Sgt Grit Marine Corps Merchandise

Welcome to our Marine Corps Newsletter archives. Here you can find USMC articles and memories sent in to us by fellow Jarheads and their families. Enjoy!

Sgt Grit Marine Corps Newsletter - May 27, 2004

Death leaves a heartache, No one can heal,
Love leaves a memory, No one can steal"

Many folks will experience that, again, this Memorial Day!!!!! SF NC

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I have a friend that puts on the programs for a town about 50 miles from Dallas. Armistice, Memorial and July the 4th, for the local American Legion and the VFW post in the town. And for several years, he has asked me you do certain research for different material for his programs, as he knows, I'll do it for him cause he outranked me. Knew him before we were called up, and he went straight to Inchon. I, was sent over later and, of all companies, joined him, when he was the Exec. Off., and later the CO of the Company. So with Memorial Day coming up, here is one of the many things I researched and sent to him, that got my attention. It's states that it is on a grave stone in Ireland.

Death leaves a heartache, No one can heal,
Love leaves a memory, No one can steal"

Many folks will experience that, again, this Memorial Day!!!!! SF NC


Hey, Sgt Grit,
I have been reading your newsletter for many years now. Recently, I have read quite a few letters from moms of Marines who are "over there" wherever "there" is today. My Marine son called me at the beginning of this Iraqi war. He told me he was shipping out - destination unknown. The best words he told me were these -"Mom, unless two Marines in dress blues come to the door with a flag, I'm OK. Got that? Good." From January to late February I had no idea where he was. God must have blessed me greatly because I knew in my heart that he was OK. When people asked me how I could handle it my response was always the same. "Faith in God and the knowledge that wherever he was going, he will be surrounded by United States Marines!"

Moms remember this - wherever your Marine is serving, he/she is not alone.
Veteran Mom
Bernadette Townsend


Good Morning Sgt Grit
I have been reading your news letter for about a year now and I love it. I am currently stationed at Camp Pendleton with MASS-3. About 2 weeks ago our unit was mortared and 5 Marines were seriously injured. They are all doing fine and they are staying with the unit. I just wanted to thank each and every Marine who has ever served our great country. God Bless all. I wish I was there putting my skills to use. Keep up the good work!!!
Semper Fi
LCpl Nicolodi, Jami
2002- Present


Something to reflect on this Memorial Day weekend Craig N. Mullis


Hey group, miss ya'll greatly!
So many folks are asking about my trip to Baghdad, that I figured I'd just blanket an email to everyone and give you the scoop.

The call came to our shop to deliver armored Hummer doors to one of the units guarding the Coalition Provisional Authority in the Green Zone, Baghdad. We knew there were more civilians there than military folks, so we kinda knew what we were in for, but we never could've imagine the magnitude. Rebecca, Lucas and myself hopped in with a convoy headed "near" the CPA and an hour later we found ourselves driving on the streets of Baghdad, somewhat lost, completely separated from the rest of our convoy. Yah, imagine Mikey goin the wrong way on a one way street and pullin the worlds biggest 3-point U-turn in a 7-ton truck, makin' streets full of haji's wait for him!

Once we arrived to CPA, (at The Presidential Palace that took up 3 city blocks, easy) we discovered out that the doors we had just risked our lives for, didn't even Fu@*ing fit. Not at all discouraged, we somehow "missed" the return leg of our convoy and were forced to remain there on a Thursday and Friday night, coincidentally the 2 biggest party nights of the week. So, we hit up the pool 3 times in two days (do the math, yep, that includes a lil late night swim-boozin-fiasco ). Saw Uday's Porsche that some Marine Captain had already dropped the rear-end out of by racing it on the streets of Baghdad. We also got eyes on Executioner's Wall that Saddam placed directly across from his 2nd story patio so that he could watch his hand play out. We slept in the basement that was actually the beginning of an intricate series of tunnels that stretch for miles under the entire city...kinda like a sophisticated Vietnam, maybe?? Saw Paul Bremer amongst the many marble palace walls and 15-foot gold doors that filled the compound, ate crab legs and felt normal again.

That's the short scoop. It was an uneventful convoy there and back by god's hand, and the trip absolutely spoiled me. I kinda wish I never would've gone,,,,wait, nope, the hungover sunburn was well worth it.



Dear Sgt Grit, thank you and Mrs. Grit for the great time we had at the first annual GriTogether May 22nd. The chow and the fellowship was great and we all enjoyed Chuck Gregg's Marine Collection and the YL-37 (UH-34D) on display. Your staff and Gunny Davis did a great job, they are all wonderful people. Marines from WWII to present were there and for all of you who missed it I can only urge you to be there next year or you'll miss out on a great event. Barbara and I send our best.
Semper Fi,
Gene Hays

Thank you and your staff for a great day. My wife and I enjoyed the event so very much. I had hoped to see some of the men I served with during my active duty time (1953-1955) but did not. However is was great to spend some time with the Marines and families. I look forward to driving to OK City next year if you have this event again.
John B. Daly, P. O. Box 829, Alvarado, TX 76009

Sgt Grit: Thanks so much for Saturdays get together. It was so good to be around people who love the Corps. Enjoyed meeting new Marines and old Marines.The food was great. Looking forward to next year. Thanks again. John Lupin I-3/9 10-66-2-68


I am a former Marine from the earliest 1990s. A hard charging devil dog, thanks to the Lord, for He never sent me to war. If He had ever asked me to, I'd have been there with my fellow Marines.

I work with lots of youngsters, college students. I work in a Call Center. It reminds me of the time when I saw my young fellow Marines take the white bus to the airport, to an unknown land...Iraq & Kuwait.

They ask me all the time about my life in the Marine Corps, and I fill their minds about our traditions and honor. Some are eager to listen, some just hear. One day, I had a new agent assigned to my team. As a leader, I was eager to meet him. So I introduced myself and welcomed him to the team. This was no youngster, in his wrinkles I could see he was a man of respect. I continued to explained the company's policy for which he replied "yes, sir" at all times. I felt weird because this gentleman at least was 20 yrs older than me.

As I continued to explained what was expected of him, he noticed my employee badge which has an ega sticker, he then replied "sir, are you a Marine?" I said "Gilbert, I am a former Marine" He then told me he was a SSgt with two tours in Viet Nam, said how happy he was of seeing a Marine and I could see his happiness in his eyes. I only achieved the rank of Corporal in the Marine Corps and explained I felt awkward when he called me "sir". He then stated "well, you are not a sir anymore, you're a brother"

He's a great man, dedicated and keeps the traditions of the corps! I thought I'd share this with you all.
J L Rivera


This website has been designed by a Marine currently in Iraq. This website gives updates, pictures, places to send messages, etc... It is well worth taking a look.


I have just returned from a trip to Parris Island with my Marine Corp League. We spent three days on the island and boy did it bring back memories. Being that I was the youngest Marine there (class of 89 Plt 1056) I remembered the footprints in from of receiving. I was with a lot of old Dogs that said the footprints did not exist when they were there. I am looking for anyone that can tell me what year the footprints were placed on the island

Semper Fi,
Semper Fidelis Motorcycle Club


Hey Sgt Grit
Last night I was watching an episode of JAG, They had this one guy on their playing a Marine who sang the Marines Hymn better than I've ever heard it! Kinda brought tears to your eye, Reminded me of the 1st time I heard it at Boot Camp Graduation, God Bless the Marines at home & aboard!
Semper Fi
Mike King


OORAAHH! Sgt Grit,
I'm LCPL Keown and the little story that I want to share is about my 3rd Hat at PI.....My 3rd Hat was a vicious @#$#er and every morning about 20 minutes before reveille Sgt. Desjardins would run up and down the barracks screaming,"GET YOUR LITTLE PUKE, MOMMA MISSING @SSES OUT OF THE RACK AND GET ON LINE RIGHT NOW". Now that's not the good part.....Every time we would have 1 recruit just act like he was at home sleeping in his own rack like there were no tomorrow. Well on Christmas Eve Sgt. Desjardins told the fire-watch to flip on the lights, he then had that one recruit get out of his rack, get on the quarter deck and bust out some mountain climbers. The tone in his voice every time he said,"ready" was incredible. My impression of Sgt Desjardins,"WHEN I SAY READY THAT'S WHEN YOU'LL START MOUNTAIN CLIMBING......RRREEEEEAAAADDDYYYYYY" and that would be at the top of his voice loudly as he could this day every time I hear my platoon SGT give the preparatory command ready I think of my 3rd HAT.
Sgt Desjardins if you are reading this by all means I personally give you my up most and all respect.
*Drink for P.I. platoon 2001*
Semper fi and God Bless the Corps
LCPL Keown-0341


I joined the Marines right out of High School in the early sixty's. Served on a Marine Detachment on the USS Helena, then went to Viet Nam as an MSG. Went home on leave in a suburb of St. Louis. Was sitting on the porch one morning when to Federal came up and asked if I was David Lott? I said yes and they told me they had an arrest warrant for my arrest for avoiding the draft. I was shocked and got my military ID and showed it to them, and said I just came back from Nam. They said it didn't matter and would have to take me in. My mother heard this and went crazy and then called the Mayor who she had gone to high school with. About an hour after being locked up the Mayor and about ten other people showed up. I was released and found out they were all exMarines. Took me to lunch and a week later I received a letter of apologia from the Governor. Marines always take care of their own no matter what the problem is big are small.

GySgt Lott Retired, My wife of 37 years 20 of those years as a supporting MC wife likes your news letter, and say's all MC wife's
Semper Fi.


Hello Sgt Grit,
I felt compelled to share this with everyone who reads and shares their thoughts with you in your newsletter. I share the same feelings as everyone how the media seems to find all the bad things to report about in the news and newspaper.

I have been retired from the Marines now this being my tenth year. I subscribed to the Marine Times, where I know at least I'm going to get some news that isn't so biased to all the negative things happening in Iraq, instead it keeps me posted on what our Marines are doing over there. I just received the 17th May issue, and I wanted to share something that our local newspaper or news casters on our local channels do not seem to take interest in. "Tales of Heroism!" Three Marines awarded the Corps first Navy Crosses in 13 years! Five Marines honored with Silver Stars! I'm so glad the newspaper did not cover this because they probably would have used the term, Marines win medals.

We know very well Marines do not win medals, they earn them through Gallantry, Honor and Heroism! As much as I would love to share all of the receipt ants citations, but I cannot due to space, so I would like to share one in particular that stuck in my heart! "A Volunteer's Bravery" Gunnery Sergeant Jeffrey E. Bohr Jr. was honored posthumously with a Silver Star for his actions on an April 10, 2003, firefight while serving as the company gunnery sergeant for Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. Bohr had volunteered to go with the company's armored convoy in a "soft-skinned" Humvee during the seizing of a presidential palace in Baghdad to ensure the convoy was resupplied quickly.

While moving through the narrow Baghdad streets, the convoy came under intense fire and Bohr continually fired his rifle while supplying critical information to his company commander. The lead vehicle reached a dead end and was caught under fire, but Bohr continued to "boldly engage the enemy while calmly maneuvering his Marines to safety," his award citation reads. After learning that a Marine in another vehicle was wounded, Bohr coordinated medical treatment. He guided an evacuation vehicle to the Marine, laying down heavy fire along the way, and was killed while trying to get the vehicle to the injured leatherneck. In all 8 Heroes emerged from Operation Iraqi Freedom who were awarded some of the military highest honors for bravery! I remember being a Lance Corporal back in 1976, I was in Squad Leaders School, I'm afraid I wasn't doing all that well, I was about to receive counseling from the director of the school, while sitting in the hallway, I had seen this huge plague hanging on the wall, it covered just about the whole wall, I immediately saw the caption that read, "The Wall of Honor," I must have been standing there for a good 15 minutes reading some of the citations of Marines awarded the Medal of Honor, I never forgotten that day, because it changed my whole outlook on the Marine Corps and why I had joined in the first place.

I don't know what it is, but when you first join, and everyone has their own reasons for joining, unfortunately mine in the beginning was not because I was patriotic and willing to die for my country. It was only after reading those citations did it hit me what I had joined and very quickly changed my attitude and my thought process as to why I had joined such a prestigious outfit as the Marine Corps. It's been 229 years since the Corps birth, and here we are, another battle Marines face, and yet we continue to rewrite history.

The damage warfare can do to a young man defies the sublime; it mangles, alters, and bleeds, yet time after time Marines continue to do amazing things on the battlefield.

Today's Marines were those young men who were untested, no battlefield experience, and yet they prove our training methods and the "espirit de corps" some ways have profounding effects on all of our young Marines as it did for me that day back in 1976. To all of the Fathers, Mothers who have sons or daughters in the Marine Corps, I absolutely share your fears and concerns if your son or daughter is there in Iraq, I can only tell you that since their entry in the Corps, they too at some moment have had that infinite moment where they have grasped what they have become, and I can only tell you that they will rise to the occasion no matter what it may entail, be proud of that son or daughter, they may not receive one of the military's highest honors for bravery, but rest assured, they may be scared, as they should be, but when the time comes, their true character will rise and they will do very brave things on the battlefield, because that's what they have been trained to do, and they understand the shoes they are filling from campaigns past! No other service has our history, and as I sit here and I have read these citations of heroism, it brings tears to my eyes, I am so proud of all these men and woman for what they are doing, as well as you should be also!

God Bless these brave young men and woman, Semper Fi to all!
Mike Angelo GYSGT USMC (Ret) 1974-1994


Sgt Grit,
Letters in your newsletter of our active duty ship board transportation got me thinking about my trip across the Pacific the latter part of 1965. I believe the ship I, and I don't know how many others, were transported aboard was the Hugh J.Gaffey.

I'm hoping someone can fill in some blanks in my memories about that ship, if in fact I have the correct name. We left San Diego around late September of 1965 and arrived in Okinawa, in Naha I believe in November. We had a day of liberty in Hawaii or a day in Yokahama, Japan. I got Japan.

My orders were for the 3rd Mar Div. I was sent to the 3rd FSR in Sukiran. The six other Marines I left Cherry Point with ended up in DaNang.

I think the crew was Phillipino. I think it was part of the Military Sea Transport Service. Not sure what "USNS" stands for. "U.S. Naval Service"?

Are there any "historians" or shipmates from that trip on your mailing list that can re-enlighten me to some facts? Thanks!

Semper Fi,
Fmr Cpl Mike LaBozzetta
1964-'67 - 2nd MAW- 3rd Mar Div - MOS 3371


In response to last weeks posting by Sgt. Dan Powell:

I would be very careful bad mouthing someone about their service if you do not know them. Just because they can not remember the name of a ship they may have been on does not mean that they where not there. I can remember all of the names of my elementary school teachers; however, I no many people that can not. It does not mean that they did not go to school.

In your last posting you said, "I see from the names of your ships that you went through the grinder in the islands. You have my deepest respect as you are truly from the OLD CORPS. Semper Fi, Sgt. Dan Powell"

Does that mean that you do not respect those of us that are serving now, or just not as much? How long ago would I have had to serve to be considered "Old Corps." Are our brother and sister Marines that served in Desert Storm, Old Corps? What about Panama, Lebanon or Grenada? Does Vietnam or Korea count? My brother was a Marine in the 70's. He does not say he was Old Corps, he just says that he was a Marine. Certainly my father who served in the 29th Reg. and fought on Okinawa was Old Corps; or was he? Maybe "Old Corps" should be reserved for those that enlisted in Tun Tavern.

The term "Old Corps" has it's place. It is a great way for former Marines to poke fun at younger Marines, as was done in the past, as it is going on today and will continue in the future. My question is: Why don't the Marines serving in Haiti, Africa, Afghanistan or Iraq today have your deepest respect? The 18 year old Marines that serve today deserve that same respect.

With deepest respect to all who have served,
GySgt Dan Rosson (AD) (New Corps)


I want to address this to, Joe Reilly fmr. cpl., USMCR, 4.2-1 Korea 1950-1951
Thanks buddy, I needed that. I will always be proud of my service in the Corps. My Daughter Natasha is in progress of joining the Corps and I offered to join with her. Her recruiter, MSgt Gonzo told me they didn't build tanks big enough for me to duck behind . D-mn shame. I'm still just as good a shot though, maybe better. A note of interest, my Daughter is half Vietnamese and I am so proud of her I could bust.
Thanks again Joe, M.A. Mansfield / Sgt USMC HQ Btry 2/11


It was rumored that when the first Marine R4Q2 (flying boxcar) flew into an Australian airfield the Marine aviator called the tower and identified his self as "Marine R4Q2 Bureau Number .......... requesting landing instructions." The Aussie air traffic controller asked the pilot to repeat his self. The aviator complied and after a brief pause the controller was reported as having said, " I say old chap would you please dispense with the obscenities and identify yourself."
FF Sgt USMC 1955-1959


On a recent trip to Denver, Colorado to attend a funeral, my wife and I stayed in a Hotel near Buckley (old NAS). Over the weekend a group of Marines checked in. They were doing weekend training and were fortunate enough to be staying at a hotel (not on base in tents or barracks). They had all spent time in the Middle East and had the quiet confidence of Marines that have "been there". I can't describe how proud my wife and I were to see how these young men handled themselves. We checked out of the hotel around 9:00 pm and when my wife saw a few of them in the bar, she insisted on giving the bartender enough money to buy them all a drink. When the bartender announced that she was buying them a drink, all she heard was a quiet "OORAH". God Bless them all.
Semper Fi Jim Birrell, Sgt. 1534077


Sgt. Grit,
I have to send a short "sea story" on the subject of "having a woman in your sights". One of my cousins was in the Marine Corps, "island hopping", in the Pacific Theater, WWII. During a rather intense engagement, with the Japanese hosts, on the island, my cousin shot a Japanese sniper out of a tree. After the island was secured he went over to the body to get the dog tags and upon reaching into the sniper's blouse, discovered that it was a woman! Turn about is fair play.
Semper Fidelis,
Don Hepburn, Sgt.,USMC (HD) '55-'59


When I was in Korea with 2/7, I received a letter in my Fathers handwriting and knowing my Father, I thought the worst because my Father never wrote unless it was as a last resort. It was a very short letter stating the I had a letter from the draft board, telling me to register for the draft. I wrote back and told my Dad to tell them if they wanted me, to come get me, and knowing my Dad, I feel sure that he told them just that. I never got to ask my Dad if he did tell the draft board.
Semper Fi.
John W. Grindel Sr.
GySgt/Ret USMC


I agree...people want "clean" answers, but don't understand reality. It's time to quit fooling around!

God loves the corp. BTW...My neighbor is a retired South Korean Airborne Marine, I've been teaching him to scuba dive--I've got 5 certs, and about 6000 hours. It's amazing how good of friend they really are, most American's don't generally realize.

Take Care,
Michael J. Smith, Lt. Col. 1st of the 9th USMC


Sgt. Grit,
Rochester, N.Y. Marine, receives Navy Cross
Maybe you'd like to hear about something other than idiot Reservists and naked Iraqis. Maybe you'd like to hear about a real American, somebody who honored the uniform he wears. Meet Brian Chontosh, Churchville-Chili Central School class of '91. Proud graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology. Husband and about-to-be father. First lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. And a genuine hero. The secretary of the Navy said so yesterday.

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.(May 6, 2004) -- Marine Capt. Brian R. Chontosh received the Navy Cross Medal from the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, Gen. Michael W. Hagee, during an awards ceremony Thursday at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Training Center, Twentynine Palms, CA. Three other Marines received medals for valor at the same ceremony.

Chontosh, 29, from Rochester, N.Y. , received the naval service's second highest award for extraordinary heroism while serving as Combined Anti-Armor Platoon Commander, Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom March 25, 2003. The Medal of Honor is the highest military award.

While leading his platoon north on Highway 1 toward Ad Diwaniyah, Chontosh's platoon moved into a coordinated ambush of mortars, rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapons fire. With coalitions tanks blocking the road ahead, he realized his platoon was caught in a kill zone. He had his driver move the vehicle through a breach along his flank, where he was immediately taken under fire from an entrenched machine gun. Without hesitation, Chontosh ordered the driver to advanced directly at the enemy position enabling his .50 caliber machine gunner to silence the enemy.

He then directed his driver into the enemy trench, where he exited his vehicle and began to clear the trench with an M16A2 service rifle and 9 millimeter pistol. His ammunition depleted, Chontosh, with complete disregard for his safety, twice picked up discarded enemy rifles and continued his ferocious attack. When a Marine following him found an enemy rocket propelled grenade launcher, Chontosh used it to destroy yet another group of enemy soldiers. When his audacious attack ended, he had cleared over 200 meters of the enemy trench, killing more than 20 enemy soldiers and wounding several others.

"They are the reflection of the Marine Corps type who's service to the Marine Corps and country is held above their own safety and lives," said Gen. Hagee, commenting on the four Marines who received medals during the ceremony. "I'm proud to be here awarding the second highest and third highest awards for bravery to these great Marines."

"These four Marines are a reflection of every Marine and sailor in this great battalion," said Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. John L. Estrada.

"I was just doing my job, I did the same thing every other Marine would have done, it was just a passion and love for my Marines, the experience put a lot into perspective," said Chontosh.

In effect since April 1917, and established by an Act of Congress on Feb. 4, 1919, the Navy Cross may be awarded to any person who, while serving with the Navy or Marine Corps, distinguishes himself/herself in action by extraordinary heroism not justifying an award of the Medal of Honor. More than 6,000 Navy Crosses have been awarded since World War I.

The action must take place under one of three circumstances: while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or, while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict in which the United States is not a belligerent party. To earn a Navy Cross the act to be commended must be performed in the presence of great danger or at great personal risk and must be performed in such a manner as to render the individual highly conspicuous among others of equal grade, rate, experience, or position of responsibility.

Submitted by: MCB Camp Pendleton
Story Identification #: 200456162723
Story by Cpl. Jeremy Vought

(I thought it would be nice for everyone to see that the Marine Corps Tradition is 'Alive & Well' in IRAQ. Otto Strampfer)


Saturday May 15th I had to pick up my sister Rita at Philly International. While waiting for her luggage at the carrousel I spotted Ed McMahon waiting for his luggage at the carrousel next to hers. My wife Joan was also with us and the girls went up to Ed and introduced themselves as McMahon's also and got a hello and hand shake from Ed. I didn't want to bother him and say that I was a McMahon too; he must have that happen to him all the time. I knew Ed is a Marine and noticed the American and Marine Corps flags on his lapel pin. I guess with old age my brain mechanism group wasn't in gear. If it were I would have said "Semper Fi Brother" and Ed would have not rushed away. I could have told him Rita and my sister Pat were honorary Marines because while in Vietnam they sent bikini pictures of themselves to be posted on a bulletin board in our shop to boost moral. All the guys in our CH-46 hydraulics shop were asked to get their sisters, girlfriends etc. to send in pictures for the board at the direction of our NCOIC SSgt. Beetle Bailey. Our shop was usually the first place our guys stopped on their way back from or going on missions to see the postings. Rita still e-mails some of my friends from way back then. There's also an honorary Marine squid in my family. Marty (the squid) took my wife's place at an HMM-262 All Eras Reunion in New River. He was a good sport about all the ribbing my Marine buddies gave him. Such as every time he walked into a room full of Marines somebody would say "do you smell fish, there must be a squid in the room"! Marty got to meet LtGen Fred "The Assassin" McCorkle and LtGen Mike "The Rifle" DeLong. Maybe Ed reads your newsletter or maybe one of his buddies will pass this on to him. If so give him my e-mail address: and we can talk "Jarhead" stuff.
Semper Fi,
Tim McMahon HMM-262 RVN 66-67


Hey Grit
Here's some info that I hope will clear up the confusion for members of the Old Farts Brigade. ALL HANDS NOW HERE THIS! The SOP For transfer from OFB 7th Mar Div to Pearly Gates Brigade 7th Mar Div is as follows.
1. On passing, orders are cut for each member transferring him or her from OFB to PGB 7th Mar Div.
2. Upon reporting to gate transport will be provided to HQS at Mainside.
3. If marine reporting is a real H*ll raiser he or she may be sent TAD or PCS to Detachment South and will be provided appropriate transport to HQS Det So. ( hint pack your asbestos Skivvies) I hope this clears up any and all confusion for all hands!
SSgt Rock OFB 7th Mar Div

NOTE: 7th Marine Division Patch


Sgt Grit: Having just finished the recent issue, it brought to mind my first "venture" aboard a Navy ship, the USS CAVILLER, enroute to Japan in April of 1950. All of us Marines were billeted in one compartment and naturally shared the "head." Well, on most of the old Victory ships, they didn't have all the modern conveniences of individual commodes -- only a very long trough, with two boards laid down the center of it. This arrangement caused all members to basically sit next to one another, with no partitions. Well, naturally, with the pitch and toss of the ship, it got a bit rough at times so maintaining balance was a challenge. The other challenge was to be very watchful of people on either end of the "trough," as usually when they would finish, they'd break out a lighter, light a wad of paper and place it in the trough, where it would float down the line, causing ALL current residents to jump up screaming and yelling. It wasn't funny at the time, but after 55 years is worth remembering "the Good Old Days."

For the benefit of those that wrote in regarding not remembering the names of various ships they'd been is a list of MY transportation vessels: USS CAVILLER (4/50), USS BUCKNER (9/50), USS BUCKNER (10/50), USS MT. MCKINLY (12/50), USS MANN (1/51), USS ALTMAN (3/52), LST #804 (4/52), USS MATHEWS (2/60), USS TULARE (4/60). Considering that I joined the Marine Corps 7/49 and retired 7/72 I've crossed trails with a lot of various individuals and would appreciate hearing from any that fit into these particular dates. Major units involved were TTU/NAB, X-Corps in Korea, 7th CommBn. Keep up the Good Work, Sgt. Grit

SEMPER FI -- MGySgt R. A. Swank, USMC(Ret)


Dear Fellow Marines, It does not matter one bit, if you served in combat or not, Don't ever forget, you my fellow Marines Volunteered for the Marine Corps. Be so very proud of that fact, no matter what you did in the Corps, it was for the greater good of the Corps. Whatever you did, from admin. to grunt, saved lives, and helped kill the enemy. Please do not forget that. Hey we are all U.S. Marines, the hardest branch of the service to get into, and everything we do is for our fellow Marines, Not everyone can be a Marine, even admin Marines, SEMPER FI, MY BROTHER'S. SGT. Greg Sackett


Dear Sgt.
One day in 1957 the Platoon Leader M/Sgt Burke said to me " You are eligible for Staff Sgt but you have to take the staff test." So I asked him what the test covered. I was thinking if it was general military stuff no problem. Then he said "No you have to take a test in your mos ( military occupational specialty)". Well my mos was 2531 Fire Direction Center. In this mos you have to read maps talk on radios and plot fire missions and give the correct settings to the 81 mortars. The problem was I had been doing everything but that. I didn't even know how to turn a radio on much less plot a fire mission.

M/Sgt Burke said the test is in 2 weeks. We had a S/Sgt who had the same mos so I talked to him and he said it was a technical test that required knowing the different types of radios and related equipment plus radio frequencies of all the radios used by the Marines plus the types of antennas.

He then hands me 3 field manuals (each about the size of a paper back) and says its all in here. For the next 2 weeks I read those manuals even after lights out I would be sitting in the head reading.

Finally it was test day actually it was two days one day for the technical test and the second for general military subjects. Sure enough all the stuff I had been reading was there and it didn't seem to be that hard. Then the next day was the general military material which I didn't study because I felt I already knew.

About a week later M/Sgt Burke comes up to me and said " I don't know how you did it but you passed both test and got a high score, congratulations."

I don't know if making Staff Sgt in under 4 years was a big deal or not but for me it was.

S/Sgt Norman Barnes ( 1953-1957)


I hesitate to send this when OUR MARINES are fighting and dying; however there has to be some humor in our lives.

About two months ago I was in a casino near St. Louis and I had a USMC cover. When I sat at a blackjack table, there were two men playing - one (about 50 years old) had a USMC tattoo on his forearm. The second (early twenties) said that they were both Marines and his first question was did I know Chesty. I said yes, that I had met him on his return to Camp Lejuene from Korea. The younger genuinely excited said to the older "Hey, he knew Chesty" loud enough for most of the people in the casino to hear.

Earlier this week I visited the Field Museum in Chicago (again with a USMC cover) and while in the gift shop waiting for my wife a man walked up and said you are obviously a Marine. After I responded affirmatively and asked if he were. He said no, but his best friend had been. He then asked, "What part of the South Pacific were you in." I said that I had been in during the Korean conflict. His second question was did I know Chesty Puller. He then thanked me for having served and left to tell his wife that I knew Chesty.

Goodnight General, wherever you are. You are still remembered.

Tom Vaughn
Mustang Lt 1951-1955


I want to put out a request to everyone. My husband is proudly serving in OIF2, and is about to turn a quarter. What a place to turn 25, although I know that he would not come back early, even if given the opportunity. We are giving him a card shower, and the more cards he recieves, the better. We want his mail call to be overwhelming. His birthday is June 10, but with the time mail takes... His address is:
Cpl. Vail, R.S.
UIC 42466
FPO AP 96426-2466
Thank you for your Esprit de Corps. OOHRAH and a BIG SEMPER FI to ALL Marines.
Char, Proud Marine Wife


On a recent trip to Denver, CO to attend a funeral, my wife and I stayed in a hotel near Buckley (old NAS). Over the weekend a group of Marines checked in. They were doing weekend training and were fortunate enough to be staying at a hotel (not on base in tents or barracks). They had all spent time in the Middle East and had the quiet confidence of Marines that have "been there". I can't describe how proud my wife and I were to see how these young men handled themselves. We checked out of the hotel around 9:00 PM and when my wife saw a few of them in the bar, she insisted on giving the bartender enough money to buy them a drink. When the bartender announced that she was buying them a drink, all she heard was a quiet "OORAH". God Bless them all.
Semper Fi
Jim Birrell, Sgt. 1534077


Good Morning Sgt. Grit:
Recently, I took my new Jeep in for service at the local Jeep dealer. When I leave my home for whatever the reason, I always wear my red U. S. Marine Corps ball cap with the large Eagle Globe and Anchor on the cover. This never fails to attract other Marines who may be in the vicinity. As I was waiting to tell the service folks what to do to my Jeep, a handsome young man approached me, said "Semper Fi" and well, you know the rest, we began to exchange stories. It turned out that he is a Marine, on Terminal Leave from the Corps and the Service Manager at this particular Chrysler Dealership.

This young man, Jody Davis, Sgt. USMC, had returned from IRAQ and is one of those young Marines one is always hearing or reading about who wounded, wants to get back to his unit. In Jody's case, he had to petition the Commanding General of the First Marine Division before they allowed him to return. But return he did. I was very moved by his story and as the Sr. Vice Commandant of our local Marine Corps League, I pulled my wallet out and from it handed Jody an application to join our Marine Corps League. He accepted. I then contacted others about this Marine and right away, our Past Commandant called him and made him Keynote Speaker at our Memorial Day Services at the local National Cemetery. The County Veteran's Service Officer at my suggestion, has appointed him to be our Grand Marshall for our Veteran's Day Parade on November 11, 2004. The local Rotary has invited him to come to speak as a Guest Speaker and our Marine Corps League honored him as a new member and after swearing him in last night, he was invited to be our Guest Speaker. I even gave this young single Marine the name of a beautiful young single lady who would love to meet him.

Unusual treatment for a Marine new to our town and only recently returned from IRAQ? Well Jody Davis, Sgt of Marines is rather amazed that this is happening to him. But here in our town, we honor our Troops, whether they are Marines, National Guard, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard. Our Marine Corps League has adopted our local Marine Recruiters and supports them 100%. And, I am the Liaison for the "Marine for Life Program" in our area. We take care of our Marines. I cannot promise that all Marines returning home in our town will be made a Guest Speaker nor can I say that all would be Grand Marshall of our annual Veterans Day Parade. I can say that they will be treated with the honor and respect they deserve and will be afforded every assistance in job placement, health services, finding appropriate housing as needed. It is just a Marine Thing, You All Understand. (I just had to say that).

Jody Davis, has many stories to tell but what is most moving about the stories he told is not the experiences in and of themselves but how humble this young Marine was in our presence. He seemed more awed by us and the fact that his training and his instructors had all told him that he had better not screw up because he had to uphold what all of us that came before him had done. He was truly in awe of those Marines who had served in WWII, Korea, Viet Nam and elsewhere and actually believed that we had done so much more than he and his fellow Marines. He was a very proud Marine last night as he told his story but proud as he was, we were much more so of him and our young Marines of today that more than uphold our proud traditions. He knows that now and takes his place among us to welcome home the next Marines to complete their service to their God, their Country, their Corps. Semper Fi to all.

Richard E. Nygaard, SSGT, USMC 1953-1963


I just wanted to write to let all our Marines know I am so proud of them, I served in Vietnam 68-69 C/Co 1/3 3rd Herd, 0331. Just to know that these present day Marines still have the oooorahhhhhhh spirit brings my chest out another 10 inches. I watched in awe and envy on the news, as these brave Marines took it to the enemy in Falujah, it made me think back on the assault at Hue City in Vietnam. I just want them all to know, they are 2nd to none, and I can assure them, that the American people and not just we Marines are d*mn proud of them. Semper Fidelis, and God Bless them all and their families.
John O'Brien Ocala, Florida


Dear Sgt. Grit,
I just want to thank you for an outstanding website & newsletter! I was on my way home from work today and I stopped for a case a beer, and took it to the counter, the lady, (who is the owner) looked at my t-shirt which said: "Proud to be a Marine Vet!" She said that she loved my shirt and wanted to thank me for serving my country and keeping it free! She also said:" I always close on Memorial Day! and I raise my flag high, to remember all the Vets who gave there lives for the freedom of this Country!" Now, I'm a Desert Storm Vet, I have been thanked as a group, but not personally! It made me feel real good! There aren't too many people that I have ever seen do this! I told her to pray for all our troops who are in harms way over in Iraq & Afghanistan, and she said she always does!!! She didn't want to charge me for the beer, I insisted that she take my money! As I was leaving the store she said: "SEMPER FI MARINE!" It brought tears to my eyes, there's actually people who care about the Vets!!
Semper Fi My Brothers!
Harry N. DS Vet!


was on bb64 (uss wisconsin) for two years in mid 50s probably the best the best two years of my life..thanks to my son, i was able to get with a few of them 2 years by email. makes lots of difference when you get older (68) to look back on good times..anyway, our big "boat" called at gitmo bay often and although all off base liberty had just been cancelled due to fidel, the marine privates club and restaurant were like home coming.
Does anyone out there besides me know the words to the lobster song? was favorite in slop chute. I feel geo w should either turn the troops loose or get them the h*ll out. Plugged rifles get people hurt. So does the wait till fire first rule. My best to all, past, present and future
Sgt wackerly, uss wisconsin 53-56


Sgt. Grit. When I received my discharge from the Corps (worst mistake I ever made) in '73 I moved in with my best friend from my unit (Drum & Bugle Corps). He got a Marine tattoo in '75 & tried to convince me to do the same. Well, as things go, I got married and my wife told me that if I got a tattoo, I could move back in with my friend. Years went by. By this time I had two great sons that wanted to fulfill my wish. For my 50th birthday they surprised me by throwing me in the car and stopping at a great tattoo parlor. To make a long story short, I borrowed one of your logos and now I have a great symbol of the Corps on my right shoulder. My wife knew what our sons were going to do and actually APPROVED! She likes it and I love it. I hope that you don't mind if I used your design, but what the h*ll, it's too late now. Semper Fi!
See the tattoo
Jack Walls '71-'73.


I am 47 i wish i could jump on c-130 right now and go kick some @ss lets stop paying games and kick @ss semper fi my brothers

"God bless the Marines?" Most unlikely. Because, what is so hard to understand about "Thou shalt not kill?"

unworthy + sergius
(formerly Captain, USMC)
Holy Transfiguration Skete

To the comments left by our fellow Marine Nick Smith, OOH RAH! Well said Bro. Semper Fi. Carry on. Danny Russell, U.S.M.C. 1984-eternity.

All gave some.
Some gave ALL.

Semper fi!!
Sgt Grit

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