As you all know, Sgt Grit and I were in Viet Nam together. He regularly sends me items out of his catalog to see if I have any comments, or sometimes he sends them to me out of friendship. And, as you know he has a great system of invoicing and confirming an order to ensure all is well. He had sent me a shirt that read something about who would get the 72 v!rgins. I had received a confirmation e-mail so, as usual I printed it out. For some reason, the printer had stopped so when I checked it out, it was printed...........72 v!rgins, $0.00. Both myself and the UPS driver were all wound up.

A few days later a package arrived and on the invoice accompanying it was the description "V!rgin Shirt". That hurt.

SSgt. Huntsinger

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Marine Corps Training

While doing barracks duty one night, mid summer, at about 03:30. I hear a ruckus on the 2nd floor walkway. I leave the Cpl in charge while I go to check it out. To my amazement, I find a young Marine completely covered, from his neck to his ankles in DUCT TAPE. Along with 2 other very drunk Marines standing next to him making sure he doesn't fall over the railing. When I asked what they were doing, and why, almost as if they had rehearsed it, the reply from all three of them was, "MARINE CORPS TRAINING" Sarge. Long story short, after calling the O.D. and the Corpsmen, none of which believed a word of what I was telling them. Both showed up, in record time, to assist in the paper work, and the unwrapping of the very hairy PFC. Well the PFC that was very hairy anyway.

SGT T Charters
HQ Company
2nd Mar Div


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When I Told You

"When I told you that I do not let people die on me, I meant it. I meant it."
PETTY OFFICER THIRD CLASS DUSTIN E. KIRBY, a Navy Corpsman, on a wounded Marine he treated in Iraq.

Semper Fidelis

"The First Duty is to Remember"
(Motto of the Beirut Veterans of America)

John E. Oliver
H&S Co. ~ C Co., BLT 1/8, 24th MAU
Beirut, Lebanon 1983

To Keep In Touch

Dear Sgt Grit,
To keep in touch with my fellow and sister Marines I joined the Marine Corps League. Not only do we get together at our monthly membership meeting but we have out detachment home open on Saturday every week so we can get together. We play cards, watch the tube and hear what it was really like where they served.

We have several Marines in our detachment that fought on Iwo, all of them are decorated for their service in that battle. Some have multiple Purple Hearts. Their devotion to their brothers and their mission would not let them leave until they were physically unable to return to the battle.
I enjoy my time with these folks because it is just like sitting next to an open history book. I love the Corps and those who went the extra mile to earn the title "United States Marine".
Rob Reyes
Sgt of Marines
Flint, MI

A Voice Bellowed

August 1969 I was preparing to start college while working in a steel mill. At 18 years old this seemed a hard way to get ahead. With out thinking too far ahead I went to the Armed forces recruiter station to join the Navy. I figured how hard can the Navy be (my apologies to all the Docs I certainly know better know how great you guys are). The Navy recruiter was out too lunch and a voice bellowed from the back of the room he will be back shortly have a seat. I am ashamed I don't remember his name but he was the most squared away looking man I had met in my young life, A Staff Sergeant in the United States Marines. Needless to say while he ate his lunch at his desk we decided the Marines might be just the challenge I was looking for.

In keeping with John Kerry's opinion of the military I was 4 F I had a speech Impediment and was hard of hearing and very average student in school. So I wasn't smart enough to use this as an excuse. It took some finagling and kind of looking the other way on the hearing test and I was off in a few weeks to stand on those yellow footprints in Parris Island.

Three years later after serving in Marine Barracks Whidbey Island, Camp Pendleton, USS Okinawa and Vietnam. I felt I had done enough but never forgot what a privilege it was for the United States Marines to let me join their very exclusive club. I did go back and get a 4 year degree and have helped in running several business. Oh by the way as my father Warren White 6th Marine Division WWII always says. Hey Navy thanks for the ride.

Ken White
USMC 1969 –1972
CPL (twice)


I served from 76-81 in the Corps. I was a cook and worked in many Mess Halls at Camp Lejeune, Camp Johnson and Camp Geiger. Back on main side at Mess Hall 215, I was the Starboard watch captain. On day we received 5 new cooks straight from cooks school over at Geiger. I sat at my desk and ran the standard list of questions: rank, ssn, name. It was going well until I came to the 3rd boot. Rank- PFC, SSN-123-45-6789, Name- Cooke, Carey. I looked up at this tall red faced, red headed Howdy Duty looking boot and said: "I know that you are a cook, what is your name"? Well this started the game, he says, " No my name is Cook with and E." I just new he was a smart a$$, so I asked again, and again he said Cooke. This went on for a few minutes until I asked t see his ID, guess what; COOKE, CAREY K. was his real name. From that point on, he was know as "COOKIE". I never met a cook named Cooke and at the end of my military career, both in the Corps and the Navy, did I ever ran across another cook named Cooke.

Semper Fi,

Sgt. USMC 76-81
MSC USN 82-94

Knot In The Wire

Being a cannoncocker you'll get a charge out of this. In the late 70's while in Kilo Bty 1/12 with the Brigade in Hawaii. We were on a four day field firing exercise, at Schofield Barracks. On this particular day we were having comm problems between the FDC and the exec pit and from the exec pit to the gun line. Everyone was a little on edge so as the Btty Gunny, I passed the word to those on phones on the gun line to use the ear piece to talk and the mouth piece to hear, I said tongue in cheek. Well d*mn if it didn't work. One of the recorders, trying to make some points with the X.O. asked how did I know it would work? I said easy there was a knot in the wire switching the sound around. Soon after I found him tracing the comm line. I asked L/Cpl what are you doing? He said he was looking for the knot. We all had a laugh, when he thought about it even he had a chuckle.
Enjoy the news letter every week.

Semper Fi
Jim Leonard May 60 to Jun 80

Finally Shared Some Stories

My father Warren White USMC 6th Marine Division WW II never spent a minute on a college campus. He did graduate from boot camp in San Diego spent a little time in the Pacific (3 plus years) a few places like Guadalcanal Okinawa and one of the first Americans on Japan after the surrender just a formality because with out the surrender he would have been with the first group in (Thanks Harry Truman).

Like the rest of that greatest generation he came home went to work raised his family and just recently celebrated his 65th anniversary.

Growing up my father never said much about what happened to him during the war. Never had too the true heroes don't need to tell everybody how great they were.

After I had the honor and privilege to join in 1969 my father finally shared some stories and these are almost always about love of his fellow Marines as it should be. One of my favorite stories was a practically tuff night when he was in a wolf hole on point late at night no sleep for what seemed like forever. He was on watch and couldn't stay awake he woke his friend Jack up and said he keeps nodding off. Jack said no problem reached up and fired a couple quick bursts out into the perimeter and said ok Whitey everybody is awake now go ahead go to sleep.

All this said my father Warren White is the smartest man I ever met and we both would do anything to be able to stand one more time on that wall with the new greatest generation of Soldiers Sailors and Marines that are doing the heavy work in Iraq of keeping our families safe back home.

Thanks for the opportunity to post this message.

Semper Fi
Ken White USMC 1969 – 1972

Will Go To My Grave

You can see it, read it and hear all about it until the end of time, but until you earn the title and wear the uniform you will never, ever, know what it means to be a Marine.

We have a cult following amongst ourselves that is stronger than any religion on the planet. We compete among units, squadrons, battalions, regiments and divisions but in the end we are all Marines.

When you meet another Marine, age, color, religion, where, when and who you served with is irrelevant. That person is your brother and treated accordingly. I have seen scenes of affection displayed among total strangers that, sadly, the closest families will never know.

If everyone on the planet was a Marine, we would all get along like nothing you have ever seen. With the whole world locked in a loving embrace we would no longer even need a Marine Corps.

What fun would that be? If I accomplish nothing else for the remainder of my life, let me testify here and now that I will go to my grave knowing I accomplished one of the hardest, most satisfying experiences anyone can ever know. I was and still am a member of a brotherhood known only to a few, proud, Marines.

Semper Fi and Happy Birthday,
Jimmy Williams
SGT. U.S.M.C. 79-83, 85-89

Stay Motivated

Hello Sgt Grit,

Last September 40 of us Harley owners rode on our local VFW "Vets ride". We hit the local VFW's in the county and stop at the Veterans home. When we arrive the residents of the home come out on their wheel chairs and in their walkers and look over the bikes and bs with us awhile. This one craggy old jarhead came rolling up in his wheel chair and his scarlet and gold USMC baseball hat. One of the other bikers informed him that I was a ex Marine. Well, the wheel chair bound Marine informed him that there was no such thing as a ex Marine...and that once your a Marine..your always a Marine...the biker hung his head and said...yea I had that coming. ( he had been in the national guard for 20 years). This Marine had been in the Corps from 1942 to 1953, after looking at the bikes he gave us a Semper Fi and a nod and told us to stay motivated.

Dave Wiebe
The Magnificent Bastards of 2/4
1980 - 1984


I first met Jim at one of the monthly Marine Parent lunches that Karen and I regular attend. I got to sit next to Jim and we spoke almost the whole two hours we were there. Jim served in the Marines during WWII. He was there in the Marshall Islands, he was there on Saipan, and he was there at Iwo Jima. A PFC when he landed on Iwo, he left the Marine Corps as a Corporal. A couple of things struck me about Jim as we spoke; he enjoys the interaction with people and he has a good sense of humor. I kept thinking I wish my Dad was still with us so he could meet Jim too.

I asked Jim to meet with Karen and me again because, although Jim is a member of VFW Post 4380, he does not go to the Post, and we wanted to share knowing him with the rest of the Post. There must be so many Post members like Jim that we don't know but we should. We should because we appreciate that service...the service in the Military, whether in peace time or in time of war, because it keeps this country free. And it is that appreciation that draws us together...the Post members and the Auxiliary members.

Jim is from Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is second oldest of four children. His older sister is still alive, but his two younger brothers have both passed on. He and his wife have five children; two sons and one daughter in Dallas, one daughter in Minneapolis, and one daughter in Arizona that is a Mother Superior and runs a convent. He spent his civilian life after the Corps with the Railroad as a Locomotive Engineer. He retired in 1985 with 40 years of service.

Jim graduated High School in 1942 when he was 16 and joined the Corps right afterward. So why did he join the Corps? "The uniform...but the funny part is, I never had dress blues in the Marine Corps. I got them way, way afterwards" Jim told me. "In fact I got them at Desert Storm. I was in so many color guards and they thought they were going to bring back so many bodies and they wanted me to fill in. Fortunately we didn't have to."

Jim was wounded twice. He received a Purple Heart and a Gold Star in lieu of a second Purple Heart. He was wounded on Saipan and Iwo Jima. But what was he really proud about? The 4th Marine Division had received two Presidential Citations. "The citation to a Unit is like a Medal of Honor to an individual", he said. Most divisions had received one citation. Jim said that his division was the only one that he knew of that received two.

Jim Don't ask Jim what part of his Marine service he is proud of. "That's kind of bragging and you don't look at it that way". But ask him if he remembers his first engagement and his eyes light up..."very much so, very much so. I'll never forget that as long as I live". Jim explained his first combat experience this way. It was on the island of Roi in the Marshall Islands. The fourth Marine Division has the distinction to be the only unit to have embarked from the states on ship and land directly Into battle. When they landed on the beach at Roi there was no resistance. There was a little hill going up from the beach and Jim, a BAR assistant, told the BAR man that he would go up top and take a look around. He got on top of the hill, on his belly, and there was a 50 gallon oil drum next to him. "All of a sudden I heard bing-bing-bing next to me". There was a sniper on top of an airplane hanger and "his sights must have been bad because he was hitting the oil drum instead of me!" He slipped back down off the hill back to his BAR man and he said, "Jesse, they're shooting at me!" Jim recalled Jesse's comment laughing, "Well, what the h&ll do you think they are going to do!" Jim and Jesse kept in touch and used to laugh about that. They kept in touch until Jesse passed away about a year ago.

Here was Jim, laying on the beach and thought he had been shot. He felt something move under his chest and he always heard that you never really felt pain when you were shot, so all he could think about was that he had been shot. He was afraid to look or to feel and never being shot, he really did not know what to expect. But he rose up a little to check and he said laughing, "There was a big land crab that went out from underneath me and scooted out. Now that is something I'll never forget as long as I live".

What Jim really wants us to know is the experience that he was involved with that many people do not know. The reason for this is that the Military kept it classified for many years. He calls it "The Second Pearl Harbor". The story never got out until Jim was interviewed by the Dallas Morning News 6 or 7 years ago and then it blossomed from there. The incident occurred when the Marines were preparing for their invasion of Saipan.

They were aboard LST's (Landing Ship, Tank) on maneuvers preparing for the invasion of Saipan. This was to be the D-Day of the Pacific. A storm came up and there was one particular LCT that was hauling/piggybacking an LCI (Landing Craft, Infantry) and the LCI slipped off; 15-20 Marines were drowned. They went back and pulled into Pearl Harbor. There were 34 LST tied up in groups of 7 or 8. Jim was in one group about 3 from the outside and the outer one caught fire and exploded. A chain reaction ensued and when it was over, 163 died and the injured totaled 396. Jim was one of the injured. A total of 6 LST's were destroyed along with 3 LCT's.

"So what was the homecoming like"? asked Karen. When Jim got back to Minneapolis, he explained that "it was the first time in 3 years that he was by himself overnight". At the time, his family lived in Northern Minnesota and he had to get a room overnight until he could get transportation home. You could tell from his voice that he remembers well how he felt back then. "Here I was, by myself, free to do anything I want to. It was such an odd experience!" He remembers the outpouring of appreciation. "I couldn't buy a drink, I couldn't buy 'nutin". People would hound 'ya...!" When he was alone in his room, he did something that he hadn't done in three years. "In those days they only had bath tubs; they didn't have showers. And I bet I took three baths. And there would be a ring around the tub coming out of my skin, from...because all the time I was on Maui you had cold water showers and aboard ship you had salt water showers, so you really never got clean." He laughed, "I bet you for 10/15 baths there was a ring around, you know from stuff coming out of your pours. That's how dirty you were!"

The next day, he got on a Greyhound bus for the 200 mile trip to his parents home. It was crowded and he had to stand. There were a couple of "little old ladies and I could hear them whispering...who is he?" Jim explained that they never saw a Marine in Greens; they only knew them in Blues. Well he let them continue their wondering until he explained that he was in the United States Marine Corps. That little piece of information made its way through the bus and at the next stop, they "were fighting over who buy me a drink", he laughed.

This is where Marine Jim could not hold back his emotions. Tears came to his eyes, Karen started tearing and I did all I could do to not start, as well. When he got off the bus, he was met by his Mother, Dad and brother. His other younger brother came running. He had already given his folks and brother a hug. At this point Jim had to stop for a moment because he could not hold back the tears any longer. His other younger brother, who was around 14 at the time, was standing back and was just looking at him. Jim explained, "(his brother) stood there for a long time. He told me later that 'I (his brother) didn't think you were going to have legs or arms'." His brother has passed but he will never forget his brother's reaction. His brother just wanted to make sure he was OK and all in one piece. That was Jim's homecoming from the War.

David and Karen, Proud Marine parents of two
Plano, Texas


Sgt. Grit,
We were in Quonset huts going through boot camp. At the DI's hootch us recruits were required to "knock" on the right of the hatch and yell out at the top of our voices, " Sir, recruit So & So, requests permission to enter." Being the troublemakers that all DIs are they would respond with, "I can't hear youuu". And you would have to beat on the side of the hootch again and yell out" Sir, recruit So & So requests permission to enter." Of course you'd get their initial response again. One recruit in our unit got instant response when he yelled back" Then how the h$ll do you know I'm out here?"
That was funny but none of us listening inside our huts laughed or made a noise.
Sgt. Morris 2318350

Stayed In Touch

Sgt. Grit,
I read of the cannon cockers reunion and their plans on another in Las Vegas. My ex brother-in-law was with artillery in Vietnam at Khe Sanh during the siege and around the DMZ. I was a tanker down south of DaNang around the same time. Although I divorced his sister we would always be brothers because of the Corps and we stayed in touch despite his sister until the day he died. He had been opened up to find out what was causing him stomach distress at the VA Hospital in Fresno California. They found he was almost ate up by cancer. They sewed him back up and sent him home to die with his family. Agent orange was the cause but they didn't have the registry at that time. He would've loved to have attended the reunion, maybe in spirit. His name was James Cecil, a Marine.
Sgt. P. A. Morris

Beirut Vet Dies

For those of you who don't remember him exactly, John was a survivor from S-1 (Admin - SRB Clerk). If you didn't meet, or deal with John before the 24th MAU deployment, then those who transferred or EAS'd out of 1/8 after Beirut probably met him then. I remember him taking extra time with me, going back through my SRB, personal records and recollections, to ensure that most of my accomplishments were included on my DD-214 records. He even reached out to 2nd Mar Div to again attempt to get my Squad Leader's School certificate; something my Company Commander & First Sgt refused to do. John spent the last 10-15 years making an active effort to continue both his, and the efforts of others, to reach out to Beirut Vets and to keep us informed on various issues and to help us to connect with each other. Some of what John sent out, coming from his personal views, were less appreciated than others, BUT - again, he made more effort than anyone (except, perhaps, Jeff Hammon - "Beirut Memorial On Line" webmaster), to reach out to the other Beirut vets. He deserves our recognition and respect for that, if nothing else.

Again, on a personal note from me; John and (Don Giblin's Brother - KIA) were my 2 key personal points of contact at S-1 for resolving problems. I also know that I met and spoke with other Platoons Commanders down there resolving problems through those 2 as well. What I'm referring to is the (seemingly) simple issues of resolving pay, promotion and records problems for the troops under our leadership during our time in 1/8. In some cases, we were resolving problems dating back to the previous deployment, or 29 Stumps. These 2 Marines COULD have taken the easy way out and made us file paperwork and then let it sit in the pile. Instead - they would stop what they were doing, give us detailed instructions on what to obtain (documents, signatures, information), where and how to obtain them, and then, when we returned the completed packages, they would complete, and fast- track the paperwork for resolution. NUMEROUS times, they ended-up facing counseling for taking this extra effort upon themselves, yet still found work-around solutions to continue to assist us in repairing troops records, pay and SRB's. Their motivation was best stated by John one time, "Hey, THEY'RE the troops - the guys with the rifles, out there in the mud. THEY are the Battalion - the Grunts. We're just the paper-pushers. We owe them our best."

A few years ago, in conversation, I brought up to John his help back in those days; he was still reluctant to accept acknowledgment for his efforts, again stating that he was just, "...(D)oing his job...". I took the time to thank him then, and, just wish that I had done so a few more times.

We don't know what personal contacts each of us has made during our times in, and since, The Corps. Please add anything you feel appropriate, and forward to any other Beirut Marines that you're in contact with. And, as the 10th of November approaches, I add a Happy Birthday to all.



It was a wonderful rainy day, on the Rockpile, by the Razorback, and my squad was on duty this find Thanksgiving in 1967......with our favorite "C" ration box choices in front of us for our choosing.....we heard a chopper coming, and low and behold, in the fishbowl, this chopper dropped some thermos containers that had , as I saw through my long looking glass, turkey dinners, the first hot meal seen in those parts for quite some time, however, since my squad was on duty up above, we did not receive any of those wonderful turkey dinners.....odd that the chopper, can bring ammunition, but no turkey.....imagine .....I now enjoy as much turkey as I can get....and have that fond memory...sort of......Lima Co., 3/3/3, 66-67.......Semper Fi, Michael living in the land of wonder fried turkey, Louisiana.....

Not Too Guilty

I had been in Nam two months with 3rd 8"How. Btry. when I was sent to school for twenty-three days in Okinawa. I was accompanied by another PFC ,Jim Renfro, Sgt. Karns and Capt.Wooly. We were sent to Camp Hague for what we later called, Nuke School. There they taught us how to arm a nuclear war head to an artillery shell. Camp Hague had great instructors and they gave us Liberty about every night. We spent Thanksgiving there and were treated to quite a feast in their chow hall. I felt somewhat guilty that I was there in a nice dry Quonset hut with good chow, no outpost, no gun watch, no patrols or stringing barbwire, while my buddies back in Nam were dealing with the crap listed previously.(But not too guilty) When Thanks giving rolls around I always think back to that time in Okie.
Jasper Cooter

Approached The Table

I was the assistant warden at the Marine corps brig in brooklyn, ny 1970-71-72 . we where asked to do a casket watch for a fellow Marine who was kia. after the detail we stopped in little Italy for dinner. lots of pasta and wine. we were in dress blues, and were greeted warmly. after the meal we went to pay our bill, the cashier told us it has been taken care of. when i asked who did that he motioned to a table in the corner of the dinning room. i approached the table and two huge gentlemen stood-up . the man sitting said he has great respect for the military but more for Marines, I thanked him and walked to the door asking the waiter who is he? HE SAID THAT'S MR. GALLO, joey gallo, crazy joe. who was shot to death two days later in a gang war dispute. we never went back there again. Semper-fi

It Never Occurred

When I was about 10 years old our cub scout den participated in the Veteran's Day parade in Beaumont, Texas. I had no idea the significance of the event at that time, but I was chosen to portray one of the Marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima. Every time I see that photograph it brings back the memory of that event. It never occurred to me that I would day have the privilege of wearing the Marine Corps uniform. I was in the Corps from June of 1960 until November of 1969, and did a tour in Viet Nam from January 1966 until February 1967. When I left for Viet Nam I left behind my wife and three sons, the youngest of which was 5 weeks old. I'm thankful I was blessed enough to be able to come home to my family. I pray the Marines in Iraq will be blessed to return to their families.
Bill McFarland

He Mumbled

Dear Sgt Grit,

I've gotten some license plates & magnets from your store & it's gotten some attention. Just yesterday while getting some work done on my truck, the attendant saw the license plate & said, "Sir, tell the cashier you're a Marine & you'll get a discount." I told them that I've been out for 27 years & she said, "Makes no difference with us. You served, get deserve."

My wife got a kick one day at the bank. As an older gentleman came out, he noticed her license plate & then saw her. As her petite frame moved toward the door, he just stood there going from the car to her. Then he mumbled, "Can't be, she couldn't be." My sweet wife spoke, "You're right, not me, my hubby." When she told me, she just laughed & said that his look was worth it all.

Last, coming out of BWI airport parking lot, I was riding my motorcycle (which has license plate frame & magnets on the gas tank). Well the attendant in the other booth saw my magnet & shouted, "Where did you get that!" Well, my attendant jumped out of his skin trying to figure what she was shouting at. Mind you, it's 12:30 AM! I told her, "Sgt". She said that her husband was in the Corps & she wanted one so bad. So, I pulled it off & handed it to her & said, "Give this to him & say, 'Semper Fi.' for me." Since then I've replaced it with another, but we both went our ways happy.

Thanks for being there!
SSgt Mark Rohnke

Walking Out

Sgt Grit,

In 1980 I was stationed at MCAS El Toro. Thanksgiving comes around and I pull duty at the motor pool. My buddy Pete pulls duty in a flight line warehouse. Pete calls me to let me know he was picking me up in 10 min. We slip off base and end up in Newport Beach along the coast. We have 14 dollars between us for our Thanksgiving meal. Pete pulls into a parking lot of what looks to be a very nice restaurant. I walk in first and immediately realize that our 14 dollars wouldn't get us passed the coat check. Before slipping off base we had changed out of our cammies into jeans and sweat shirts. Everyone was formally dressed and a piano player was playing near the back of the restaurant. We just turned around and began walking out when the manager ran up to us. He said Marines if anybody deserves to be in there it's you. Your money is no good here, Enjoy your meal. He walked us to the center of the dining room and sat us down. We had the best Thanksgiving meal imaginable and to this day I call Pete every Thanksgiving to remind me of how really special those folks of Newport Beach were to two Marines from Jersey.

Semper Fi,
Marty Sharpe

These Same Band Members

I teach HS in NYC but am home with a back injury after being attacked from behind by what some people call a "needy" student. That is if you call being 19 years old and on parole as being needy. Anyway, I was just sitting here reading this news letter when a buddy knocked on the door. His name is John and he is an NYPD officer and Bag Piper. He had a scarlet and gold colored baseball cap that says NYPD Marines on it as a gift for me. I am wearing it now. The last time I saw John was at the Sept 11 memorial that we have each year for law enforcement and their families. Many bag pipers from multiple national police agencies come here and put on a fantastic show. John is one of them. The Marine Band was there and they of course blow civilians away. Later that night, the band put on a performance at a major hotel in midtown (after a few cold ones, I forgot the hotel's name that we were at). What really shocked the civilians was the fact that these same band members who played John Philip Sousa styled martial music were now rocking on stage to about 40 classic rock and modern hits that we all know so well. At one point, they were jumping around doing splits in dress blues while a female lead sang songs from artists like PINK and other artists. Anyway, my thanks to John for remembering a 42 year old former mortorman who is nursing a hurt back.

Mike Sinclair
Brooklyn NY


I was stationed with Bravo 1/1 from Nov. 1980 to Feb. 1984, assigned to Wpns Plt. In early 1983 we had two Marines transfer from Marine Barracks Maine, a Russ Curby and Bill Shipp, to our platoon. Bill was one of the first Marines that I knew first hand that had a good marriage (in that his wife understood Marines). Anyway his wife invited me and Russ for a home cooked Thanksgiving dinner at their apartment with all the fixings. We were very excited about going. Don't get me wrong I never once turned down a holiday meal from the chow hall, but this was a chance of a lifetime. His wife actually wanted two bachelor Marines over for a sit down dinner.

Well, about two days before to the big event I came down with some type cold/flu, and by Thanksgiving day my only priority was to stay in the rack. Russ, being the friend that he was, stated he would brave the event by himself and go on without me with a solemn vow to bring back some leftovers. I mumbled something and rolled over to wait for death. I spent the rest of the day in and out of sleep and finally broke the fever I had. I was really starting to feel better.

Russ got in later that night and I was starting to remember something about leftovers and my stomach was seconding the motion. In walks Russ with a big smile and a full belly proclaiming the glory of married life (meaning he doesn't want a wife, but to have someone's wife cook him a meal was wonderful). I asked about leftovers as he handed me a small paper plate of a half eaten slice of pecan pie. When I asked what was up, he proceeded to tell me that since I was sick I probably wouldn't be hungry and the plate of Thanksgiving dinner that Bill's wife sent would just go to waste. So Russ took it upon himself to eat it on the way back to base but stopped when half of the pie was gone. I was starting to get upset but it was a half eaten slice of Thanksgiving pecan pie and I was hungry and it tasted very good as I shoved it down. I smiled and thanked Russ for at least saving that much of the pie for me. Anything home cooked would be just fine.

Mark Williams, Sgt. USMC
1980-1984 Bravo 1/1 & Kilo 3/1

One Phone Call


Here recently I started searching for buddies that I serve proudly with at different times through my four years in the world largest gun club. I thought I would never find the one guy that I always seem to be able to get in to something with. It has been 12 years since we have stirred up something together. After just one phone call you can tell trouble is already brewing. Some people in the civilian world either don't understand or just cant believe that the bond between brothers ( Marines ) runs deeper than blood.

On this Veterans Day and 231st Marine Corps Birthday. I would like to thank the veterans and the active duty Marines for what the did and do.

Semper fi
Cpl. Tubbs J.D. U.S.M.C.

Smiling Faces

I was a cook with H&S co. 2nd Bn. 7th Mar. 1st Mar. Div. on Thanksgiving of 1950. We received turkeys for the Thanksgiving Day dinner and they were frozen hard as a rock and the temperature was at least 25 below zero and we had to thaw the turkeys out to clean them and as good Marines we improvise. We laid the turkeys in the Korean house and built a fire in the kitchen (as everyone that served in Korea knows, the Koreans had a underground heating system), we kept the fire hot and thawed the turkeys, then roasted then in our field ranges. I must say there were a lot of smiling faces in the chow line that meal, for we had a Thanksgiving Day dinner with almost all the trimmings.
GySgt (Then Cpl) John W. Grindel Sr.

He Asked

Sgt. Grit; It's 7AM; here on the east coast, 10 November 2006, a day to celebrate the USMC Birthday @ "231". Just recently, I had the opportunity re-visit Parris Island after some 41 years, with other Marines who had also passed re-view from that same parade deck years ago.

The "sights, the sounds and the smell", seemed to have not changed, we were able to attend the graduation of the 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, before (dry run) and the actual day of the recruits graduation in becoming a MARINE. We were able and honored to have met the Sgt.Maj. Darrell L. Stillings who actually saw us and then began talking to us, I presume, that he realized that we were the "Old Corps" and that we all presented our selves as still being Marines and fit.

It was amazing, how out of all the people that where there, that he should "single" the four of us out and then gain some respect. It was certainly a wonderful feeling, that not only he (Stillings) but he had made the effort to introduce us to his "Chain of Command" after the ceremonies/graduation. After having many discussions/dinner, the Sgt.Maj., was told by one of my Marine friends that I had ridden with the United States Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard Unit @ Camp Pendleton, California. He asked many questions of me and thought it would be a good idea to visit the Marine Corps Museum @ Parris Island, we did, and from there the story goes on with out further ado! Since then I have submitted photographs to both Sgt.Maj. Stillings and to the Marine Corps Museum. Although, Camp Pendleton no longer has that unit in which was the very first mounted unit, ( late 50's) and now @ MCB/Barstow I believe since the late 60's the unit still represents the Marine Corps and "The Polished Image". I am still very "proud" of that accomplishment. "HAPPY 231st BIRTHDAY MARINE"

Kenneth "Buzz" Riley USMC/Sgt. (RET.)
RVN: 1966-1967 "C co. 1/4;

*Although the mounted unit @ Pendleton was still active in the late 60's, Barstow started their unit in that same time frame, and then eventually received all of our gear/tack/horse trailer/etc. when Pendleton's disbanded. This happened, after I had been discharged from the Marine Corps. I rode with the unit from 1968-1970. (Ref: Master Sergeant Wayne E. Powell/Roanoke, Va.)

Managed To Hold Off

Fifty years ago today our DI's TSgt A. C. Smith, SSgt J Kubala Jr, Sgt P.L. Chastang and Sgt R.E. Tustall took Platoon 296, 4th Battalion PISC to a double feature. Of course it was Sands of Iwo Jima and Battle Cry. The next morning they were exceptionally nice to us. Extra smoking break, straggle back from chows etc...

They all the two year reservists got the shipping over talk. Aside from the gung ho spiel we were also promised a $100 reenlistment bonus to have for boot leave.

Several guys bit but I managed to hold off. Of course I did bite six months later when I got a chance to ship over for transfer to MB Naples. I served a bit shy of twenty four years and have never regretted a single moment.

CWO 4 M. A. Oakes, USMC Retired

To Remember

Sgt. Grit,
This Thanksgiving I, along with my wife and 3 sons will be together. My sons are all former Marines like myself. Missing will be my Grandson Cpl. Sean Burns U.S.M.C. who is doing his job for his country in Iraq, for the 2nd time. I would like all my brothers and sisters to take a moment to remember those of us who have gone before and are gone now. Thanks for listening to an old, but proud Marine. Bless you and yours sir, and Happy thanksgiving to all of us.

Semper Fi: and OORAH.

Wesley C. Burns an Old" Gunny".

Iwo Jima

Today UPS delivered the "coffee Table" book, IWO JIMA, by Eric Hammel I ordered from you.
It is the most complete collection of combat photos from Iwo Jima that I have ever seen .. it's a book that one can be proud to show to others ..
Iwo Jima Book It is just a shame that it has taken over sixty years for someone to publish a book as thorough as this is a book that I think all of us that were on that island would have been proud to show our wives and friends if we could of ....
But sixty years has taken it's toll on those who were there ... in fact the last Marine that I know of in my area who was on Iwo, let alone having landed on D Day was, Walter M.Bennett, 27 th Marines, who passed on just two weeks ago ... (he like I was one of the very few who landed on D-day and {although a little worse for wear} was able to walk off the island under on our own two feet on March 25, 1945)
I would like to send my thanks to Mr Hammel for such a fine book ..
Howard N. Mc Laughlin .. 5th Engineer Battalion ...

Nothing New

While I was in 29 Palms with H.Q. Btry. 5/11 on Thanksgiving weekend in ' 85 there was six of us that could not get home to be with our families on a 96 hour pass so we were stuck in the barracks . Mind you the entire base is almost deserted so we elected to stay in the rec. room and watch T.V., on Thanksgiving day our comm.-chief MGySgt. Ayze showed up in P.T gear. This was nothing new since as SNCOIC he always would tour the barracks unannounced. He told us to secure the area and get into his pick-up and then drove us to his house on the base. He and his wife had no children or family but they had the entire Thanksgiving meal set up .We all feasted like kings , watched all the bowl games, consumed enough beer to float a battleship around and solved all the world problems right there in Top Ayze's back-yard. Even though I was a thousand miles away, it was like being home. Of course on Monday morning it was just another day at the office but I will never forget what Top Ayze did for his Marines that day. I later learned that this was nothing new since on every Thanksgiving Day Top Ayze would tour the area and gather up all the Marines that could not get home that weekend and take them back to his place where he and wife would make Thanksgiving happen for them. I will never forget that.
Semper Fi.
Steve Parker

Cold War

On this day 11-11-06 and as in the past dozen or so years on this date I have returned home, after attending 3 of our local veterans day remembrances services. Today I was approached by the local news media and camera man, when they found out that I had not served during the time of war the interview was cut short. Over the years I have heard the speakers talk about WW 1-WW 2-Korea-Vietnam-Gulf War-Afghanistan-Iraq. and, their war stories, and the honor and respect we owe to the one's that did not return, but I have never heard a word spoken about the 1000's of personnel regardless of branch of service. that served in the Cold War. Between Korea and Vietnam. At that time all males of service age were still subject to the draft, so it was ether enlist or be drafted. We have no medals to brag about, no Memorials to our efforts, no military benefits, no unit reunions, or any war stories, but we were proud to have did our part in helping preserve our nations freedom by being a prepared military force if needed, we trained in the arctic cold and desert heat, in the sky and on sea, we became instructors, passing on the skills needed for combat of the future. Yes there were people killed in training accidents, but a very few people heard about it, only the family and his or her unit members. Being Cold war vets we had endless hours of parade field drills and inspections and training exercises, putting equipment and combat theories through their test and trials. Yes we had liberty annual leaves, clean sheets, and hot chow most of the time. But at times I think most of us felt like, what are we doing here. running on a endless chain until out enlistment time was up. Even with other members of our clubs VFW-Amvets-Marine Corps League-etc. we belong to, there is not the bond between us. and the men who have served in time of war, have together. We do not ask for sympathy or any thing else, we except the cards that were dealt to us. We were the special members of our country's fighting forces, and that were on call and ready to put our lives on the line if needed, and still would.

Semper Fi
Corporal E. Price
Cold War Marine


I think NOT! Better I try to forget this one, but, OK, '51, in a valley in SUNNY ;)), mountainous terrain in Korea. Had finagled my way out of C-1-1 and was in H & S for a couple months, in the cook section. We were cooking the turkeys for the Battalion about two in the morning. One of the stoves had the grease ignite that caused a small fire within it, AND as per normal we had some South Koreans who assisted us on that shift. One darted out from under the tent side, and came through the end of the tent with a hardened piece of frozen snow! Threw it on the flame, and WHOOSH, faster than you could move the whole squad tent had a ball of fire along the ceiling.

The flame broke out of the ceiling at the far end and cremated about half that sides ceiling. We sent them to get a tarp, had it thrown over the "small" hole and finished the shift, And not one person was hurt. So much for us great chefs! The troops had the usual Turkey and trimmings. Within a weeks or so, Weapons company had some casualties, at night, so at 3:00 a.m., from the CP, "Humper" front and center"!

Stumbled up there and they said "get your gear your going on the line, NOW, we just had a KIA and need a gunner". Scared, you bet, been living the life of luxury in a warm tent, so spent the majority of December and until January 31, '52, in a fox-hole at about a balmy 30*below. But from there, I got to come home. One fortunate Marine!

C-1-1, H&S, & Weapons Co.
In Chesty's last reg. command.

Still A Marine

Today is Nov. 10th. The Marine Corps. birthday. For 231 years, the tradition of Honor, Courage, and Commitment has lived and is still going strong today.

I will never be able to share the feelings of pride and pain, or explain the thought process of my brain

Even though I am now just another face in the crowd...I am STILL a Marine.

I don't wake up at 5 am anymore to run 10 miles with the rest of my Marines...

I don't wear the uniform for all to see...but little do you know... I am in full dress blues with my head high as I walk past you in the streets.

I don't sit around and talk and laugh about stuff that's happened in the past.

I don't go to sleep at night with the playing of taps.

But I will never forget who I am inside.

I will never forget all the fellow Marines and friends who have died.

I will never forget or be ashamed of the things I have done or what I have seen.

I will always be proud...d*mn proud, to have the title of United States Marine.

Semper Fi
Sgt. Patrick John O'Malley 3rd AABN A. Co. U.S.M.C.

Popped To Attention

Yesterday, 11/9/06 we celebrated the Marine Corps Birthday at a FEMA Emergency Operations Center, not far from DC. Approximately 30 or so former and retired Marines gathered to tell stories, read the birthday messages, cut the cake and have some camaraderie. There was an Active Duty Navy Commander, a retired CWO, a couple of retied Master Sergeants, 3 retired and 1 active reserve Gunny, just returned from Iraq, and other ranks, I am sure from PFC to Sergeant. It was a great time and the feeling of being a Band of Brothers came back, I am sure to all of us. When one of the retired Gunny's called "Attention to Orders", we all popped to attention, I am sure not quite as fast as we used to, and not a Marine there moved until General Lejeune's historical message was read. A few minutes later, the retired CWO called again "Attention to Orders" and we all popped to attention once more for the reading of the Commandant's 2006 Birthday Message. In both cases no one moved, every one was still, even the invited guests remained still until the orders were read.

I have to say that since retiring over 16 year ago, have I ever felt the pride that I felt yesterday. We certainly are a Band of Brothers, it never changes.

Semper Fi my fellow Brothers. May Our God, who has preserved us and our Corps continue to Bless and protect us in every clime and place. In every incident of war where Marines have served, I am reminded of the words, "All gave some, some gave all". I thought of those that are not with us this year and who gave the ultimate sacrifice for freedom and democracy, whether this year or 231 years ago. Let us not forget their sacrifice and hold ourselves to their ideals and values. Hero's are not born into this world, they come from those that remain behind.

John Carter

Aren't Strangers

My wife and I drove to Dothan, Alabama on the 10th to celebrate the birthday. Why Dothan? Friday evening with the USMC Band, the President's Own. What a great way to celebrate another year for our glorious Corps. This is my wife's first experience being around a bunch of Marines. She was somewhat confounded that I could approach and talk with "total strangers". I just explained that these guys aren't strangers. I may not have met them before but we are all brothers, regardless of age. And it certainly shows. It really bears out, "Once a Marine..."

I also wanted to share with you that I can't count the number of times I heard someone within earshot utter the words, "Sgt Grit". This crowd was full of Marine gear and there is no secret where it came from. If you wanted to overrun South Alabama with product and become the prime supplier of Marine gear then all I can say is, "Mission Accomplished, Sgt. Grit."

Steve C, Sgt 1970-74

Short Rounds

I want to thank Sgt Grit's newsletter. What an opportunity. Like most of us, we are always looking for our Drill Instructors. Because of a posting by my former Drill Instructor's wife, I found one of mine after 39-1/2 years, in 1st Sgt D.W. Cargill (Ret) of 2nd Recruit Training Bn Parris Island 66-69 and D.I. School Instructor 70-72.

Thanks again
Semper Fi
Buzz Fanion
1967-1972 3/8 1/27 1 Rec Bn

We lost one of your own on Oct. 23, 2006. He was FMF for 8 years. Korea in 1951-1952 and in Viet Nam in 1965-1966. In between he was stationed at MCRD San Diego and Camp Lejeune, N.C. He retired as E7 in 1968 at Pensacola Florida.

R.I.P. HMC Paul Helms
Semper Fi

Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.
John Wayne

The Marines will never disappoint the expectations of their country – NEVER!
Captain CW Morgan, US Navy


Just to let you know, the USMC Graduation Foundation, is now officially a 501(c)3 Foundation. Which means all donations are tax deductible. Thank you for all your support. We hope to help bring more parents closer to their sons and daughters and the Marine Corps, by helping them see the best graduation experience there is. Please review our site and mission.

Semper Fi
John Weant

In 1783 there were no Officers in the Marine Corps and only 25 enlisted personnel.

Occasions on which a USMC Amphibious Assault has failed; None.

Two Marine Corps that fought alongside the USMC in Vietnam 1. Republic of Vietnam Marine Corps 2. Republic of Korea Marine Corps

Just like to relate a little MC birthday story from 1955, I was at North Camp Fugi, Japan, everyone in the company received two (2) cigars, a pack of smokes and an engraved lighter, it was engraved with the 4.2 mortar co, 3rd mar, 3 mar div, and a MC emblem on the other side. I still have my lighter.

Just a reminder for those who care
November 20 is the anniversary of the landing on Tarawa. Those who were involved, mostly the 2nd, will never forget. 300 acres and around six thousand dead in 96 hours.
T J Mayfield

I was at Con Then on Thanksgiving day, 1966. I was on the gun crew of gun 1. of A-1-12. Ammo and water were the main priorities but we got fresh white bread and canned spam that day. I had some heat tabs and fried up that spam, I still think spam tastes pretty good. RVN:66-67 proudly served 1965 thru 1969
SGT, Duane Cessna

Happy 231st MARINE CORPS BIRTHDAY to all.

May we continue to strike fear in the enemy's heart and kick their a$$. Killing is our business and BUSINESS IS GOOD.

Gunnery Sergeant
Michael W. Davis USMCR

Did you miss the birthday greeting?

When ever you served,
Where ever you served,
In Cold War and Hot,
You did what was asked,
You served your country,
And your fellows.

Best Wishes on Veterans Day!


If you Can't Carry Your Injured Buddy and His Gear, What Good Are You
If you Can't Carry Your Injured Buddy and His Gear, What Good Are You

I Fight What You Fear
I Fight What You Fear

Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done!
Semper fi
Sgt Grit

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