I was in Washington for a meeting last month, and went alone to visit the Marine Corps Iwo Jima Memorial late on the night of 10 November. It was the first time I had been back to the Memorial since the summer of 2005, when I had been there with my Marine son who had just returned from Iraq. It seemed very quiet being that time of night. When the last visitors had left the side of the Memorial where I was standing, I knelt in prayer at the same place where my son had knelt the year before. Thinking about the two young Marines I had seen in wheelchairs as I arrived, and about my son, my brother, and many friends who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past 4 years and returned home safe, my eyes overflowed some. Being lost in prayer, I didn't realize anyone else had walked up to the memorial until I heard the voice of young girl maybe 5 years old standing behind me say "Mommy, why is he so sad." Her mother answered, "Honey, he knows a hero."
May God bless the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who have pledged themselves to defend our country. They are true heroes.
I am very proud to be called dad by a United States Marine
Hey Sgt. Grit,
I seem to remember a story from boot camp regarding a conversation of Chesty Puller's. A junior officer suggested to Chesty Puller that a particular Sergeant receive a battlefield commission to the officer Corps. When asked why, the officer replied, "Sir, he's better than a Sergeant." To which Chesty replied, "Son, There's nothing better than a SERGEANT"!
Listen to your Sgt, Save Your....
Last summer my platoon had just finished its Tank Table VIII Gunnery and spent the next day baking in the sun and dust attempting to get the tanks ready for the trip back to the maintenance facility. Now, I had never believed in the legend about apricots, mainly due to the fact that the stories changed too much depending upon who was telling them. But it seemed very important to everyone else that I keep my opinion to myself so I followed along.
The same day the incident happened another Marine (SGT X) that did not believe in the legend at all and did not care about voicing its absurdity, wrote in spit on my dust-covered tank in big bold letters APRICOT next to the transmission. Everybody raised a fuss, and he thought it was hilarious. But we had come to far, and I was not about to take the chance of anything going wrong this late in the game. Nothing did though. Until we got back to the rear.
At the fuel farm, we noticed a rather large leak. Well, that leak came from the transmission that had blown itself apart and was now leaking the better part of gallons of 30W all over the fuel point. That was sure fun to dry sweep up.
So, the moral of the story is: do not mess with apricots around tanks, they will find a way to break.
CPL Michel, M A
B Co, 4th Tank Bn, 4th MarDiv
Hope To Measure
Recently I had the urge to return to Parris Island, where I underwent boot camp 50 years ago. When a friend advised me of a three-day trip to PI put together by a former drill instructor, I arranged to meet with the group on the island: 40 former Marines revisiting the place that changed us irrevocably.
During those three days we observed many activities: obstacle courses; bayonet drills; martial arts classes; portions of the Crucible; rifle range practice; and, of course, close-order drill. When some of us showed interest in a platoon marching outside the barracks where we stayed, their D.I. pushed them vigorously through a series of rapid maneuvers.
After 20 minutes of this, he brought them to a halt.
He acknowledged working them particularly hard, but he said he did this because of the men to the right of their formation. (No one dared look in our direction.) He said we were the Marines whose deeds contributed to the glorious history of the Corps, and they, the recruits, can only hope to measure up to us.
I turned away as if chastised, that someone should honor me so. I was keenly aware that these recruits signed up at a time when our nation is embroiled in a fearsome war, and it's almost certain they'll end up in the Middle East, directly in the crosshairs of harm's way.
The next morning in the early hours, waking to a symphony of snoring, I cried quietly. I cried for the men who were on this trip, who had contributed to the fine traditions of the Corps, these veterans of World War II (one), Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, all the perilous engagements. But mostly I cried for the gallant recruits I saw here. They chose to join an outfit that prides itself on being "first to fight." H&ll, they're heroes already.
All I Want For Christmas
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A Little Straighter
Went out to dinner with my son to Olive Garden tonight. While waiting to be seated I spotted a high and tight in the crowd and saw from his t-shirt that he was a Marine. He was with his mom so I didn't want to bother him. After we were seated I asked the waitress if I could purchase a gift certificate before we got to far along with our meal. I had the manager deliver it, hoping to remain anonymous, but that failed. Before I knew it this freshly minted Marine was standing tall next to my table. I stood up just a little straighter and greeted him. His handshake was firm, looked me right in the eyes and was very polite. Kevin was a week or so out of boot camp and was helping his recruiter before heading to Camp Pendleton to become an 03 of some kind. I gave him the only advise that I knew to give, and that was to listen to his NCO's in training and to listen and pay close attention to the men that had been in country for awhile when he got to Iraq.
We said our good byes and I sat back down to finish my dinner. I found that my eyes had sprung a small leak and it was hard to focus on the rest of my meal. My son asked what was wrong and I said it was very heartwarming and made me so very proud to be part of that young mans legacy and it was good to see the new Marines being made so much better than when I was in.
Still lacing them left over right,
BB Humper and Sergeant of Marines,
Line Of Holes
When going thru boot camp in 1962 we fired the 45. PVT Watson standing beside me fired every shot into the ground, there was a line of holes from where we were standing to the targets, when it came time to put the black or white stickers over the holes where you hit the target, SSGT. Neal our D.I. made him place a sticker on every hole he put in the ground.
Ed Libby 1992065 CPL USMC 0311
What's the Scuttlebutt?
What was the best rumor/scuttlebutt you heard?
Send to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
During the cold war approximate 300,000 Marines participated in Atomic bomb exercises in Nevada and the South Pacific. Records show that several died early with complications from various forms of cancer under a cloud of uncertainty about those exercises causing the cancer through ionizing radiation that are being disputed to this day. The VA has been drastically improved from the time the studies were initiated and is starting to recognize that there is reason to believe that those exercises had a major part is causing some of the cancers. As more scientific proof is developed there should be more cases presently in the claims process that will be recognized more specifically, for or against granting compensation for a claim. Something like what DNA has done for our legal process.
Has the Corp ever recognized the participation of it's Marines who participated in the Atomic exercises with either a patch, medal, even a T shirt or some other way of acknowledging the service, sometimes sacrifice and purpose that was given? I feel that the Corp was doing the best that it could with all of the knowledge that was available at the time and did a good job of doing it than anyone else. Considering the global threat of atomic warfare at the time there were no alternatives and if the threat was to be met who else but Marines could resolve it? Thanks for the providing a forum to sound off.
Semper Fi, Dick Kraske - Seattle
Feeling A Little Down
I just wanted to relate a small story of my first day of having finally earned "The Title." We had graduated Boot Camp. The parents and family of many of the guys in 2133 were there to see the ceremony, and afterward met with their 'Marines' (sons, brothers, fathers or friends), and had met our Drill Instructors (GySgt. Lawrence, SSgt. Sheffer & Sgt. Spivey). When everything had settled down and we had all gotten our orders and gear and were leaving the barracks, there were a couple of us left over. I had no family to speak of, other than an older Aunt who was in a nursing home, and didn't really know what I was going to do on leave before reporting to ITR at Camp Pendleton. I was feeling a little down about not having anyone to show off my new persona, and the stripe I had earned coming out of Boot Camp. I had decided that I would go home to Kansas (Wichita) for a couple of days, but was really in no hurry to get there. I found myself later that afternoon waiting at the bus stop aboard MCRD to catch a bus to the airport. An old green Ford van pulled up and a voice called out, "Hey, Marine... need a ride?" I jumped up and responded with a loud "Sir, Yes Sir!" (hard habit to break at first, ya know?), grabbed sea bag and opened the door. There sat my Drill Instructor, Sgt. James Spivey, with a smile on his face. I instinctively 'locked it up'. He told me to knock that krap off and get in. I told him I was going to the airport but was in no hurry because I hadn't gotten a ticket or anything and wasn't in any rush to get 'home'. He said, "Well, Marine... if you've got nothing better to do, why don't you join me and my family for the weekend." I was apprehensive, still not used to the fact that as a mere Sergeant he actually could NOT walk on water, but I agreed. He took me to a store where I got a pair of jeans, shirt and light jacket and sneakers, and then to his place. On the way to his house he told me that he was aware that I had no family, because I never got any letters... except a few forwarded bills. Long story short... He and his wife and daughter went out of their way to make me feel comfortable, took me to see the Pacific Ocean for the first time, and Sunday we went to The San Diego Zoo... quite a sight for a Kansas farm boy. When he delivered me to Lindbergh Field on Monday, I tried to thank him for all he had done for me that weekend, and for making me feel at home. He just smiled and waved it off, then said... "Whether you realize it yet or not, you have a family now, and I am part of it, just like all the other Marines on this planet are. As time goes by, you will learn how great that really is. Just remember what we taught you, and listen to your sergeants, and you'll do fine." I never saw him again, or heard of him, although I have tried on several occasions to locate him. So, here I wanted to say "Thank You, Sgt. Spivey, for giving me my first 'real-life' lesson in what our Band Of Brothers really means." I have on many occasions since those days, seen young Marines traveling in airports (I travel a lot in my work with kids), and any time possible I try to buy 'em a meal or a beer. And, when they thank me, I just tell them of the words that a wise young Sergeant of Marines told me, and ask them to pass it on when they get a chance. Sgt. Spivey, if you're out there...THANK YOU, BROTHER. To the many fine young men and women who today are serving our country in our beloved Corps, "Just remember what you were taught, and listen to your Sergeants, you'll do fine. After all...YOU ARE MARINES." God Bless America, and God Bless MY United States Marine Corps. THANK YOU, Sgt. Grit for this newsletter. In closing, I remain...
Dale "Mad Dog" Messmer
My father Robert E Martin USMC CAPT. Ret. died on Sept 12 of this year. I would print out the newsletter for him all the time and he enjoyed it. He joined in 1942 and served until 1963. He was in WWII and at the Chosen Frozen (Chosen Few) - yes another is gone. He served as the Captain of the Rifle and Pistol team for a few years and as a small child I also "joined" the Marine Corps traveling with him and Mom from the west coast to the east coast every year. When I was 24 I joined the Marine Corps and my Dad wanted to know why (sorry to the rest of the services) I told him the Air Force had way too many uniforms, the Army was at that time taken people who had been busted for drug related offenses and I didn't want to be around that, and I got sea sick so the Navy was out of the question ---besides I grew up in the Marine Corps. I did him right and was the first WM to drive a General on MCRD San Diego and the first WM to qualify Expert Rifleman (got 2nd award) on the base. I guess you can't take it out of me because now I work at the Recruit Sales at MCRD San Diego now watching over all the new "boots" Yea I know you can call them that but I do in my head (old Corps never goes away) Thank-you for all the good you do and you do make a good Marine cry once in awhile!
Ann M. Martin Cpl USMC 1981-1985
President Eisenhower Said
Corporal E. Price I too am a Cold War Marine. I want you to know you are a Marine during a time of peace or war! I am thankful for all who served before me and after.
You see we Cold War Marines "guarded the west at the Fulda gap, in Berlin, at the Korean DMZ, the Taiwan Straits, and many other places around the globe during the Cold War". Many Marines Died due to not only training accidents but acts of war and terrorism. As President Eisenhower said, "We have but one way to avoid global war, and that is to win the Cold War."
We were in a war no doubt about that! Even though we did not receive a national defense ribbon we defended The United States all the same. I was touched personally when the 241 were murdered by the terrorist in Beirut. I will never forget!
I would pray no one else does!
Sgt. Sam Welman
Cold War Veteran
1979 through 1988
I was on Recruiting duty from Nov87-Oct90. I was stationed at RSS Santa Fe, New Mexico from RS Albuquerque, New Mexico. I had stopped to fill the gas tank on my GOV. (Government Vehicle) before setting out on another long drive to a rural high school in order to find a highly qualified applicant that had the guts to earn the title of the World's Finest. Dressed in my Dress Blue uniform, I heard the screeching of tires as a gentleman in a light colored sedan pulled into the service station and right up to me. He got out of the vehicle with determination and I prepared myself for some strong words from a disgruntled civilian. Instead he reached out his hand to shake mine. He said, "I saw you here, and I have always made it a point to stop and shake every Marines hand I can find". I asked him, Why was that? He told me that if it were not for the Marines that he would not be there to shake my hand. He went on further to explain that he was a pilot during WW2, A B-29 super fortress pilot. He had flown many missions to drop his bombs on Japan and Okinawa. On his last mission over Japan he and his crew had encountered Japanese planes on their return and were shot up severely. They would not be able to make it home to their base. He then told me that he was able to make it to Iwo Jima and land his plane there. He said that the Marines had secured the island only a few days earlier. Still holding my hand and shaking it, He said thank you again, for you and all Marines. "God Bless the Marines" he said, as he turned and got back into his car. As he drove away, I saw that he was teary eyed. I remember thinking about that moment for many days afterward. It was not until I went to see Clint Eastwoods movie, Flag of our Fathers, and saw a similar seen in the movie, were a crippled B-29 made an emergency landing, even as the fighting continued that I remembered that morning clearly. As I drove home that night, after the movie, I had several memories come back to me and it was a difficult night for me, but not as difficult as it has been for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and those that were there on Iwo, and all the other islands, and in Europe, Korea, Vietnam, Beirut, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Bosnia, Desert Shield/Storm, Iraq, And countless other parts of the world where Marines serve faithfully. May we take time to reflect on those that have served, and are serving and the sacrifices that our families make as well, Especially during this holiday season.
Jon K Liebert SGT. USMC
MOS 0321, 1982-1996
Staff NCO Creed
I am a Staff Noncommissioned Officer in the United States Marine Corps. As such, I am a member of the most unique group of professional military practitioners in the world. I am bound by duty to God, Country, and my fellow Marines to execute the demands of my position to and beyond what I believe to be the limits of my capabilities.
I realize I am the mainstay of Marine Corps discipline, and I carry myself with military grace, unbowed by the weight of command, unflinching in the execution lawful orders, and unswerving in my dedication to the most complete success of my assigned mission.
Both my professional and personal demeanor shall be such that I may take pride if my juniors emulate me, and knowing perfection to lie beyond the grasp of any mortal hand, I shall yet strive to attain perfection that I may ever be aware of my needs and capabilities to improve myself. I shall be fair in my personal relations, just in the enforcement of discipline, true to myself and my fellow Marines, and equitable in my dealing with every man.
Vent My Spleen
I just wanted to vent my spleen about the treatment 3 of our Marines are getting from the Corps! 3 Young men have been court marshaled for "kidnapping and killing innocent Iraqis". Has HQMC not heard that there is a war going on? That you kill people who threaten you? That in this particular war you can't be sure if the Iraqi is an enemy until he is dead?
Why in the h&ll is our Corps so bent on being politically correct?"
Seems to me it is better to be physically ALIVE!
On Thanksgiving night of 1950 the Chinese attacked the First Marine Division and thus started this Campaign. Attacked by around 120,000 Chinese troops, the First Marine Division fought gallantry even tough outnumbered. Orders were given to them to annihilate the Marines. Through the very cold conditions(-30 to -40) and other harsh conditions, we prevailed. They paid a horrible price with the loss of so many men. With approximately 60,000 of them either killed, wounded or frost bitten there drive was stopped. I am proud to say that I was one of those Marines who was there at that time. There are many books written about this Campaign for you to read.
Cpl. E. Szymciak E-2-7 Hill 1282
5' 8" Runt
My grandfather had been a "Horse" Marine 1n 1918, and had been the Atlantic Fleet boxing champion the same year. (I don't know if they really had horses in 1918, but that is what I was always told...) My dad's two brothers were on Iwo Jima in WWII. My dad was younger, but joined the Navy for the Korean War, right out of High School...He naturally got assigned to the Marines as a Corpsman, and fought as a Marine at Inchon and the Chosin Reservoir. After the war he got his college degree, became a maverick officer, and later his Masters' degree, eventually teaching Hospital Administration at Bethesda Naval Medical Center. He retired as a Lieutenant Commander and had a successful career as a hospital administrator.
When I joined the Marines in 1983 he was mad that I didn't join the Navy, but not too mad! I made it thru boot camp and was scheduled to graduate on December 23, 1983. (Very close to Christmas, don't get recycled!) My dad said he would come down to Parris Island for the ceremony.
When I went to boot camp I was a 5' 8" runt, weighing in at about 150 pounds, with some baby fat still on my frame. I was one of the smallest guys in my platoon, but received some extra recognition as the "Knowledge Recruit" because of my history prowess, studying ability, and my willingness and success in helping some recruits to learn their necessary facts. By graduation I was a 5" 8" stick of wood, weighing 114 pounds at graduation. (A mean, lean, fighting machine!)
The day before graduation, my dad was to arrive, and we had a few hours of liberty (our first in 13 weeks). We could go to the PX, the movie theatre, or the bowling alley. I was just very anxious to see my beloved dad. We had planned to meet at a certain location, and at the prescribed time I was walking towards our meeting point. I was walking along and saw my pops heading towards me. I was ready to snap him a crisp USMC salute (He was a retired naval officer after all, and a decorated Marine combat Corpsman!) and HE Walked RIGHT BY ME! I stopped and shouted back, "Dad?" He turned and with a surprised look he said," Buddy?"
He couldn't believe how much weight I had lost, I was in the best shape of my life, but very thin. I wasn't the strongest Marine, but could run with the best of them, and very adept at the more technical aspects. I became a infantry / radio operator and had many memorable experiences.
He also served during the Vietnam War, and had been in Beirut in 1958. My dad was honored by many organizations later in his life for his combat actions, and in helping veterans after the wars were over. He died in bravely with honor 2005, after a 10 year battle with cancer. I'll never forget the day he walked right by me at Parris island...We laughed about that for years.
LCPL Bud Redding
Not A Single Shot
Joined Corps in 1965 on my 19th birthday. (Just worked out that way). Was living in Florida at the time so even though I had just left Michigan 2 months before we were bussed up to P.I.. After boot, Lejeune, and various schools in San Diego & Pendleton I finally got my first boot leave in Nov 66. After that went to El Toro & took the big bird to Hawaii, Okinawa, and landed in DaNang. two months later as a radioman with A-1-13's 105mm battery we flew to PhuBai and convoyed it up to KheSanh in April 67. Things were pretty quiet for the first 3 months. Not a single shot fired. It was like some kind of summer camp without the swimming hole. I stood radio watches 4 on & 8 or 12 off & the loudest thing that I heard was the 105's firing off H & I's. Long about June 6th a company size patrol with either Kilo Co. or India Co. was mortared & ambushed in the middle of the afternoon. About 8-10 Marines were KIA of which two were our radio operators. I was asked if I wanted to replace my late friend in the field & I was choppered up to Hill 881 the next day. After many patrols it was two months later and we hadn't made contact with the enemy again. More radio operators came up to hill & I got transferred to a 4.2 mortar battery, W-1-13 back down in Khe Sanh. Next day sent up to Hill 861 to take on radio watch & wireman duties. It wasn't until some time in late Sept 67 when the first harassing 82mm mortars started to fall on the hill occasionally feeling us out and getting their range on us. By October we were getting 10 to 15 rounds of incoming a day then it slowed down enough in November so that on Thanksgiving day a surprise chopper came up to 861, put down on the LZ & shut down. It was around 1700 and the valley below including the bottom of our hill was socked in with fog. The guys started unloading all these containers of HOT CHOW. WOW, no C-rats today. I'll never forget that huge meal we had up there in the middle of nowhere. Turkey, stuffing, veggies, yams too, mashed potatoes, & more turkey. then even pumpkin pie. I think they actually loaded a few choppers up and made the rounds from Hills 861,881, & even up on 950 which had a strange bunch of about 25 brave isolated Marines. I tell you the only thing besides our family that was missing from that Thanksgiving was a TV with the Lions game on. Well, that's about it. I could go on, but they've all seen and done it too. After the siege of Khe Sanh & the NVA trying to overrun us twice I rotated out of that h&ll hole on March 14, 1968. Had some bad memories, but came home in one piece.
SEMPER FI to you all and have a great holiday.
U.S. Marine 65-69.
Now outside Detroit in Farmington Hills, Michigan.
Do Draft Dodgers Have Reunions?
Dear Sgt Grit:
I am a Navy Corpsman (FMF) in the Naval Reserve. In 1991, I was an active duty Corpsman assigned to VMFA 251 and stationed at MCAS Beaufort, SC. We went overseas to Iwakuni, Japan for a six-month "West Pac."
While deployed, we participated in Operation Pitch Black in Australia. Right before we left Australia, we stopped off in Darwin for a few days. One night, about 30 or so of my Marines were getting pretty drunk with the SGT MAJ Gary Weaver. Ever the watchful Corpsman, I patrolled area to make sure my Marines were staying out of trouble.
About that time, one of the Marines calls out and says "Hey, let's duct tape Doc!" Here was my worst nightmare: 30 drunk Marines and they wanted to duct tape me! Suddenly, SGT MAJ Weaver stood up (as best he could!) and said, "Wait a minute, NOBODY touches my Corpsman unless I say so and I ain't said so!" I was never so glad to have the SGT MAJ on my side! He was a survivor of Beirut (1983) and knew the value of a "doc."
I am proud to be an FMF Corpsman and love my Marines. Semper Fi to all my Marine and Corpsman brothers.
John D. Howe, Th.D
Best Part of the Corps is the Corpsman
Come Up Fast
As a former Marine the held the MOS's 0311/8531/8541 (Grunt/Marksmanship Instructor/Scout Sniper) May 65-June 69 and two tours in Vietnam. I have a GMC pickup with several USMC stickers on my back window and also the USMC Scout/Sniper Association sticker and a personalize Purple Heart license plate that read "SURVIR". Well any way many times on the freeway I see cars and trucks come up fast then slow down and honk or wave at me or when I'm at a red light I see people in my mirrors pointing down at my plate. It makes my purple heart medal that much more worth it after all these years. I didn't ask for it, it just came my one day in Vietnam and survived an 82mm mortar round explosion, while other Marines didn't walk away. As an enlisted Marine in March 1965 while still in high school I didn't know that being in combat situations that those moments in time haunt you forever. Also being rotated back to the states after 13 months tours and coming home alone while your still thinking about the Marines that you left behind. I'm still glad that I enlisted and hoped I made a difference.
Pulling Mess Duties
Semper fi Sgt. Grit,
Happy Thanksgiving to you and our fellow Marines. I am honored to write and share a bit about my first Thanksgiving in the Corps I was at edson range 1976 and my Plt. ended up pulling mess duties for not taking 1st place. I felt so home sick at the time and the thing that lifted my spirits was eating the good chow on Thanksgiving day. You see I am a long ways from home. I'm from the small but beautiful island of Guam where Americas day begins as a matter of fact, part of our road is named Marine Corps drive. isn't that wonderful? I am proud to be a Marine I've seen and been to quite so many places that if not for the Corps I would never had the chance. My license plate is for veterans MC OOO and so proud of that too. Although I served during peace time I'm truly very proud to earned the title of United States Marine
Platoon 1108 Graduated Jan. 05, 1976
1966 A Good Year
I really enjoy all of the stories in your newsletter. I will never forget my 1967 Thanksgiving meal. We were on an operation west of the Rockpile and I looked forward to it all day long. It was real simple but "tasty" and I was very thankful that the Lord had provided me safety so I could enjoy it. I never sit down at a Thanksgiving meal now that I don't think about that one.
OrDerves - Crackers and Cheese
Main Course - Beans & Weenies
Dessert - Pecan Cake Roll & Apricots
Beverage - Cherry Koolaid (1966 - a good year !)
Semper Fi !
James D. Cool
India Company 3/4
Platoon Sergeant M Donald Chittenden served on Iwo Jima.
His DD-214 was not complete no medals the endorsement Asian Pacific Theatre.
He did not realize his records were not complete until he tried to access VA health care.
I filed all the paper work, I was told 6 to 18 months (he's 86 years young). UNACCEPTABLE
I contacted Congressman John Olver early October he was contacted all records received.
He shows up at my house November 10 get this all medals delivered.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARINE
It's not a motto it's a debt
I remember in boot at Parris Island an incident when we were told to fallout in back of the squad bay for a special Thanksgiving treat and bring our smokes with us. The DI then said "smoking lamp is lit" and before anyone could get their's lit, he said "smoking lamp is out." He then proceeded to tell us that he was getting too soft in his old age but not to let that one kindness go to our heads.
Dick Vara (Sgt)
San Jacinto, CA.
Wake Up Call
Hawthorne, I believe, was his name. In any event, Boot Camp remains, after more than 40 years, a vivid nightmarish memory. Yet, this one incident, among many too ludicrous to believe, occurred on about the first night at the new range at Camp Pendleton. Our Platoon, from MCRD, had trudged the beach to be part of the first series at the new range, Camp Matthews, I believe. Drill Instructors were, as we all recall, loud and in our faces throughout the ordeal.
That first night I pulled the watch with Pvt. Hawthorne - maybe his name was something else, but it definitely started with an "H." How lucky we felt, and congratulated each other on our luck, to be inside, with the responsibility of "fire watch," and to answer the phone. The evening started off quietly - nothing to report. The bright light in the office was completely immersed in the black of night that surrounded us. We were an island in the middle of nothingness, being kept afloat on the newly found adrenalin of having departed the h&ll of MCRD.
That is, until well after dark. Suddenly the telephone sprang to life and Hawthorne and I jumped at the opportunity to speak with a real live person. Alas, I was just a tad too slow. "Sir, Post # so-and-so, Private Hawthorne speaking, Sir!" I listened intently, not wanting to miss an opportunity to catch- on quickly to how it should be done. "Sir, yes sir, wake-up call at zero-five-thirty, aye, aye, sir." And, he hung up.
Not wanting to be outdone, I quickly grabbed the pencil and began writing in the log book: "0530 Wake-up :" "Hey, Hawthorne, who does the watch wake up at 0530?" Silence - nothing but mortal fear as the realization came over Pvt. Hawthorne, then, "Oh my god, I'm dead!"
If you're out there and recall this incident, I apologies for not remembering your real name. But, you can be sure, I never forgot you, Brother. I'd be glad to hear from you at: OCUSMC @ Hotmail.com
Private M. Corbett (later, Sgt. of Marines)-1st Bn, MCRD-SD, (about 9/64)
Not One Person
The year 1953 we were returning from the Korean War we had almost 8,000 Marines aboard ship we had so many Marines we had to put some of our sea bags in the aisles and had to walk on them, we hit a typhoon off the coast of Japan and for 4 days our ship was tossed around like a tin can, probably 6,000 Marines were sea sick, it was so hard to stay in your rack in which was a piece of pipe with canvas on it, the heads in the ship had about 40 toilets in them you had to step up about a foot to enter them as they had a water tight door in case of a puncture the water would come out of the stools with everything in them and it was about a foot deep if you sat down a big wave would hit the ship and the water in the head would go all over you, when you went to eat if you were not to sick you stood up to eat we would hit a big wave and all the trays would go flying down the table then come flying back you had no ideal if it was your tray or not that went by, the Marine next to you would throw up on you. The stern of the ship would go way up in the air you could hear the propellers just roar then slam back down, the ship then would roll from side to side, it was next to impossible to even walk, if you went to go down a stairs when the ship rolled you would be standing in mid air if you did not really hang on to the rail to flat on your face going up the stairs. The ship was a Civil Service ship called the W. Hayes. We had survived temperatures as low as 40 below zero in Korea with no heat or doors on our trucks it was the 7TH Motor transport Batt. 1st Marine Division and I thought the ship would sink and not survive the ride home, and when we got to San Francisco not one person was there to welcome us home.
Former Sgt. Phil Street USMC
For me this incongruous event began with a call at 2145 (9:45 PM) late one August evening three months ago. My 13 year old son answered the phone and after a second commanded me to the phone with a simple; "Dad its for you". I asked who it was and got back "Bob Roberts". Well I did not have a clue who Bob Roberts was but I hauled myself up out of the chair and ambled to the kitchen to pick up the call. After a minute of idle chatter I finally said" "Bob do I know you, because your name is not connecting with me". I like to think at the other end of the line there was a smile, perhaps, and a sense of "Gotcha". The very next question to me was "Where were you 44 years ago?" That was easy: I had just begun boot camp at Parris Island...Platoon 359. I asked if Bob was in my platoon because I was still not picking up on the name. Bob asked "Do you know who your DI's were" Oh sure...S/Sgt Banazek, Sgt Ward and Sgt --OH JESUS--Sgt Roberts !
Sure enough, somehow I had been tracked down by one of my DI's 44 years after I left Parris Island. I was stunned! Sgt Roberts and I spoke for perhaps another 15 minutes or so. A very pleasant and congenial man. It was impossible for me to think of him as anything other than Sgt Roberts and my memory of him as the "heavy" among our triumvirate of DI's. I told him at one point I did not recall that he even had a first name! To me he is still Sgt Roberts.
The circumstance that brought this call about was to tell me, and whoever else we could locate, that plans were in the making for a reunion in Gettysburg PA of Platoon 359 in October, in fact over the very day we had graduated from PI 44 years earlier. Would I be able to get there ? Well I am not given to looks back in time, but this was certainly going to be one event that I would not miss for anything. So I solidly announced I would be there. I was asked to see if I could chase down one other boot too. I was able to do after three days on the Internet and a few blind calls I connected with my best friend from high school--the one I had cajoled into joining the Corps with me those 44 years earlier on the buddy plan--and a good friend who I had not seen in over 25 years and had also lost touch with. Time and distance can do that as we all know,
As it turned out Sgt Roberts and several of the other men from the platoon had located over thirty of us out of a platoon of 82 newly minted Marines. Several of the platoon had died--some I suspect in Viet Nam--but all three DI's were still hale and hardy, as well as some 30 of us from the platoon. A date had been set for our reunion and October 2006 was fast approaching.
October 22nd as myself and my newly found high school buddy approached Gettysburg PA we were very curious to see how this would go after so long. How many would be there, how would be interact, would anyone remember one another. We had lived day and night with these men for over three months--asshole to bellybutton--but did we really know one another?
As we walked into the reunion hotel a large sign announced our encampment (See attached). The front foyer had a cluster of men and women as we walked in and it was clear we had arrived back in time--these were Marines and I certainly felt that I had come home.
Over the next two and half days there was much to enjoy. Some 15 of us had showed up along with, in many cases, wives. All three of our DI's were there: S/Sgt Banazak--later to become Capt Banazak. Sgt Ward (later Lt Ward) and Sgt Roberts. The slop chute opened almost immediately on the 4th deck. It was good to see some had stayed in shape, although many of us were a few pounds north of our fighting weight. King and I made a run to the liquor store and the spirits and good times began in earnest. Pictures were taken, stories and memories of Platoon 359 were flowing in abundance. If we were unsure how this would all play out after 44 years it was pretty obvious that these quiet friendships and trusts forged all those years ago had not been degraded by the passage of time. As I think of it, this was really the first time we had to talk with one another without fear of an onslaught of pain and motivation from our own trio of "Gunny Hartman" platoon managers. We all had a terrific time ! We even were able to unmask our legendary and notorious "Phantom crapper". That is one of our most infamous memories from 44 years ago. To long for this piece today but use your imagination and I am sure you'll be able to conjure up a picture of our memory on this.
As this reunion wound down we agreed that we'd do this all again, and soon. As it turned out, "Again" is going to be in April 26th - 29th 2007 at Parris Island, and in conjunction with the annual DI reunion held there each year.
Marines PLATOON 359
USMC MCRD PI PLT 359 Aug-Oct 1962 Reunion
April 26-29 2007 Parris Island, South Carolina
Parris Island DRILL INSTRUCTOR Association
First Day Thursday 26th - Leave on Sunday 29 Apr 2007
Email: troutch @ aol .com
Of course we're anxious to scrub some more platoon members out of hiding for this event and hope that the readers of this newsletter are either members, or know members, of the platoon and will encourage a large turnout. I'll be there with my 13 year old son as I can't think of anything that would be more 'motivating' for him than to be at PI with a large gathering of older Marines and DI's and also to be in the very center of our universe.
What this all means to me is the living expression of "Semper Fidelis"
Phil Mason Cpl USMC
In October, 1999 my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. We went for treatment to The Cancer Treatment Center/Tulsa. In November, 1999 after a long day of Dr. visits and preparing for our battle with cancer I decided to clear my mind and take a walk in the huge parking lot at the hospital. On the way back to our room after a lengthy walk I happened to notice the back tag on a Buick LeSabre in the lot. On it was the flag raising on Iwo, under that, Tinian Saipan Iwo Jima. I walked around to the front of the car and the front tag had Second Armored Amphibious Battalion and under that Tinian Saipan Iwo Jima. I went back up to our room in the hospital and wrote a note to the car's owner telling him I was a Marine and how much I admired and appreciated WW2 vets and thanked him for his service. I put it under the windshield wiper.
That evening around 5:00 the phone rang. It was Lloyd Dinsmore, the Marine, and the owner of the LeSabre. I found that Lloyd and his wife Lois were volunteers at the hospital and worked every Tuesday. I told him we would still be there the next Tuesday and we made arrangements to meet.
What followed was, and is a true and abiding friendship although Lloyd is probably 12 to 14 years my senior. I found after talking with Lloyd that the Second was in the first wave to land on Iwo. His LVTA hit the beach under the shadow of Mt. Suribachi and in fact to his knowledge, it was the first vehicle to land. Lloyd witnessed the first flag raising, he is witness to one of America's finest hours.
Lloyd invited me and my wife to The Second's reunion in 2001 in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. I felt it was truly an honor to be a guest. At the banquet finalizing the reunion it was announced that the battalion had voted and "adopted' me as an honorary member. They presented me with a Battalion history book, the last available one as far as I know. I will treasure it as long as I live. I told them on accepting the membership and book that the only time I could have possibly been more proud to be a Marine was graduation day, boot camp. We have since attended another reunion (they are held every other year) A finer group of men I have never met.
Last September it was my honor to go to Pryor, Oklahoma and take part in military rights for the funeral of another dear friend and Battalion member, Shannon Proctor.
I was a peace time Marine and served during the time between Korea and Nam. I am a little in awe of my fellow Marines who are combat vets, more especially WW2 vets who made the islands.
Semper Fi brothers,
you did us all proud.
We are still one, my father 1954, my brother 1976, myself 1983, my nephew 2004, still a Band of Brothers. Semper Fi and hello to any Beirut Vets, I flew in and out on external security, 1984. from LHA 4. 3/10 and 3/8
I lost my best friend this year, we were married 30 years and he was a Marine for over 20 years. He loved his Marine Corps, and the life we had, in Marine Corps and so did I. It has been really hard, heâ€™s only been gone 7 months, but miss him so bad, our son was a Marine also, we were a proud military family.
Thanks, Kathy Grady
Wife of one of the best
USMC Retired Marine Corps
Marines know how to use their bayonets. Army bayonets may as well be paper-weights.
Navy Times; November 1994
This is a link to a nice photo essay of Marine snipers in Iraq. They hide and wait...hide and wait...and wait...and wait.
Honor Courage Commitment
Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Anyone who Threatens it
Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done!
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Thanks for all of the products you offer. I enjoy looking online and at the physical catalog I get in the mail. I always manage to find something I just can''t live without! There is always something there to brighten a Marine''s life, or something for me, a USMC Mom, to show my pride for the Corps!
Semper Fi, A proud USMC Mom