance into getting into where I really want to go the Naval Academy. From there Marine Corps here I come. I would like to say thanks to the SSgt and all the Marines present and past.

Joseph Hamaty


Semper Fi, Sgt Grit

I am wondering if there are any Marines out there that were in Platoon 148 at Parris Island in July, August and September of 1948. If so,-do you remember our DI,- Sgt Walther? And do you ever recall and remember Sgt Walther's "sack drills"? If Sgt Walther heard any noise in the squad bay after lites out,- he would come tearing into the squad bay, hollering and ordering a "sack drill".That was our command to get dressed in our full dress green (woolen) uniform complete with full length (woolen) overcoat and standby. Then Sarge would stand on the table in the middle of the squad bay and yell, "in the sack", "out of the sack", "in the sack", "out of the sack", "in the sack", "out of the sack". This sometimes went on for what seemed to be eternity in the sweltering heat of the South Carolina summer night. There sure was no air conditioning then and my having a top sack made it a little tougher. Some of the smokers had to smoke with a bucket over their head when they were caught smoking when the "smoking lamp" was not lit. Luckily I was not a smoker at the time. If anyone remembers Platoon 148 at PI in 1948,---get in touch with me.

Wallace Pfeifer

Thanks, Sgt Grit Semper Fi
Wally Pfeifer


Sgt. Grit,
The comments in the latest newsletter, re the movie "The DI", brought back some great memories. There were 70 'hayseeds' sworn in 20 June 1957, in Cincinnati, Ohio. We were to fly out the next morning to MCRD, San Diego. As a 'Reward' for Enlisting, we were taken en masse to a theater in Cincinnati, to see the movie, 'The DI'. Well, I tell you, we all laughed our 'sweet butts' off, saying "it could NEVER be that BAD". Flash forward, 5 or 6 weeks. We have been at the Rifle Range at Camp Courtney for about a week and as a Reward for our 'great shooting', we got to see the movie, 'The DI', (again). This time, to a man, everyone said, "Dam, that ain't NOTHING, compared to how it REALLY WAS." Maybe one of the 'original 70' is still out there somewhere. I'm now in southern California, keep in touch.

Otto 'Har-Don' Strampfer, 1663978, E-4, '57-'63


Sgt. Grit,

Thought I would contribute a funny episode from Boot Camp. It's one of many like we all have. There was a recruit who had just prior to enlistment in The Corps had been called in for a Draft Physical but had not yet been actually drafted. After the physical you had about 4-6 weeks before getting your Draft Notice.

Right after the physical he ran to the Marine Corps Recruiter, he was able to enlist right away (within a couple of weeks). Anyway we had about two weeks left at MCRD San Diego when he got a letter from home. Included was not his draft notice but his draft card. On the card was his new draft classification. He was listed as 4F! For those to young to know, 4F meant physically unfit for military service.

All of us but especially the DI's loved it, they even took the card to show it to other DI's. But the poor kid was really concerned because there was nothing telling him why the Army thought he was 4F. He didn't know what was physically wrong with him.

When I last saw him he had orders for ITR, Camp Pendleton as an 0300, after that Vietnam. Eric Olson

MCRD San Diego 1967 Plt.3017


I was in Plt. 2002, MCRD, 1960. I was discharged in 1968. I remember we were told in boot camp that "you should have been in the OLD Corps". We were told that the training we were going to receive was nothing like the "OLD" Corps received!! We were going to be "Pogy Bait" Marines!!! I do believe the "break you down to nothing and rebuild as you want" training theory does produce a robot type mentality that is critical to the Corps mission of "whatever it takes to win".

I am told that in boot camp today, the huts are gone, the locker box drills are illegal, the squat jumps are outlawed, the D.I.'s can't hit you anymore, they can't call you "maggots", or other colorful identity's, no more rifle butts to the face, no more blanket parties with soap in a sock, that the Marines today can call a "time out or kings X".

I watched with pride, the Marines advance on the camel jockeys. I saw the difference in the training that led them to leave the other services behind. We still train the best warriors----BUT--- like Paul Harvey-and the rest of the story, I saw hesitation and fear in their maneuvers. I wonder if the new "politically correct" training has created a new Marine that suddenly is using his thought pattern instead of ingrained discipline! This just might destroy that "fight to the last man" tenacity that set the Marines far and above ALL others. It might break the mindset that was so critical in the suicidal attacks the Marines are famous for. Is this good or bad? Who knows, it sure saves a lot of lives, but this old mindset is exactly what set the Marines apart as the BEST of the BEST. The entire armed forces of the world knew it! If you absolutely, positively had to win a battle or take an objective, you sent the Marines. They never failed. Only a few might come back but they did win! You might not like their "down and dirty" ways and you might not like the body count, but you could count on winning!

I saw pictures of Marines, hiding behind walls as they called in air on targets that held only a few fighters. The "Old Corps" used to be the "few" fighters, charging the enemy, winning the battle over huge odds. We were relying on bombs to defeat the enemy. We didn't charge the objective. The Marine Corps that took the beaches in the Pacific no longer exist. The new Marines are smarter and more technically advanced. They allow machines and electronics to do the fighting.

The future will tell but if you review history even since World War ll, you will see a trend in the Marine Corps that is deviating from the "NO QUESTIONS ASKED" orders to more like the other services that issue orders that you are allowed to interpret or modify according to your own thoughts or beliefs. I understand the politicians and upper brass want a softer more moral Marine Corps and they may be right. Ol' Camel Jockey Hussein was hoping for a war that would put us face to face with knives and fists but we fought with bombs, planes and electronics. I wonder if we will continue to be the ultimate warriors that no one on earth can question or if we will evolve into a force that other countries can begin to dare to compare to?. All countries have bombs, airplanes, chemicals and hi tech fighting equipment. The one ace in the hole that is uniquely American is the United States Marine and the fact you KNOW he will look you in the eye, cut out your guts and hand them back to you. I hope we can retain that stigma in today's "no personal contact wars".

Dale Dallman
USMC 1960-68


Sincere thanks to Chosin Few member Ralph Irons, H&S/7 for forwarding the message which follows.

General Raymond Davis, MOH (then LtCol Ray Davis) was my Bn. Commander in Korea until our arrival at Koto-ri from Hagaru-ri during our battle to the sea from Yudam-ni, North Korea.

The General has always held a close relationship with those Marines of 1/7 who fought beside him during that period, never failing to attend the battalion biennial reunion. It is with great sadness of heart that I inform you of his passing.

A great Battalion Commander, Division Commander in Viet Nam and Assistant Commandant of our Corps.

They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We shall remember them.

For the convenience of those desiring to send a card or drop a line I enclose the generals home address.

The General Ray Davis family
2530 Over Lake Lane
Stockbridge GA, 30281-5240

"Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever"
Howard Mason, Weapons 1/7

Sgt Grit,

On September 3rd 2003 one of our well known Marines Passed Away.
Gen. Raymond G Davis who received the Medal of Honor for leading a storied rescue of fellow Marines besieged by Chinese troops a the Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War, died Wednesday in Conyer, Ga., our side Atlanta. He was 88 and lived in the nearby town of Stockbridge,

Davis a combat veteran of three wars, and the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps in the early 1970s, was among the United States' most highly decorated military officers. In 34 years of service, he received not only the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for valor, but also the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, and the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. Davis was renowned in the Marines for his heroics at a place that came to be called Frozen Chosin,where a fighting withdrawal resonates in the history of the corps much like the battle for Iwo Jima in World War ll. Soon after the Korean War began in the summer of 1950, Davis a lieutenant colonel at the time, rushed to the front in command of a battalion he had hastily assembled at Camp Pendleton, Calif. In the first days of December, Chinese forces were threatening to annihilate American troops who had advanced far into North Korea, approaching the border with China. Davis unit -- 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1sr Marine Division-- was given the enormously challenging task of rescuing Marines who were trapped in deep snows astride a vital mountain pass. His men embarked on an 8- mile trek past surrounding enemy forces, climbing primitive, icy trails in temperatures as much as 30 degrees below zero. He was knocked to the ground when a shell fragment struck his helmet, and his clothing was pierced by enemy fire. But he fought forward with his battalion. The rescuers ultimately reached an isolated company of Marines that had 80 or so men remaining, and secured a mountain opening called the Tokong Pass, enabling two other regiments as well to move through it and escape. On the morning of Dec 4, the Marines arrived at their base camp in Hagaru-ri, the rescue mission completed. Three days later Davis was named executive officer of the 7th Marines, and he remained in Korea until June 1951. On Nov. 24 1952, he received the Medal of Honor from President Truman.

After his exploits in World War ll and Korean War, Davis was back in combat during the Vietnam War, talking command of the 3rd Marine Division in 1968. In 1971, he attained four-star rank and was named the Marines assistant commandant. He retired from military service a year later. Raymond Gilbert Davis was born on January 13, 1915, in Fitzgerald, Ga. I could tell you more about this Marine but I will leave it at that. General Ray G Davis is Guarding the Gates of Heaven with Chesty and all the other Marines. J.A Gardner
Korea 1951-1953

Other links about the General:


Its great to be back in Da Nang. I love this place even though its a tough love in return. It is still very dangerous for an American to be on the streets here, especial when that fool is on a bicycle. Everything was cool when I was walking. The traffic kind of flowed around me as I crossed the street. As long as I took a predictable course and speed I could be avoided. Now that I am on a bicycle I must play by the rules, whatever they are. Bicycles in no way have any right of way, in fact on these streets the biggest horn and the largest tires have the road. Weaving, wobbling or just plain going forward can be dangerous. Today is a little better than yesterday but the feeling of vulnerability is still with me. Thu An walks her bike through intersections which is clearly her way of surviving.

A good friend is opening a new hotel and we were personally invited to be the first customers. He called us the day before to make sure we could do this but he never gave us the address. Thu An and I headed out on bicycles to scout the street for a hotel having an opening celebration. Once we found it, we scooted back and checked out of our old hotel which has been like a home to me since my first trip. We showed up right on time and got a grand reception, I just hope this place isn't too expensive. We never negotiated the price, which is a big no-no even with friends. Any way we're here.

The weather is hot but manageable. Not much different than California this time of year but just a wee bit hotter and whole lot more humid. I have assumed the pace of a tropical culture. Between 11 and 3 its best to take a shower and a nap.

Many goofy things happen here that always catch me by surprise, like not giving an address, that have to be taken in stride. There is so many opportunities for confusion that it is best to not get too excited. It is my nature to try to ramrod a solution but they usually don't work or are considered inappropriate here. I have learned to let Thu An handle the problems and everything seems to work out OK. I had another problem with a photoshop kid who was to put a roll of photos on my floppy so I can email them. I told him I needed them compressed to JPEGs and made small. When I got back to the shop they were on a CD and almost a megayte each. He assumed I wanted quality. There just isn't much you can do about it. He tried to give me his best service and getting cranked over it would be very impolite and cause him embarrassment.



Sgt. Grit: Your newsletters just get better and better and the issue dated 4Sep03 was particularly enjoyable. I howled when I read Cpl. Tom Tumilowicz's tale of discretely "separating the peas from the carrots" to please the DI's while serving as a "DI Waiter" in their mess! On the more serious side I enjoyed "Graig M." discussing "Chesty Lore, "and "Ray McKinley" the "quality of leadership in the Marine Corps."

Most Marines have their favorite stories about the best of the best Marine Corps leaders, and indeed the Corps is blessed with many such individuals. Two sterling examples of leadership (outside of combat) that I personally experienced and that left indelible impressions with me follow.

Example 1: In August 1950, less than four months after completing my three-year enlistment, I was recalled to active duty with New York's 16th Infantry Battalion. I assumed I would immediately be sent to the war in Korea that caused our recall. Instead, I was assigned to recruiting duty in New York and New Jersey. I was a SSgt.,, had never been overseas (not unusual for those who came in right after W.W.II), and here I was sending men younger than me to fight that war. I had volunteered several times for Korea but each time was told in effect to "get in line, Marine, there are many volunteers ahead of you." As flattering as that was for the Corps, it did nothing for me.

The situation came to a head when one of my five younger brothers, Jim, then a Sgt. stationed at Camp Lejeune, got his orders to Korea. Desperate to get mine, I went to my Commanding Officer, the LtCol. who was the Officer in Charge, District Headquarters Recruiting Station, New York City, and pleaded my case to get to Korea. It started to look like I'd get the same answer until I mentioned that my younger brother was on his way. I saw the Colonel's eyes light up as he picked up the phone and called Headquarters Marine Corps. Within two weeks I had dispatch orders to report to Camp Pendleton for "duty beyond the seas" (as the orders said in those days). I arrived in Korea in May 1952 with the 20th Replacement Draft, one full month ahead of my brother. Though I had a Legal Chiefs MOS, I served most of my 13 month tour as a Section Leader, ATA Platoon, 1stBn., 5th Marines and later as a Platoon Sgt. with E-2-5, 5th Regiment. Ironically, brother Jim also served his full tour with the 1stBn., 5th Marines. We sailed home together in May 1953.

Example 2: In 1966 I had just been commissioned as a 36 year old Mustang Second Lieutenant (from MGySgt.) and found myself in Vietnam as the Asst. Div. Adjutant/Awards Officer of the Third Marine Division. I traveled widely visiting not only the Vietnamese 1st if ! ARVN Division to coordinate joint awards presentations, but also to front line units to verify Medal of Honor and Navy Cross recommendations and to assist them with processing all awards.

Not a week went by that I didn't receive a letter or phone call (no email in those days, thank God!) from a LtCol. back in the U.S. In Vietnam he had been the Battalion Commander, 2ndBn., 4th Marines (and would later serve a second tour as CO 1st Marine Regiment). Every message was the same: "What is the status of the Silver Star/Bronze Star (or other) award recommendation for "PFC Jones," or "LCpl. Smit