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I was recently in Pacific Grove, CA playing golf with my wife when I noticed two young men playing behind us and they were pretty much spraying golf balls like machine gun bullets.
I noticed that they had the distinctive Marine Corps haircuts so I asked if they were military. One young man said yes sir, Marine Corps. I advised him that I served in 1958-1962 and said that it was probably before he was born. The young Marine looked me in the eye and said actually sir, that was before my mother was born. How humbling. I wished him well and moved on.
Jim McCuen Dublin, CA

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yl37-Ugly Angel Be sure to stop by the Sgt GriTogether this year on May 13 to see this magnificent flying memorial...Get details here:

Phonetic Code

RE: Major J. Himmelbebar's recollection of the old phonetic code – I imagine there may have been several. I concur with his, except for LOVE (not LOLA), OBOE (not Oscar), and WILLIAM (not WHISKY). vintage 1943.

RE: M1 – Two hands is the only SAFE way to release the bolt. Incidentally as a Hollywood Marine '43 – '46 my initial training rifle was a Springfield!, followed by the great M1.


Tango Sierra

Sgt. Grit,

In reference to Maj. Himmelheber's letter regarding the phonetic alphabet:

I attended Radio-Telegraph School at MCRD San Diego the last of 1966 / first of 1967. We were taught that the phonetic alphabet was Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliet, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, Xray, Yankee, and Zulu.

In reference to Cpl. Inman's letter on when the "OOH RAH" was first used:

I was assigned to 1st Recon Bn, 1st MARDIV from May of 1967 to June of 1968 and remember hearing it for this first time soon after I checked in. By the way, I hear persons of other services using the very wimpy "oooo-rah, Sgt.".

Be advised that that is definitely NOT how it is to be uttered! It is not even a word, but more of a deep, guttural expression that comes up from the chest / diaphragm. It is meant more as an acknowledgement of comradeship / brotherhood.

Semper Fidelis!
S.C. Beaman

Pretty Much The Same

I joined the Marine Corps in Jan., 1950. Went to Korea that same year with the 1st Prov. Marine Brigade as an Art'y wireman.

The phonetic alphabet then was pretty much the same as what I saw in your recent newsletter with a couple of differences, namely, L, Love, O, Oboe, W, Willie, and X, X-ray.

The same newsletter had an article about Boot Camp Plt. numbers. In Jan., 1950, I was in Plt. 6. There was only one training battalion at that time. In Feb., 1952, I was transferred to MCRD, San Diego as a Drill Instructor in the Eighth Trng. Bn. Plt.'s were numbered sequentially, beginning with 1 and at least as high as 490, one of my platoons. Hope this has been informational.

Aquila non capit muscas.......An Eagle does not catch flies.

Semper Fi,
M.R.Norton, Sgt., USMC, 1950-1954

Never Catches On

I was glad to see Jim Davis posting about the rifles issued in boot camp and ITR. For I while I thought I had mis-remembered (a word?). Having an M-14 in boot camp and then an M-1 in ITR, then an M-16 at our unit had made no sense to me. I also went to scout dog school at Ft Benning and either we were in the same class or the Army never catches on as the exact same thing happened to us on the first pay day. Some Army Lt demanded a salute indoors, uncovered and did not get one form the Marines. I think our Plt Sgt, a Marine Gunny EXPLAINED it to him.

Nat Holmes
Sgt 1966-72

Fell Into Place

Sgt Grit: In the 1960's I walked into the USMC Recruiting office in my home area, completed the enlistment paperwork, took my physical exam and failed it a history of childhood allergies. So after returning from the physical I wasn't ready to give up joining the military. I promptly went next door from the USMC recruiting office and asked if I could join the Navy, they wavered the allergy history and we filled out the enlistment papers. I told them that since they wavered my medical history, then I wanted it in writing and guaranteed that I would be trained as a Corpsman attached to the Marines. I was determined that if I could not be a Marine I would do my best to use the "system" to be assigned to them. Everything fell into place as I wanted it too, I proudly served beside the Marines and was proudly accepted as a member of the Desert Cities Chapter of the First Marine Division Association. I love the Marines and spend more time talking about my experiences with them than anything else I did in my over 20 years in the Navy.

Frank Gillette, HMCS, USN, Ret
Desert Hot Springs, California

Throw Rocks

Sgt. Grit:
When I first joined the Marine Corps, actually 57 years ago today (March 30, 1949), it was a Reserve Company ("C" Company, 14th Infantry Battalion, Nashville, TN). I was assigned to the 60mm mortar section; my pleasure to carry the base plate. As such, I was armed with the M1 Carbine (you might as well throw rocks).

When the Korean "thing" blew up in June, 1950, our Company was activated, along with many others, and sent to Camp Pendleton later in August. For reasons, known only to the Corps, I stayed at Pendleton until October, and then to the Naval Station, San Diego. Stayed there until April, 1951, and then to MCRDep for the next 2+ years.

I was issued my first M1 Garand at MCRDep, and always considered this to be the best rifle ever made. During 1962, while stationed with MACS-4, at MCAF, El Toro, I was finally issued the M14. This thing was totally pathetic, with its plastic stocks.

Transferred to MCAS, Yuma, AZ, in October 1964, and was fortunate enough to meet GySgt Curtis Dahl, and able to be included on the Station Rifle Team, using "match conditioned" M1's, until transferred to HQMC, in March 1967. I have many "dust collectors" from the rifle matches we attended. Nothing can beat the M1 at a 1,000 yards!

I retired at HQMC in January 1970. My Mother always said that from the time I could understand about the Marines and WWII, that I was going to be one. At the age of 17, I did.

James R. McMahon
Gunnery Sergeant of Marines (1949-1970)

To The Base

saw Dick Vara's email about hitchhiking in North Carolina in uniform. I did the same at about the same time (1958-1961) when I hitched rides from Camp Lejuene to my home in Greenville, SC. Had a couple of rides that included a very drunk driver and one nice old fellow left us in the middle of nowhere about midnight. Luckily a Marine Lt. came by and took us to the base. Don't know that I would do that again but it was cheap transportation.

Semper Fi
Jim McCuen Cpl. K-3-8 58-62

My Claim To Fame

Hey Sgt; Guess it is about time I put in my two cents worth for the news (?) letter.

First of all, I don't know if I qualify for the "Old Corps" or not. I went thru P.I. in 1944 - 12th Recruit Battalion - Platoon 294. We were told that the 12th was primarily for V12 enlistees. All I know is that we were in Boot Camp for eight weeks at a time when 12 weeks was the norm. I do know that we had a lot of tests and evaluation. We were a "Fill In" platoon for the Battalion. Seems they were short at the time.

Four of us were assigned to Cherry Point, the rest, to Camp LeJeune. I did not see combat during WWII. I got my chance in Aug of 1950 when I was activated for Korea, as part of the 7th 105 Howitzer Bt from Dayton Ohio. I remember getting off the train in Pendleton and hearing the "greeting" Sgt. Major saying - to the attached Corpsmen "Why are you here? - Oh well, as long as you are here, Welcome! They were in for a stretch of two years, while we were, technically, there for a year. Both my buddy and I, were there for 13 months.

My claim to fame. I was a machinist in 1st Motor Trans. One morning after the evacuation from Hamhung, a little after midnight, I saw Gen. Puller coming up to the machine shop. He said "How you doing Marine"? My reply was "Fine. I could use a little more sleep but, other than that, good." His reply was "My contract with the Corps was for two meals a day and four hours of sleep". Which I had never heard before. I told him he had picked out a p!ss poor war and his reply was "It's the only one around". And that was my 15 minutes of fame.

I have a lot of memories - both good and bad - but it is something I will never forget or be sorry for.

Semper Fi.
Edwin H. Tate USMCR Gysgt (Ret)
1944 -1966

Flood Ranch

Sgt. Grit,
Just a little history from our block in Santa fe Springs California. When the Vietnam war stated in 65, my brother known in his 105 how'zr battery as "Cool Hand Lew" signed up,in 66'I,Tinker Perkins joined,In 1969'my younger brother Philip c. Perkins and the rest of the block signed on with Bobby Rodriguez, Billie Ray Wattie, Mitchell Amos, Johnnie Flores all enlisted into the Green Fighting Machine USMC. Henry Morales went Navy and Marcus Ray Battiest went Air Force in 67. Our block was on Pioneer Blvd in the shanty town end on what was called" Flood Ranch". Great time in the Corps. We all had trigger time in the Nam. So from 1966 thru 1972, our block was all reunited in 1974. SEMPER FI BROS!

Sgt. B. Perkins Formerly the original "Lima" Co.
3rd btn 26th Marines 1966-68

Snowed At Camp Pendleton

Sgt. Grit,

To the Marine from Michigan who experienced snow in December 1967 while in boot camp, I was in Staging Battalion at that same time training to go to Vietnam when it snowed at Camp Pendleton. I remember being on the Escape and Evasion course on getting to the end. All the tents were taken and there were few blankets or anything else for us frozen ones outside in the elements. I grew up in Southern California and had never seen snow in the San Diego/San Clemente/Oceanside area. And, I was training for a tropical climate!

I also never experienced or heard the ‘ooh-rah' of today, stateside or RVN.

Jim Harris, LCpl '66 – '69
9th and 11th Engineers, RVN
Semper fi

Old Corps

Just read small items most recent Grit newsletter, and could not resist tossing in 2 cents worth regarding subject. Know the "Old Corps" slowly diminishing, yet many have permanent memories our time and antics way back when. After Boot Camp MCRD July-Sept40 (and 1903 Springfield rifle qualification at rifle range Camp Matthews), the first guard post manned by this sender was to guard a Marine fighter aircraft that had landed on the parade ground at MCRD San Diego that fall - then a guard post big fuel tanks at old Naval Fuel Facility, Point Loma. $21.00 a month + $3.00 sharpshooter pay was a lot of money ! Today's serial numbers of one's SSN not even on the drawing boards yet, was assigned: 2 8 7 1 5 4 - later as a temporary WO: 0 4 2 7 7 4.

Any Marine out there got lower digits ? Thanks for prompt catalog orders, Sgt. Grit !
Donald Hughes

Shootout, Hue

My company, Flight 33 Productions, is currently producing the second season of "Shootout" for the History Channel. "Shootout" is an hour-long, 13-episode documentary series that depicts the bravery and heroism of US Marines, Navy, and Army from World War II to the present. This season, one episode will be dedicated to Tet Offensive '68, and we are concentrating on the battle for Hue.

I was wondering if you might know of Vietnam veterans who would be willing to participate in our program. We are looking to interview men (and women) who were involved in firefights, shootouts & close combat in Hue. I want to assure you that this documentary series will show the veterans in a positive light, focusing on their honor & dedication that they demonstrated during their time of duty. If you are interested in speaking to me more about this, please feel free to contact me. Thank you very much for your assistance.

Brittany Graham
Associate Producer
Flight 33 Productions
Bg @ flight33 .tv
818.505.6640 x138

Better Man Today

Semper Fi Marines. I've been reading this newsletter for a year now and am finally writing my own letter. I was in from 89-93, had the fine job of serving as a 3521, diesel mechanic (although I did a whole lot more than wrenching). Some of my favorite memories are from the Corps, and as a Pastor I get to share some of my memories and lessons learned to my congregation. By the way I have quite a few veterans or family with service members, as well as one more jarhead in my congregation. I can honestly say that I am a better man today because of what the "Corps has done to me".

From the time I was little I wanted to be a Marine, although I didn't really know what one was at that time. The Corps has been in my family for the last several generations. My great- uncle served on Iwo Jima, he was a flamethrower operator, and according to legend he was on Mt. Surabachi for the first flag raising. From what I have been able to gather there were two who went up the first time, and only one has been named. My uncle is still alive though he hasn't really talked about the war since he returned home.

So if anyone has some info I would greatly appreciate that, his name is Homer Wooddell, from West Virginia. My dad's brother served sometime during the 50's, not for sure on the dates, he was usually U.A. (awol for you old school type) he passed away several years ago, and even though he didn't receive the best discharge I still squeezed into my dress blues in honor of a Marine. My father tried to enlist during Vietnam, but was rejected for heart problems, his best friend (Lonzo Cummings ) was shot down in a Huey, by the way Lonzo and I share the same birthday, just a neat coincidence. I am proud to have enlisted and served my country honorably, would've liked to gotten to kick some butt and take some names, but I guess doing my job made it easier for someone else to. The closest I came to some real excitement was in the Philippines while attached to CSSD-35, it turned out to be nothing so we went back to sneaking into the Navy chow hall at Subic Bay, we were between Subic and Cubi point in a little dust bowl called Lower MEF camp, it was at the end of the run way across the water. Some of you may have gotten to stay in the Quonset huts where the geckos would fall from the ceiling in the night.

I am proud to say that my two brothers are currently serving in Iraq, they are both with the 101 Airborne Division, not everyone can be a Marine.

It is great to hear from the vast spance of generations, sure would like to hear from those who served during my time. It is great when someone recognizes the fact that you are a Marine, and also to recognize somebody else. I recently had the privilege to take an old war horse Marine from WW2 out to breakfast. I listened for nearly three hours and never got bored of it. Although we spent a lot of time explaining the different acronyms and such, but the heart of the Corps has not changed.

As I was reading the last newsletter there were a couple of questions that I may have some info. on.

1) OOOHRAH; during a veteran service at my church, an old 82d Airborne Ranger informed me that was something they used to say as well, I had always wondered where this peculiar word came from. One day while studying my Bible, I came across a word used in the old testament to describe a shout (Numbers 23:21) the word in Hebrew is pronounced ter-oo-aw, pronounce it in normal speed and it sounds a lot like OOORAH. It means, clamor i.e. an acclamation of joy or battle cry. This may not be the whole of the story but as we all know the Corps is founded on traditions and traditions come from someplace.

2) Regarding the Plt. numbers in boot camp, I don't know the method to their madness but this past fall a young man from my town of Mt. Gilead Ohio and the nephew of my best friend graduated from PI from Plt 3081 M Co. I graduated from Plt 3081 India Co., back in 1989, nearly 17 years later. I'm sure somebody has the answer, I figure they're Marines they will number them how they want to. After all, according to my Drill Instructors, Marines can't count. (that explains a few things, 10,9,8,5,3,1 your done)

By the way, if anybody from FSSG has any clue as to what a FASMO (spelling?) inspection stands for, I sure would like to know, I went through enough of them during my short stay.

Semper Fidelis, Cpl Arthur D, Wooddell, kicking butt and taking names on a different front

Operation Jackstay

In March 1966 Marines of 1/5 spent their first 3 mos of duty in Viet Nam as a BLT aboard the USS Princeton, Pickaway and the Alamo Their first combat action came in the Mekong Delta south of Saigon about 250 miles. reportedly this was the first amphibious landing since World War II ? this was called operation Jackstay. Also during Operation Colorado out of Tam Ky there was a regimental airlift which was a feat in itself. 1/5 had its base camp on hill 54 or 35 an outpost some great distance from 1st MarDiv in Chu Lai. The 5th Marines were activated at Camp Marguerita, Camp Pendleton for Viet Nam and had not seen duty since WWII. I served with this unit and all the fine Marines. Upon my return from Viet Nam I served in 4th Marine Div Headquarters Company Cadre near schools battalion at Camp Pendleton. Just a little info from my time to share with others

Bill Allen, Portland, Oregon

Would You?

Sgt. Grit,

I went through MCRD San Diego in August, 1967, Platoon 2059. My Son Jason, entered MCRD San Diego almost 38 years to the day later in August, 2005, Platoon 2136. He is now in 29 Palms training for deployment to Iraq.

At his graduation he and his buddies agreed that I qualified for the classification of "Old Corps".

Today's Marines are as tough and as well prepared for their mission as any Marine from any period in the long and glorious history of our Corps.

I wasn't about to argue with them. Would you? I think it's possible I might get hurt. Old Corps or not, I'm not as quick as I used to be. Now if there had been another Old Corp Marine to watch my 6...

Maybe that's the defining factor, when our sea stories start to depict us as having been tougher than Jim Bowie at the Alamo, Hmmmm.

Semper Fi Brothers and Sisters, Old and New.

Michael Olsa
Not as Lean, Not as Mean...


Since your first letter last week was about hitchhiking, I'd like to tell you this personal story:

While I was still a youngster in uniform, I'd hitchhike because I wanted to save my money for where I was going, not spend it on getting there. The old salts said it was easier to go in uniform, so I took them at their word. I'd seldom stand beside a road over 5 minutes, and usually would get out of one car, only to find another one pulling up behind me to pick me up.

This one particular incident stayed with me, even to this day.

While hitching across country, I was picked up one night in Kansas City, MO by a former swabby. He was going to a town in southern Illinois and since I was going to Indianapolis, IN, I was tickled to get such a long ride.

He told me he'd served in the Navy, and hoped I wouldn't be offended by being picked up by a swabo.

I told him, "Heck no! We need somebody to drive the boats back from the beach anyway!"

We talked for a few more minutes before I finally drifted off to sleep.

When I woke up the next morning, we were pulling into Terre Haute, INDIANA!

I was caught a little off-guard by this occurrence and said, "I thought we were going to Carbondale?" (Many miles from where we were.)

The swabby said he'd changed his mind, and he even took me right to my folks' front door!

I thanked him profusely, but then the really strange part happened. He pulled out his wallet, and handed me a ten-dollar bill! When I asked why, he said, "When I was in the Navy, I hitched-hiked all the time too. One day a former G.I. picked me up, took me far out of his way to my front door, and handed me a ten-spot. When I asked why, he told me about the same story I'm telling you now, and he also said his driver told him he was passing on a favor given to him by another vet. The only request was, that when you get out of service, you pass this on to the very first Vet you see in uniform, hitch-hiking."

Now, that may not sound like much, but back in the 60's a ten- dollar bill paid for a premium weekend liberty!

Anyway, about a year after I got out, I was making money hand over fist in the sillyvillian world and chanced upon a hitchhiking airman. I got the opportunity to repay my old debt, only I doubled the money since I was flush then, and I figured, what with inflation, it would be appropriate. I told my rider this story, and asked that he pass it on when he got out.

I have no way of knowing if that tradition is still riding around out there on the highways, but it was a little part of unheralded history that I HOPE continues to this day. In my mind, I like to think it does.

Semper Fi!
H. E. Brown II
SSgt (ret) 1836950

To My Surprise

I also will never forget the time I was hitching a ride from New Jersey back to C.L.N.C when this car stop and I ran up to it an opened the door the gentlemen inside the car asked me where was I going and I informed him he said no problem and we proceeded down the highway along the way we stop to get something to eat and when I offered to pay he told me my money was no good we continued on our trip and to my surprise he took me all the way to the front gate and when I tried again to pay him he refused so what I did was throw some money on the front seat and quickly closed the door the only problem was I never did get his name but I will always remember like it was yesterday just thought I would share this with you.

SgtMaj. Edgar R. Huff

Howdy Grit,
Sgt. Alvarado's notes on SgtMaj. Carl triggered memories of my experiences with another "larger than life" SgtMaj. - Edgar R. Huff. He may not have been quite as tall as SgtMaj. Carl but he absolutely filled any hatch he passed through. In addition to his size, he had a unique way of getting his point across.

In mid-1961, he took over as Sergeant Major of the Landing Force Training Unit (later Command) at Little Creek, VA. Being instructors and assistant instructors in the fine art of amphibious warfare, we were strung out doing our daily assignments and, during the summer months, rarely had unit formations or other gatherings to exchange info but his arrival started phones ringing all over the base.

Within a week of his arrival, we had found out that he was either the 4th- or 5th-senior SgtMaj in the Corps and that he was "huge". Ten days after his arrival, the order for a SNCO meeting went out and that there would be no excuses for not attending.

All of us clabbered up in a small classroom across the street from Unit Hqs. and anxiously awaited his arrival. We were immediately impressed with his "presence". As I say, he filled any hatch as he passed through it. He proceeded to the front of the room, faced us with a deadpan face and commenced his little speech.

It became almost impossible not to laugh out loud because this huge male had the voice of a 12-year-old. Most of us didn't really hear what he said in the first few minutes due to the shock and efforts of self-control.

He continued on for about 10 minutes, laying out exactly what he expected from us in our daily jobs, etc., holding firmly to one of those standard military podiums with the tilted piece of wood on a 4X4 post. His summary left no doubt as to his sincerity what he had just said.

"Gentlemen, we is all gonna git squared away...." and he slammed his out-sized fist down on that podium, "or we is all gonna go to jail!", and he hit it again with his fist. The podium split into three pieces all the way to the floor. Absolute silence reigned for at least 30 seconds afterwards. He left the room without a glance right or left.

Needless to say, he left a thoroughly-motivated group behind him in that classroom.

Over the next six months, we found out that he "meant what he said and said what he meant" - one of many Sergeant Majors I have had the privilege of knowing, respecting and working for over 20 years.

Semper Fidelis
James J. Leist
MSgt., USMC(Ret)

Platoon Numbers

Hi Sgt Grit,
This is in response to Sgt Bob Pierce concerning the platoon numbers. Bob is correct that the first digit indicates the Battalion. Within each battalion, there are eight Companies of 4 Platoons each. The eight Companies are two weeks apart from each other in the training cycle.

Platoon numbering starts over each year. Since I went to Parris Island in December 1967, my platoon was in the last Company for the year. Our platoon numbers were 1089, 1090, 1091 and 1092. I graduated from boot camp in Platoon 1091 in April of 1968.

Jay R. Anderson, MSGT USMC Retired 2391534

Carry The Seabags

Sgt. Grit. Just a short note to tell you how much I appreciate receiving the news letters and having access to bumper stickers, hats, shirts, etc. On the back of my pickup truck, I have a magnet with a colored picture of Lance Corporal Nicholas Perez in his dress blues. He is the nephew of a lady that I work with and he gave it all in Iraq in Sept. 2004. The magnetic picture appears along with a yellow ribbon encouraging folks to support our troops. Seems like the least I can do to help. Also, I have two bumper stickers each one below the picture or ribbon. My favorite is "Some people just need killing, that is why we have Marines." So far I have had no negative responses although I welcome the opportunity to exchange ideas. I live in the Austin, Texas area.

I would be proud to carry the seabags of any returning Marines anywhere at anytime when they come home. I am now 67 and dealing with Prostate Cancer.

I pray for their safety and pray that I never encounter someone being rude to any of our returning vets, for my sake as well as theirs. On behalf of my family and 14 grandchildren, I deeply appreciate their service.

I have one quick question. Back in August of 1961 I was awarded the American Spirit of Honor Medal when I graduated from boot at MCRD San Diego.

I understand that the award is no longer given. Can you tell me when granting the award was stopped and perhaps any information concerning why that was done? Also, do they still use the pugil stick during boot camp training?

Semper Fi. God bless America, God bless all of our troops and especially our Marines.

Jim Irwin, USMCR 1960-1968.


Dear Sgt Grit,
BIG thank you for your tattoo pages. I have looked and looked and looked for a certain tat for my fiancée and I found it on your pages. Thank you so very much your are the best! Thank you again, Mary Fellner, Semper Fi

Fog And Mist

Sgt. Grit:
Reading some of the recent newsletter stories regarding Camp Mathews brought to mind, my own memory of when Platoon 225 (Regimental Honor Platoon), was at Camp Mathews in 1964 for rifle qualification.

We had just come off post, having stood guard duty during the night at Camp Mathews. We were standing in formation in front of the guard shack. It was still dark, about 06:00, and a foggy, misty rain was falling, which is typical of the San Diego area in early spring. Behind us, was the single light from the guard shack casting an eerie glow through the darkness, fog, and rain. Off in the distance, came the sound of a gravely voiced DI counting cadence. You only heard the cadence. As the sound became louder, you began to see the first members of a platoon emerging from the fog and mist. Slowly, more members emerged, until the entire platoon marched past us under the cadence of this gravely voiced DI. It was surreal. The rain, the fog, the darkness, the DI's cadence, and the platoon emerging slowly from the mist, created a memory that immediately jumps to the forefront whenever I read or hear about Camp Mathews. I can still hear the DI's cadence and still picture that platoon marching through the fog.
Semper FI

Paul O'Brien-Kinsey
Sgt: U.S.M.C.

Biggest Mistake

Hi Sgt Stamper 72-76; I loved reading these letters of hope and happiness.

Sorry for your losses and I would have picked up a Marine then also. But, with all the hatred in the world today? But rest assured, a Marine is always trustworthy. Semper Fi. The biggest mistake I ever made was getting out. I had made E-6 in less than four years and kissed a great chance to be more away. Love the Corps.

CM Stamper

China Marine

Sgt. Grit,

I read your E-Mail Newsletter you graciously send to me each week although they are long they do prove to be quite interesting! I do fail to find any stories written by China Marines who were assigned to the 4th Marine Regiment stationed at Shanghai, China way back during years 1937 to 1940. Perhaps most are no longer with us being that I am now 87 years old and fortunate to have a computer and still able to communicate effectively.

My reason for writing is to give you some incite as to my history with the so called China Marines. I was assigned to A Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment in San Diego in August 1937 when our entire Regiment was ordered to sail on the USS Chaumont to Shanghai, China to augment the 4th Marine Regiment who were permanently stationed there together to form the 2nd Marine Brigade under Brigadier General Baumont. Our prime mission was to protect the International Settlement from any encroachment by either the Japanese or the Chinese Armies who were locked in combat north and east of Soochow Creek in the Chapei area. I vividly remember the many cold, wet miserable nights my buddy and I spent patrolling on foot along the International Settlement side of Soochow Creek and once in while be fortunate to find a Salvation Army Canteen truck parked waiting for any of us to warm our hands on a hot steaming cup of joe, Marine slang for coffee.

The 6th Marine Regiment left in February, 1938 to return to the states after Shanghai International Settlement was no longer considered a treat from either the Japanese or Chinese Armies, I was transferred along with many other Marines who had at least 2 1/2 years to serve on their enlistments to "A" Company, 4th Marine Regiment. Our Company sailed to Manila, P.I., henceforth to Olongapo P.I. to qualify for marksmanship in firing the range. We were there a month and qualified as an expert marksman before we returned to Shanghai. In 1939 I was transferred to "B" Company, 4th and the entire Company sailed to Chingwantao, China for extended field exercises plus firing the range. Upon "B" Company's return to Shanghai, I was transferred to the 4th Marines Regiment Military Police detachment till June 1940 when my tour of China was completed and I returned to San Francisco for duty at the Depot of Supplies at 100 Harrison St.

I would appreciate hearing from any ex-China Marine, especially those who served with me while stationed with the 4th Maine Regiment in Shanghai, China. My E-mail address is: Waymo1919 @ aol .com. Wayne Madden, Napa, Calif.

Katrina Marines

Very few in this nation will ever forget Katrina. She came and when she departed, many lives and property were destroyed...but along with the destruction came moments that will never be forgotten.

She hit us like there was no tomorrow, even though we were 162 miles from the coast. Her winds tore through the trees in my back yard, felling four, with two on my roof. The next day, I was in line at Home Depot waiting to buy a generator...a wait that last "only" nine hours. It was so humid, you could cut it with a knife, but we would get a nights rest with fans blowing.

Early the next morning, Wednesday, I was out at day break hunting for gas for the generator. As I waited in a long line my wife called me on the cell and said there were some guys cutting limbs in my yard and on the roof. As she talked, I could hear the chain saws in the background. I filled my three gas containers and headed home.

As I pulled into my driveway, a familiar face approached. "Hey Gunny, thought you might need some help so I called a couple of buddies and here we are."

I had just taken medical retirement from the VA Medical Center one week prior, as the Deputy Chief of Police and the face belonged to a former Marine I had met there. Needless to say, the other two were former Marines.

I've got to tell you, this did bring a tear or two to my eyes because they had taken time to help me out. My son showed up (also a former Marine) and it took the four of us two days, with four chain saws going, to cut the limbs from my roof and cut and haul it to the curb for trash pickup.

Cold iced tea and What-a-burgers kept us going and on Thursday evening, we stood in my driveway looking at the trash. I'm 6'2 and the limbs were piled almost as tall as I am and about 30 yards in length. I tried to say thanks, but the conversation quickly turned to another former Marine who probably needed help also.

We agreed to meet at his home at zero dark thirty the next day. We continued to help other former Marines and believe me when I say, I don't know how the Marines in this area knew which of their brothers to help, but they did. The only thing I can say about it is it was Semper Fi all the way.

We were Vietnam, Beirut and the First Gulf war veterans and Katrina tried to do something the enemy couldn't. We Marines whipped her butt! The only battle most of us have now is with the insurance companies and yes, we're gonna whip their butts too!

Semper Fi,
Jim Hickman
Jackson, MS

While Quacking

Semper Fi Don,

Here are a few selected boot camp memories from MCRD Platoon 1232 (29 Dec. 1969 – March 1970)

Way back when, recruits were issued cheap black sneakers before we were issued boots. One day on the street while marching, a brand new platoon passed ours and made more noise with their sneakers than we did with our boots. Platoon Commander Gunny Kirk gave us a look that we new meant extra PT later.

One day in sunny San Diego a rain storm left water in the company streets a couple of inches deep. Gummy Kirk allowed we couldn't march to chow in this inclement weather so we walked…..while quacking.

And speaking of not being able to march, one fine day we showed extreme ineptness in that endeavor. Gunny Kirk halted his platoon with the words " OK girls, you can't march so I guess the next best thing I can do is to herd this mob. " He had us shoulder to shoulder and butthole to belly button and we did our best moo cow impersonations while the guide brought up the rear with the guide on wrapped in toilet paper. I did clean this one up for the general public to read.

God Bless our troops in harms way.

L/Cpl Dan Buchanan

Company Runner

Sgt. Grit;

I was looking back through some of the older American Courage Newsletters #63. I came across a name that rang a Bell (from many years ago). It was Lt. Col. D. Rilling, so I got my platoon book out and sure enough my series commander was a Lt. D. S. Rilling. Series 280 Co. E. 2nd Bat. Oct. 1959.

Capt. Evans was company co., Lt. Rilling was series commander, Senior DI Sgt. M.H. Cooper, JDI Act Sgt. F.M. Burke, JDI Act Sgt. D.L. Kolek.

I will never forget the first time I saw Lt. Rilling, I was a company runner and was told to deliver a message to the Lt. on the exercise field. I was shaking in my boots I hadn't been in Boot long so the sight of a real Marine officer was unsettling to say the least. Some how I got the job done, but will never forget it. He looked like a recruiting poster.

Cpl E.L. Collins
Plt 280
Oct. 59 - Feb. 60

Morning Delta Flight

Dear Sgt Grit

OK, seeing periodic MCRD San Diego letters, and just having bought one of your Hollywood Marine T-shirts, I guess it's my turn.

Platoon 227, spring of 1964. I remember getting off that 6X6, standing in the late evening darkness on those yellow footprints and noting that it was the UCMJ section about desertion that was being read to us. Hmmm.

DI's were T. Brown, Marklund and Brewster. By the end of boot camp we would have followed them anywhere. I smile now just thinking of them, and hope they are well. I've checked The Wall, so know they made it through Vietnam safely.

Memories that are strongest: that early morning Delta flight that left every morning (without us) when we fell in on the Company Street; the locker drills toward the end of the 13 weeks that had us all laughing; Marklund making boots who got gum in the mail chew it with the wrapper on...and then, the last week, after one had automatically popped the gum with wrapper in his mouth, asking whether he always chewed it that strange way; the Quonset huts we lived in; me knocking the crap out of 228's guide in pugel stick competition; being kept as a squad leader throughout boot camp even though the rules required rotation out of that job.

And then our DI's, particularly Timiteo Brown. A tough-love type of guy who was with us at the range even though part of it took place during his week off. I remember a time on the grinder when he called us to a halt, gave us a right face facing the setting sun and talked about his love of the Corps. At that point he could have told us we were next going to march to h&ll and back and we would have gone with him.

Our platoon guide was Gary Fors, who had joined as enlisted because he wanted to be a Marine aviator and, because of some problems with the law when he was younger, was told that the only way that was going to happen was to excel in boot camp...which he did. I got inspired and took the flight physical and written tests, and passed. That meant that I, who had joined through the Reserves, was heading off to OCS and flight school after advanced infantry training was over. I wanted to fly A-4s.

One week before the end of advanced infantry the Navy said they didn't like my blood pressure readings and gave me a three-day reading...and dropped me from going on. So I, disappointed, went back to my 21st Rifle Company in Salt Lake City and Gary went on to flight school. He was shot down over Cambodia...his back seat and he both got out, but only his back seat got rescued. Gary was last seen being led off into captivity.

One last item about my infantry training...I was in the last B.A.R. weapons class that the Corps ever gave. Don't know whether that makes me old-Corps, but at least there's a link. What a sweet weapon...as long as I didn't have to carry it.

Looking back over all the jobs I've had, I think that being a Platoon Sergeant of a rifle platoon is the best I've ever had. I really loved the infantry, and continue to love the Corps. What I've not figured out, though, is how, 35 years later, when a friend gave me a chance to fire a M-14 he'd purchased, the d*mned thing had gotten so heavy, assaulted my cheek so painfully, and had lost its ability to hit a target. Strange...

So here's to us all, young and old, and here's to the Corps. May it go on for ever.

Semper Fi
Stirling Rasmussen
SSgt, USMCR, 1993-1999

Saw A Photo

I had to laugh at a recent letter from Frank H. Hamby, Sgt. 1955-1963, who stated that at the age of six, as a kid in Texas, he made a commitment to become a Marine. Most would not believe that to be true. However, this kid is from New York City, who also at the age of six, saw a photo on the front page of the New York Daily News of the flag raising on Suribachi and quietly thought to himself, "One day I want to be one of those guys -- a United States Marine." At the age of 18, I was off to Parris Island to fulfill that dream. Fifty years later, like most of us, I remain a Marine for life.

Semper Fi, Frank.

Walt Wilson

Note: My defining moment was John Wayne in the Sands of Iwo Jima. Sgt Grit

Once a Marine always a Marine.

Do You Still??


Blouse a shirt

Cross your laces left over right

If you have a moustache, keep it regulation

Search for & destroy Irish pennants

Speak in Nautical:

Refer to "a cover, decks, bulkheads & the head"

I work in a warehouse.

I stow & issue the gear, sweep down the decks I take chow as time allows.

When moving gear I routinely give out with:
"Clear that hatch, gangway, make a hole, make it wide, coming through, watch your A_ _"

Ask someone to "Say Again"

It is still a rifle or weapon not a gun

Cringe at the word "SIR"

Don't call me Donny, Sir or Jarhead (unless of course...)

Spouting axioms:

"Improvise adapt & overcome"

"If you have time to lean you have time to clean."

"Do it right or do it twice."

"Use it up wear it out make it do or do without" Conduct:

Smile when you see a young Marine male or female

Do & or buy them a drink or dinner

Maintain good posture

Standing straighter & taller for our National Anthem & Flag; our Hymn & banner

Execute DI's hands in pockets order.

You will not stand about with your hands in your pockets nor allow others to do it.

Do you honor the women in your life.

Your Momma who was your 1st DI, that good Marine girlfriend or wife.

Have you ever stepped in defend someone who couldn't defend themselves.


Know all 3 verses (if you gotta ask, shame on ya!)

Know your service #

Remember you Drill Instructors & tell DI stories

Remember any General Order (I remember but cannot execute the 11th)

Do others tell you when they have seen a military movie & thought of you

What movie gets your Marine Corps Pride (OOH-RAH) up & running

What movie puts smoke in your eyes

Watch the 1st part of FULL METAL JACKET with a grin.

Did you spot the 2 bloopers in FMJ?

1. We were too scared to do the "John Wayne comment" Private Joker made.

2. I never saw a jelly donut in the MCRD chow hall.

Even if she isn't of your Marine era do ya still hate Jane Fonda?

God bless you for that.

It comes down to one thing:

You still remember how to swear, Of course you're still a Marine.

Semper Fidelis
Don Ryan
Sgt. of Marines
1833 Amtracs

Short Rounds

WMs, BAMs, Female Marines, Lady Leathernecks etc... Have seen this issue come and go. Why can't we just be Marines? Isn't that honor and responsibility enough by itself?

There is going to be a Reunion for the Lima 3/5 1st Marine Division in San Diego, California from June 18 through June 25, 2006. It will be held at the Hanalei Hotel. All Marines who served in Vietnam from 1965 through 1972 (or any other years) are welcomed.
Jim Dreksler
Lima 3/5, 1st Marine Division
Vietnam 1970-1971
DaJD2000 @ aol .com

At the rifle range all we heard about was the forced march back to MCRD San Diego. Who can tell me if they marched all the way back. We marched about three hours, and there were the Navy gray buses to pick us up. It was a cakewalk. Plt 141 1957. My first C O after radio school was a Captain Al Gray, just 27 people in the outfit, sure was great in Japan in 58......
Cpl Okel

Once a Marine Always a Marine
Once a Marine Always a Marine

Peace Through Superior Fire Power Peace Through Superior Fire Power

Welcome Home, Job Well Done!
Semper fi
Sgt Grit

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