Dear Sgt. Grit,
Cpl. Lenihan, Frank T. MCRD San Diego, September 1987 Platoon 2080 Hotel Company 2nd Battalion
Senior D.I SSgt Hullet, D.I. Sgt. Harris and Sgt Barksdale
Our platoon was participating in a night wargame against a sister platoon who's D.I. was a Recon Marine. This D.I. Camouflaged himself to look like a tree. In the middle of an intense maneuver, the smallest recruit in our platoon needed to relieve himself. Under the cover of darkness he began to urinate on this "tree." The tree began to notice this and began barking curses at the recruit. Though I forgot the recruits name, we hailed him a hero for being the only Marine Recruit to p!ss on a D.I. and live to tell about it. This is an absolutely true story! When we returned back from Pendleton to MCRD San Diego, the poor recruit had to report his actions to every D.I. we came across.
Semper Fi,
Cpl. Lenihan, F.T.
CSSD-14, 1st FSSG, USMC Air Station El Toro, 1989-1991

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Rated Above

Sgt Grit:
I was sworn into the Corps in April 1961 along with 3 other recruits from the Middle Tn area. We had an overnight train ride from Nashville to Atlanta and then had a several hour lay over before taking the bus to Parris Island. While walking around Atlanta we passed a Tattoo parlor and figured since we thought we were Marines that we were entitled to having an appropriate tattoo. Lucky for me I decided not to do it but one of the other guys( Perry Jones) went ahead and got a Devil Dog on his bicep. Needless to say when we got to PI that night and the receiving DIs saw the bandage on his arm they knew immediately what he had done. The next 3 months were rough for all of us but Perry especially caught "h&ll" because he had the tattoo before he had earned the right. That along with an aversion to needles is one of the reasons that I never got one.

When we did catch the bus in Atlanta a few other recruits were also there and as we went on through Georgia and South Carolina we picked up a few more. Needless to say there was a lot of laughing and joking until we got to within 30 or 40 miles of the Island. From that point you could have heard a pin drop as we didn't know exactly what was coming but we all knew that the fun and games were over.

The next day we went through hygenics and our DIs "escorted "us over to our barracks and advised us that our platoon number was 119 and the first battalion was the toughest one on the Island. Anyway one of the first questions was for anyone with prior military service to take one step forward and several did. I had one semester of ROTC and thought about stepping forward but since I didn't attend all the drills I decided to stay silent on that. Good decision. Anyway one the guys when asked what his prior service was answered "Sir, ROTC, Sir". All three of the DIs immediately surrounded him and "adjusted" his uniform . Needless to say I never told anyone about my ROTC service.

I don't know about how things are done today but our DIs always told us (so it must be correct) that as we progressed through our time in the Corps that PI trained Marines would always be rated above those that went through San Diego and that we as First Battalion recruits would be above those "Candies" in the Second and Third battalions.

Thanks for letting me remember the days when we were in our natural prime.

Semper Fi
John P Vaughn L/Cpl (1961/65)

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Sgt Maj Pacheco

Sgt Grit,

Searching for those I served with and especially members of my boot camp platoon; 145 - MCRD San Diego - 1962, has become almost a passion during the past few years. I've managed to find enough of those I served with that we were able to have a small reunion last fall. It was great to see those guys again. Some were instantly recognizable, others became more familiar as the weekend progressed.

I have managed to find about a fourth of the recruits from platoon 145 and two Drill Instructors. The first Drill Instructor, Gunnery Sergeant Howard Broadhead (Ret.) was a Sergeant when he had us and we were his first platoon. He ended up with three tours on the drill field and three tours in Viet Nam. I had been looking for a replacement for my platoon book because mine had been destroyed in a home plumbing incident. The Gunny was kind enough to send his copy to me. And we thought those guys didn't have a heart.

Just as the year ended I received an email from a guy named Larry Shell, telling me he had been stationed with a Sgt. Pacheco from Lawrence Kansas. A little research and a phone call revealed that his Sgt. Pacheco was indeed one of our Drill Instructors. Sgt Maj Jesse Pacheco (Ret.) has one h&ll of a history. Born 24Aug24 in Kansas, his father rode with Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution. A three war Marine, he joined the Corps in 1943 and just out of boot camp went to the 4th Raider Bn. which was commanded by Col. James Roosevelt (the presidents son). He went from there to the 4th Marine Regiment. He was on Emirau Island in 1944, then Guam followed by Okinawa. Sgt Maj Pacheco next went to the 6th Marine Division and landed on the Island of Japan on 30Aug1945. He reactivated from the reserves and went to Korea in 1950, was at the Chosin Reservoir and returned to CONUS in June of 1951. He did three years on the drill field and three tours in Viet Nam, retiring as a Sgt Maj on 31Aug79. Sgt Maj Pacheco had a total of 32 years of active duty in the Corps. What an amazing man. He was 38 years old when he was our Drill Instructor. Wow!

Sgt Maj Pacheco was interview as part of The Veteran's History Project. He was generous enough to send a copy of that interview, on DVD, to me along with his permission to share it with anyone who was in one of his platoons.

Anyone from Platoon 145 or any of Sgt Maj Pacheco's other platoons, that would like a copy of the DVD of his interview can contact me at jerryd6818 @yahoo .com

Cpl Jerry Downen
1st LAAM Bn, 2nd LAAM Bn, 3rd LAAM Bn
USMC 1962-1966
Monkey Mtn, Da Nang, RVN 1965-1966

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All His Sons

Sgt. Grit,
I'm reading your Feb 1st Newsletter where SSgt Robert A. Hall said he was never struck by his DI. Well, that my be true for the recruits in Parris Island. But let me tell you as a Marine Veteran from Plt 392 HONOR PLATOON MCRD San Diego I got the holy S#*^ knock out of at the rifle range. Yes, I didn't qualify and when this 1stLt came up to me and asked what happen, I was told to say that I wasn't holding my rifle tight enough and the recoiled cause the sights to hit me in the mouth. Two weeks later I got that same rifle shove into my chest 4 times because I started off on the wrong foot. That was 40 years ago and it was like it was yesterday. No, I'm not bitter against SSgt Gilroy (I will never forget him) I just think he was preparing us for what was ahead (Vietnam). At 17 you really don't know where your life is headed but I do thank the 3 DIs SSgt J. T. Gilroy, Sgt. R. A. Stangarone, Sgt. K. B. Smith that turned us into Marines. I will never forget the look SSgt Gilroy gave us the day we left for Camp Pendleton, it was if we were all his sons and he knew some of us would make it and some wouldn't. If had to do it all over again I would have done it the same.
Semper Fi
LCpl Tommy Hicks June 67 - Oct 71

Called Boots

To all that may be horrified by reading about some DI striking a boot! Yes we were called boots and many other things not fit to print because ladies may read this. You guys need to sit down with a beer or whatever with someone from the 1950s and earlier and learn about what it was like in boot camp in the Old Corps. I have heard the difference between the Old Corps and the New Corps is in the utilities? If any of you young guys would like an earful on boot camp when I was there, pre Korean War, feel free to get in touch with me. Sgt. Grit has my email on file.

Jim Browne
Cpl. of Marines
USMC 1950-1954
Plt. 19 MCRD San Diego

SSgt Leon M. Pepka

With sadness I report the passing of SSgt Leon M. Pepka on 8Dec2006 at his home in Murrietta, CA. SSgt Pepka was a DI at MCRD SDiego 68-69, served in Viet Nam and after leaving active duty became a police officer in SoCal. He retired from law enforcement after 35 years with duty at both the Santa Ana and the Fountain Valley police departments. He lived with his wife Mariko in Murrietta, CA. His funeral was attended by an estimated 450 people, a police honor guard, and a USMC honor detail from CJHP.
Some of his former recruits were in attendance as a testament to his influence on those young men. I attended in dress blues in honor of my best friend and long time hunting partner.
Sgt Pepka will be interred at his home town in Milbank, South Dakota.
Semper Fi Lee
Rocky Kemp - Sgt of Marines 1953/63

All Non Hackers

Joined the Corps Feb 1983, we were told we were being trained for war. Beirut, any way quite a few guys had the crap kicked out of them. All non hackers. I wish the Marines would leave the P.C. Bullsh!t to politicians! I for one did not want some wanna be, sittin next to me in a fox hole! Luckily for my and mine I wasn't sent over. However to this day I'm more proud of toughing it through my training because so many guys dropped out. I know that the Corps has to comply with what those *ssholes in Washington say. But I for one thing HANDS OFF THE MARINES!
Thanks for lettin me vent! Semper Fi and God Bless
Jim Hatheway

I Hold Great Respect

Dear Sgt Grit,
I am a Marine serving in Iraq right now getting ready to finish my tour and go home. I have been reading your newsletter for a while and it helps to pass the time and keep up the motivation. I just wanted to write because in reading I noticed the Corpsman from Vietnam that wonders if he has earned the respect from my generation of Marines. Anyone who has served in the military deserves respect especially those that served during times of war and uncertainty. I hold great respect for all those who serve in the military but there will always be the special place for my brothers that served in the Marines and as Corpsman with Marines. There would not be much of a Marine Corps with out those that are there to support us. The Corpsmen are the ones that go with us wherever we go see all that we see and are there to patch us up so that we can go home to our families and friends with all our brothers to tell the stories of the heroes that offered the sacrifice that most would not dare to do. Corpsmen go into harms way in order to see that others may come home and all Marines should honor them for the sacrifices that they have made to make sure that others can do the same. I am not a grunt and in many ways felt my MOS was not as useful as others but I have seen the times where my MOS has made the difference between life and death for other Marines.

Semper Fi,
Marshall Williams

Fourth Member Of Our Family

In late 1966 while a member of the 3d MAW staff, I was talking to the G-3 in the company of a new 2dLt. I was also a "New" 2dLt having been commissioned in May from MSgt. A Cpl joined us and addressed the Col about an issue. Having not understood the Cpl, the Col said "sir, would you say that again" which the young Marine did. After getting direction from the Col, the young Cpl departed. The other 2dLt looked at the Col and ask why the Col had addressed the Marine with the "Sir", stating that he was only a Cpl. The Col said remember, "Sir is only a sign of respect. If he can address me as "Sir", why should I not do the same." Although I had used the term with both seniors and juniors for years, The answer the Col gave was right on the mark.

NEW MARINE: On the 22nd of Jan we place another member of the family in training at MCRDSD. My 19 year old grandson took up residence for the appropriate term necessary to earn the right to wear the "Green" and the Globe and Anchor. I am sure that he, at this point, is asking himself "what the h&ll have I gotten myself into". I am sure he will do great and will be the fourth member of our family to earn the title.

Three years ago, I officiated at the wedding of my granddaughter and her husband (a 1stLt). Between our two families, we had 96 years of Marine Corps service. Robbie has ask if I would attend his grad in uniform. Yes, I still have my Blues, and yes I can still fit into them.

Major, USMC (RET)
Jan 50-Aug 76

Angry Screams

Back in the summer of 1981, we were at a Mountain Warfare Training Camp near the California-Nevada border. At the time we were there, they were experiencing quite the plumbing issue. There was a certain schedule that we had to adhere to or it could be very damaging. Due to some of us that had to watch the gear, we all were not told about the issue. So, towards the end of the day, I had to use the head. After I finished, I did the normal thing everyone has been taught since potty training. I flushed the toilet. I heard some very angry screams coming from the showers. The wording is not appropriate for print, but you get the idea. When I returned to the tent, I mentioned it to the rest of the Marines. Apparently, I missed a very important part of the introduction to the camp. The issue was, every time the toilet/urinal would get flushed, it would use all of the COLD water and send straight HOT water to the showers. Before we flushed, we were supposed to yell out, "FIRE IN THE HOLE" to warn those in the shower of the incoming hot water.

I would like to thank all those for their stories. Every one I read helps me to remember all of the good times I had. I have and will always say a prayer for all Marines everywhere.

CPL Michael Wilson
USMC 1979-1985


My story is simple. I am trying to get the recognition for some very brave Marines that they and others deserve. I was stationed at Cubi-Point and was assigned to the Naval Magazine. I was one of less that two-hundred Marines that provided security for the magazine 1970-71. I and the others were assigned to Separate Guard Company. We were assigned the massive task of providing security for 57 post in the magazine.

We responded to perimeter intrusions and conducted jungle patrols and set up ambushes in and around the base. The Marines captured 269 intruders AKA communist insurgents. These Marines were exposed to gunfire and had very restrictive firing orders. The Marine Corps has chosen to ignore the combat these Marines experienced. I have had problems with PTSD and have been in treatment for about five years due to my combat in the Philippines. The Marine Corps needs to step up and acknowledge that these Marines were in combat. I have spoken to many Marines that have very similar stories.


Daniel R. Devine
USMC 1968-1975

FMF Corpsmen

Ooo-Rah Doc! Please stop our fretting about being worthy of the respect of the New earned you place in Marine Corps history and you earned the respect of all Marines. When I meet an FMF Corpsman...especially a Vietnam FMF Corpsman...I will shake his hand and thank him for serving his country and for serving OUR Corps. There are no two ways about it...FMF Corpsmen are Marines (period). And when we are done with our conversation, I will ask him for a hug and a slap on the back. Welcome Home Doc! Semper Fidelis,
John Wear
Former Sgt of the Marines
3rd Tanks, RVN '68 - '69

Tent Camp 2

In reference to Camp Matthews does any one remember "quack quack" DUCK WALK. Rusty M-1's if you did not sleep with the piece inside your bunk. Also as to Tent Camp 2, I was an Instructor from Sept. 1950 to April 1952. Weapons and Demonstrations in live fire and tactics. The drafts that went from there to Korea were among the best of the best "MARINES".

Sam (BUGS) Bishop
Cpl of Marines
Plt #24 MCRDSD

Title And Privileges

This is in reference to W. Thompson's letter concerning his father's reduction in rank from S/Sgt. when the rank structure changed with the addition of L/Cpl.
All NCO's and Staff NCO's retained their rank title and privileges after the change. The only difference was that on their next promotion they still retained the title, i.e. S/Sgt. remained S/Sgt., but his pay grade changed from E-5 to E-6 and he had to change to the new chevrons. There was, however, some misunderstanding in that an E-3 was no longer an NCO and couldn't go to the NCO club.
During this time of changeover is when more emphasis was placed on pay grade such as Sgt E-5 rather than Sgt E-4.
I hope this clears up any misunderstanding about that period.

Jerry Lape, S/Sgt 1957 - 1969

None Of Us

In response to Former SSGT Robert A. Hall's letter. I hit P.I. on 17 April, 1969...2nd Battalion, Platoon 261. Senior DI. GYSGT Garcia, ADI's... SSGT McKinley and SGT Robinson. I think that everyone in our platoon was given physical guidance in the form of a "punch" or "two" upon occasion throughout the course of Boot camp. With "special" direction being given at the Rifle Range during Qual week. None of us were worse the wear for it. One of my favorite declarations from the DI's was that we all F*#*^KED up by joining the Marine Corps. They advised we should have enlisted in the Air Force....The Air Force lets the OFFICERS do the fighting for them!

I really like the idea of Marine Veteran. Has a good ring to it.

GOD BLESS AMERICA and our MARINES and serviceman/women protecting our FREEDOMS throughout the world.

Semper Fi,
Carl Beckman
Former Sgt USMC

100# Weakling

Sgt Grit,
I was in Marines 1968-1974, but this happened about 3 or 4 years ago.
Back when I was in the Corps I was the 100# weakling. Took several more years of hard manual labor for me to fill out physically, but still not that big.
I had strength and endurance but the body didn't match. But anyway.
Several years ago I joined a Motorcycle club based on Marines. You had to be one to join.
Well one day I entered my favorite watering hole alone, with my colors on.
The back has the Eagle globe and anchor, and club name across the top.
Well I didn't pay much attention to the folks at the table behind me where I was sitting at the bar. Oh yes, I looked at them, sized them up, realized they'd been drinking a lot. But I didn't know them so ignored them.
Well I ordered my beer and shortly after the mouthy remarks started. You know the kind.
No matter what you say in answer it will be wrong. They were looking for a fight. It was two of them both bigger than me by 50 or so pounds.
they kept saying what is a LEATHERNECK, but it was the tone of voice.
Well two things, I'm peaceful by nature now days and tried to ignore them pretending I didn't hear them.
But I also believe a fight is won as much psychologically as physically.
Well, one spoke up and said "Good thing you're wearing glasses, I won't hit a man wearing them."
Well, without turning around or saying anything, I took off my glasses in a way they could see me doing it.
I continued to drink my beer. their table got so quiet you could hear a pin drop. They knew they had just been called.
They had to wonder who is this guy. He hasn't even turned around to face us or the threat we made, but he's called our play. "What's he know we don't?"
Then another voice spoke up from behind. The guy said that Leatherneck is a nickname for MARINE.
He, continued, I think it would be better if you were to call him friend.
Well I'm happy today that I can call the two new guys friends. One did admit, that he thought oh s**T, I'm in deep doodoo now, and how do I get out of it, and glad we didn't have that melee. As I know the MARINES taught you how to fight!"

Semper Fi
and in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt "..........Thank God for the Marines!"
Sgt of Marines
RVN and other tropical locales
now riding free!
Choo Choo

FMF Corpsman

Dear SGT Grit

Well, it looks like the press has succeeded in their quest to turn the War on Terrorism, with the current main battle front being Iraq, into another Vietnam. As anyone who studies history knows, we did NOT loose Vietnam due to any failure on the part of our military. We lost that conflict due to the Communist press turning the tide of public opinion. Now they are doing the same with our current struggle. I pray for a different out come this time.

As a Navy Corpsman, I served in Iraq with 5th Battalion, 14th Marines. I was at Al Asad and Camp Fallujah primarily, but traveled all over the place transferring "detainees." During my tour, I picked up my FMF pin, something that I am prouder of than the promotion that I received when I got back to the states.

It was and is an honor to be a CORPSMAN OF MARINES. I wear my SGT Grit t-shirt to Parris Island every time I take my kids bowling or to a movie at the base theater. I'm a reservist, so I was mobilized to active duty when I went to Iraq the first time. My medical bag is already packed if they call me again. Semper Fi to all my Marine and Corpsman brothers!

HM2(FMF) John "Doc" Howe
4th Med. Bn, 4th MLG, H&S Det. 7
NOSC, Charleston, SC

Bottom Line

My company has me doing training in the Portsmouth VA area. I stayed over this weekend so I could visit the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico. They did a great job there. Visit when you can.

I drove onto the base to take a look around, went to the MCEX and picked up a copy of the base newspaper, the Quantico Sentry. One article concerned two enlisted Marines. They had been, respectively, the senior drill instructor and the honor graduate of a platoon that finished training at San Diego in 2001. Both recently graduated from TBS in the same class and are now brand new Marine Corps 2nd Lieutenants.

A story like that can restore a man's faith in this country. The Marine Corps can never have too many individuals like those two.

Finally, an article outlined a briefing given at Quantico by Lt. Gen. Ronald S. Coleman, deputy commandant, Manpower and Reserve Affairs. This concerned the Marine Corps' expansion by 20,000 Marines by the year 2011. This addition to the Corps will be permanent. The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James T. Conway, has stated that recruiting standards will not be lowered. 95% of Marines are high school graduates, as opposed to the DoD average of 90%.

Bottom line: the number of Marines entering the Corps each year - about 30,000 - must increase by 5,000 per year. I don't know anything about recruiting, but it sounds like an uphill climb for the Marine Corps. This brings me to the reason I'm writing today.

I'd like to suggest that every Marine-at-large out there, whenever he or she finds a likely prospect, should make it a point to speak to that individual about the Marine Corps. One could also contact the local Marine recruiter to see what needs to be done. I know that many folks are already doing this. I'm suggesting that the rest of us can bear a hand.

Each of us has an historic opportunity to play a very small role in the expansion of the Marine Corps. In my opinion, we should all take advantage of that opportunity. God bless the U.S. Marine Corps!

Semper Fi,
Chip Seiderer, LCpl, USMC, 1975-77

Generation "Why"

This is from a friend of mine. I got it today from a kid that used to work for me at a company I managed up in MI. He was one of my supervisors there, but he is and always will be a Sgt of Marines and I'm so proud of him right now that I'm typing this standing at attention L*

A Company 1/24 has been activated for the second time in last few years, they've taken some hits but are still in there, .............and these people are (Reserve) Marines!

Semper Fi
Mike Flynn
former CO, A Co, !/24,

Hey Mike,

I don't mind if you share these e-mails with anyone. As a matter of fact, the more the merrier. I think it's a load of crap what I see reported on the news. All I ever see is how bad it is over here and how some Senator or Congressman knows what the h&ll they are talking about. They know between Jack and sh!t, and Jack left town. And for those troops who do want to pull out, it's only because they don't feel the support back home and don't want to lose any more friends if we are just going to pull out and not see this thing through. As for the few that say that this war is wrong and they don't want to be here, well, they were the ones who slipped through the cracks and watched Rambo and Stars and Stripes one too many times.

But mostly, I want everyone to know that there are still true warriors out there fighting for truth and justice. That there are still warriors who fight against all odds and selflessly sacrifice every day to better this world. There are still warriors who know that we must win, not just for public appeasing, not just for Iraq, but for the next generation who will be taught how to lose and give up when you're in a pinch. We need to teach the next generation that our country is strong in heart and mind. We need to show the world that when you mess with the bull you get the horns.

The sooner we stop listening to politicians giving their self righteous advice and opinions and start doing what we've been trained to do over here, the sooner the bloodshed will end. But don't just take my advice on it, ask the 180+ Marines here who feel they are short changed and restricted on what they can do to achieve victory over an ever present enemy.

The next big thing is, that America will soon find out, if we pull out, that this enemy had no plans on stopping now. And they will follow us back. Then the fight will be at our front doors where are families live. Then the realization of the monumental mistake will be realized, but all too late. We have a chance to win now. A good chance. But we have to use the tools we have been given. We can not be handed tools and then be told not to use them. War is nasty, nasty things happen. But even nastier things happen when you don't go to war, when you don't defend yourselves.

Since I've been here, there has been huge improvements and gains. It shows in the amount of attacks and the frequency of locals coming to us for help and to give us information. Iraqi's are writing statements to put bad guys away. Others are picking up arms and fighting back against the insurgency. If we pull out, these people will be crushed and their trust in us lost for good. Then this war will indeed never end.

I will keep fighting until the end, no matter where, or no matter when. I will do this because that is what I swore to do. I don't ask why, I put my trust in my leaders and I follow orders. Why, why, why. Generation "Why", why the h&ll don't they just do. Because everyone has some great idea of conspiracy, or some great trust in a certain party, or think they know better than the qualified individuals who are there. I see it even seeping in to our Corps. But I shut that down as soon as it pops up. No place for that here.

This country still has great warriors, these warriors are known as the United States Marines. These warriors see things through thick and thin and never give up fighting the good fight. So you let the people back home know that however it needs to be done Mike.
God Bless and Semper Fi,

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Parris Island 1967

Marines in Iraq

Semper Fi

5, May 1991-Honduras

At MCRD, receiving, I met the man that was to become my best friend, Manny. It was 1987 in San Diego. Manny and I were from the opposite side of the tracks. Everything about our backgrounds and families were opposite, but we 'got' each other like only brothers can. The Corps was our life and we shared all that it had to offer, together. In May of 1991 we were both assigned to 1st Recon. He, as a member of that team and me as a scout/sniper. My weapon of choice was a M40 with which I could accurately hit a target at over a thousand yards. My job on this mission was to provide onsite Intel and long range cover fire. We were to helo-repel into a semi-secure landing zone in the middle of the dense rain forest on a routine drug patrol. Most of the operation was anything but routine. As I came out of the helicopter and was about thirty feet off the deck I looked down at my D-ring as it snapped. I fell the remaining thirty feet to the deck. It knocked all the wind out of me and gasping I told 'Doc', our Corpsman, that my legs and fingers were tingling. Then I vomited from the pain and injury that had ensued. At that point all h&ll broke loose. We came under heavy fire from all sides. Mortars, RPGs and small arms fire were exploding all around us. I had been in Desert Storm and had been on other missions over my four years in the Corps and had never experienced anything like this. I watched as our SAW gunner, who was immediately to my left took a mortar round to the shoulder tearing his arm off, exposing the ball joint and the muscles of that side of his chest. Doc was hit while working on the gunner. Somehow I mustered the strength to roll onto my stomach and try to assess the situation. It was quickly going from bad to worse. There was at least a reinforced company surrounding the nine men of our team. After five minutes, or so, I witnessed something that I thought I would never have to witness. As Manny was unleashing into the enemy from a kneeling position he took a magazine of gun fire to his chest and abdomen that literally stood him up and staggered his large body backwards to the ground. My best friend was dead and in an instant I was refueled with a vengeance. My legs were useless but I wanted pay back. I advanced using my arms while reloading my rifle sixteen times making sure that the sniper motto of one shot, one kill was fulfilled to the best of my ability. I was told later that I received thirty-three unconfirmed kills and changed the tide of the fire fight. The remaining six Marines in our team humped out me, the gunner, and Manny three miles to the extraction site after calling in air support. I received an award for my actions but lost the best friend and the finest Marine I have ever known in the process. No one knows, or talks about, this little 'drug war' that was happening in Honduras. I was reluctantly discharged from the Marine Corps sixteen years ago this month (Jan.). This memory has been spurred by two things that had to do with my fourteen year old daughter. She wanted me to hear a song by the country music duo Big and Rich. The song is called the "8th of November". And she told me that she wants to fly jets in the Marine Corps being the first woman pilot to fly with the Blue Angels. (My throat lumps with pride) As I think of what I went through, my dad went through (Korean Marine vet), and all the Marine combat vets have gone through I reflect that there is no glory in battle or war. However, there is no glory, this side of heaven, like the glory of being a United States Marine. Semper Fi!
Sgt. Estes

Nice To Hear From You

HI Sgt. Grit

In response to Sgt. John Hill's letter about not many Veterans left from WW11 era..he is right.... fact I heard just the other day that Veterans from WW11 are dying at the rate of over 1000 a day.

However there are still some of us hanging on...I hope to hear from some of them...

I was on active duty from 1943-1945 and from 1950-1951...if any one reading this remembers me I sure would like to hear from you....

Of course sometimes contacting old friends backfires...I.E. I found an old friend from the Corps on the internet...I was all hopped up thinking of talking to him on the phone...I did call him....he was surprised...asked me how I found him..he had moved from Michigan to Tennessee ...I told him ...he was about to say goodbye and I asked him if he would like my address and/or phone number... after mumbling and stuttering around he said yes and supposedly wrote the info down...of course I never heard from him again...this was from a guy who was always spouting about how if he ever got rich, etc he would look up old friends and give them help if they needed it...yeah...sure John Pannuto...sure you would...but even so it would be nice to hear from you.

S/Sgt. Oscar Pearson
548775 USMCR
Scaro @ aol .com

Complete Silence

I just read Cpl. Michael Pino's letter concerning the observation of fireworks at MCRD San Diego. I had a similar experience and it has stuck with me all these years. We were still in first phase by July 4th of 1989. The squad bay was buttoned down for the night and the duty DI asleep in his hut. It was obvious once the festivities started out in town. They were putting on one heck of fireworks show over the Bay and we could see it from our third deck squad bay windows quite easily. Each and every one of us got out of the rack and chose a window to view it from. Of course it was the duty of the firewatch to either report our activities or at least log it in. But units always look out for each other and we were already starting to learn this, even though it was still early in training. The fireworks display lasted for almost an hour and we stood there in complete silence and watched every last minute of it. We individually started to drift back to our racks and not a single word was uttered by anyone the entire time nor any other sounds made. At the time I wondered if it were the same on other decks, in other squad bays. I thought I would never know, but thanks to Cpl. Pino, I do now. It was the most impressive display I had seen up to the point in my life. I have since seen better, such as the Friendship Festival in Okinawa, but the San Diego display of 1989 is the one that will always be top in my book. I do feel for Cpl. Pino, though, because that was his only fond memory of boot camp. Yes, there were some bad times, but the good times were so good that they blew away the scale. Nothing in life can feel so good as to triumph over adversity and the achievement of something that you thought entirely impossible. The Marine Corps instilled in me the desire to achieve the impossible twice before breakfast, and boot camp was the beginning of that journey. Triumph and glory and the honor of being a Marine FAR outweighed any amount of fear and pain. That is why boot camp is so hard and only those who are worthy of being Marines make it.

My thanks and eternal gratitude to SDI SSgt I. Stanford, SSgt F. Tedtautau, SSgt. Pflugh, and Sgt. Carpenter of Platoon 1045. They were all a Marine's Marine, each and every one of them.

LCpl Paul D. Raines

Another Marine reporting, Sir! I've served my time in H&ll!

The daily front page stories across America's newspapers tell a story of woe, defeat, death, lies and nonsense. Every "insurgent" movement is hailed as a victory against America! Victories by America are normally cast in a negative light. The hue and cry of Blitzer, Matthews and the rest of the media medusa seems biased against all things patriotic! The politically correct elite scream their disdain for all things truly Patriotic and true! They trumpet the comments made by un- patriotic buffoons like John Murtha, John Kerry, and Teddy Kennedy. They either never mention patriotic comments and the bravery of our troops, or such comments are relegated to page 15 right next to the garden club news and the yard sale listings. What a sad commentary! But there is a light of truth and honor amongst the gloom and doom. That light shone brightly at a funeral for a fallen Marine, which I attended on 3 February 2007, at his former High School in Spokane, Washington. This was a celebration of the life and death of a brave young Marine who, in true Marine fashion, performed his duty as he believed he should. Papa Battery, USMCR, Spokane, provided the Honor Guard and Firing Squad.

I didn't know Cpl Darrel James Morris, USMC, nor did I know his family. But I was compelled to attend his funeral because he is a brother Marine.

Darrel was destined to become a Marine! He was a survivor his entire short life. At the age of nine, Darrel and his six year old sister were abandoned. Darrel took charge of the situation. He told no one of the missing parents, but began selling the furniture at weekly yard sales to raise money for food for his little sister and himself. Their plight was discovered one Saturday morning as he was trying, unsuccessfully, to single- handedly, muscle the couch through the front door of their house to sell it at the weekly yard sale. Darrel and his sister were taken to their grandparents home. The grandparents were not able to raise the two children, and at this point, their Aunt and Uncle took charge and raised the kids! Uncle Mike even changed jobs so that he could spend more time with the children. That's love, folks!

Darrel grew up with the will and desire to be number one in all things he involved himself in. Whether it was football or just "lookin' good", Darrel excelled! As the minister stated during the funeral, "Darrel spent a lot of time in front of a mirror to make sure that he did, indeed, look good! It is no wonder, then, that he became a Marine! Those "Dress Blue" were made for Darrel!"

Stationed at Camp Lejeune after completing a tour in Iraq, Darrel volunteered for another deployment! When Uncle Mike (Dad) tried to convince him against volunteering to return to Iraq, Cpl Morris looked his dad in the eyes and asked, "Dad, if you saw a woman being beaten in the street, wouldn't you help her?" Darrel said that those people need our help, that we are doing our duty and defending America by being over there. He needed to go back. Uncle Mike understood!

Cpl Darrel Morris' second tour ended in his death at the hands of a terrorist IED, 21 January 2007, in Anbar Province, Iraq.

As the third stanza of our Marines Hymn states: "....... If the Army and the Navy ever took on Heavens scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines!" Cpl. Darrel J. Morris has joined those Marines who have gone before him, and is now standing guard at Heavens Gate.

God Bless Cpl Morris and his family and all Marines, past and present!

Semper Fi
Bob Lonn, 63-69

Brother's Disappearance

Howdy Sgt Grit:
I really enjoy your news letters. and the input from our Marines and especially our Corpsmen...God Bless them all.

I have a story to tell when I was in 'Nam and thank God it turned out to be hilarious.

My name is SSgt Don Griffith. I was with 81Plt, 2/9 in 1966-67, some where in Phu Bai or Dong Ha. I also have two other brothers, one in Da Nang, (Air wing com) and my older brother in Chu Lai 1st Recon Bn.

My older brother, Jim (Sgt Griffith) would come up on a C130 hop to visit me during some free time and I would do the same and go to Chu Lai. On several of my trips to Chu Lai my brother and I would go out to the nearest village to drink the local beer and chat awhile. It was evident he visited this particular village quite often when he had some time to relax,

Here's where the typical screw up started.......One day in February of 1967 I got a message through COMUSMACV notifying me that my brother was missing in action. I was terrified beyond any words to describe my mixed emotions of anger and pain. I quickly notified my younger brother Sgt Kenneth Griffith in Da Nang. it's been forty years so I kinda lost track of the chronological events, But some where in this crisis and mixed emotions, I get a letter some days later with a return address from Gen. Westmoreland. I was shocked and scared at the same time........My first thought was, I'm going to be courts martial for giving out secret information about our units' upcoming operation with the enemy, through previous letters to my parents. But I never wrote any such information. So I decided to open the letter rather than sit there scared to hear my verdict. As it turned out the letter was informing me of my brother's disappearance. In this letter the wording was MIA," Not Due to Hostile action". I was some what relieved knowing he was not an MIA and the chances are he might still be alive somewhere?? My first thoughts were the village in Chu Lai where my brother took me for drinks. I figured he thought he was in tight with the local villagers and felt safe. But I knew from my experience with the local villagers that during day light hours we had some control of the villages.......But at night it belongs to the VCs/NVAs.

So with that theory I immediately loaded up my overnight bag with grenades and 45 ammo to start a little war of my own. I got permission from my CO to fly down to Chu Lai since he was aware of the situation. His last parting words to me........"SSgt Griffith don't be going down there and starting WWIII." I said, "No sir". ( Ya right!). So off to Chu Lai I went. As I was coming off the tarmac at 1stRecon camp the SgtMaj from 1stRecon noticed me and greeted me as Sgt Griffith, (My brother). His shock and first words was, :Where the h&ll have you been?" Then he realized I was his brother and started to smile and ask me to join him in his hooch.

The SgtMaj asked with a sh!tty lookin grin on his face, "I bet you're here about your brother?" I responded with a Yes sir. The SgtMaj explained what had happened. My brother was waiting for his flight on the tarmac to Da Nang, (His tour was up). My brother jumped on the first C130 that landed and off to Okinawa he passing Da Nang and the check-in roster. So Da Nang had him missing. So explains the communication from MACV and the follow up letter from Gen. Westmoreland's office.

I eventually got on a Ham radio and contacted my parents to explain the first communication explaining Sgt Griffith's MIA status and that it was nothing more than several errors and your son should be on his way home.............There was a pause and laughter in the back ground. I asked my mother what's funny? She said your brother is sitting here laughing at you. I was so shocked and glad to hear he was safe and at home, That I yelled at my mother to put the SOB on the phone. The rest is history. Here I am sitting with a bag of grenades and 45 ammo to terrorize the local villagers to find out where my brother was . I was so confused I would have hiked all the way up to Hanoi via the Ho Chi Minh trail to find my brother. But this story had a good ending.......Thank God!

Don Griffith, USMCRet

Not Your Background

My name is Franklin Money, I was born in Camden New Jersey. After finishing Automotive Training in Daytona Beach Jr College; I went into the Marine Corps by way of Philly, the year was 1967. To that great Island in the sky. P/S It had to be the closest thing from outer space. I was in pure H&ll for 12 wks or 16wks; I don't know how long? What's two weeks? everyday was eternity. I was a fat body at 210lbs 5'-7 After that short visit.

I left at a mere 165lbs. I just re-tired from the National Guard after 10 yrs. I also did 18 yrs in the Marine's Reserves, I also worked at the Navy Shipyard in Philly for 14yrs Did Vietnam, my unit went to Desert Shield , I did a tour with the Guard in Egypt. I still have my Graduation Book from PLT 107 from the Island of H&ll. I'm 60yrs old. I found myself in the Corps because of my two Uncle's Donald and Earl Collier.

I said all this to say, a lot of good Marines came out of Camden. Once a Marine Always a Marine, it's not your background that so important, but the footsteps you make and followed. Where have we been?

His Uniform Is Different

Sgt Grit,

Not to be considered a correction, I just wanted to say that I learned this same poem as a song. The words to it were just a little different.

It was sung to the tune of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" (I think that is the name of the song.)

You can have your Army Khakis,
You can have your Navy Blues,
For I've a different fighting man,
I'll introduce to you.

His uniform is different,
the finest ever seen,
the Germans call him Devil Dog,
his real name is Marine!

Marine, Marine, Marine

He was born on Parris Island,
the land that God forgot,
The sand is 18 inches deep,
the sun is blazing hot.

He gets up in the morning,
before the rising sun,
and runs a hundred miles or more
before the day is done.

Marine, Marine, Marine

So listen to me Girls,
to what I have to say,
Go find yourself a tough Marine,
for each and every day.

He'll hug you and he'll kiss you
He'll never be untrue
There's nothing in this whole wide world
a Marine can not do.

Marine, Marine, Marine

And when I get to Heaven,
St. Peter I will tell,
Another Marine reporting Sir!,
I've spent my time in H&ll!

And as I look around me,
Oh what will I see,
A Hundred Thousand more Marines,
standing there by me!

Marine, Marine, Marine

Semper Fi and keep up the great job you do.
MSgt. Robert W. King USMC Retired 1970 - 1997

Hard To Believe

I find it hard to believe that your local Marine Corps League will not allow women to join. Our detachment encourages women to join. I am the Sr. Vice Commandant, and also a "PUP" in the Devil Dogs. I serve as the "squirt" at our meetings, and we have a very good time. Our Chaplain is a woman, and the person in charge of the scholarship program is a woman. We are about 240 strong, and the men in our detachment are very proud of us. We march in the parades with them, and quite often in the color guards. I just cannot imagine a detachment not allowing women. Would like to know the name of that detachment, as Marines are Marines, regardless of s&x. I never say that I am a Women Marine, just that I am a Marine. I would not like to ever say that I would be ashamed of any Marine, but if they do not allow women in the detachment, I think that for the first time in my life, I would have to say I feel a little shame.
Wanda Hunter
Sr. Vice Commandant Electric City Detachment, Marine Corps League


A young Marine Major meets with the 1st Sgt in his office. He asks, "Top, how do you run such an efficient outfit? Are there any tips you can give to me?"

"Well," says the 1st Sgt, "The most important thing is to surround yourself with intelligent people." The Major frowns. "But how do I know if the people around me are really intelligent?"

The 1st Sgt takes a sip of coffee. "Oh, that's easy. You just ask them to answer an intelligent riddle."

The 1st Sgt yells out to one of his favorite Gunnery Sgt. The Gunny walks into the room. "Yes, Top, what can I do for you?"

The 1st Sgt smiles "Answer me this, please. Your mother and father have a child. It is not your brother and it is not your sister. Who is it?"

Without pausing for a moment, the Gunnery Sgt answers, "Well, that would be me."

"Yes, Very good, thanks" says the 1st Sgt.

The Major goes back to his office to ask all of the junior officers in his section the same question. "Answer this for me. Your mother and your father have a child. It's not your brother and it's not your sister. Who is it?"

All of the officers look at the Major in amazement, "We're not sure, Sir. Let us get back to you on that one."

The junior officers then have numerous meetings to discuss it without a resolution. Finally, they run into the Sgt Major, "Sgt Major! Can you answer this for us? Your mother and father have a child and it's not your brother or your sister. Who is it?"

The Sgt Major yells back, "That's easy. It's me!"

All of the officers smile, and say, "Thanks!" Then, they schedule a meeting with the Major, "Sir we found the answer, we did some research and we have the answer to that riddle. It's a Sgt Major."

The Major gets up, and starts screaming at them, "No, you idiots! It's a Gunny!"

Turn In Our Silverware

Sgt. Grit
I have two questions----I would love to hear from any Marine who served in Korea from sept. 1951 thru june 1952--George Co, 3rd batt 5th Marine reg.1st div.{3rd Platoon}
When we arrived in Korea one of the first things that happened was to turn in our silverware[knife,fork, and spoon} therefore we used what we called a idewar spoon{spelt incorrectly} made by the s koreans from US 90 mil. shell casings. I just came across mine in an old foot locker but ive never seen reference to it by "old Marines".
Schrader H.J. Sgt USMCR 49-53

Back Of My Bike

Sgt. Grit:

I ride BMWs. Last week I had my old bike, an '88 RT "Airhead" delivered to me here in the Idaho Panhandle by the company in Seattle that installed the sidecar on it for me. It didn't run. So I got out my BMWOA "Anonymous Book" and called the unnamed local BMW riders for assistance. An old guy in a Toyota pickup with a white handlebar mustache showed up in my driveway with his tools and his multimeter and introduced himself. He is a retired professional auto mechanic and owns and rides three BMWs. We had seen each other around town occasionally on our bikes and waved, but didn't really know each other. As we worked, Al walked around to the back of my bike and saw the Sgt. Grit "Semper Fi/U.S. Marines" license place holder. He stopped for a minute, looked at me, and said, "Semper Fi, Marine". It turned out that he was a Korean War Marine veteran that made the Inchon landing and the long walk out from Chosin Reservoir, was field-commissioned from Sgt. to lieutenant, and then on the perimeter at Haguru he and 10 other Marines from his outfit were caught out of ammo, out of food, and captured by the Communist Chinese. He spent more than 2 years as a Chinese POW. I walked around the bike and gave him a sharp salute and a handshake, and thanked him for his service. What a privilege to meet and make a friend of such a Marine.

Don Kaag
LTC, Armor, AUS(Ret.)
...And former Sgt. & Cpt.
of Marines

Rehab Boot Camp

I wholeheartedly agree with Paul Whitefield. Send us old bastards to the sandpit. We'll all go with an attitude, we know our weapons and some of us can still see well enough to snipe a few of the towelheads out at a thousand meters. We'll kill as many jihadists as we meet. We are hungry for a victory. Let's kill them there, rather than fight them in our streets here at home. Six weeks of rehab boot camp would do us all good.
JK March, former Sgt. of Marines

One More Time

GG Lutes was a navy Corpsman working with 8 to 14 Marines in a Combined Action Program (CAP 2-4-6) in 70 & 71. If you not familiar with the CAP Marines - We were fourteen men (if we ever had a full squad) and a Navy Corpsman that worked with, and trained, the Vietnamese men to protect their families every night from the Viet cong. We worked with several isolated villages, moving constantly from village to village, patrolling or setting ambushes throughout the night. Just trying to keep the VC out of the villages. Every night we would break into two squads. Go our separate ways. Moving constantly and dropping off two man killer teams through out the night from each squad. So when the sh!t hit the fan, we were on our own. It was a who hit who first. A cat and mouse game, night after night. Marines came and went, never stopping to really get to know anyone, but Greg G. Lutes, was difference. He was OUR Corpsman and he was always there for us. Never hesitated to react. Never thought about the return fire. Always there when he was needed to help save a Marine or an RVN. He once went into an old mine field to retrieve a boy that hand wandered into the wrong place. Never waited for help or asked for help. just did what had to be done. I don't know what ever happened to Greg G. Lutes after he rotated home, but if anyone ever runs across this Corpsman I'd love to find him to thank him, just one more time.
Corporal Greg Yanko, 3rd Marines Amphibious Force


Help me ID a Marine poem. I remember it from my youth, well before I joined the Corps.
It must have been written at the end of WWll. I remember only one line.
"and when I am home working in some chicken job, and the Boss is breathing down my neck. I will remember, I was a combat soldier; by God I was a Marine."

USMC 1967 - 1976

Wounded Warriors


I just got off the phone with Lt Col Maxwell who was injured in Iraq. Had serious head injuries. We were supposed to meet him last year when we were at the Wounded Warriors barracks but he had to be gone that day. We will see him on the 26th when we are there. He asked a favor of me AND now I'm passing that on to you....he asked me to help spread the word about his web page for the wounded warriors.

SOOOO ... please help spread it around for him. He has had so much to overcome...I did notice that his speech was much better this time we talked...he said he has good and bad days...BUT what a remarkable man!


Short And Sweet

While serving as an advisor in Nicaragua I made a promise that I would one day return to see how beautiful this country was without chancing being shot. I finally got the chance to return in 1997 and as luck would have it I became friendly with all the Marines in the MSG and with the Ambassador to Nicaragua. The Marines asked if I would be the guest speaker at the Ball and I responded that I though the Ambassador would be pulling that duty. The Ambassador spoke up and said that I would be the one to give the main address that night. I agreed and as I was leaving the Embassy one of the young Marines asked me for a favor. He said that