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Dear Sgt Grit,
49 years ago at this time I was in MCRD PLT 356 our Senior D I was Sgt Joe Curley. One of our guys couldn't take it any more so he sat on his bunk took a razor and tried to cut his wrists. He had his bucket between his feet and was not getting much blood but a few drops had missed and was on the floor of our hut. Someone ran and got SGT Curley. When he got there he yelled at him. You can't bleed on my deck. If you are going to bleed get outside. A Corpsman came and took him and we never saw him again.
R D Hartley 1607484
United States Marines (Arched) Shirt Special
Show your support for the Corps with these simple and to-the- point shirts. Available in various colors, this design features United States Marines in arched writing on a long-sleeved t- shirt, sweatshirt, hooded sweatshirt, and t-shirt. Available ONLY through September 10th.
Iron Cross - MOS Special
Show off your MOS in style! These shirts are available in Gray and are 100% preshrunk cotton, available as a t-shirt, long sleeve t-shirt, and sweatshirt. Available ONLY through August 27th.
Labor Day Blowout!
We have various Marine Corps items on sale this week. 30% off in celebration of Labor Day.
Sgt Grit is pleased to announce the collaboration of Gunny Wolf, creator of SemperToons and Sgt Grit. We now offer even more outstanding SemperToons Products and our selection is growing. Take a look at Gunny Wolf's spectacular artwork full of Marine Corps humor.
OO-Rah.com Custom Unit Shirts
Sgt Grit and OO-RAH.com have teamed up to bring you the best Marine Corps Custom T-Shirts, period. They create some of the best Marine Corps artwork available anywhere, and that talent can be used to create your own custom unit shirts.
I Was Not Prepared
I am a proud former Marine, having served from 1976 to 1980 with VMA-331, 2nd MAW at Cherry Point. I continue to serve as a member of the Air National Guard with 30 combined years of service to our great nation and 3 tours in the Middle East under my belt. My pride for the Marine Corps and for being a Marine has never been stronger - to the chagrin of all my current ANG squadron-mates!
Last week I was vacationing in Maine with my family and ventured to the local grocery with my three children, aged 12, 8 & 8, to stock up for our week of camping. I was proudly wearing my bright red Marine shirt emblazoned with the "United States Marine Corps: and the bulldog coming and going on the front and back - identical to the one I proudly wore following basic training in 1976. While in the store I was greeted with a familiar Semper Fi by two Marines, one who had served following the Korean War and one who was a Vietnam-era Marine.
While I have always made a habit of doing the same thing when I recognize someone as a Marine or former Marine while out in public - I was not prepared for the third greeting I got that day. While entering the store I had observed an elderly woman - probably in her late eighties or early nineties - arrive in a local taxi. While I was approaching the register she came around the end of an isle, took a look at my shirt, gave me a warm smile and said "oh - a Marine - Semper Fi, I am a Gold Star Mother of a Marine". This was one of the first times I have been left speechless when being thanked by a member of the public for my service. After an awkward second or two I thanked HER for her patriotism and sacrifice and made a hasty retreat so she would not notice the tear in my eye. I then had to explain to my kids what a Gold Star Mother was.
Thanks for the great newsletter and all you do for Marines and their families everywhere!
Semper Fi !
Sergeant of Marines
A 15 Second Conversation
Stay vigilant, you never know who's asking. I was a Lance Corporal, in "Alphas", traveling to Okinawa for my year on "The Rock". At the gate for my flight, I noticed a gaggle of Army boys, jackets off, slap-a$$in' around loudly. A older gentleman (civilian) asked "Why don't I kick back like them?" I replied as nicely, yet firm as possible, "Marines don't do that." He shook his head and smiled. A couple of years later, at a change of Command Ceremony for 2nd MAW, a Brigadier General spoke to the formation. He said "I know the Corps is in good hands. A writer friend of mine told me of a young Marine traveling to his new post, observing an un-sat bunch of Soldiers, said that "Marines didn't do that."" It sent a wave of pride and then shock over me. A 15 second conversation with some random civilian impacted the confidence of a General and stretched across years of my service.
Sgt Michael Cummings
USMC '88 - '96
Cleaning The Pool
its been close to 15 years since the hard Corps. a lots happened in my life since I got out that I dedicate to being in, even stemming down from my father being in. family have come and gone and time continues its expansions. it was a warm august twilight in Michigan and i was cleaning the pool of the house i thought about being in when i dreamed of my life ahead of me after boot camp. you either have the dreams now or you will remember them. things aren't as i expected but none the less are how i planned from the yellow foot steps. time has eroded some memories but as i cleaned i began to hear the familiar chants as the local poolee's had their monthly meeting playing football in the open school yard in my back yard. i stopped my cleaning to watch. how great it was. they don't know what they'll be doing but they d*mn sure know that they will do it.
may God bless them.
MRB - 1/24 C Co.
He Always Knew
As a young recruit at MCRD San Diego, I remember my senior Drill Instructor telling our entire platoon that no one can spend twenty years in the military without going to war.
My time on active duty with the Marine Corps was a short five years beginning in February of 1972. My best memory is the dedication and leadership of Sgt. Dan Darden at Headquarters, 3rd Marine Battalion, K-Bay. HI. He always knew what he was doing and always demonstrated what it takes to be a Marine.
I carried this along with me when I transferred into the Coast Guard where I served another few years and retired in October of 1993. Sgt. Darden gave me the ability to make a good decision and commit to it. Because of him, I can hold dear to my heart the memory of the first life I saved during a search and rescue mission while stationed at Coast Guard Rescue Station Charlevoix, MI.
Sgt. Darden taught me well. I never had to take a life but he burned into me the character that was needed to preserve life.
I never went into combat or even got close to it but the Marine in me made me give my all as I wore a uniform.
God Bless you Dan Darden,
Sgt of Marines
just read the letter from bushwhacker about not going to the wall. I finally went and it was the greatest experience I have ever did. I saw names of my fallen brothers and those I did not know I cryed and said my peace to all and had a great burden lifted off me and found I had really did the right thing buy joining the Marines and fighting for my country. I try and go every year to the wall on veterans day and tell all of the 56,000 names on the wall they will never be forgotten.
Cpl W.C. Watson 1966-1972
Not A Day That Goes By
In reply to Sgt Darryl Newton, I enlisted at age 17 and also served during the 1979-1984 period having extended for a year. I always wanted to be a Marine and still miss it to this day. It's in my blood. I was fortunate to come under the wing of Marine Captain William Littrell while stationed at MCAS Cherry Point. Captain Littrell came up through the enlisted ranks to MSgt. and then through CWO3 before gaining a commission. I married my high school sweetheart in 1981 and went on deployment with Captain Littrell just days after my 1st anniversary. While on deployment we were busy and time seemed to fly by but for those family members at home, it can be a lifetime. I remember the saying "If the Marine Corps wanted you to have a wife, they would have issued you one". My wife didn't want to have to raise a family with an "absent" father, so I made the decision to be a former Marine. I just celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary, have 3 great kids, and a successful career with DuPont but there is not a day that goes by where I don't wish I could put my cammies back on.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the servicemen and women around the globe as well as their families who need our support more now than ever.
Sgt. Jeffrey A. Odle
Told Him So
I was at the movies today and saw a gentleman wearing a Marine Corps baseball type hat. Anyone that wears anything related to the Marines I ask them if they are "Marines"? He said he had been in the army but the army hats look crappy. He said he liked the look of the Marine Corps Hat, how about that, but I could have told him so, More Vietnam, Once while in our barracks(yes we had French type barracks) a Marine went crazy on us, He was crying and was aiming his M-14 at 5 of us Marines. It took some convincing but he finally gave us the weapon, Another incident, this Marine received a "Dear John Letter". He cried all night and nobody said a word to him. During the Tet Offensive we were placed on alert. We had to report to the switchboard. We watched, at night, the rockets hitting the runaway. Suddenly behind us we heard this noise that sounded like a buzzsaw. We looked up and a column of fire come down from the sky. The noise would come on and then the fire, We couldn't figure it since most of had never been in the bush. I spend my 18 months in a H&HQ area. Later on somebody told us it had been the spookies firing their guns at the Viet cong on the ground. It was a profound experience and one that i will never forget.
L/Cpl Pilar Espinosa
I read the letter from Sgt. Peter Holt, "Some Came Home Wounded" and was amazed by his references to my former DI's. I was in Platoon 1371, from late August through October 1966 at Parris Island and had a Sgt. Tom Washington, Gunnery Sergeant F.W. Ott and Sgt. Morely as DIs. The time frame would be just after Holt's graduation.
I will never forget this period in my life or the efforts these Marines made to help insure the survival of so many boots, so long ago. Although I received 36% burns in Nam and spent a long time in Army and Navy Hospitals, I do not think I would have survived were it not for my training from these instructors.
The experiences in the Marine Corps. helped me also "survive" the corporate jungles during my working career and helped me not sweat the small stuff in future events of my life.
By the way, our platoon 1371, was the honor platoon in our series. Never will forget that!
L/Cpl. Chuck Holland
Thanks Sgt Grit for sharing the letter written by Nelson regarding a Marine in need.
I served in our beloved Corps 1980 - 1985 1/1 Bravo Co and H & S Bn supply. 0311/3051.
Serving as a police officer, on the pocket flap of my uniform shirt, I have a Eagle Globe and Anchor pin. Proudly displaying it, I meet fellow Marines that are on the job as well.
One day, I was detaining an older gentleman who had fallen on bad times. I was booking him for DUI. He kept saying how sorry he was and began to breakdown. I told him to relax, and informed him that he would need to do exactly what the courts ask him to and he would be just fine. About an hour later, I checked up on him and he started all over again. I asked him why he was still crying. He replied, "Sir, I dishonored the gold pin that you are wearing, for I also served in the Marines". I replied, you dishonored yourself, but you are still a fellow brother. Semper Fi
As a young Lance Corporal, I was having dinner with my wife at a fancy restaurant. I was wearing my blues. A couple from another table sent over a couple of drinks. I turned to, and thanked them, they told me that both had served in the Marines. To this date, when I see a Marine in a restaurant or bar, I buy my fellow brothers and sisters a round.
These SAS Men
In response to recent letters concerning the Grinder being hallowed ground, I must confess that I really haven't given the subject much thought, mainly because invasion of said ground only happened one time that I could remember. This invasion was NOT uncontested.
Prior to graduation in August of 1989, platoon 1045 at MCRD San Diego was practicing for final drill with Senior Drill Instructor Staff Sgt Stanford. In the middle of the grinder, the surrounding buildings were shimmering mirages in the heat and it seemed like we were alone in the universe. However, out of the corners of our collective eyeballs, we could see four figures wavering in the heat mirage as they made their way across the Grinder. As they were approaching, SSgt Stanford called a halt and a left face. Four British SAS commandos on troop exchange "marched" in front of the platoon. For a moment, it looked as if they were going to break our ranks by marching between our Senior and us. The one calling cadence thankfully noticed and saved them and us from a very embarrassing breach of discipline and possible international incident. However, these SAS men were not only goose-stepping, they were doing so very badly, not a single one of them in step with another. Their "formation" had no resemblance to marching, much less close order drill. SSgt Stanford called out, "Platoon 1045! for instructional purposes only: let these British Marines know what you think of their drill technique!" Half of us let loose with derisive laughter while the other half gave loud raspberries. Something tells me those SAS boys didn't cross the Grinder again, at least not when a platoon was on it.
Paul D. Raines, LCpl
Hills Of Quantico
The way I originally heard the song sometime in late 64 or early 65 was:
Drums from my heart are calling
I hear the Corps a calling
My jolly Gyrene Corps is calling to me
Over the land and sea
We will meet the enemy
My jolly Gyrene Corps is calling to me
We will meet them on the shore
Wading through the blood and gore
All for the Glory and the Honor of the Corps
I'm afraid that's all I ever heard. If someone knows any more, please let us know.
Semper Fi Orlando R. LaRosa
7th Engineer Battalion Reunion
I would like to invite all Marine who were with the 7th Engineer Battalion in Nam to join us at the San Diego, California Reunion next month. The 7th Engineer Battalion Reunion will be in San Diego from Sept. 21 to Sept 24. For more info, contact Mike Moran at the below email address.
or you can call Norman Johnson at 989-635-6653 for info.
Robert T. Castillo
She Moved On
You asked for stories about mail calls so I will share some of my remembrances.
Completed "A" school in Jacksonville, Florida and received MOS of 6511, aviation ordnanceman in 1964. Assigned to VMA 224 at MCAS Cherry Point, N.C. Let it slip that I could type a little so the First Sergeant had me cover for our squadron S&C clerk and mail orderly who was on emergency leave. Received secondary MOS of 0141, office pogue. Took sixteen months for me to get back to being a B-B stacker. In the mean time, we deployed to Chu Lai, RVN for a twelve month and twenty day tour. In addition to classified material clerk and mail orderly, I also operated the squadron hand cranked switchboard and manned the CP radio during alerts. Took good care of the old PRC-10.
Mail call was the number one morale builder and I had to hold mail call whenever the MAG-12 post office received anything. We had mail call any time, day or night, rain or shine and I was always being asked when the next mail would be in. I remember many times when one of the guys would get a "Dear John" letter. It would always be a downer for all of us when one of our group got "shot down" by a girl back home.
One particular time that I remember was when one of our guys got his letter from his girl and "she" told him that "she" couldn't wait around for him, that he had nothing to offer her, and that "she" was moving on to someone else. He was heart broken and shared his feelings with all of us. The mood of the whole squadron changed though when I handed him another letter. He opened it and found out that he had inherited a large fortune from some unexpected source. Guess "she" moved on a little too soon!
Sergeant Frank Everett
2033943, MCRD San Diego, Plt 285, Jan. 1964
Explained To Me
Hello Sgt. Grit, I look forward each week , to getting this news letter from Marines and their familys,something bothers me. I've read many times where we are called ex-Marines! I served 1967-1970, two tours in Nam. It was explained to me by a Marine S/Sgt, that the only time you become a ex-Marine in this world, is when you stop breathing! However you are still a MARINE in the hereafter, to the end of time! Once a Marine always a Marine! There are no other !We all love our Nation and Corp, and are proud of our Brotherhood , young an old we are all Brothers and Sisters!
SEMPER FI to the very end.
1st eng.-3/26 Feb68 -Aug 69
Dear Sgt Grit:
I joined the Marines after high school in 1956 and headed off to Parris Island in August. The previous June and July I kept in shape playing baseball for a city baseball league in Brooklyn NY. I was a pitcher and had a good fast ball and curve. My recruiter said I could maybe play on the Parris Island baseball team while I was in boot camp. Yeah, sure. I went on to serve 7 years and was discharged in 1963. I only played one softball game in 7 years. Our LST parked at Mayport during the Cuban Missile Crisis and Marines were let off the ship for one afternoon of baseball and PT. I had to play third base, the company Gunny wanted to pitch.
Many years later my 8 year younger brother (a retired USAF Col.) and I had an all night gab fest to catch up on old times. We were closer now that our age difference was not a factor. He told me that night he was always mad at me in those years after I joined the Marines. It seems the Brooklyn Dodgers, unknown to me, had contacted our parents in July 1956 about me playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers and he happened to sit in on the meeting. My Dad had to tell the baseball scouts to keep it quiet as I had joined the Marines and was leaving in a week and he didn't want me to know about it. Dad died while I was in boot camp so the story was forgotten until years later. My brother said he always resented that he missed the opportunity to be a big celebrity in Brooklyn public school with his big brother playing for the famed Brooklyn Dodgers. Looking back, I am a lot better off having been a U.S. Marine than a rich professional baseball player with all the drinking, partying and wild women that followed professional baseball teams in the 1950's. Wait a minute . . . let me think about that! Nope! I'm always proud to say "Once a Marine - Always a Marine" with no regrets.
Vince E. Fischelli (Sr.)
U.S. Marine '56-'63
We Are A Family
I am a proud Marine who served from 1982 to 1990. I had the honor of serving in a few units throughout the world. Although I never served in combat, I have the utmost respect and admiration for those who have, and those who are serving now. I read many times that our fellow Marines are having problems, cannot deal and feel shame for the duties they performed. I can only say they are wrong. They have sacrificed their entire lives by giving all of themselves to those who are free to walk the streets of this great country of ours. I cannot and will not claim to understand the pain they feel or the nightmares that haunt them but I can offer this; you are not alone. We are a family. We have been for well over two hundred years and will continue to be brothers and sisters forever. I had the honor of returning to the MCRD in San Diego recently with my five year old son. His pride and amazement astonished me as we walked through the museum and around the base. My wife and I bought him a set of Utilities and he insisted on wearing them immediately. He proudly saluted all of those men and women that he came in contact with. The respect that he showed to the Marines he met filled me with a pride that many of you may have mixed feelings about. He is the reason that we all carry on. He and the innocent children that you all served to keep free are why we must carry on. We are the reason that the United States is and will remain the greatest country in the world. To all those who served and gave their lives physically or mentally, you are not forgotten and will always be in the prayers of those who understand.
W. Michael Larson
2nd Bat. 3rd Mar.
3rd Bat., 1st Mar.
Is It Just Me
Sgt. Grit: Read your newsletter of August 10. Of special interest was the email from L/Cpl Pilar Espinosa who was in DaNang in 1968 during Tet. I was with HQ Company, 1st Marine Division near Hill 140 when the first Tet attacks were initiated. We were hit hard but never got the full story. Days later, from Hill 140, we could see rocket attacks on the DaNang air base. If anyone has additional historical information it would be appreciated.
I served my second tour with MAG 12 in Chu Lai in '69. Would also appreciate any historical information including the rocket attack that wiped out several F-4's and the runway.
Final note: Is it just me or does Marine Corps Times seem more critical of our Corp than complimentary? I admit to a natural bias being a Marine Veteran, Republican and a conservative, but they seem to be drifting in their coverage of the war.
Cpl. Mike Dahl, USMC 1967-69.
Just Passed On
We're just a small group of Marine and Corpsmen Vietnam Veterans. As we get older, our group gets smaller. Some people join and leave, but some stick around, because it is therapeutic for us. We understand each other as no others do.
One of our members just passed on. His name was Leo Sharkey. He was a warrior. Like the rest of us, he did not consider himself a hero. Leo had gotten old and sick over the past several years. He had little money, he did no great things that the media would tout. He was just an American that answered the call.
He has already walked through the Valley of Death Lord, I pray that now resides with our Lord in Peace.
I will miss my friend.
Larry D. Imus
C/1/9: 65 & 66
A Few Seconds There
Last week my wife and I went to the Illinois state fair, as did my son, his wife and two daughters. I was let down because I was going to march in the veteran's parade, and call it my homecoming from Vietnam parade, but it did not work out. Being recently diagnosed with PTSD I am trying to work through my Vietnam service, and walking in the parade was going to be a big step for me.
However, we did get to see the Marine silent drill team, and they were great. After their performance we spoke to a couple of them. Real sharp kids. One of them kept calling me "sir," and I told him I was a gunny, not an officer, so please do not "sir" me. After the next sentence or two he called me "Gunny." I could not believe how wonderful that sounded to me! For just a few seconds there I was back in the active force, and I was just on cloud nine! It is amazing how a simple little word can bring such great joy to an old man!
Tommy Walters, Sr.
GySgt, USMC, Ret.
Vietnam x 2
Sgt. Grit: Once more you've come through with flying colors. I dropped a story about Mess Duty, signed my name and Lo and Behold got the address of one of my old friends from TTU, NAB Coronado, CA that I hadn't talked to since 1952. Since getting his address we've been in touch via email and telephonically and are looking forward to a "get together" either here in NV or CA.
MGySgt R. A. Swank, (Ret.)
Straight In The Eye
My dad was a Guadalcanal Marine and I was with the Marine Security Guard Bat. A few years back I was on business in Taiwan for a few months. Taiwan is a favorite country of mine because the people are very hospitable towards Americans. At dinner one night after celebrating the end to a successful contract I noticed an older gentlemen sitting alone. He had a military bearing about him so I inquired to my hosts if they knew who he was. They said he was a retired high ranking naval officer who lived in the city. I walked over to him to say hello and inquire about his past. He told me his name after I introduced myself and out of habit my posture went rigid upon hearing Admiral in front of his name. He asked if I had served my country in the United States and I replied I had. He then asked what my rank was. I told him Sergeant. .At that point he sort of looked down and stated "Well I was an Admiral" I looked him straight in the eye and said " But I was a Marine" He stood up, nodded his head and shook my hand. I looked over my shoulder and saw that half of the restaurant was watching us. We said our good byes and when I returned back to my table I was informed by the waiter that all of our drinks for the evening were on the Admiral.
A Few Calendar Contest Participants
Even if they didn't make it to the calendar, these entries are still winners in our book!
I live in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. There is a retired Sgt.Major who has opened a pizza place in the Brandon area. What's its name you may ask: Well Semper Pie of course.
War Never Solved anything...
If you can Read in English...
Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done!
Through the Generations 2007 Calendar
Blue Micro Fibre Jacket with USMC
Combat Veteran U.S. Marine Corps
Freedom Isn't Free T-Shirt
U.S. Marines Thermal Long Sleeve T-shirt
Digital Desert Suspenders
Marine Corps Mess With The Best Flag
All New Items!