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 - June 9, 2005

If everyone could get in,
it wouldn't be the
Marines.


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Father's Day - June 19th

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Marine's Take Care Of Their Own

Marine's K-9 honored: 'One of their own'
on Sunday, May 8, 2005. | Chief Warrant Officer PETER ZORBA Squadron
HMM-764 "The Moonlighters"

Dear Friends and Family,
Weather is beginning to climb up into the 100s now. With the heat comes the dust and sandstorm season here, so many of our days are spent working and living in an orange haze of diffused sunshine, wind, heat and dust that gets everywhere and covers everything (aircraft, equipment, skin, teeth, weapons, even the food in the chow hall).

We're all glad to be at the two-month mark, though it feels more like our ninth. Hard to believe we were home at all sometimes * that we haven't been here, doing what! we do, day after day - night after night - all along. Still, morale is high and both the Marines and the helicopters we're flying are doing well, in spite of long hours and high operational tempo. It must go hand in hand. The busier you are, the faster time goes. The faster time goes, the happier you are. Needless to say, most everyone tries to stay as busy as possible. The days are long, but the weeks are flying (no pun intended).

I want to tell you all a quick story, and if any of you know me at all then you know I love a good story! But I think this story says something about the organization that I am a small part of here.

Last time I wrote, I described the Marines, in particular the young men and women here with me that I am so proud to serve with. Many of you responded that you were touched by the knowledge, or at least depiction of those kids * those heroes, for that is what they! are. But, I digress. A couple weeks ago I flew a night mission into Baghdad. Baghdad is a big city, and where we actually flew into, whether it would be a name you'd recognize from the news or not, doesn't really matter. Suffice to say that I fly into Baghdad almost every night, but this night's mission was a special ASR (assault support request).

A Marine K-9 had been killed and another dog wounded earlier in the day and we were going there to pick up the dead K-9, the wounded K-9 and their Marine handlers. How these Marines were attacked, whether in contact with insurgents, a sniper or an improvised explosive device (IED), we never knew.

We took off from our base and flew through the dark, star-clustered Arabian night in an open combat spread. Radios crackled and disembodied voices rolled through my helmet. The lights of small towns scattered across the desert floor, illuminated with a green glow through my NVG's (night vision goggles) passed below us and in and out of my gun sights. At about midnight we were on short final into a small LZ with battle-scarred concrete walls, and a hardened outpost with a bullet-riddled watchtower. As we touched down, I hopped out the back of our helicopter and watched as our "dash 2" landed about 40 feet to our 7 o'clock. The LZ was dark and no one was around. Through my NVG's I could see the Marines in the tower, and the bunker at its base, watching us, not really thrilled to see us there, two phrogs spinning on the deck inside their perimeter. And why would they be, as we presented a wonderfully enhanced target for indirect fire (IDF) in their position. Not that they don't take IDF often enough, just that we were now an added bonus to any one already predisposed to 'throwing' a few mortars or RPG's our way * and theirs! We wait! ed. Five minutes. Ten minutes. After 15 minutes, with still no sign of anyone, or any dogs, the crew began to grow a little uneasy:

"We're here, where the hell are they?"

"Godd*mnit. Who the * is running this place."

"Do you see anybody, gunner?"

"Negative, sir."

"* If we don't see anybody soon, let's get dash 2 out of here, so at least there's only one of us on the deck here in case we take incoming. You copy that (call sign)."

"Roger that. Copy all."

Just then a door of a small industrial looking building about a hundred meters away, opened and I could see Marines moving awkwardly towards us. They were carrying their rifles with their outside hands and with the inside hand, each held the edge of a body bag. Behind them followed another Marine with a shouldered rifle, MOLLIE pack, and his hands were on the back of the bag.

But this Marine's hands held the trailing edge of the body bag more like a priest would grasp a holy cloth or a child his mother's hem, not really supporting any weight, just holding on. As they loaded the body bag into our bird, I took the young Marine's pack and stowed it and then got him buckled in. The wounded K-9 and his handler were loaded into dash 2, and I sat back down behind my .50 cal and called us clear of wires and trees as we lifted into the night sky.

Once airborne, and on the go, out of the cultural lighting from over the town, I looked back to see a big Marine, head in his hands, sitting in darkness, bent over the body of his dog.

That was a long flight. My pilot, a battle-hardened colonel, kept asking me "How's our boy doing?" as if he were a worried parent checking on his child. He handed me back a small package of chocolate chip cookies he'd been saving for the return to base. "Give 'em to our boy. He's had a rough day of it." I unhooked my gunner's belt and walked back to the young man. I put my hand on his shoulder, handed him the cookies and patted him on the back, smiling some compassionate, but dumb, smile there in the dark, 300' somewhere over Iraq. What else can you do?

When we touched back down at our base, the passenger/cargo terminal sent a vehicle out for the dogs. I helped the Marine with his gear, out away from our rotor arc, and then ran back up the ramp and into our bird just in time to grab one of the terminal guys as he was reaching for the body of our Marine, thinking it was just another piece of gear.

"Hey man - what the * are you doing?!" I yelled over the engine noise.

"Leave him alone. We'll get him." The crew chief and I reverently bent over and gently lifted the body bag and carried it out of our plane. I have carried body bags before here, and I was surprised by how light this one was.

I placed my arms under the dog's body and gently set him down in the vehicle. And then, out of sheer habit, I petted the poor pup on the shoulder * or maybe it was his hip. His body was still soft, even inside the thick black polyethylene bag. As I turned to head back to my plane, I was face to face with the fallen Marine's master.

The young corporal looked at me, he had seen me pet his dog, and I like to think he saw how reverently we carried his fallen comrade's body out of the plane, but maybe not. Red eyes and a sad, exhausted face were eclipsed by a smile of gratitude as he shook my hand and mouthed the words "thank you." Then he was gone and we were back on the plane and set to lift. Once back on our line after we had shut down, we all sat down in the back. It was quiet and no one really spoke until the colonel asked, "Did you take care of our boy?! Was he hurting too bad? Did you do right by the pup? Did we treat them both with the respect and honor they deserved?"

"Yes sir." I replied last year while we were here, the brevity code for friendly KIA was "Angels." I don't know what it is this time for OIF III, but it is a very fitting term. So I told the colonel "Yes, sir, the 'Angel' was carried with respect, and treated with dignity and compassion, as was as handler." The colonel liked this and we all agreed that the dog was a Marine * as much as any of us.

But on another level, that kid had not only lost his partner, but he'd lost his dog, a dog that I am sure he loved and that loved him back. That had touched us all deep down somewhere, where you're still a kid yourself. We were proud to have been able to do what we did for this fellow Marine, this 'Angel', and each of us would willingly do it again any time. That's what Marines do.

I guess what I am saying is that we continually hear the question asked, "Why we are here?" I heard a Marine say yesterday, "Don't ask me why I am here. I don't make our country's policy, I execute policy." I guess to me "why" is not really that important.

What is important is 'how' I am here. To me, this story illuminates that "how," by showing the nature of the Corps that makes Marines what they are, and in turn, is made what it is by the Marines devoted to it and to each other.

I am part of an organization that believed it was important enough to send two helicopters and their crews, into harms way in order to retrieve the body of one of its fallen. It made no difference that the Marine killed in action was a dog and not a man, what does matter is that each one of us involved felt the same.

To us, not only was it a warranted and reasonable utilization of Marines, Marine Corps ! assets and resources, but the risk to eight Marines and two aircraft was far outweighed by a pervading sense of honor, commitment and espirit de corps. Why else am I here, if not to go get a boy and his dog - both of whom are fellow Marines. Few things here have been as important as that mission to me, and to my crew as well. That's "how" we are.

Semper fi,
Peter

Complete Tune-up

Yo, grit...re the tanker talk.....got a question for anybody who crewed/fitshisted on the M48's when they were gasoline powered....which is, how many sparkplugs does it take to do a complete tune-up on an M48....or a M51 retriever, for that matter?....and, turret control systems for tanks, and most of the SP arty pieces were made by Cadillac Gage Company (no "U").... from a 1958 grad of Tracked Vehicle Repairman course at Delmar, AKA 21 area.....
Ddick

He Lived, Breathed

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I thank you so much for your web site. Veterans Day, November 2003, the father of my children was killed in Iraq. Retired GySgt. James Dunn Wilshire - 23 years in Marine Corp service tried to sign back up with the Marine Corp when the war broke out in Iraq. He went into the Marines at the age of 18, right out of high school, and lived his life fully dedicated to the service of his country. He lived, breathed and loved the Corp.

The Marines would not let him re-up for the war, so staying true to his spirit of fighting for the freedom of others and for this country, he contracted to a company in Iraq and went to war anyway. Because he was not enlisted in the Corp at the time of is death, he was not included as a casualty of war, and was not honored in any way.

I am sorry for the long diatribe, just wanting to give you the back ground as to why I am writing to you today.

Even though it has been a couple of years, our two daughters struggle with his death and struggle with the new media constantly broadcasting how senseless this war is. I was online today, looking for information to place in Memorial Day cards for the girls and came across your web site. There is a message from Corporal Kevin W. Rios that is priceless and explains one very good reason why anyone would want to lay down their life in war. I used his picture and his message in the card to the girls. What a blessing!

I wish our newspapers and television media would interview our fighting men and broadcast their hearts and reasons they are fighting so hard. Just a few good reasons - "Because they believe they can make a difference in the lives of people who are being slaughtered by their own government. They believe all people worldwide should live in freedom like we do. They believe freedom is worth fighting for and the Iraqi people are worth fighting for. They believe in the rights of Democracy and in helping all those who are oppressed fight against that oppression."

Thank you once again for helping me give a priceless gift to our girls - a reason for their dads death that they can live with.

Bless you all, our prayers are with you continually,

Jana Johnson

Adapt, Overcome, Improvise!

Mrs. Ostrowski,
As all Marines learn, you have to adapt and overcome. I suggest the young soon to be marines employ a bit of graduation camouflage over their Dress Blues, by that I mean wear their Blues, prior to arrival at the graduation ceremony, they put the cap and gown on over top of their Blues and putting their Blues cover in a small brown bag. Sit respectfully until called, then as they stand, take the gown off and march to the stand to receive their diploma.
Semper Fi,
Gunny

One Day I Can Never Forget

May 26, 1969

The Battery had been moved to the top of Dong Ha Mountain for a few weeks now. Battery A 1st Battalion 12th Marine Regiment 3rd Marine Division had built a position for their six 105mm Howitzers on the top of a high peak and was capable of providing close artillery support in any direction. The work was very hard. All materials, ammo, supplies and equipment had to be man carried and placed. No trucks, just a placement by CH-53's and 46's and the guns tended to sink in the mud. Thousands of sand bags filled with mud had to be assembled into gun pits and houches. The wind and rain chilled you to the bone. The fire missions were long and everybody was worked into a trance. The Marines in the battery were very close to each other. We humped ammo and worked together to accomplish our mission. Many life long friendships were born. Many lives were changed.

As a Battery the troops worked as a unit to accomplish the common tasks. Humping ammo, building fortifications and doing whatever was necessary. But the very close relationships came within the various Gun crews. When your Gun had duty, time off, chow or guard it was only your crew as all others were sleeping, eating or on work parties. The five Marines on your Gun were yours. On Dong Ha Mountain the Guns were arranged in line connected by common pit walls. I was on Gun #1 and shared some personal moments with Gun #2 and #3, but the farther down the line towards the CP the closeness seemed to fade a little. The firebase was the night rest stop for various infantry platoons; they would hump in and out daily. I don't recall even speaking to these Marines but their presents was always appreciated.

I remember Van Vleet as a skinny light haired kid from Utah. He was a hard worker, friendly and he knew how to stay out of the Sgt.'s ire. He was on Gun #2. Gutierrez had a slight build and was from California as was I, but I don't remember talking to him much about home. Although he was a Corporal he worked very hard and was on Gun #2.

On the day I can never forget the call rang out "battery adjust, enemy contact, rounds, charge, azimuth, deflection". All Marines scrambled. It was wet and almost dark. I was standing behind Gun #1 loading powder bags into a canister. Mike D. was next to me setting a fuse when I swear that it went completely quiet and I heard for the very first time in my life the words "short round". For some reason, I will hopefully understand some day, I crouched down, there was a loud snap sound, and then screams. Robert Van Vleet and Raymond Gutierrez were on high ground when the round hit wire or air bursted directly between Gun #1 and #2. They died and I was changed forever. Death, pain, blood, sadness and the realization of mortality was the lesson of that day.

I am a United States Marine Veteran but I must admit that at that moment I was a child. The gallant efforts displayed by other Marines inspire me. I will not name them but they were truly heroic. The Doc worked and men held the victims down, carried them to the helo and I think completed the fire mission. I think all I could do was help. There was no shortage of leadership and courage. After it was all over and quiet again I became overwhelmed and jumped into a bunker. I think I was scared. I remember thinking to myself "what the F*ck are you doing? There is no danger now". The fact is that I was changed forever.

God bless Van Vleet and Gutierrez. They were taken at nineteen years. They are forever nineteen while those of us who survived are old. They missed what we were given and I will probably never understand why.

I will never forget these two Marines. They gave all so we can be free. When I hear people speaking of gallant war heroes with medals and citations I remember these two Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice with little if any recognition. They were the gallant heroes I knew.

(Quote)"All Marines die in either the red flash of battle or the white cold of the nursing home. In the vigor of youth or the infirmity of age all will eventually die but the Marine Corps lives on. Every Marine who ever lived is living still, in the Marines who claim the title today. It is that sense of belonging to something that will outlive our own mortality. It is belonging to something which gives people a light to live by and a flame to mark their passing." (Author unknown)

Semper Fi,

Mike Stagner, aka "Orange"
0811, Battery A, 1st Bat, 12th Reg.3rd Div.
RVN 1969

Apricots

Sgt. Grit:

In 1972, Bravo Company, Third Tanks, was up to Fuji from Okinawa for firing and maneuver, and I was a brand-new butter-bar with his first platoon of 90mm M-48s.

We were out practicing platoon combat formations, and broke at noon for cold "C's" on the turret-top. I got apricots. My horrified platoon sergeant said, "Sir, pitch-em!", but being a college-educated young lieutenant, I was way too sophisticated to buy into tanker superstition. I ate them.

On the way back to the base camp, it started to rain. We were coming up a hill and in a steep, narrow, road cut on a muddy tank trail and we managed to throw both tracks to the inside. It rained all night, and it took until 0600 the next morning to get the pig's tracks fixed.

You'd think that a mustang would know better than to buck Marine Corps superstition, but I transitioned to tanks out of TBS, as I figured I had humped enough rucks as an enlisted puke to last me a lifetime.

Live and learn. I never ate apricots again.

Don Kaag
LTC, Armor, AUS(Ert.)
...and former Sgt. and Capt. of Marines

But More Important

Sgt Grit

Just a note to you from this old jarhead. I was in way back in 1956. Platoon 63, C company third marine recruit battalion. My drill instructors were S/Sgt Muldrew, Sgt Howell and Cpl Palmer. We were on mess duty while members of platoon 64 drowned doing a night maneuver in the swollen Ribbon Creek.

The Marine Corps was my home for several years. I learned how to be a Marine but more important how to take care of myself in this life... I was too late for Korea and a bit early for Viet Nam - What is now referred to as a cold war Marine. My heart is with you all always...

Cpl Bob MacGillivray USMC Retired

Cpl. Cruz

"Oohrah"! Outstanding son you have their Marine. Safe return to him and to all who are in that sh%#hole. I served with 1st CEB in the gulf during desert shield/storm and know it was demanding on many of an occasion, but feel that it's much worse this second time around. We should have finished the job the first time. I wish I could be there, and I'm sure you do too. Your son seems to be a good man. It seems like you did a good job with him. I am one of the Few, and I still remain Proud. Peace.

Semper Fi!!!

LCpl. Chestna /1st Mar.Div./1st CEB Supt.Co.Util.Plt.


OORAH
He is still eligible for the purple, after he comes home have him put in for it, May not seem important now, but if he should have to file a claim with the VA later, the Purple Heart is irrefutable evidence that he was in combat.

Chuck Greene Disabled Veteran
former Marine Corporal Vietnam Veteran Mike Company 3rd Battalion 5th Marines
Vietnam 66-57 two purple hearts believe me they make a difference
Semper Fi


sorry, sarge, but i'm not to inclined to believe the blurb. no full names are given and the fact that he wasn't truly wounded other than a bruise doesn't warrant a ticket home in my opinion. but, i'm just basing this on my experiences in viet nam. anyway, the marine spirit of staying is something i appreciate. as far as medals go, marines don't need medals to be heroes. they already are when they earn the right to be called MARINE.

sgt d a lynch jr ret


Oorah ! Cpl. Cruz... to the motivated LCPL, thanks for being a MARINE, that's what we do! Robert Jeziorowski 98-00 FAST Co. 3Plt. SEMPER FI !


think you'll see that on Oprah?


All I got to say is OOOHRA! This old "Devil Doc" Salutes LCpl. Cruz. Marines like him make me proud to say I am a former FMF Corpsman! He earned that Purple Heart, according to regs, but he refused it because he felt that the ones who were "really hurt" deserved it more, and the idea of leaving his unit in a hot zone because he had a "bruise on his chest the size of his hand" was repugnant to him.

Cpl. Cruz, you have raised a fine Marine in that son of yours. He exemplifies all that the Corps represents.

I would like to take this opportunity to praise "the Fewer and Proud." Corpsmen, take care of your Marines, 'cause you d*mn well know that they are taking care of you! Remember your Oath and keep those men healthy. You may be a "noncombatant," but I know that you'll kick some ass if any of those jokers try to get at "your" Marines, and you'll run through the Gates of Hell to rescue a wounded Devil Dog and drag his ass back to safety. That's why you're there, and that's why you're the best!

Docs often get lost in the shuffle, by both the Navy and the Corps, but we are always there, waiting for the call "Corpsman up!" and hoping it never comes, because it means that our skills are needed. And I know you will, as have so many before you, make the Ultimate Sacrifice if it means saving that man's (sorry, I'm showing my age) or woman's, life.

Semper Fi to all Devil Dogs in Harm's Way, and to all you Devil Docs who are there to make sure they back alive.

Robert E. Simoneau
HM2 USN (Ret.)

Writing the Wartime Experience

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2005 - The National Endowment for the Arts has created a venue to collect and preserve the stories and reflections of service members on the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan and stateside defending the homeland.

Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience is a literary anthology slated for publication in 2006.

The May 31 deadline is fast approaching for service members and their families to submit material for possible inclusion in the book.

"We've received 1,100 entries so far," said Sally Gifford, NEA communications specialist. "We'll house them all in a federal archives. All of the writings submitted will be part of the historical record of the war. While we have a May 31 deadline for consideration in the anthology, any submissions sent after that will still be housed in the public archives."

Officials have not yet announced the location of the public archives.

The anthology will be distributed free by NEA to military installations, schools and libraries and will be sold in bookstores.

There are no restrictions on genre -- poems, letters, personal narratives, stories, memoirs, journal writings and other literary forms are all welcome. Some works may address actual combat; others may focus on life on the home front. Some works may be personal -- a soldier's or a spouse's attempt to capture and clarify a singularly challenging moment in life, Gifford said.

Through this program, which started in April 2004, some of America's most distinguished writers are conducting workshops at military installations and contributing educational resources to help troops and their families share their stories, Gifford noted.

"We've finished all of the domestic workshops this spring," Gifford said. "Right now, we're conducting workshops and presentations at overseas military installations. Those presentations are comprised of writing workshops and a one-man play called "Beyond Glory," which is a collection of first-person accounts of men who received the Medal of Honor."

E-mail entries to submissions@operationhomecoming.org

or mail them to:

National Endowment of the Arts
Operation Homecoming Anthology
Suite 519, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20506.

Submissions should be no longer than 50 typed, double-spaced, numbered pages.

Active and reserve component U.S. troops, and coalition members who served after Sept. 11, 2001, especially in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom are eligible to submit entries. Their immediate families are also eligible to submit entries for consideration in the published anthology.

Near Of Far

To all Marines near or far come and gone,Semper Fi!
Sgt. Grit,I was just reviewing the 26 May 2005 news letter and it was with out a doubt gratifying to read and hear from those still out in the field, or who have come and gone who are immortalized in the stories told, with out a doubt Marines never die they just go to hell and regroup! My wife, children, and myself, salute all Marines past and present, once a Marine always a Marine, and Godspeed to all members of the Armed Services of this great country that we call the United States of America who are on the watch 24-7 there safe return and peace to all through out Gods green Earth that we all call home.

Happy Memorial Day to all!

And

S e m p e r F i!
M a r i n e s !
M.W.Quinene/Guam
Mcrd San Diego
1984!

MORE ON THE MOVIE "THE D.I."

To sort of complete the comments on the famous B&W movie of 1957 (The D.I.) with Jack Webb, here's some more info. The book "Courtmartial at Parris Island, the story of Ribbon Creek" written by John Stevens talks about Platoon 351 which was training from 1 October through 31 December, 1956. That was about four months after the drowning incident but nothing much had changed. The reason that Plt 351 (my platoon) was mentioned is that some Hollywood movie producer had approached the Marine Corps wanting to do a movie about the "brutality" of Marine D.I's and the Corps wanted no parts of that plan. Shortly thereafter, Jack Webb approached the Marine Corps with the idea of doing a movie about a day in the life of a D.I. including the theme from a Kraft Television Theater show about the death of a sand flea. That approach was approved and a film production team came to MCRD PI to film background and absorb the experience. Jack Webb noticed and admired the drill cadence of one of my Junior D.I's (Cpl E-3 John R. Brown) and pulled him out to Hollywood to act in the film and be one of the technical advisors. Brown played a Sergeant O'Neill in the film. You may recall that he was the one who braced the fire watch and had to listen to him spit out his General Orders and then pulled liberty with Webb at the Cotton Club. To this day, no one can find out where John R. Brown went or what happened to him. Rumor is he met and married a starlet while in Hollywood. He was a 'character' to say the least! The other 351 drill instructors were Sgt's (E-4) Eugene Alvarez, J.R. Strickland and H.W. Jones.

I'm pleased to say that I still meet and communicate with my senior D.I. after 49 years. Gene Alvarez is an accomplished author, PHd and a retired professor living in Centerville, Georgia. At 75 years of age, he's remarkable in all aspects and still travels back to Parris Island to join with other D.I's including the WW II gents. Platoon 351 Marines can contact me at jrhd@aolcom if they'd like.

Semper Fidelis
Joe Featherston
Major, USMC, Ret.

Joke

An old Corps Marine was sitting on a bench at the mall. A young man walked up to the bench and sat down. He had spiked hair in all different colors; Green, Red, Purple, Blue, and Yellow. The old man just stared and stared. Every time the young man looked, the old man was staring. The young man finally said sarcastically, "What's the matter, old timer, never done anything wild in your life?" Without batting an eye, the old Marine replied, "Got drunk once and had s&x with a peacock. I was wondering if you were my son.

Chris P.

Big Bellied

Sgt Grit

I enjoy reading your mail whenever an up date comes through. Today I thought I too would send my comments concerning the Corps I so dearly love. I was discharged from the Corps in June 1965 after serving in the Air Wing as a Jet Mechanic. For the better part of three years I served with Marine Squadron VMA-242 in Cherry Point, NC and then Iwakuni, Japan. Last year I attended my first Squadron Reunion after 40 years since saying my goodbye's to my fellow Squadron Mates. It was truly a wonderful experience to look at those gray haired, big bellied wonderful group of guys again. We learned of some of our Squadron officers and men that were killed in Vietnam, and also of those who had died of illnesses non related to our military duty. It was an honor to serve our country then, I know of a bunch of sixty year old group of ex-Marines who would gladly volunteer to serve today (if they would take us) if the need should arise again. I am proud to have been a Marine, and cherish the memories I have of those who I served with. It was a privilege to serve my country and to be part of the greatest group of Marines ever gathered. SEMPER FI!

Dan Marklein
Goshen, Ky

Royal Shellback

Dear Sgt. Grit, It's with great interest while reading the various missives relative to the name of the ship these people sailed on for Korea that they would ever forget the name of the ship that debarked from San Diego and "cruised" to the "land of the morning calm."

The name of our ship which housed the 19th Draft for Korea was the U.S.N.S. General William Weigel.

The reason I will never forget that name is one of the highlights during the "cruise" namely, the crossing of the International Date Line on 29 March 1952.

On that beloved date, we entered the DOMAIN OF THE GOLDEN DRAGON ! For most of the Marines aboard, who had never crossed the date Line before, we were then known as "polywogs".

The rest of the ole salts who had crossed before were the "shellbacks". In order to become a shell back you had to have an audience with KING NEPTUNE.

(Before continuing with my tale, I must digress to our previous training at Camp Pendelton. I initially volunteered for an NCO Draft for Korea from Camp LeJeune while attached to the 2nd Marine Division along with a few of my buddies. At Pendelton, we did a little h&ll-raising during our training, and a few of the top NCO's kind of took a "liking " towards us.) And now as Paul Harvey says," on with the rest of the story."

KING NEPTUNE,( a M/SGT with a tremendous girth with a painting of the Royal Baby on his gut), was on the main deck seated on his throne along with the "Prosecutor, Royal Barber, Painter, Executioner, and others I have since forgotten. Leading up to the throne was the Royal Path which was formed by shellbacks on either side with paddles at the ready.

Below deck awaited the polywogs who had a special invitation to greet the Golden Dragon.( remember the Senior NCO's that took a " liking " to us at Pendelton, well they never forgot us!"

When your name was called below deck, attired in skivvies and socks, you proceeded up the ladder where you were immediately greeted by a Royal Shellback with a very powerful hose that could very well knock you off your feet.

As you endeavored to proceed to the throne, the shellbacks on either side "greeted "you with their paddles being applied to where ever on your body that would be the most effective.

Upon arrival at the throne, King Neptune, listened to the charges being imposed upon you by the Royal Prosecutor, i.e spying on the Royal Mermaids, stealing sh#t from the Royal sea gulls,etc. Sentence was then executed!

You kissed the Royal Baby and were then seated in a metal chair, where the executioner touched an electric hair dryer to the chair (remember you were soaking wet), the Painter applied his dabs ,here and there, and of course the barber applied a few snips to finish the job and now you returned down the Golden Path to the end of the shellback line and were now a full fledged shellback.

This initiation lasted about an hour until the Captain of the ship determined that we might be running out of water and demanded a termination to all proceedings.

For this I was eternally grateful because I was scheduled to be the next candidate up the ladder.

I may have forgotten a few details after so many moons so bear with me.
Respectfully submitted,
Sgt. George Maling H-3-5 Korea '52

Shellback Certificates

Sands Of Iwo Jima

From: "Col Wayne Morris USMC
Sent: Friday, June 03, 2005 6:45 AM
Subject: HOW JOHN WAYNE SAVED THE MARINES
SgtMaj: MustangMudMarine
Today is John Wayne's 98th birthday. He was born on May 26, 1907 in Winterset, Iowa, weighing 13 pounds. His birthplace is a museum, and a few years ago I took my son Brandon to visit it. There was a guest book, opened to a page with the entry, in the entrant's handwriting, Name: Ronald Reagan. Address: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., Washington DC. To celebrate the birthday of a truly great American, let me tell you how John Wayne saved the Marine Corps. In the aftermath of World War II, the psychological letdown after years of war and bloodshed, the huge demobilization of servicemen, the desire to slash military spending, and the antipathy towards the military by left-wingers in the Democrat Party all combined in a call by a number of Senators and Congressmen to abolish the Marine Corps. In this, they were supported by the Doolittle Board, created by the Truman Administration, which called for the Marine Corps to be "disbanded" as a separate military force, and "unified" with the Army (yes, the board was headed by an Army general, Jimmy Doolittle). A group of enterprising Marines - you can always depend on Marines to be enterprising - with Hollywood connections thought a movie made around the most famous photograph of World War II, Joe Rosenthal's of the Marines raising the flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima, could help sway public opinion against their disbandment. They approached legendary director Allan Dwan, who agreed to commission a script. The movie was to be called "The Sands of Iwo Jima," and everybody agreed there was only one man who could play the lead role of Sergeant Stryker: John Wayne. To their great surprise, Wayne turned it down. He didn't like the script, and he wasn't enamored of the character of Stryker. The Marines came to the rescue again. The Marine Corps Commandant, General Clifton B. Cates, got on an airplane and flew from Washington to California to personally request Wayne make the picture. When General Cates explained the stakes involved - the very existence of the Marine Corps - Wayne immediately changed his mind, promising the general he would do everything in his power to have the movie be a success. The Sands of Iwo Jima was released in 1949 and quickly became a runaway blockbuster, with millions of moviegoers packing every theatre showing it. Wayne was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, establishing him as Hollywood's Number One box-office star. The Doolittle Board folded its tent, and no politician on Capitol Hill ever again said a word about disbanding the Marines. So let's all say "Semper Fi" to the memory of John Wayne. To further celebrate his birthday, here's a treat and some advice. The treat is this link: A biography of John Wayne written by Ronald Reagan, in the October 1979 Reader's Digest. The advice is this: Don't ever trust a man who doesn't like John Wayne. A man's opinion of John Wayne is a good rule-of-thumb test of his character and moral values. To admire John Wayne is to admire the heroic and the morally noble. To sneer at John Wayne is to admire the opposite.
John Wayne Video

Copyright 2004 To The Point, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Long Been A Dilemma

Yo Sgt. Grit -

This is in response to Mrs. Lorinda Wilder's letter about her daughter in newsletter #98.

This "situation" has long been a dilemma for both the individual Marines as well as those in the chain of command. In cases where counseling is offered, many who really need it won't take it. "What? Me crazy? There's nothing wrong with me!" There's this stigma, real or imaginary, that's attached to anyone who "goes to see the shrink". "What will my buddies and senior NCOs think - that I'm unreliable, wacko and not to be trusted?" This mis-perception that there's "something wrong" with the person who seeks psychiatric counseling is, unfortunately, fairly widespread.

On the other hand, if those in command offer post-deployment counseling, the question arises, "What's going on? Do they think we're mentally incapable or impaired or something?" The individual Marine feels that his/her integrity and abilities are being questioned.

So it's one of those "darned if you do, darned if you don't" things. How do I know? Been there, done that.

Semper Fi!
Ancient Jarhead
'52-'73

As A Former Marine

sgt grit
as a former marine of the viet nam time i'm proud of what our boys are dong in iraq. i was in nam from 66 to 67 and i got to see death the hard way. I was stationed with charlie med out side of da nang i watch some of the guy i went to boot camp come through shot up and dead. i remember coming home and being spit on and called names. to me being in the corps was the best time of my life. all i can say is once a marine always a marine. so to all of the marines and there families i say semper fi be proud of our boy where ever they are.

cpl h wolfe
usmc 64 to 68

Doc Doug Stone

Sgt. Grit,

In the latest issue of Sgt. Grit Marine Specialties Catalog I received today (Summer 2005) on page 113 you published a letter of thanks that "Doc" Doug Stone had sent in. It read:

"I was a Corpsman with Third Bn., Third Marines in Viet Nam, 68'-69'. Ever Since you started your business, I have ordered many items thru your service, not only items for myself, but for other Marines and Corpsman. When my buddies receive their gifts, on many occasions, it is healing time for them. I am Sgt. At Arms for our local detachment of the Marine Corps League. I recently ordered two KA-Bar 60th anniversary edition knives for two fine Marines in our detachment who were at Iwo and also served in the capture of other islands in the Pacific during WWII. The hugs I received from these fine Marines brought tears to my eyes. Thanks to you, Sgt. Grit, you have brightened a lot of our lives."

I am sad to report that "Doc" Stone died on May 22. 2005. He served with "India" Company 3/3 and was awarded 2 Purple Hearts and a Silver Star. In his letter of thanks he pointed out that he was Sgt. at Arms for his local Marine Corps League. He was also our Battalions organizer for the 3/3 Reunion that is scheduled to be held in Colorado Springs, Colorado July 18-23 2006. He had completed all the arrangements etc. for the reunion prior to his death and, although he will not be there in body, his spirit will be felt by all that knew him and loved him.

If you would care to forward a letter of condolence to his family, I'm quite certain that they would appreciate any gesture that you may offer.

Semper Fi,
Craig Slaughter/ Doc Hoppy

Show Respect

I have seen several items in the newsletters about police reactions during traffic stops after they see a Marine decal or bumper sticker, where there were no tickets issued. Here is a variation of that good will towards the Eagle, Globe and Anchor.

This past week-end I attended the high school graduation ceremony for a friend's daughter. For over 300 seniors it was held at our local coliseum. Since it was during the memorial day week-end I was feeling especially patriotic.

The opening ceremony was the presentation of the Colors by the high school ROTC (Air Force) and the National Anthem. When the crowd stood I noticed the guy standing in front of me was wearing a baseball cap. He did not remove it as the Colors were brought forward.

The as the band started the National Anthem I got really pissed when he still didn't remove his cap so I leaned forward and nicely asked him to please show respect for the Flag and remove his cap. He ignored my request and continued to stand when I noticed he hadn't even put his hand over his heart and was even talking to the woman standing beside him. My mad took over, so this time I leaned forward and said take your cap off A**hole, show respect for our Flag. He looked over his shoulder at me and said F**k you! At which time I grabbed the cap off his head and threw it on the floor. As he reacted and started to turn towards me I hit him once, which put him on his butt. About that time, several of the coliseum's rent-a -cops showed up and grabbed me. A**hole started yelling that I had assaulted him and he wanted me arrested. The rent-a-cops called a couple of real police and then told me I had to leave the property. The real police talked to the A**shole then took me away. On the way out the police officers saw my EGA pin on my coat lapel and asked me if I had been a Marine. I told them I still was. When we got outside they told me to forget about A*sshole and his charges, that they would handle it, they couldn't do anything about the coliseum's rules that I had to leave, they understood how I felt and why I did what I did, shook my hand, and told me to go on and enjoy the rest of the Memorial Day week-end.

Joe Newman
Inactive SSgt of Marines '65-'71

I Gave Her The Cash

Memorial Day weekend I was with some friends in Palm Springs, CA. The ladies were drinking their wine and when one bottle was empty, one of the ladies said," Another dead soldier." I was quick to politely inform her of her poor choice of words. Especially given the meaning of the day.

Later, at dinner in a great barbeque restaurant, I noticed a young Marine in a red Marine Air T-shirt. He appeared to be waiting for his wife or girlfriend to return from the head. They were probably in from 29 Palms for a night out. I went to the hostess station, described the Marine and told her to be sure I got their dinner bill. She said she would take care of it. Shortly after we finished and paid for our meal, the Marine's waitress brought me his check. I gave her the cash and told her to simply say an old Marine took care of his bill. Also to be sure we had already left the restaurant. The lady mentioned earlier (with the poor choice of words) asked what I had done. When I told her, she started to cry, saying it was the nicest gesture she had seen in a long time. I told her that was how we train the young ones.

Twenty years ago, h*ll ten years ago, I couldn't afford to do such a thing. However, some day in the future that young Marine may remember his "free dinner" and do the same thing for another young Marine.

Semper Fi,
JB, 2289879

Short Rounds

Just another example of the outstanding young men and women serving today. I would love the be allowed to serve now with them, but a 57 year old GySgt won't be allowed. But, be advised, if given the chance, my sea bag is packed!

God Bless this fine young Marine and all others on this Memorial Day, along with the memory of all our Marines and service men and women who have given all through the years for the cause of World wide freedom and protection of our wonderful United States of America. Semper Fi my Marines.
Mike


Ok Marine's: I know just how you feel about the U. S. Marine Corps, but when it comes to being proud of your Son, I can only Imagine how you truly feel, I was in the U.S. Marine Corps for only 30 Years, and the Corps is still in my Blood and always will, thanks for the quick note, and a good old Ooorah to your son and Corps.
Msgt. Hammer


Ooorah!
From another Marine who was there the first time, I hope your stays safe and keeps clearing those buildings.

Semper Fi,
RD Gagne, Sgt 81MM Plt WPNS Co 1/25


Through this hatch will pass the finest most respected fighting man in the world. A United States Marine
See this Marine Corps door sign...


Semper fi!!
Sgt Grit

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