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Sgt Grit
I was sitting in Applebee's in Maryville Mo. waiting to be seated.
Three young boys were in the area. One said to me "Semper Fi Mac" I thanked him and asked if he knew any Marines He said "Yes My Dad". Thanks Dale Hartley 1607484

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Charlie Mike to the Grit,

First let me thank you for giving the Chaplain's a piece of the forum "Sgt" it's long over due. Having been (and always will be) a Recon "Doc" much attention is given to the self sacrifice and "heroic actions" of many Marines and Corpsman from the beginning to present. And many a story has been told and read some true and some "enhanced" with age and time. Now some of us have seen combat others have not, some have experienced more than their share and some just enough to always know what it's like. There was a time when I was younger in "My war" back in 1990-91 I experienced things many of us have. And being both an "operator" in the field first then a "life saver" second is a paradox many "line" and MARINE(SOC) unit Corpsman experience. Yes the glorious tales of rushing in the heat of battle to save wounded comrades is true but sometimes and in fact quite frequently us " Gun slinger Doc's" sometimes have to do just as much fighting to get to that wounded man. And to quote a John Wayne movie "a man carries one of these into battle (rifle etc.) uses it and afterwards carries a strange sense of guilt for the rest of his life. And there is a fine balance between taking life to save it or to defend what is yours. And the Man or Woman who carries that guilt is seldom those in true power, it's the 18 or 19 year old from a small town in Kansas or West Virginia. One moment in time that stands out for me was after an area of "resistance" was quelled many wounded and frightened Iraqi troops became PW's almost to the point it couldn't be contained and with so few of us at the time they could of easily overtaken us if they wanted to. However upon noticing the "Globe and Anchor" Iron ons on the utes of the Marines. The Iraqis we encountered became as awe struck and fear ridden of any I had encountered. And it was at that point they ceased (at least for awhile) being the enemy and became human beings that 20 minutes before were trying to kill me and the best friends I will ever have. Someone Yelled "Doc Up!" and I was summoned to an Iraqi officer badly wounded from WP burns. And the only way this guy would make it was to get him to a fixed care station at a Fleet hospital. So I "did my thing in the field" I.V.'s, plasma expaners intubated him (sorry for the medical jargon) and controlled the pain as best as possible. We then arranged transport to I think it was Fleet Hospital 5 (been awhile). And I went with him it was at this Field Hospital I saw a lone Chaplain in the center of this mass of wounded and shell shocked Iraqis, unarmed and administering comfort and "Christian" last rite's to many "expectant" casualties. And though many of us picture chaplains clean and pristine in appearance, this man of God was covered in both blood and the greasy "Black Rain" many of us remember and can still smell . Now I can tell you this story but I cannot convey the image of what I saw that day. I considered myself strong and yes always with fear tugging at my shoulder. But the strength and bravery of this man was beyond measure, my weapons in tow weighed in excess of 60 lbs, his was much lighter but so much more powerful "Faith in God". at the time I wasn't what you would call a "religious" man, like many I believed in God, America and the Corps. But that day I had an experience that changed me forever. Albeit until man sees fit to call war insane we will need Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and the many times forgotten Chaplain found amongst all of the above named, for they bring reason and hope to at times what seems a hopeless situation. The wars will continue and the faces will change and what those fighting now are experiencing will become the stories of tomorrow possibly told on this forum. So from a "Doc" who has been there I salute what I feel is the toughest job in wartime. The Job of the Chaplain, a man or woman who's job it is to bring sanity to insanity.

In memory of Capt. Delong Chaplain USN Former Marine and Corpsman Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm

"And the world stood up and stopped the bastard, but beware for the Bit** that bore him is in heat again"
B. Brecht

D.C. Hm2 8427 Corpsman of Battalion Recon

Thanks for the Beer

Sgt. Grit;
THANK YOU for this newsletter that I receive regularly. When it arrives my wife, kids and grandkids know that I will be 'out of service' for the time it takes me to read about news from my 'other family'. In reading this issue, I was reminded of two separate occurrences in my life which bear the indelible stain of Marine brotherhood over the decades. 1.) When I was a young Marine Corporal in winter service "A"s, traveling home alone for leave in April of 1969 from across "the big pond" and sitting in an airport waiting for my connection, I decided to try my luck at getting a beer and a cheeseburger in one of the airport restaurants. I was NOT yet 21. I stepped up to the bar and sat down, dropping my sea bag on the floor next to me. The bartender asked what I wanted and I told him, he looked at me and asked for my I.D. I didn't try to bulls**t him and told him that I was only 20. He smiled apologetically and said "Sorry, what else would you like to drink?" I asked for a soda, which he brought first. When my burger arrived, he sat it down and then placed a long neck Bud next to the plate. I looked at him and he pointed to an 'older gentleman' (which I now am) sitting at the end of the bar, then placed a napkin in front of me with a note on it, which read; "Noticed your combat action ribbon, thought you deserved a cold one. Semper Fi, Mac." When I looked back up he was walking out of the bar, I assume to his flight. Never knew who he was, just a brother. 2.) Flash forward a few decades to me sitting alone at a table in a bar in the Denver airport, waiting for my connection, and having a meal. There was a pretty long line of folks waiting to get a seat as the place was full. Most folks in line were in groups of two or more. Then I spotted a lone Marine Sergeant standing there and noticed that several folks had been seated ahead of him, because he was alone and no single seats had opened up at the bar, or at any tables. I told the waitress to invite him to my table, I had an empty seat across from me. He came over and thanked me for letting him set down, as he had about an hour before boarding. He ordered food and a Bud. She asked for his I.D. and he just shook his head and said, "I'm not 21 yet." She said she was sorry, but that her manager was pretty strict about the "I.D./21 thing". So, I ordered two Buds. She looked at me and smiled, winked and said, "I assume you ARE 21?" She delivered his food and my 'two beers', and sat one in front of him, smiled and walked away. We sat and talked for about 30 minutes, where I learned he was going home for a far too short leave from Iraq, then it was time for my flight. As I was getting up, he said, "Thanks for the beer". Then I told him about that beer I had been given decades before when I was just like him, and said."One of these days you'll get a chance to repay the favor to some young Marine, that's all the thanks you owe me. Besides, you deserve it." I don't know the names of either of these men, but I hope both of those Marines read this and know that I love you like my own, because we ARE all brothers. Just a moment in time when 'what goes around, comes around' had a little different meaning than it usually does. To all my brothers and sisters out there, holding the line and standing tall for America.I salute you for carrying on our glorious traditions, I love you like my own family (because you are), and I wish you all good luck and God Speed. Take care and God Bless. God Bless America, and God Bless our beloved United States Marine Corps. In closing, I remain.

Dale "Mad Dog" Messmer
(GySgt., USMC, Ret.)

More Dinky responses

To answer Tom Downey's question about the phrase, 'dinky-dau', you first have to realize Vietnamese is a tonal, regional language. I was taught the Saigon Dialect in 1967, at DLIWC, and when I got 'In Country', around Dong-Ha, it was hard to make myself understood. The phrase comes from the words, danh- sick/ill and cai dau-head, thus, the paraphrase, dinky-dau, =crazy!
Semper Fi,

To the Dink Adau Marine. I think it's dink adoo, and suspect it's Aussie in origin. Memory of long ago is getting dim.
Ray Walker

Well, in Vietnamese, diên, diên cu?ng, m?t trí, all mean "insane". I submit that the American ear would have little trouble converting diên cu?ng into "dinky dow", the way I'd always heard it pronounced. Then again, there may be a phrase in Vietnamese even closer, I'm not sure.
Steve Byars
Once a Marine Corpsman, always a "Doc".
'65- E 2/1

Sgt. Grit: I was a grunt squad leader with Mike Co. 3/9 in the early sixties. I remember "Dinky Dow" and "Kitty Kitty Pie" as meaning "Crazy" and "Dee Dee Mow" as "Move along". I doubt that I am spelling these words right. To my memory none of these words were ever added to any dictionary. I'm coming up to 65 and am not as sharp as I used to be, if you know what I mean. Happy New Year and Semper Fi Mac.

Conrad Grayson, Sergeant, Unit Commander
San Diego County Sheriff's Department
Bomb/Arson Unit

In reply to Capt. Downey's question about "dinkydau". Although it's not spelled that way, it does mean crazy in the head in Vietnamese. Another expression that many Marines used was "crocodile" which was really cuoc a duo, or cut off your head, dau meaning head. I served with 1st Recon at Chu Lai in 1966,went back to the states to language school for a year, and returned to RVN in 1969 as an interpreter. If anyone I served with sees this, please respond.

1963-1974 Semper Fi!

I learned DINKY DOW. It meant "Crazy M+++ F*****. Some things will never change. We agree on what we knew at the time, but wisdom has cultured our B.S. into fine Compost fit for public knowledge.

Funny, we still seem to agree on the original meaning. Ahh, to be a Gyrene.

John Sprague
"L" 3/9 68-69

Calling home for Christmas

Dear Sgt Grit,
Reading all the remembrances about Christmas reminds of Christmas spent at MCRD San Diego, December 1965. Platoon 2014. It was Christmas evening approximately 1800 hrs. The usually gruff voiced DI, quietly spoke "2014" we of course answered in our loudest "SIR, PLATOON 2014". "On the Road" . "SIR, PLATOON 2104, ON THE ROAD, AYE, AYE, SIR". We answered. After lighting the smoking lamp, and allowing us to talk among ourselves, which was of course, very unusual. He came out of his Quonset hut, and told us that because it was Christmas and that he was in the holiday sprit, he was going to do something that he had never done. He was going to allow those of us who wanted to, to "Call Home". He told those of us that wanted to call, to line up on one side of the road and the others to back into their respective huts. He than asked again "Are you ladies sure you want to call home". We of course answered, "Sir, Yes Sir". He then responded "Ok maggots face in the direction of home and start calling". We were, of course, very disappointed, and he was laughing hysterically as he ordered us back to the huts.

John Vigil

Da Nang PX

Just finished reading your newsletter. Would like to follow up on Sgt Walter E Seneff's letter about the big PX in Da Nang. During the IG inspection in 1969 the IG was escorted down to the PX and shown this ban. It was lifted shortly thereafter. Can't remember the general who adopted this policy but he had already left Nam.

Olin "Blackie" Breden
GySgt Ret.
Nam 68-69

Cultural Exchange?

First, Thank you for the awesome newsletter! back in 1975, my first overseas assignment is to MCAS Futenma Okinawa... A good buddy of mine is also stationed there, and is in public affairs unit. He invites me to join the Joint services Cultural Exchange Program, where approx six Marines, couple of air force people get together with local students from University of Ryukyus.

We would meet a couple times a month, we would go to coffee houses etc. they'd take us to tea ceremonies and the like... After several months, one of the female students, "Shima" invites our group to her parents home in Naha, we get there and her Mother brings out this huge basket of Oranges for us. Then, Shima, takes what looks like a plastic Crochet hook stick thing, and goes to work peeling an orange in what seemed like seconds! I'm amazed at this thing! as it makes peeling an orange extremely easy. So I tell my fellow jarheads look how inventive these people are, then ask "Shima" Where did she get these awesome orange peelers? She tells me in her broken English.... You know.. "Tupperware"????

Mike Robinson
SSgt 72 - 80

Meeting of Marines

as the veteran service officer for my home county i get to do lots of nice things for veterans. yesterday, our local dav chapter presented a life membership to a returning marine iraqi veteran. the local commander a wwii marine presented his card to him in front of a mural of the iwo jima flag raising. as i watched and realized that a wwii marine, vietnam marine and a youngster from today's marines standing there together just puts the phrase "semper fi" in prospective. also i wondered at the silly notion of retirement. gunny t

Marines who called the Rock Pile "Home"

Dear Sgt. Grit,
As a fan of the show "Mail Call," I have watched the "Gunny" and wondered about his past experiences in the Marine Corps. In your last newsletter, Sgt. Dan Hicks remembers him as his D.I. in March of 1966, when he was Cpl. R.L. Ermey. When I heard that the "Gunny" was going to dedicate a show to his own tour of duty in Vietnam, I knew I would get the answers I was looking for. Well, as another "Almost" Marine would say, "Surprise, Surprise, Surprise." As the "Gunny" spoke about and stood in areas he had been, it brought back floods of memories. Danang, Hill 327, The Artillery Plateau (Camp J.J. Carroll), Dong Ha, and then he stood in the valley with the Rock Pile behind him. Having spent 33 days on that lovely piece of real-estate, that one shot brought back thoughts and feelings I had forgotten about for 40 years. I think the most amazing site was the vegetation and tree growth and it made me wonder about little things like "is our LZ was still up there"? I hope other Recon, FO's, ANGLICO and Radio BN Marines who called the Rock Pile "Home" were able to see the show. And if you are reading this "Gunny," thank you from the bottom of my heart for a quick glimpse into my past and for keeping all those memories alive for me and many other Marines.

S/Sgt T.B. Dudley 1962-1970 (Viet Nam, 1963, 1966 & 1967)

Say Again...Drop 15Zero

Noticed several entries from Marines who had Christmas 1951 in Korea. My unit was in a valley with 11th Marine Arty and 5th Marine CP. We were an 8 inch How Unit with four beautiful Howitzers. Fired many missions on Luckes Castle from Marine Op's, one especially George Two, gave me a DROP 25zero, I replied, say again, he said DROP 15zero, I still have 250 yds. And I have seen you guys shoot. Best of New Years to all Marines. George Ellis. S/Sgt. Charley Battery 780th FAB... Nod Charley FDC...

Boot Story

Sgt. Grit,
I enlisted Feb. 66 and left for sunny California, leaving behind the snow of Ohio. I was placed in Platoon 154 with S/Sgt J. W. Conyers as top hat and Sgt. A. C. Perry and Sgt. R. L. Hiles Jr. I wrote told of my meeting Sgt. Hiles in RVN. Great men all of the Drill Instructors we had, even if we did not know it at the time. This story took place at the rifle range late March 1966, we were double timing down a hill coming up on a building with all the doors and windows open, it was an EM club for the 26 Marines (not sure) We were told they have just left for Viet Nam, as we got all most on top of the building the song Mr. Lonely by Bobby Vinton starts to play. The DI's started to yell for us not to listen, and close our ears. There was nothing they could do to get us away from there an faster, as we were already double timing. I can tell you everyone in the platoon remembered this 1964 number 1 hit. It really had a an effect on all of us. I remember this whenever I hear the song it's as though I'm transported back in time. Some things in our lives we wish we could change and do over, I if given the chance would not change my time in the Marines!

Semper Fi
Terry R. Gulch
RVN 66-67 2/7

Bought Out the Pogybait Machines

After our time at Camp Matthews for Weapons Qualification in 1947, all members of the Platoon who did not fire Expert on the range were assigned mess duty for the first week back at MCRD. I was assigned the responsibility of getting the troops to and from the Mess Hall. Our platoon was housed in tents at the far end of MCRD, San Diego right across the fence from the Convair Plant. We had to proceed to the Mess Hall at the far end of the Parade Field across the street from Sea School Barracks. During out short time off from mess duty during the first day the troops went into Sea School Barracks and practically bought out the pogybait machines.

Upon our return the our area at the end of the day, the DI shook down the whole group of messmen and found about 50# of pogybait. Needless to say there was h&ll to pay. Since I was in charge the DI gave me almighty he**. So, the next morning, on the way to mess duty I stopped the formation and threatened each member that if we got back to the area and there was any contraband was found I would personally kick each Marines A**. Well, that evening on our return, before we arrived back at our platoon area I held up the group, shook down the troops and found two guys with pogybait, and as I had promised I whipped butt. The Corps taught me in just 14 weeks how to be a leader.

Hugh Shockey
USMC 47-58

Your "B" Grade Movie

Regarding the comment by Jim Bridges, about the incident in the outdoor movie theatre at Pendleton. Amazing, because after my duty assignment at Battalion HQ, I was worked part-time at nights as the projectionist at the indoor base theatre at Camp Geiger, (Camp Lejeune, NC) from 1962-64, and a "B" Grade film was showing... probably the same one Sgt. Bridges saw, because the woman in the scene had just shot someone and was fretting, "Oh, what do I do now??" From the projection booth, I heard a Marine in the theatre shout, "Pick up your brass and move back to the 500 yard line!" You could hear the whole theatre roar with laughter. I think of that often, and to read his comment about the same thing happening in about the same year at Pendleton, was really a laugh.

Another incident... I also played some guitar with a local band in the J'ville NC area, "Andy Owings and the Tremelos" - we played weekends at the Officers Club at Lejeune and also the Staff Club and Teen Dances. One night, we were at the Officers Club, and Gen. "Chesty" Puller was holding forth with a whole table full of Captains and Lieutenants there. They talked him into coming up on the stage to say a few words, which he did.... and we played the "Marine Corps Hymn" and he sang the lead on it with us and all the Officers there. It was a great moment and I shall not forget that I sang the Hymn with Chesty Puller, on stage.

Best to all,
Cpl. George W. Handlon
1st Bat. HQ, 1st ITR, MCB,
Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Beirut Memorial

I wanted to first say thanks for the BS page if it was not for that I don't think I would have known about the memorial in Philly. Today I had some free time at work I work on the railroad in Philly and I was born and raised and lived in Philly for 37 years. well, anyway I set out to find the Beirut memorial around penns landing down by the Delaware river well I found it. It is located at Columbus blvd. and dock street along with the Korean war memorial which is a block down from the Vietnam memorial also near that location at front st and sansom st is a historic marker marking the location of Tun Tavern. I viewed each memorial and rendered a hand salute. But at the Beirut Memorial I became a little emotional because of the fact that I was an active duty Marine stationed at Lejuene on Oct 23,83 and that the nine Marines listed on the memorial were not only my brother Marines but also my fellow Philly boys and were probably around the same age as me. With that I vowed to never forget them and plan in some way in the future to honor and remember them on each anniversary, because recently I realized that even though I stopped wearing the uniform over 15 years ago that I have never stopped being a Marine and will be till the day I die and beyond

Semper Fi,
Anthony J. Verrecchio
CPL U.S.M.C 83-89

Miss It

Sgt Grit-

I tried to e-mail you a long time ago, but you probably didn't get it. You & I have a little in common. I myself served with 11th marines as a field radio operator with regimental comm. Plt, but I served in the Gulf War. I was just a young Lance Corporal at that time. About a year after that, I had picked up Corporal, and was at the end of my contract. I had a hard time deciding what to do, but after completing a combat tour, I felt I had done my time, and I left the Corps. For years I missed it, not everything about the Corps, but I did miss it. I was curious about the reserves for some time, but never followed through until my wife- fiancé at the time, encouraged me to look into it. So, there I was, 10 years later, in my 30's, I start talking to a prior service recruiter. Soon after that, 9/11 happened, and I was still waiting for my package to come back approved. It did and I found myself back in the Corps. I joined an engineer company about 160 miles from my hometown. I had to change my M.O.S. since they didn't need comm, so I became school trained as a heavy equipment operator. A year later I got activated and was sent to Iraq. I spent 7 months the in places like TQ, Ramadi, Blue Diamond, & Fallujha. I helped clean up the streets of Fallujha and Jolon Park after Phantom Fury. I recently checked out of my unit, dropped to the IRR and my contract is up in a couple of weeks. I know I'll miss it, but I'm thinking that now I really have done my time, 2 combat tours is enough for me. I have a wife and step daughter to think about. I guess I'll just have to keep one thing in mind, an old saying I certainly lived up to- "Once a Marine, always a Marine"!

Semper Fi-
Sgt. Todd Elemond

Well Marine

Here is a story to exemplify the value of Marine Corps training. About 20 years ago I was working at a potting soil plant, which was about 5 mile from where I lived. I had an old Ford Econoline van (64 model). A deer had committed suicide by propelling itself through the windshield. Well I continued to drive it without a windshield. One day it was raining but I was prepared. I had my old poncho and a pair of goggles that I kept handy for inclement weather. On the way home I passed a state patrolman coming the other direction. He made a quick turnaround and stopped me, got out of the car walked around in front of me and just stood there shaking his head. He then walked back and did the standard drill. License, insurance, registration, then asked if I knew why I was being stopped." No Sir " I said." Its illegal to operate a vehicle without a windshield " he said " that's why I am wearing my poncho and goggles Sir." Well Marine, (I guess he figured with all the bumper stickers I had all over the old van that he had found one of us), Well Marine "Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome, doesn't change the law. Get the d*mned thing fixed, have a nice day".
Paul S. Reamer

Super Men

Sgt Grit;

I will try to keep this short but the Marine on the Ferry for some reason touched me. Maybe it was because when I came home I had my uniform spit on by my own cousin "before he hit the ground". I feel pride for this kid and thank God Marines are again thought of as Super Men like we thought when we were kids. I feel no jealousy but the deepest pride that I was allowed to serve with men like this and to have been allowed to call myself a Marine.

R.M. Williams
Capt. USMC Med Ret.

The Feeling I Got

Dear Sgt Grit... I served from 58 - 62, starting at Parris Island and then Lejuene and to Cherry Point, Atsugi Japan and finished back at Cherry Point. My uncle got killed at Okinawa, my brother served in Korea, although I did my 4 years I've always felt something missing because I never saw action. I know I'm lucky I guess because many of my friends did serve and some did not come back. Whenever I read or hear that a Marine got killed by and IED or sniper my heart takes an extra beat because in my heart I'm still a Marine and would go now if they would take me. I know it sounds nuts but I'm sure those of you like myself would trade places with those youngsters in a heart beat. I m so proud to this day to say I'm a Marine even though I'm 65. To those of you who read this, if ever traveling and you see a Marine stop and say hello they love it. One quick story, I was on Las Olas Blvd in Fla and there were three Marines having lunch in uniform, I told my wife I'd be right back, as I approached them and introduced myself they all stood up and extended their hand in immediate friendship. We had a drink together and the feeling I got was unbelievable. They were so respectful it brought tears to my eyes. God bless the Marine Corps and all that served.
David A Ravanesi VMF(AW)115 CPL E-4

I've Always Remembered

Hi read with a very happy heart the story of one of our brothers being mistaken for a "Captain" by a little girl and he being given the opportunity to proudly tell the child that he was one of America's true heroes, a Marine.

I had a similar experience when still on active duty in the '80s. While at an intersection I witnessed a horrific broadside collision. I stopped my vehicle and ran to the scene. Only one car contained an injury so I did what I could do, assessing both the vehicle (to ensure there was no fire, etc.) and the injured lady's condition. Using nothing more and nothing less than the training I had received in the Corps I was happy that although the poor lady was in great pain and quite panicked, the Corps gave me the mindset and the tools to take a good assessment of the situation and stabilize the lady, while calming her down. Another lady ran up and told me she was a nurse and asked what she could do. I gave her a run down of the injured lady's condition, accompanied by some comments regarding the vehicle which had some steam escaping, but no fire as the nurse was afraid of. The nurse asked me "Are you a doctor?" I was, just as our brother was, very proud, as I knelt in the street in civilian attire, but with a "high and tight", to look at her and the crowd that had gathered and state "No mam, I'm a United States Marine." A proud moment and one I've always remembered.

God bless our Corps of Marines, and Semper Fi!

Could Not Overlook

Corporal Brown's letter has reminded me of the time I was on a Greyhound Bus, going home on leave from Twenty-nine Palms. I was reading a very funny book and laughing my can off all the way through it. I think I had everyone on the bus laughing too. After a while a man behind me said something to the effect of "That must be a really good book there soldier". Being in uniform, I could not overlook the fact that he didn't know the difference, so I, as politely as possible, said,"Yes sir it's No Time for Sergeants, and sir, please excuse me but I'm not a soldier. I'm a Marine".

Jack Mayberry
Sgt. 1954-1958

Good Hearted Crap

Last Year (2005) I had loaded some equipment going to Ft. Irwin, Ca. Upon arriving (The day after Memorial Day) the troops prepared to unload all of the trucks that were there. I (being a former Marine) had to square away all these Army personnel. After giving them a hand unloading all the other trucks we started on mine. All of the equipment had just returned from Iraq and much was in disrepair including mine. While they (about 20 of them) were trying to figure out how to unload me. I looked around and said "You know, if we had 2 or maybe 3 more platoon's of you Army types, or wait better yet 2 more Marine's we could unload this thing. They got a laugh. I proceeded to give them a razing. After finally getting unloaded I called them all around and had 1 get in my Refrig and pass out a bunch of ice cold drink's. Their OIC, a 1stLt (A very attractive, female type at that) was invited to join me on the front deck of my trailer. After being the brunt of numerous jokes about the Army, she was a little nervous. She finally climbed up there with me and I called them to form up at the front of the trailer, which surprisingly they did. I told them the following...Ladies and Gentleman, I have given you all a ration of good hearted crap all day and we all had a good laugh or 2. But now I want to say something to you in all seriousness. As you well know I am a former Marine. But I have to tell you ALL that I am Proud to be here working with you. You are all a testament to our great country and all that it stands for. And for that, FROM ONE WHO HAS, TO THOSE OF YOU THAT ARE, I SALUTE YOU." At that point, I made a perfect left face, faced the Lt. and saluted her in the typical Marine Corps standard snap and pop salute. At the point the Lt did something very unprofessional, she threw her arms around me and kissed me on the cheek and told me that, that was the most wonderful thing that anyone had told her. I was told later, that they had returned from Iraq 2 months earlier and were scheduled to go back In Oct of last year.

J. W. MacLuckey, SSGT, USMC

Women Marines

It was 13 February 1943 when women were officially instituted as part of the Marine Corps. Though women have served their country honorably in the Corps since 1918 it was not until 1943 that the Women Reserves became an official part of Marine Corps.

On its first-year anniversary, 13 February 1944, a message from President Franklin D. Roosevelt read: The nation is as proud of you as of your fellow Marines - for Marine women are upholding the brilliant traditions of the Corps with a spirit of loyalty and diligence worthy of the highest admiration of all Americans. You have quickly and efficiently taken over scores of different kinds of duties that not long ago were considered strictly masculine assignments; and in doing so, you have freed a large number of well-trained, battle-ready men of the corps for action . . . .

Today women make up 6% of the Marine Corps. They join the elite ranks of those who have earned the title Marine with the same determination and love of Corps as those from the past. The legacy lives on in the spirit and Corps values that were instilled in these women as they became Marines.

Speaking for the vast majority of those women who served are members of the Women Marines Association: "Being a Marine is not something that one did for a few years. Marine is who we became the day we earned our title and is never taken lightly, never forgotten and never set aside. The Corps values that were passed on from our predecessors of honor, courage and commitment are an integral part of our lives today and will continue to be the foundation we build upon for future generations."

The Women Marines Association, formed in 1960, is the only non-profit veterans' organization for women who have served or are currently serving honorably in the United States Marine Corps. Marines, known for taking care of their own, work to promote the welfare of fellow veterans within local communities and wherever help is needed. They will celebrate their camaraderie, their history and their future September 1-5 in Louisville, Ky at the 24th Biennial WMA Convention and Professional Development Conference.

This conference is open to all women who have earned the title Marine and their guests.

To learn more about WMA we can be reached at 888 525-1943 or visit the website at www.womenmarines.org

Women of the Corps send me your stories. info@grunt.com
Semper fi
Sgt Grit

Mental State

In Newsletter #115, Bob Lonn's four quotations about Marines got me to thinking about what makes a Marine.

In my case, at least, a 17 year old, 130 lb kid joins the Marines, and is told by his DI that he is to become a member of the most elite fighting force in world history. This is repeated frequently and supported by historical fact. Eventually the kid starts to believe that if he is a Marine, then he too must be the most elite warrior on earth, and since he believes it, he is.

It becomes a self-fulfilling truism. Training helps, of course, but the mental state is what makes the difference.

I still remember from our first "five-day war" in which we were on both offence and defense, our Sergeant saying, "There is no position which cannot be taken, and there is no position which cannot be held." I think that must works when Marines aren't fighting other Marines.

Just read over the collection of Sgt. Grit's bumper stickers. When you are fed a daily diet of this motivation, you become somewhat different from the average civilian - and the average soldier of any other service.

Jim Carter, USMCR, 1958-66.


I served in the Marines from 1955 until 1961, I was in Platoon 174 at Paris Island , I went in November 10th 1955 USMC birthday and did I have a party , you bet , I am now 67 years old and I am still proud to call myself a MARINE as always once a Marine always a Marine. We landed in Beirut Lebanon on May 15th 1958 by Mike Boats and sealed off the Syrian border and secured the Airport, it was a great place then, it had one of the best university's over there at that time, it is a shame what is has become today.

1955 -- 1961
Bill Goodwin CPL.
1st Bat. 8th Marines
2nd Marine Div., Camp Lejuene, NC


I've been trying to remember the word that was always used by Marines when they had to turn in old & worn out gear for new stuff. Does anyone there remember? The term was being use in the Corps in the late '40s and early '50s.
All I can think of is "salvage" and that's not it.

Wally Pfeifer
USMC '48-'50

Forget it. I think I've remembered what the word was. I believe it was "survey". Now I remember that I had a hard time connecting the word with exchanging gear. I always thought survey meant to layout roads, streets, buildings etc. with a surveyor and a transit.

But of course,- when the DI started screaming,-"You better get that g-----n, f-----g gear surveyed now, BOY". I sure caught on in a hurry. But then again, that was back in the days when 'salty' language was still being used.

Semper Fi
Wally Pfeifer

Combat Medic Ribbon Oversight

Dear Sgt Grit,
I have truly enjoyed your newsletter, no matter where we are, across this great Country, or on foreign soil, no one can compare the camaraderie shared by the men and women who served in the United States Marine Corps.

We now have Marines and Corpsmen on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I am on a mission here in the USA.----- Let me explain.

As newly elected Commander of our local VFW, I was reviewing the eligibility requirements for new members to join our organization. In a section of the manual which included Medals, Ribbons and Badges, I found a Combat Medical Badge. This is something that caught my attention, since I was a GRUNT Corpsman Bco. 1st Bn, 8th Mar. 2nd Mar Div. and I never heard of this Badge. >>> So I called my Congressman, who contacted BuPers U.S. Navy. Their letter of response stated that "The Combat Medical Badge was awarded by Congress for Army Medics only." Can this be a mistake? Oversight? or Discrimination? Every one knows that Marines are always the first to go and right there in each Platoon there is a Corpsman. This is a matter of principle, since December 7, 1941 (Pharmacists Mates) have answered the call, as did several of my friends in Vietnam. Are they second class citizens? Perhaps General Pace, Chairman of Joint Chiefs, or General Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps can put pressure on those politicians to Do the Right Thing.

Semper Fidelis
Proud to have served with the Finest

John F. Danko
Grunt Corpsman 64-67

Wrong Message

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I read the following quote from Robert E. Lee in Newsletter #115:

"True patriotism sometimes requires of men to act exactly contrary, at one period, to that which it does at another, and the motive which impels them-the desire to do right-is precisely the same." -Robert E. Lee

I think this quote transmits the wrong message. "True patriotism" did not require General Lee to take up arms against the United States. In this quote, General Lee is merely trying to justify his unfaithfulness to the United States. He acted "exactly contrary" to his training and his oath. He led an army in revolt against the United States. He led an army that was protecting infamous institutions, including slavery. The Confederate Army initiated hostilities by firing the first rounds against the United States. There were more than 500,000 fatalities as a consequence, the greatest and saddest catastrophe in the history of the United States.

This certainly is not "true patriotism" as General Lee claims. A true patriot does not take up arms against his own country. Nor do I accept the motive of "the desire to do right" as being valid in this case.

As Marines, we all are familiar with the motto Semper Fidelis. According to my recollection, Semper does not translate as "sometimes" or "occasionally."

Bill Clark
USMC 1961-67

I Was Impressed

Sgt. Grit ... I'm a retired USMC Major who began life as a grunt, became a DI and took a bunch of recruit platoons through Parris Island before moving on with my Marine Corps career. Recently, my wife, my daughter, son in law and I traveled to Parris Island where my grandson graduated on 20Jan06. This was my first visit to The Island since I left in 1963 as a Staff Sgt and SDI. I went thru boot camp at Parris Island in 1955 and things haven't changed all that much. New brick barracks, new chapel buildings, new mess halls, and several other new buildings have gone up over the years. The training of Marines is at the same high level with a few positive minor changes in Drill Instructors' conduct and action. The Marine attitude is still present in the current Drill Instructors and I was impressed with their motivation and intensity.

The recruit graduation ceremony has grown into a spectacular production that would make many Hollywood producers green with envy; but we Marines have been known to be theatrical in our pageantry and ceremonies.

My grandson is a changed person and a proud U.S. Marine. He departed for Parris Island without too much direction and a typical 18 year old attitude toward the human race. His life before was a series of highs and lows with the lows out numbering the highs. He put up with adults because he had no choice. His father (retired Air Force) died at age 50 from a heart attack and his mother, as a single mom and an Air Force veteran, did an excellent job in attempting to raise this 14 year old boy. The change in his attitude after graduation was not too much of a surprise to me since I had often seen this transformation when I was a Drill Instructor. His Mom and friends saw it immediately and were truly impressed. We're very proud of him.

The drive from Parris Island back to our home in Clover, SC with my grandson was one of the high points in my life. We talked Marine talk for the full five hours and then talked some more after we arrived home. Off The Island, he was like a fish out of water, talking to civilians and trying to get used to unfamiliar sights and sounds. It was evident that he was measuring each word that came out of his mouth, lest he say the wrong thing and cause a problem. With me, he didn't have to worry about a foul word crossing his lips.

He is now on a 10 day leave and will report to Camp Geiger for additional training before going to Pensacola to aviation mechanic school. He is going to be a "wing wiper." Oh well, not all Marines can be grunts; we're special! He also might get an extra 5 days leave to assist the local recruiter in his home town of Chesapeake, VA. I wanted to share the thrill of our visit to Parris Island and our pride in our grandson with the others gathered here. It was great visiting there again and knowing our beloved Corps is in the hands of some terrific young Marines.

William "Mike" Hemlepp Sr
Major USMC Ret

Short Rounds

Interesting read.

For you active duty Marines; there is a Col Roth coming out of retirement to join you. Salute him, say "Semper Fi", and then tell him "The Indianhead Marines say HI" He'll bust a gut, laughing! Bob Olson spokesperson for the Indianhead Marines, we were the last two Marines standing at the bar, 10 Nov 05.
Cpl Bob Olson USMC 1957-58-59!

To all readers out there, hear this... 1) Marine is spelled with a capital "M". 2) We are not "members" of the Marine Corps. We are Marines. 3) Nobody "wins" the Medal of Honor (or any other medal, for that matter). They EARN it. Semper Fi and may God always continue to bless our beloved Corps.
Mike Calia

Marines do not use Foxholes, We use Fighting Holes. A Foxhole is what the Army hides in !

SSGT. Vince Lombardi USMC
Senior Drill Instructor
Parris Island, Plt - 366 MCRD 1968.

Marines Die So You Don't Have To!
Marines Die So You Don't Have To!

What We Do In Life Echoes An Eternity What We Do In Life Echoes An Eternity

Semper fi
Welcome home, Job Well Done.
Sgt Grit

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