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10 Nov. 1965 I was manning a reinforced squad outpost overlooking highway 1 about a klick south of the MLR at Chu Lai. Late in the afternoon my C.O. came out on the company mule, with Birthday cake, a can of beer for each of us. Now I see where different units have a party on the weekend. What happened to traditions? If you don't do it on 10 Nov. It's not Marine Corps birthday. It's just another beer party.
GySgt R.A. Latona
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The Surgeon Who Did Not Want the Medal of Honor by Bob Boardman
"Courage is fear holding on a minute longer." C General George S. Patton, Jr.
David Taft was a young boy at the movies in Ames, Iowa with his father and brother John watching Sergeant York when the bombing of Pearl Harbor took place on 7 December 1941. He vividly remembers the distress and anger that emanated from his father's reaction to the unprovoked attack.
A few months later he received a beautiful shoulder patch from a neighbor whose son was a Marine, emblazoned with the Southern Cross and a large red One with Guadalcanal written on it. The patch was the emblem of the famed First Marine Division who were primarily responsible in the early stages of WWII for stopping the Japanese in their southeasterly drive toward Australia and New Zealand.
Little did David know at that time that he would end up years later in Vietnam in that very same First Marine Division. Nor did he know that in the division as a young 34-year-old skilled Navy surgeon he would receive the nation's second highest award, the Navy Cross.
The greatest challenge to David Taft's own courage, coolness and skill would be to remove a live 2.75 inch rocket embedded in a young Marine's knee joint. The precariousness and required skill of that surgery would mark David Taft for life..... Read More
And Later Returned
I just had to share the experience I had attending the South Bend Marine's birthday party at Notre Dame on 10 November.
There were approximately 85 attendees, but memories of several Marines that I was able to actually speak with will stay with me forever. The first is an 84 year old Marine named Albert Hicks. Albert was not a large imposing figure, just the opposite, he was slight of build wearing a very well worn Marine Corps League cover with a threadbare spot coat and a wrinkled tie. Marine Hicks was still very much with it mentally and was very friendly and cordial to talk to. We exchanged pleasantries for about ten minutes and I went to sit down at my table. A friend who invited me, Captain Tina Holland, USMC, ret. came over and asked if I knew who Marine Hicks was. I told her that he said that he was stationed in the South Pacific after enlisting at the age of 17.
What Tina told me had such a profound effect that I had to leave the room to compose myself. Albert did go to the South Pacific. His first duty station was at a place called Wake Island!! Albert was among that group of valiant Marines and Corpsmen who were so badly undermanned and undergunned on this tiny island, but these brave Marines and Corpsmen would establish the turning point in the Pacific Campaign. Using the weaponry they had on hand, these hero's attacked and sank a number of Japanese warships as they approached Wake Island, much to the surprise of the Japanese Navy who thought taking Wake would be a piece of cake. Wake Island was considered to be a strategic landing point for American planes to re-fuel and make it to the Japanese mainland.
The Japanese forces retreated after the initial attack and later returned with a large fleet of warships determined to take Wake Island. Even then, The Marines and Corpsmen fought with all they had to repel the attack, but against such overwhelming odds were eventually over run and a decision to surrender by the CO rather than be totally wiped out sealed the fate for the remaining Marines and Corpsmen.
The first Japanese CO felt very humiliated by the initial attack and loss of ships that he decided to tie up the remaining POW's with their hands behind their backs and execute each one with a shot to the back of the head. The kneeling Marines and Corpsmen were near the surf of the Pacific ocean, each making their peace with God, Albert was among them, when a Japanese Admiral arrived on scene and was infuriated at the CO's decision to take revenge in this manner. The POW's were escorted to waiting ships and were transported to POW camps inside China. I am sure that you all know this story all too well as to how reinforcements and a rescue armada were called back to Hawaii because the Admiral in charge did not want to lose any more ships and supposedly lower morale back in the States. This a$$hole Admiral was soon replaced with one with some initiative (balls), but it was too late for the men on Wake.
To sum this up, I sat in awe of this unassuming hero the entire rest of the evening and it made me so very proud to belong to the same group as this and many, many other hero's making our beloved Marine Corps what it is today!
I will share my other Birthday party acquaintances at a later time.
Semper Fidelis !
When you think back you really only remember the good times. In 1950 I turned 17 on June 13th and joined the local Marine Corps Reserve Unit. Unbeknown to me & my parents that the Korean War was about to begin on June 25th 1950. The reserve unit was activated in early August 1950. As a boot in the reserve unit I was sent to PI.
One funny incident that remains fresh in my mind was how the parade ground was. Wooden barracks on one side and across the grounds was the main road & brick barracks for the BAM's. The parade ground was surrounded by trees. One day a boot was caught talking in ranks as he entered the mess hall. As punishment he was sent clear across the parade ground and ordered to climb one of the trees. The second recruit who was also caught talking was ordered to climb a second tree near the mess hall. Each recruit was ordered to respond to each other. This is how it went.
First boot: I'm the biggest s--t bird in the first BN. Second Boot: Oh no your not.
To make it even better they were both wearing their ponchos and were order to flap their arms like a bird as they repeated the above.
This went on for several minutes with both boots yelling at the top of their lungs and flapping their arms.
Jack Nolan 1950-1957
Lord, forgive us our pride. It was You who made us the finest fighting force ever, and for that we are thankful. We ask for Your forgiveness and pray that You never remove Your hand from us and this Country you gave us to protect. We know that You really don't need us to "protect Heaven's streets," but Lord we do love, and honor, the ability to do so.
MOH Reginald R. Myers COL USMC Ret
It is with deep sadness and regret to pass the word on to all but MOH Reginald R. Myers COL USMC Ret. passed away on 23 Oct 2005. He was the XO of the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines and awarded the MOH in Nov. 50 at Hagaru-ri. He also has a Legion of Merit, 2 Bronze Stars and Purple Heart. Born in Boise, Idaho and a graduate of U of Idaho in 1941, was always humble and very friendly. Earlier this year he and I were at a Mess Night and I approached him sitting in a chair, stuck out my hand and started to speak, he brought up both of his hands and said "I offer you my hand". I couldn't speak for a moment, also earlier this year he had signed my book of Korean MOH's and wrote on his page, "thanks for remembering me". He will be surly missed. At one time Palm Beach County had bragging rights as we had 3 MOH here, David McCampbell CAPT USN, Joe McCarthy COL USMC and Myers, sadly they are all gone......."Doc" Stark, Riviera Beach, Fl. Hospital Corps USN 58-62
Feel My Age
After reading the birthday greetings posted on your web page I began to feel my age. I guess I am of the old Corps.
I joined the Corps in June of 1943 and landed on Iwo Jima with F Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines.
The Marine Corps shaped my life. The values I learned there are responsible for what ever success I have enjoyed in life.
Happy birthday to our Corps.
Semper Fi. Ray Jacobs
Kinda Middle Corps
Happy Birthday to my beloved Corps. I'm a former Marine. 88 to 92 and was in the first Gulf War. The first thing I want to say is that the first gulf war was a picnic compared to our boys over in Iraq at this time. My heart and soul goes out to our boys. I was 3531 Motor "t". I really wouldn't want to be Motor "T" these days in Iraq, But I would do it without recourse. I had talked to my wife about re-upping, " I still make the age ,. Well that started a fight bigger than Belleau Woods. A person who has never been a Marine will never understand the brotherhood or esprit de corps that makes you the best, and Marines are the best.
When I was in boot things were in transition, kinda middle Corps, not old school, but not the new stuff. We still got smacked around, but no one told when jag came every week to ask us if we were physically or mentally abused. We did AIT and everything all in one shot. Did mount mother 3 times, humped from Edson to Onefre 2 times. The Crucible seems like a good thing, but its the same stuff I went through. I was a fat recruit or Dia-Private. I passed all the initial PFT stuff and went from 245 to 185 in 12 weeks. The last run was boots and utes. 5 miles, and I barely broke a sweat. I was so proud of myself. When my hardest D.I came up to me after Graduation and asked me if I had time to go by the Devil Dog Inn for a beer I felt proud. I had to decline, to catch a plane,,,,,,,,, I'm still looking for SSGT James Slater. D.I . MCRD SanDiego, last cycle of 1988. Plt. 1110 Bravo.
On this day, the day we honor our veterans & celebrate our beloved Corps birthday I find this poem most appropriate. God bless our Marine Corps & the men who have served with honor & distinction, from the beginning to our brave Marine's & Corpsmen in Iraq & other points of danger.
Sgt. Gutierrez, 0331 Gunner
1/4 Alpha Co. 1st Platoon, 3rd Mar Div. Viet Nam 11-67 to 06-68
Oh my friends, my friends forgive me that I live and you are gone. There's a grief that can't be spoken; there's a pain goes on and on. Phantom faces at the window. Phantom shadows on the floor. Empty chairs at empty tables where my friends will meet no more. Oh my friends, my friends, don't ask me what your sacrifice was for. Empty chairs at empty tables where my friends will sing no more...
"Empty Chairs at Empty Tables"
from Les Miserables
On this Veteran's Day--the day after our Marine Corps birthday-- a few thoughts. Why would anyone waste good hard-earned money to see any Hollywood movie, especially a Hollywood movie degrading people with Honor, Bravery, Character and Courage? Everyone knows that none of this describes anyone in the movie industry. Since they lack Honor and Character, they would only make a movie that exposes their cowardly selves, not Wonderful Men and Women like United States Marines! (To any grammarian: Yes. The capital letters are deliberate. Sorry.) I'll respect one of those Hollywood cowards when I see him them driving a humvee in Iraq, or standing against terrorists everywhere--even in Hollywood! But that's not going to happen. One more observation. Since I'm new to Sgt. Grit, I've probably missed a ton of stuff already, but I don't see much about the so-called "cold war" Marines. I realize that between the Korean and Vietnam wars, not much was heard about fire fights, etc., but they happened anyway. My conviction is this: if we cold war Marines had not been standing guard, there would have been many more wars. Until he got busted in his Cuban deal, Khrushchev (sic) hollered loud & long what he planned to do to the USA. But he knew--and the whole world knew--if he actually tried something, the Marines would be the first and best fighters to make his acquaintance personally. Because of age, I barely missed the Korean war, & was unable to get to Vietnam. But like ALL cold war Marines, we were there in spirit with our fellow Marines. And we did not reject our veterans like the Hollywood cowards who spit in their faces. OK! I've spouted off enough for now. Will end by proudly proclaiming to ALL MARINES: Semper Fidelis! God bless you.
Frank Hamby, Sgt.
Captain John Paul Jones
I have been retired from active duty for 13 years, and I have worked at a defense contractor for the past 3 Marine Corps birthdays. There are about 300 employees there and most are retired Navy. For the past 2 years the handful of retired and former Marines at my company got together for lunch on November 10th and shared a few stories.
Today, we had a real Marine Corps birthday cake cutting ceremony and invited the whole company to attend. It was AWESOME!! We marched in the cake, read General Lejeune's traditional message, read the Commandant's 2005 message, cut the cake and gave the first piece to the oldest Marine and second piece to the youngest Marine, and played Anchors Aweigh and the Marines' Hymn!
The senior Marine at our company, a full bird Colonel who as assigned to Special Operations Command before he retired last year, spoke of the Navy and Marine Corps teamwork and told of the famous battle between the BonHomme Richard and two British ships of war - the Serapis and the Countess of Scarborough - where the British asked Captain John Paul Jones, "Are you ready to surrender?" and Jones gave his famous retort, "I have not yet begun to fight!".
Captain Jones then steered the BonHomme Richard into the other ships as the Marines climbed the masts and began shooting the British sailors, then boarded them and threw grenades into the British ship's powder bin. The BonHomme Richard was in tatters and soon sank as Jones and his crew watched from the commandeered the British ship. Captain John Paul Jones and his crew survived and took the British survivors prisoner.
The good Colonel's speech was fantastic! Many retired sailors in the audience were totally impressed by our ceremony and every Marine there, (all 16 of us), were VERY MOTIVATED by the whole experience.
Happy 230th Birthday to all Marines everywhere!
PS - I was the MC and wore my blues for the ceremony, they were tight - but it sure felt great!
Gunnery Sergeant, USMC retired
Proud father of twin USMC recruit poolees
Back in the early nineties, here in Pittsburgh, PA, a wealthy real estate executive who was a Private on Iwo Jima, would celebrate the Marine Corp Birthday at one of our finest restaurants. It was a word-of-mouth invitation with many former and current Marines present.
I spent the majority of the evening seated next to a guy named Willy. Decked out in his uniform and Campaign Cover, 93 year old Corporal Willy matched us "Boots" drink for drink.
The honor of meeting a true "Teufelhunden" will be with me always.
Sgt. of Marines
Pointed At His Shoes
As a retired Marine working for FEMA, there are but a few of us in the facility that are former Marines. However, I happen to be Blessed by the fact that one of my co-workers is a Marine and went through Boot camp in 1958. Yesterday started as it usually did, coffee, a couple of orahs for the Corps. My co-worked showed up at work in a shirt and tie, as he does every year on the Birthday of the Corps. In our conversation yesterday he pointed at his shoes and said to me, "these are the shoes I was issued in Boot Camp in 1958". Sure enough after looking at them, they were the standard issue of the day, in 1958, cordovan brown, and, on this day, as I am sure they were on the first day He wore them in uniform, shined to the max. I was totally impressed that this former Marine had shoes that were older than most of the people with whom He worked. To this day the man is an example to all of us that are privileged to work with him, even us old retired Gunnies. Semper Fi, Hack....
1969 - 1989
Chinese new year party 1948 I had dinner with chairman mao. I was invited by his son-in-law who pumped gas on the base at tsingtao. We had our picture taken by one of the ladies and I had them developed on base. I worked in message center at headquarters. Twenty years later I was working at national distillery and the FBI came and asked me if I new MAO. I said no as I was only a PFC and they said that they had info that I knew him. I said that I had a picture taken over there on China new years day. They asked me if I had the picture and I said yes. Then they asked if they could see the picture. Yes. I brought the picture in the next day and they were waiting for me at the main office. Then they pointed to MAO and said that was Chairman Mao. Then I said you have got to be sh!tting me and they said no. Then they pointed out to me the other man on the other side was Chairman Ding Tao Ping. then they asked me If I thought that I was ever going back to G.E. where I held a Q clearance and I said that I doubt it. Then they asked me if I would give up my Q clearance. Top Secret is investigated once every five years and Q clearance was investigation every year. So I said ok as far as I knew that I didn't have any use for it. When I was in Tsingtao where was our security with Chairman Mao's son-in-law was pumping gas on the base?
p.s. I still have the picture and I blowed it up to 8x10
My first Corp birthday was my second week in boot camp so I was still in shock. I got to stand clothes line watch that day and missed the big noon meal because someone forgot to send my relief. That night they passed out candy with the meal. After we got back to our formation spot the D.I. says "ok, lets have the candy", he made us throw it all in a trash can. They all got better after that one, dress blues and all.
My first Christmas in the Corp was spent at Camp Matthews (yes it was cold). Before Christmas everyone was getting packages from home full of candy, cakes and all sorts of food stuff. The D.I. kept it all in the duty tent till Christmas. Christmas he told everyone to get their buckets and sit outside his tent. He passed all the goodies around for everyone to share. Talk about sick, we hadn't had any sweets(poogie bait) so this was a shock to our system. Also all day Christmas we had "base liberty" how about base liberty at the range "wow". Does anyone remember the fog so thick you would get lost going from your tent to the head?
Cpl. E.L. Collins
Squat thrusts - - how about 100 squat jumps, my knees hurt thinking about them.
CO Busted Us
Dear Sgt Grit,
I have two short stories to tell. When I was stationed at the MB NAS ALAMEDA, CA the barracks was next door to the Navy Enlisted Men's Club. Well the little patch of grass in front of our barracks was Marine Property or at least we felt it was so is some squid would come walking across our grass we would scramble the troops prepared to open a can of whup *ss on those sailors her trespassed on our grass.....bout 3 times a week we are out side the barracks ready to take on the base.....my second story....we hated to stand the gates when the ships would come in to port from those 6-9 month cruises....Well there we were standing the gates on a Friday or Saturday night and the squids would come out to go on liberty......The uniform of the day for the sailors to go off base was Class "A" and that meant they had to have at least a fire watch ribbon.......We would refuse to let them off base until they got their ribbons on so we gave em a choice to go back to the ship and get a ribbon or we would sell em one for 3.00.......lol we were making 20.00 or 30.00 a night for beer money until our CO busted us for doing that.....now those were to the good ole days in the Corps.
CPL JAMES E. SMITH
MB NAS ALAMEDA
(side note) corpsman were exempt lol
After Action Report
Iwo Jima Veteran Sgt. Paul J. Stammer to MCRD SD
On August 4th, 2005, Sgt. Grit's weekly bulletin board featured an article sent in by Sgt. Paul J. Stammer, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division. Sgt. Stammer took part in securing Saipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima as a teenager and witnessed the flag being raised on Surabachi. Seven months later he landed at Sasebo, Japan in full combat gear ready to fight. Stammer, 80 years old, expressed a desire to return to San Diego once more to see a recruit graduation. It was mandatory to make that happen. He wrote "I've been a proud Marine all my life, and I'll die one." This is Marine Corps Espirit de Corps.
Arrangements were made to fly Sgt. Stammer and his son to MCRD San Diego. I flew from Florida to meet him there.
Wednesday, 2005 11 09
Sgt. Stammer arrived in San Diego. The 12th Marine Corps District Sergeant Major Bobby B. Woods authorized the use of the district's fire engine red recruiting Humvee to meet and greet Sgt. Stammer and muscle him to the MCRD. Two uniformed Marines accompanied him. He was so excited to be in San Diego that he forgot to get his checked baggage and a second run was required. On his arrival in quarters, Sgt. Stammer was presented with a Marine Corps tee shirt and cap.
Retired Captain Ted Corbett had requested Captain Theodore T. Reddinger, Protocol Officer for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, for on base billeting. Captain Reddinger arranged a suite of rooms at the Transient Officer's Quarters.
That evening we had dinner at a famous steak house in San Diego. The steak was so large Stammer couldn't finish it. Neither could I. They were excellent.
Thursday, 2005 11 10 Family Day
Sgt. Stammer and I were picked up at 0915 from our quarters by Captain Reddinger and driven to the grinder to observe the recruits motivational 4 mile run. The recruits, (all 450+) knowing they had finally earned the title of US Marine, were calling cadence with loud, high spirited vigor. Their chants could be heard through out the base. I could see the pride on their faces. Parents and family were cheering them on. Several of the DI's, the Bn. Commanding Officer and District Sergeant Major broke off from the run to meet Sgt. Stammer, recognize his service to our country and thank him. Stammer was visibly moved.
Immediately following the run the parents were invited to meet the DI's in the auditorium. Traditionally, all Marines with prior service were asked to rise. The Sgt. Major then counted backwards in ten year increments to determine the Marine that had attended boot camp the earliest. Sgt. Stammer had been to boot camp in 1943 and was the last Marine standing. The entire audience gave him a standing ovation.
At mid day we attended a party at a posh restaurant at the Top of the Cove restaurant in La Jolla. Captain Ron Zapardino, former pilot but always a Marine, hosted the party to celebrate the Marine Corps birthday. There was considerable Marine Corps history in attendance including a pilot from Pappy Boyington's Black Sheep Squadron. The cake was cut by the oldest and youngest Marine present. The oldest had enlisted in 1935!
Friday 20051111 Graduation
Sgt. Stammer observed the graduation from the reviewing stand. Numerous Officers, senior NCO's and DI's greeted him including the Commanding General, Brigadier General John M. Paxton, Jr.
Stammer was impressed by the graduate's traditional passing in review and commented on their precision. They looked good. I could tell he was deeply moved. At times, he became very quiet with a thousand mile stare. Old memories, I suppose.
The National Anthem and the Marine Corps Hymn, as usual, brought chills to my back. I wasn't alone. Sgt. Stammer stood at rigid attention. The parade deck was quite dusty resulting in eye problems.
Later, we had lunch in the recruit's spotless mess hall. The food that was served was of excellent quality and quantity. I had fried cat fish and linguini with a white sauce and lobster!
By the time the day was over, this Marine was exhausted. Sgt. Stammer wanted to know "where we going next." I don't know where he went, but I collapsed on my rack in quarters.
Overall, Sgt. Stammer couldn't be more thankful. The traditional Marine Corps courtesy by all hands, their enthusiastic cooperation, friendliness and respect for Sgt. Stammers service was overwhelming.
I would like to express special thanks to General Paxton, Captain Ted Corbett, Captain Theodore Reddinger, Sergeant Major Woods, Captain Ron Zapardino and Cpl. Sylvestre.
Saturday, 2005 11 12
Sgt. Stammer departed San Diego for his Indianapolis destination honored and respected.
Roy N. Kaufmann
P. S. This old Marine requests 10 days leave to recover.
Looking More Closely
I was sitting with Jack Corbett and another Kha Sanh vet at about 1500 and I hear this guy walking by and saying to someone over his shoulder "Today everyone is a Marine", I said, "This ain't fxxxing St Patty's day, the only people that can call themselves a Marine is those that have earned the Title." I expected to hear him say something like yeh, your right or I don't know what I was saying, a Marine would not have hesitated to admit that he was wrong...this guy hesitated. I then looked more closely at his cover, it was red with a red patch with something in gold. Looking more closely at the patch I saw that what was in gold said 101. I got my point across and he said that he was going over near the outdoor heads that were set up because he saw someone else in that area with a 101 patch.
A guy approached me saying that he was also with the 26th Marines, how he knew that I was never crossed my mind. I asked when and he said something like NOV68-NOV69. I said that I was in NOV67 to NOV 68. I asked him if he was part of Mead River( I rotated just before Mead River) he seemed to not know what I was talking about then he said "O yeh, I was on Mead River". Toprove (?) that he was in the 26th Marines he pulled out a coin that had the 1st Mar Div logo (I know that there are many coins out there that I have not seen but this coin looked unlike any coin that I have seen, it looked cheaply made). I said "Oh I guess that you were attached to the 1st Mar Div when you were there, when I was there I we were attached to the 3rd Mar Div". This guy started to insist that the 26th Marines were part of the 1st
Mar Div. I explained that the entire 5th Mar Div was not activated and so the regiments that were activated were attached to other Marine Davisons. This guy kept insisting that the 26th Marine regiment was part of the 1st Mar Div. I let it drop believing that the guy was just dumb. Then he told me that was afloat, he said "You were afloat weren't you?" as if everyone was afloat at one time or another as part of their tour in Viet Nam. He then told me that he was part of the largest amphibious landing of the war.
Making an amphibious assault at Khe Sanh. At this point I had two options: 1. Loudly expose this scum as a wannabe but with the size of the crowd there was a good chance that he would have been drug up an alley and beaten to death or, 2 Just walk away. I choose #2. In hindsight I should have opted for #3 which would have been to get his name and address and tell him that I would like to get together with him for a few drinks, he lives in Philly so this would be an easy thing to do. Then expose him at a place where he knows a lot of people so that I could put him down in front of his friends, if he had any.
Happy belated birthday to the corp. I went to foxwoods casino in connecticut to celebrate veterans day and to watch the USMC boxing team vs. the USA boxing team. It was an incredible night, the boxing was exciting both teams split the wins 4-4. Hoorah to both teams. Also I must admit I got chills thru out the night every time they honored past and present veterans between each bouts. I felt honored to have celebrated this special occasion with all that were there. God bless the beloved corps. And the great USA.
Semper Fi devil dogs from one proud marine
Sgt Alpha 3 USMC 82-86
Born Again Marine
As a Vietnam Vet I put my experiences behind me. Unfortunately, I also put my pride as a Marine behind me as well. Both went into a closet of my mind to collect dust. No want wanted to talk about Vietnam and no one cared that I had served my county. For over 35 years that closet door remained closed. Perhaps it is because I am older now or perhaps I see the opposition to this war becoming too much like that which we experienced. Perhaps it is the Courage, Commitment and Honor which our young men and women Marines have shown in their answer to the call of duty. What ever the reasons, I have become a "Born Again Marine"
I have pledge to myself that I will do everything I can to support America's best. Most important to me is that they have the support and respect they so justly deserve. They must be welcomed home with open arms. Living in central Ohio I have had the honor and privilege to welcome Marines home, particularly those of the battle weary Lima Company. The support for them has been overwhelming and in some ways I consider their Welcome Home to be ours as well.
I offer up a challenge to Vietnam Vets. If you are still standing on the side lines get in the game. There are many support organization across the country that need you. Most are comprised of families of currently deployed Marines. As you would expect, they are emotionally focused on their children. They are living with the same fears that our parents did. You can help. Give them your shoulder to cry on. Let them share their fears. You have walked the paths that their children now walk. The counsel you give them means more than you can imagine. Their organization needs you to take the burden of running a support group so they can focus on their own needs. They need the network of friends and businesses you have been associated with for years. They need your advocacy .
The most rewarding experience of my life has been becoming involved. I have become a "Born Again Marine" through my experiences with the Marine Corps Family Support Community in central Ohio. I have made a difference. You can too. Seek out a support organization in your area or start one. You will be rewarded far beyond your imagination. You ARE a former Marine, a Marine for life. Be Semper Fidelis to our current Marines. Chesty would be proud.
Marine Flaw - NOT!
After many years I finally discovered one major flaw about being a Marine. I know I know it is our beloved Corp, but there is a flaw. You see, I expect everyone to act just like I do and always be good to go. Hey guess what , they are not , and I cannot get over it. Oh wait it is not our flaw . . . it is theirs. Never mind.
Jerone A. Bowers
I guess it depends on what side of the political fence you are on when it comes to supporting the troops.
I'm a "highly decorated" Vietnam veteran but nobody seems to care what I think. I remember returning to Travis Air Force base at 01:00, being debriefed and released to SFO arriving at 04:00 March 14, 1968 and being greeted by people that were not very kind in their thoughts or words. They also smelled bad.
Rep. Murtha a "highly decorated" Marine must not have been greeted by the same people I was. If he was, he learned nothing about the moral of the troops and the power of the press. It saddens me that a Marine would forget his motto "Semper FI" because of politics.
I guess he forgets that these terrorists want to kill us and would much rather be doing it here in the United States than in Iraq. The fight and die there because if they lose there they have lost their war and know that they will have no place else to go.
My father is a Pearl Harbor Marine Survivor, Korea war and Vietnam war veteran. I am a Vietnam war veteran and my son is an Marine Iraq Freedom Veteran. I think my family has earned the right to criticize John Murtha "highly decorated" Marine Vietnam Veteran.
Boot Camp Lines
"I want you to do squat thrusts until Jesus returns to become Commandant of MY beloved Marine Corps"
"Give me pushups until the world has shifted on it's axis"
"I told you on your first day that I was your whole family, I am your new Mother! If you maggots don't start getting your sh_t together, I will be forced to make myself a childless Mother!"
"If the Marine Corps wanted you to have an opinion, the Commandant would issue you an opinion. If you had an opinion & I wanted to hear it, I would beat it out of you!"
"You are maggots, nothing more than amphibious pieces of crap!"
" You are a Communist, sent by Russia to sabotage MY beloved Marine Corps. There is no way that someone as F____ed up as you could NOT be a Communist saboteur!"
"Apologies, excuses and opinions are like assh_les, everybody has one & it generally stinks!"
"No matter what it was you are doing you WILL give one for the Commandant & one for the Corps"
I Could Tell It Was Old
I am a Deputy Sheriff here in CA and a sniper on my department's SWAT team. My son, a L/Cpl, is with "C" Co., 1st LAR and is currently partaking in the terrorist eradication along the Syrian border. I walked into my team leader's office the other day and our Tactical Commander (I'll leave it at Nick) was standing just inside the hatch. I knew his father-in-law was a Marine and had recently passed away, but I never heard much about him. Nick reached into his pocket and held out an EGA, one of the large ones that go on the barracks covers. The black anodizing was worn thin; I could tell it was old. He asked if I had ever seen one that old and I replied, "Only in a museum. Was that your father-in-law's?" He said, "Yeah, he wore this on his uniform" and then proceeded to tell me the following:
Stanley Otho Dickinson volunteered for the Marines at age 16 with parental consent. He received parachute training and was in the 1st Parachute Battalion until someone realized that if you miss the island you were invading, you ended up in the ocean, so they never made any combat jumps.
He saw action on Tarawa, Iwo Jima, and was wounded on Guadalcanal. While returning to San Diego, he was advised he would limp the rest of his life and would be discharged. During the transport back, he turned 18 and eventually rehabilitated himself to where he could run. He returned to several more island campaigns and was attached to a New Zealander unit as a sniper.
While on the big island of Hawaii for jungle survival training, he was court-martialed for "cattle rustling". He and two other Marines thought it was easier to catch and butcher a calf from a local rancher's herd than try to trap something wild. They had no way of knowing the rancher had named his entire herd and would miss one right away.
On New Caledonia he was demoted and promoted 15 times in one month. He was one of the few combat veterans in the platoon and every time he was promoted, they would all get drunk and beat up "squids". They finally shipped out and he was able to keep his stripes. After the war he stayed in and was a pistol instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy.
He went to Korea and was at the Chosin Reservoir. His primary duty for a while was to go out at night with a partner and a bag of hand grenades and "keep the Chi-Coms up all night". He received his 3rd Purple Heart in Korea.
He was part of a six-man detachment sent to Dien Bien Phu to advise and assess the situation. They got out before it fell, but did enough to receive an award from the French Foreign Legion. It was some kind of lanyard that you wore on your shoulder that he called a "frog leash". It was originated by Napoleon for a group of his soldiers who, when given the order "no retreat", drove stakes into the ground and tied themselves to the stakes. He never told me what he did to receive it, but years later when he worked for NASA and traveled all over the world, he said that if any Foreign Legion troops were around, you never had to buy your own drinks. [This sounds like it was the same braid the 5th and 6th Marines were awarded by the French in WWI.]
After he left the Marines, Stanley went to the University of Oklahoma where he graduated Doctor of Mathematics. He attended MIT, Stanford, UCLA, Cal Tech, and other schools. He worked for NASA and was in charge of the wind tunnels at Moffet Field and later as a Mission Manager aboard their C-130 Flying Telescope.
This man was a very well-educated, intelligent person who never forgot his basic roots of rural Oklahoma or his life experiences in the Marine Corps. Many a time we sat and drank beers and talked about some serious butt-kicking and who deserved it.
I stood there for several minutes listening to the history of a Marine and, though I never met him, I felt proud to be one of his younger Brothers. I could see Nick had a great deal of respect for this man, not only as a father-in-law, but as a Marine who had survived many battles and made a positive impact on the world around him. When he was done, he held out his hand and said, "My father-in-law would be proud to have a part of his uniform displayed on one of today's warriors. I'd like you to give this to your son when he comes back from Iraq."
There are no words to describe how I felt at that moment, something I think only another Marine could understand. Tradition reminds us of where our foundations lie.
Mike Damigo, Sergeant of Marines
Iwo Jima Parade And Events
With memories of Iwo Jima fading and with the survivors' ranks thinning, those who fought in the decisive battle still gather. Each Iwo Jima veteran across the country marks the historic anniversary in his own way. Most are thankful for just being alive.
Ira H. Hayes American Legion Post 84 in Sacaton, Arizona, is once again commemorating this event and cordially invites you to attend a dinner on Friday, February 17, 2006, and parade, ceremonies, gourd dancing and powwow on Saturday, February 18, 2006.
If you need a parade entry form, map to get there, motel listing or powwow info, call or e-mail.
Eight Years Old
Ever 10 November about 15 Marines in northeastern Vermont get together for an informal mess - not the dress birthday ball, but at least a chance to hoist a brew, renew friendships, and honor Corps and Country. This year one of our old timers brought a Marine friend from 40 miles away, an 82 year old veteran of Iwo. He didn't care to say much, but did observe that in his 36 days on Iwo we lost over 700 Marines KIA per day, on average. I was only eight years old at that time, and didn't know the bloody details. But hearing it from a Marine veteran 60 years later heightened my appreciation for the astonishing gallantry and sacrifices the men of the Corps made in that great war and particularly in that terrible battle. Young Marines are doing the same today, and I hope when I'm gone my grandson remembers to honor them.
John McClaughry MAJ USMCR Ret.
Concord VT 05824
On 10 Nov.1965 I was manning a reinforced squad outpost overlooking highway 1 about a klick south of the MLR at Chu Lai. Late in the afternoon my C.O. came out on the company mule, with Birthday cake, a can of beer for each of us. Now I see where different units have a party on the weekend. What happened to traditions? If you don't do it on 10 Nov. It's not Marine Corps birthday. It's just another beer party.
GySgt R.A. Latona
I don't know how else to get this information out to the Marine public so maybe you can help me.
MsGySgt (Ret) Terence S. Kirk will be visiting the Wichita Falls Multi Purpose Event Center (MPEC) Exhibit Hall on the 3rd and 4th of December of 2005 during an area "Gun and Knife Show".
MsGySgt Kirk is a 90 year old China Marine who, while a POW for 4 years built a pinhole camera and recorded the only photos ever taken inside a Japanese POW camp in mainland Japan. The US Govt has just recently given him permission to publish the photos in a book he calls "The Secret Camera"
I work at a local print shop in Wichita Falls, and as a former active duty Marine am always on the lookout for all things Marine.
This kind of face-to-face history may not be available for much longer so I encourage everyone who can to come see this Marine and salute him for his strength and courage during his career.
Cpl. Russell Hardin
1976 - 1980
Again this issue, too many responses to print all. The count is about 7 of 10 against. I think we have exhausted this topic. Semper fi, Sgt Grit
The book "Jarhead" first and foremost is a work of FICTION! The sale of this book to the public under any other category is an exercise in misinformation! Simply put, this book was written by a disturbed individual that has done a great injustice to ALL Marines, and especially to the Scout Sniper Community. In my two decades of service, most of which was as a Scout Sniper, I never saw or heard of such a dysfunctional Platoon...period! There definitely were no Strategic Target and Acquisition (STA), or Scout Sniper Platoons that would have remotely tolerated the author or some of the bogus subject matter in his book. No Marine would get away with the sorted events that are portrayed in the Book "Jarhead" whether they were in a combat zone or not. This book paints a negative image of the United States Marine Corps in a way that will do nothing but harm to that great Organization. Parents may never encourage their young sons and daughters to be part of the Corps and especially endorse a desire to become a Marine Scout Sniper. We, as a community are constantly having to prove that we are not "elitists" or "sh!t birds" and this book will be yet one more hurdle to explain away. The constant act of urinating on himself in times of stress, the complete disregard for SNCO's and Officers, and the overall WRONG sniper information(he states that snipers clean their rifles in pairs so one man can hold the barrel while the other punches the bore from the CROWN???), are just a few of the areas where Mr. Swafford misses the boat and defies his credibility. In defense of the Marines of STA, 2/7, I have to say that I had the privilege of working with and training many of those "REAL" Scout Snipers and I know that they are both embarrassed, betrayed and hurt by this account of their actions in the Gulf War. Mr. Swafford admits that he is not a school trained sniper (8541) but readily talks about his capabilities as being equal to or better than the 8541's in his unit. He admits to wearing a Hog's tooth ( a sniper's bullet and badge of honor) which is a slap in the face to all 8541's. In summary, I would say to all Marines and especially the Scout Sniper Community that they need to be aware of this book and it's misleading contents as it has already had a negative impact on the Corps. This self-admitted atheist has completely fooled the tree-huggers with his anti-war/anti-Marine Corps dribble and we as Marines need to stand up for what is right at every turn. "To defend the country ...foreign and domestic" as I see this book as an anti-American, support mechanism for the forces that would endanger the lives of our family, friends, and fellow military personnel. I concur with Mr. Swafford's Platoon Sergeant's comment from the Gulf War that: " this individual needs professional help!"
Neil K. Morris
MSgt, USMC (Ret.)
Executive Vice President,
United States Marine Corps, Scout Sniper Association
I gotta hand it to you Sgt Grit for publishing those letters from the folks who are in opposition to your, and apparently many other Marines opinion of the movie "Jarhead". It does a middle aged Patriot good to see that you practice the Liberties that you and many others defend. The discourse is very much appreciated in your publication. It is doubtful that I will see that movie because it seems to be just an other bad "Hollywierd Agenda Production". I prefer to think of the Marine Corps as the personal stories of those I know or have known. Hollywierd people just seem to have lost their nose sensors when it come to BS stories. For some reason HAP deem it necessary to find the worst, darkest side of the smoldering crap pile and dive in, so they can spread it around.
To Sgt Barron and all the other who point out that stuff in the movie jarhead, do happen in the Corps. Your missing the point. I did read the book, I will not go see the movie(allthough I cannot right now even if I wanted to as they are not showing it in Fallujah). The point in my opinion is airing your dirty laundry in public. You just don't do it, any more than I would fight with my wife in public or talk to total strangers about a drunken wife beating uncle. Its my family and its my business. To me its painfully obvious that swofford has found a way to make a buck and it capitalizing on it. Garbage is still garbage, truth or not. Barron why don't you write back to the newsletter and tell us some deep dark secret that no one knows about you, come on share it with the world, we wont think any less of you.
Gunny Davis Fallujah Iraq
Sgt Grit, In response to "SSGT 89-Present", Brent E. Whan, and Alex Barron in their scathing remarks towards you and other critics of the movie "Jarhead" I would like to say that your foolish remarks can be attributed only to a lack of maturity and an absolute lack of understanding, despite your service, as to what the Marine Corps is all about. For you to attack the character of Sgt Grit and the other critics of the movie (which, by the way, include almost every other Marine, including me) is the equivalent of firing upon your fellow Marines in my book. I was in the Gulf War with Alpha Co. 1/4 and was a 19 year old kid. Of course, anywhere you have a bunch of young men, whether in a college fraternity, at a high school party, or serving in a branch of the military, you are going to have dirty jokes, porn, goofing off, and all of the things that come with being a young man. However, these things dulled in comparison with the traditions, respect, honor, courage, commitment, and professionalism that comes with the duties of being a US Marine. The Marine Corps is a brotherhood. It is unethical to air its dirty laundry, even if it is true. I must say that I do not think that everything that Swofford wrote in his book WAS true. This is confirmed by Mark Rocco and Brian Jackson who served in Swofford's unit and said that he was lying. I myself knew about hazings that happened in the Corps, but what happens in the Corps stays in the Corps. I personally believe that "SSGT 89- Present" (why can't you even list your real name?), Brent Whan, Alex Barron, AND SWOFFORD are probably cut from the same lump of dough and are a part of the infamous dirtbag Marine Corps 10%. I would gladly step into the ring with any one of you or all four of you at once to defend the integrity of our Marine Corps. For you to attack Grit and the others for being disgusted about the movie shows that you lack the character to even understand the unethical overtones of the movie and, therefore, I feel sorry to know that there are grown men serving in our Corps who are so immature. I thank God for the rest of the Marines and veterans, including Sgt Grit, who served with integrity, honor, and all of the other things that are ingrained in the Corps. It is these things, not the goofiness of being an immature man driven by hormones, that has stuck with me my whole life and has made me a better person. It blows my mind that ANYONE in the Corps or having served in the Corps would not be insulted and absolutely infuriated at Swofford and the making of "Jarhead".
Cpl of Marines
I was an 0351 in the Gulf War. I have not seen the movie because I am in Iraq as a contractor ( 15 months now). I worship the Corps. But I will tell you, all the time in the PI and everywhere else...there was nothing saintly about it. It was good but by no means saintly. I did read the book and although I do not really get the impression that I would like the author, I did identify with a lot of it. Just like having the press embedded with the Marines, there is a lot not meant or suitable for public viewing when it comes to war fighting and the men and boys who do it. Why does everything have to become so public? Let the men do what the men need to do and let the rest stay home and take comfort in their oblivion. I was no saint but I would have gladly given my life for my fellow Devil Dogs and for the cause..guess that is why I am back. Marines look good and can sweet talk the pants off the finest...they have no intentions of being saints. We were hard fighting, hard drinking foul mouthed, valiant little b*stards. I think even Eleanor Roosevelt realized that. "The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps! Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, 1945 "
We are ALL proud. I am proud to be the Marine I describe and so is everyone I know.
1st Bn 4th Marines
Capt McFadden's comments (in Newsletter 110) are too kind that man is fall more than an "immoral, selfish, "soul-less," person." He is despicable. I read the book and promptly thru it in the trash to insure that no one reads the copy I bought. This is not the vision I have of the Corps. Proud of the 3/25 Marines in Ohio and all Marines.
Sgt USMCR, 7th Engineers, Green Bay WI (1961/67)
It would appear that Sgt Alex W. Barron USMC is the one "missing the point", Swofford may have written the crap he calls book, and some flaming Hollywood producer may have made that sorry excuse for a movie, but absolutely NO ONE will view it as "documenting" Swofford's experiences. They WILL see it as a movie about the Marine Corps. And like the printed word, the average Joe thinks that Hollywood actually makes factual movies. We are already seeing the pendulum swing away from treating our troops with respect back toward the Viet Nam era of being treat with disgust. Jarhead just hastens the swing.
Felt So Bad
Our Jr. D.I. was Sgt Baines. He was a heavy smoker. Because he had the duty, he had celebrated the nite before and was really hung over badly. One of our smokers asked him to light the smoking lamp also but since he felt so bad, he declared "no one will get to smoke until he felt like one and since he felt so bad that would probably be never! However when he smoked one whomever wanted to could also smoke." Most smokers are creatures of habit. Sgt. Baines kept reaching for a cigarette then putting it away, reaching for one, putting it away. This went on for quite a while. Finally he reached for one, almost put it away, then -----finally lit it, and---behind him all you could hear was " CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, Etc. of all the lighters. Sgt. Baines turned around on the bench so fast he almost fell into the dirt. He started to laugh and said " If you sorry b*stards need one that bad, have two!"
G.O. Lewis, MgySgt(ret.)
I had the distinct honor to attend the VMA 225 MAG 12 reunion November 10 through 13, in Pensacola,Fla, with my friend, Ronald Christie. Chu Lai didn't exist until they and supporting troops arrived on that China Sea beach. A strong bond exists between these brave marines that began in their boot camp and is even stronger today. Their respect and love for their commanding officer, Col.Robert, Bob, Baker, and for one another, made me realize what patriotism, true dedication, and the Corps is all about. How proud I am to have shared this reunion with these men and their wives.
First and foremost, let me say "Happy Birthday" to each and everyone as this day is just one of the days of the year that I look forward to each year. It brings back a lot of memories and the majority are good, but there are some sad ones too. Things that I miss the most are listed below and each of you played a part in some way or another.
Miss sitting on my green locker box in the squad bay shining brass, shoes and cleaning my "Rifle".
Miss hearing the cadence of S/SGT Scaplehorn drilling the platoon at P.I.
Miss looking at the frighten faces of the recruits who were trying to get outside of the barracks for formation.
Miss the "smokers" boxing matches at the rifle range
Miss playing "Football" at Camp Koza
Miss going to downtown Koza and having good times with brothers
Miss playing "Baseball" at Sukiran for Lt. Just
Miss going downtown to the "Playland Bar" in Jax, N.C.
Miss going to the Comm. Shack at MCAS New River
Miss taking the long trip from Jax, N.C. to Jax, Fl every other weekend
The one thing I miss the most is not having our son, S/SGT Jeffrey R. Starling here to enjoy this birthday.
Parris Island April 1959
Sgt Grit, here it is November 14th and our Birthday has come and gone. I just returned from the weekend in Las Vegas where I attended the 4 day Operation Welcome Home dedicated to Vietnam Veterans. Everything started, appropriately, on Thursday November 10th with opening ceremonies at the Main Street Hotel and Casino plaza area in downtown Las Vegas with the Moving Wall. What a tribute to our departed Nam brothers. That night we had a concert by the CCR Tribute band - Fremont Street Experience was rocking with Nam Vets carrying on and having a great time. Friday - Veterans Day - Vietnam Vets finally got their parade that we had to wait 30 years for. I marched in my "Mod Blues" with about 100 other Marine Nam Veterans - when the parade started out, our Marine contingent wanted to be at the head of the parade since we are always "The first to fight!" but we were told by the parade organizers that we were going to be the last group out because they wanted to save the best for last - good decision on their part. We started marching along 4th Street in downtown Vegas and the reception all of us Nam vets got was overwhelming - I was so proud to be wearing my Marine uniform - yes I can still fit into it after being out of the Corps for 31 years! I had brought along our Marine Corps Flag and my wife stood on the sidewalk and as the Marine contingent approached, she was waving it wildly. We stopped, executed a right face and saluted our colors. When we resumed marching, we broke out singing the Marine Hymn the rest of the route. We got the biggest reaction from the crowds than all the other three branches got COMBINED! After the parade a bunch of us went back to the Plaza Hotel and commenced to make the bartender earn his money. We were joined by 4 young Marines currently stationed at 29 Stumps. They were in town to get one of them married off at the Stratosphere that night. An old Gunny that was with us pulled this young Marine away and told him that if the Corps wanted him to have a wife - they would issue him one. Seems like the Corps did - she is a Corporal, so is he - both met while serving in Iraq. These 4 Marines are really upholding the traditions of the Marine Corps and one of them told me that we Nam vets set the standard for them to follow and they were proud of us. My eyes really started sweating then. Finally, Saturday night came around and we had the Marine Corps Ball at the Orleans Hotel attended by over 500 Marines and their ladies. What a great time. About 60 of us Nam vets were in attendance - in full dress blues! - and received a special recognition from the guest speaker - a retired 3 star who served 2 tours in Nam. Wow, what a great feeling. We topped off the night by going back to the Fremont Street experience and listening to the Guess Who. There we were, standing in this crowd of about 1500 people in dress blues listening to the Guess Who and all night, we had people come up to us thanking us for our Service - what a difference from 30 years ago - no one spit on me that night. Me and my lady were so proud of my beloved Marine Corps. God Bless our Corps and God bless all Marines, past, present and future. Semper Fi Marines
Cpl of Marines
Vietnam, Republic of ' 71-' 72
I love it! Happy Birthday. 230 years unhampered by progress!
Sam Uberman RVN 66-67