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

Sgt Grit Marine Corps Newsletter - September 2, 2004

Yo Grit,
Enjoy the news letter and look forward to it every Thursday. Joined in 49, retired in 69 and for some reason can still remember my D.Is Sgt Garrison who at one time was proclaimed Seventh fleet boxing champ, a big red faced Cpl named Roady and a sawed of little PFC named Ryan. I can remember a lot more but do not want to drag it out. Now what the h--- did I have for supper last night.
Dave Erickson
GySgt USMC retired

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With all the attention Senator Zell Miller has been getting I think it is appropriate to mention he is a Marine and his book is here. It is a great book, easy read. He talks about how the Corps straightened his life out and the values it instilled.

New Stuff

D1020 - Terrorist Hunting Permit Decal

D1025 - Yellow Ribbon Decal


When I arrived in Korea in 1952 and assigned to E-2-5 my brand new M1 was replaced with an old silver BAR (the bluing had long disappeared). For you young pups a BAR was a Browning Automatic Rifle. There was a song that we would recite and it went like this.

"Bless them all, Bless them all, the AP, the Tracer, the Ball, Push on the change lever, pull back the bolt, squeeze on the trigger and wait for the jolt. Oh it kicks like a Model T Ford, and death it's only reward. When you are dead some other Jarhead will pick up the BAR you adore".

Jack Nolan 1131869 7/50-9/57 Staff Sgt


Sgt Grit
Dan Powell's relating the story of being aboard ship headed for Kobe sounds like a trip I made on the USS Brewster out of San Diego. The trays sliding back and forth on the mess tables is what made me burst out laughing. We had pork chops one day and as the trays slid by, one of the southern Marines was spearing the chops off the trays as they went by and putting them on his!! So many were sick they didn't miss the chops!! That was a rough trip and as I recall we were skirting a typhoon which beat h&ll out of us. The ship would rise on a huge swell and when it came down the other side into the trough, the hull would hit and the whole ship would shudder with a loud boooommmmm. I didn't get sick for the most part, but when I went on deck one day to watch the waves breaking, someone puked and it flew back into my face and I barfed instantly. That was the only time though. H&ll even the crew was getting sick!! Was good to put into Kobe where about half the troops got off, marched across the docks and boarded a ship bound for Okinawa. I think we only stayed in Kobe overnight or two days at most and then headed for Inchon. That part was easy but at Inchon we offloaded into smaller craft for the trip to shore in blowing snow and temps that hovered near zero. Then into open cattle cars for the ride to ASCOM City. Bunch of frozen troops by the time we got to tent city and tried to thaw out with the itty bitty kerosene stoves. Ah yes the memories of youth and exuberance.....
Sgt Rocky Kemp - NOLOAD (No longer On Active Duty)


NOW HERE THIS ! ! It is not an EGA; it never has been an EGA; but it sure as heck looks like it is falling into disrepute. political correctness seems to have taken over, where we speak in sentences made up of condensed clauses, proper names are reduced to initials, as is everything else. I've just recently joined your mailing list, and as a WWII Marine (Okinawa and North China), I enjoy the letters and comments from Marines of all eras, their widows, wives, mothers, dads and brothers and sisters, but I have to say its disturbing to see the SYMBOL that we all worked so hard to earn the right to wear, and to call ourselves MARINES, be reduced to three initials "EGA". I noticed that reference in two letters to Sgt. Grit. Fellows, if you can't say "Eagle, Globe and Anchor", and if you can't take the time to write the words out in their entirety, please don't besmirch The United States Marine Corps with a pithy EGA.
Semper Fi,
Former Cpl James D. Broome
Cumming, GA


Sgt. Grit, The Gunny has to step to the plate on this issue of who can and who cannot use our Marine Corps terminology, any or all of it. For 229 Years the Marine Corps has been fighting for the freedom of the oppressed whether here or abroad. We're not fighting for Afghanistan or Iraq or any other piece of land; we are fighting for the people that have suffered years of oppression and genocide and because our Commander-In- Chief has sent us. So, if a venerable grandmother walks by me on the street and says "Semper Fi, Marine" or a middle eastern man or any man, woman or child says "Gung Ho, Marine" or Oorah Devil Dog or Leatherneck or Jarhead, I take it with the pride instilled in me on the drill field and the quarterdeck and hold it as a sign of their pride and respect, not just in me but in the Marine Corps. America knows who we are no matter how we are dressed, by the way we walk, our bearing and manners, America loves the Marine Corps because they know we keep them safe while they sleep at night. We are their watchdog, "Tuefelhunden" and they know it. So if it bothers some for "civilians" to use our terms, GET OVER IT. CARRY ON. THEY LOVE WHAT YOU STAND FOR.
GySgt. Charles J. Glynn, USMC, (Ret)
Still 185# of High and Tight

I recently started Civil War re-enacting (Hey!- it was the only way I could get back in uniform. I'm way too fat, slow, old, lazy, soft and out of shape for 'em to let me back in the Marine Corps). At my first encampment I found out our Sgt.Maj. was an old WWII Marine. I went up and introduced myself, accompanied with "Semper Fi!"

"Semper Fi! Semper Fi! You know what Semper Fi meant in my day?" (His day included Guadalcanal, Okinawa, China, and later, Inchon.) "In my day, Semper Fi meant........." and he let out a loud raspberry and gestured in an upward motion with his thumb, as in, "shove this up into rectal defilade". "When some non-comm'd come around as you had just finished digging a good, deep foxhole and yell, "Saddle up, we're movin' again", the response would be, "Yeah, semper fi buddy". Or, "Chow didn't make it up here yet and you guys are goin' out on OP." "Semper Fi, buddy!"

I made the comment once that he was 'Old Corps'. "Old Corps! Old Corps! You know what Old Corps is?" he says. "It's anybody that enlisted twenty minutes before you did!"

He told about being on the landing craft going into Guadalcanal. There was a couple of China hands onboard, sure-enough salts. They had on campaign hats and carried the old Springfield rifles and berated and chastised everybody around them as boots and new guys, not tough enough to hack it in the Old Corps. The fire on the beach was hot. "The next time I saw 'the Old Corps' they were wearin' steel pots and carrying BAR's! Hah!" As we parted I called out, "Semper Fi!" and he grinned and responded, "Yeah, Semper Fi to you too, buddy!"
Mark Klassen
USMC '78-'81

Get a grip ladies!!! Who cares who says Semper Fi? Jeez. . with all the problems in our daily lives these days who has enough time on their hands to b!tch about something as trivial as this? Spend your time writing to the troops over seas. Like my D.I. said. . . "You've always got that ten percent who slip through the cracks and graduate." You moaners seem to be pretty slippery!
Sgt Stewart 1970-76

Sgt. Grit,
I've been reading all the hoopla about the use of "semper fi" for a while now.

Where and why this discussion started up in the first place I could not say. Some want to claim that only other Marines can use this term. I think that's bull. There are people out there who do know the meaning and they say it in the utmost respect and as an acknowledgement of your service.

Now I've gotta say I'm not one known for my tact. My retired hubby who's a Gunny has more than me. (He was an asshole in the Corps. This was confirmed by one of his best friends.) So that might give you an idea of how I am.

The phrase " A Marine Wife, the Toughest Job in the Corps" didn't come about just because they thought it sounded good and were kissing butt. It's the friggin truth. We put up with all the hardship because this is the job he loved, he was a Marine. We too were part and parcel of the Corps, so should I, or my kids wish to say Semper Fi to another Marine they had better not give us any flack about it. We've paid our dues, so those who think that you have to be a Marine to say Semper Fi can kiss my tush.
wife of retired Gunny
married to him for 17 or so years before he retired.

Sgt. Grits:
In the past two issues of your news letter. There has been some comments over the use of Semper Fi.

If we all think back to the Viet Nam War how many times have all us heard, the lack of RESPECT for the men and women that served.

Personally. I have lost track of the number of people that have come up to me and said SEMPER FI. I always respond with a thank you and when were you in the Marines. Some of the reply I have received are truly heart rending. My father was kill in Viet Nam, I never knew him. I was only 2 years old when he was killed. A slivered haired lady said that her two brothers were MARINES and were killed in World War Two. She says SEMPER FI. is a reminder to her two bothers. I have had people down on their luck great me with SEMPER FI. Most of the tell me that they are still fighting the war or know some one that is lost in that time. Recently my wife and I were in Newport, OR, in a gallery and the owner came up to me and my wife and said SEMPER FI. The gentleman went on to explain he was never in the MARINES but he had the up most respect for all MARINES.

I now look at it this way. If this brings a little happiness into to someones life and make her or him feel better. Who am I to complain. Also it may be away of showing respect to all of the men and women that never received the respect they deserved on returning home from Viet Man.

Remember each of us earned the right to be called a MARINE, so next time take it as a compliment.
PLF CPL 62 65


Fine Job there Sgt. as always. Thanks for keeping us old F-rts up to date with these young but strong Devil Dogs. Caring on the proud traditions of Our Corps and watching each others back. So strong they shall always be.

When they pass another Marine wearing the EGA ,if it be a hat, a fine looking shirt (purchased form The Grit Catalog.) THEY'LL STAND TALL REACH OUT PROUDLY AND GRAB THAT STRONG HAND, LOOKING HIM OR HER IN THE EYES, and with the proud respect they have for each other, Say those words "SEMPER FI". Brothers in arms that have earned the title Marine. I've gone all over this proud Country of ours and have always tried to wear my EGA. It's hard to believe the number of those strong hands shakes and " SEMPER FIs and Thank You's" I' been stopped with. Often the person their with will just look and shake their head and see the pride there.

Young Marines "Stand Tall" " A Job well Done".
Welcome Home
Chesty sure is Proud of you!!!
Sgt. Steve
USMC, 67-71


I would like to share some not so long ago history with my fellow Marines presently serving with the LAR Bn's in Iraq. First of all, my name is Mark Davis and I had the honor to be a forefather when the Corps saw the need for Light Armored support for our fellow Marines. I started out as an 0341 with 2/4 when they requested 41's for Beirut. I then was assigned to Wpns Co, 1/8 and then was transported to the REAL Marine Corps. When in combat, you don't make too many friends. I found that the hard way on October 23, 1983. I miss them all (243) and I had the hard duty of bringing one of my buddies back to Chicago that I went to junior and high school with. I, of course was in Dress Blues when we said goodbye to a brother. His (Gerry McDonald) mother was upset at the loss of her Son as well as his sister who at that time was my girlfriend. That both took out their anger and frustration out on me. We, as Marines are never trained for this mission. It is probably as hard if not harder than serving in combat. But we as Marines will always overcome any obstacle in our way. I then was assigned to 2D LAV Bn when we even didn't have vehicles! I was first assigned to Wpns Co. (No LAV's!) and did nothing but gun drills for about 9 months! After that, We had the honor of getting a Gunny who served with 1/10 in the 'Root the same time I was. I'll never forget GySgt Davis's (no relation) comment whenever we were in the field doing gun drills. "Metal against Metal, there's no other sound like it in nature!" GySgt John Davis was in my opinion the ultimate Marine. I miss him as well as my other brothers I served in combat with. When sh!t started to get stirred up in Panama, Wpns Co. was disbanded and we became Delta Co. 0351's became scouts and all the other NCO's had to learn how to fight a LAV 25. I remember 1st Sgt Waldrop's warning order - "Make sure your vehicles and guns are clean and ready as if your lives depended on it!!...Fall Out!" Going into our first firefight, the tracers were coming as we all felt the panic and fear of combat. I hit the butterfly's on my M60D and all I hear was "Click". I told my gunner, LCpl Chris Nye to suppress the target with 25mm while I unf**ked my 60D (Sunny Side Up!)We dismounted our scouts (0351's) and they charged thru tracer fire and grenades. We lost Cpl Garreth Issack during the firefight. 3rd Herd got the order to support 1st Plt in Arrijan because they were in a world of sh!t. GySgt Davis pulled up in his LAV L and told us he's (Gary) in good hands. At that point, we as Marines had to continue the mission. When I left the active duty ranks of The Marine Corps in 1993, I had the same attitude that all other former active duty Marines had - Can that new breed carry the gear to serve in my beloved Corps? I, for one can say that the new breed presently serving can and does carry on the spirit of all of our forefathers (Chesty, Dan Daly, Lt. Presly O'Banion, ETC). I for one would like to commend my younger brothers who serve in the LAV's. We showed you how to use them in combat. You use them to free a country and a country! May God bless all of you and all who may follow in your footsteps. I must add a comment to the end of my post "Victory To The Bold!" (2D LAI/LAR).....Semper Fi and may we report to the same SgtMaj in Heaven (Make sure your orders are signed off on!)

Semper Fi to all my brothers,
Mark (Muthaguns) Davis (SSgt - U.S.M.C)


Sgt Grit,
After seeing a few commentaries on the "Corporate Ladder" over the past few newsletters, here is another side of it. I served four years in the late fifties, got out as a buck Sergeant worked my way through college, then earned an MBA degree and went to work at threeFORTUNE 500 firms over a 24 year period. True, you can really only trust the vets. In the late sixties and early seventies I had a number of former Navy and Marine Officers working for me, and regardless of their education they were certainly the best.

However, it was my Marine Corps experience and training that made it possible for me to victoriously compete with the numerous "silver spoon ivy league-ers" I encountered. I retired from the corporate world as VP Marketing and chief Marketing Officer of a $350 million FORTUNE 500 subsidiary. At MAG-31 (REIN), North Miami, Fla. our CO at H&MS had the following sign posted in so many places we always saw it:

"We have done so much with so little for so long,
We can do anything with nothing forever.
We are United States Marines!!"

These have been my watch words all my adult life.
To all my Marine brothers and sisters out there competing in the civilian world, don't ever forget you are forever a member of the greatest organization in the world and they beat you only if you let them! Once a Marine Always a Marine.

Semper Fi from a Marine who's been on civilian duty for 45 years!
L D Downs, 155545, Sgt. USMC


After reading all the comments on coffee, I had to pass on this story from Parris Island....1979.

Our platoon, along with the other three platoons in our series, were going through ICT. On the last night out in the woods, we had a good fire going, and were allowed to have a "Gong Show". Any recruit could come up by the fire and give their impersonation of their Drill Instructor of choice. We had one private who could do one of our DI's dead on. We made him up some recon jump wings out of foil, just like our DI wore, and he cracked us up. Some of the other DI's from the other platoons were there to watch the show. A Sr.DI from one of the other platoons was standing next to our Sr.DI, who was drinking coffee from a canteen cup. He suddenly demanded a drink of coffee from our Sr.DI, who handed over his cup. The other Sr.DI took a big swig, tasted it and proclaimed it "not sweet enough", and proceeded to spit a big blob of tobacco juice into the cup, then handed it back to our Sr.DI. He gave a narrow-eyed sideways glance back to the offending comrade, then proceeded to take a big noisy sip. (no way could he appear weak or scared in front of his platoon) He then smacked his lips and said "you're right it isn't sweet enough", dropped his own big brown blob of tobacco juice into the cup, and handed it back to the other DI, and said "try it now". Well, the other DI had no choice after that. He took the cup and drained it, smiled and said "aaaaah....just right"
Dave Stutesman SGT/USMC 79-83


During our last week of boot camp at the Island, my platoon prepared for Battalion Commanders inspection. Our "hard hat" D.I. Sgt. Davis was as big as a mountain and as we finished shaving and were leaving the head, Sgt. Davis stood by the head hatchway to inspect our shave to make sure it was close enough. After his inspection he would apply aftershave lotion to our faces by slapping us on both sides of our face. He even wanted us all to smell the same. He was big and he really hammered a couple of the recruits. As I approached him in line I began to smirk a little because I knew he liked me (as much as a DI can like a recruit) and because of that I would probably get hit pretty hard. He slapped me on the left cheek and then on the right cheek so hard my feet left the ground and I momentarily lost my vision. While stunned, I recalled the old t.v. commercial for Old Spice and said to my D.I. "thanks the recruit needed that". A lot of my fellow recruits started to giggle and I could tell that the D.I. was about to burst out laughing and had to really lock it up to keep his composure in front of us. As punishment for my wisecrack, he made me hold Listerine in my mouth for about 10 minutes until my friend Lou Galgano from N.J. came from behind the D.I.s back with a dustpan so I could spit it out. The D.I. kept looking at me to make sure I was still in pain from the Listerine so I kept my cheeks puffed out so it looked like the mouthwash was still there. My eyes were watering because it was so funny but D.I. Sgt. Davis thought my eyes were watering because of the Listerine. Eventually he let me swallow the Listerine which I faked well. Maybe it was funnier on the Island but it still cracks me up today.
Wish I could find Sgt. Davis or Lou.
John L. Sullivan
PLT 3071
Parris Island 5/84-8/84


Dear Sgt. Grit,
Stood on the yellow footprints at Parris Island on 11/2/93. My DI's were SDI GySgt Ventura, Sgt King, Sgt Patton and Sgt Brown; 2nd Battalion, PLT 2133. Some things you never forget... esp. SSgt O'Connell and Sgt Wilson from Heavy Guns Platoon who were outstanding Marines and who's example I followed.(Coronado 8/94... enough said) As for how many Marines have had fathers (or mothers) who were Marines, I don't know the percentage. However my father is a Marine (CPL. H. Brackett 57-59, USS Newport News) and since I can remember he always told me the Marines are second to none, the toughest branch of the military given the toughest jobs to do. I had never in my life seen my father nervous until he came to my graduation at PI... the sight of the DI's and being on PI for the first time in over 30 years must have dredged up some long forgotten memories.
Enjoy the newsletter, esp. the updates from Iraq. Keep it coming.
Semper Fi,
Sgt. J. Brackett
Hvyguns, Weapons, 1/25


A true story I like to tell to Air Force and Marine veterans. My Recon team had been attached to 3RD Recon, temporarily at Phu Bai. We were based in Chu Lai at the time. Big Al and I were left behind recovering from wounds.The 1st Sgt., a decent man asked us to take their mail to them so that we could have a visit with them in the rear area.We flew from Chu Lai to Danang and had to wait for a plane into Phu Bai .While there,we saw Air Force personnel unloading Marine seabags.They were laughing and tossing them around carelessly. We diplomatically explained that the seabags held items dear to these Marines, family photo's ect; They apologized and we chatted with them for a while. All went well until one baby faced Airman said, and I quote"Everybody thinks the Air Force has it easy in Vietnam, but our air conditioning hasn't worked in a week! I believe Big AL would have shot him if I hadn't stopped him. Almost 40 years ago and I still remember it exactly.
Sgt Pappy McCarthy 1st Recon


I did not drink coffee in 1962 when I joined the Corps, but I can remember, as if it were yesterday, the gallons I humped to the duty office, one of my house mouse duties, when I was a recruit at MCRD. I also have fond memories of watching the cooks aboard ship take a sack off the deck and throw it in a vat of boiling water.....take a it a while and Bam.....Coffee! I don't know how we could drink that @#$%, but if you did, you certainly could drink anything. The fact is.....I'm an avid coffee drinker since my days in the Corps.

When I am out and about here in Florida, I wear my covers or a shirt with the EGA on is amazing, both Marines, present and past, along with wives, girlfriends and even kids respond to it. It is nothing for someone to walk up to you and start a conversation based on the Corps. There are many times my wife pulls my arm so I can recognize someone yelling...Semper Fi.

The coffee, the use of Semper Fi are the cement that binds our Brotherhood. We are Marines, many of just a few in history that have earned the title. We have a rich history, one we should be proud of, and here we are many, many years removed from Tun Tavern, still protecting this great nation. God bless Our Brothers and Sisters in Iraq and all over the world, that continue to make us proud.

SGT D.J. Tasker
USMC 1962-1967


The stories about the death notifications reminded me of a horrible mix-up the latter part of 1970 in Vietnam at Echo Co., 2/1. I was the XO responsible for coming into the Camp Lauer company office at night anytime there was a WIA or KIA in our unit. Verification of the WIA/KIAs was my responsibility. Immediately after verification, the next-of-kin would be notified back home. Sometime after midnight on one occasion one of our ambush squads tripped a booby-trap out in the bush resulting in one Marine WIA and the other KIA. I personally verified the service numbers from the platoon's radioman in the bush and passed the information onto the battalion so the wheels of notification could begin turning.

That next afternoon the two Marine's new 2nd lieutenant was sitting in my office. I offered him my condolences for the loss of Marine A and the wounding of Marine B. He corrected me and said that Marine B was killed and Marine A was wounded...bassackwards! Incredulous, I said it was called in the other way around and he suggested my office poogs had taken the information down wrong. I assured him they got the initial information and I called back out to the bush to verify what they had. He shrugged and suggested there was an obvious communication problem and indicated I just needed to make a simple correction of Marines A and B. I then proceeded to ream him a new asshole explaining what pain and suffering he had caused back home in two Marines' families. I was sick for those two families and now comprehend what heart-wrenching emotional stress is/was involved from all aspects of the process after reading about the notification process in your newsletter.

Of course, I was, in turn, reamed by the captain S-1 followed by the battalion XO, a major. Nothing they said could come close to making me feel as bad as I already did for putting two Marines' families through an emotional rollercoaster back in the states. I don't recall the two Marines' names but I sincerely offer my apologies to all concerned, the Marines, their families and the notification officers, especially the one who had to tell a family their son had not been wounded after all but had died.

1stLt. Dan Kellum
Echo, 2/1


During training exercises, the lieutenant who was driving down a muddy back road encountered another jeep stuck in the mud with a red-faced colonel at the wheel.
"Your jeep stuck, sir?" asked the lieutenant as he pulled alongside.
"Nope," replied the colonel, coming over and handing him the keys, "Yours is."


My recruiter (SGT) was dropping off a poolee and his sisters boyfriend, who is in the Army, was home on leave. As my recruiter was talking to the poolees sister, the boyfriend saw the rank and the conversation went something like this

Army: "Hey Sarge,"
Recruiter: "What?"
Army: "I said, 'Hey Sarge'"
Recruiter: "Oh, I'm sorry we don't have those in the Marine Corps."
Army: "What do you have?"
Recruiter: "I'm a Sergeant."

He then walked out of the house, with the rest of the family left grinning and the Army boy pouting.
Bill Bunce


The Distinguished Marines stamp honor John A. Lejeune, Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, John Basilone, and Dan Daly. Coming in 2005.


About the atrocity question. I am now going to tell everybody about the Christmas of 1965. This has been in me all these years. I was with Headquarters Company, 7th Marine Regiment. We landed at Chu Lai on August 17, 1965. We were my buddy Tom Posey and I pretty excited about "going south". We even had a little flag made with crossed pencils representing "Pogue Battalion 7th Marines". We were 01's primary MOS but we both felt that every Marine was basically an 0311. Tommy's secondary MOS was 0331, machine gunner. I was just 0300. Needless to say we never got to fly that little flag because it would tell Charlie who we were. We were cocky enough and young and silly enough not to particularly give a sh!t but we never got to fly it.

We participated in Starlight and Piranha. And I mean we were part of the Company Grunt Platoon that Col. O. F. Peatross used to guard the artillery during Starlight. We ran on convoys and did overnight "shifts" I guess you'd call it, on the perimeter. When we did this the regular grunts would go out on a sweep and Charlies would get surprised because the perimeter was covered and yet here comes some whoop @ss and where the h&ll did they come from? What this means is that Charlie was taken by surprise and caught on "even up" terms. He lost. Col. Peatross had some special words he said to us as we were preparing to disembark Stateside the following June.. He said that we were the only Headquarters Company that was able to do this and that when we were deployed Charlie intelligence couldn't distinguish us from the regular grunts.

This is part of the background to what I am going to say about atrocities. By December of '65 guys had started to get the feel of what the battles were going to be like. We had been told that when we left the compound or the base on a convoy , and I mean at this period in time, we were not to fire until we were fired upon. We were also ordered not to have our weapons loaded. I went on many convoys during this period and my 1st Sgt. got really pissed off with me but never mind. I went on convoys and when I saw that I was the scenario L/Cpl I would say something like this: You are all Marines and you are bound to obey the last order you received. I am scenario here and I am ordering you will put a magazine in your weapon you will load your weapon and put it on safe. After I had done this a few times a lot of guys got to know me. So, one day during the Christmas time of 1965 I was at the PX buying cigarettes when I met up with some Jarheads from , I think, Charlie Company because were based out on the peninsula. They shared with us, as we stood in a circle smoking, about when they went on patrols or sweeps they would take fire from the hutches and fire back but it wasn't always effective. The thought came to a number of us f--k that..shoot back blow the f--king place up.. burn the the f--king hutch. There was more conversation and they said that they were going to do that. They thanked us for our support. My heart was with them and it always will be. Before they left I gave to one of these guys my beloved and prized Zippo lighter. I later heard that the biggest request for Christmas presents that year were Zippo lighters. Now burning hutches isn't particularly something an American will do. We have a sense of pride in ourselves and our homes and we can relate to that sentiment coming from other people. It doesn't matter from who it comes. But when Charlie was using cover we had the right in self defense to take out that cover. We are also fighters. And we were fighting for the freedom of the Vietnamese to have a choice. Some called this atrocities. I always felt it was part of the war, what was necessary to be done.

What is still obscene to me is a warrior using women and children as a screen. In my mind's eye a warrior doesn't do that. But some say that these things are atrocities if you have to shoot through the screen. I think that Communism, Socialism is an atrocity because it is that manner of thinking that has inverted everything of value in America and the West. The VC were an example of this perverted thought and so was the resistance to the that war because it wasn't about good or evil it was about hurting America and hoping for an American defeat.

I could write all night but this question about atrocities is news these days and I had to say something. God Bless America, God Bless the US Marine Corps and God Bless all of our warriors each and everyone.
James Joseph Hoagland Sgt USMC-ret 1964-1968


Hey Sarge,
I thought you might like to know about an experience I had a while ago at the traveling Viet Nam Wall. By way of background I served in RVN with Lima 3/5 from February 1970 to February 1971.

I went to visit the traveling wall when it came to my town. There were a couple of guys there that I knew. They asked me to stand honor guard duty for a couple of hours. I went home and got into my Blues blouse. I could still button it around the middle but my chest had grown. Anyway while I am standing at the wall, a teacher came up to me and asked if I had been "there." When I told that I had she shook my hand, said Thank you for your service and had her entire third grade class (about 25 kids) line up and each and every one of them shook my hand and said "Thank you." I acknowledged the first two or three with a smile and "You're Welcome." After that I was too choked up to speak and could only nod and smile. By the time I got to the last kid, tears were falling from my eyes. What a feeling! That happened in 1986 when being a Viet Nam Vet was not in vogue. Re-counting that tale continues to bring chicken skin to my arms all of these years later.
Semper Fi, Mac!
John Giartonia
USMC 1969-1978


I went to Guam for the 60th Anniversary Liberation Day with 3 buddies from "Fox" Co. 21st Marines (Frank Hall, Ron Lucas, and Louis Statile), we were there on July 21st 1944.

On the last night there we were treated to a dinner at the hotel and some Marine fliers came in to join us. Captain Joshua Zager spoke to me after he found out the 4 of us also served on Iwo Jima. He asked me if I thought I would go to Iwo Jima for the 60th anniversary. I told him I didn't think so, because this had been an emotional trip back in time for me, and I didn't know if I could hold up to it.

Captain Zager told me they were flying up to Iwo Jima tomorrow, Asked me what beach I landed on and told me he would send me sand from that beach. Here is the letter he sent with the sand in a very nice small urn.

"Dear Mr Glenn
It was an honor and a privilege to meet you Thursday night. I wish you many years of health and prosperity. Please continue to tell your story so that others may be blessed with your example of Honor, Courage, and Commitment.

I stopped at Iwo Jima on Friday morning. Though I only had an hour I was able to get down to Yellow Beach. A nice Japanese worker saw me jogging for the beach, picked me up, and brought me back to my jet after waiting for me to return from the beach (he could only get so close in his vehicle via a dirt road).

Please find enclosed a few grains of sand from the beach you and your brothers took with "Uncommon Valor"
I salute you, sir.
Captain Joshua Zager"

He overwhelmed me with the gift and honor and after my reply, this is part of his reply.

"It is men like you and your amazing accomplishments who inspire the Marines of today. We have very large boots to fill. I was awestruck standing on Yellow beach and seeing the high ground to the immediate right dominating the entire beach lengthwise"

I think you 4th Division Marines really understand that statement.
Robert F Glenn 444008
F/2/21 3rd Division 42-45


Hey Grit,
As a computer consultant I'm away from home 9 months out of the year and go home for the weekends, (just like swooping). I live by Cooperstown NY and go back and forth from Philly every weekend. One day on the way to the bank here outside Philly, I notice the Marine Battle Flag in the windows of a store front along with the National Colors. I stopped in and found a little greasy spoon diner. The place is called Little Leo's in Warminster PA. The Marine who owns it has his daughters running it and his wife also works there and I never felt so welcomed. I make it a point to support other Marines so while the big fancy dinners in the areas do tons of business, I found this place jammed packed in the mornings and afternoon and closed by 3:00pm and I get breakfast for under $6. I can always find another Marine there to shoot the sh!t. As old as I get, seeing the EGA in the window always makes me feel closer to home. I encourage anyone in the area to stop by and tell them you're a Marine and you will get the service you deserve. Semper Fi, people.
Greg Bourlotos
USMC 71-75


I have never written anything for your newsletter but enjoy reading each and every issue. In this last one you and others talked about finding buddies. As the wife of a Marine who has looked and found some, I can tell you THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! Finding the wife and daughter of his Lt. that was killed in Viet Nam from the same land mine that took his legs was very special and has meant a great deal to him.

We just returned from the 1/4 reunion in Branson, MO. AND it was good to be able to get together with some of the men that he served with and others who came after him. I feel these times are so special and would encourage everyone to FIND those they served with and if at all possible attend any reunions and get together that they have. (AND wives, you just might have as much fun at these reunions as I do! This last time I was able to get to know more of the men and their wives and as my husband and I helped organize this one I was given the honorary rank of Gunny! Later the guys decided that I deserved a better rank and promoted me to the SGT. Major of the Corps. Of course along with this promotion came a job! Ed and I now are in charge of the 1/4 PX...T-shirts and caps for the reunions!)

These reunions are fun AND HEALING...

Connie Beesley wife of one fine Marine! (AND grandmother to a grandson who has a good aim AND dunked SGT. Grit many times at the last party!)


Yesterday, I sent out a tidbit that "Hack" had written up on a Marine tanker who saved his company commander and preformed all sorts of heroics that earned him a Bronze Star. If you recall, "Hack" was justifiably upset with the USMC brass hats for not awarding at least a Navy Cross to that enlisted Marine.

Today my friend and brother Vietnam Marine tanker, Bill Wright, reminded me that he and I were fortunate enough to have the pleasure of meeting that fine Marine officer when we happened to be in Louisville last October. He had a horrible wound on his neck but by the grace of God and a very brave Marine Tanker, he was alive and telling Sea Stories like no body's business.
Semper Fidelis,


I am a little behind on my newsletters. I just read a email about how one Marine used to pour his instant coffee from his MRE in his mouth when he absolutely had to stay awake.

I remember doing this with the C-ration coffee. I would gather all the extra coffee, cream and sugar and hoard it so when I went to some training or long boring duty, I would mix them together and put more than a pinch between the cheek and gums and I was good to go for hours. As I write this, I still prefer instant coffee than fresh ground, but with a little more liquid than before.

I still think along the lines that drinking caffeinated coffee is better than drinking the non caffeinated type. As a Master Gunnery Sgt. once said to me when I asked if he wanted a cup of "leaded" or "unleaded." He exact words were "Decaf is like phone sex son, sounds great, but doesn't do a h&ll of a lot for ya!"
Words I shall live to till the day I die! :)
Mark Sasak


A battlefield report from SSgt Kevin Neal I/3/24 out of Nashville. While in active duty Kevin was scout sniper and as you can read is filling the billet in Najaf. His civilian job is police officer, Paducah, Kentucky.
Feel free to pass on.

Family and Friends,
On August 12th my Lt got a phone call from 1st Marine Division, Gen. Mattis! Once again he called upon 3/24 Scout Snipers. I get called into the Col. Office around 1400 on the 12th. "Pack your s---" he tells me? Where we going sir? An Najaf to fight against Sadr's militia. We are attached to the 11th MEU, BLT 1/4, Scout Sniper Platoon. By 2200 that night my entire platoon was sitting on the runway waiting for our 53 (helo). We flew from TQ to FOB Duke south of TQ. When we landed we had two 46's (helo) waiting for us fueled and ready.(this is not normal VIP unless the big dog is in on it).

We flew out of FOB Duke headed for FOB Hotel (Forward Operating Base: FOB) located in An Najaf. On our way in our birds took RPG attacks from the ground. Thank GOD they are not good at aiming. The .50 cal gunners opened up and everyone got a charge for action. We landed at 0200. Linked up with the watch officer and got settled in???? By noon we were on three vehicles headed into Najaf with 1/4 snipers to attach to 2/7 Cav from the Army! What a day! I did not have time as you can see to write or call anyone! ha

Anyhow, we were attached to 2/7 Cav and teams were being inserted by that night. The fight was on! We were south of the Al-Imam Ali Shrine (Sadr's location, and the second most holy shrine. Mohammed's nephew is buried here). By day two we pushed up north several blocks and set up another position. This time, being on top of the bldg you could see the Mosque! It is Huge. Gold covered top, with three towers flanking it. Sadr was injured the day we arrived and by the second day he was giving a speech at 2300 from the Mosque. The guy is crazy! Needless to say we were supporting 2/7 Cav and their advancement towards the mosque. Navy SEAL sniper team came in and operated with our teams. H&ll, every sniper in the service was called upon. No Collateral damage to the mosque! What better way to do that. However, everyone of us had the dope on our guns for the d*mn place! ha (18 +3 holding1 mil.

If I am going to take one over here I am knocking off some gold on that d*mn dome! ha

Anyhow, we fought for 6 days straight. We ran out so fast we only had on our backs the uniform we were wearing. As the days progressed, so did our odor.

I had to tie my socks down at night so they would not walk away!ha During the day you sweet, During the evening you sweet, and again in the night. We had some close calls. The 5th day I was sitting manning the radio and a mortar round landed 12ft from me and another Marine on top of our bldg ledge. It blew the window glass out and I got some debris blown into my right hand, I was lucky because one of the Marines had his blouse hanging over my shoulder and it took most of the glass. I was behind a wall so most of the shrapnel hit the wall. One of the Lcpl's was setting the radio and took some glass to his head and face. He had just lowered his head below the wall when it hit so he lucked out with only a few pieces of glass. I lost some hearing for about an hour! I'll take that any day. I looked at the impact later that day and it was amazing how close it was!

We loaded up and moved to another bldg. They had registered out bldg with mortars so we did not want to take any more casualties. While we were waiting they brought in 4 civilian boys who were struck by a mortar! It was terrible.

We moved our location to the other bldg and at 0300 I finally got some sleep, just to be awaken by RPG's at 0700!ha. I gave up on the sleep. These guys started out on the roof tops and by the time day one was never say anyone on top of the roofs again! We dominated the roof tops. That was our mission. Tanks rolling in needed cover from the tops. Apache helo's did H&LLFIRE missions right over us. It was amazing. AC 130's did night runs and the light show was awesome. The only thing lite at night was the mosque. By day six they had brought in the army SF and SOCOM Snipers. We were no longer needed for their fight. The boys did well and completed their mission. We had shots out to 1800m on some Forward Observers. I had a Sgt record a shot at 1200m with his M40A1. To you who don't know... this is impressive!

We came back to our FOB Hotel and was looking to get some rest before heading in with the BLT 1/4. Not so. That same night I sent out a team to support fighting in Kufa! Another town adjacent to Najaf full of radicals. Each night now we have supported the BLT and each night they have been engaged heavily. They return dirty and tired but they get some sleep and head right back out the door.

The boys have earned their spot! When we always arrive they look at us like, "Reservist"? They now want our support any chance they get! It feels good. You can't tell the Marines are can tell they are Marines!

So, I sit here outside hooked up to a wire sending a message to all so that you know where I am and what we are doing. Peace talks are useless with these groups. They have had peace talks the entire time I have been here, and everyday we have fought? Anyhow, I will be here for about another 2weeks. I will keep in touch the best I can. Pray for the boys of 3/24 snipers and that we make it back to our unit safely.

Brian, I read your email today? I did not know we lost a Marine in India company? I will try and find out what happen. I know I was getting ready for the INDOC, but then this came up. I'm sure Lewzader is standing post at my base!ha They were flying in the next day for the INDOC. Cpl McCormick? I would have to find out what platoon he was with. I have been gone from the company for so long I don't remember who is who anymore. It is sad to hear and toward the end of the deployment as well. That's why I won't count the days!

Tell everyone I said hello and to pray. Christa, tell Brianna and Kevin I love them and I will call them when I get the chance. I will see them soon.
I will be home soon.
Love kevin


This past Wednesday I was on my way to attend the funeral of my MCL former Chaplain. I missed the street and I stopped at a gas station to ask where the street was, as I started to walk inside a man(Marine) called from behind me and said "Semper Fi, are you with the Marine Corps League?" I told him yes and after a short conversation I gave him my card and a application for the MCL. Then while inside talking to the clerk about the right directions another man(Marine), who was making a delivery, behind me said Semper Fi Marine, I turned and said the same to you and asked if he belonged to any Marine organization?. He told me no that he had just got out and was on his first job, I gave him one of my cards also. As my Funeral Detail and I in our Red MCL Blazers was standing in the lobby waiting for the service to start, a gentlemen(George Collins) came up to us and said "I see you guy's are Ex-Marines also", to which I said in a very polite way "NO SIR, we are not EX, we are Marines still, but we are from the Marine Corps League here in Houston to attend our former Chaplains service, and I take it sir you are a Marine also. His eye's open a bit wide and said "oh yeah yes I am". We talked for a bit and we learned he was on Iwo Jima, and that he had won two Bronze Stars. We all gave him a quick salute. Later at the reception Mr Collins came up to me and said that he notice that one of my Detail had a lapel pin with the USA and USMC flags crossed, and did I know where he could get one?. I told him to wait a minute and I went to my car and took one from my brief case. When I handed it to him you would have thought he just got another Bronze Star. He then told me that he had lost his service records and medals someplace and that he went to a Recruiter and ask how he might get his service record and was told there was no way it could be done. I told Mr. Collins, Sir there is a way and when I get home I'll locate the information I have and I'll see that you get it this week. Sgt Grit I went to your web site got the address's needed, printed them along with four F180's and had them in the mail that night.
Semper Fidelis,
Paul R. Renfro, Chaplain, McLemore Detachment #324, Houston.


Sgt. Grit
After reading your newsletter of 19 August 2004, it brought back some very good memories of my trip to Japan in later January and early February 1955. The letter that triggered my memory was the one sent in by Dan Powell. My trip was very similar. As we went aboard ship in late January 1955 a very decorated Sgt. of Marines took me aside and gave me a few hints to stay safe and sound during our 2 week plus trip to Japan. ( he was a W.W.II and Korean vet )The ship in which we sailed on was the USNS "Gen. A.W. Brewster" (8255). The two things that he told me that I will never forget are; 1st) always keep something on your stomach and 2nd never, and he repeated never stand downwind when you are topside. Very sound advise. I took his advise and every time I left mess I always picked up any crackers and dry cereal that I could find that was left behind by other Marines who didn't feel all that well. So when I felt hungry and/or queasy I would eat them. Not once did I have to stick my head into those garbage cans which were all over the deck nor did I have run to the rail as all of the garbage cans were being used at that time. However quite a few of my buddies who didn't listen to the man were sick 50% of the trip. Most of them were gung ho jarheads from the great state of Texas and no way were they going to get sick, not a Texan. When we were 2 days out of Kobe, Japan we really hit some rough seas and weather. For a good day, the bow of the ship would keep going beneath the waves and rising up and then come slamming down. Now that wasn't as bad as the rocking and rolling and fewer Marines felt sick.

As I recall, one day out from docking at Kobe, you could start to smell that sweet smell of Japan and I guess we all know why. ( if you were there )The first sight I saw as we came into Kobe was a Japanese cop taking a whiz on the side of a building. "Hey" I said to myself, this is going to be quite the place for the next 14 1/2 months. After we got off the ship, they took us by train up to Middle Camp Fuji. Now I have got to tell you that trip by train, at night was something else I won't forget. The homes, shacks, whatever appeared to be right on the tracks and I swear we were going to hit one at any moment. We got there safely and that started a fantastic year and a half of great fun and excitement, however that is another story for later. Drunken brawls and many fights with the Navy, but never with the Corpsmen that we bunked with. They were two of the best men I ever met in the Corps. They saved my butt from going to sick bay more then once and at one time as we were ready to go stateside they took care of a severe burn on my lower part of my leg and never reported it to anyone. I didn't say anything until we were a good day out to sea. As we Marines know, they would have kept me there until my leg was 100%. You had to be in better shape getting out of the Corps then you did when you enlisted. For the record they never treated me for VD or any other social disease. I graduated boot camp MCRD San Diego in September 1954, platoon 361 and still remember my DI'S. They were as follows.
S.Sgt. C.J. Eason
Sgt. R.L. Patton
Cpl. S.C. Shockley

Semper Fi, Cpl. Itchmo


20 August 2004

Friends and Comrades:

For two years, the story of the 1st Marine Division has been one of honor. Today, my message is one of thanks:

.Thanks to the Soldiers, Sailors and Marines who have stood the test, .and proved to the world that our experiment called the United States of America will survive;

.Thanks to our families who have stood with us through thick and thin, .and bore unbearable tragedy with a courage that has humbled me;

.Thanks to the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing whose warriors have always come through, .and painted the Blue Diamond on their wings and carried us in their hearts;

.Thanks to the 1st Force Service Support Group who committed to doing the impossible, and then exceeded the best we could have hoped for;

.Thanks to our Division's veterans, whose spirits have marched with us since we crossed the line of departure, .and whose example reminded us that there was nothing the enemy could throw at us that we would not overcome;

.And thanks to countless others whose commitment and loyalty made us what we are- .Who allowed us to achieve what we achieved, .Who allowed us to develop the character of No better friend, No worse enemy.

Today I haven't the words to capture what is in my heart as I look out at these beautiful Grunts who represent thousands of cocky, selfless, macho young troops of our infantry Division-

infantry - infant Soldiers, young Soldiers, young Soldiers of the Sea, who have given so much, and who have taught me courage, as they smiled, heading out to risk their lives again, to destroy the enemy.

So lacking the words, I will close with a warrior's prayer from a man who understands:

Give me God, what you still have, Give me what no one else asks for; I do not ask for wealth Nor for success, nor even health- People ask you so often, God for all that That you cannot have any left. Give me, God, what you still have; Give me what people refuse to accept from you.

I want insecurity and disquietude, I want turmoil and brawl, And if you should give them to me, my God Once and for all Let me be sure to have them always, For I will not always have the courage to ask for them. Amen

Thank you, my wonderful young Soldiers, Sailors and Marines May God be with you all as you head out once again into the heat of the Iraqi sun, into the still of the dark night, to close with the enemy.

Beside you, I'd do it all again. Semper Fi.



Men don't cry........but when men make war,we all get a little bit human. I attended a little get together the other day. It was to plant a 19 year old Marine. I was taken back to a time many years ago and in a far away place. It was sad then and is now. The river of tears has washed some of it away but not all of it. Pull off the camos, remove the stripes and stand us all naked and were all the same, almost. I could send a barrage into a jungle and not shed a tear for anyone who might be in the tree line. I also could pull a grunt into the bird and slip in his blood for the next half hour, and not shed a tear for a month, year,20 I have to it me or did we really cry that river at times..........I only saw civi's with dry eyes yesterday. How can a marine die and the only people that are shedding a tear are past and present USMC ? Parents were , but that's expected, the rest just don't know. A note to Doc Steve Byers--I must of missed something--You are a Marine when you are in my ship. You go home and you were in the navy. There's a few things that are really important to a Marine and his unit....ammo,food,boots,air strikes and naval transports...One thing I always loved was having a Corpsman on our bird. Your in my bird and that makes you a Marine till you go home."Have known many and didn't join the navy"-door gunners always hang out with the Corpsman!!!!!!


Platoon 247, San Diego, Feb.'42.....3rd Marine Brigade, then First Joint Assault Signal Co.. Served as part of 5th Amphib Corps aboard the El Dorado. Made Corporal. Again during Korea, assigned stateside, commissioned and resigned after war as could not serve nor be active in Reserve unit because of my work. Enjoy your letter.
Kinzey Reeves

OK, we've had the Semper-Fi controversy, and the Reservists controversy. It's time to get down to the nitty gritty. I was one of the TRUE Marines who went through Paris Island. We are the bravest, baddest and best looking Marines. Thank God I didn't become one of those HOLLYWOOD Marines.
Semper Fi my Brothers and Sisters.
Tom Flynn Cpl. 69-71, Danang Marble Mtn. 70-71

Hello to all my fellow Marines.
Say,there was a phrase used in the Corps while I was in, 67-71,that I never really knew where it came from,or what it meant. 'Cut me a huss' was the phrase. Anyone know the meaning of this term? I remember 'Skying up','Booking''Pining on strips.'OOOH....That could hurt. We sure are a world unto ourselves!!! Take care my fellow Jarheads,and Semper Fi.

Here is my contribution.
"I'll be polite. I'll be professional. But I have a plan to kill everyone I meet." Arguing with a Grunt, is like wrestlin