Regarding Marines who "complain too much" - when we STOP complaining, it's time to worry...something's up!
Tom McCourt (CPL, 0311, 80-86)
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LAND OF FREE MEN
To this day there are three pieces of music that brings 'chills' to spine and lock my vertebrae into the status of "Attennnnn-Hut". The day I became a MARINE on the main parade grinder in front of 1st Btln. at PI., October 9, 1964. We are parade rest awaiting the order to pass in review, suddenly the band plays "Adjutants Call", and the whole Company 'snaps to'. I felt a string of 'chills' run down my spine. To this day, "Adjutants Call", "The Marine Corps Hymn", and our glorious "National Anthem" require me to 'snap to', anywhere and everywhere. Before my old eyes I can almost make out the reviewing stand full of 'brass' and the hundreds of family members waiting to see their "little boys, and brothers" become Men. Base liberty till 1600 hours; a visit to the infirmary to give blood, a visit to the exchange to buy a Zippo that I still carry, and a salute to "Iron Mike", then route step to the squad bay at 3rd Btln. The whole platoon at attention by their racks, S/Sgt Billoti behind a draped table flanked by Sgt. Cottrell, and Cpl. Cron. That very afternoon our Sr. DI addressed us, not as "scumbags, pukes, worms, pansies, girls, ladies, or even recruits, but began with the magical, mystical words, "MARINES. WELCOME TO MY CORPS..." Today I am the proud Father of 4 Children and 8 Grandchildren but, that day so many years ago is still THE PROUDEST DAY IN THIS OLD JARHEADS LIFE. I think the only day to come that could or would make me as proud or prouder, is the day that I stand at attention alongside the reviewing stand, at PARRIS ISLAND, SAN DIEGO, or QUANTICO, and watch one or all of my Grandchildren become members of the great brotherhood known as UNITED STATES MARINES. I am the first of 2 Marines in my family, either side. My Dad's Sister's Son enlisted while I was in RVN and we would like to see more asmke the Corps a legacy of our families Just writing this and thinking of that day has caused my eyes to feel that pride. In my front yard, framed with a beautiful grassy plot is a self-made flagpole topped with that beautiful NATIONAL ENSIGN and just below, the flag that also flies every day, the emblem of pride, brotherhood, honor, and sacrifice. MY MARINE CORPS FLAG. It is not of less import to me but, it flies below my Country's Flag to honor this Nation and reaffirm my foreswearance of allegiance to it and the Constitution I hold so dear. It flies below to 'support, and defend' the Constitution from the Earth, and "...enemies, both foreign and domestic...". THEY fly to announce proudly to the World that the occupant of this land/home is ready, willing, and able to serve, protect and honor his Corps, his Nation, and his Brotherhood even to his death. Long may these banners wave over the Land of Free Men GOD BLESS the CORPS and THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Deane H. Gilmour
Sgt. U.S.M.C. 2098781
Act.Duty July 23, 1964 - July 22, 1968
and 'Lifer' at heart
life mem. M.C.L.
PHU BAI WERE WE STAYED
I read the article in your January 2004 News letter. There were actually 3 battalions from the 13th Marines in Viet Nam. Besides 1/13 and 2/13, Kilo 4/13 was also there. Kilo arrived in early '67 and reinforced the 3rd Mar Div acting as a unit of the 12th Marines in Dong Ha. When I arrived in country Kilo had already be at Gio Lin. 4/13 was located at C2 just south of Con Thien when Tet of '68 broke out. The unit stayed at C2 until August 1968. Kilo 4/13 was then placed on LCT's in Dong Ha at the Cua Viet River and floated out to sea. We followed the coast down to the Purfume River and went up to off load at Hue. Before the week was out we were sent to Phu Bai were we stayed until around October. We were then transferred to the 1st Mar Div and sent to An Hoa. I left country in February 1969, leaving behind the battery I so proudly served with. As far as I know, not very many people even know that Kilo 4/13, a 155, M109 SP battery, was even there.
My DD214 simply states Kilo 4/13, 12th MAR Div Ref.
BOOT CAMP STORIES
The first time for interior guard around 2nd BN area @ MCRDPI I was posted around the mess hall area with one portion of my route on Panama St. in front of those old wooden barracks (this was Nov. '67). On one trip around I could hear pounding and shouting from two voices one definitely the DI's and I guessed the other was a recruit. But, whatever was going on was coming from the squad bay area. Next trip around it was all quiet. Next time by the ambulance was pulling away. Heard through the grape vine that while the DI was pacing between the rows in the squad bay, the plt was doing the manual while in skivvies, one of the t*rds snapped and launched a horizontal butt stroke at the head of the DI as he passed by. But, those amphibious monsters have eyes in the back of their heads so the kid whiffed, didn't even get any of the Smokey, and landed himself in the hospital and brig. Our plt never had a revolt of any kind other than one alpha hotel who hung a foxtrot uniform on the Senior and just disappeared after we got back to barn. The guide and house mouse just packed his gear and took it away. It was early enough in the cycle that I wasn't going to risk moving my eyes away from directly to the front to see what happened to the smart a$$.
John, the motivation platoon was famous. I was assigned to the swimming pool for my work week and I was raking "grass" with another recruit when we heard this awful clatter coming our way. Turned out to be the mot plt on the way to the quarry. The noise was from the steel rims on the wagon being pulled and pushed. Other recruits were running with sledge hammers at port arms. I watched carefully (kept raking) the guy with me stopped and leaned on his rake to take in the show. The very large black Marine in charge came over and asked if he would like to join them. A loud NO SIR and a lot of furious raking.
My "tale" is a little different. One of the first things we were told was to NEVER let an outsider come between the Drill Instructor and the platoon. Well, we had a very small Pvt. Julian T", in our platoon, and he had the proverbial "coke bottle glasses", and couldn't see a thing without them. At evening muster, after our shower, we were getting our mail on the "company street" in front of the Quonset huts, and since he could stumble his way to his position, he didn't have his glasses on. We were standing "At Ease", and most of us saw a DI from another platoon coming our way, but Julian only saw a dark shadow. Out of nowhere, Julian lunged at him, called him a "mother*******", and wrestled him to the ground! Our Drill Instructor rushed over, and holding back his laugh, broke it up. Nothing was done to Julian, except to warn him never to be without his glasses. Incidentally, I was the high shooter in my platoon, and he was #2!
I think all of us have some good stories about the "freakies" who didn't make it through.
I remember the 2nd night I was in boot camp. Some kid decided he didn't want to be there anymore so he woke up and preceded to pound the h*ll out of the DI hut door shouting that he needed to speak to the "Drill Sergeant"! Many of us told him to shut the **** up and quit calling the DI "drill sergeant" or he was going to get it bad (I didn't need info from the internet to tell me that there were no "drill sergeants" in "boot camp").
Well, the MPs took him away and we never saw him again. This guy was a total spaz from the time he stepped off the bus until the time he was "escorted" away. The recruiter who got this guy in must've been desperate.
Did I ever mess with a DI? No! I wanted to leave San Diego in a uniform not in traction.
No matter what we all joined The Marine Corps for our own reasons weather they were deep inside or not! But I will tell a little story, Our first night at MCRD San Diego we filled out a paper that asked a bunch of questions the very last one asked why we joined everyone was writing the Pride or the Uniform, I didn't think anyone would actually read the darn things so I put for the haircut and the field jacket! Bad Bad Bad mistake.
Only the dead have seen the end of war!
Dear L/Cpl Al:
I read your letter that Sgt Grit published and I have to tell you that it sounded quite familiar. It took me back to a time in my life that I must admit I was not very proud of, but managed to live through and come out the other side intact, despite myself. I was a young apathetic Lance Corporal who saw things that others did not. I was the Lance Corporal that was going to change the Marine Corps and everyone from the Commandant on down was going to think like I did. I was the one that knew all the "lifers" were out to get me because they could "pick" on me and get away with it. I was the one that was going to request mast to the Commanding General FMFPac and let him know how I felt and how bad I was being slighted by those in leadership positions, who knew nothing of leadership, let alone could not get civilian jobs in the world. The Marine Corps was their life because they, supposedly, could do nothing else. Then I got transferred to the 3rd Marine Division and my entire life changed. I grew up, was somehow promoted to Corporal and had the meanest, most ruthless, cruel First Sergeant I could possibly have had. What a leader of Marines, what a professional, what a p*ick. Guess what Al, He showed me a Marine Corps that was what I wanted to make out of it. I was the designer of my own destiny. I could lead, follow or get the h*ll out of the way. What a lesson in life. I began to love the Corps, and wanted to be a part of it forever. I did and it never let me down. Even when I perhaps was not the best Marine it tolerated my youth and changed the man. Good Luck, Al...
John A. Carter
GySgt USMC, Retired
YOU ARE THE FIRST ONE
You are the first one I have seen that actually got my quote right! Outstanding!
Here is the rest of the story
I graduated from High School in 1966, and all of my course studies had been academic. My main interests besides girls was Marching Band and Debate. Having won the Kansas State Oratorical championship in 1964 with a speech topic "Optimism Formula For Freedom", my intentions were to become a lawyer. I was aware of the Viet Nam war especially when it began to heat up in 1965. Little did I know that before the next year was over that I would take a journey straight into the pits of h*ll, and see the heaviest fighting our country has ever experienced.
After High School, I enrolled in Junior College and was paying my own way by also working at night part time for the H.D. Lee Company, that made clothing. When I quit college to join the Marines my professors and especially the office tried to get me to reconsider, saying "but your grades are well above average you will never have to go!" My reply, and my reason for joining, was simply: "those guys fighting and dying over there are no more deserving to be there than me, and I can't feel right letting them do something I would not."
My goal was never to be heroic or gallant that was the last thing on my mind. After joining I was barely in the states 9 months when I was sent to Nam. Enroute we landed on Wake Island, which looked like a grain of sand in the middle of the ocean when our commercial flight United 747 Jet pitched downward and aimed at that grain of sand. My thought was "You've got to be kidding me". All of the Marines that fought there became POW's of the Japanese. Later I met one of them and got to know him well, I spoke at his funeral, his name was Bob Eaton.
Next stop was Okinawa, the next day it was Da Nang, then Dong Ha, then H*ll at Con Thien. My first day in the field I met a Marine who would be my Commanding officer a fine man. Thirty minutes later Lt. Dallas Thompson, would move in front of me and die from an explosion, he fell right across my lap and died looking into my eyes. We were taking so much incoming that our Platoon Sgt. ordered us off the hill mainly because they had our little bunker zero'd in. When I found a hole to jump in the Marine in it mistook me for a Corpsman and called me Doc. He said "Doc" that is some of the fanciest footwork I have ever seen they were following you all the way down you would go right and they would explode left, the you'd go left and they would explode right. You probably saved all of those guys. I told him I'm not a corpsman I'm a marine and I just got here all I was is scared and following orders I don't know enough to plan anything! He just looked at me for a long while and said: "That was still some run Doc!" (Jarheads!!!) Con Thien, by the way means "Place of Angels". We were under siege there for several months and were cut off from food and water for much of it.
Leatherneck Magazine called the siege for Con Thien: "Time in the Barrel". We received a minimum of 200 incoming rounds a day and it was a small place. It felt like they hit every square inch. One thing I quickly learned was how to know the difference in the sounds of incoming. That knowledge was literally a matter of life and death. Mortars made a high arch and the initial blast in the distance was a muffled report. Artillery rounds has a bassier sound and gave you slightly more time to find cover but if it was on you you were in deep trouble. The other one was the most terrifying it was the Rocket and it screamed as it came in and you could not tell where it may came down and it came fast. They also had recoilless rifles that fired large shells they went off almost at the same time you heard them fired at you and had a flat trajectory.
My second day in the field another Marine and I wiped out an artillery section that had us pinned down, The Phantoms that flew over reported we had killed 162 of the enemy. This was L/Cpl Arthur Kennedy and myself, we went out under direct fire and had to get out and make sure the grunts (infantry were down before we could fire our Ontos) If we had been in any other branch both of us would have received the Congressional Medal of Honor. The truth I learned over and over is the Marines were too small an outfit to allow its members to go to receive them and many many of the Marines I knew were cheated out of them. During 1967 and 1968 the Marines bore the brunt of the war, and that is a fact. World Book Encyclopedia reported that fact. Don't get me wrong I am not medal happy and I wasn't then, when I returned I had at least four rows and the Marines make you earn theirs.
After months of carnage we had a cease fire on Christmas eve 1967. I arrived there about the second week of August and saw many good men die. All of us lived with death every second of every day. On this particular Christmas eve I heard a broadcast on Armed forces radio and learned the "Clintonites" were marching on our Capitol protesting against us!!! I could not believe what I was hearing. here we were fighting for freedom and these low life commies were back home fighting against us. I was dazed I just could not understand it, I was hurt to my soul, angered, and disgusted. (This motivated me to write a message on a C-Ration case)
Not very long after that night we got the word that we were going to a resort area called Khe Sanh. it had not seen any of this type of action, and they actually had a mess hall, and a laundry and marched to chow. Wow!!! What unfathomable luxuries. Also during this time I was on an operation with B Co 1/9 called Kingfisher, where we got the name "Walking Dead" and a new phrase was coined "Thousand yard stare." One of the Marines, started cussing one night and there was a big commotion. The next day we found out a Tiger, had grabbed him by the arm and was just carrying him off and he was punching it in the snout. It got as far as the Ben Hoa river and didn't know what to do with him so it just let him go. That story was in Stars and Stripes. (I was afraid to write back home about that one for fear they would think I was nuts.) The marines just kidded him about being too grisly for the Tiger, it wanted a softer cut of meat.
When I got to Khe Sanh, sure enough they were marching to chow, had on starched utilities, and what really blew my mind was all of their bunkers were built above ground!!! What was wrong with these people??? We were met by our new Co, whom I had met at Con Thien but didn't know who he was just that he was a big wig. Captain James Lea told us in no uncertain terms that we would fall out in the morning clean shaven and in freshly starched utilities, because special arrangements had been made for us. The Junior Officer took over after Captain Lea left and asked if we had any questions. Being an old salt by now I told him: "Sir with all due respect for your rank you can go ---------------- yourself because me and my men are not going to live in any of these above ground bunkers. He said fine Corporal Craft ( actually I was only a L/Cpl, lance corporal) He said see that wire over there you just take your merry men and go right out there and pick out any real estate you want because that is enemy territory and they will be glad to have you but as long as you are here you will comply is that clear? I said yes sir perfectly.
When he turned away an went back to the HQ, we beat feet for the wire and told them we were going to be an LP (listening post) You can bet we would be too!!! They said and you're taking an Ontos to an LP??? I just said you never can be too careful! We went out and started digging in. We were the diggingest bunch of guys you ever saw we just dug and filled sand bags. I think they knew they had been had because they ignored us for nearly a week, then our Lt was sent out to read us the riot act enroute the siege began. The enemy hit the ammo dump and it sounded like Volks Wagons flying past us. it was Con Thien all over again. The next day I was sent for and they wanted me to work with some seabees to show then how to built the new bunkers.(I wonder why?)
This siege lasted for 77 days and was the most intense fighting of our history. Some reports say there were 1,000 of us and as many as 400,000 of the enemy. other reports show 6,000 marines at Khe Sanh, but this was not the Combat base this figure had to include the surrounding hills and supporting units. Khe Sanh Combat base wasn't that big! Essentially all it was was a runway. we were taking some 1,600 rounds of incoming per day every day on this tiny piece of real estate. Someone calculated that we had an explosion from an enemy device every 30 seconds day and night for 77 days. I had been called away from my safe hole when they found out my secondary mos was Ammo/Tech. It was during this time that I spotted a reporter and asked him if he would please mind getting a message back to the world for me. He asked "what is it?" I told him and he looked shocked and asked if I would mind writing that down so I said sure and wrote it on a C-Ration case. That message is: "For those that will fight for it...FREEDOM ...has a flavor the protected shall never know."
L/Cpl Edwin L. "Tim" Craft, B Co 3rd AT's,
Khe Sanh Combat Base.February 1968
In response to Cpl. Klinger er a I mean Cpl. Klinglers' remarks about calling you "Sarge", I can't help but feel those remarks were meant for my last letter addressing you as such. Young Cpl., you are right that "sarge" is an army term, but as a fellow Sgt. of the aforementioned Grit I can call him anything I want,with respect of his service and time in grade over me. I've also noticed you "new Marines" don't call MSgt's or MGySgt's, Top anymore either, or for that matter your Warrant Officers aren't called Gunners. My remark wasn't meant to be offensive, and I don't think Grit took it that way. As a Fellow Marine, your views are duly noted. Your pride is evident, but us old salts are too old to really care what you think. Besides, my wife was also a Sergeant of Marines and she's affectionately known as sarge by many of her esteemed colleagues.
I stand corrected Corporal, and it won't happen again.
J. L. Allen
Sergeant, not "Sarge" of Marines
Sgt Grit In reference to the term sarge used in this new letter''''''''''''sarge?``````````if I ever called a Sgt in the Marines that, in any unit I ever served with I would have been cussed out at the very least! and I am a Navy Doc HM1 type. The closest I ever came to that was calling the Platoon SSgt.......Staff (and that is only in private and off duty) I still call him Staff. To call any Marine Sgt sarge smacks of insubordination and casualness which to me is unacceptable. The Marines called me Doc or Petty Officer and I felt deserved the same courtesy and calling a Sgt sarge was sure not that.
DJ "DOC" Herdina USN (FMF 1968 to 1994) retired
In response to Russ Klinglers comments about "Sarge", when I was a poole 85 or 86, one of the poolies made the mistake of calling the recruiter "Sarge". It was the first time I seen him get real serious. "I'm not a blankity blank Sarge, I'm not in the army. I'm a Marine and I earned the whole rank."
God bless the Marine Corps and God bless America,
J. Bolin "Bo" 1986-1992 Wpns 1/5, 81's, Semper Fi.
Hello Sgt. Grit,
Few weeks ago, I submitted an article regarding the entertainer Rick Nelson having been in boot camp at USMCRD San Diego at the same time I was in late 1961. There was a response from someone that no record of Rick(y) Nelson could be found. Perhaps the reason for the record search was that it was done using his stage name rather than his true name, that being Eric Hillard Nelson. Not knowing what database would show his service time, I can not confirm this information.
I did contact one of the Rick Nelson fan clubs regarding any military service and was advised that he had served in the Corps with their records showing that he did enlist in 1961 but they could not tell me how long his service was except that it was less than four years. There could be any number of reasons for this, some honorable and some not. Any statement from myself would be pure speculation and I will not cast shadow on a man who is not able to respond, nor would it be proper.
Class of '61
MIGHT DO THE SAME
The mentioning of Heartbreak Ridge brought back some memories. I was on line there in 1951. I remember that at night we had 2 hours on and 2 off all night. When it was getting dark we decided who was going to be awake in the hole the first 2 hours. Usually it was decided by who was sleepy and who was not. The first man who took the first 2 hours would sometimes not be tired after 2 hours and sit up for 3 so that his buddy could sleep a little longer. The second man might do the same and the last man on duty before sunup would usually stay awake and let his buddy sleep in. The big thing that gets me is how much we trusted each other. When it was my turn to sleep I could curl up and drop right off. I knew that my buddy would not go to sleep and get you both killed.
That is what Semper Fi. means to me.
Jim Manning 1948 to 1952
PARKER 51 PEN
Sgt. Grit. Recently I wrote to firstname.lastname@example.org and she said I should send this note to you. I worked in the Island Command Payoffice in Guam and we would get an officers' promotion roster early. I had asked the sergeant at our PX about buying a coveted Parker 51 pen at the time. He said that only 12 had come to Guam and that the PX lieutenant had the last 3 locked up in his safe and that it was impossible for an enlisted man to get one. As I was sitting at my field desk one day the lieutenant was walking past our tent and I called to him to tell him that his promotion to captain was on the latest roster. He came in to check it out and asked me how soon he could start drawing his pay as a captain. I replied that he could draw his pay as a captain as soon as I had a Parker 51 pen to prepare his pay voucher. I used my Parker 51 pen long after I returned to civilian life.
SSgt Gaston, 384564
Dear Sgt. Grit,
Just wanted to share this experience. I am a Marine Mom. A rather new one at that. I am not unfamiliar with the Marines as my "favorite uncle" was (and always will be) a Marine. He was a DI at Parris Island for years. My father in law served in WWII. I can honestly say I have always respected the Marines.
Then one day my youngest son (a senior in high school) came home from school and said "By the way Mom, the Marines are coming over tonight." Suddenly my heart dropped. I asked him why? He claimed he just wanted to hear what they had to offer. Sure enough the Marines showed up at my door on time. I invited them in and we talked for hours. I had heard many horror stories about Recruiters. Therefore I must consider myself very lucky, because, the recruiters that showed up at my house were the most respectful, most dedicated and trustworthy people I had ever met.
My son happens to be a very talented trumpet player and after hearing my son play, these recruiters thought that he would be a true asset to the Marine Corps Band. At the end of our meeting, they informed me that they would set up an audition with the head of the Marine Bands. Much to everyone's surprise, my son had an audition with this person the very next morning. He passed their audition with flying colors. The next thing I know is that the Marines were back at my door that evening. This time they showed up in their Dress Blue's. Now please keep in mind that now I am a panicked Mom. I know what's coming. The minute I saw these recruiters in their Dress Blue's, my first comment was: "Dress Blue's or not, NOTHING will make me sign those papers....nice try!" Once again, these men took hours with me, talking and just trying to make me feel "at ease" with this situation.
Then something happened. When it came down to the time to make a decision, my son, got down on his hands and knee's in front of me and pleaded with me to sign the papers. The one recruiter turned to me and said "there sits the heart of a true Marine" . The tears welled up in my eyes and to this day you can see the tear stains on his enlistment papers. In June of 2002 my son was awarded (upon graduation from high school) the "Semper Fidelis Music Award from the Marine Corps for his dedication and talent in music. In July of 02, he was off to boot camp. October 10 he graduated from boot one of the proudest Marines I have ever seen. He is now attending his MOS School in Norfolk, VA.
Over the holidays he requested RA, recruiters assistant. He was home for two weeks (but not really since he had to work everyday). During this time he was also hired to play trumpet for a Christmas Eve Service at a local church. He accepted the job.
We arrived at the Church. My son chose to wear his Dress Blue's for this occasion. He was at the Alter the entire service playing his trumpet. Then suddenly towards the end of the Service, the Pastor decides to make a little speech that once again brought tears to the eyes. He said " Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd like to take a moment or two to thank Brad Erdman. Brad has played for us several times before but this time is different. I would truly like to thank the United States Marine Corps for loaning PFC. Brad Erdman to us tonight to share his beautiful music with us. He turned to my son and said " Brad nothing brings out the spirit of Christmas like your beautiful tones and nothing beats having a United States Marine on our Alter....Thank you from the bottom of our hearts and God Bless America!" The whole congregation stood up and clapped!!! It took my son 45 minutes to get to the door of the church. I don't think there was one person who didn't stop him and shake his hand. I have never seen my son so proud.
We took my son to dinner right after church. This was most uncomfortable yet most pleasing at the same time. There was not an eye in this restaurant that wasn't fixed on our table. Suddenly, a Master Sgt. walked up to our table, stared at my son, then reached out his hand and said "Lookin good Marine!"
Needless to say as much as I always respected the Marines, nothing brings it home as much as actually having a Son who is a Marine and experiencing first hand...THE MARINE CORPS FAMILY!
God Bless all our Marines and God Bless America!
A very proud Marine Mom
A STERN BUT FAIR MARINE
I was attending college, second semester, winter of 1950. When the 1st MarDiv was in trouble at Chosin Reservoir and things were not going well in Korea, 7 of us decided to join up. Four went into the Air Force, two into the Navy and two of us joined the Corps. It was just before Christmas and we were told to report back on 28th of December for swearing in. We arrived MCRD 30Dec1950 and spent the 31st and Jan 1 in receiving barracks. Our boot platoon was formed the 2 of Jan, as Platoon 3 of 2nd Recruit Battalion. Our Senior DI was S/Sgt E. H. Dunn, a stern but fair Marine. The day before we left to go to Camp Elliot to the rifle range, S/Sgt Dunn had us out behind the squad bay. And one of the few times we that we got to crap out on the grass, he told us a story. S/Sgt Dunn was an "Old Breed" 1st MarDiv and never told us any sea stories about is duty in the Pacific during WWII, but he elaborated this day. He reached over and picked up one of the M1 rifles in the platoon.He told us that when we got into a combat situation, this rifle was the weapon to use. He said that on one of the islands (he didn't say which one) he was on that he saw a LT platoon leader using the M1carbine empty a clip into a hard charging Japanese Marine, who was about 6 ft and 200 lbs. The Japanese Marine was waving a Samarui sword and proceeded to split the LT's skull. He was stopped with one shot from the M1 rifle. That story really stuck with me on the range, so well that I shot expert. Although my MOS was 2663, the M1 rifle was my weapon of choice.
Jim Wallace Sgt. 1156889 Comm Squadron MACG 3 AirFMFPac
NO WHERE ELSE
To my fellow Marines,
In July I had a massive heart attack and in December I had a quad-bypass at 49 years old. (I was moving furniture the week before and never been sick a day) Being on Gunny Grits forum, I come to know and admire many people. During my recovery I received no less than 50-60 in total Get Well and Happy Holiday cards from my fellow Marines, some I don't know and have never met. My wife received much needed support from Marine Wives throughout my recovery also.
No where else that I know could this have happened except with Marines. I received an email from a Marine saying if I needed help, him and his wife could be in the car and to me within 8 hours. All I can say Marines is "ooh f***ing rah", you're the greatest bunch of people I know and I stand proud to call myself Marine. Leave to you people to bring a tear to this big bull headed Marine.
My wife thanks you, my kids thank you and I thank you.
Greg Bourlotos 71
I agree with NOAD Marine L/Cpl Larson in your last news letter I ran into the same problem. After all isn't "Once a Marine, Always a Marine" a motto we live by? I also came up with an answer to the question. I have a number of certification I post those after my name for business purposes. I believe that havening served in the Marines to be more valuable than most of my certifications. So I came up with "HDM" Honorably Discharged Marine to let people know "Once a Marine, Always a Marine" is true. This seems to be the most fitting description I could come up with. I have to put my certifications there anyway so I just added HDM. People always ask and I get to explain what it stands for.
Donald E. Hester
HDM, CISSP, MCT, MCSE, Security+, CTT+
GETTING CLINT EASTWOOD OUT OF JAIL
Vinny Coiro, Captain Anglico(Ret)
Read your letter and I felt the same way except the when I called (ret) Sgt Major Brewer, the Sgt Major at the beginning of the movie getting Clint Eastwood out of jail and before the magistrate, he told me the true scoop. (1st Sgt. Major Brewer work with me in 3/4 Marines in Oki, so we had a little history). Anyway the movie was originally going to be sanctioned but the USMC but it was pulled because of the very disrespect that you mentioned. Then being retired 1st Sgt Brewer was put onboard as an unofficial advisor trying to keep it entertaining and still retain a bit of truth. The actual unit that the movie described though was ANGLICO Air Navel Gunfire Company. They were forbidden to disclose that name and so they used a more familiar name Force Recon. Clint represented a Gunny Huff that was in Granada and the scene with the call-in was actually a Lt Wright that had called his wife in VA and then it was transferred to Norfolk and transferred offshore to a ship that dispatched the prison target ASAP. Also the big fellow Swede in the movie was actually a LCPL Sweeney that worked for me that was a Marine Corps weight lifting champ that was also always in trouble and was nicknamed Sween. Some truths but more Hollywood drama. You could imagine my surprise when I went to the movies and saw this for the first time and realized that they were talking about my men and I. I was actually the OD that received the call and had to call back the Company the evening prior to going to Granada. I was barely able to keep my mouth closed in the theater correcting the script to my wife at the time.
Well, Have a Great New Year and Semper Fi!
Vinny Coiro .......... I have to write in agreement with the good Major regarding "Heartbreak Ridge". The movie was shot at the old Brown Town (ITR, ITS, MCT - depends on when you were there - Quonset Hut Central) as well as Range 314 and the old Air Wing rifle range (before the road was paved) behind Mount Mother (forgot the name of the Camp you entered coming down the hill from Basilone Rd.)
They could have done great things with that flick, but it turns out that they secured the USMC's technical assistance until they were done filming the parts that they needed the Corps' help with, then whipped out the real script and told the Corps to go pound sand. The Corps promptly pulled all support for the flick, and it has been the embarrassment that we all know and hate.
When are they going to make a movie about Marines that doesn't involve the de-rigour comic relief, generational angst, or non-existent mutineers..?
SO, "AYE AYE", SAY I
First let me say that, when I read these letters, it fills me with such pride that tears come to my eyes. There is no greater honor than to be a United States Marine.
Now let me tell you about the time I got written for mutiny. This is no sh!t. As an Aviation Ordnance man in Hawaii, my job was to hump bomb, rockets, and missiles in support of the fighter squadrons there. Once, in 1981, we had worked 80 days straight supporting several back to back exercises. Often we worked 18-20 hours a day. It took me a year to recover from this physically.
Anyway, after this 80 day nightmare, we were given a meritorious Saturday off. Oh h*ll no. At 0700, on Saturday morning, the truck and duty NCO showed up at the BEQ with orders to have us at the Ordnance shop by 0730. When we got to the shop, there stood the captain decked out in charlies, who told me to take my crew (about 8 Marines) and get the vines off the fence around the shop. Now, this is a man who should have known better, being as he was a Mustanger. So, "Aye aye," says I and, headed for the fence with my crew.
This is the point at which my brain completely vanished from the earth. I sat my crew on line, cross-legged, in front of the fence where we commenced to screaming at the vines to get off the fence. After about five minutes, there appeared the Captain who looked up and down the line, scratched his head, and said, "Cpl King, what are these Marines doing?" I replied, "Well Sir, we are getting these vines off the fence. If discipline doesn't work, we are going to try something else." The Captain turned red in the face, did and about face and stormed off to the shop - where he promptly wrote me up for mutiny.
He never sent in the charge. His intent was merely to scare the h*ll out of me. Point taken. A year later, that very same Captain begged me to re-enlist. That was in 1981. As far as I am aware, the vines are still on that fence.
Sgt USMC (frmr)
DURING AN IG INSPECTION
This discussion reminded me of a time during an IG inspection when the inspector had a Buck Sergeant (not me) drilling the platoon, with the inspector initiating the commands.
The inspector, by design or by ineptitude himself, had the Sergeant order the platoon from a left flank to a right oblique--right into the side wall of the barracks. The only command that can bring a platoon out of an oblique movement is "Forward March", which the Sergeant did, which left the troops marching against the side of the barracks in utter chaos. As far as anyone knew, the inspector included, you cannot even halt a platoon while in an oplique movement. The Sergeant turned to the inspector and asked, "Sir, how do you like that for a mess?"
Even the inspector had to laugh. The inspection resumed after everyone composed themselves and regrouped.
We never did figure out if it was intentional or a goof on the part of the inspector.
"If you aren't confused, you don't understand the situation."
NEW BUMPER STICKER
Dear Sgt. Grit.
I fully enjoy you newsletter every week and personally know many of "Chesty's" Marines enjoy it too, plus the many good brothers/sisters, Mom's and Dad's of the "Corps".
Yet, the first thing on your newsletter, a "New Bumper Sticker from someone, a "Former USMC Sniper will work for Food." This bothers me.
In over 50 years, I have never let a Marine fail or slump. I rush quickly to help a Marine or his/her family. Like you Sir, no mission is complete nor a success until we fully completed our task. Whether it is on a battle field or on the home front.
Sgt. Grit. Feel free to forward my e-mail address to any Marine or Marine Family so I can direct the proper help/job, etc. for our Marines.
I have lost many friends/Marines. I am most proud of those whom not just have served, wearing the "Eagle, Globe and Anchor", but the Marines serving today. Sgt. Grit.; you served in a most difficult time. I respect that. You were in Viet Nam. I understand, Sir. I lost a few there myself. Loved ones. But proud.
Please let your Marine family know, there are a few who can help. They are called Marines. I know so many whom will help. I will help in any Marine or family if I can. I got an order from "Chesty" nearly 50 years ago, Sir.
NOTE: I guess I misread the meaning. I took it as humorous. I will not produce this bumper sticker. I received several complaints. Sgt Grit
HALF WAY THROUGH MY COLLEGE CAREER
Since I first subscribed to your newsletter, I read regularly the notes, comments, stories and tales of the Marines( past, present and future) who also read your wonderful newsletter. The time has finally come for me to make a contribution.
I served our beloved Corps and country from 1985-89, primarily with 2D ANGLICO out of Camp Lejeune. After departing the active ranks of the Corps in 1989 I went on to enter college and complete my degree in history. My undergraduate research paper was on Lt. P.N. O'Bannon! Halfway through my college career, I realized that something was missing from my life. Seeking to find something I felt I had lost, I joined a fraternity. Like most collegiate fraternities, the national organization holds a biennial legislative meeting consisting of delegations from throughout their membership. I attended that meeting in 1992 in Washington, D.C.
How does all of relate to the Corps? Simple. One of the members had made arrangements for a form of entertainment for the approximately 500 undergraduates and 100 graduates on Friday night. We had invitations to 8th & I for the Friday Night Parade. When the Marine Corps Band struck up the notes of the Marine Corps Hymn, about 20 of us found ourselves at the position of attention. As the strains of the outstanding music faded, we all looked around and made mental notes of the faces. That evening, with no prior coordination, most of us met in the hotel bar to swap a few sea stories. The spread in ages was extreme. Ranging an 18 year old reservist just back from PI, to one distinguished veteran enlisted pilot from WWII. What a night!
At few time in my life have I ever felt as completely "at home" as I did that night sitting around with a group of men whom I had not known until a few hours previously. As I come from a Marine family, that thought really hit the target. I would propose to your readers that the United States Marine Corps may be this nation's second-oldest fraternal organization!
I went through P.I. with 3rd RTBN (Disneyland as it was called then) Company Q, Platoon 3011 Nov 03 - Dec 30th 1965. It was at a time when the period of training had been reduced to 2 months, as the need for replacements was high, because of Vietnam... Anyway to get back to my reason for writing.
As we were spending the holidays at PI, we were given permission to write home to get COOKIES ONLY sent for Christmas. We were told that we would have to get enough so each Recruit in the PLATOON could have ONE.
Well, anyway one Dimitri G Zaimes, wrote home and asked his mother for said cookies. Now comes the good part. Being very thoughtful, Mrs. Zaimes got together with her friends and they baked 144 DOZEN COOKIES. Next, DAD, being a member of the Civil Air Patrol, got them flown down, for delivery to PI. When they arrived at PI, as we were later to learn, MP's were sent to the Senior DI's home in the middle of the night, to bring him to the barracks. Senior DI SSgt R J Weeks did not appreciate being brought back to the barracks by MP's. Oh yah, I forgot to mention that up until this happened, Zaimes had been the house mouse. No longer! He lost his mouse status, and was on Senior DI Weeks sh!t list for the remainder of our training.
ENOUGH COOKIES FOR THE ENTIRE 3RD BATTALION.
Now, another little incident, which took place about the same time.
Another of the recruits, Terragrossa, received a box of CANDIED ORANGE SLICES, the type that are coated with sugar. Well, we had been told," NO CANDY", so that night when he opened the package in front on DI Gunny Pound, he was in luck, Ha Ha. Gunny Pound sat him down on a foot locked next to the desk at the head of the squad bay and hand fed him every piece of candy, until his mouth was so full, he could not even chew. Gunny Pound did however make him eat it all!
Peter F Foss Cpl USMC
Nov 02,1965 - Nov 01,1968
A letter writer used the term "lance coolly" in last Friday's newsletter, and it cracked me up. I haven't heard that term in 30-some years. I love it!
Reminds me of last fall when I was driving on I-694 in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. A restored U.S.M.C. jeep and trailer pulled in behind me. I figured the driver would see my Marine decal on the back bumper, and so I stuck my left arm out the window and pumped my arm in the double-time signal.
The driver gave a laugh and a smile of recognition, and then we drove our separate ways.
2375775 U.S.M.C. 1967-70
(R.V.N. Golf 2/4 1968-69, 60 mm mortars)
I have read with interest the stories about the holidays and being away from home. I have always wanted to locate my family for a day but time has slipped away. I was at Camp Pendleton it was two days from Thanksgiving 1969. There was a notice read at role call about having dinner with a local family. I was just 17 and had never been out of Massachusetts except for Parris Island. Thanksgiving morning I got off a bus in Anaheim and a whole family was there to greet me for my holiday. It was so wonderful. They treated me like one of the family. We had a great big dinner with all the trimmings. We hung out all day. The kids were a little younger then me, but I was the oldest of nine kids so it was great. The next day they took me to Disneyland, oh my god what an adventure, and I even got to call my family at home and they all talked to each other new family and old. I sat with the mister that nite. He had been in the corps. in the 50's. I remember him asking me if I was afraid. Yes sir I said. He said he write and made a copy of my orders so he could find me if something happened. I got back on the bus and didn't stop waving until my arm hurt. Lock down started at 1800. Next stop was Nam I was assigned to the Ninth Marines . Its been a long road , USMC 1969 to 1975.
Sgt. Jim Stapleton E-Z 2/9 Semper Fi my California family.
I am a Marine vet (66-68) from Philadelphia. A few weeks ago we lost a Philadelphia icon. Tug McGraw, a former Phillies relief pitcher died after a bout with brain cancer. He was a great baseball player as well as a real fun guy and did tons of community work in the Philly area. I was surprised to learn that Tug was in the Marine Corps before he became a baseball player. Does anyone have any info on Tug's service in the Corps? When was he in?
Ron Szwec USMC 66-68
I KNOW NOW
Thanks you for your newsletters. I'm a deputy with the San Francisco sheriff's department and every time I look around I find some officer or deputy wearing a Marine corps pin on there uniform. It makes me proud to have served in the corps. I remember boot camp as the worst time of my life. I thought I would never make it(1976). I know now that If it weren't for the Corps I would never survived being in Law Enforcement.
Know I trying to find a Gunnery/Sgt (Vietnam vet) Ret. as a Master Sergeant who I served with and helped me more than you know. I would like to thank him for his advise and all the training we got while under his command. His name is Duggan and he was with Military Police Co.HQ&Sevice Bn.Camp Lejuene N.C.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Jose R. Martinez
SF SHERIFF'S DEPT.
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I have long wondered what title to go by. I am not a former Marine (there is no such person). I am not a retired Marine, that is for the 20-year Marines. I like the title "Marine Veteran". The word Veteran says it all
. Vietnam Marine Veteran
Buzz Barkovich, Sgt.
Jan. 69 - Dec. 70.
I went to Boot camp at PI "Thumping Third) Battalion in April 87 - July 23rd, 1987. Seems funny, I can't remember the day I got to Boot camp, but I can remember the day I graduated. Well, special days stay in your mind.
Anyway, My Senior Drill Instructor SSgt Barnes, Plt 3047 was strict but fair. He would tell us that his favorite game to play as a green belt was that if a Platoon was not moving fast enough when the lights came on, he would immediately fall them out to the pits before any head calls were made. That was enough to get me moving faster in the morning. I don't have to experience it to know how painful that would be. Anyone on PI knows that 3rd Battalion has more sand pits than the other three combined and that they are used heavily.
Sadly, and to my regret, I gave him the most problems in the Platoon even though I was prior service (air Farce). I was not a discipline problem, but I was a PT problem. Four years of sitting on my butt and getting fat in the AF sure did not help when I had to run 1.5 miles in less time that someone in the AF had too. I was sadly out of shape in the AF and even more being four months out of the AF when I went to Boot Camp.
SSgt Barnes has my respect because of being my Senior DI and because he went to bat for me to the Series Commander and the Company commander.
He once told the platoon that if anyone got series high shooter in the platoon, that night the recruit would be eating anything that they wanted from Burger King (complements of SSgt Barnes). Well, that was enough for me, I worked hard and got Series high shooter, but no Burger King. I was disappointed, but I do not hold it against him, I was a fat body trying to get in shape. With his and my other drill instructors Sgt Huggins, Sgt Phillips, Sgt Dupre, Sgt Simpson, SSgt Haynes(?) and one other Sgt that I cannot remember I finished series high shooter, 1st class PFT and One of the highest platoon scores on the knowledge test.
P.S. Had so many drill instructors because three of them were relieved of duty for one reason or another. I will say, they all worked hard to turn us into Marines. My thanks goes out to each of them if they remember me from Plt 3047 in 87.
ALL VALUABLES ARE ACCOUNTED FOR
Regarding the request for boot camp stories: I attended boot camp beginning in November of '78. Nearing the end of third phase, with graduation in sight, I developed a rash on my side. On seeing it, other recruits recommended that I should go to sick bay. No way, I'd tell 'em, I ain't going to sick bay and take a chance at being recycled at this point. One night, during personal inspection just before being ordered to hit the rack, Drill Instructor Sergeant Wendt did a right-face before me where I stood at the strict position of attention, clad only in skivvy drawers. "SIR! PRIVATE KLASSEN HAS NO MEDICAL PROBLEMS AND ALL VALUABLES ARE ACCOUNTED FOR, SIR!" "What's that rash on your side, recruit?" he asks. "SIR! PRIVATE DOESN'T KNOW, SIR." "Well, I'll tell you. It's the shingles, recruit. I ain't no medical doctor, but I only know because I had 'em myself last year. And I don't intend to scare you, but they can KILL you!" At this bit of information my heart jumped, as I most definitely didn't want to die in boot camp, and never see my family again. By this time he had sashayed into the middle of the squad bay, his hands behind his back, his heels clicking on the deck. "Do you know how you got those shingles?" he bellowed. Please understand that of all our Drill Instructors I feared Drill Instructor Sgt. Wendt the most. He was a big man, with giant hands the size of canned hams. And very angry, most of the time. So my response surprised even me. "Sir........ .....private got 'em from...............m*sturbating Sir!" Drill Instructor Sergeant Wendt went silent. In fact, he didn't respond at all. Before continuing, let me clarify- I NEVER considered such a course of action, as we were kept occupied and exhausted during the entirety of my stay at MCRD, and in fact, up until recently I believed what they'd told us about salt-peter being put into our food and it's reputed affect. I have no idea why I responded to Drill Instructor Sergeant Wendt in such a fashion, except, in retrospect, that I have a VERY dry sense of humor, and figured it was my way of getting back at him for all the h*ll he'd put me through. I'd forgot all about it when the next morning the Senior Drill Instructor passed through the squad bay and into his 'house'. Within seconds he screamed, "Priiiiiiiiivate Klaaaaaaaaaaaaassen!" And I reported, as ordered. My body locked in front of his desk he asks, "You been doin' that recruit?" I honestly had no idea what he was talking about, and I responded, "Sir, doing what, sir?" "You know, what Drill Instructor Sergeant Wendt said." Again, I have no idea how or why I could respond as I did, but I said, "SIR! Not since first phase SIR!" I remember standing there, locked at attention, solid, unmoving, eyes straight ahead and thinking, "I've finally got you back, after tormenting me for the previous eleven or twelve weeks!" Senior Drill Instructor Staff Sergeant Braggs finally spits out, "IF I EVER HEAR OF YOU DOING THIS AGAIN, I'LL HAVE YOU BROUGHT UP ON CHARGES OF MISUSE OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY! GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!" (By the way- I was forced to go to sick bay the next morning. When the Corpsman asked why I was there I lifted my blouse and t-shirt, and he says "OH NO, I've never seen a case like that!" and I thought that, sure enough, I'd die in boot camp and never see my folks again. But the Navy doc, who insisted that I not refer to him as 'Sir', said, "Your drill instructor probably told you this could kill you, didn't he..............."
Klassen, Mark G.
I MUST INFORM
Sgt. Grit -
I would like to add my two cents worth to the Marine movie scenario. I must admit, I get put-off by some of these so-called authentic combat movies, you know the ones that supposedly have expert consultants. While I have seen some good movies mentioned in your prior newsletters, I feel I must inform my brothers of one movie in particular they should avoid at all costs. By the way, my cost was $9.95 (wasted). The movie is "The Walking Dead" (1995). It stars(?) Allen Payne, Eddie Griffin and Joe Morton. I know, that's the same thing I said - who?!!! Anyway, the Philadelphia Inquirer says it's "Powerful", while USA Today says it's "A Step Ahead of the Crowd". I think they are referring to the crowd running, screaming, from the theater. I assumed it would be about the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. WRONG!!! It is about five undisciplined misfits who attempt to free POW's. The costume designer is a woman who has our "grunts", in the jungle, wearing solid green utility covers and green or brown T-shirts. You remember wearing utility covers in Nam, don't you guys? And underwear - my God - I can feel the rash even now. Please, do yourself a favor and "pass" on this movie by Savoy Pictures, an HBO Home Video.
Ed Moore - Cpl. - Charlie 1/5 - '68/'69
RIGHT THING TO DO
Dear Sgt. Grit,
Every NROTC midshipman meets the Junior Marine Instructor soon after reporting aboard as a 4th classman. And so it was with me when I became a member of the unit at the University of Southern California in the summer of 1965. Staff Sergeant Thomas Michael Patrick Elliot served with excellence his beloved United States Marine Corps, the Senior Marine Instructor, Major Sheehan, his commanding officer, Captain Hanson, the Marine "Options" (seeking commissions as second lieutenants rather than navy ensigns), and every member of the battalion teaching us close order drill (I know he had the Landing Party Manual committed to memory), the manual of arms, naval history, and marksmanship. A student himself, he was always "squared away," his conduct appropriate in every setting. He was respected, admired, and well liked by every member of my class, and I drew particularly close to him as a member of the Trojan Drill Team he trained and supervised.
As a non-commissioned officer SSgt Elliot saluted every uniformed midshipman he met on campus, and while I at first felt self-conscious about returning his salutes, he made it well known that he would, "always follow orders and traditions," for to do less would, "tarnish the eagle,globe and anchor." But things would change just one year later.
On Thursday afternoons the battalion held inspections and drilled in squad, platoon, company and battalion formations. It was also t