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You know you've spent enough time in the field when all you have is your John Wayne, and your dog starts looking good for breakfast. Not cold, though, even Marines have standards. Got any Tabasco?
Semper Fi, Cpl. Arnie Ruperts 0351
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Headed To The Pad
I wanted to drop a note about an experience I had last week. I was required to do an Ultrasonic sound inspection (Marine Corps training) on a gear wheel used at launch pad A at the Kennedy Space center. Since the gear is caked in grease we were allowed to wear coveralls and since it was 100 degrees in the shade we wore a T-shirt and shorts underneath along with steel toed boots. Walking across the parking lot that morning headed to the pad wearing only shorts a T-shirt and heavy duty black boots reminded me so much of morning PT and to top it off a fellow Marine that I work with stepped out of his truck and started calling cadence. I separated from the Corps almost 20 years ago yet those memories are so ingrained in everything that we do. The Marines are standing watch on the space shuttle and are a go for launch next month.
Sgt. of Marines, (1980-1988)
I too am a former Marine Corps Sergeant (and prior service AF); having served a total of 9+ years and three enlistments. I have heard the same phrases stated; "They sure didn't look like you when I was in" or "In my day", etc. Do these "inquiring minds" think that attractive, fit, petite and intelligent women don't want to be Marines as well?! Patriotism, Honor and Esprit De Corps comes in all shapes, sizes and gender. I for one am extremely proud of my time as an Active Duty Marine; knowing that I gave my all to GOD, Corps and Country. So gentlemen...the next time a woman tells you "Semper Fidelis", remember that we are everywhere; then and now...to include the Marine Corps!
Cynthia A. Micallef
Sgt/USMC/89-98 (Prior service time included)
If This Marines
While stationed on Okinawa on my second tour to SE Asia, I happened to meet and speak with then Gen. Louis (MOH) who was our Division Commanding Officer.
It was while I stood up to ask a question - "how can my members of my platoon get on a BLT"? I was given the answer by Gen. Louis in front t of all who filled the base theater that day of "go through your chain of command Sgt. and then see!
Well, If this Marine had not done that...I would have not been able to see the great sites of Hong Kong, Philippines, Tiawan and other ports of call.
This was a great way to cap my five years as a hard working Marine Sgt from 66/71.
I also had the great opportunity to serve a community as a police/fire Lieutenant for 23 yrs...and retired.
Thank you and god bless all of our Marines working and fighting around the globe.
Lieut. Ret. 72/95
Sgt. USMC 66/71
Semper Fi Sgt. Jean Kammler!
It would make my day to have a WM. Sgt. acknowledge our beloved Corps and our mutual brother/sisterhood! Some of my fondest and most cherished memories during my time as a Corpsman of Marines were connected with a "Lady Marine." The kindred spirit and special friendship we shared is bitter sweet because of her untimely death. So Sgt. Jean Kammler there are some of us older Marines who know the value and appreciate the contribution you have made to our Corps.
Semper Fi back at you!
HMN Donnel Schmidt
I once knew a Marine who told me a neat story about a General and his flag. I don't know very many details but maybe some one else might be able to retell the true and full account of the story.
I apologize because I can't remember any names.
I graduated boot camp broken and was assigned to the Basic Marine Platoon right after my 10 days leave. We worked for Support Battalion S4. We had a female SSgt. who was in charge and she is the one who told us the story. (I only say female Marine in hopes that it might give some clues.)
One day she was getting groceries at a local store when she was stopped by an elderly lady. The woman told her she thought she had something of value at her house and she knew it didn't belong to her but she wanted to know what to do with it. The SSgt. followed her home to investigate.
The elderly woman handed her a Generals Flag. The history of the flag goes something like this. During the Vietnam War, a young PFC somehow acquired a General's Flag. (I've been told Marines don't steel, they acquire things.) The PFC new there would be h&ll to pay so he buried the flag in the ground out side the perimeter. That's where the flag stayed for who knows how long. I can only imagine the thorough search that was conducted. Much later, when the PFC was to go home, he retrieved the flag and took it with him.
I might be wrong but I think the man died and someone inherited his belongings and that included the flag. An elderly woman hung the flag as drapes in her house for many years causing the flag to fade.
Some how whether it be by gift, garage sale or accident, it came by a new owner who in turn gave it to my SSgt. My SSgt. was able to give the flag to the right person, returning the flag to its proper place.
Some how I remember her telling us that the flag belonged to the only General that was ever killed in Vietnam. She told us he died in a helicopter crash. Could it be General Hochmuth's flag?
Take what you want from it, I would really like to hear the story in it's entirety and all the facts in order.
Corporal of Marines,
Folks Went Ballistic
Sgt J Kammler,
You remember the day you decided to Join the Corps I am sure. I know I do. My folks went ballistic because the "Corps was no place for women" as my Dad (former Army) said and my Granddad (former Navy) echoed. My Mom well she had no idea what to say she was just angry with me. When the visitors day came my family was not there, nor were any of them there on my first day to wear the actual title Marine. To them I was just out to make them angry, but when I returned home from boot camp even they, my family, looked at me funny, but with pride once they realized the forever change the Marines had already made in me. I get a lot of strange looks from fellow male Marines as well, however, this is mostly from the younger generation. When I see an older Marine and tell him Semper Fi, Ooh Rah, or just call him Devil Dog I almost always get it right back.
Sgt A. Sutherland
I Did Succeed
I served in HMS 17 1 MAW DANANG RVN 1968 to 1970. As I was returning home through Okinawa I was recruited for duty at 8th & I Marine Barracks Wash. D.C. This duty was totally spit and polish, and we were expected to maintain military bearing at all times especially on Tuesday Parade at the I, Monument and Friday at the Barracks Parade which by the way still exist today, every Marine should attend as tribute, to our fallen fellow Marines.
I was assigned to work for a Captain of Marines, an old mustanger,left over from the Korean War named Captain Keller. I have never been able to thank him for what he thought me as a young Marine. First to be proud to be a Marine, second understand that as a Marine you can overcome life's difficulties with a little effort. Captain Keller I did succeed and am now a grandfather of 6.
Semper Fi, Capt. Keller.
Greg Soloway & Mary Ann
Sgt. of Marines S# 2367308
Ham And Lima
I was just this morning reading the note sent by a fellow Marine. He stated he didn't know how any Marine could love Ham and lima beans C-rats. It took me back to Nam 1965. A helicopter supplying us with cans of water was shot down right before our eyes. We were already 2 days without water. I remember just how sweet and watery those juicy limas were. Grew a great appreciation for them that day. So put me along side that other Marine in the Hall of C-rat fame...... I love em! Really took me back.
R. Casto Cpl. USMC 64-68
After reading several positions about the name calling of the Marine Corps, I am surprised at the lack of information on the use of "Gi-rine". My father told me, when I was in the Corps, the name came from a newspaper reporter who was attached to a group when they stormed ashore somewhere in the Pacific. I do not remember the island or just how the reporter got to his location, however, I still remember the most important aspect of the story.
The reporter was ashore and noted in his report that as the Marines came off the landing craft they had a strange way of running. They ran in a zig-zag pattern, sort of gyrating. The reporter was noted as saying, "Look at those gyrating Marines". This was beach landing style and from then on was called Gi- rines.
Maj Ted Bliss
Tonight I came across a article on the passing of Maj Ted Bliss. The article was from 2001. I too was in Northern Iraq And was fortunate to be around Capt Bliss. I was with Special Op's command at the time and had served with several units from many branches and other Nations. I have never served with any one better than Bliss and his Anglicos. They are a true quality.
I was promoted to SSgt by General Hocmuth on the drill field in front of the movie theatre in 1964--in front of my recruits. Ironically the street that runs by the theatre is now called "Hocmuth Avenue". He was a fine Marine--married to his high school sweetheart who recently passed away here in San Diego.
Gone But Not Forgotten Semper Fi
Major USMC Retired
Sgt. Grit -
Regarding J.V.'s shock and surprise at a Recon Marine's favorite C-rats being "Ham 'n' Muthas":
I was with VMFA-115 at Chu Lai from '67-'68, and I had learned as early as ITR at Camp Pendleton that if you were hungry (or thought you might be when you cracked them), Ham & Limas was the biggest and therefore, most-filling of all. I traded for 'em!
Former Sgt of Marines
I was with I, 3/5, when we got "lucky" to pull a "bush" on Thanksgiving eve. It was a squad sized event. We established our site in a growth of trees, smack in the center of several rice paddies, maybe 400 yards from a railroad bridge. Nothing moved all night and as it began to get light, I moved to the edge of the trees and started scoping things out with my trusty M700 Remington sniper rifle. It didn't take me long to identify a machine gun crew of NVA, establishing their own ambush site under the bridge.
We radioed back to the CP and the captain asked if I had a shot and if so, what were the chances of getting more than one. I told him that we could quite possibly get the entire crew. Anyway, we moved the entire squad to the edge of the trees, I took a reading in my scope using the accu-range feature of the Redfield scope, passed the word quickly of the range and the signal for everybody to fire was my shot.
I fired, taking out the gunner and the squad opened up about the same time I pulled the trigger. It was over in less than a minute. By this time the colonel was on the horn wanting a body count. Leaving four Marines in the trees, we moved towards the bridge, sweeping the train tracks, then the bridge, only to find no bodies, but plenty of blood and several blood trails. The machine gun (a captured M60) was destroyed. We reported back and were told to stand fast, the remainder of the platoon was enroute. When they arrived, we began another sweep, this time into the Arizona, following the blood trails. We searched and searched, but no bodies and it was well into the afternoon when we headed back to the CP.
Our thought were not on the bush, but the turkey and dressing we knew was waiting for us. We finally arrived back, secured our gear and headed towards the mess tent, only to be met by the mess sergeant, who said there was no turkey and dress, no smashed taters or gravy and no pie...but he did have a hot meal for us.
And you know what? That was the best sauerkraut and wieners I have ever eaten in my life and I do believe I enjoyed it more than turkey and dressing. We ate and ate, then drank the cases of Black Label and Red, White and Blue the colonel had sent over. Doesn't take much to make a feast for Marines.
Vietnam, 66-67 and 67-68.
A Generation Older
Wandering around Disneyland with my family on a recent visit to SoCal, we walked past a distinguished-looking man with a red Marine Corps hat and a Marine Corps shirt. Not one to miss the obvious I thought, "looks like a retiree." I wanted to say something to him, but my wife and four year old daughter were in search of the facilities. With the logistics taken care of, my wife and child busy, I strode back to where I'd seen this Marine.
He was in the same spot and looked as if he was waiting for someone. "Semper Fi, Marine," I said, trying my best to sound firm. The "OohRah!" received in response from this man a generation older than me, almost made me need the facilities as badly as my family. He acknowledge my surprise with a sheepish grin. I should've known I would get such a response from an obviously hard-core Marine. It made my day; my effort was rewarded.
That was the extent of the verbal exchange. A simple greeting that said more than what those around us may have heard. I walked a bit taller the rest of the day with the knowledge of having helped make his day too.
SGT of Marines
So,..... Some of you are pretty familiar with my BIG BRASS belt buckle. For the uninformed, it's about a 3 pound Brass Eagle- Globe-Anchor....
So this guy is in an office into which I had to go to conduct some business, and he immediately notices, and says that I have to get rid of that buckle... Yeah Right...
Of Course, he was Navy...
It gets better, because one of you, (and you know which one you are) called me right at that moment.... LOL Thanks, by the way....
And what do you think the "RING TONE" on my phone is?
Halls of Montezuma!
Too Good, he winced..... LOL
A Sunday Evening
MCRD San Diego
After reading some of the letters in your last few publications, several memories flashed back loud and clear.
First, I always wondered who had the boot heal consignment onboard the base. It seemed that of the two pair of boots issued, one was always in for heal replacement.
Second, I was in Platoon #364 back in 1965. They were running a 14 week program then as they were short of Marines. It must have been in the last few weeks and we were starting to feel a little salt, finished with Edison range, and looking forward to graduation when the following occurred:
It was on a Sunday evening and we were all shining shoes, writing letters or taking a nap. Of our three Sgt. DI's, who ever had the duty during the day had left. Usually the replacement was right there in the duty hut and keeping an eye on us. As chow time rolled around, there was no one to march us to chow. We waited and waited, no DI. I was the Plt. Guide on at the time and several of the squad leaders said, "Hey Girz, why don't you march us to chow." We knew that the chow hall was going to close soon and as always we were starving.
It was just starting to get dark so I thought maybe we can pull this off. We fell the Plt. In on the street in front of our Quonset hut. I told everyone that if this was going to work that this had to be the best we had ever marched. There was agreement. With a "Right Face" off we went. You never heard heals hit the deck together better then that night. We came to a halt in front of the mess hall. I had forgotten that the DI's had to sign in with the head count. Three DI's were standing next to the boot Marine with the clip board giving him their information. I was wondering what the brig was going to be like. To my relief, the three DI's walked into the mess hall and the Marine with the clip board double timed it over to me.
He stood at attention and handed me his clip board. I signed so no one could read who it was with the head count. This mess hall boot was doing a double take every time he looked at me but we were so squared away, he didn't say a word. We filed in, had chow, fell in out side and were the last to leave the mess hall. It was now dark. We started the march back to the huts. Our heals were sounding so good, I decided to take the long way around and march through some of the other streets where we knew there were new recruits. You could hear us coming with no problem. As we march through, heads popped out to see us. This only made the heals hit harder and more precise. The topper was when we heard a DI yell out to his recruits, "You Maggots hear that?" "Those recruits know how to march."
With out pressing our luck, we headed straight back to the huts. We had pulled it off. I was sure that the next day all h&ll was going to break loose. No one ever said a word. The DI's never figured it out.
To this day, I can still see that whole Plt. swaying back and forth with a swagger in perfect cadence.
I'm sorry that today the Quonset huts are all gone and those streets with Ice Plant rows in the sand are no more. One thing I know still exists is the pride of a Marine Plt. marching as a single unit. No one does it better.
Sgt. Glen Griswold
2168507 / 2532, 1965 â€“ 1969
Set Me Straight
I was in from 12/69 to 12/73 but never saw action. I was a Test Equipment Calibration Technician at a helicopter base in CA. I guess I always felt like a 2nd class Marine because I didn't get to serve in Nam. Until another Marine set me straight!
I was at a party hosted by a couple Marine vets. Both had served tours in Nam and one was badly wounded and in a wheel chair. He name was Dave and I had just met him that day and he invited me to the party.
There were two guys there who had been in the army and served a tour in Nam as well. They kept talking about there exploits there and finally one of them asked me what I had done in the Corps. When I told him he said 'Oh, then you weren't a real Marine." I just sort of looked away.
Then Dave came flying over to him in his wheel chair and made this little speech.
"I don't know what they taught you in the Army, but in the Marine Corps we are a team. You try telling a wounded Marine bleeding to death in a rice paddy, waiting for a chopper to get him out in time, and that chopper depending on the accuracy of its radar, that this Marine isn't a REAL Marine. While we were fighting in the FRONT, this MARINE and other MARINES like him HAD OUR BACKS. There is no I in team."
The two guys just hung their heads and apologized...and I never apologized again gor being part of the greatest Brotherhood the world has ever seen.
OOHRAH & SEMPER FI
Cpl E. Griffin
I Learned Off
Dear Sgt. Grit,
Thank you for your newsletter. It gives me laughs and tears, brings back memories, and heals my soul. In your June 1st, 2006 issue there was a letter regarding legendary Marines from 1st Sgt Paul Lennen, (Ret) who said he served under Gen. Hochmuth at MCRD San Diego. I believe Sgt Paul Lennen was my Platoon Commander for Plt. 386, L Company, Third Battalion, 6 Oct. 1965 thru 26 Nov. 1965 along with DI Sgt. Thomas Curtis, Jr. (KIA Viet Nam 1968) and DI Cpl. Evans. I served in Vietnam from November '67 to November '68 and I remember the day Gen. Bruno Hochmuth was killed in Nov. '67. I learned of Sgt. Curtis' death when the Vietnam Memorial was dedicated in Washington D.C.
I want to thank you Sgt. P.D. Lennen, Sgt. T.G. Curtis, and Cpl. E.T. Evans for changing my life, for making me a Marine, and for training me so well. I have wanted to thank you every day since my return from Nam in '68. You shaped my life not only in the Corps, but as a son, husband, father, and grandfather. You taught me the true meaning of duty, honor, country, Semper Fidelis, God, and Corps. I thank you all from my heart for your service and your sacrifice.
Sgt. C. M. Turner
Contact With The Civilian Population
Something interesting happened to me today which I think is worthy of notice.
I'm a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, having entered the service after graduating high school in 1979. I was assigned to E Co, Weapons Platoon, 2nd Battalion 6th Marines stationed at Camp LeJeune NC. During my enlistment I went overseas several times on "floats" or "Med Cruises" aboard navy ships.
During my last year (1983) my fellow Marines and I were sent over to Beirut, Lebanon as members of the Multi-National Peacekeeping Force. I was there for the U.S. Embassy bombing, but home and discharged when the Marine Barracks was bombed. Part of our routine while stationed there was to run patrols out into the surrounding towns twice a day. We had a lot of contact with the civilian population. Many thanked us for our efforts to help them, some had other feeling towards us.
Today, 23 years after having left Beirut my wife and I were at the Wal-Mart in Wilkes-Barre Twp. I happened to be wearing a t- shirt from the Beirut Veterans of America which has the flag of Lebanon on the back encircled by the words "Beirut Veterans of America". While waiting in line at the pharmacy with my wife a gentleman approached me and wanted to shake my hand. As I extended my hand, he must have noticed the puzzled look on my face. As we shook hands he smiled at me and said, "I am Lebanese"......and "thank you". I said thank you in return and he walked away. The whole thing probably took no more than 10 seconds but his simple act of appreciation will long be remembered.
I'm sure our servicemen and women currently overseas will have similar stories to tell. There are some who do not appreciate the efforts and sacrifice they do, but there will be the person like I encountered today, who will make you feel like what you did was right.
To the gentleman I met today, thank you.
Lance Corporal, USMC 1979-1983
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I've been getting Sgt Grit for sometime now and I pass it on to all the Marines I know. In referencing the Jewish Marine "J.V." and his comments about C rations. Ham & M.F.'s were in fact the worst of the bunch. Whenever I ended up with Ham & M.F's I used to tell my Gunny that I was Kosher and couldn't eat them. He always gave me a quizzical look, but always accepted what I said, and I never had to eat them. (I did however enjoy the B rations because they came with canned fruit.) But when being in the field, and cold and wet, regardless of what we had - we were grateful to eat something and fill our bellies. To my old buddies Mike Anderson from Joplin, MO, or Coutch, or Browning - if you're out there guys - I think of you often, and hope that all is well with you and your families.
Stephen M. Blank,
1963 - 1969, USMCR, 2039646
Beverages Were Consumed
1st Sgt Paul Lennen (RET) enjoyed your story about meeting Generals Hochmuth and Smith. Truly two giants of our Corps. It's too bad you weer working at MCRD San Diego at the time instead of the real boot camp. I attended the Drill Instructor Association Reunion at Parris Island in April and your name came up in a couple of discussion. My reason for being there was to insure that no alcoholic beverages were consumed or no lies were told during the reunion. Talk about a full time job.
Sgt Maj Jeff Federmeyer (RET)
I Married A BAM
I would like to respond to Sgt. Kammler with a hearty SEMPER FI Marine!
I understand your frustration. I married a BAM in '79. I respect our sisters tremendously.
Especially those in my era (76 to 80). I feel those ladies were truly the pioneers of a generation. Especially if you were on a grunt base, like my wife was. She and her sisters truly endured so that the WM's that followed would have it better. I remember a few moments that probably stung well. She kept calling me a Male Marine. I quickly reminded her that there was nothing in front of my title. I was a Marine... She was a Woman Marine. Also, another stupid remark was" While you were learning to put on makeup, I was learning how to kill." Yes Ladies, the woman actually married me and we're still married to this day. We celebrate our birthday with a bunch of Nam Vets every year.
We only see them at this time so its not like we're buds or anything.
They come to me and immediately accept me and we exchange our "Semper Fi's.
Although my wife and I clearly wear our own personal jackets, with all our patches coming from your website, they only seem to acknowledge me. After I introduce my wife as the other "Sgt. Allen" they quickly accept her. I know our Vietnam vets aren't used to WM's and I quickly remind her of this. She takes it all in stride, with the silent pride that I have seen from her on many occasions. I am extremely proud of my Marine and have a special place in my heart for all my sisters. She's the first one to see our Marines in any airport we might be in, and immediately approaches them to ensure their well being.
She is a Blue Star Mother, as our son, a SSgt. in our Corps, is in country now. She understands our way of life, but we both share in our knowledge knowing anything can happen in a combat situation. As Memorial Day has come and gone I pause to remember because I am not only a Blue Star Father, but also a Gold Star Brother. Here's wishing everyone a safe and happy summer. May God bless our Country and our Marine Corps.
Sgt. J. L. Allen
1st Recruit Training Bn. Plt. 1062
"Hollywood Marine" and proud of it!
MCRD San Diego, Ca.
Never Had To Squabble
You'll probably get numerous replies like this, but here's one old "Nam" Marine that learned to like ham & lima beans. I did two tours and learned to heat the ham & limas with cheese and crackers in them and they were uhmmmm uhmmmmm good. Also as I recall, they came with a pecan cake that was delicious and I never had to squabble with anyone to get that meal. I'm not sure I could eat them today, but when we got them, they were only 15 or 20 years old.
Semper Fi Marines.
Sgt Of Marines
This is in response to the wife that has a Marine husband who opted for civilian life after 13 years in the Corps. I myself was in that same boat when I got out of the Corps I found myself day in and day out asking myself why did I ever get out. So after being out for 7 years I have gotten the paper work going to reenlist in the Corps so by the end of the month I will be reenlisted as a SGT of MARINES it just goes to show you can take the Marine out of the Corps, But you cant take the Corps out of The Marine SEMPER FI...
SGT CROSSON B.R
I'm not sure, Sarg, that you are aware that there is a "herd" of Marines who are Poopoo`d, fingerpointed`at, chortled & giggled toward... outcasted from manly discussions. I know of such discrimination... and have endured... even in my starched Utilities and/or trops.
Who are "we" aka the shunned... allow my sticker/pin... whatever, speak for itself!
"Oh`Wahns ... the Fighting Types"
Someone had to do the job. Have you ever endured a ribbon smudge, or a paper cut, a malfunctioning Addresso/Multigraph ... hum? A stack of SRB's .... Oh yeh! Ever catch your web belt buckle on the center draw handle ...
Please accept this in good humor ...
Yours and Semper Fi,
SSgt Karl G. Taylor
Dear Sgt. Grit,
Please pass the WORD! 3/26 in RVN (particularly those with India Company) or who passed through OCS prior to 1968, you will be pleased to know that Officer's Candidate School, Quantico, VA will host a ceremony on July 21, 2006, to name the school's bachelor enlisted quarters "Taylor Hall." For those who may not be aware, SSgt Karl G. Taylor, USMC, was awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously, for his actions on December 8, 1968 on Operation Meade River.
For anyone who wishes to attend, please contact OCS at (703) 784-2351/52 or email Karen Reed at Karen.email@example.com
Gary A. Gruenwald
Former Sergeant of Marines
Step Over Here
With my Coach ticket in hand, I stood in line to board my plane. The boarding agent noticed the Marine Corps emblem on my tee shirt and asked if I was a Marine. As a Korean War veteran, I replied - as all old Marines do: "I'm still a Marine...just not on active duty."
"You seem like a real nice guy," she said. And I replied, "Yes, I am a real nice guy."
"Then step over here, will you, and let me have your ticket."
She replaced my Coach ticket with a First Class ticket and said, "Thank you for your service, Marine, and I hope you enjoy your trip."
First Marine Division
As the father of a Marine [ 1/2/2, '90-94] I am outraged at reports of our guys "In Shackles" because of the Haditha action. The Politically "Correct" officers that made that happen should be stopped in their Tracks! contact your congress person and let them know how you feel about the careers and lives of our brave guys being sacrificed due to the treason of the press that will always assume the worst in order to undermine.
Ham And Lima
When I read Cpl Henry H Hight's comments praising the lowly ham and lima C-rat meal, I was reminded of my first 'Nam patrol as an artillery forward observer with Lima 3/7. The 1967 "New Years cease-fire" ended at 0700 on 2 January. Lima's Third Platoon under my Basic School classmate, John Welch* (see note below), left Hill 41 (in the Dai Loc area southwest of DaNang) at around 0430 to sweep the nearby villes for any VC stragglers who hadn't cleared out before the "deadline" and to set up a blocking force along the river for a sweep from the east by Marines from 1/26.
We took one KIA as we entered the ville at around 0600. After checking out the area, we set in for a long boring day that we had been told would be over at around 1600. My radioman, Sherry, and I sat on the ground facing the river with our legs dangling inside the trench that girdled the village behind a hedge of "wait-a-minute" bushes.
At first we felt some anticipation, expecting action, but as the day wore on with no contact from the other side of the river the minutes began to drag. Then as if the boredom were not enough, around noon it began to rain, and it continued until just before dark. Around 1700 we were notified that Second Platoon was coming to relieve Third Platoon, and that I would be staying out overnight with them. When Chris Rhiner** (see note below) and his men arrived, he moved his platoon headquarters group into one of the hootches.
Just as darkness began to fall, C-ration meals were distributed. To further add to the depressing mood of the day, I drew the box containing ham and lima beans, the most disliked meal among the dozen in each case. I had just set a heat tablet inside my makeshift stove made from one of the smaller cans that had contained crackers and peanut butter, and started to open my can of ham and limas, when a rifle grenade exploded inside our perimeter.
All thought of food was lost as people scrambled for cover, and fire was returned at our unseen aggressor. When we experienced no more incoming rounds, we decided that Charlie was only harassing us, and we started to relax. Then one round from an old M-1 rifle sent a second rifle grenade into our midst. Again we scrambled for cover and returned fire. This pattern continued until around 2200. A couple of times during this harassment, Chris asked for illumination so that his men might spot our tormentor. "Whiskey Battery" (4.2-inch mortars--"four- deuces") from one of the artillery battalions around DaNang was supporting us, so I sent in a call for fire. However, we never saw anybody. Around 2230 things calmed down, and I managed to locate my ham and limas in the dark. Lighting a heat tablet was out of the question, but after going without eating for ten hours, even cold ham and limas tasted good--that is, as good as ham and limas could ever taste.
The rest of the night passed uneventfully, and the next morning Third Platoon returned to relieve us. The captain had sent my scout observer, Sgt. Larock, and my other radioman, Buettner, with them, so Sherry and I returned to Hill 41 with Second Platoon.
We had taken one casualty, spent a day in the rain and a nervous night under occasional "bombardment," and accomplished nothing. But I now knew how it felt to be out where bad things happened. John Wayne movies were never like this.
*2nd Lt. John Henry Welch III of West Hartford, Connecticut, was a classmate of mine in Officer Basic Class 4-66 at The Basic School at Quantico, Virginia. We were in the same student company, although I was in Second Platoon, and he was in Fourth Platoon (officer students were assigned to platoons by alphabetical order). John was an 0302 (infantry officer), and so had been in-country two months longer than I (an 0802--artillery officer), because I was sent to the Army's Field Artillery Officer Basic Course at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. He was killed on 1Feb67 near a hill called Nui Dang in Duc Pho during Operation Desoto, by a booby-trapped LAAW lying alongside the trail.
**2nd Lt. Chris Rhiner was an Amtrak officer who was assigned to a "grunt" billet because when he arrived in-country the 1st Marine Division didn't need Amtrak lieutenants as badly as they needed "grunt" officers. He received three minor wounds during Operation Desoto and left Vietnam before his tour was over under the "Three Purple Hearts" Rule. When asked by the company gunny if he was going to leave, Chris replied that the "fourth one might be a real bear."
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine
1963-'76, Vietnam 4Dec06-18Dec07
It Was My Turn
My father received his final orders to report for guard duty at heavens gate on 06/07/2006. My father would have been very happy with the service you provided, why you ask? Because, the Marines were there to pay tribute to a fellow Marine. That was something my father truly believed in. Taking care of one of his own, he serve on quite a few burial details back in the 60's and 70's during Viet Nam era and took a lot of pride in what he had to do for another Marine, no matter how hard the detail was, only, this time it was my turn to do something I never had the experience of doing. Burying a fellow Marine. I ordered his ribbons & chevrons from your site and a local Marine Recruiter gave me a shirt for him, everything came together as promised. He looked so good in his uniform, not as mean, but, still a Marine. The service was very nice with the Marine Corps present, a retired Navy Chief in full uniform blew taps with a echo bugler hid well into the background of the cemetery. Not a dry eye in the crowd. I had the opportunity to thank all that were present. But, I really wanted to thank you "Sgt. Grit" and the Marine Corps for giving me the opportunity to be associated with such an elite group of Men & Women.
In Memory of MSgt. James G. Lynch, 54-78
Jim Lynch 75-76
I Now Understand
My name is Christopher Clark and I am a Marine Corps Veteran 1984 to 1992.
My father Billy R. Clark passed away on June 9th 2006. I wanted to post a small tribute in honor of my father in your newsletter. My Father also served in the Marine Corps from 1961 to 1965. He was a loyal American and proudly flew both the American and Marine Corps flags in his yard till the day he died. Growing up I remember how proud he was to have served in the Corps. I wondered how something he did so long ago could stay with him and invoke such strong pride years later. Of course this led me to want to find out more about the Corps and by the time I was a junior in high school I knew I was going to be a Marine. After becoming a Marine and serving I now understand the pride my father felt. My father is gone now but his spirit and the things he taught me will live on in me just as all former Marines live on in the Corps.
Semper Fi' Dad, I love you.
I Was A Lowly Pvt
I read the article by 1st Sgt Paul Lennen about Generals B. A. Hochmuth and H. M. Smith and whole-heartedly agree that these were legendary men.
I met General Hochmuth several times while I was in the Corps. I went to Boot Camp at MCRD San Diego where he was CG in 1964. When I graduated ITR at Camp Pendleton, I was assigned to C&E Battalion in Feb 65 when it was still at MCRD rather than at 29 Stumps.
I was a lowly Pvt going to radio school. Several mates and I were in civvies one Saturday or Sunday afternoon and decided to go to the base bowling alley. When we got to the bowling alley, an elderly gentleman in civvies was standing there looking at this parking sign. He asked, "What happened to the other sign?" I asked, "What do you mean, Sir?" He said, "The sign says no parking between signs and there is only one sign." We continued to chat and my mates went on inside. I kept thinking that this guy looked familiar, but couldn't place why. But we talked for quite a spell. He asked me all sorts of questions like where I was from, what did I do in the Corps, how long had I been in, and so on. We finally moved into the bowling alley and he took off to do something and I connected with my mates. I was certainly surprised the following Monday morning to look at the photos of the chain of command and realize I had just spent time with the CG of the base!
The general had two daughters who worked at the PX on the north side of the grinder. I often went to the PX after classes just to look around and pass time. Many a time while there I ran into General Hochmuth, who was visiting with one or the other daughter. Usually he was in full uniform, but occasionally he'd be in civvies. Every time he saw me, we would chat and he introduced me to his daughters. He was always very friendly and outgoing. Even on Sundays at the base chapel, he could be up in the front pew, but as soon as service was over he was by the back hatch shaking everyone's hand as they left the service. Whenever I was in Casual company, I had guard duty around his headquarters building and the Sea School on the west end of the grinder or I got to mow his yard at his residence (his steward and I had a few run-ins). I didn't meet him much while in Casual company.
When he became CG of the base, I imagine he cleaned up the PX some. You couldn't find any of the current men's magazines, such as Male, or Stag or some others that I can't recall. Better than a year later, I was assigned to 2/9 just before it moved to Dong Ha in 1966. At that time, our PX was a 6x6 roughrider from somewhere south that rolled into Dong Ha ever so often. Those magazines I mentioned were available for purchase. I don't recall when General Hocmuth came to Nam and took over as CG 3rd MARDIV (I think General Walt had been CG of 3rd MarDiv, but then he took over 3rd MAF--long time ago--didn't think I'd ever forget some of those things). I never did get to see General Hochmuth while in country, but I noticed that our rolling PX definitely cleaned up.
2/9 floated all over Leatherneck Square before I left in December 1967. We were located at Camp Carroll at the time when we received reports about General Hochmuth's death. We had difficulty getting straight scoop, but scuttlebutt had it that he had been on an inspection tour in our area with some ARVN officers and that he had let them off in or near Quang Tri. At first we heard that the ARVN officers left a bomb on board his chopper. Later I learned he was shot down. Highest ranking officer killed in Nam. I lost several buddies while in 2/9, but news of his death was worse than losing my best friend. He was a very special man.
A few years ago, my wife and I attended a local church that had three elders. One of the elders was the spitting image of General Hochmuth! I brought my Boot Camp album to church one Sunday and showed the elder "his" picture. He and his family were all struck by the very close resemblance; only thing really different was his nose. But all agreed, he could pass for the general in a heartbeat. Once in awhile, I get to thinking about General Hochmuth and wonder about his family. I know he was from Houston and I live in the Dallas area. He was an old China Marine with 4th Marines. My son was with 2/4 at Pendleton, Okinawa, and Iraq. Somehow, I felt and continue to feel a kinship with the man.
As "Gunny" Ermy says, "Oooh Raah! Semper Fi! Carry On!"
Sgt E. W. Waechter H&S Co, 2/9 RVN 66-67
I Wasn't Alone
Grit, Just returned from San Antonio for a visit with Perez's Grandfather, Tony. He and I served in Korea together in '51 & '52. Met his mother, Diana, brother and two aunts and the rest of the family. They are doing well, considering what has been bestowed on them. It has been reported that L/Cpl. Perez was KIA while ON TOP of some of his men affording protection. The paper in San Antonio, put out a editorial cartoon, degrading the Marine Corps, TO ME, which was totally out of line and inappropriate. And guess I wasn't alone as ALL that responded felt the same way. The family are STRONG people and will persevere with what has been given them and, any Marine and all their friends are with them, in person and in thought, as the young man gave us the opportunity to be here and have EVERYTHING we have today. Not the politicians, pundits, but the grunts of ALL services who put it on the line Everyday for us.
C-1-1, Korea '51-'52
Chesty's last regimental command.
The Arizona Republic posted a Steve Benson political cartoon. It is of the Marine Corps emblem with blood dripping from it with a banner below with United States Massacre Cover-up. The below link is available for responses.
Sgt Eddie Ryan
I have ALWAYS had the utmost respect , admiration and sheer awe of the US Marines , but on July 7 , 2006 I met a man that exemplifies every quality of a Marine . I had the privilege of meeting Sgt Eddie Ryan where he is undergoing therapy after his ordeal in Iraq . I would strongly recommend everyone visit Sgt Ryan's web site and learn what happened , what he went through and what he's going through . he's one of many , many U.S. service people that served and deserving of attention . In my opinion , Sgt Ryan has reinforced just what a hero truly is
Sgt. Grit I am writing to you in hopes that you can help me. I would like to have a copy of the words to the infantry song chesty puller was a merry old soul. Its a infantry song that was sang to the nursery rhyme of old king cole,. We use to sing it back in 1991 when I was with the 3rd Marine Regiment, 1st. meb kaneheo bay hawaii . Any help you can give me with this would be greatly appreciated. I try to sing this to my 6 yr. old when he goes to bed. I'm not sure if its right though. Thank you in advance for your help.
Sgt. Robert Norton, USMC 1980-1993
This is the verse that I am familiar with, there may be more and there maybe slightly different versions. Gunny D
Chesty Puller was a fine Marine
And a fine Marine was he.
He called for his pipe,
He called for his bowl,
He called for his privates three.
"Beer, beer, beer," said the privates.
"Merry old men are we.
There's nothing so fair that it can compare to Marine Corps infantry"
Note that there is another Sgt. Grit...8-week old brindle boxer pup. Hope this one is housebroken.
Bob aka Sgt. Wolf
Wait until Abu Musab al-Zarqawi finds out that the Marines have control of his 72 virg!ns....
Can anyone tell me why Marine Detachments were disbanded from serving aboard ships of the line in 1998? I was a Marine on the USS Wisconsin in '57. Bob
Just to let you know my 9 year old son want to be a Marine pilot I could not be prouder.
Dear Sgt. Grit,
As for Pete Hoeft, h&ll I still like ravioli cold in the morning. What is wrong with you gunny? You know nothing about good food.
Jack O'Dea, 62/68
" To observe a Marine is inspirational, to be a Marine is exceptional." - Unknown
I started out by ordering an NCO sword...now I'm piecing together a set of Dress Blues!
I would like to say thanks for the very good and polite service you and your outfit have provided.....who would have thought, after about 28 years, I'd want to put on a uniform again?
Howard T. Bates,
former Marine Corporal.
Let me add to that issue. Have a liver test as part of your blood work. Found I have Hepatitis C. Some scientist feel that this may have been an agent orange issue also. Too high a prevalence in Viet Vets to be a coincidence. Have yourself checked.
Tom Fearns 69-70 RVN, 3/7
Well JV I fear after that 45 years (as of the 12th of this month-June) that my stomach has seen better days and I am now paying the price for a some what "Misspent Youth" and many-a- gallon of beer & Tequila, but I still Love the Corps and Ham & Lima's
Just a good ole southern boy.
Semper Fi --- my Brother
just got back From Parris Island it was 46 years ago I was their.
Tim Mc Carthy
Got a kick out of the story told by one "Garent Gunther 2517489 USMC". Then I had to read the serial number several times to make sure it wasn't mine!
Art Curley 2517419 USMC
University of Science, Music and Culture Parris Island Campus
No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy
Some People Just Need Killing
Welcome Home, Job Well Done!
Marine Corps Steel Tip Darts
SeaWolf Stainless Steel Watch
US Marines Pewter Key Chain
USMC Flag Decal
Emblem/U.S. Marines Hat
Marine Corps 3pk Golf Balls
Marine Corps Wall Plaque
All New Items!