Return to Archives

Pass It On...

Pass this newsletter on to anyone you feel would like it:
Send to a Friend Now

To submit your thoughts use

Update Your Subscription...

Click here to SUBSCRIBE to the list.
Click here to UNSUBSCRIBE from the list.
...OR... email


USMC Gray Tone on Tone T-Shirt
USMC Gray Tone on Tone T-Shirt

Marine Corps Toque
Marine Corps Toque

Boots Troops and Hoops
Boots Troops and Hoops

These items only for a limited time!
See all our Closeouts

You gotta love Gunnys

Birthday Ball Shirts

The United States Marine Corps has been around for 230 years and it's time to celebrate, and what better way to celebrate than wearing a t-shirt, sweatshirt, hooded sweatshirt,or long-sleeved t-shirt in commemoration.

Last chance for Veterans Day Shirt

Only available until Oct 2nd, we have this design for Veterans Day! For a limited time only, we have this design for Veterans Day! Available in a t-shirt, sweatshirt, and long-sleeved t-shirt. Thank you for your service to our Country - Semper Fi!

Beirut Shirts

For Marines who have served in Beirut and as a memorial to those 273 who lost their lives as part of the peacekeeping force in Lebanon. Available as a t-shirt, sweatshirt, hooded sweatshirt,and long-sleeved t-shirt.


Hey Sgt. Grit
I wanted to send you this picture. My mom saved it for me and I have never shared it with anyone until this year. I showed it to my daughter (29) and son (33) was trying to show them or explain to them what those of us in the military face. I got tears from them and the best d*mn hug I ever had. Maybe just maybe some do get it at least my daughter and son did. The real heroes of Beirut were those who never came home. GySgt. Dennis West, 1st Sgt Tandy Wells, Captain Mike Hatcher were all close friends. Wells and Hatcher were hats with me on first tour at PI 69-73. Dennis was the closest thing my kids had as a godfather and served at OCS with me 76-80. I have never been able to go to the memorial or for that matter the memorial in DC for Vietnam. Just can't hold those emotions like I use to. Anyway working as IC in Iraq now for past two years seen the "New Breed" of Marines and it makes me proud to know the torch is being carried so high by so many harden warriors. The only story I can think of about that time is how d*mn proud I am to have been a member (1st Sgt MSSG-24) of that MEU. There was and never will be a better commander that LtCol Tim Gerrity and Sgt Maj. Dudly. They were the best of the best and because of the politics at the time Col Gerrity paid the price. We were put into those bombed out buildings not at his call but higher up yet when the finger pointing began it fell to him. I will not mention the names of those who did this deed, but the almighty will reckon with those on their final day I am sure. The Marines of MEU 24 and BLT 1st Bn 8th Marines were and will always be the finest bunch of Marines I ever served with and to those still living as well as the fallen hold a special place in my memories and heart. God Bless them all.

Ken Bell
1st Sgt. USMC Ret. 1965-1985

Proceeds To Show Me

This happened in the fall of 1983 late September or early October. I was standing outside the little concrete Chapel building on the northern end BIA runway that Cpl O'Toole, Cpl Wilburn, Myself and a couple other Marines of Charlie Company BLT 1/8 1st Platoon used to sleep in. When Cpl O'toole comes running up too me shouting hysterically that he'd been shot by a sniper. I say where did they shoot you? He proceeds to show me his rifle, where upon further inspection I find a hole in the magazine and in the stock. Then Cpl O'Toole proceeds to tell me that he thinks they shot him in the butt. I say why do you think that? He says that his butt is wet. He says can you check it out and see if there's blood. I say the back of your utility trousers look wet but I can't tell if its blood, so I tell him to touch the spot and see if its blood. He does and it wasn't, it was just water. Upon further inspection I noticed that the water was coming from his canteens and that each canteen had one hole in it. Corporal O'Toole had been shot four times by a sniper and didn't have a scratch.

On a related note Staff Sgt Joe Curtis had a 60mm mortar land right next to him outside our bunker on the southern end of the BIA runway and didn't get a scratch.

To the Sniper that shot at me three times and missed _ _ _ _ you!

Cpl Craig J. Swinson
C co BLT 1/8 24th MAU
Beirut 1983

I Was Only 52

Sgt Grit, I was in the Corps from 1968 to 1978, with 2 tours in nam from 1969 to 1971. I stayed in the Marine reserves until 1978, and was in alpha 1st BN 23rd Marines in Houston. Tried to come back in when desert shield started, but was to old. Enlisted in navy cb's, naval reserve, missed my unit that went to the mid east because I was still processing. Yes, I was very pissed...... Moved to Florida in 91. Transferred to the 124th infantry, army national guard,1997. Activated for operation safe skys and spent 6 months at the Sanford INT airport with task force bravo. In Dec. 2002, the 124th Infantry was activated for OIF. Because of my age the BN Commander transferred me to 81's from bravo co. While at Ft Stewart, I was able to beg the Sgt./Major to return to the line in Charlie Co, as and E-6 saw gunner (E-3 position). I loved this. I was only 52 yrs old, and highly motivated! Right before leaving Ft Stewart, a group of sf from the 5th group dropped in and said, guess what, you, Charlie Co., Belongs to us................ And we started training for down pilot and aircraft recovery missions. We arrived in Jordan on Feb-16 2003 at a classified base near the Syrian border, and continued training. Then sf informed 3rd Plt, my Plt, we would breach 2 berms on the Iraq border and pass approx. 60 vehicles into western Iraq so I became a sapper and help dig, yes dig thru 2 berms in front of Iraqi fighting positions, probably the oldest saw gunner on combat Ops in an infantry unit. We came across on 19 march 03, 48hrs before the main push kicked off. Our convoy took fire on the Jordan side of the border, and from the Iraqi side. Anyway, we continued to operate in western Iraq, moved to Baghdad in may. We set up initially approx. 5 miles from the Baghdad Int airport. Moved to the press palace on the tigress for awhile, then took control of the Baghdad convention center in late June. Charlie co. Worked for a marine colonel, and I loved it..... And the colonel liked us. No one could believe a national guard unit could do what we did. Down pilot an aircraft recovery missions, combat, pow, convoy, and other operations. We had a good reputation. There were several former marines in my Plt and several more thru out the company. I always trained my cb's and my soldiers like Marines. I am a Marine in my heart, and always will be one. I would not take a million dollars for the opportunity I had serving my country once more. And by the way , I re enlisted in Baghdad to 2009. I might get to do it one more time, if I'm lucky.

Semper fi
S./Sgt. Paul Stevens

Find Your Buddies

In April 1970, after 29 months in Vietnam with bravo battery 1st BN. 11th Marines it was time for me to go back to the real world, I really didn't want to leave , but it was time . My thoughts were will I ever see or speak to anybody again. 35 Yrs. Later I get a phone call from Ron Waldie, we caught up on just about everything you can think of. I told Ron , I was looking to find Gary Avery,& Oliver Delton. Ron said he was working on finding anybody he could find who had served with Bravo during that time . 2 Weeks later I get a phone call, guess who ? Gary Avery, after many e-mails, we are still not caught up on everything , come to find out Ron had put together a contact list of just about everybody who had served with bravo I have been in contact with Oliver Delton, Ken Prewett, Capt. David Noble. After all these years it is never to late .

Semper fi
Lynn Rampy
USMC Sgt B-1-11
Vietnam Dec. 67- April-70

They Still Fit

Sgt. Grit:

I am a garrison Marine and a true oddity among officers for I never saw service in Viet Nam even though I was on active duty between January 1968 and September 1971. (This is an issue that I struggle with to this day.) The reason is simple: A horse named Jack and multiple fractures. (Didn't know they still had the Horse Marines in the late 60's early 70's?) Yet, as your Sgt. Grit bumper sticker says, "You can take the Marine out of Corps, but you can't take the Corps out of the Marine."

In your September 15 newsletter there was an entry by Mike Damigo regarding his son and a meeting at a McDonald's of the now civilian Domingo and a Lieutenant Colonel who mistakenly thought he was still on active duty. I have a similar story to report.

Recently, I attended the Memorial Day observance at the National Cemetery in Covington, Washington in my Officer's Dress Whites from 1971. (Yes, they still fit and they are still white.) All branches of the military active duty, retired, and discharged were in attendance both as participants in the program and observers. At the termination of the ceremony, I was approached by an older couple inquiring about my uniform and complimenting me on my military bearing as compared to all other military personnel in attendance. I quickly explained the 34 year old uniform and thanked them for their compliment indicating that "I can still walk the walk and talk the talk, but have never looked the enemy in the eye." Furthermore, I went on to say that we all should say a little prayer for all the men and women currently on active duty especially for those who not only "walk the walk and talk the talk" but face the enemy on a daily basis.

Hope to see you all at the Birthday Ball in November!

Semper Fidelis,
Tom Tomfohr
1stLt, USMCR, 0109594, 1968-1974

14 Hour Period

That "corpsmen, radiomen and officers are the first shot, in that order", WOW, I must of been in the wrong war/service etc.. In a foxhole, trading with a superior number of enemy for hours on end, rapid fire and losing around 15-20 KIA's in two squads is hard to forget. And one was a Corpsman. And in a 14 hour period, it cost the other side about 2,400 KIA's.

As to Joanna and her message, which I understand the position, she has taken, AND I also understand the position that others have taken, and paid dearly for HER right to have the ability to speak what's on her mind. HER freedom, was NOT free!

Korea 51-52
Chesty's last regimental command

Mark 50 Years

Dear Sgt. Grit,
Just received my first newsletter--THANKS! Thanks, too, for sending the items I ordered so fast. Please be patient with some random thoughts my first time out. When I purchased as new truck in July, I lost my USMC decal on the old truck. Even called local Marine recruiters, but couldn't locate another decal. On Labor Day, after eating at the International House of Pancakes in Hiram, GA, I was paying the bill. I wore a shirt with USMC on it--the young cashier asked me "What college USMC is?" I told him that if he had to ask, he wasn't good enough to go there! A woman saw my shirt & told me her husband was a former Marine. She introduced us, so I asked him if he knew where I could find decals for my truck & my wife's car. He said, ""--and here I am! The fellow's son is serving in Iraq today. We are both proud Marines. Next week will mark 50 years since I got out of boot camp at MCRD San Diego. After leave, training at Camp Pendleton & Pickle Meadows, we shipped out for Okinawa with the 3rd Mar Div. Well, enough for now. By the way, I mean no disrespect to the "new Corps," but I was a proud SGT. with three strips when the rank structure was changed. It took almost 25 years before I let anyone see my Honorable Discharge paper with "Cp. E-4" on it. I don't care what that discharge paper says, I sign off as:

Sgt. Frank Hamby

13th Marines

Thanks to "Snuffy" Joe Jackson for explaining the history of the 13th. Marines. I was assigned to "B" battery 1st. Battalion 13th. Marines out of BST in June of 1966. I was in FDC. The reason the 13th. Marines served in so many different "units" is because when we deployed to Viet Nam with the 26th. Marine Regiment (RLT) in Aug. '66, is because Headquarters Battery of the 13th. stayed in Okinawa and "B" Battery went on to Nam. (And I believe "A" & "C" went on also.) Therefore, the 13th. was "assigned" to all the different units. From what I remember, the 13th. was with every Battalion of the 12th. Marines. With almost 40 years of building up "cob-webs" in the memory, I could be wrong. My mother found all of my letters I wrote home and from the return addresses on the letters, I found 2nd. Battalion 26th. Marines, 1st. Battalion 12th. Marines, 1st. Battalion 3rd. Marines, 2nd. Battalion 12th. Marines, 3rd. Battalion 12th. Marines, and 4th. Battalion 12th. Marines. We did a lot of "moving around," fired a lot of "fire missions" and "zapped" a lot of "g--ks!"

Again, a big Marine Corps. Thanks to Snuffy (Joe) Jackson for allowing me to "remember!" So many times in my life I've tried to forget, but I'm thankful to Sgt. Grit and all the wonderful letters from my Marine "buddies", I can remember!

Anybody out there from "B" Battery 1st. Battalion 13th. Marines or associated with B 1/13 can contact me at:

God Bless the Marine Corps. And God Bless the USA!

Semper Fi!
Eddie (Carp) Carpenter 2184168 USMCR 1965-1967


In response to Snuffy (Joe ) Jackson's comments about the 26th Marines and 1/13 arty being shuffled around Divisions, he forgot to mention that after tours with the 3rd and 1st Marine Div.,in the end of 68 we were also assigned to the 5th Mar.Div. which we left the Nam with Nov.69. The 5th was deactivated when we got back to the World.

Semper Fi,
J.P.Looker Sgt.B.Co.1/26

Sgt. Grit,

In responding to the article written by Snuffy Jackson, in the 15 Sept 05 Newsletter. When I left the 13th Marines in Dec, 67 for Nam they were part of the 5th Division. I was in India Battery, 3rd Batt, 13th Marines, 5th Marine Division. 1st, 2nd and 3rd battalions were at Las Pulgas and they were 105 Towed Howitzer units, with attached four deuce, 81 mortars, and heavy weapons platoon. 4th Batt was stationed down the road about 2-3 miles in from the San Onifre gate. 4th batt was M-48 tanks, and 155 SP howitzers. Being that I went to Nam, I don't know if they were ever attached to the 3rd Mar Div. I know there was a 13th Mar Reg attached to the 1st Mar Div in Nam.

John R. Wright
Cpl, U.S.M.C

Beirut Rockets

Sgt. Grit,
I was with Hotel Btry 3/10 set out to relieve the MAU that was currently in the "root", we made a little detour to Grenada on the way, but that's another story for another time, anyways, I recalled something that sticks out in my mind. I was on post one night at the east end of our position. It was myself and L/Cpl Kelly, just sitting there watching the light show in the mountains as the druse and amal were duking it out. They would take turns firing the 12.5's back and forth trying to draw fire, from the looks of it, they linked belts of nothing but tracer rounds, it was just a constant stream of light. Because of this, I brought my nikon 35mm camera and set it up on a tripod with a cable release with my auto winder set for 5 picture runs, well......things changed that night, they started to fire rockets back and forth at each other, we learned that as long as it didn't look like it was going straight up, things were cool, if it was, it was either going away, or real close to you. We saw one go straight up and we just looked at each other. then I swear you could hear it just like in the movies. We ducked down, not knowing where it really was going and I hit the release on the camera and the autowinder started clicking away, before it was done, the rocket impacted just down the hill from our post and we heard the scrap hitting the sandbags of our overhead cover, raining sand down. We sat there as the TA-1 was ringing off the hook. We picked it up and told them we were fine, but the post took a hit. After we got up, my camera was gone, being a bit leery of going outside the relative safety of those sandbags, I waited until morning. I found it about 5 feet from were it was, it seems a piece of scrap caught one of the legs and neatly cut it off about 20 inches off the ground, making it fall over. The camera seemed fine, so I burned up the roll and sent it out, when the pictures came back, in 2 of the frames at the bottom, you can see the rocket impact and detonate, and the last one was at an angle as the camera fell over. That was the last time I ever took it out on post with me.

Semper Fi,

Find Your Buddies #2

Sgt. Grit:

I too joined the Navy after H.S. with the intent of an easy 4 years. Welllllll after 1 year I got my orders to 'Field Med School' Camp Del Mar, Ca. After school I helped form Kilo-3-1. Left Pendleton for Okie and the NTA. Then in-country with 'Operation Double Eagle' for more than I dreamed for. My 3rd Plt. held together and took care of business. We did have our wia's and kia's during our operations. Some I saved and others I wondered about. Got hit during Operation Texas and ended up at Great Lakes N.H. I found two guys from my Plt. and they were fine. Made it out alive! Went back in-country again with VMF 533 from Cherry Point, N.C. to complete a '65-68' tour minus a CONUS stay.

Years have past and I did go to a reunion at Pendleton of K-3-1 and renewed old friends in '04' Was it good to hug, slap backs and smile at them.

Like 'Ronald Reagan' said' Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference??? The MARINES don't have that problem! We all had a great time together.

'Doc' Novak
Davie, Fl.

Someone Would Ask

The other day I was writing a fellow Colonel an email in response to something that was said about once a Marine Always a Marine. In 1965 I enlisted in the Marine Corps and immediately after graduating from High School was shipped off to MCRD San Diego - a Hollywood Marine. I spend 12 long weeks in MCRD and then moved on to ITR at Camp Pendleton for 4 more weeks of training. I spend four years on active duty and two years as a Marine Corps Reserve before my final discharge. After active duty I started my life in Law Enforcement but I missed the Corps. At age 28 I tried to go back into the Corps as an Officer but Vietnam was winding down and the Corps did not need any old 2nd Lieutenants. So I turned to the Army and was Commissioned in 1976 in the Army Reserve. I have spent the last 29 years as a member of the Army Reserve and attained the rank of Colonel. I have always remembered my Marine Corps roots and wore my Marine Corps Air Combat Crew Wings with pride. Every where I went in my Army Reserve assignments the first thing someone would ask, what are those wings, and I would tell them.

One time I was explaining to a Sergeant Major what my wings represented, I said I am an X-Marine. He corrected me and said, No Sir, you are a former Marine, because once a Marine always a Marine. So while writing to my Colonel friend, who is also a former Marine, I recounted a story that happened while I was in Vietnam.

In 1967 while serving with HMM-165 out of Ke Ha, I went on my first combat mission. With a flight of 4 CH-46 Helo's we took a Platoon of Marines into a valley, which according to Intel reports was a cold LZ. The mission went as planned, we landed in the LZ received no fire and left. Moments after we lifted off the Marines came under extremely heavy fire and started calling for air strikes and extraction. We flew off station for about a half hour while the fast movers laid ordinance on the enemy position. As we started into the LZ to extract the Marines I realized this was my first fire fight and wasn't sure how I would perform. I didn't have much time to think about it because I just started reacting. As we started into the LZ I saw my brother Marines in the tall grass receiving fire from a tree line. I immediately opened up with my 50 Cal and stated putting rounds into the tree line. We landed, the Marines ran to the helo and all h&ll broke loose. We started receiving mortar fire and heavy weapons fire. We and the Marine squad that ran onto our helo continued to but rounds into the tree line until we lifted off and left the area. I remember it was like a scene out of some movie, the Marines were firing shot guns, M14s, M60's and M79's out of the Starboard side ports of the helo. With my 50 Cal and their fire power we lit up the tree line. Once we were safely out of the LZ the Marines started cheering and thanked the crew chief and me for saving their bacon.

I think about that and the fact that several decades later I spent a few months in the Horn of Africa working with Marines again. I remember the pride I felt when I was a Marine and how current Marines still thought of me as a Marine even though I was wearing an Army uniform. Then it struck me, I earned the title of Marine when I walked out of the gates of MCRD four decades ago. When I walked out of that gate my skin was permanently painted Marine Corps Green. No you can't see it, but still it is there. I remember an old salt telling me about the old Corps. While in the Horn of Africa I was asked to talk to the Marines of HMH-464 out of New River, NC about my experience in the Marine Corps. I saw all those young faces, much like this Old salt saw my young face back in 1966, CW4 TC Vanover. (The gunner had spent over 35 years in the Corps before he retired) The Old Corps, the current Corps and the New Corps is the same Marine Corps, it just has different faces. The brotherhood of the Marine Corps is unique and everlasting.

So, next year when I retire after 39 years of active and reserve service in the Marine Corps and Army Reserve, I will be proud of my heritage and continue to claim the title of Marine.

COL William J Simmons
Currently Serving on Active Duty
Former Marine CPL William J. Simmons 1965-1971

Even Bandages

Dear Sgt. Grit,
Thanks for sending your news letter. I read the different letters from people both positive and negative. The ones that are positive always show that "Once a Marine, always a Marine".

I was a Navy Corpsman (HM3) in the RVN 1969-70 with the First Battalion, First Marines. My father was a PhM2 in WWII aboard the Troop ship USS Barnett. That was one of the transport ships that took the 1st Division into Guadalcanal. I was always taught growing up to have pride in America, and the love of God and Country. I love to see the Stars and Strips flying in a stiff breeze, and hear the music that is strictly American. I am not the youth that I once was, but I will still carry a rifle, ( or even bandages), into combat if need be to defend my beloved country.

Remember that the best part of the Corps is the Corpsmen. I may have joined the Navy, but my heart belongs to the Corps.

Thank You and God Bless Always,

Semper Fi
Ronald L. (Doc) Trowbridge

He Rappelled

My wife Natalie had our first son on 23 September 2005.

Little Christopher Michael Pangalos, II "side straddle hopped" into the world at 12:10. He weighed 6.95 lbs. and was 19 1/2 inches long, I don't think he'll be the "House Mouse" at Parris Island. He has the makings of a future Marine, when the doc slapped his backside he turned around and decked him! Just like his old man! Then he rappelled off the table and when we found him in the nursery he had all the other kids PTing double time. Ooh-Rah!

Mom, Dad and baby are all doing great.

Attached is a proof of his first picture at the hospital. Will send more when they arrive.

Semper Fi,
Chris Pangalos

Faylaka and Maradim Islands


I was a Marine during the Gulf War - we patrolled around the Persian Gulf searching for mines and suicide boats. We also raided Faylaka and Maradim islands off the coast of Kuwait - funny, but the only thing I could find about those raids (haven't looked in a few years) said they didn't happen, but they did cause I was there. Would you please consider the following for your newsletter? Thanks and God bless, brother

Cpl Grass

Semper Fi

Other than being just a shortened variation, I have never noted a differentiation between "Semper Fi, Mac," and just "Semper Fi." (Other than that Semper Fi later became a positive term).

In '52 I still remember M/Sgt Tony V. telling me that Semper Fi meant "Screw you, I've got mine, how're you doing." He emphasized this by the classic Italian salute, slapping one hand to the upper portion of his other arm.... He said--and I have read/heard this from others--that slapping the upper arm was also to emphasize the chevrons/rank which, at that time, early WW II, were worn on only one sleeve (I forget which sleeve right now)-- this was done to conserve supplies, and was later changed back to chevrons both sleeves. Same thing for civilians--shirts/coats were being made w/o collars/pockets; pants w/o cuffs, etc.--due to the war effort.

In any case, it was intended as a sarcastic saying with Semper Fidelis in mind--remember most of these WW II Marines were not regular Marines--they were in for the duration only, and would much rather have been home. Although good Marines, they still had that "draftee" attitude toward discipline, etc.

Kinda like today's Marines use OohRah like Gung Ho (also bastardized) w/o knowledge of its origin as ArrruuuGah!, the sound of the Klaxton horn on the submarines.

From the book, Semper Fi, Mac, by Henry Berry, William Morrow and Company, NY, 1982...


"Of course I remember SemperFi," recalls Duane Wright, a one-time member of the 17th Engineers.

"On the surface it meant, 'Pull up the ladder, I'm on board' or 'Hooray for me and you know what you.'

"But you know what it really meant was, 'Look, pal, you got to take care of yourself out here.' You might ask another Marine for a cigarette and he'd tell you, 'Semper Fi, Mac.' Then the chances are he'll give you one, but what he means is for you to try and get your own the next time. It was no picnic in the Pacific and you had to take care of yourself."

This former sergeant of Engineers is right on target. If a Marine did not take care of himself in the Pacific, he was in trouble.

Actually, there were slight variations of the expression. If you were in the 2nd Marine Division, you would probably say, "semper Fi, Cobber" -- Cobber meaning buddy in New Zealand, where the 2nd spent considerable time.

And, of course, it could also be "Semper Fi, Buddy" or "Semper Fi, Bill, George" or any other name. The point is that Marines did say "Semper Fi," and they said it from one end of the Pacific to the other."

Apparently, the "meaning" of Semper Fi just changed due to us boots coming along and "assuming" it meant a shortened version of Semper Fidelis only.

My thanks to Top Tony V., and many others of The Old Breed, who squared me away on many points of Old Corps Lore. (Tony was later busted in Oceanside for driving around naked--never heard what became of him.)


To Help

Recently spent two weekends at Pendleton training DOD therapists how to help with Marines and their families deal with PTSD. First time back on a Marine base in almost 50 years, felt great. I feel privileged to be able to help fellow Marines after all these years and am attempting to spend several days a week there. Some of these are returning for the 3rd and 4th. tour. Hope to report more later.

Semper Fi.
A. J. Popky, Ph.D.
formerly Cpl. USMC

Moon And The Star

Being a Sea Duty Marine, I never thought I'd be on shore in a combat zone. Our ship was on station after the U.S. Embassy bombing, approximately late April. We were flown in by our ships copter. My area of security was the back ally of the embassy. Myself and a Marine from one of the line company's were placed together. That night we were told to place a mag. in our weapons. There approached a man dressed in white including shoes. He pointed to the sky and asked us" see that star? That is Jesus, and the moon is Mohammad. One day they will come together and there will be peace." The moon and the star were close to each other. My counterpart and I looked at each other then watched as the man walked down the ally into darkness. After duty at the remains of the embassy, we were sent to different areas for security C. battery,airstrip(rocket watch) etc.. gunshots and the occasional mortar round were heard but that one night in a back ally remains to this day clear in my mind.

Jim Sass.
USS Puget Sound AD 38. TAD 22 MAU.Beirut 83.

8 Man Football

i was stationed at lejeune around sep.1969. 8th com battalion, i remember that there was an 8 man fullpads football league, i was the quarterback for our team, our coach was gaines, gain or something like that, think his first name was tom. anyone out there remember what am talking about, photos would be nice.

semper fi
dr. s.rivas

Big Ole Moon

Seems that when 2/6 81mm mortar platoon took their positions along the runway of the Beirut airport in February 1983 the latrine was right next to the runway. Well as you can imagine... since the crapper didn't have a door and the tubes are just out in the open it doesn't leave much for a person to be humble about. In any event as the planes started to come back in to the airport some of the men in the platoon decided to express their opinion in a round, big ole moon, sort of way. Needless to say after about a week the engineers came by and dug some new facilities that provided not so quite a view for those individuals coming, by plane, into Beirut.

Semper Fi.

He Was What A

To My Honored Brother,
When President Ronald W. Reagan said the following in 1985 "Most people go through their entire life wondering if they made a difference. Marine's don't have that problem"! He surely must have been talking about Mstgysgt George T. Curtis.

George unexpectedly passed away last week. He was what a "Marine" was all about. He was a Viet Nam Veteran. I had the privilege of working with him! He was the Vice President of the Pop A Smoke website for Viet Nam Veteran Helicopter Pilot's and crewman!

When I get to Heaven Curtis, I know I'll find you "On Heaven's Scene's" guarding the streets! Until that day!

Semper FI
my Brother,
A. H. Lane
Major, USMC (ret)
HML-367 Marble Mtn

Golf Co. 2/6, Beirut

We landed on Feb.14, 1983. We sat in our hog waiting our turn to exit the LST Spartanburg County. This would be the first and only time I would ever ride a hog off a ship. Our turn came, we could feel the trac rumble down the deck picking up speed, the splash was wild but that would be the best part, the hatch was not latched all the way and the sea water came dumping in, two of my men jumped up and clicked it shut. I remember bobbing around in the Med for what seemed like hours, the smell of the diesel, the heat from the engine, and the bouncing around was making some of my men sick, finely our hog hit ground. The engine rumbled and I could feel the tracks moving, we slammed back and forth and I remember just wanting to get out, the diesel and vomit smell was awful. The trac came to a stop and the ramp came down slowly and we stepped out at the end of the Beirut Airport, 20 Marines with full battle gear, some wet form the sea, others holding their steel pots with what use to be their breakfast. We quickly moved to take over our positions. The Marine I relieved looked rough, his cammies were dirty and covered in red clay, his boots were the same way. His face looked as if he had shaved the night before, his eyes were tired, I would look like him when I was relieved 5 months later. He pointed out my fields of fire and where the firefights were last night, the same ones we had seen from the ship and then he was gone. For the better part of the day helos, tracs, and trucks went back and forth bringing us in and taking those men that we relieved out. It was cold but the rain had held off. The mountains were to my left and I could see snow at the tops, to my right was the Med. Our ships were moving back and forth down the coast. Behind me was a muddy patch and a tent we would call home for a month or two. After about four hours on post a Marine came to relieve me. I went back to our tent to store my gear, I had nothing more then a cot and a pack. Now it was time to head to the "chow hall". The chow hall was nothing more then a bombed out building, inside were make shift tables and chairs, mostly pallets and car seats or sandbags. I got a plate of food and headed inside. It was dark and took time for my eyes to adjust to the dim light. Once my eyes had adjusted I noticed the back wall, it was covered in Valentines. A first grade class had sent them, all made of construction paper. Large red and pink hearts drawn in crayon or markers, with "we love you", "come home soon", "thank you", and "stay safe" The whole back wall was covered. I had a hard time looking up, the tears were right there. I don't remember what school sent them, or the teachers name, but it made me feel good inside to know that some one was thinking about us and the job we were doing so far from home, if some one that reads this was one of those kids back then, thank you.

It wouldn't take long for us to come under fire, we had only been there for a few days when one night all h&ll broke loose. To the front of our lines the IDF had a checkpoint. They claimed someone had fired on them, so they returned fire IN OUR DIRECTION! I had just gotten off a 12-hour post, it was raining and had been all week, I was wet, cold, and pissed off. My platoon deployed to our bunkers, I had just walked into my tent, took off my cammie blouse to let it dry when the firing started, all I had time to do was grab my flack jacket, steel pot, and rifle and run to my bunker. The 50 cal. rounds were cracking a few feet overhead, the tracer rounds zipped past, light machineguns were also chattering. The fire let up in about 20 minutes, but we stayed in our bunkers longer, I was laying in the mud and rain, now even colder and more pissed off. We never found out the truth. This would not be the only time we would come under fire from the IDF, latter in my tour they would fire us up again at the University, this time they had the high ground and would bounce rounds off our building and surrounding area. It was bad enough for our "friends" to shoot as us then you add in all the other nuts in that city with an AK-47, rocket launcher, or access to artillery they all would take shots at us, and with are ROE we couldn't shoot back, talk about having your hands tied.

One of our highlights is we got a new 4 hole out house, just made by the Sea Bees! The holes on the other hand were cut out with a jigsaw, so you had to be very careful when you sat down, (a little sandpaper would have been real nice guys!) well we did what any Marine would have done, we fixed the problem, on one of our hot shower runs to the BLT (the building that was blown up on Oct. 23, 1983), I sent one of my "recon" men into the building, all I told him is we need something to sit on, well, he comes out with a big grin on his face, under his poncho he has a toilet seat, I asked him where he found it, he said, "I just ripped it off their toilet, they have others!" After we returned to our tent we hung it over the oil stove, just to keep it warm so when you needed it you didn't freeze your you know what off. Leave it to a Grunt.

Semper Fi
Cpl. Rick Cunningham USMC 1980-1984
Beirut Veteran 1983
BVA member # 0855

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 a**holes, 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"


April 18, 1983

A day I will remember, I was at Checkpoint 35. I remember hearing a loud explosion off in the distance and turning to the Marine beside me and saying "that was big", it would not be for another half an hour we would learn that it we the American Embassy. This would change every MAU to come and I'm sorry to say it would change many lives. Fox Co. was the first on the site; they set up security and kept the press out of there as emergency personal worked.

I was at the Embassy just about a week before, it was a little time off for some of us that didn't get to go on liberty in other countries, I chose to let my men go off and see other parts of the world and I would stay back till they all had there chances. The U.S. Ambassador invited small groups of us at a time to have dinner and some drinks at the Embassy, just his way of saying thanks. I remember walking in and a Marine in full Dress Blues welcoming us, he informed us to drop our gear and head up the elevator to the top floor for dinner, it felt good to be able relax, after all there was a U.S. Marine standing guard at the door, to this day it haunts me to think was this the same Marine that was killed, I'll never know.

A few days after the bombing Golf Co. was on site, the mangled cars were still out front, the digging had stopped, all that was left was a dark dead building, at night the silence was deifying all that could be heard was the waves of the Med slapping on the rocks across the street.

Oct 23, 1983
I would tell you about that day, but some things are hard to put into print, lets just say it took a lot out of me. If you remember that day, you understand.

I'm going to steal a line from another Beirut Vet, I don't think he'll mind, I have used it before when talking to others. When asked "when were you in Beirut?" my reply is "today" even after 20 some years, my thoughts are there, the men I served with, and the men that never made it home alive. I am a Beirut Veteran, I will never forget.

Semper Fi
Cpl. Rick Cunningham USMC 1980-1984
Beirut Veteran 1983
BVA member # 0855

Toys for Tots

Listen up...all Leathernecks
Its time to open up your wallets and give something for the kids this Christmas. I'm talking about Toys for Tots. Its a Marine thing! I got involved with this very worthy cause back in 1952 when I was on the I&I staff at the 3rd Truck Co USMCR Unit in Atlanta, Georgia. That was when we had to beg for used bikes andetc. which we repaired and painted in the shop.

Send your donation to:
Marine Toys for Tots Foundation
Marine Corps Base
P.O. Box 227 Quantico, VA 22134-0227

You'll be glad you did and a needy child will have a Merry Christmas.

Thanks and Semper Fi
Larry Werber
SSgt USMC '44-57

Motorcycle Club

I was active in the Corps from 79-89 and it was the best ten years of my life! Never have I felt so much a part of anything in my life. The esprit de Corps that we talk about is much more than just talk.It is as real as the nose on your face. The bond between our service men and woman is tighter than any other I know. When you put your life in the hands of another and they put theirs in yours, it has to be that way.

I have recently joined a motorcycle club called "Leathernecks", where all the members are marines either active ,retired or honorably discharged. Almost immediately that feeling of being a part of something "bigger" came back to me. I am not medically fit to still serve so this is as close as I can get to the real thing these days. The saying "once a Marine, always a Marine" is very true. We are all very proud of our service and the men and women still serving.

I wish that everyone could experience this feeling of oneness that those who have served know. Then maybe they would understand why those brave souls overseas are doing what they are doing. It's not a job it's a calling.

If you hear the call please answer, if not please support those who do.

Thanks for giving me a place to air my thoughts and for the greatest newsletter I've ever received!

Sgt. Jim Walden
2599 USMC 79-89

Sgt Grit,
I attended a support your troops rally yesterday (Monday) at one of our local Wal-Marts here in Reno. I was proud to see all the support for the troops from the local people. That was yesterday, Today I was at the local Harley Davidson dealership where I ran into a Marine dressed in his leathers with the Globe and Anchor on the back. We got to talking and he told me about the Marine motorcycle club and wanted to know if I was interested. Of course I was interested since I had just bought a brand new Harley. (My 60th birthday present to myself). We talked for just a few minutes and then he had to go. Before leaving I gave him my business card which had my phone number on it and he gave me his which did not. Later in the afternoon he called me and asked me if I had ever been associated with Law Enforcement, I stated yes I had retired from the California Highway Patrol after 30 years. He informed me that I was not eligible to get "Patched" as he put it. I asked him why and he stated that it was just part of the by-laws. He said I could ride with the group but couldn't join, You can't imagine how this made me feel. having another Marine tell me that I was not qualified because I had been in Law Enforcement. I served my country in the Marine Corps for 4 years, (64-68). I did a tour in Viet-Nam with 3/11 as a radio operator, I was honorably discharged as a Sgt E-5. I was lucky enough to get hired by the California Highway Patrol in 71 where I spent 30 years doing all the things that an officer does. You know there are Law Enforcement motorcycle clubs out there and I know that they would not reject you just because you were a Marine. Sorry to spew like this but it really got to me. I thought all Marines were brothers no matter what they did.

thanks for letting me vent
Curt Hagedorn
Former Sgt USMC, 2118300

P.S. God bless the troops overseas, Keep up the good work.

Old OD Covers

Hi Sgt Grit,
I really enjoy reading your newsletter and all the thoughts of everyone. As a former (and for life) Marine ('76-91), Ordnanceman, Door Gunner and Weapons Instructor, I met and worked with a lot of really terrific people over the years. I am now a Aerial Refueling Tech (Boom Operator) on the old KC-135E in the Iowa Air National Guard. We had F-16's until '02, then started the switch. One of our newest missions is called Aeromedical Evacuation, or Medivac. In this, we pick up wounded returning from "Over There", after their treatment in Germany and DC, and drop them off at bases closer to home. The one I was on recently had an unexpected bonus for me, personally. Our last patient was a young Marine from Camp Pendleton CA, who had been tagged just after coming off guard duty, if I remember it right. I had a chance to talk to him a couple times during the trip. He only wanted to get back to his unit over there, even after being banged up pretty bad. When we landed at MCAS Mirimar, we were met by the Group CO, a couple Chaplains and a few other assorted folks, to welcome there hero home. As the medics were preparing him for transfer to an ambulance, I went to talk with him for the last time. I took our Squadron patch off my flight suit and handed it to him, saying, "This way you'll never forget who brought you on this last leg of your flight!" He seemed kinda surprised at this. By this time I was trying to hold back the "leaky eye" syndrome. Then, I did something I thought I'd never do. You see, when I go flying with my ANG outfit, I ALWAYS wear an old USMC cover under my headset. One of the OLD OD covers, from before Cammies came along. My last one, no less! Anyway, I offered it to this young PFC, and told him it had been pretty lucky for me over the years; maybe he'd find a use for it, too. I could see the huge grin and he put it on his head before they wheeled him out of our airplane. I shook his hand and wished him well, and we exchanged Semper Fi's. Then he was on the platform and they were loading him into the ambulance. He still had the cover on! The Col from Mirimar looked at me and smiled, and with a nod of his head, he, too, was gone. As we started to button up the airplane for our return to DC, I had a bit of trouble seeing clearly. As a former Marine, this was one of the most rewarding days of my life since leaving Active Duty in '91. My only regret from the whole thing was that I didn't get this Marines name so I could try to stay in touch! Plus, now I have to find another utility cover to replace that one! Keep up the good work, and to all Marines, everywhere, God Bless You and Semper Fi!

Jeff Lindemann

Squadrons: HMH-463, H&MS-24, VMFA-212, VMA-223, H&MS-32 OMD, VMA-542, and AWUT-2

Lt.Col Mark Smith

Dear Sgt Grit,
My name is LCpl Logan Champion and I read your online article about Lt. Col Mark Smith. I had the pleasure of having Lt. Col smith as a battalion commander in Mahmudiyah, Iraq. I can honestly say that he is by far one of the most Godly men I have ever served under in my Marine Corp career (only 3 years but still). He had the right things to say in the worst situations. Many times he helped his battalion, along with his attachments, through thick and thin. He had a way of saying things that would put things in perspective. He looked at all Marines and sailors the same way and helped us through trying times. I was an attachment from 4th Combat Engineer Battalion out of Lynchburg,Va and he took me, as well as the rest of my fellow Marines, under his wings and named us his own. Many compliments were rewarded to us by this man for finding weapons caches from the Saddam era. You can see a little of what we find on the internet if you are interested.

Another thing that amazed me about this man is that he cared for all of his men like they were his own sons. My squad was involved in a 7-ton roll-over on the morning of the super bowl and who was there to help?? Lt. Col Smith! He made sure we were all uninjured, physically and emotionally, and gave us his shoulder to push up on while climbing into the recovery vehicle. This man was truly amazing...truly God sent. thank you and God bless.

LCpl Logan Champion
4th CEB, C Co.,
Lynchburg Va.

3 Generations

Sgt. Grit,

I'm here today to tell you a story about 3 people that became a part of the Worlds Finest. The 1st was a 19 year old high school drop-out who left for the Marines on December 26, 1941. The 2nd left for the Marines 7 days after graduating from high school on June 26, 1981. The 3rd left for the Marines 4 days after graduating from high school on May 31, 2005.

Seeing my son Graduate on August 26, 2005, like myself and his Grandfather before us, was to say the least an awesome sight to behold!

We are a family of Marines 3 Generations now, dedicated to the principles that keep our Country Free. For my Father, it was World War II. For me it was the taking of the hostages in Iran in 1980. For my son it is now Iraq. We know the cost, yet we shoulder the responsibility, with Honor, Dignity and yes, Courage.

I guess it's in our blood to be Marines, the Chosen Ones, The Few the Proud, The Marines.

Semper Fi, Marines

SAEPE EXPERTUS, SEMPER FIDELIS, FRATRES AETERNI "Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever"

Tom Vormwald (SGT.USMC Former)

A Bagpiper

I'm a Fire fighter from Illinois and have recently returned from New Orleans were I helped fight fires among other numerous jobs as needed. At night on the third day I was there living in a tent and eating MRE's(can you say flashback?) A bagpiper started walking thru the tent area playing songs as we all layed in our tents .To my surprise the second song he played was The Marines Hymn as I heard it tears welled in my eyes and I got up and out of my tent. As I looked around more and more firefighters came out, we all knew what we had in common THE CORPS. Not a word was said but we all stood at attention as our chests swelled in pride. I will never forget what I saw in New Orleans. But that night made my trip all worth it.

Ned Aylward

What Happens To You Marines

Dear Sgt. Grit:

I am the family member of a United States Marine that is still MIA in Vietnam. CPL Gregory J. Harris was captured on 12 June, 1966 in the Mo Duc Sub-sector of Quang Ngai Province and nothing was heard about him again. The governmental agencies responsible for POWs/MIAs, the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) believes that Greg was killed shortly after his capture and is buried on a sandbar along the Song Ve River but has yet to excavate the site. We are pressuring them to do so and they have agreed to give Greg's case a second look and we are thankful for that.

As part of our research and investigation, we have made contact with many of the Marines from HQ of 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines from the 1st MARDIV in Vietnam. A finer group of men do not exist in my opinion. There is not one of them that has not offered to do what they can to help us bring Greg home. Some have even gone as far as contacting their senators and congressmen and I regularly hear from them asking if there has been any news in Greg's case. Before this I knew that Marine was always written with a capital "M", now I understand why. As best as I can as a civilian, this is what I wrote to one of this fine Marines just a few days ago; "I wish I knew what happens to you Marines in boot camp, what gets engraved in your minds that makes you all so special, so honorable and steadfast. But I think that is part of the aura - the mystery of it all - it is part of your Brotherhood; only you all know what that special something is, and you guard that secret with pride and a little wink to those who are "in the know", just like you."

We have always been proud of Greg and all that he did for our country but we are even prouder still of the fact that he did it wearing the uniform of the United States Marine Corps. I ask those reading this to keep Greg in your thoughts and prayers and ask that he be brought home to us soon. On October 1 we will be celebrating Greg's 60th Birthday as a family. We want to celebrate Greg, his life, who is was and who he is to us today.

Thank you for the opportunity to share Greg's story with those here, there truly is no finer fighting unit in the world than the USMC.

The McDonald Family
Syracuse, NY

Well Done

Sgt Grit,

I just want to say Hello to you, I served with the 11th Marines G Btry 3rd Battalion 55 thru 57, Hq 1st FAG 58 thru 59 Camp Pendleton, 29 Palms. Was a field Radio operator 2531, S&C File Clerk. I know you served with the 11th Marines. Howdy!

How for the " WELL DONE "

I'm Very Proud of All Marines Serving today, and of Those Who Have Made the Supreme Sacrifice for our fight against Terrorism, God Bless All.

I served in Peace Time, I was ready to do what had to be done if we were called upon. My Heart has all was been a Marine, I wish I was young enough to serve now and do my part in this task of today's problems which our Country is facing today. Gods speed to you all that serve today. God Bless you All.

Cpl Donald J. Patterson
1561394 55-59

Approx. 5%

Hey Sgt. Grit,
It's time for me to open my yap once again on ur forum. The small town of 2500 in NW Montana that I've relocated to had a graduating class of about 118. Of these fine young graduates, six have stepped up to the challenge. Recruits, Coker, Teske, Carpenter, Winn, Spencer and Cernick. These boy's are morphing into men at MCRDSD. My prayers and praise are with them all. Just think... approx 5% of the 2004 graduating class in Libby, Mt. joined the Marine Corps. I guess all the elk and deer they feed the kids up here adds to their intestinal fortitude.

Now a story from a Beirut era Marine. I put boots on the ground on Okinawa 5 days before the bombing in 1983. I was assigned to E 2/12 which was part of the rapid deployment force. We were the direct support battery for BLT 1/9. The day of the bombing we were put on deployment alert. Every day, we would be trucked over (with all of our gear) to Kadena Air Base and wait...... and wait..... and wait. The cob webs have faded the memory, but I think we did this hurry up and wait thing for about a week or two. I remember sitting on a grassy little hill over looking the runway, waiting for the word. Then the Gunny would come around telling everyone to secure all cameras. The SR71 blackbird would taxi out onto the runway and take off. Gunny would say, snappin a picture of that plane will get you life. I thought, who gives two Sh--s on a paper plate bout that plane... I want some chow.

Anyway, we never did get the word. Some diplomat somewhere decided to allow the terrorist bastards that killed 241 of my brothers to walk.... and now here we are 23 years later sending our son's and daughter's to do what we should of and wanted to do back then.

To all the, I support the troops but not the war types out there.... This war is an old war. It didn't start on 9/11, it's been going on for decades. Thank God, we finally got a Cmdr and Chief with the testicals to take it to them.

OK Sgt Grit I'm done rambling.... for now.

SSgt of Marines 79-89

All PFC's

This year marked my 30th anniversary of rebirth at MCRD. I was three days past my 17th birthday back then. Several of the Lewis and Clark Young Marines staff of Vancouver Washington, flew down to MCRD last Thursday and Friday, to attend the graduation of four of our former Young Marines, earning their titles of Marine. Boyette, Cavallero, Devier and McClellan.

Hotel Company. Platoon 2106.


"No #$%&, sir?"

Went and saw recruit Robert Ford (enlisted two months behind his four buddies) at MRP during visitors Thursday. (3rd Bn Chaplin pulled some strings and got me and my good buddy Robert Beale permission for a couple of minutes pep talk to him). He's reported to Bravo Co since then, not sure of Plt # yet.

On our way back from MRP (shortcutting quickly through the restricted zone) I saw a 3rd Battalion Platoon jogging back from PT. They halted and faced the squad bay, less than 30ft from us. Wanting to take a picture, I started to tremble, when I saw it was plt 3110. I whispered to my buddy Robert (also a Devil Dog MCRD Alpha Co, Class of 1980) who was with me, that was my old series....I worked up the cajones to approach the "hat", when he saw me walking towards him, he barked,

"Can I help you sir!?", with a look of what the h&ll are you doing in my AO?.You're not supposed to be here....

I said, "Good morning Devil Dog", and his look immediately softened once he measured me up, looking at my "Once a Marine"... ball cap and 1st MarDiv and MCL pins, as well as my "Old Corps" slant pocket jungle utility shirt, he grinned and said, "Good morning Marine".

I told him this was my old series from 30 years ago, and his grin became a full blown smile (my hands were slightly trembling behind my back) and I a