"The Marines are trained to be precise in their firepower... The fact that there are 600 (reported dead in Fallujah) goes back to the fact that the Marines are very good at what they do."
-Marine Lt. Col. Brennan Byrne
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I just attended the funeral services for Marine Pfc. Dustin Sekula who turned 18 last June, died April 1 from enemy fire in Al Anabar Province. Dustin had to get his parents permission to join our Corps because he was only 17 when he graduated from HS. He received numerous offers for scholarships from colleges having graduated first in his high school class. He certainly was one of America's Best and Brightest. They read his letter to his parents "Why He Joined the US Marine Corps" at the funeral. The last paragraph of his letter said, "When you die, you take no worldly possessions with you, just your mind and soul. The choice I make I won't regret. The choice I almost didn't make, I would have regretted forever"! I attended the visitation services prior to the actual funeral. I went there to give his parents a word of encouragement and hope from God's scriptures. I am afraid instead of being a shoulder they could use to cry the roles became reversed. When they saw my US Marine Corps tie clasp on my civilian clothes both of them grabbed my shoulder to thank me for being there. Every Marine I met regardless of age and regardless of military or civilian dress was attired appropriately to honor Pfc. Sekula. We hugged, laughed and cried together for the loss of their son and our Marine brother. I of course was only one of many Marine's there. Dan Sekula's shirt said father of a Marine. One might expect that some parents in the same situation might be bitter. The mother told me that they consider Staff Sergeant Martinez, his recruiter, as another son in their family. One of the people in my office, ask me why I was taking the loss so hard. I replied it is a Marine thing and you would have to be one to truly understand.
SURROUNDING THEIR CITY
A guy at work came to me and asked what I thought those poor Iraqis in Fallujah must be feeling with the U.S. Marines surrounding their city. I looked him in the eye and said,
"Like fish in a barrel."
I don't know if he liked my response...
F.X., Hernandez, USMC (ANGLICO)
CHANCE TO CHANGE
I'm sorry to hear about some prisoners, and I'm also sorry to hear that we have stopped our sweep, This will only allow Guerrillas to reinforce and recruit civilians, not a good thing for the general population. It will also give them a chance to change their tactics and perhaps their strategy which could make matters worst. We should have made up our minds before hand, This sounds like a cold heart, but in fact stopping like we did will only cause more casualties; I hope I'm proven wrong. As a squad leader I leaned this lesson well. ( 5Bravo How Co)
Cap Marine Raymond A. Roman
I Corps III MAF Nam 68-69
1st Cag Mt - Cap 3/3/5 - Cap Lima 1/3/10
BAD GUYS PAID A HEAVY PRICE
This comes from my son-in-law in Ramadi. You may retransmit because it is a good snapshot of the challenges on the ground.
"Thought I'd send a quick group email to cover the events of the last couple days. Pure and simple, all h*ll broke loose around here on Tuesday. I was hanging around the COC listening to all the radio traffic, and no kidding, it sounded like a training exercise where the trainers overload the battalion staff with all kinds of scenarios. Literally, anywhere our guys went they got ambushed/attacked. All over the town. Squads pinned down. Marines temporarily missing. Armor being called in to relieve pressure. Reports of wounded and killed Marines. Helos on station, making gun runs down city streets when they could ID targets. F-18s high overhead providing another set of eyes for the combatants. From the rooftop here, you could see plumes of black smoke rising from all over the city area. Every time new radio traffic came in, you had someone engaged somewhere, or someone calling for a medevac. (Fr Devine picked a h*ll of a day to visit Hurricane Point!) The guys who came back said the bad guys were on rooftops, in the buildings, shooting from moving cars, running in the open...you name it. And the bad guys paid a heavy price, from the reports of bodies laying in the streets, and strewn on rooftops. Crazy. We had 12 kia and 15 wounded.
Yesterday was another serious, if not as chaotic day. 1 kia and 5 wia. More of the same types of enemy action. Not to say we were under armed on Tuesday, but yesterday they went out with EVERYTHING. Put it this way---there's no armor threat here, but all our TOW gunners had missiles yesterday.
Today I went out with the CO as part of the COC forward during a cordon and knock operation into some of the same area that the fighting occurred the last two days. Maybe five minutes after we pulled in, there was sporadic gunfire---a bit surreal to hear those sounds echoing through the streets, especially because the landscape reminds you of Blackhawk Down. Stray cats roaming the trash fields, fetid standing water, exposed cinderblock walls for the "houses"...Nothing that was anywhere closer than a few blocks from where we were. And then it died off and there was nothing the rest of the day. We did catch some guy with more than $800k on him. He said it was from an Army contract. We'll see. Some of the locals told us that the "3 day jihad" had come to an early close because of the casualties the bad guys had taken the last 2 days. P!sser. Our S-3 replied that he's here on a 7 month jihad of his own. Thought that was pretty funny.
Anyway, the reality is what it is---it's dangerous here, but I'm as safe as you can be in this environment if that makes any sense. It was much better to be out today feeling like you're in charge instead of sitting back and waiting for something bad to happen. Will never go looking for trouble, but when I have to do my job out there (like today when we paid a few people for damage we did to their crap during the cordon) I, like the other Marines, am armed to the teeth and supplied with good gear. There is no chance of the bad guys winning any of these fights, and I doubt they will scrap with our Marines anytime soon, if at all.
I know you're going to worry no matter what I tell you, but hopefully you won't worry too much, because I'm just fine."
CALL THAT EVERYBODY DREADS
Dear Sgt Grit,
Two days ago we received the phone call that everybody dreads. Our Best Friend John Thomas Wroblewski was in critical condition in an Iraq hospital. He was fighting for his life as he had fought for our freedom. After a 24 hour vigil, we received a call that would change ours lives forever. John had passed away. Our hearts full of pain and sorrow for the loss of such a wonderful person. He was so full of life and love, for all that surrounded him including the Marines that he commanded. He had lost 12 that day. Those men were part of his family. His Marines, Family, Friends, Faith and our country is what helped him through everyday.
I ask that you keep his wife Joanna, His family, his friends and all our military in your prayers. Also for our Fallen Heroes, May they all be at peace. To the men and women in Iraq, We support you and love you. Please know that we are thinking of you. To all the Marines and military who have served in the past. Thank You. To my father and brother- Vincent Sr. and PFC. Vincent Jr. you are always in my heart.
Megan Koert and Daniel O'Keeffe
MORE JOHN WAYNE
Good morning Sgt. Grit.
I just wanted to get my 2 cents in regarding the stories about John Wayne. Why do all these Marines keep bashing the Duke? I would suggest if you don't know all the facts about John Wayne keep it to yourself.
I feel that he did more for recruiting future Marines than anyone I can think of. I for one was sold on the Marines when I was 15 years old in 1950. At that time I happened to be an usher at a theater in Minneapolis, MN. The movie that was playing at the time was Flying Leathernecks with John Wayne and Robert Ryan. I was so pumped up about that movie I could hardly wait to join the Corps. When I turned 17 I begged my mom and dad to let me enlist in the Corps. They were agreeable to that however at that time I had two older brothers who were already in Korea so they turned my request down.
But let me tell you when I turned 17 I went down and talked to a recruiter and signed up and then 10 days after graduation I was at MCRD San Diego.
All that, I contribute to John Wayne, not just for that movie but for the other numerous things that he did for this country during and for 30 years after the war. God bless John Wayne and all the other entertainers who didn't make it to the wars but keep our spirits up here in the states.
I credit The Duke for a lot of my desire to join also. "The Sands of Iwo Jima" got to me as a young boy. It's also a Wayne movie about an Oklahoma sheriff "True Grit" that got me my nick name in Vietnam that is with me to this day.
in reference to the comments about john wayne. john wayne is like the American flag, by itself it is just a peace of material, its what it stands for and what it represents that makes it great, john wayne is America. when America needed a hero...they called the "duke".
we never promised you a rose garden.
THEN HE TURNED TO ME
I was in downtown Albany, NY and just finished parking my suv in a parking spot. I saw a meter maid who approached me and was asking me how long I would be etc. (I am a courier and I had an envelope to deliver there.) When I saw a homeless man approaching us out of the corner of my eye. He went past the meter maid and I , went up to my parking meter and put a quarter in the meter so I wouldn't get a ticket. Then he turned to me and said "Semper Fi" Brother. And I returned "Semper Fi" to you Brother and thanks! You see as he approached the rear of my suv he must have seen the round 4" red, black and gold foil Globe and anchor United States Marine Corps sticker I had in my rear window. When he said " Semper Fi" Brother (not having a dime to his name) to put his last quarter in the meter so a fellow gar head wouldn't get a ticket, it blew my mind and I got a lump in my throat. I don't know anyone other than a fellow Marine who would give probably his last quarter to save another Marines *ss. On the field or off, the Spirit De Corps we have is something NO other branch seems to have like the USMC. I am D@mn proud to be a Marine and the Brotherhood that goes with the title. Be proud my fellow Marines cause only "we" seem to have it.
Thank God for the "Corps"
MADE MY LIVE HARDER
I believe the Marine Corps has made my life harder!
The Corps taught me discipline, honor, integrity, attention to detail, etc.. This causes me great distress both professionally and personally.
Every job that comes in the house that is of importance goes to me. I work in the controls industry. If a simple school job comes in, someone else gets it. If a hospital operating room suite or a manufacturing clean room comes in I get it! It's just not right! I'm the highest paid next to the owner and d@mn the Corps for doing that to me!
At home I'm screwed. Who cleans the best? Me! Who irons the best? Me! Who has to discipline the kids? Me! I have 2 great kids and a house I'm proud of and d@mn the Corps for doing that to me!
Get my point? The Marine Corps carries on our whole life whether we like it or not! And I LIKE IT!
Semper Fi All!
More marching stories:
Camp Pendleton, Edson Range in 1967 for 3 weeks.(1 week pulling targets in the Butts, 2 weeks Rifle Qual). We were permitted after morning chow at zero-dark-thirty, to march back to the barracks in small groups of 8-10 rather than waiting for the entire platoon to finish. One of the recruits was required to call cadence while he marched us back. This one guy used call to the tune of either "The Marine's Hymm" or the "Davy Crockett" song. But he really turned some DI heads when he had us march with the left/right arm swinging forward and back with the left/right leg at the same time, instead of the normal (opposite) left arm with right leg and right arm with left leg. One DI just stopped and watched as if he knew something was wrong but just couldn't quite figure in out.
Eric Olson MCRD San Diego Platoon 3017
WHEN IN DOUBT
The Chinese learned "brainwashing" from the Marines.
Sometime around July 1948 after having graduated from Platoon 37 at MCRD San Diego and now attending "Sea School", a buddy and I went on liberty downtown San Diego. We had been "conditioned" that in reference to saluting officers "When in Doubt, salute". Walking down the street opposite us was a sailor in a dark double breasted suit with gold markings all up and down his sleeve. We look at each other and ask ourselves "Is he, or isn't he?" "When in doubt" we saluted with all the snap and pop we could muster. The CPO with apparently 20 or 30 years of "good conduct" returned our salute.
Don Geddes I-3-5 Korea
I HAVE FOUR
Hey Sgt. Grits
Whenever I'm at a swap meet or a thrift store I look for boot camp platoon books and I donate them to the Marine Corps Museum here in San Diego. I've donated a bunch and the people at the museum says the first question many Marines ask is do you have a book for their platoon. If any of you have one hanging around or if you spot one believe me they would love to included it in their collection. Send it to MCRD San Diego or Paris Island. That should be all the address you need. I have four that I'm taking to them this week. There are 2 from San Diego and 2 from PI. The San Diego ones are both for series 2017 including Platoons 2017, 2018, 2019 graduated 2Sept94. The ones from PI are for Platoon 2226 graduated 17Jan78 and Platoon 208 graduated 27March70. They told me they ship the PI ones to Paris Island.
L/Cpl of Marines
From the Sgt Grit Bulletin Board:
I'm presently in the middle of reading a book that I'm sure many of your would enjoy reading. It's called Patriots: The Vietnam War Remembered From All Sides by Christian G. Appy. He did over 350 interviews and there are about half of them in this book. He interviewed everyone from government employees of the NSA, CIA, Pentagon, White House staff members to grunts on the ground including American, ARVN and NVA, antiwar protestors, teenage boys and girls who worked on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and stewardesses on the Freedom Birds. Here I give you a few excerpts from the interview with a stewardess. The book makes for some very interesting reading and I'd recommend it for anyone interested in the entire history of the Vietnam War, from first U.S. involvement in 1946 until 1975. Semper Fidelis, Chris
Helen Tenant Hegelheimer
In 1966 and '67 she was a flight attendant for World Airways, one of the civilian airliners that had a government contract to ferry U.S. troops in and out of the war zone.
,,,,,,Going over, there were usually two legs---Travis Air Force Base to Japan and Japan to Vietnam. From California the troops did a lot of letter writing. Guys would ask me,"Is this a good letter? If you received this, would you wait for me?" At first I read the letters, but they really pulled at your heart, so after a while I would just pretend to read them and say they were perfect. There were always some chatty guys who wanted to talk and if we had any special unit guys----Green Berets or Airborne Rangers---there was a lot of bravado. They spoke proudly of their training, how difficult it was for them not to get "washed out". Over time I realized they weren't trying to impress me as much as they were trying to convince themselves their training would help them. These were boys destined for combat and they had been told in training what their expected mortality rate was. But most of the guys were pretty quiet. They asked us for alcohol and we said," If the military wanted you to have that they would have put it in the contract." Since the war I've had lots of vets tell me they were served alcohol, but I don't think so. Maybe the policy changed later in the war, but sometimes people's memories do strange things. When we got to Yokota Air Force Base in Japan we had a crew change.
So after a layover, I'd get on another plane with a group of guys I hadn't met who had already been on the plane for 12 hours.We had to kind of feel out the mood. By then they were usually very quiet. It was five hours to Vietnam and five hours back. We called this the Vietnam turnaround. We'd go in and out with minimal ground time. It was the senior stew's position to be at the top of the ramp when the men got off in Vietnambut nobody wanted that job, nothing disparaging to the other gals, but some just couldn't do it. I never said 'good-bye" or "good luck". I would shake their hand, look them in the eye, smile, and say "See you later". Sometimes I'd say "See you in 12 months". They really wanted somebody to look at them. At the top of the ramp was the world, at the bottom of the ramp was the warAt that moment, at the top of the ramp, I was their wife, their sister, their girlfriend, and for those troops who had no one else--- and there were many---I was their mother. That was the most important thing I've ever done. I don't think there was one of us who did not want to keep them on the plane. That's why some of the girls were back in the bathrooms crying...We were very aware that we were sending them to war and that some would never come back. Therein lies the guilt. We never showed any emotion in front of the troops but we sure drank a lot when we got back to Japan. We substituted booze for crying. The first thing we'd ask when we arrived in Vietnam is, "Are we taking troops out?" If you took 165 men in and 165 men out, you really could fool yourself into believing they were all coming home. But in '66 and '67 the war was escalating so we often left Vietnam with an empty plane. There was nothing else to say other than,"They're not all coming home." It would just slam you right in the face....And when we got back to Japan we drank even heavier.. I've heard stories about guys cheering when the plane took off from Vietnam, but I don't remember any cheeringIt was quiet. Pretty soon the captain came on and said, "Gentlemen, we have just cleared Vietnam airspace." (Her voice catches) It still gets to meit was as if everyone on the plane exhaled. But they still didn't cheer. On the way back we walked down the aisle looking to see which ones might want to talk and which ones you ought to leave alone. You'd just start by asking, "Where are you from?"I clearly remember thinking, these guys are not going home to their girlfriends and that '55 Chevy they had been working on. Their youth was gone and it showed. You absolutely saw a different look in their eyes on the way home. There were guys who came up to me and said,"I need to talk because I want to practice. I'm afraid I'm going to swear in front of my mother when I get home."....These boys grew up the same way I did in the 50's. We attended church, we knew right from wrong. I believe they did things in Vietnam that were totally against everything they were brought up with and I'm not talking about the killing drinking, and maybe drugs, and contact with girls. So they weren't just afraid of swearing in front of their mothers; they were afraid their mothers would be able to tell everything they had done in Vietnam. I think that is a big reason why so many veterans just shut down and wouldn't talk about the war to anyone except someone else that had been there. Flying in, some guys asked, "How bad are the anti-war demonstrations?" That's the hardest question I've had to answer in my life. I'd say, 'They're bad." There were often protesters at the gates outside Travis. I had to tell these guys that had just served their country to get out of their country's uniform as soon as they could.If they weren't wearing their uniform then maybe they wouldn't be targeted by the protesters. I didn't like the antiwar movement then and I haven't changed my mind today They came home so quickly, they had no time to adjust. Some men had just gotten out of combat a few hours before they got on the plane. Before meal service, we'd make sure everyone was awake. We had to be very careful about waking these guys up. If you touched them they'd wake up defending themselves--- arms flying all over the place. We managed to hold them until they realized where they were. It only took a second and we always smiled. They always apologized. "Oh ma'am, I'm sorry, I didn't hurt you did I? We'd try not to make a big deal out of it. Every time we arrived at Travis I was disappointed. I had grown up with WWII movies and everybody had a band or something to welcome them home. At Travis there was absolutely nothing. It was just me at the bottom of the ramp. An ungrateful nation let some 23 year old stewardess welcome these guys home. That was there only greeting.
In the 90's she started going to Washington,D.C. for Veterans Day. A highlight of the trip is the "DMZ to Delta Dance" sponsored by a chapter of Vietnam Veterans of Americans. "It's a bunch of old people dancing to great rock n roll. The theme song of the dance, of course, is "We Got To Get Out Of This Place". It's always the last song of the evening.
Welcome home my brothers and sisters. God bless you.
Chris ps Mrs. Hegelheimer happened to be surfing the web that evening and contributed the following response.
Just an old stewardess now. Pretty plain life. Just happen to end up in a book. There's a lot of old stews out there that worked those flights. Information I have is approximately 20 civilian airlines contracted with MAC to carry troops. Five stews per trip... that's a lot of gals.
I flew exclusively in and out of Travis AFB. Never entered the base or left the base without protestors being there. I still dislike them. Some times we worked the NorthPac flights Travis-
>Japan->Vietnam (in the winter a refueling stop in Alaska). Sometimes it was midPac -- Travis->Hickim->Kadena/Quam/PI->Vietnam. Seems as if we fed the troops chicken all the way over and back. I worked those flight early in the war... '66-'67... hated DaNang, hated Bien Hu, hated TSN... nothing was secure in those days EXCEPT Cam Rahn Bay... and I only went in there once.
Not uncommon to not remember the details of the flights home... if you could have seen what I saw ... its amazing some of you remember the flights at all.
HE WAS PROUD OF THAT
I was at Parris Island in June, July, and August of '61 , platoon 332. It was hotter than blue blazes, and the sand fleas were breeding like rabbits. Mostly on me. However, I do not remember any odd smells at P.I. The fact that I grew up in the swamps of southeast Louisiana might have something to do with that!
We had lots of thumping while I was there. Two of our DI's (GSGT Goodman, SSGT Doane) were great guys, and while they were very tough on us, they were fair, and more interested in teaching us to be good Marines than in beating on us. Not so for a little $hit Sgt. by the name of Farrell. He loved 'thumping' us every chance he got. He'd hit us with fists, boots, rifle butts, whatever was handy. And not softly, either.
The DI's kept a list of who got thumped during the week, and if your name wasn't on the list, you got called up to the front of the squad bay on Saturday morning. There, you got thumped. Everyone got thumped. Farrell hit me in the mouth one Saturday morn and busted my lips in four places - two on the upper lip and two on the lower. He was so proud of that, he'd call me over to the DI's table in the mess hall and make me show the scabs to other DI's.
C.H. Brann 1945850
HAD TO MAKE US LOOK BAD
Dear Sgt. Grit,
In regards to HIT THE FIRST NOTE from Dale. I was in Germany on business over the 4th, I think it was in 83. Anyway, the Air Force base near Stuttgart was having an open house for dependents and locals. They really put on a nice spread - food, games, and entertainment. Should mention that my civilian cover has pins on it EGA, Sgt. Chevrons, small PH, and U.S.M.C. SVN button. Got no hassles, just some looks. Curious from the locals, respectful from those who knew what they stood for. Lunch was served at long tables and everyone sat on benches while the local high school band performed. Near the end, they started their "Military Set. Air Force, Army and Navy, nothing, not even from the active duty. Them comes the HYMN. You guessed it. I was the only one who got up, came to attention, and removed my cover in salute. Before I had a chance to sit down, this O-8 walks up and says You S.O.B., had to make us look bad didn't you. Wasn't mad, embarrassed I'd say. He then went up to the bandleader and had them replay the entire set. Everyone stood this time. Afterwards, he came back and said he was going to issue a base directive that his people WILL come to attention the next time. Dale, why is the Hymn always played last? Best for last? If it was first, the others could follow our lead. Just like always. Terry (LaMoe)Morris
I got the same tattoo in Jayville Russ Evans wrote about last week in "the story of my tattoo". Mine can pull rank on his though. Got mine in 1951. People have always asked me why did you get a tattoo of a duck with" who me" printed under it? I tell them it's not a duck---it's a gooney bird. And if you weren't there then you wouldn't understand. Some old corps culture is kinda trapped in a time warp and won't come forward to the present day. Anyhow, it was a popular tattoo in those days. So was the skunk, a black panther, the globe and anchor, and a devil dog with a WW I style helmet.
Semper Fi Joe Bell Sgt 1950-54 1138002
speaking of catalina's (1964 ) - blow the doors off many times heading south to FLA, miami. it was 858 miles from the gate of Lejuene to north miami, just had to dodge the highway patrols in GA & SC. those were the good old days - back in country and having a blast being young & alive. Semper Fi, to all the guys who were in VMGR -252 ( 67/68).
R. Smith 64/68 - ( JP - RVN - LEJUENE - CHERRY POINT )
Dear Sgt Grit;
I was stationed with Mars 27 at Cherry Point in 1959 when I received orders for Japan. I was to report to El Toro after fifteen days "Delay en route." Immediately, I was offered a "ride" to Cleveland, which would shorten my travel time to my home in Michigan. I accepted and "chipped in for gas." Five buddies were headed to Cleveland, one of them to be married. We would pick up another passenger at Le Juene on Saturday morning and be on our way.
Saturday 0800 and I picked up my orders and we headed for LeJuene. Reaching there ,four of our group (in civvies and sunglasses) entered their buddy's barracks. They walked right into a "Junk on the Bunk!" Fortunately, the inspection party was in the far end and the intruders vamoosed without incident. Soon , the inspection over, the buddy was aboard and we headed out the gate. Now there were seven of us and our gear ( being transferred, I had everything I owned) and the car "bottomed out" as we joined the highway and the exhaust pipe broke ahead of the muffler. Nothing to do but carry on to Cleveland, V8 roaring loudly!
Approaching the Breeze wood entrance, the right rear tire went flat. The driver pulled into the parking lot of a restaurant and opened the trunk to change the tire. Out came all the gear and the tire and jack. At that point he realized he had a bumper jack but the handle/lug wrench was missing. No problem, there was a gas station adjacent and we would borrow a jack. "No way" said the owner offering to change the tire "for a price."
Now a jack can be operated easily sans handle if there is no weight on it. So the gas station attendant, and a restaurant full of customers, watched six Marines lift a car while the seventh" ran up the jack bare handed." That left us short a lug wrench but located a 12 inch adjustable end wrench in the trunk, Knuckle bruising but effective.
We were soon on the "Pike." Stopping only for gas, we roared (literally!) for Ohio. Shortly after full darkness, wisps of smoke and a burned smell came from under the dash board and the lights went out. Now my MOS was 6611 so I was the designated repairman. Immediately I was head first under the dash looking for the problem. Naturally no flashlight, so illuminated by flickering Zippos, I discovered the dash switch was the culprit.
Gathering all the wires (and not knowing which was which) I found a connection that restored the headlights. Not only that, the parking lights were on as well as the tail lights. The brake lights even worked! We were off again!
No more problems until we reached surface streets in Cleveland. The light at an approaching intersection forced our driver to stop. As the light changed, a police car was forced to stop on our right by the red light on the cross street. Our driver pulled through the intersection as slow as possible to reduce the exhaust noise.
No problem there but just as we reached the center of the intersection the dome light came on brightly! Thirteen hands ( the driver kept one on the wheel!) ripped the dome light out of the overhead. Somehow, the noise and our antics, did not alarm the cops and we reached our destination handily. That was a bar owned by the potential bridegroom. My "electrical expertise" was rewarded by a "fish bowl schooner of draft beer!" Being 23 and thirsty, I did my duty. We hadn't eaten anything but a few potato chips since morning chow so there was a lot of room.
I was loaded into another car with my gear and taken to the bus station to continue my trip home. As I bought my ticket, I realized my orders were still in the back seat of the original car. My companions took my address and promised to mail them to me. So I boarded the bus and took a seat adjacent to the (thank God there was one) head. I had to eliminate that beer and managed to do so before the bus reached Toledo.
After a lay over,the trip from Toledo took another 3 or 4 hours so I arrived home, tired, starved, dehydrated, and tired. Fifteen days at home, thirty more at EL Toro, two sea voyages (fifteen months apart) and I would be "released from active duty at Treasure Island" .
T. J. Fox 1820985 Cpl/E-4 VMR-253, 1st, MAW, MCAS IWAKUNI 59-61
Sgt. Grit, When it comes to swooping I think I may have some sort of a record. After ITR I was stationed at Camp LeJeune 8th Motor Transport Bn., I was not aware of swooping until my first weekend on the base I made the run to New Jersey that weekend and every weekend there-after from Dec. 1960 - Aug. 1963 when I was released from active duty, with the exception of 1 weekend I was on restriction for coming back late the weekend before, the only other times I missed the weekend swoop to Jersey was when Pres. Kennedy sent us to Gitmo Bay for the Cuban Missile Crisis, I couldn't make that swoop too much water in between, I burned up three cars 1956 Ford, 1957 Buick, and a 1949 Buick, L/Cpl Scaffer, L/Cpl Burke, L/Cpl Hamilton, L/Cpl Dugan were my usual riders plus many others Camp LeJeune to Port Authority NYC $6.00 a head each way, leave Fri at 3:30 return Sunday just before reveille. Many good memories some funny some not. I'll bet many jarheads reading this rode with me, hope it brings back some memories for you too.
Patrick Scannell Cpl of Marines 1960 - 1963 1923064
WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHOOPS
After many years reading the newsletter I finally decided to write in. To Doc. from the April 1. edition. I was Battalion Armor for 2/7 from Aug.66 to Sept.67. I had cut my left knuckle
my thought I should walk over to the aid station to have it checked out. It was around 1400 and about 120 in the shade. Walk into the tent and no one was around, I yelled anybody here?
I did wake up a Corpsman. He looked at it said I would need a couple of stitches. We went into the back and he prepped me, then started.. I was sitting there letting him do his thing, and he said Whoops! Now know when I say Whoops its not good! So I said what do you mean Whoops? He said OH! it's OK! Now I am watching him a little closer! When he gave me my hand back he said, You are the First person I did stitches on all by myself. I guess that was part of the Whoops! Maybe it was you, don't know. If it was you it still works just fine.
Cpl. T. R. Gulch 2261963 RVN 66-67
NEXT MORNING I FELT FINE
I've got a good story for you. I was in Plt. 1002 A Company back in October of 76 at PI. I was a Yankee down from Boston and had never had an opportunity to sample some of the South's finest cooking. Well one night at the Chow Hall out at the Rifle Range during the practice rounds for Qual they had Black Eyed Peas on the menu. I had never seen them before but they sure as h*ll looked good after a day of pulling targets.I had a plate full.
The next morning I felt fine when we got up from the racks and headed out to the range. We got through the 200 yard line without much fanfare and headed for the slow fire rounds from the 300 Yard Line. I'm halfway through the seated slow fire rounds when suddenly things start happening down below. I raise my right little dick beater and ask the Range Coach if I can go to the head. During live fire he asked? What are you !@#$*% Crazy, you gotta finish your magazine! So anyway, sometimes gravity takes over and it did. I made a mess of my cammies. The color kind of blended in but not the smell.
So we finish up at the 500 yard line and by that time I'm pretty ripe and turn in our bolts. By this time my buddies in the platoon are giving me a wide berth. We formed up into the platoon to go back to the barracks and the DI says what the @#!% smells. He obviously finds me and makes me march 100 yards behind the platoon all the way back to the barracks. For the next week or so I was not so affectionately known as Private Stinky.
Pvt Mumbles (Another Story)
FORTUNATELY, THINGS WERE QUIET
Like SSgt. Norm Bates in the last newsletter, I well remember the train ride to Munsan-ni as a replacement for the lstMarDiv in '55. I also remember the sea journey. On the way to Inchon from Kobe, where we replacements from the 3rdMarDiv embarked, one idiot left his thumb in a hatchway. This idiot made the mistake of having his hand there when the hatch closed on it because of seas. We had to turn around and drop him off in Sasebo. What I remember of the train ride was that it was smokey, dirty and noisy. We were crowded a..hole to elbow also and didn't know what to expect when we got to the railhead. Once there, we were loaded onto 6 X 6s and saw the Korean landscape from the opening in the tarp in the rear of the trucks. Fortunately, things were quiet at that time on the line (infiltrators only) and units were being replaced by the army. Divvie headquarters was in tents and huts less than a mile from the Imjim River. I didn't find this out until about two years ago when I did more reading about the Korean conflict. The truce line was over the Imjim River and that's where the line companies were. Learned from my readings that Freedom gate was about four miles from Hqts. and Panmujon a couple of more.
And, it was cold.
Bob Rader sgt. '53-'56
AND BEGGED HER
Sgt. Grit, I can relate to the story of the PVT eating the box of poggy bait. I was in Platoon 3195 at MCRD in Dec. of 69. We were to graduate on Christmas Eve. Upon returning form Edson Range we had mail call. Myself and PVT James Causbrook received packages from home. I received about 3 lbs of chocolate fudge and our Platoon Commander, Gunny C.L. Stephens did the honors of letting us enjoy the poggy bait. We had to explain to him why there was not enough for the entire Platoon. Had he not taught the value of team work in the Marine Corps. Sir, yes sir was the response. At this point he requires both of us to get two canteens full of warm water. We had to eat our respective goodies and then drink the entire canteen of warm water..and don't either of you maggots puke on my deck. I don't know about Causbrook but I wrote a letter that night to my girlfriend (future wife) and begged her not to send me anything else.
Sgt of Marines 69-72
Having just completed reading the April 2nd newsletter, I would like to answer three of the submissions.
1) HE WAS A MARINE. Elaine, I did not know your husband but he was my brother. I walk out into a local National cemetery and cry at the sight of fellow Marines and other service people who served in VietNam and have since passed on way before their time. I cannot imagine what my wife of 36 years would go through when it is my time to rejoin the Corps in protecting the pearly gates. To you I offer our thoughts and prayers - remember a man is not gone until he is forgotten.
2) I WILL ALWAYS BE AN FMF CORPSMAN. Doc, I hope you know that an FMF Corpsman is held in the highest regard by all Marines that served in combat. The issues in the past by certain Marines claiming the Corpsman does not rate wearing the uniform of a Marine are really hard for this Marine to comprehend. Any man who stands by a Marine who is down on the field of combat deserves our utmost respect. I have never seen a study on this but I would be willing to bet no other job in the service has more Purple Hearts per capita than a FMF Corpsman. This Marine says thank you and may the next call "CORPSMAN UP" will be to the bar for a beer bought by a Marine!
3) I can remember a certain Battalion Commander letting it be known that his official jeep ran like a dog and he wanted a new one. After a trip to the Air Force PX at DaNang, a quick mid-night paint job, the Battalion CO had his new jeep. A couple of days later he asked, "Where did this jeep come from?" Of course the answer was, "I don't know what you mean, Sir. It has the same serial number and markings as your jeep always had? Besides, what the Colonel doesn't know, can't hurt him or me!"
Really enjoy reading your newsletter, look forward to each edition. This is an answer to Mike Kunkel's question about the unforgettable smell across the grinder at PI. The smell is that of Sulfur that is in the local water. I was at PI two years ago to watch my son graduate and the smell was still as strong as I remember it in 1965, when I stood on the grinder. Brought back strong memories. Keep up the good work and keep the newsletters coming.
Sgt Dan Pincus, 2212540/2111, 65-69
COULDN'T SEEM TO RECALL MANY
Just got you're latest newsletter. Keep the good s#!t coming. In reading some of the storied about WWII vets standing for the Marine's Hymn when none of the other service-men did, I was reminded of a story one of my fellow Marines told me. There was a Marine Corporal who was standing a Meritorious Sergeant board. He was asked several questions by the members, but couldn't seem to recall many correct answers. Figuring he was pretty much FUBAR, as far as his promotion was concerned, he interrupted one of the questions, and proceeded to belt out one of the best a-cappella renditions of Our Beloved Hymn (all three verses) that any Marine has ever heard. Upon closing the last note, he sharply about-faced and left the room. The senior member of the board (a First Sgt, I believe), was quick on his heels, yelling "Where the h*ll are you going? You weren't dismissed!!" To which the Corporal replied, "Well First Sgt, I got a little P!ssed off that none of you nasty f*ckers stood at the Position of Attention for the Marine Corps Hymn, so I decided to leave." He was wearing Sergeant's stripes come the 2nd of the month.
Corporal of Marines, 1998-present
Marine Forces Pacific, Camp Smith, HI
I missed the last Sgt. Grit newsletter but upon reading this weeks find a lot of different explanations about that unique smell on the Island. I was there in 71 and revisited again in 88 or 89 and there was that odor that every single recruit seems to remember. Someone stated that the smell was from the paper mill you can see across the bay, and they are exactly right that's where it comes from.
The story about the bloated and dead sand fleas was good though, lord knows those communist b@stards ate their fill of each and every recruit through the place.
Keep those Marines currently serving in Iraq in your prayers, and Semper Fi!
TALK ABOUT SCARED
I was at P.I. January 1969 to St. Patrick's Day 1969. Our first three drill instructors picked out the week links in our 3rd Battalion platoon in the first few days. There was one recruit that they picked on the most, (even the other recruits knew he wasn't Marine material). The three drill instructors got turned in and they went before a hearing of some sort, (this young and scared recruit doesn't remember if it was a court Marshall). Talk about scared, I and three other recruits had to testify at the hearing during our third week at the island. We all used the standard reply when asked what we saw, " Sir, The recruit had his eyes forward and did not see a thing, Sir" The drill instructors were found not guilty and we never saw them again. In October 1999 my son Joe graduated from boot camp. As we arrived at the front gate the young lance corporal on duty asked if I knew the way to the reception center. I replied " Marine, it was 29 years and 10 months ago, 2:00 o'clock in the morning, and I was scared to death the last time I was here, I'm sorry I don't remember the way".
YOU AND YOU
What an outstanding newsletter! I love it!
I have a story about boot camp! One of the recruits that was in our platoon received an envelope the one day, it was quite stuffed, the DI made him open it and inside was chewing tobacco! Well, after chow the DI made him chew it and swallow it! This old boy from SC turned every color of the rainbow and started puking everywhere!
The DI said: "You and You!" clean up that vomit!
Nastiest thing I ever did at PI!
ASKED ME EVER SO POLITELY
Sgt Sacks experience brought a smile to my face as I remembered my own boot camp "oops". I was in Plt 152, MCRD, San Diego in the summer of 1955, about 6 weeks in and I with a bit of pride wrote to my girl, now my wife of 48 years, telling her of my not having had a coke or candy since I got off the plane. Being the kind soul she was, and is, also a great cook, sent me about two pounds of fudge. It was nicely wrapped properly addressed but definitely a package and we all know that packages, much like today, have to be properly inspected by the SDI, at that time was SSgt D.W. McGriff who in proper USMC manner, asked me ever so politely, to open the package. He then advised me that I couldn't take it back to the hut because of the no food regulation which was in place at the time and he said I was more that welcome to eat it right there in his hut, with....a canteen of warm water to wash it down..after about half a pound I was more than willing to leave it there for the DI's to enjoy. About three years later I was the cheif clerk "D" Co, MAD, Memphis, when who should stand before my desk checking in but TSgt D.W. McGriff reporting in for "C" School in one of the Elec Schools at Memphis. I quickly ask him if he still had some of my fudge, and we had a good laugh at which time I thanked him for my intro in to the Corps.
Sgt (E-5) Jack Forrest
If God brings you to it - He will see you through it. In God we trust.
My grandfather, CAPT. THOMAS JOHN ROWLAND (Cherry Point Tom), flew the Corsair with Ted Williams and had some wild adventures around Cherry Point. I have photos of Ted Williams sitting around the dinner table with my grandfather and this squadron photo of them. Ted Williams is back row, fifth from the right (tall Marine without the tie)and my grandfather is to his left. Enjoy a little piece of Marine Corps history only my civilian family and you Devil Dogs have seen!
SEMPER FI, CPL. ROWLAND
ALWAYS BEEN QUICK TO COMPLAIN
Dear Sgt Grit.
First thank you for the fast response because of my not receiving your weekly letter and this darn AOL. I did what you suggested, but am going to your web-site because it still isn't coming through.
Second, I wish to express a deep appreciation to you. You served the "Corps." Your "Battle" is over, (Viet Nam) yet you have developed an instrument that is growing. You are bringing more and more Marines together. You are bringing into the fold, mothers, sons and daughters of Marines. Sgt.; you keep raising the flag and keep her unfolding in the morning breeze for all to see. The morning sun is shining brightly of the "Eagle, Globe and Anchor." Thank you Sir. Third, the letters all here write, speak, complain, etc.; is most educational and a true learning experience for me. Marines have always been quick to complain, especially for a fight.
Fourth, the "Reserve" issue that is being brought up. I personally know that the Marine Corps Reserves have always performed and functioned true to "tradition." Heck, many times, "Chesty" asked for his reserve units and when they hit the deck, he was pleased. I kind of look at the reserves as being in a "bar room fight." You need someone to cover your back and if you do go down, they will take over. Thank God for the United States Marine Reservists. They cover our backs and if you look at USMC History, on the front lines too. They never fail.
"Corpsman," our "Docs," in 150 years of Marine Corps Heritage in my family, these men certainly are called Marines in my family. And amongst the Marines I deal with daily, the "Doc" is highly respected, from the "CO" down to the "PFC." Sgt Grit, thank you for allowing my opinion once again. And, I thank each here that is reading this Newsletter. For you each, are truly "American Patriots." United States Marines. God Bless you, God Bless America and God Bless you "Corps."
Semper Fi Steve Robertson
Sgt Grit, among all the letters concerning our troops in Iraq, I want to add a little humor concerning recruit training at MCRD San Diego in July of 1956. Our Sr. D. I. was Staff Sgt O.D. Reid and our Jr. D.I. was Sgt. P.J. O'neill. Our platoon was Platoon 1004 Sgt O'Niell had a small talking role in the movie "The D.I." with Jack Webb. I understand that all of the recruits in the movie platoon were drill instructors with the exception of the Hollywood actors.
One Monday morning, Sgt. O'Neill came out of the duty hut limping. He had sprained his ankle playing softball but thought he could pull his duty. We fell out for chow and he gave the squads right and away we went. We had only gone a few steps when he called us to a halt. He said, " You people are moving to fast. I can't walk that fast. I gotta limp, you gotta limp." Until his ankle healed, our cadence was a rather slow, " Left, limp, left, limp" until his ankle healed. Thought I'd inject a little humor.
Robert R. Richardson
I SIGNED SO MANY PETITIONS
Well guess what Pilgrim, I got my face on another stamp this time it will be on "The Legends of Hollywood sign John Wayne. Its true he's on another stamp on the Postal Service Annual "Legends of Hollywood" commemorative Postage stamp. OOOH "Chesty" you just turned over again in your grave. But Your still a Legend in the U.S. Marine Corps, it's just we are having a h*ll of a time getting you stuck on a postage. I signed so many petitions and checked squares on emails to get a commemorative stamp for "Chesty" that I've lost count.We have had Ducks, Flowers, Presidents, Mickey Mouse, Cartoon Characters and three John Wayne's. What does it take, do we have to print our own stamp, like the Thirteen Colonies did when they printed their own money.Semper Fi, lets not only remember "Chesty", all those Marines Past, PRESENT, and Future and especially those over in the SAND PITOrah/Semper Fi... Paul R. Renfro,Cpl 3rd Mar., 51/54, firstname.lastname@example.org
I in no way say that Marines should know all the names of ships they were on if there were many. But marines who went over on a troop ship and came home on a troop ship usually remember the names of those ships. I have talked to many Korean veterans who were only on two ships during their Korean service and every one of them could remember the names of the ships they were on. I went over on the General C C Belue and came home on the USNS Gen A E Anderson I'm not sure of the spelling of the first ship. I would think a man would remember at least the name of one of the ships he was on.
The love of a beautiful woman
The love of a staunch young man
The love of a newborn baby
Has been here since time began
But the greatest of loves
The quintessence of love
Even greater than the love of a mother
Is the boisterous, exuberant love of one drunk Marine for another Unknown
Dear Sgt. Grit. Here is a boot camp memory from PISC. Just before Easter 1969, am recruit in plt. 240 received a package from home. This package contained a large chocolate Easter bunny and some other Easter candy. This recruit [ can't remember his name ] was brought to the center of the squad bay and our Drill Instructor gave this recruit the large chocolate bunny and two full canteen cups containing hot water. The recruit was then told to eat the bunny and wash it down with the hot water. That poor SOB was on a constant head call the rest of the night.
Bob Rohrbaugh,Sgt. 69-75. USMCR.
3rd Reconnaissance Battalion Association
To the Marines and Corpsmen who served with the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, (Rein) Republic of Vietnam, to supporting units, to the family and friends of those who served, and to the men of honor with "Wings of Gold". you are invited to join your friends and comrades in Louisville, Kentucky Wednesday September 8, 2004 for the 3rd Recon Association's 2004 Reunion, LZ Bluegrass Arrive: Wednesday September 8, 2004, Depart: Sunday September 12, 2004
Battalion Harborsite: Galt House Hotel
140 North Fourth Avenue Louisville, KY 40202
Tel (800)626-1814 or (502) 589-5200
For More Information: go to our web page
Steve Shircliff, 2004 Reunion Chairman
Day phone (812)-952-1700
Evening phone (859)-342-6456
I'M NOT P!SSED ABOUT
Hey Sgt. Grit,
Lcpl Bueti here, 3531 "Roll on Motor T". Its been about 9 months now that I've been receiving your newsletter. My Mother signed me up for it, When I got home from Kuwait in June '03, so I would maybe find some comfort in the Sea/War Stories of others, And in all Honesty, I look forward To every Newsletter. But Now I'm P!ssed, My Unit Will Be going back to Iraq again, this June. I'm Not p!ssed About Going Back, I'm P!ssed About Our Fallen Brothers in Fallujah. We gotta Pull Our Dogs out of there And Nuke the Whole Stinkin lot of 'em. LET'S GO MARINES, THE HORNS OF WAR OF BEING BLOWN ONCE MORE, LET'S SHOW THESE HAJEES WHAT THE DOGS OF H*LL CAN DO. P!SS ON IRAQ, AND P!SS ON THEY'RE IDEA OF PEACE. IF THEY WANNA LIVE BY THE GUN, THEY'LL FALL TO THE WAY OF THE M-16A2 SERVICE RIFLE, ERRRRR.
Thanks Sgt.Grit for everything.
God bless You, The Corp, and our Fallen Brothers
Lcpl Bueti (USMC), 6th Comm Bn, 3531
My son is a Marine currently stationed stateside, about 1,200 miles from home. He recently got sudden and unexpected custody of his 2 young daughters. In his words, "Mom, I knew I wanted to make a career of the Corps, but this has really solidified it..." He was talking about the way his fellow Marines on base have gathered around to help him. When I dropped him and his girls off the only furniture in the house was a love seat and sofa, and the port-a-crib I gave him for as long as he needs it (the youngest is 1). His house is now fully furnished, he has had a car nearly given to him (much less than it is worth), and support from his superiors in every way possible. I hope you print this, to give a relatively new Marine mom an opportunity to say:
"Thank You!!! To all of you who are there for my son and granddaughters, you are his family whether I am there or not, and I pray for you all daily!"
Proud and thankful Marine Mom in Oregon
I AM QUITE CONFIDENT
I am a veteran combat Marine and I will be the first to tell you that losing a buddy isn't a great feeling at all especially when he's right beside you! However, I am quite confident that our brothers out there in Iraq, and Afghanistan are giving as good or better than they are getting! Just remember to give them a big OOORAH!!! whenever you can and as always SEMPER FI!!! Cause if they are writing the next chapter in our proud 229 year legacy then they d@mn well deserve our gratitude and also our envy cause we cant be there beside them when the deal goes down! I am d@mn proud to be part of this country and also d@mn proud to be a United States Marine!!!
David I. Jones Cpl. USMC Ret.
Quick question about the history of POG and Pogey Bait. I am a former Marine...NBC (5711)...and I was trying to explained the history of these terms. If I am not mistaken, pogey bait was to feed the (parden the therm) "twinkie-eatin admin POGs in the rear." Not that I wasn't a little myself...being a glow worm and all, but this was boot camp...before we all had identities and all. When I looked on the internet, I only saw stuff about Oriental prostitutes and if you look in the Dictionary of American Slang, Third Edition_ (1995), it's even worse...check it.
If you could help point me in the right direction so I can prove this X Army, beret-wearing, trouser tucking sand bagger wrong, it would be most appreciative.
IN ANY FAMILY
I have been reading your newsletter every Friday and just got your magazine, and I wanted to say Thank you. You are really doing an outstanding job.
It has been very interesting to read some of the back and forth between active duty Marines and reserve Marines. I joined the USMCR in 89 and was a reservist for 8 years. During which time I spent 6 months on active duty with 2nd MARDIV, 2nd LAR participating in Operation Desert Shield/Storm. Personally I don't mind a little ribbing between the active and reserve forces, as long as it is just in fun. In any family there will be some of that going on. There always has been, and always will be, ribbing going on between active and reserve, infantry and support, everyone against the air wing =) etc. But when the bullets start flying, or any other military branch starts in, you see that brotherhood kick in and we are all Marines, no matter our MOS or current status (active, reserve, retired, etc.). That is one of the things that make the Marines Corps the great family that it is. Semper Fi'
Sgt. Chris Roys
Delta Co. 4th LAR
HIS UNIFORM IS DIFFERENT
Speaking of Boot Camp memories, I remember in the summer of 1944 while at P.I. our GI, DI from PI taught us to sing the following to the tune of THE MARINE CORPS HYMN:
You can have your Army kaki,
You can have your Navy blue.