"We caught a few days ago a Corporal who had deserted. We have just given him two hundred lashes and had his head shaved, but we will never cure this evil till we can shoot one or two of them."
William Ward Burroughs
Second Commandant US Marines
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PIGDOGS AND SARGE
I work in a casino in Tunica Co, MS. This morning when I got off, I went to the casino next door to have a couple of beers. So I belly up to the bar and see this Latino looking guy next to me with a leather jacket and baseball cap pulled down low. I said to him, "D*mn Dude, you look just like Lou Diamond Phillips." He says back to me, "D*mn Dude, you look just like a Jarhead." So I grin and say, "Well I was a Jarhead for ten years." He grins and says, "Well, I been Lou Diamond Phillips all my life." I shook his hand and said, "Thanks for all the great movies." He says, "No, thank you for what you did for this country, Sarge."
I went down to the other end of the bar and watched everyone make asses of themselves crowding him for his autograph and trying to be his buddy til he had to leave to get away from them. I didn't correct him for calling me Sarge. Everyone calls me that just from my looks and I kinda like it. I think it's endearing and meant as a compliment. Actually, the whole time I went in the Corps in 79, all I ever wanted was to be called Sarge. To my shagrin, when I picked up Sergeant, not one soul ever called me that....LOL! Ya'll need to lighten up. When people call you that, they have no idea that Marines are offended by it and they mean it as a compliment. Besides...you can't offend a Marine anyway. The Germans called us "Tuffel Hunden" as an insult. The next day, half the Marine Corps had "Devil Dogs" tattooed on their chests. If the Germans had called us "Schweinhunden" at Belleau Wood, we would all have "Pigdogs" tattooed on our chests instead of Devildogs. Not to mention, when one of my Army brothers (I have two brothers in the Army) calls me "Jarhead" I know they say it with pride in me. There is a former Gunny I work with at the casino who calls me Sarge - because that's who I look like, he says. I like it.
Veteran Marine Sarge
To Sgt JA Allen,
Just a little correction to you respectful old salt of our glorious Corps, from this young Marine who considers himself a history buff. We Marines still call Master Sergeants "Top", but it is not very common among us infantry Marines because there are none in our MOS. MGySgts, to my knowledge, were never called Top and therefore we still don't call them that. If we do, that Marine will have the h#ll of his life fall upon him. Warrant Officers that are the weapons expert of the infantry battalions are still called Gunners; though we enlisted refer to them as "Sirs", out of fear as well as respect. Only warrant officers that are weapons expert are called Gunners, to my best knowledge. A Warrant Officer is a god in the Marine Corps; you just don't talk to them or approach them unless you are order to do so. Thank you for giving me the chance to correct you on that, no disrespect to you; I salute you all Old Salts.
Sgt OA Martinez, 0311/USMC
MSG DET Colombo, Sri Lanka
To any active or recently EAS Marines out there: Yes, we don't call Sergeants "Sarge", that will be disrespectful. But if you did not walk that sands of Iwo Jima or the streets of Da Nang; just remain silent and let these Old Salts called them selves as they fit in thee newsletter.
THREE MEALS A DAY
My Junior finally left to San Diego this last Monday. Unfortunately for me I couldn't be in town to say bye to mi kid. Boy do I miss him, and had not heard anything from him yet. Well, my wife called me today, she received a 15 second phone call from him. He said, Mom, I'm getting 3 meals a day, being assigned some duties and you'll be receiving a letter from me soon with the address where you can write me back to and that was it! What a relief! he's just fine and I'm so proud of him, but I'm dying to have him back. Give me some strength please!
Alejandro Torres Houston, Tx.
A minister was seated next to a Marine on a flight to Huntsville, Alabama. After the plane was airborne, drink orders were taken. The Marine asked for a whiskey and soda, which was brought and placed before him. The flight attendant then asked the minister if he would like a drink.
He replied in disgust, "I'd rather be savagely raped by brazen whores than let liquor touch my lips."
The Marine then handed his drink back to the attendant and said, "Me too. I didn't know we had a choice."
Submitted by. Paul C.
On that date, in Korea is the 30th. 52 years to the day I heard my name called, and said "get your gear, your going home". I grabbed my weapon and one of the guys said, "aren't you gonna say goodbye", and I told him he was my personal emissary to tell all the rest, ADIOS!! That is one day I'll never forget. For the last two months we were in a valley in a foxhole at 30* below zero from dusk to dawn. Think I wasn't a happy trooper. And to top it off, coming home we stopped for a couple of days in Honolulu. Think about it, 30 below and less that two weeks later on the beach in Hawaii. Tuff duty!!!!!!!!
NC 0331 1108487 '50-52
BEING WELL DISCIPLINED
I would be interested to hear about the things recruits did to get kicked out of boot camp. I witnessed two events during my time at PI, so I am assuming there are probably a ton of stories (some funny, some probably not). We had one guy drink a bottle of Wisk. All he accomplished was puking all over the quarter deck. He threw such a fit when the MP's came that they put him in a straight jacket. Another guy decided to hang himself from the top of his rack with a belt in the middle of the night, but instead of jumping off and doing the job right, he just hung there gasping and weezing. After about 5 seconds he apparently changed his mind and started calling for help. Being well disciplined recruits, we all stayed in our racks while the fire watch pounded on the DI house hatch. After the fire watch informed the DI (through the door) what was happening, the DI's response was "Is he dead yet?!" Fire watch response: "Sir no Sir!" DI: "Then why are you waking me up!". Of course the DI came out and the recruit was fine and sent packing. One of those things that are funny after the fact.
SGT. Matt Kirk
Oct. 86-July 90
Recalled for Desert Storm, Released April 91
THEY WERE TIRED
While a DI at PI my Plt was on work detail. One afternoon I got a call from the sentry at the main gate. He told me 4 of my recruits were trying to march off the base! I got to the gate as fast as I could, and in as few words as I knew they would understand. I asked what the beeb----------- they were doing? They told me that I had taught them that Marines always stayed together! So they told me they were tired of Boot Camp, and just going to march home together! We had a nice talk in the squad bay that night, and they agreed with me to finish boot camp if they could drill the next day without limping.
Gy Sgt. David Lott,retired 1962-1982
TO HER CREDIT
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I'll never forget the first four words my mother announced after learning I wanted to become a Marine, "Like h*ll you will!" To her credit, she became very supportive though I could tell she never really felt at ease about where I was or what I was doing. I'll never forget telling her I was going to become a Forward Observer. Needless to say, I left out a lot of detail concerning this particular MOS.
She died recently and as my family was putting her effects in order, I came across a large box marked "George, USMC." The box contained all of my letters home over the years I served. I read through the letters I sent from Parris Island. My progression through recruit training in the summer of 1977 came back vividly; carefully preserved by my mother.
There was one final note written by my mother in the box. It simply read, "I never wanted him to go, but I was always proud."
HERE IS THE PROBLEM
Have a problem here that maybe one of your readers can help me solve. I'm a retired M/Sgt with 20 1/2 years under my belt.... Dec 42 to June 63. Served in the pacific during WWII...Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian, Okinawa and on to the occupation of Japan. Also served in Korea Sept 50 to July 51.
Here is the problem, and I admit, part of it is my fault, for not checking that my DD214s were correct; When I applied for the Korean War Service Medal, the one issued by Korea, I checked the 214s and no where on either of the two does it show that I served in any combat at anytime. I have been writing almost ever d*mn government agency for the past two years who may be able to correct the situation. All to no avail, it's like talking to a blank wall. On the back of the Honorable Discharges it spells out where I have been etc etc. However, in almost all cases if you submit for any thing you have to show the DD214, all mine say is "none" on line 26...decorations, medals, badges, commendations, citations and campaign ribbons awards
Is there any out there who has run into this situation and if so was it ever corrected and by whom?
M/Sgt USMC (Ret)
I wanted to chime in about Terry King's mutiny experience in Hawaii. I was stationed in the same place almost ten years later. I do remember what he was talking about with all of the vines on the fence. When I was there we had to keep them pretty well trimmed. But we also didn't put in the hours that you were talking about in the last news letter. I don't know if Terry enjoyed the same experiences that I did out on the other side of the flight line. But if anyone was stationed out there they know that the Ordnance guys were quite a ways from the rest of the base. So we would pull some great stunts out there, I do remember the long hours at times out there in the bomb buildup area by the beach. One thing that I remember most about the people that I worked with. I know that we all worked hard at times, but boy did we play even harder! Now I am sure that a lot of you Jarheads had similar experiences with the people that you were in with. That is probably that hardest thing to cope with since leaving active duty, civilians just don't get it. Your Marine Buddy would give you their last 5 bucks in you needed it. You could take their car whenever needed, try and ask your buddy back here for his last 5 or his car. You will probably get laughed at. I have always related it to almost family like. Think about it, you leave home at a young age and you learn to lean on each other because your family is no longer around. That is where this brotherhood comes from. As I have heard a number of times before, you just can't trade those times for anything.
A little side note, when I see a Marine Corps sticker on the passing vehicle, I look over and instantly think " that person has their sh*t together, must be a pretty good person!"
CPL Jeff Kline
The story of the young Marine being invited to join a motivational platoon brought to mind an event that took place outside the Buck Sergeants entrance to the mess hall at Camp Gieger in the spring of 1955. Marines and Corpsman were in a group talking as the brig prisoners were being marched to the mess hall where they entered the door beside ours. This was a tough brig and the formation of around ninety prisoners were escorted by eight Marines armed with shotguns. As the brig formation came onto the blacktop outside the mess hall doing the "prisoners shuffle" you could feel the ground shake each time they would stomp the ground with their right foot. After being halted the chasers began administrating some discipline to those prisoners who dared to look around. A corpsman standing next to me objected to this treatment in a voice loud enough for the prisoners and chasers to hear. I pointed out to the Corpsman that it was the utmost folly to interfere with a Marine brig formation and suggested he look the other way. He would have nothing to do with my words of caution and again that it was bull-s**t to treat men in that fashion. I left his side. He was approached by one the chasers and told to join the end of the formation of prisoners. He refused, cursing at the Marine. The chasers then attempted to grab him by the collar of his jumper and the corpsman pulled away at which point the chaser chambered a round in his weapon and ordered his into the formation. To all of our relief he complied with the order this time. He entered the mess hall with them and the last time I saw him he was on the end of the formation as they marched back to the brig and he was doing a very credible "prisoners shuffle."
In closing I want to say hello to Sgt. Maj. Bob Linn.
MSgt. U.S.M.C.R. [ret]
RECRUIT MUST HAVE CRINGED
My husband was a DI at PI 1966-1969 and 1972-1974. One day he asked me to pick him up after work. So I dutifully waited for him behind the 2nd battalion wooden barracks. After about 20 minutes and no sign of him, I stopped a recruit who was coming out of the barracks and asked him to go back inside and tell Sgt. Cargill that his wife was waiting for him. The poor recruit must have cringed, but he did as ordered. A few minutes later, my husband came out of the barracks and laughed himself silly when he told me that the recruit had said "SIR, MRS. DRILL INSTRUCTOR IS WAITING FOR THE DRILL INSTRUCTOR, SIR!" We still laugh about that today.
I noticed in my official Marine Corps Heritage Association 2004 calendar that February 13th, 2004, will be the 60th "Birthday" of the Women Marines (February 13, 1943).
Semper Fi, Marines!
University of Parris Island, Class of '67
THIS NO LONGER EXISTS
We always called our Sgt., Sarge, Gunnery Sgt., Gunny, and 1st Sgt.,Top (although it was very rare that we ever called him that.) I was a Sgt. in Korea and never heard anybody call me anything but Sarge. When did all of this change?
The other term I take offense at is calling an 0300 infantry man a "grunt". To me it sounds offensive that anyone would call a Marine a grunt but I understand readily how it came to be part of the vernacular.
My last comment refers to the barracks where the cots were stacked two high and about two feet apart. I understand that today this no longer exists and "quarters" are more sophisticated. I often reminisce about the camaraderie and ambiance of those old barrack days and often wonder if today's Marines are missing out on one " interesting " aspect of Marine life.
Respectfully submitted and no offense intended to anyone.
Sgt. George Maling H-3-5 Korea
LIBERATED A BAG
Just thought I'd add ..one of my stories from boot camp.... Platoon 138 in 1968.....For some reason the head had been secured...not sure why, but no head calls through out the night...Was in major discomfort some time early in the morning....It occurred to me that our sea bags, tied at the end of our racks... held new uniforms and some of the items where in plastic bags...So worked my hand into the bag...liberated a bag and did my business....Threw it out of the second story building. Of course at reveille I was the first one out...ran to the site grabbed the tied bag and threw as far under the building as possible....No one ever knew. Maybe it's still there...ha ha....Any way lots of stories during my time in the Corps. I was in Nam 1969 with 3rd. Division 2/4..Radio Operator (2531)...End service as Correctional Officer at Portsmouth Naval Prison in New Hampshire...actually Kittery Maine in 1972...Semper Fi to all former and present Marines.
THE PROPER TITLE
First, I would like to once again remind my fellow Marines that there is no such thing as the "Marine Corps Hymn". As I was taught in Boot Camp, "the Marine Corps doesn't have a hymn, Marines have a hymn. " The proper title for our song is the "Marines' Hymn". Don't know why this is such a pet peeve of mine. Guess its just because I'm getting old and cranky. Found the letter about K/4/13 very interesting. The Order of Battle only lists complete battalions (to include battalion headquarters) that served in country. Companies/Batteries that were deployed get no recognition. That's why I can't seem to locate the letter companies of my battalion (5th Shore Party Bn.).
I assume the part about being in the "12th Mar Div., Ref" is a typo. I assume the writer is referring to 12th Marines, 3rd Marine Division? Or 13th Marines,, 5th Marine Division, Rein.?
GET IN THE BACK OF THE TRUCK
My BEST memory of "Sarge"...
February 5, 1958 - about 1900 as I recall, San Diego airport. A small group of us soon-to-be Marines were waiting in the lobby to be picked up and taken aboard MCRD San Diego. A beautiful 1946-48 vintage International Harvester truck, painted Marine Green - and SPOTLESS, pulls up. A very short buck Sgt. dismounts. He has a HUGE black eye. Finds the lad with the roster and says, "When I call your name, get in the back of the truck".
After several names were called one yahoo steps up to the truck, looks in and says, "Hey Sarge, there are no more seats". Without a sound the "Sarge" takes two steps and kicks the "Yahoo" right in the A.. lifting said yahoo off the ground and says - VERY LOUDLY - "When I call your name get your A.. in the back of the F.....g truck"! I thought to myself, WHAT THE H#LL HAVE I DONE!!!
Semper Fi Glenn "Sam" Bass Cpl. 1958-1963
CON THIEN AND KHE SANH
Sgt. Grit..... I am regularly forwarded your news letter from a very good friend of mine who retired from the Marine Corps in 1977. He enlisted in 1957 and retired a Major of Marines. I just spent 19 months with him working for a Base Operating Support Contractor on the infamous island of Diego Garcia, B.I.O.T. He is still there. I recently returned to the United States but he keeps forwarding the news letter like clockwork. So, I think it is time for me to get added on your list of subscribers. For the record, I retired in 1997 after serving 31 years in our Marine Corps. I initially was enlisted for 9 years before finally graduating from college after many long years of going to school at night. I retired as a senior Marine Corps Officer.
Actually, I read these many "war" stories with a great deal of interest hoping to come across more of the WWII and Korea stories because many of the Marines that participated in these wars are still alive. Unfortunately, from the WWI days and back we have all but lost these heroes. So, the WWII and Korean war Marine era veterans are my heroes. As you can imagine, I like many of your other Viet Nam, Beirut, Granada, Panama, Somalia and Iraq Marines, could bend your ear endlessly about our exploits in war, afloat deployments and garrison duty in the United States (CONUS) and throughout the world. So, finding fault and errors with some of the contributor's submissions is really not my quest. Sometimes though, even a 31 years veteran Marine retiree has to put his/her two cents in just to clear the record or expand on things that are mentioned in your news letter. I am NOT a Marine historian by any means and we all know that you can go to the Marine Corps Historical Society and find enough detail on any major action in just about our entire Marine Corps history....right down to what an area looked like and what happened and who did it there.
I need to commend L/Cpl Craft on his long article about his Viet Nam exploits and actually things were going pretty good and were interesting until he brought up Con Thien and Khe Sanh. I was with 1/9....actually we had two nick names...."The walking Dead" and sometimes we would be referred to as the "Ghost Battalion." Two pumps in-country and four PHs does not make me an expert on Viet Nam or where and what I did in Viet Nam nor does it allow my memory to remain "picture perfect." I submit, I have forgotten much after 36 years.....31 of which was on active duty :-) Sometimes I have to be reminded by my friends at the Marine Corps League of things I participated in but cannot remember the detail they have and many of them were in for 2-4 honorable years way back when it all happened. Well, no need to expand on Con Thien....if you were in 1/9 from 67-69 at least (Even if you were with another unit as far as that goes), you pretty much know what happened there and yes, it was tough in terms of loss of life and other casualties and much has been written about Con Thien. Much has been written about Khe Sanh as well and the ironic thing for me was that it took me 25 years (On active duty at the time) to even know their was a Khe Sanh Veterans Association or even a 1/9 Association. Funny, being on AD does not mean you are in touch! I actually was in Washington, DC in 1993 for their (Khe Sanh Veterans Association) 25th reunion and was a LtCol at the time and I happened to find out about the reunion by chance while TAD to HQMC. Few from 1/9 were there but the 26th Marines were well represented and our brave Navy Corpsman that were part of (notice I did not say assigned) our organizations could make it were there as well. Can't say enough about Navy Corpsman folks!
Okay....let me get on with this...... L/Cpl Craft, my memory of Khe Sanh is still pretty vivid and the statistics you spoke of can be validated by reading a HQMC publication on Khe Sanh that was printed around 1970 or 1971. 1/9 was only one of a few Marine air and ground units that actually were at Khe Sanh in January 1968.....TET....for the "Siege." We were assigned the outer perimeter and not in the Combat Base itself. Our lines stretched a long way around and the outer perimeter and the Drop Zone for parachuted supplies were dropped in that area (Not enough medals were given to the red patchers who, under mortar, arty and rocket fire were out there picking those supplies up without cover) we could look up at the hills the 26th Marines defended daily which is beyond most people's comprehension. Wow, were these Marines tough and very brave!
(The famous hill battles of 861/881, etc.) I made many trips down into the combat base...mostly to "Graves Registration" for identification purposes.....but, before we even arrived, we were told that the combat base was not a fun place to be in late 1967 even before we got there and I know of only a few "bunkers" that were above ground in January 1968. I cannot for the life of me recall anyone in starched utilities or Marines marching to chow (C-rats were issued once a day and each squad in our Bn. were issued the appropriate number of cases to support the squads strength...which changed daily sometimes) or anywhere else in that h#ll hole of red dirt. If their was a mess hall, it was not there in January or it was camouflaged to look like something else and every swinging d*** both on the lines and in the combat base "lived" underground in some capacity and every hole was connected by a trench that was dug by hand all the way out to our lines from the base...with a few exceptions. I remember them bringing in trench digger but it lasted a day or two because the NVA were so deadly accurate at zeroing in mortars and arty on anything that looked important...even the half cut barrel sh*****s with 2x4's for seats that lined the trenches were marked targets :-). The "Khe Sanh Shuffle" was the norm not the exception for the very reason you stated about Con Thien and the folks down in the combat base (In my opinion) took the bulk of the rocket, arty and mortar rounds (While the hill Marines were brutalized daily as well by the same torturous incoming and human wave attacks) and would be silly sh!ts in that type of combat environment to try to live above ground even before 1/9 arrived. The old saying we generated, "stay out of Khe Sanh, the runway has holes in it) was common knowledge as was the saying,"For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the protected never know" which seemed to be on every helmet and flak jacket worn at least by those in 1/9. This saying, to my knowledge, was reiterated Viet Nam wide well before the time you ran into the "reporter." I am sure you believed it to be an original phase though. In any event.....I think it a little unfair, and I apologize in advance if my memory is incorrect, to suggest that those Marines and sailors that were at Khe Sanh in late 1967 and during the TET Offensive in 1968 lived a particularly regimented...march to chow....luxury type of life. If I did not understand what you were trying to convey and possibly even got the dates wrong...that old memory acting up again....please forgive me. Some people that read these letters only have what they read to determine what places like Khe Sanh were like and as much accuracy as possible is needed (That is why I apologize in advance if I incorrectly have forgotten something or tried to second guess my memory) when we try to tell them about it.
FYI and by the way you can appreciate this...many of the older Marines may know what an Ontos was (I refer to your action to alert the grunts before firing and the Medal Of Honor reference to that action) but many of the younger Marines may not. You must have been with 3rd AT Bn? For their education and a reminder to the older Marines, an Ontos had six, 106MM recoilless rifles (three mounted on each side) with four (Could have been two...that memory again), 50 Cal spotters mounted on the top guns and during my day one 30 cal machine gun mounted in the center of the top hatch. The spotters and the 106 guns all had to be bore-sighted with string cross hairs mounted to the end of each gun barrel with a rubber band or more sting or whatever you could find at the time. The idea was to have the 106 round end where the spotter phosphorous round landed. Not always the case though :-) The 30 Cal MG was later replaced by the M-60 MG. The plate thickness was very thin....3/4 inches in some cases and the tracks were made of thin rubber actually screwed to steel grips used for traction. I was actually initially trained as an Ontos crewman at Camp Pendleton (0353 MOS) just before departing for Staging Bn. and Viet Nam. When I arrived at Da Nang (via Okinawa) at the well worn air terminal where all the unit assignments were handed out in mass with little or no regard to your MOS training, my name was called off with 30 others to be assigned to 1/9 (The old salts standing around waiting for R&R or going home looked like they came right out of the jungle...hard, dirty, long stares, tired and they had not turned their weapons or grenades or clamores into the cage yet at that terminal and most had something to say about our 1/9 assignment "wake upcall" that would soon be upon us) and the rest is history...my Grunt days were about to begin regardless of my Ontos training. After my last pump, they actually sent me back to Camp Del Mar (21 Area) at Pendleton to be an instructor in, of all things, the Ontos in Schools Bn. and I had to learn all over again. My "Pig" (A-22) was one of the last used for training before getting rid of them and you can see it at 29 Palms with all the old Amtrak's, SP Howitzers,etc. It used to be staged along the main drag on your way to Camp Wilson.
I have already written more than I should have. Just kept coming out. Sorry, after 31 years of wearing that uniform, it is hard for some to take it off. No more from me.
United States Marine Corps (Retired)
SPIKED HAIR AND CHAINS EVERYWHERE
I was nervous the whole way to San Diego. On the plane ride Mike and I, buddy system buddy, sat next to this really freaky looking guy, loud clothes ripped jeans, spiked hair and chains everywhere. He spend most of the flight with his headphones on. About the time the plane started to descend Mike and I started talking about seeing the lights of San Diego (we were plain o'l country boys from Arkansas) and looking for MCRD. The freaky guy by now had taken off his headphones and asked if we were going to boot camp. We said yea Marine boot camp. He told us he was in the Navy and had been home on leave. I was kind of shocked. This guy didn't look military at all. I was wandering if the Navy knew this guy dressed like this. Anyway I wasn't impressed. I'm not knocking the Navy. I have great respect for all of our armed forces. Especially Corpsman. Anyway I knew Marines had more pride than to look like that. Made me glad in my choice to join the Marines. Besides, I didn't like bell bottoms. Next after getting off the plane, I suggested we take our last "Free Pee". After we left the toilet we headed down the concourse looking for a Marine that we were told would meet us there. There he was. Lean, mean and wearing green. He wasn't wearing a smoky but we all instinctively knew he was a Drill Instructor. Needless to say, it wasn't a warm, happy, welcome aboard kind of hello. It was quick, precise and clear instruction in a subdued, but very forceful voice. Looking back I believe he spoke in a low voice so that when other recruits showed up they would not be scared away before he "had" them. But once in his presence, your hide was his. When I first became interested in the Marine Corps, I made it a point to read all I could about the Marines and boot camp before I left. My neighbor was even a Marine so I talked to him about what to expect. None of that was still enough to prepare me for the actual events. I had in mind what to expect and I knew I could and would get through it, but there is nothing to prepare someone for the actual event of being in the presents of a Marine Drill Instructor and belonging to him. We got on the bus and sat there per his instructions. No one moved. It was hot, July, and the windows inside the bus had been left up and were by now steamed over. I wasn't going to put down any windows. He said not to move and I didn't want to be the first idiot to be singles out. After a eternity of waiting for other recruits to show up, he boarded the bus and after instructing us to lower the windows, we proceeded to MCRD. I don't remember seeing any cars. I didn't want to catch his attention by looking around. The city seemed deserted to me. The exit the bus took off the highway was the type that circled for ever while gradually descending down to below the highway. There wasn't much light and it was all concrete. Now keep in mind, I had never really been to a large city before. Never been away from home for very long. And I had certainly never been somewhere I could not leave if I had wanted. On a bus with a seemingly nearly rabid Marine Drill Instructor, (some unlucky individual had gotten his attention). Daring not to move. In a strange place. As we took the exit I had one thought as we descended in off ramp. We are descending into H#ll... You all know the rest of the story, yellow foot prints, haircuts.
God bless the Marine Corps and God bless America,
J. Bolin "Bo" 1986-1992 Wpns 1/5, 81's, Semper Fi.
Boot Camp 2074
p.s. I can wait until every issue of your magazine and newsletter comes out. I love reading stories about Marines.
do not recall the post that sent me to write the doggone post that I did. The first time that I called a MSgt " Top" was in Subic Bay, I was a LCpl, I was a new Corporal of the Guard. My Sgt of the Guard told me that the "Staff Duty Officer of the Day was Top Jeltma. As I recited, "The Staff Duty Officer, Officer of the Day IS": "TOP JELTMA", I glanced at my SOG, and he gave me a grin.
My SOG's name was Sgt. Bradway, The Sgt was a darn good leader, too. As far as calling a Warrant Officer "GUNNER", if the W.O. had a BURSTING BOMB, then, that is a GUNNER. All of the rest are not, I repeat not, an expert on weapons system's, But, the GUNNER is.
CPL KLINGLER, DOGGONE CPL OF MARINES, SEMPER FIDELIS
THE NEXT THING I HEARD
Sometimes it helps me get through the night to remember the good times in the Corps. I had just come back from Viet-Nam in 1967 . Most of the guys in 2/13 had not been over yet . We had to play war with the reservests (draft dodgers) . We had made a beach landing and were spending the night on the side of a mountain. Another Viet-Nam Marine and I were sent out on a listening post. We set up our perimeter ,set out our early warning devices ("c" ration cans hung on fishing line) around us. My buddy and I found ourselves transformed back into our survival instincts. We were in thick brush on the side of a mountain. We knew that we could be seriously hurt at short distance with m-14 blanks. When we got probed we sent word back that we wanted to pop some piro, shoot these sobs and get it over with. Well, it seems my buddy and I were the only combat veterans in the group. The old man said we were pxxxs and didn't need any d*mn piro. The aggressors got closer and my buddy,Jamie and I were transported back to Viet-Nam. We were ready to really hurt someone. Then my buddy, God bless him,came up with a plan. He said Rick if you laugh I'll get you. He then let out the most blood curdling mountain lion scream you ever heard ! The next thing I heard was OH, MFFFFFFF,OH SHHHHH and hear these guys running down the mountain and bouncing off of trees. As for the guys in the rear who didn't believe in pyrotechnics. They stayed up all night afraid of the mountain lion. Sometimes you just got to get their attention.
Rick Wilson ,Cpl,HDM 65-68
ONTOS WAS PHASED OUT
I read L/Cpl Craft's story about being an Ontos man at Con Thien and Khe Sanh. My question is that the Ontos was phased out in the 3rdMarDiv in August of '67. I know because I was assigned as the Division's Ontos platoon commander ( there is only one platoon) and I saw them in mothballs in Danang. The other thing, L/Cpl Craft has the opinion that all officers are dopes and that only the enlisted knew what they were doing. That is a poor attitude and simply a false myth. We are all Marines and officers have the additional burden of leading and making sure that there Marines are ready to fight, well supported and have their welfare at the forefront at all times.
Lt. Col. USMCR
A REAL THRILL
You said it all, D.H. Gilmour.
Both my wife and I are former Marines ('62-66) as is our oldest daughter ('85-89). Our second oldest son is a career Marine ('91 to present). We are the first Marines in our families. We, too, feel the same things as you do when it comes to the Corps. Watching our son graduate in 1991 was a real thrill. Yeah, the old Quonset huts were gone, but the grinder was still the same as was the pride in the eyes of all who were there.
We also watched my son receive his W.O. bars at the "stumps" last Feb. Yes, we feel the Pride and always will.
William B. Marshall (Sgt. 1997549)
I UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE SOME EXPERIENCE
I don't remember what all I told in my original message. I don't recall the name of Sgt. Major Schlechty in my time in the Corps but that was long ago. I served in the 13th Marines at Pendleton while awaiting my number to come up to go to Vietnam. I attended the VROC class in the summer of '68 and then went to Staging Battalion at Pendleton. I got stuck with mess duty after staging and then to the 13th Marines until March of '69 when I went to WestPac. I don't remember my exact unit with the 13th but while I was with them in the fall and winter of '68, we went to Nevada for cold weather training. I was with H&S 1/3 attached to 81 mortars. As a former Sgt. Major you will appreciate this story. When I arrived in Quang Tri to join 1/3, the Sgt. Major called me in to his office. He said, "I understand you have some experience in auto mechanics". I said that I did. He told me that if I could get the generator running in one hour he would see that I stayed in Motor Transport while attached to 1/3. This sounded pretty good at the time. I had graduated from Nashville Auto Diesel College in '67 and worked in that field before joining the Corps. Now, of course, I was a lean green killing machine but this Motor Transport thing really began to sound good. I went over to the Motor Pool area and looked at the generator. It was a little 3-71 Detroit Diesel generator set and I had worked on Detroits. I checked it out as it sputtered and missed and determined that the trouble was a tiny pin hole in the rubber hose that ran from the fuel pump to the 55 gallon barrel that held the fuel. This allowed the motor to suck air into the fuel and caused it to miss. The hose was long enough that I could just cut off a few feet where the hole was and it worked great. I was ecstatic. I went to bed that night dreaming about spending my time in the rear with the gear and the beer. What a way to fight a war! The next morning the Sarge came around telling us "newbies" to get our gear and get on the truck that would take us to the LZ to fly out to our unit in the bush. I told this bothersome, uninformed, nuisance that the Sgt. Major had told me personally that I would be staying in the rear. I was only a Lance Corporal at the time and the Sarge told me that the only reason the Sgt. Major wanted the generator fixed so bad is that he was having his going home party and the generator ran the cooler that kept the beer cold. He told me to get my gear and get on the truck. Oh well, thank God for Sgt. Majors. I made Corporal with 1/3 and then, after 2 years and 8 months in service, made Sgt. meritoriously while on a Med Cruise in 1970. All that is another story.
Bill Bratton- Former Sergeant of Marines
BIG TALL BLOND
Hey Sgt Grit,
Really enjoy reading your news letter every week. It is great and brings back so many memories about our beloved Corps. I also want to address this to Ron Shouse who wrote last week about Bravo Batt., 1st Bn, 13th Marines. Am glad he wrote about what Gunny Art had said a few weeks ago. You are right on brother Ron. I was a corpsman in B-1-13 and we were definitely there, in support of 2-26 most of the time, starting in Aug '66. Remember we rode the USS Bexar to RVN. Sorry I don't remember you Ron. Were you with us the whole tour in Nam? There were two of us corpsmen in the battery, Dave Klosterman, a big tall blond headed guy from Oregon; and me, a lot shorter from Texas. We both got to Pendleton about the time the Battery was forming up at Camp Horno and we both stayed with the Battery the whole 13 month tour. I remember Con Thien very well. One night there during a rocket attack, a big piece of shrapnel landed about a foot from my head.
Semper Fi, Jerry Griffin, HMCM, USN (Ret)
BEFORE AND ANGRY FORMATION
Before an angry formation of beloved Cannon-Cockers (led by Ron Shouse) show up at my Marine Barracks gate to drag me out and beat me, I think I should clarify the information I submitted. I have to rely on books for any information pertaining to the Marine Corps prior to 1968, when I enlisted. Primarily, the book I refer to is Shelby L. Stanton's "U.S. Army and Allied Ground Forces in Vietnam Order of Battle." I now have added "USMC-a Complete History" (Marine Corps Association), and "Semper Fi, Vietnam", by Edward R. Murphy to my collection, so I can cross-reference Stanton's information. Stanton makes no attempt to track each Artillery Battery as it arrived in-country. Keep in mind that the first battery in-country (12th Marines) came across the beach with 9th MEB on 8 March 1965. To keep things manageable, he uses only Battalion arrival and departure dates. I am not certain if he is using the date the entire battalion was in-country, or the date the battalion headquarters battery arrived in-country and went on-line.
His information is as follows, regarding the 13th Marines (attached to the 12th Marines):
1/13: July 1967 to March 1970
2/13: February 1968 to September 1968 (with deployment of 27th Marines)
As another example, he has 26th Marines arrival date as April 1967, yet the battalion arrival dates are August 1966 for 2/26 and 3/26, and September 1966 for 1/26. I believe this shows he is referring to Regimental/Battalion Headquarters arrival dates.
On the other hand, he lists the "1st, 5th and 7th Radio Battalions" as being in-country. That confuses the h#ll out of me, because I know the difference between a Radio Battalion (spying) and a Communications Battalion. Mr. Stanton was an Army officer, so maybe he thinks the Marine Corps only has radio gear.
My desire to learn all I could about the Marine Corps in Vietnam comes from two sources: my memory of how little I knew of the "big picture" as a lowly (and very young) PFC, and a very good friend of mine, son of a retired Marine, who served as a mortar-forker with the 26th Marines in-country, who didn't know the 26th Marines was a regiment detached from the 5th Marine Division and attached to the 1st Marine Division for service in Vietnam. I hope squares me away with my older brothers.
OPEN SQUAD BAY ONCE STOOD
Just wanted to say that I enjoy reading your Newsletter. I joined the Corps in April 1981. After completing Boot Camp at MCRDPI July '81, and FDC School at Fort Sill, Ok., Sept. '81, I was assigned to Kilo Battery, 1st Battalion, 10th Marines. In 1983, they decided to re-arrange the Units and Kilo Battery moved over to 4th Battalion. What a great experience I had in the Marine Corps. I was Honorably Discharged in April 1985, wanting to become a Law Enforcement Officer. In 1997, I decided to return to Camp Lejeune while I was in the Carolinas. What a difference in the Base. Where my old open squad bay once stood, there were the new 3 man rooms. All the beautiful oak trees that once lined the roadway were all gone. Now there were parking lots everywhere. I went to 10th Marine Regiment Headquarters and spoke to a SSgt. there. He informed me that Kilo 4/10 had become a Reserve Unit. I also inquired about Gunny King, and 1st. Pontes, and he stated that they recently retired. I know 1 thing now, if I knew then, what I know today, I definitely would have made a Career out of the United States Marine Corps! It definitely is a valuable learning experience for any young man, or woman. And you're left with a lifetime of Pride! To all the young Men/Women serving our Armed Forces, be Proud of Yourselves and God Bless You! To all the Marines, Past, Present, and Future; SEMPER-Fi !
Ronald C. Makosey
Cpl. USMC '81-'85.
My father recently had a gastric by-pass surgery where they took out more than 90% of his stomach due to cancer. His recovery was up and down to say the least but he has recuperated well and is actually back to work a mere 7 weeks after surgery. When speaking to him about his recovery, he told me it was the dedication and discipline he learned from the US Marine Corps. Funny thing is, he never served in the Marines. My father is a retired US Army/National Guardsmen and teacher at the local high school for the past 30+ years. The discipline he speaks of must be through osmosis from my older brother and me who both served proudly in our Corps from 86-90. With gentle prodding, he acknowledges the fact that he uses the discipline of Marines in his own life as well as in teaching his students. Nothing could have made me prouder than to hear my own father, whom I respect more than any other person EVER, say I was able to teach HIM something, especially that involved the Corps.
IT APPEARS THAT I AM STILL
It is 0530 Sunday morning and my daily newspaper hasn't arrived yet, so I'm reading my Sgt. Grit newsletter--the newest motivating factor in my life! Anyway, I figured I'd share a quick story and possibly answer a fellow jarhead's letter. First, I recently met a two star General at my son's engagement party this past June '03. He was extremely courteous and sincerely interested in my military history--a much better listener than speaker. During our conversation, I referred to myself as an ex-Marine. He immediately said, "You are not an ex-Marine, you are a former Marine (reminding me of this several times during our conversation). In one of the recent Sgt. Grit newsletters, a Marine pointed out that you become a former Marine when you die, so I sent a copy of that letter to the General and write in red after it, 'with all due respect, Sir, it appears you were only partially correct as I am not dead, it appears that I am still a Marine. Second, I am still trying to find Corporal Barry, last name unknown, from Camp Carroll, Tet '68 who sang "Road to Contein". I need the info for two Marine Corp. museums as I want to include it when making a donation, which they really need. Last, I may be able to answer Gunny Art, although I am not sure of his entire question? I was with 1/12 Artillery Regiment, Camp Carroll (DMZ), Feb. '68 thru July '68, then was transferred to BLT 2/26, 9th MAB, Rein FMFPAC. We were in direct support or used as reinforcements (0311) as needed and also with 4 Duece Mortars for the remainder of my tour thru Mar. '69 (25 operations for me). We were Whiskey Battery 1/12, our address as indicated on my DD214 was MorTBTRY, 1stBN, 12MAR, BLT 2/26 9thMAAB. Let me know if that helps. I am also curious about Lt. Col. George Gordon (White House duty 1961-63). Does he have any stories he can share about J.F.K.? J.F.K. had a profound influence on my joining the Corps after I read "Profiles in Courage" (which Kennedy received a Pulitzer price for in '55 or '56). Finally, Cpl. Russ Klinge "New Corps" comments about calling Sergeant (Sarge) as a VietNam "Old Timer", we DID cal our sergeants (E 5's) Sarge with absolutely no disrespect! I called my "Sarge" Christmas 2002 after 33 years and opened the conversation with, "Hi Sarge". It was a great reunion but he insisted that I call him Dennis. I told him I just couldn't! You also state that "hoo ah" is an Army thing too. Well, they obviously copied us. While on the Z, we had a Corporal who used it constantly. Don't know where he got it from but he was from Chicago (home of the former gangsters) and he was one of the most cautious Marines I ever met. Sgt. Grit, thanks for the rekindled spirit. Keep up the excellent work. Maybe we can get our Marine recruiters to utilize this newsletter for potential future Marines and gain the edge over other branches by getting the best! I am using Sgt. Grit as one of the major resources of information for a high school senior who is enlisting in the Corp. and doing an English term paper on the Corp.
Marine Corporal Joseph Bissonnette, Tet 68-69
PFC THROUGH FULL BIRD
Hey Sgt Grit!
First I have to say that I have never laughed so hard than when I read Mark Klassen's boot camp story. I had two people at work come up and ask if I was ok and through tear streaked eyes I looked at them and said yes. Unbelievable story! Now for a boot camp story of my own...Parris Island 1987 PLT 4013. Rifle qualified as series high shooter with a 238. The pride in having done that was enough for me, but one evening after chow both platoons marched to the parade deck and stood at attention as our series commander Capt. McCarthy was front and center. She gave a little talk to us and then all of a sudden I hear Pvt Keim front and center. I had to eyeball because there was no way I was leaving my spot thinking I just heard my name. Finally my one drill instructor Cpl Johnson said I know you're not making Capt McCarthy wait. At this point my heart is in my throat and beating so hard I think it's going to burst my ear drums. So front and center I go and Capt McCarthy starts about a tradition in the Marine Corps that when you shoot expert on the rifle range you give your chevron or bar to your coach. Since this was boot camp and we didn't have rank insignia, she was giving her Captains bars to me (just one). Well she handed it to me and I took it and saluted and just stood there not knowing what to do next. It only took 5 seconds for a drill instructor to indicate what I should be doing. Aside from earning my Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, that was one of the proudest experiences from boot camp. Did this ever happen to anyone else out there? I went on to become a 2531 then off to Okinawa where they sent me to the rifle range shortly after arrival. Upon shooting a 244 they decided to make me a coach and an 8531 after training. I saved all of the chevrons and bars I received that year and I have rankings of PFC up through Full Bird Colonel (I also coached pistol range). It was one of the best experiences I had in the Marine Corps. There's nothing like the smell of gun fire at the crack of dawn and assisting my fellow riflemen on the art of avoiding maggie's drawer's...Unfortunately, got to Camp Lejeune and my talents were needed more in the pm'ing of prc77's. I did achieve 6th award expert rifle and 4th award pistol and got to shoot in a Marine Corps rifle and pistol match.Ready on the right, ready on the left, the firing line is ready...Shooters you may commence shooting once your able target appears.
Michelle R. (Keim) Christman
CPL of Marines
87 - 91
TAKING CARE OF OUR OWN
I wanted to say thanks to all the Devil Dogs for some really motivating stories that just remind me of great times in the Corps and the camaraderie that we have. One of the things that motivates me the most is the fact of how we take care of our own. I have been out of active duty for a few years now and have been adjusting to civilian life a little more everyday but like all off you the Corps will gladly be a part of my life forever.
Over the last year I have attended a few funerals of friends of mine that were prior service, one Marine and one Air Force. Both still pretty young, only 30 & 41. Even though there aren't really any military units close by, The National guard provided services for my Airman buddy and did a decent job. For my fellow Marine, as I pulled into the cemetery, I saw the same National Guard detail. I was disappointed that we didn't have a Marine detail onsite but just as I turned the corner, there they were. Two Marine Staff Sergeants standing guard at the door to the pavilion where the services would be performed. Even though the Marines on duty didn't know my buddy, their demanding presence there said without words, " THIS ONE IS OURS". The National Guard members respectively took their post outside to fire a volley of shots, while the Marines moved in to their posts by the casket to take care of the Colors, and performed their task in true Marine Corps fashion - perfection. One more thing to add to the list of many that sets Marines apart from other services, the fact that we go through the extra effort and take care of our own on any level.
NOAD - Sergeant of Marines
I want to thank everyone for there prayers and support. The response to my wife's letter to you was absolutely overwhelming. It goes to show Marine's and family's are a breed apart. I expected a few e-mails but nothing like we have received. I have tried to answer as many as possible but I know some have been missed and that is not my intention. I wish to thank each and every one of you. Things at the moment are looking good. This tube I have up my nose to feed with is a little annoying but hopefully it will be gone the 12th of Feb. It is good to know the Marine brotherhood (and sisterhood) is alive and well.
Thank you all,
One Proud Marine Sgt. (noad),
RAIDER ASSOCIATION ANNUAL REUNION
U.S. MARINE RAIDER ASSOCIATION ANNUAL REUNION
8 - 11September, 2004
MAXWELL HOUSE HOTEL, NASHVILLE, TN
CONTACT FOR INFORMATION
J. DORNAN (817)275-1552 OR A. FISHER (901)276-3890
EMAIL - MarRaidRec@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Second Vice President
U.S. Marine Raider Association
WELCOME HOME PARTY
Living in the mountains, it's the kid down the road, not down the street or block, even though they come from them all. My kid down the street was just awarded the bronze star after returning from the Middle East. Not a Marine but, visiting with him at his family's welcome home party, he told me how much he had enjoyed being stationed and serving with Marines when he first arrived. He is an Army officer but when he talked about the Marines there was a twinkle in his eye and you could sense how much he respected that part of his service. To sum up his feelings he simply said "they sure do it right". This is someone I have known since he was 9 years old. A distinguished military graduate and just an outstanding human being and a very proud American. His respect for the Marine Corps needs to be shared for all those now in harms way. This guy wears jump wings and is no slouch. To earn his respect and admiration means something. To all my young brothers I say stand a little taller, keep your pride in what you do, and know in your hearts that the respect you have comes from others who have had the opportunity to serve with you and know the caliber of the Corps today. Thanks for keeping the honor and tradition at the highest levels. I know after talking with him I felt the pride and honor of having earned the title surge through me like a wave. Not only are the streets guarded at home by "old" Marines, but so are the blocks and mountains.
Just another Jarhead 61-65 Mt. Tremper NY
I guess I also have something old, I still have my dress blues buttons from 1949,boot camp P.I. They have been polished so much that there are a few very thin spots.
Gunnery Sgt U.S.M.C Retired
I have to answer the guys from the Vietnam war era who are bragging about the gear they have from that time. I still have the dress blues I bought in 1945. (No pockets on the blouse), and still have the first set of dog tags I was issued at PI. Also, my mother had three sons in the Corps during the Korean War. (not to brag).
Sgt. Grit print this for those guys who think they have something old from the USMC. I have my original razor from Boot Camp and my Raincoat with liner, moth holes included from my issue PI 51. Now who will beat that one. Semper Fi to all old Marines and new ones.
I pray for all each night.
I still have my old uniforms from the 50's. One of my son's wears my first field jacket issued in 1950 and wears it. A little shabby but wearable. Another son has another jacket that was issued to me in 53. My dress blues and winter uniforms are packed away including the marine Ike Jacket.
Jack Nolan 1950-1957
I have just finished reading your column,and thought I would mention that I to have something old. My dress blues from boot camp P.P 1949.Needless to say they have been a lot of places and outlasted three more sets of blues and polished so much they are pretty thin. They are still on my blues,set no 4.
Gy/Sgt U.S.M.C retired 49-69
To answer Cpl Foss, "I do not have my sweatshirt; however I still have my original PI Boot Camp issue boots from SEP 1975, 3rd BN, I CO, PLT 3013. The boots have been resoled several times; but, they have been with me through Boot Camp, Air Wing duty, Shellback initiation, DI duty and finally retirement. My old boots go out to the green pastures with me when I do my yard work. My boots are well worn; but, they are still comfortable and bring back plenty of Marine Corps memories.
GUNNY Rock Rockswold
USMC 1975 -1998
COMBAT ACTION RIBBON
Attached are the USMC requirements for the CAR.
In summary, the Marine must have been FIRED AT WITH DIRECT FIRE WEAPONS (PISTOL, RIFLES, MACHINE GUNS). Incoming rockets, mortars, RPG's,and "to whom it may concern" incoming do not qualify a Marine for the CAR. Being wounded by a "to whom it may concern" round or shrapnel does not qualify a Marine for the CAR, even though he or she received a PH. Contrast the Marine requirements with as summary of the Navy requirements Every sailor on a ship is eligible for the CAR if their ship is fired upon. Nam Marines, stand tall and be proud of our beloved Corps and your service to our country.
IT SEEMS LIKE THAT WARRANT OFFICER
Dear Sgt. Grit
I joined the Corps back in 1953, I was in Plt 353 MCRD San Diego. I was a tall skinny kid who smoked way to much and was in pitiful condition ( I actually had low blood pressure). Going through boot camp was a nightmare and we had several guys in the platoon who had just graduated from some well known military school in Virginia and they soon si