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We can't always remember the name his mother gave him, we just called him "Doc". But I do remember all the times we would talk, he never said he believed in war, and often said he was scared. But when the call came "Corpsman Up" we never saw any fear. He often risked it all to save one of us, sometimes he would shed a tear, but only if it was one of our guys or somebody he knew. I want to salute him my long lost friend that did not show his fear, and if I ever meet him again I'll address him as "Sir", thanks Doc Frank Gillette.
Jim Pollard, Sgt USMC 1968-1972
Spring Break 2003 & 2004 Shirts
These Spring Break Iraq 2003 and 2004 shirts are back for a limited time only. Show how you spent your Spring Break in the hot sun fighting for freedom. Available ONLY through May 21st.
NEW - Auto Items on Special This Week
Show your pride for the Corps by displaying these Auto items proudly on your vehicle... 20% off for a short time only
GriTogether THIS Weekend!
For Marines, family members, and friends! 3rd Annual GriTogether is coming up fast. Saturday, May 13th, stop by to see the YL-37, Get some free food, talk with buddies and more...
1st, 2nd, 3rd Generation Marines
I read every "newsletter" although some are not until a week or even two later. It sometimes takes me a few days to get through those that are full of especially touching storylines. It seems people are using the term newsletter in quotes as if it is not one. I am not sure, but if ever a name change is needed, in keeping with Marine Corps Tradition, and seeing that it is full of sea stories, and gossip, I think that "Sgt Grit's Scuttlebutt" would be more then appropriate.
I am a second generation Marine, following my Mother who was in the mid 50's. I use to make the comment that if the term "BAM" was good enough for her, then it is surely good enough for those that are in now. That didn't go over to well with some. I have been retired for about 5 years now after 20 awesome years in the Corps that I would not trade for anything. I missed it so much I tried to return just about the time this war started, but was unable. I am very proud to announce now that my family will soon have not one but two THIRD generation Marines. My Daughter is in Recruit Training now, scheduled to graduate in June, and my Son will be going in October. I made no special effort to push them in that direction as the Military is not for everyone, and the CORPS is for even fewer. But throughout their lives they have learned (I guess from me) which is the better service, and when you are the best, you join the best.
In answer to Cpl Arthur Woodell's question about FASMO, it Stands for "Field Supply Maintenance Analysis Office." Although for the life of me I can't imagine standing as many FASMO's as he implied and not knowing what it is.
We are all praying for the safety of those defending us from the bad guys around the world.
Semper Fidelis Sgt Grit, and all Marines
GySgt T. A. Benedick
Reading the hitchhiking stories I remember going from Camp Lejeune in December of 1968 to Hardy County WV. I got to a turn off on US 50, between Winchester VA and Capon Bridge WV. It is out in the middle of nowhere. It was 0200, about 25 degrees, wind blowing and snow falling with several inches on the deck. I was lucky enough to have worn my horse blanket and there was a phone booth close by. After about 2 hours in the booth I was even lucky enough to have someone stop and give me a ride home, about 30 miles away It is just one of many memories from 21 years in the Corps.
ROSS L. Webster USMC (Ret)
2nd Bn 11th Marines Reunion
2nd Bn 11th Marines 1st Marine Div. will have a reunion at Oceanside California from June21-25, 2006, open to anyone who served in any one of the units. contact: wbeperdue @ aol.com
I had come back from Viet Nam in 1967 and got stationed at Camp Pendleton Base Motors. I remember the snow and watching people try to drive in it. Being from Michigan I was used to it and thought just my luck to be here where they said it had not snowed for 37 years.
I also made the Rifle Range run on Saturdayâ€™s driving a cattle car to pick up recruits and take them to the Range and return the ones that were done. This was late 1967 and 1968 and they got to ride all the way.
A Marine until I die and then Iâ€™ll be a dead Marine.
Speaking of Women Marines. When I was in Parris Island, back in 1966, we came to the phase where you got a week of Guard Duty or KP. One evening the DI's came in laughing so hard they could hardly walk. It seems they posted one of the youngest, shyest country guys at the women's barrack. Adding to the DI's fun, he was a virg!n, with no knowledge of any anything about woman.
One of the Woman DI's decided to have some entertainment when she was told of the recruits lack of knowledge and she ordered him inside. There he was, before him was a full platoon of women standing tall in panties and bra. He was reported to have turned every shade of red. Next the DI had him stand at attention in front of one of the recruits. The DI ask the woman if she like the Marine Corp. Then she asked if the recruit wanted the Marine standing in front of her. Of course there was no correct answer.
If the answer was NO then she was informed, "WHAT? You do not want a piece of this fine Marine. The best there is in our United States of America. Trained by the best and is the best God has to offer a young woman as your self." The poor guy was then told to side step and stand before the next subject. Again the same sort of questioning and if the answer was YES the she was informed, "What? You want this maggot, this low life, this piece of foul male @#$*. You are a Woman Marine and only the best will do for us." And on it went. No correct answer was given as he stood in front of each and every woman in the barracks.
We had a good laugh as well when we heard about what he had been through. The recruit asked for KP duty the next day. For some reason he had not wanted to be put back in that situation again. He said it was just to embarrassing to see all the women in their underwear. The rest of us could only wish.
John Halpin, Sgt. 2/9
First of all, I have to confess that I have never spent a day in a military uniform in my whole life, although I have wished my whole life that I could have. (Due to DADT) There is NOBODY on this Earth that I look up to and respect more than those men and women who so proudly serve in our military. Although, I admire and respect all military branches, coming from a strong military family, there is no one as high on my list as those who serve in the United States Marine Corps! I am 55 years old; I guess that I too old to be a "wannabe", I have to call myself a "wishiwas". I just want to say a big THANK YOU to all of you-- Marines and Former Marines--and their spouses and families who sacrifice so much for so little respect and gratitude from so many of us. I realize, very clearly, that if it wasn't for you, I would not have the freedom to be myself! May God bless and protect you all! Edward Thomas, TX.
Dear Sgt. Grit: I have read many if not all of your news letters. It was March or April 1965.i was with mike co. 3rd bat 4th Marines. I was a lance corporal and an automatic rifleman. We were told all a-r men were to qualify on the rifle range thru out the Marine Corps. That included 1st 2nd 3rd divisions and the 4th Marines in Hawaii. We had m-14 rifles. And we had to spend one week on the rifle range. Then we were to qualify on the last day. It was rapid fire at the 200,300 and five hundred yard lines. 5 round in each magazine. We also had 20 seconds too switch magazines. The sear was set on automatic. And all you had to do was touch the trigger and off went a burst of rounds. After 4 days I got very good at it. I was an expert rifle man at that time. From previous qualifications in the corps. Our group was told that the score of 222 was the highest in the Marine Corps in all 3 divisions. When we left the 300 yard line, we all went back to the 500 yard line. Loaded our magazines and laid down, it was our final fire. I took notice that a lot of officers and range officers were standing behind me. I was just a young Marine 21 years old. But old enough too know that I must be doing well for them to be watching me. . After the 500 yard line the range officers were getting all the totals from all the men. The men consisted of all a-r men in the 4th Marines. So their was a lot of us who had to qualify. The maximum score was 250. The range officer who called me over was a major. I was so scared thinking I did something wrong. He said Marine you just scored 242 as far as I know it is buy far the highest score in the Marine Corps. Our outfit the 4th Marines were last to qualify. He also said I will be hearing from my company commander's I went back to mike co. I was only about a week the c.o. called me in his office. And said that my score was the highest in the corps. And would I be interest in joining the Marine Corps rifle team. I said yes sir. Anything to get out of being a o 411. He also said I will get a rifle from N.R.A. and meritorious mast. I was so happy I could jump and click my boots tighter. So it was not long just a very short time. And our Lt. Came running in the barracks and yelled mount out. Any Marine knows what that is all about.12 hrs later we were aboard ship in Pearl Harbor. And off to Vietnam. We docked in Okinawa, put the rest of our sea bags their. And then aboard ship again days later we landed in hue Vietnam. On trucks to Phu Bi. We were the first Marine unit to land in Vietnam am not sure anymore time has gone by what month that was. But I do know when I left. Xmas eve 1965.maybe some of your readers will remember the rifle range in Hawaii in 1965.and serving with me in Vietnam. I know itâ€™s been a long time. I talk about Nam today and all the brave men I served with. And all those brave heroes who did not come home. I am forever a Marine. Corps, Country and God. Semper Fi. Corporal Ron Unger. 2023541= 1962-1966 Nam 1965
Hello to Marines of today and yesterday,
There has been a lot of discussion of Pappy Boyington and the UW "Chinese fire drill". I thought I would put in my two cents worth. I only met Pappy once and that was at Oshkosh EAA, in. He signed my copy of his book, but you could tell he was not well.
I was in VMF-214 at Kaneohe Bay, 1954 and 1955. The squadron was flying F2H-4 Banshees, and were equipped with all weather radar intercept capability, Nuclear weapons capable and Bombs, Rockets and Guns.
In later years, the Squadron patch was changed, the little Black Sheep was removed and a Black Ram was substituted. I don't know
if they were trying to be Politically correct, or just dumb. The Black Sheep was a symbol that we were the best. We just did things our way. If you were an NCO or officer from another unit, and you made a remark or unorthodox request, you would probably be told to 1: Go F____ yourself, or 2: Take a flying F___ at a rolling Doughnut! Most of the guys could take 5 days of "Cake and Wine" standing on their heads! But they were excellent technicians and "Gung Ho" Marines.
In the two years I served with the Squadron we never lost an Aircraft or had an emergency! We never left the work area with a down aircraft that could be repaired.
We had a lot of "official Visitors", (being in Hawaii), so when they needed a demonstration of what our aircraft could do, or a demonstration of troop drilling, VMF-214 was always called upon. I was a new S/Sgt and due to my "unique leadership" technique, I was assigned as the night Avionics crew chief, and I was given the "baddest of the bad" as my technicians. They didn't realize it, but they gave me the best technicians in the squadron!
My method of using this bunch was, and still is: everyone is the same, no suckups,everyone has a job and is expected to do it, You want a special privilege earn it! anyone gets on your case send them to me!
I never had to put anyone on report or discipline anyone! They didn't know what I would do, and did not want to find out. Mostly, they did not want to let me down, and they took care of each other. I did have to "remind" a couple of other NCO's not to screw with my people! That was a definite no no!
I left the Squadron in January of 1956, and worked the next 36 years as a Technical Representative, with Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps personnel on avionics and weapons.
Semper Fi, Jim Reed/ S/Sgt
3rd Battalion, 5th Marines (Korea 1950-53) Reunion
Dates: Sept.12-16, 2006
City: San Diego, California
Contact: Al Bettiga (520) 229-0657
email: albett @ earthlink.net
I'm sure that many of your readers are getting into the advanced years, such as myself, and our eyesight isn't quite what it used to be. I've found a way of reading your newsletter without squinting or resorting to using a magnifying glass, and wanted to pass this little trick along to others. Depress the Ctrl key and while doing so, rotate the wheel on your mouse. This will increase the size of the print on your screen to whatever size is easiest to read. This works on just about all text. It makes reading the Sgt Grit Newsletter much easier for this old Jarhead.
Ron Morse (Sgt. USMC 69-75)
Heavy Guns Platoons 1 and 2, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines from years 1992 through 1996 are having a reunion in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on August 5 through the 9. Anyone that we have not contacted who wishes to have more information can contact me by e-mail.
Former Marine Corporal
Joeyasutomi @ yahoo.com
Talk about bloopers in Full Metal Jacket 1968. ...what about army flack jackets and regular black leather boots on everyone, let alone the old c 34 choppers which I hardly ever saw by 1968. It ruined the whole second half of the movie for me. My wife said what's wrong, I said they just can't get it right. Critics called this one of the best movies ever made, and they had all the Marines wearing army flack jackets and not one person in jungle boots!
Charlie Co. "The Walking Dead" 68-69
In case anyone hasn't mentioned this one before...the first time I saw Full Metal Jacket and saw Gomer Pyle in the head with his M-14 it occurred to me that, since this was post-graduation, the platoon would already have turned in their rifles and 782 gear prior to leaving the island the next morning.
Oh, well......still a d*mn fine movie.
Tom Mahoney, Cpl
Parris Island Class of '67
40 years ago this week, I was at the Camp Margarita dispensary awaiting my separation from active duty. Camp Margarita was essentially a "ghost town" as the 5th Marines had vacated the premises and were in Vietnam. The only occupants of the Camp were the PX employees, the NCO Club, a few boot Marines from MCRD that came in every other week to qualify and the dispensary staff; 6 Corpsman and a Medical Officer. The Corpsman at Margarita were all FMF and had finished their respective tours in Vietnam. We all were initially assigned to the MCRD dispensary in San Diego but had a command problem when told by a HM1 to switch back into the Navy uniforms. My Whites and Blues had been placed in a sea bag and its location became a mystery - sic. We were told collectively that if we enjoyed the Marine Corps so much, we would be shipped to Pendleton. No hesitation from any of us, we climbed into the dark green USMC bus and headed north to the only life that we really understood - The USMC.
Prior to the small revolt at MCRD, I had been stationed in Vietnam with 2nd and 3rd platoon of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division. I had received assignment to 1/9/3 at Camp Hanson in Okinawa. 1/9/3 attended a Amphibious Raider School for a few weeks and then boarded a ship headed toward DaNang.
I still have a tremendous amount of pride regarding my service with the USMC A/1/9/3 - "The Walking Dead". Being a "grunt doc" was a mixture of heartaches, chaos, comradeship and teamwork at the ultimate and most extreme levels.
One of my most reoccurring memories of my time with the USMC was when I was waiting to fly standby at LAX. I was in the last quarter of a line at the boarding gate. "No hope" was probably written all over my face, when out of the blue a Marine Lt. Col. walked up to me, looked at my left chest, stated that I was wearing a few ribbons that he didn't have and then insisted that I take his place toward the front of the waiting line. If you are reading this note Colonel, I can only say THANK YOU and Semper Fi, your gracious behavior will never forgotten.
Doc Scott Thompson A/1/9/3 1965 - 1966
Grand Mal Seizures
This my first letter to SGT GRIT. I really enjoy the newsletter. Not too long after my wife and I saw Full Metal Jacket, we were discussing it with our neighbors over dinner. The other two guys had not been in the military and they informed me that the movie wasn't realistic, that the military wasn't like that at all.
I set them straight telling them that I left that theater traumatized for about a week. The first part really got to me. It was the best representation of boot camp that I ever saw. Our first full day at MCRD four guys came down with Grand Mal seizures. In those days they let a lot of different people in that probably couldn't get in now.
A fellow Marine sent me this news letter , needless to say that lump in my throat was pretty BIG.
I joined the Corp in November 1954. My Drill Instructors were. SSGT Rogers, SSGT DELKOSKI (SPL?) , SSGT MANN and SGT WREN (SPL?) , there faces were are etched in my memory forever. I departed in 1964 , a Buck Sgt (E-4) , no fault of the Corps.
There was an article by Cpl Jim Starkovick , COOKIES and the DUMPSTER. Just prior to our out posting we were taken to the P.X on Main Side for the normal things, WE WERE GIVEN strict instructions to get only ONE BOX OF COOKIES, right, now our miscreant Drill Instructors had the fix in with the cashier, so , as you can imagine some of our more hefty fellow boots retrieved more than the ONE allotted box.
On arrival back to our Company HQ , 3rd Bat ( affectionately called CRUD VILLE), MCRD, P.I. we were instructed to bring out ALL the cookies , put them in a large circle , on command were to dive in and eat, it was a mess , and FUNNY as h&ll just the same ,what memories.
Now as for the H-34, I was a Helicopter Crew Chief on , H-19, H- 34, and H-37, they are all everlasting memories, .
While I did not see combat with the Corps , I want to thank you for what you do for the Corps and guys like me, keeping us in touch.
I salute you and your Family, after all, the toughest job in the Corps is a Marine Wife.
3/8 Beirut Reunion
Hope you can post this reunion notice. We 3/8 guys have been gathering several times a year since 2002, to include the 20th Remembrance ceremonies at Camp Johnson for our lost brothers from Beirut and each USMC birthday at Cookies Tavern in Philly. Well we're having another reunion this June in Washington D.C. to see the Silent Drill team at 8th & I. We always have stuff in the works and invite any Marine to join us.
These reunions are always highly motivating and I meet new guys from different 3/8 eras as well as see old, and getting older, friends that just makes all the letters, emails and searching so worth while. I loved my time in the Corps, I miss the heck outta wearing the uniform, but get my fix with these reunions. Let's Do It Again!
3/8 MARINES REUNION-GEIGER to BEIRUT
June 23-25, 2006
Arlington Holiday Inn:4610 Fairfax Dr. 703-243-9800
Reserve under 3/8 Marines Reunion
Contact: C. Eric Tischler (Wpns.Co.Dragons 83-87) 814-883-2890
tisch @ 38beirut.org http://www.38beirut.org
Thanks, Semper Fi, Stay Hard-Stay Marine!
Hi Sgt. Grit.
I'm just curious whether the "Gauntlet Glove" is still being done?
This was a tradition back in the 70's. When I was with 3./2 at Camp Le Lejeune, N.C. Marines would run the 100+mile to Fort Bragg with a "Glove". and Challenge the Army to run back the glove. This was an annual event. from General to the other.
Arnold "Sal" Salazar
SMF -Saigon. Sub Unit 1-1st ANGLICO
Semper Fi to ALL
The following story is a reprint. It was cut off in the previous Sgt Grit Newsletter. Sorry for the error.
In The Company Of Heroes
by Joe Lisi
A few days before Christmas, my friend David Eigenberg and I headed to Washington DC. We had been invited by the USO to visit wounded troops being treated at the National Naval Medical Center (Bethesda) and Walter Reed Army Hospital. It was an eye opening experience, one that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
Our visit began at 10:00AM when we were picked up by a USO driver. David and I, both former Marines were accompanied by my fiancÃ©e Donna Johnson. David=s wife Chrysti, a former Army MP, opted to man our command post at the hotel. She had so many friends still in Iraq; she felt it necessary to support us without going on site. Our driver Ed, a former USAF airman, had spent many years working for the airlines. Now in semi-retirement, he drives for the USO.
As we headed to our first destination, the National Naval Medical Center, the conversation was kept casual and lighthearted. However, inside me, an unusual bit of anxiety began to build. I was surprised because I didn't=t know where it came from. I knew I was about to see young men terribly wounded and in some cases disfigured. But, having spent 24 years in the NYPD, I'd seen hundreds of victims of shooting and stabbings, and other acts of violence. Why was I feeling funny? Before I could figure it out, our car had arrived at the gate of the complex. We were questioned by heavily armed security guards who required us to show photo identification. The reality of our mission was beginning to set in. The National Naval Medical Center is a beautiful and impressive complex. It looks more like a major university than medical facility. It was not unlike some of the Hollywood studios I had worked on. The difference here being the pain and death was real and not the magic of movie land. From the time we entered the gate until we got out of the car at the entrance to the main hospital building we sat in silence. We walked through the front door directly into our first and only snafu. The USO representative assigned to escort us was nowhere to be found. A few phone calls revealed that, unbeknownst to us, our itinerary had been changed at the last minute. We were originally supposed to visit the soldiers at Walter Reed first. However, we were rerouted because President Bush had decided to pay a visit himself. So, while we were at Bethesda, our escort was at Walter Reed.
A young Marine eyed us wandering in the lobby and suggested we check in with the Marine Corps Duty Officer. We did. The captain was very helpful and seemed genuinely glad to have us on board. He made us feel very much at home. Within minutes a Navy Lieutenant, from public affairs, was assigned to us.
The lieutenant briefed us on how Acelebrity@ visits were conducted. First we would be brought up to the ward. There we would wait outside a patient=s room. The lieutenant would enter and ask if the patient wanted any visitors. If the patient agreed, the lieutenant would excuse himself, and leave the room. Once outside, he would give us the patient=s name, rank, age, and type of injury. We would then be brought in and he would leave. From there we were on our own.
David and I knew that being at Bethesda, all the patients would be brother Marines or Navy Corpsmen assigned to Marine fighting units. Actually that made it a little easier for us. In our eyes we were just two old Marines going in to talk to a young Marine. We wanted to express our gratitude and thanks for their service and sacrifice. I felt that was very important because I remember how returning service members were treated in the Vietnam era.
Up on the ward, the buzz about our presence quickly spread. Before we got to see any patients we were greeted and thanked by the medical personnel tending to the wounded. I was impressed how they felt honored to tend the Marines in their care. It was very clear they were determined to comfort their patients and get them back to good health. Nothing was going to get in the way of that. We posed for pictures and signed autographs for the staff. They couldn't=t have been nicer to us. David and I kept telling them we were the ones privileged to spend time with them.
We visited about fourteen Marines at Bethesda. Most of whom were fortunate enough to have family members with them. Some were more severely wounded than others. There were head wounds. There were missing limbs. There was paralysis. There was physical pain. Lots of it. Above all however, there was pride, great pride. Some could communicate only by blinking their eyes. Others spoke with voices you might hear on a high school football field. Nearly all we met were still teenagers. But make no mistake about it, they were men. Matured beyond their years, they were grounded in the harsh realities of war and the world of today. Anxiety consumed me as we crossed the threshold of the first patient=s door. What I saw was a young man, with a baby face lying in bed. He was talking with his sister. We introduced ourselves and just began talking. He had been shot in the leg. He was so composed and candid, my anxiety quickly subsided. The other visits followed the same path. Upon entering the room, either David or I would take the lead. The patient already knew that besides being actors, we too were Marines so the bond of brotherhood automatically existed. We asked direct questions about how they were wounded. They were very forthright about how they were shot or blown up by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). The stories were graphic and bloody yet they were wrapped in Marine Corps humor that kept the discussion somewhat lighthearted. There was never any question in any of their minds about their purpose or the mission. They knew they were in Iraq to preserve our way of life and defeat the terrorists abroad so we civilians would not have to feel their wrath at home. There was no self pity, no excuses, no regret. Only a desire to heal and return to their fellow Marines and rejoin the fight. Although clearly, for the majority of them, their fighting days were over. The warrior spirit would burn in their hearts until the day they died.
We brought along trinkets. The NYPD Marine Corps Association donated baseball hats and tee shirts for the troops. When we presented them, the guys showed us other goodies they had received. More than one had an FDNY (Fire Department New York) hat already in their collection. There were shirts, hats, videos, DVDs, cds, phone cards, and even lap tops. All donated by former Marines and others wishing them a speedy recovery. The rooms were also adorned with photos of other celebrities who had made the rounds before us. I saw autographed pictures of Cher, and cast members of the Sopranos. The most impressive thing I saw however, was a portrait of George Washington. They all had one. There was our first President, in profile, affixed to a small heart hanging from a purple ribbon. Several of the Marines was quick to point out they had received their Purple Heart directly from President Bush on one of his many unpublicized visits to the hospital. We were allowed to visit for as long as we liked. Each stop lasted about 45 minutes. Word came back that the men were at ease talking with us. They felt they could be themselves because we were Marines like them. Sometime during our first visit, the USO escort caught up with us. She was terrific. She came with USO badges for us to wear and a Polaroid camera. At the end of each visit we posed for pictures with the wounded Marine. We signed the photos and more than once I saw our picture go up along side Cher and Tony Sirico (Pauly Walnuts of the Sopranos).
At some point during the visit, Donna would break off and engage the family members in the room. She was interested in giving support to the fighters who don=t wear uniforms. The wives, girlfriends, mothers, fathers, and even grandparents we encountered. They too needed encouragement, and needed to talk. After all, they would have to deal with the ramifications of war. Their lives will forever be changed because of the experiences of their loved ones. I remember seeing Donna and the Grandfather of one of the Marines embracing. Tears rolled down the old man=s face. He was so glad his grandson was alive but age had made the burden of caring for him very difficult. APop Pop@ tried to be strong but Donna=s feminine touch so comforted him, that his emotions finally got the best of him. His was a very healthy cry.
One question we always asked during the visit was what plans did the Marines have for after they left the Corps. I was surprised that quite a few said they planned to go on to college and become teachers. They wanted to make a difference in young people's lives. Only one or two planned to make the Marine Corps a career. The last patient we visited at Bethesda was a 20 year old Navy Corpsman. He had been injured in the Battle of Fallujah. His story exemplifies the mettle of our fighting men and women today. The Corpsman was on a patrol with his Marines when they were engaged. The patrol was crossing a bridge when attacked. One of the Marines was shot and went down mid span. The Corpsman, at great disregard for his own safety, ran our from behind an abutment to tend to his wounded Marine. While running across the bridge, he was hit by a RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenade). It didn't explode but took off the Corpsman's left leg at the knee. He went down. While still under fire, he tended himself by placing a tourniquet around his leg and injecting morphine. Stranded on the bridge, he was a sitting duck. Unable to move because of his injury, he was hit five times by rifle fire. A young Marine came to his aid and our Corpsman chastised him for exposing himself to gunfire. Eventually support came and our Corpsman was Medi-vaced. I asked him why ran out on the bridge? AOne of my Marines needed me@ he said matter of factly.
All this happened at Bethesda before lunch.
After a quick bite, our USO escort and driver brought us to Walter Reed Army Hospital. We were the second act to President Bush. He had visited earlier that day to highlight the efforts of the Fisher House Foundation. The Fisher family is New York based. They are great friends to our military. Without fanfare or publicity, the Fisher=s established a foundation to help service families. They have built A Fisher Houses@ at military medical installations all over the world. Those houses provide shelter and comfort to the families of injured military personnel during their time of need. Many times during our visit family members praised the Fisher Houses as a blessing. Several stated they could not afford to stay with their injured service member if they had had to lay out their own money. The Fisher Houses pick up all the living expenses.
Walter Reed was much like Bethesda, only bigger. The Army of course, is a big institution, and Walter Reed is the hub of its medical arm. We spoke with almost as many soldiers as Marines. Warriors are the same inside. Proud young Americans serving their country during a time of need. Their stories were similar to those of the Marines. They too were surrounded by family members and expressions of gratitude from the American people. George Washington was in their rooms as well. There are differences between soldiers and Marines. However we were just as welcome at Walter Reed. We saw the same pride and confidence among the soldiers, that goes with clear thinking and a righteous mission.
The only warrior we were unable to visit with was at Walter Reed. When we reached her room, she was asleep. An Army captain and a helicopter pilot, she lost both leg legs when a rocket hit her chopper directly under her seat. In spite of her injuries and excruciating pain, the captain flew the crippled bird to safety saving the lives of her crew. Where do we find such heroes?
By the time we left Walter Reed it was dark. Back at our hotel, we showered and went to dinner. In the restaurant we sat in a dining room full of people who joked and made small talk while having meals fit for kings. Ordinary Americans just living their lives. We retired to a comfortable hotel suite and slept peacefully the whole night through. Just like millions of other Americans. The next day we went about our normal lives. Never giving it a second thought. How many of us forget that we can do all that because of our American military? Because there are warriors who put themselves between us and the forces of evil. Warriors who would give up their own lives so we can live ours in freedom. Warriors who would die so that we can go out to eat. As I put my head on the pillow that night I said a prayer. I prayed that the American people would never forget and never take for granted those who stand in harm=s way for us. I also thanked God for the honor of allowing me to spend the day in the company of heroes.
(Joe Lisi is a retired NYPD Captain and former Marine. David Eigenberg is also a former Marine. They appeared together on Broadway in the Tony Award winning Play, ATake Me Out.@ David is best known for his portrayal of Steve on the HBO hit series, A $ex in the City.@ Joe for Lt. Swersky on the NBC hit show, A Third Watch.@ The visit was coordinated by the USO.)
Mixed Bag Of Winners
Alright! Enough already with the complaints, Elizabeth 80 - 84!
If you were lucky enough to become a Lady Marine, you should understand how we refer to each other, and LIKE IT!
Have you never heard of grunts, cannon-c0ckers, track-heads, airdales, tunnel-rats, jocks and I don't know what all? Do you think that any infantryman doesn't grin a little bit inside hearing himself referred to as a grunt? Or an artilleryman referred to as a cannon-c0cker? A tanker being called a track-head? An air winger being referred to as an airdale? A small-statured Marine being called a tunnel-rat? A helicopter or fighter pilot being referred to as a jock?
We Marines are a mixed bag of winners; and since we don't have any real competition, we compete internally with each other by referring to ourselves by what some outsiders would cringe to behold.
A WAM, BAM, or whatever you want to call them, are still a Marine! If you are one, be proud of the fact that you had what it takes to be CALLED one. Get over it!
On the oorah thing; I enlisted in Dec. '59. The only people I ever heard use that phrase back then were SEALS. When I heard it, I thought of the sound that sea lions make. We used Gung Ho a lot, as I recall, along with Semper Fi. If a Marine was very squared away he was referred to as being Strack, or Gunghy. It was usually presented as an insult, but with respect. Only Marines can understand and appreciate that kind of camaraderie.
Just remember this; Where two or more Marines are gathered, there ain't a hill safe for miles!
H.E. Brown II
SSgt 1836950 Retired
Moses Parted The Waters
Reading the stories from your newsletter reminded me of a funny situation from a few years ago. I am in my mid 40's and work at a management level. Clean-cut, shirt and tie every day, you know the type. One day we were having a pitch in for someone's retirement. As I was carrying a large food item into the break room I ended up dead-stopped in the hallway. Appeared a bunch of women were standing around flapping their gums and not doing anything. After two polite "excuse me", I bellowed out "Gang-Way, Make a Hole"! It was if Moses parted the waters for me. Not only did room to pass suddenly open up but all the noise died down for awhile! As I was coming out of the break area to return to my office, an older gentleman I worked with was standing in the hall just grinning from ear to ear. This person had served aboard ship in the Navy during the Cuban Missile Crisis and we had talked about our past military experiences. He said to me, "I haven't heard that phrase used in 40 years! And you said it with such force and determination it made me jump out of my chair and I wasn't even in your way"! We had a good laugh there and again later at the party.
Appears it is True - Once a Marine Always a Marine!!
Semper Fi -
Not Easy To
In mid 1943 we were still teaching the old phonetics at the Radio Operators School at Camp Lejeune......Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog etc...
At the time of the activation of the 4th Marine Division later in '43 the new phonetics came into being as part of the Joint Army/Navy procedures which were adopted by all the allied forces.
It was not easy for some to convert and often you would hear an operator (especially a pilot) revert to the old phonetics or make up his own.
Hello Sgt. Grit,
Just a word in response to Jim Irwinâ€™s (USMCR 1960-1968) question. They still used pugil sticks when I was at MCRD San Diego in 1989. I certainly hope that they still use them. I enjoyed the h&ll out of that training and found it very motivating even after I went for a swim during our "Bridge of Trouble Water" exercise.
Barnes, R.A., Cpl.
India 3/24 '89-'94
Delta 4th CEB '94-'95
Hereâ€™s a shooting story. After my â€œFour in the Corpsâ€ and an easy tour in Vietnam, I got out and went to college with the idea of going into politics and â€œfixing things.â€ (My, I was young.) I graduated from U-Mass in June of 1972 and was elected to the Massachusetts state senate that November, defeating an â€œunbeatableâ€ incumbent by nine votes out of 60,000.
While in the senate, one of my aides was an Army Vietnam vet (1st Cav) who was still in the National Guard. He invited me, and a girlfriend who wanted to be a cop, down to the Armory, where he was on the Guardâ€™s rifle team. While the guys were letting my very pretty date (who did go on to be a state trooper) shoot their personal weapons, my aide handed me one of their match 22s and said, â€œOK, Senator, show us how a Marine shoots.â€
Now, Iâ€™ve always been an inconsistent shooter, qualifying everything from company high shooter in the Reserves with a 235, to failing to qualify in a driving rain on Okinawa. Not then having fired a rifle in eight years, I was concerned not to embarrass the Corps.
We were shooting at half-dollar size bulls on a short indoor range. I fam-fired three at a beat-up target, then they put up a new target. All the doggies were watching as I got down & got a good prone position. I squeezed off three, and they pulled the target. I was relieved to see they were all in one triangular hole in the black, about a click down and a click left, but well inside the bull. â€œA Marine never forgets,â€ I said, promptly retiring from competition, â€œBut your rifle shoots a little low and a little left.â€ I still have that target in my files.
I never heard another word about the National Guard rifle team, but I started thinking about the Corps, and the following year, 1977, I re-enlisted in the Reserves. So I was a senator during the week and a Corporal one weekend a month. Being around Marines kept me stable and probably extended my political career by a couple of years. Finally I got fed up and didnâ€™t run for re-election, but that got me into association management, where weekend work is common, so I had to leave the Reserves in 1983.
Robert A. Hall
Former SSgt, USMCR
Grit.....in '57, the usual march route back to MCRD San Diego from Camp Matthews was to cross Highway 101, thence along what was the rural backside of La Jolla down to Mt. Soledad (nothing up there at the time but manzanita brush, rattlesnakes, a lover's lane, and a huge cross), thence down into Pacific Beach to meet the buses (cattle cars) and from there it was a ride to the Depot. In later years, the route was down the east side of 101 through Rose Canyon, etc.........took a few trips that way when I was a DI, (L Co, 3rd RTBn, 62-64).....the story of the dark, fog, etc. reminded me of one of my favorite DI things.....would take the Plt to chow, have a cup of coffee, then slip out the back while the Plt was still bolting their chow........assembly point was an asphalt parking area down about a block......would climb up in a tree there, just wait and listen as the recruits hustled back and fell in. Once most of them were there, and peering up the street watching for me, having discussed all sorts of things (like the probability of the smoking lamp, etc.), from above and behind them ,in the dark, they would hear " 'TOON'... you can guess the rest!
Dick Dickerson, Mustang of Marines......
Re Cpl. Okel and the bus ride back from Camp Matthews in 1957; In spring of 1954 Platoon 137 marched both ways and were commanded to "dig in those heels and look sharp" as we came back to the Depot. We had won the rifle competition with two other Platoons and went on to become Honor Platoon.
"Murch", Cpl. '54-'57
There are some great new photos at the 3/3 website - there are 25 pages with 9 pics on each page. Lots of India 3/3 pics.
Really enjoy reading your letter every week. Some memories that it brings back are GySgt. R.K.LANE, SSgt. T.E.Crosby, and Sgt C.K. WILLIAMS. Plt #239 May to Aug 1960. The investigation about the recruit who stole the Chief D.I.'s car in 1st Bn and crashed it in Baltimore. On the Med with 2/6 in '62 then joining the blockade of Cuba. Mounting out with the 7th Mar for Operation SilverLance and landing at Chu Lai. Three tours on Okinawa. Field firing exercises at Fuji. In '61 firing all the artillery for the movie "Lets go Marines".
The pride you feel when as a SNCO working for officers who listened to the SNCO's and twenty years later are General Officers. One getting his third star and another getting his second star. The characters and stories and vivid memories are cherished as we get older. Sometimes as I think back I wonder if all warriors from all generations don't have the same stories. Do you think that the Greeks and Romans had 10%ers and a go to guy for supplies. I think they did. Enough rambling from an old cannonc0cker. To you young Marines savior the times you'll look back on them as the best of times. God bless you all.
Semper Fi Jim Leonard 1960-1980
Thumb In My Eye
As a very young sailor in boot camp in the mid 50's, I remember Camp Matthews very well. We spent a week snapping in with '03 Springfield's then on to Camp Matthews to fire the Garand M1 with Marine instructors. They were patient with us and I qualified without getting my thumb in my eye! The next time was in field med school at camp Del Mar and we qualified, if you could call it that ,with the M2 carbine. It was as powerful as a pellet gun, but not as accurate or reliable. Thank God I had my friends in the 2nd platoon George Co. 5th Marines who looked out for me and I never needed the M2. I don't know how we ever got that unreliable piece of junk that froze up all winter and jammed during the rest of the time. I spent 4 years in the navy but 3 yrs. and 2 months was with the FMF. I do not, even now, feel like a squid. My time with the Corps was memorable and I will never forget it. I am and always be with the Marines and dam proud of it.
Tom Suttles Fmr HM3.
I have followed closely with interest the many remarks about our war cry and its history. I theorize that It probably started at both MCRD's at the bayonet course. During the Korean War a battalion of Turk soldiers attached to the 1st Marines repelled an attack by Chinese infantry by rising from their holes swinging long knives and shouting a guttural, from the diaphragm sharp barks of "Urah!" The Turkish commander indicated the term was Turkish for "Kill."
Later, Force Recon Marines mimicked the klaxon horn on Navy submarines as the boat dived, which was like "AHOOGA."
Apparently, it has evolved to "OOO-Rah!!" Whatever happened, it is known that blood-curdling screams by Marines in the attack motivates troops and puts fear into the enemy. However, it can also put fear into close friendly units if used inappropriately, as noted below.
Background: In early 1960, after a two year tour as a JDI at the 2nd RTBn at PI, I was transferred to the Bayonet Course. We Instructors had no "patented" war cry to impart to Recruits, but each trainee was instructed to scream as loud as he could. The timid ones were placed at a "Growling Board" which was a square of white plywood on a tree or post with a black spot on it. The Recruit placed his nose on the black dot and growled until the instructor believed he had it right.
Fast forward to 1966 when I was Company Commander of a Rifle Company north of the "Rockpile," in Viet Nam. Our Battalion was at its "home" perimeter and the monsoon was on. We had experienced frequent mortar attacks and the troops were edgy. One night was moonless and a heavy, wet fog was upon us. Troops all over the perimeter reported movement in front of them. The 3rd Plt reported receiving incoming rocks and dirt clods. These were answered by Marines throwing out a few hand grenades. It was a tense night, and few, if any men slept.
As dawn approached, many troops anticipated a mortar barrage followed by a ground assault. Trigger-finger knuckles were white. After dawn, nothing happened, so I decided to break the tension. I emerged from my CP, not thinking about possible consequences, walked to the top of the hill and let out my best PI Bayonet Course Growl. Two hundred Marines responded with a stupendous roar that was surely heard in the DMZ. The tension was broken. It was also heard at the Bn CP. The Headquarters Commandant went ballistic, came out of his hole, sounded General Quarters, and yelled, "The gooks are coming up the cliffs behind us!" Naturally, I thought it was funny, and I was still laughing until I was summoned by the Bn C.O. and received the worst butt-chewing of my career.
Larry S. Green, Capt USMC (Ret)
I was reading my Sgt. Grit letter this morning with my coffee and had to forward it.
To my kids (my grown kids) because of a letter from Marine and air force captain bellflower. He conveyed his experience of running into another Marine while serving in the Air Force. The immediate bond between the two is something my kids have witnessed many times while growing up with a Marine dad and total strangers in passing, simply because they are Marines. This occurred with the young hearty jarheads as well as with the old salts. Sometimes it would consist of a handshake and small talk, other times, a passing salute or honking of the car horn resulting from the windshield Marine emblem; and always with a "Semper Fi". In fact Semper Fi was the secret password my kids knew as verification that if a stranger approached with ill intentions, and couldn't give the password, then a scream would result for Help.
So they know the bond between leathernecks, young and old, and they have been taught from a young age that they can "adapt and overcome" simply because they have the eagle, globe, and anchor flowing in their blood veins inherited from their dad. They can even point out Marine veterans of old by the way they salute.
Most Of My Career
I just signed on and got your catalog. I am not a Marine but spent most of my career as a "Doc." attached to the Corps. Served with 1st. Recon. in nam. 65/66 with pride. Now at age 67, I wear my Marine uniform with pride in parades and special functions. My Marine duty took me to Pendleton, Okinawa, Beaufort S.C., Vietnam. You guy's always took good care of "the Doc." just wanted to say thanks and Semper Fi. DOC Morong HM2,USN. RET.
I Did Get One
Yo Ho Grit and fellow grunts how about our little brothers in the SAND. They really make me proud, God Bless those SAND WARRIORS.
I read the letter from Debbie Hill about her son LCpl Timothy having to wait 2 weeks to get a drivers license. The Civilians think all we have to do is hurry up and wait. In January of 1967, I was 18 and on my way to the Nam when I got to Pendleton. I had to wait 2 weeks to get a cold beer because I was not old enough to drink in California. I did get one however when my battery moved up to the DMZ, for my 19th birthday. So as you can see, Marines have waited on good things for a long time. Tell him that I am proud of him.
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I have to paraphrase a letter that appeared in the Military Officer's Magazine this month and send it on to you guys since I found it to be hilarious. . .
"I look forward each month for my copy of the Military Officers Magazine and always go to the "Tap" section to see who has died since the last issue. If my name isn't on the list, I draw a sigh of relief and then go on to read the other articles.
Now this may seem to be a strange thing to do since a person should know if he has died or not but. . . remember the saying they drilled into us while on active duty. . . "There's always somebody who doesn't get the word!"
LtCol. USMC (Ret.)
"The journey is its own reward."
"If you're young enough to dream it. . . you're young enough to do it!"
(Dick Phaneuf - 2006)
VX-6/VXE-6 Airdevron SIX; also support units & ships
17-19 August 2006, Old Antarctic Explorers Assoc, Crowne Plaza, Warwick, RI
See Reunion Website: http://www.oaea.net/OAEARIReunion.html
Or contact Fred Santino, 781-377-9003 santinof @ hanscom.af.mil
My name is Kim Dixon and I served in the Marines from 80-84 with Golf battery 3/10, my last deployment with the Marines was to Beirut Lebanon with Bn 3/8. I got out of the Marines got married and eventually had five children with my wife, I tried to go back in the Corps but was not allowed as I had too many dependents, So I joined the guard as a military police officer. My oldest Boy Kassey now serves with me in the Guard he to is a military police officer, My second oldest son Christopher Joined the Marines and graduated from Parris Island in Oct 2005, the family went down to see the graduation however it was raining on his graduation day and all the activities had been moved to a indoor area, after all was done we where heading to our car and Chris went to the parade deck and took his position on the field and just stood there..... I walked up to him and asked why we where standing here and everyone else was leaving, He had tears in his eyes and he said for three months I watched every graduating class step off this parade deck, My uncle walked off this deck, you walked off this deck, and my X.O. in young Marines walked off this deck and now I'm taking my turn..... now I know what they mean by proud bastards. My son will go over seas in a few months and my third oldest boy will go to Parris Island to take his place on the Deck.
Proud Marine proud Dad Semper FI !
Hey Don, I noticed in your newsletter that another reader likes quotes. Here is one from Army Brigadier
General Frank Armstrong to the Saturday Evening Post 5 Feb. 1948. (Korean Conflict)
â€œ As for the Marines, you know what Marines are. They are a small, fouled-up Army talking Navy lingo. We are going to put those Marines in the regular Army and make efficient soldiers out of them.â€
In my lingo, â€œNever Happenâ€
From An Illustrated History of the United States Marine Corps by Chester G. Hearn
L/Cpl Dan Buchanan
Reunion 9th Engineers
Jim Harris, LCpl '66 . '69
9th and 11th Engineers, RVN
Thanks for all the great info and sea stories. I saw a fellow 9th Engineer Bn. comrade (Jim Harris)listed in the 4-13-06 newsletter. For his information and for others who served in 9th Engr. Bn., we're having a reunion August 17th-20th at the Marriott Downtown, in Savannah Ga. So get the word out. We'd like to have as many as possible to show up. We have a web-site, so look us up. By the way, folks love my bumper stickers, but the problem is, I only have but so many bumpers. I guess I'll just have to mount them on my den walls.
Norman (Mickey) Ryan
D-Co. 9th Engr. Bn. FMF, 1st Mar. Div.
This is in response to Cpl Wooddell, He asked what FSMAO stood for it, stands for Field Supply and Maintenance Analysis Office. Also just a few facts we all stood those Da^^ things and they do not have them anymore. I am also in MT Maint 3529 I am getting ready to retire after 24+ years well I hope this helps ya out. God Bless all our Marines.
Jeffrey A Thomas
Msgt. Soon to be Ret.
Disrupted The Tour
I proudly served in the Corps, from 1966 to 1970. I am still proud of my title as U S Marine. My pride almost got me in trouble, but in the end was the right thing to do.
I am a manager for a telecommunications company in the Midwest. It is not uncommon for potential clients to tour our operations center where I am assigned. The belief is that by putting on display of what we are all about we increase immensely our chances for the sale.
A while back as I was leaving for the day I noticed something in a tour that caught my eye. The creases in the shirt and the kaki color just screamed Marine. As I looked closer in the group of six, sure enough two Marines stood out. Just as I was making my exit the tour moved in front of me. I couldnâ€™t control myself. To the LT Colonel and then to the Captain, I extended my hand and said to each â€œSemper Fiâ€. From each I received a firm hand with a heart felt â€œOoh Rahâ€.
Needless to say this disrupted the tour. Although cordial my boss was obviously upset. The account manager hoping for the sale gave me a disgusting look.
Then the LT Colonel said to me that as long as I am employed here I guess there is no need to worry about the security of their equipment. I snapped to, gave him a salute and said never on my watch.
Two weeks later we were notified we received the contract.
Sgt of Marines
1966 to 1970
I Say A Prayer
This is for Gunny D who recently returned from Iraq and wrote to you in your #121, April 20th, American Courage Newsletter. Welcome home Gunny D and thank you for your service and your sacrifice. Your comment about a hot 10 minute shower took me back to Chu Lai RVN in 1967 and 1968. My first six months in country we had no hot water for showers at our base. After 39 years I still remember those cold showers, the half inch iron pipe with no shower head, and the little shower room with no electric light. However, we were thankful to have a way to get the dirt off even though it was cold water. Every morning I say a thank you to Jesus for the hot water as I step into my shower at home. I also say a prayer to protect every Marine and all who wear America's uniforms wherever they are in the world.
Carl Turner, Sergeant, not as lean, not as mean, but still green...
No Matter What
Marine no matter what.
The trepidation starts like this. Gunny and I had gone to the club in a "requisitioned" jeep, and couldnâ€™t get it to start so we went out and started walking back to El Toro. Some arty boys picked us up and we saw some sort of "cannon" in front of the base commanders quarters. We asked if they had a round that might fit that. Yes they did. so when we got back with the round we found out the hard truth-they fill the barrel with cement before they place them somewhere. The MP's did not find it funny that we claimed to just be cleaning it for the base Commander. A month later Gunny-both of us being restricted to base for the weekend decided to go down to the mainside PX and get some goodies for the weekend. Coming out we encountered a Marine of the female persuasion who was a Captain...I hauled up short and saluted and held it. Gunny stopped and asked "what in Jesuses name was I doing?" I replied its an officer sir and we salute them. Along about that time a Lt.Col. and his shoe shine boys(butter bars) came along and as