Gotta tell ya Sgt. I have been reading your newsletter a long time. Look forward to it every week! On the subject of how recruits addressed the DI. As of Sept. 07, it will be 50 years since my DI got in my face and shouted ....."THE FIRST AND LAST word out of your mouth WILL BE SIR"!" Do You Understand ME"?..."Yes SIR"!..."What Did You Say"!...I Mean "SIR Yes SIR"!..."Are You Hard Of Hearing"?..."No SIR"!..."WHAT!"..."SIR No SIR"..."That's Better"!..."Now Drop And Give Me a 100!"..."SIR Yes SIR"
Platoon 266 (The Squat Jump Platoon)!
Parris Island.......1957......SEMPER FI!
Huge After Christmas Sale
Only For a Short Time
Sgt Grit's Giant After Christmas Sale starting 12-26-06 and lasting only for a short time! Check out the great savings on some of our most popular items.
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All Is Well Though
I received this email from an old buddy from my Recruiting Duty days. Gunny Gibson is a motivator of motivators. He could have easily taken a full disability, but instead fought tooth and nail to stay in the Corps. This is what the Marine Corps is all about.
I was on a foot patrol with the IAs and USA. The NSW team I was with got into a scrap and a sniper ended up shooting me in the left knee cap. I ended up having my leg amputated just above the knee due to the trauma. All is well though. I am walking and running. Enjoying San Antonio and the therapy. I have stayed very busy, did the Marine Corps marathon last month on a hand bike. Competed in a Half Triathlon in San Diego a few weeks ago. I am also doing a 50 Mile hand bike ride this weekend. Just staying as busy as possible. I will most likely try to teach FOs and SNCOs at Sill till retirement. We will see. Dinner is calling so I will talk to you later.
Bridge Of My Nose
Last week someone signed off "still lacing them left over right". Not only that, but I never wear a cover that is not two fingers above the bridge of my nose and I still blouse my shirt when I tuck it in. You can't take the Corps out of the Marine. Semper Fi. God bless all of our Marines and other service personnel.
Cpl of Marines
'65-'68, Viet Nam '66-'67
T. W. Hamilton
Camouflage New Testament
This year, the Military Ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ will continue the distribution of Rapid Deployment Kits (RDKs) to help reach military men and women for Christ. These gifts for soldiers include a camouflage New Testament, a 90-day devotional, and a Would You Like to Know God Personally? booklet that clearly presents the Gospel-all packaged in a waterproof plastic bag small enough to fit into a soldier's pocket.
Orphanage In DaNang
Read the article from LtCol Huebner (Ret) about the Sao Mai Catholic School/Orphanage in DaNang.
Got me to wondering if this is the same orphanage that some of us from the 1st Radio Bn got involved with in 1968 & 1969. This school/orphanage was locate just east of DaNang just before the guarded entrance to China Beach. Spent what time was available over there with the priest and children. Helped them build new covered area in which to eat, got them new latrines and what ever we could do for them. The kids were great and we couldn't do enough for them. They even invited us to their Christmas celebration. This involved the kids doing some of their local dances and other festivities for us and their teachers. We had some of their food and of course, the priest had a few bottles of that famous beer with the tiger head on the label.
There are other things in Nam I don't mind forgetting but the little bit of time I had with these children will never be forgotten. The pictures I took are old and faded but they still bring back some of the good memories.
John J. Cihak
SSgt USMC 1964-1970
It my understanding that "The Walking Dead" of 1/9 were the originators if "The Curse of Apricots." As you may of may not recall Apricots came in the C-ration meal of Ham & Mothers. Anyone who got Ham & Mothers was unlucky and anyone who at the fruit of Ham & Mothers usually got dinged or blown away the next day. And that is a fact...and I am sticking to it.
For some ungodly reason numerous Vietnam Marine Amtracs (...I'm going to be mean right now and say that they did not do much of anything "important" in Vietnam...) think that they were the ones who founded this myth...I even have some Vietnam Marine tanker buddies who think that they did it. NOT!
Face it, grunts in Vietnam had a lot more chances of getting hurt for any reason than any tracked vehicle crewman.
Sarge ; I served with A Co 3RD amtrac 2/28/68-10/21/69. I well not eat apricots to this day.
Cpl. Frank Massey aka sparkey the welder.
Ache All Over Again
Sgt Grit and all Marine Brothers and Sisters: I recently had two experiences that I want to Pass on. First, I was down in Medford, Oregon Signing into a motel for a weekend stay. We were visiting Grand Children. The Manager of the motel was 5th Marine Regiment Vietnam Combat Vet. Both of recognized the Marine Corps Bearing in each other and said our Semper Fi's. During the ensuing conversation I mention This newsletter and how many Brother and Sisters were re-united after many decades. He stated why would I want to do that and re-hash all the misery and heart ache all over again. At that moment I could not think of an appropriate answer, so I bid him adieu and went to my room. I have thought about that conversation long and hard. I now have and answer. In June 2004 I made a trip to Jackson, Michigan and had a great reunion with my fellow Marines who served with me at USNAD, Weikele, Oahu, Hi. It was great reunion and we are going to meet again next July. Only this time we are going to be two Brothers Short. On December 1, 2006 L/cpl David Canfield passed away in Florida. Cpl Dick Dyer has also passed on. Both permanently assigned to MARINE Barracks, Heavens Gate. Answer is Simple: There are Marine veterans out there that still remember you and would dearly love to get in touch with you. All who read this newsletter please make a concerted effort to get in touch with you Brothers and Sisters you will not be sorry for having done so. The rewards and satisfaction of discovering long lost but not forgotten Brothers and Sisters are priceless. Remember we are not getting younger. Thank you for this Newsletter it has brought a lot of Marines back into the fold.
L/cpl G.D. Vallejos USMC 1960-1966
What Had I Done
I've been reading your newsletter for many years now and really enjoy the stories from my fellow Marines about their experiences in Boot Camp. I thought I'd share my most memorable experience from that time.
It was our first week at the rifle range at Camp Pendleton and we were practicing our "firing positions" in a circle aiming at the 50 gallon "target" barrel. Well as we all know, when you stand up with your weapon you need to make sure the clip is out and your weapon is secure.
When we finished our period of instruction all the recruits stood up. The rifle instructor "asked" me to come forward. My initial thought was of course, "what had I done?" Well sure enough, my clip was still in my weapon. "Oh sh$#!" He told me to leave my weapon as is and take it over to my Drill Instructor and explain what I'd done. Unfortunately for me the DI on duty was the meanest one of the three assigned to our platoon. He proceeded to grill me on why did I want to kill someone. Did I want to be a hero and shoot someone and go home with a medal. This discussion went on for what seemed like an eternity. In the end he told me to go back to the group and he'd bring over some "rounds" and I could shoot someone and go home and tell everyone that I was a hero.
I went back to the circle and stood waiting for him to bring the rounds. He came over and asked for my weapon and proceeded to put 4 rounds into the magazine and then seated the magazine back into the weapon. He instructed me to "lock and load" and aim at the recruit directly across the circle from my position. I did as I was instructed. He asked me if I could tell who the recruit was that I was aiming at, to which I responded "No Sir!" He said it didn't matter because I was going to blow his f*&^$in head off anyway. He instructed me to take the weapon off safe, which I did, and then to pull the trigger and kill the recruit.
I must say that deep down I knew that the rounds he put in my weapon were the "dummy" rounds they used for instructional purposes at the range, but there was just a small part of me that kept saying "maybe they are real". After quite of bit of screaming on the DI's part, I pulled the weapon off my shoulder and did not squeeze the trigger. He promptly grabbed the weapon from me and took the rounds out. He asked me why didn't I pull the trigger. I responded, "The private didn't know if the rounds were real or not." His response was, "They were real you son of a b*&%#!" and he walked off and never said another word about it.
Needless to say when we were doing live fire the next week, I made sure my weapon was clear before I did anything else. Gotta love Boot Camp stories.
Cpl. USMC 1977-1981
San Diego Plt 3107
Got to say I really enjoy the weekly letter and all your products that I receive in timely fashion. I went through P.I. in 1949 in July or early August, regardless, it was hot and the sand fleas were out. On the way to the range we stopped at the sand camp, I think they called it Elliot back then. Anyway we got set up pup tents and all when Cpl Rhoady called for a Rifle ins. no sweat mine was spotless, I thought. My turn, ins arms and lo and behold a spot of lint in the barrel, no way I say (to myself) thusly the good Cpl field striped my rifle and scattered it in the sand. FIND Em CLEAN Em And REPORT To ME, softly spoken into my shell like ear. Ever try to find all your M1 parts in the sand? and it had gotten dark on top of that. There I sat in the tent cleaning and oiling, we had oil and thong cases back then, had to borrow a chamber brush. Job done I hope and off I go to report to the good Cpl.
Well he really inspected it and let me go with a word of warning about keeping my rifle clean, as I left I could hear Sgt Garrison, Cpl Rhoady and PFC Ryan having a good laugh at my expense, I just considered it a good bit of training. Keep the good work.
David M, Erickson
GySgt 49-69. Gung ho
Million Dollar Education
Sgt. Grit: Still love reading the letters. Every Marine I talk to I ask if they have your site and most reply yes those who don't have it now. After reading the Oct. 5th news letter ( I'm a little behind) on the story from Sgt. Crutchfield about Boot Camp again brought memories of my Senior Drill Instructor GySgt. Grooms Plt. 180 Nov. 62 The Gunny told us it was a million dollar education but no one would take a million to do it again. Everyday in our Corps many of us including your truly didn't bet the million yet we did got through Boot again at D.I. school harder. When you go to school you wonder or say not again but the pride of the hat and title keeps you going. How about more stories Camp Mathews, little agony big agony the march-run to the ranges. My plt. spent Christmas and New Years at Camp Mathews. Sleeping in tent with stoves you couldn't use and very cold nights. God Bless our Marines Past and Present and God bless Our Corps.
SSgt. Scott Boot in 62 MCRD Plt. 180
D.I. Parris Island 68-70
Well I was at the mall the other day and given the climate of today's world I was just slightly afraid. I saw an Army gent and asked him what the army had to prevent. He smiled and stood and told me of the tanks and Bradleys and artillery. I acknowledged and thanked him for his willingness to serve.
My worry was still not appeased when I spied and Air Force group. I repeated the question and they told me of things such as stealth and bombs that could land on a pin. There was just no way the terrorists could win. Again I smiled and thanked them for their tour, but still my fear needed something more. I soon saw a Navy Officer and again I asked my question and she replied about the pride of the fleet, aircraft carriers with planes and bombs. She talked of silent submarines and cruise missiles ready to defend.
I thanked her for her candor and told her I was proud of what she was willing to do, but yet the fear was still with me. You would think I would feel secure. I spotted a single Marine who was standing tall and steel straight. I asked the others so I did not hesitate; I asked him what the Marine Corp had. Without a smile or pretense he told me they had him and other Marines. My fear went away for I knew it was true. AS long as there are Marines this country is safe.
Thanks to all whom serve and God bless but a special thank you to my Brothers. Semper Fi Marines
Jerone A. Bowers
Many years ago, my platoon was standing on the grinder in San Diego getting ready for final inspection just prior to graduation. It was prior to 0800 and our DIs were making final adjustments when the MP Color Guard made ready the Morning Colors. It just so happened that the base band was out marching when Colors sounded. They immediately started playing the National Anthem and then went right into the Marine Corps Hymn. The chills hit and the feelings were OUTSTANDING. ALL of us stood so much taller and so much more straighter. I still get that wonderful feeling just thinking about it.
I just wanted to ask God to bless and keep our Beloved Corps and their families safe and secure throughout this special time of the year. May each of us never forget the real reason for this season. I thank God for allowing me to earn my Eagle, Globe, and Anchor.
Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year to all and may next year allow all Marines to be home with their loved ones.
Gary L. COON
MSgt USMC (Ret)
In A Hostile Land
Although Christmas is just a couple days away and your December newsletter has already arrived and has been read, it caused me to reflect back to a different place and time. Vietnam, 1970. That was by far the loneliest Christmas of my life. And having read the very first part of this last newsletter whereby someone was remembering all the things they have to be thankful for, I found myself counting off all the wonderful things in my own life, all of them people.
There is a level of love most people will never understand unless they have spent Christmas Eve in a hostile land, manning a position which might be attacked with other Marines who are just as home sick as you are. In my case it was radio watch at the company CP outside DaNang in an Arvin compound named Yen Ne. Mostly it was quiet that night as ambushes were kept to a minimum because no one wanted to have to report we lost Marines on Christmas Eve. In the still of that night across our AO (area of operation) at least one could hear the quiet sound of Marines wishing other Marines a Merry Christmas and peace on earth. It was one of the most solemn things I have ever experienced and I am blessed to have had it. New Years, on the other hand was one of the most foolish things I've experienced and glad we survived it. At the stroke of midnight all across our AO, each of our companies fired off ammo and flares to celebrate the coming new year. The Year of the Dog in Vietnam. We sure were thrilled to realize no one had any ammo left until the resupply bird came in the next morning. You could have overrun us with spit balls.
Semper Fi Marines and Happy New Year,
Cpl. Tom Gillespie RVN Hotel Co. 2/1 70-71
Don't Like It
Dear Sgt. Grit,
How is it that the Marine Corps is prosecuting Eight Marines for doing the job they were/are trained to do?
Why do they believe the Iraqi civilians when they say the Marines killed innocent Iraqi civilians. Did the "authorities" forget that the insurgents dress up like innocent Iraqi civilians so they can cry foul.
I don't like it one bit. It almost makes me disclaim being a Marine. Not good for recruitment.
Why are the innocent civilians allowing the IED's to be placed where our Marines may get hurt or killed? They should be telling US where the IED's are and where the insurgents that planted them are.
Keep the reporters out of the war zone and let the Marines do their job.
I Was Late
This is a true story, of a personal experience while going through Hospital Corp School at Great Lakes Naval Base in '74, before I was assigned to FMF-FMSS. It's a story about my first experience with the death of a young Marine. I still wonder about him to this day. I wonder about his family, if he had a girl friend, I wonder about how this world or maybe even just his world would have been changed had he lived. I recently wrote this and sent it to a young Doc stationed at Area 31 Pendleton. His name is Dusty, and he and his boys (as he calls them), will soon be rotating out to Iraq. I know that he, and all his "boys", will be faced with life threatening challenges, just as we all had been faced with at one time or another. And these challenges, will be with them, the rest of their days. These kids are tough S O B's, h&ll, I wish I could go with them.
A true story.
I remember sometime during my training at Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes, we were given orders to report to the hospital wards for some on-hands ojt. I can't recall the reason, but I was late reporting to the ward that I was assigned to. A young Lt nurse told my I was late and all assignments had been handed out and that I would have to wait for the head nurse for an assignment. I was told to wait in her office, so I did for what seemed an eternity. After a while a LC nurse came in and asked me my name and understood that I had reported late. She as well stated that all assignments had been handed out and she really didn't have anything for me. She just sat there kind of glaring at me. I was very intimidated as I could not read her cold stare, one moment she looked p!ssed and one moment she looked at me like I was a worthless piece of sh!t. From out of no where she stood up and said "come with me". I followed her down a hallway to a nurses station. She took me into a room behind the station, it was a small dimly lit private room with a young man laying in the bed. He appeared to be sleeping heavily, even though it was around 0800. A tray of untouched breakfast food was on a tray stand next to his bed. The LC said this young man was my assignment for the week. I was to take care of all his needs, including changing a large bandage on the frontal portion of his lower leg. She said she would send a nurse in to help me the first time as the wound was packed with ioform gauze and I had no previous experience in replacing it. "What a piece of cake" I thought to myself. I'll just kind of kick back, snooze and wait for this guy to wake up, help him take a leak, wipe his *ss, feed him or whatever. An hour or so had gone by and time was pretty well dragging on when a the young Lt nurse came in and said it was time to change his bandage. She had me cut the old one away, when I did a horrendous odor emitted. I was gagging, it smelled so bad. She asked me how would I like it if I were him? He had received a shrapnel wound a few weeks before and they were trying to save his leg, But complications had set in such as gangrene and some type of bone cancer had formed. What a bummer. For three more days, I would show up, not only on time, but usually at least a half hour early, not even taking time to have breakfast before reporting. The whole time this young man was under my care, he never once woke up. He never had any visitors. The nurse told me his father had past away many years ago and his mother had a stroke. So I guess I was his only part of the outside world, even though I was in his world as well. I would read to him and play poker with him, (playing his hand). I even wrote a letter to his mother for him. On the fourth day I reported, I went into his room....he wasn't there. The young Lt nurse came from a ward and told me to go into the LC's head nurse's office and wait for her. A couple of minutes later she entered and acted as though she was busy with some paper work, I could tell she was stalling for some reason. I can't recall this young man's name, but I asked her if he had been moved, did he wake up, where was he?! She slowly looked up at me and told me he had passed during the night, she coldly told me I was dismissed. I asked her what should I do? She said she didn't really care, it was just a part of the game and I had better get used to it. She was such a cold hearted b!tch! I went back to my dorm and I just laid there on my bunk the rest of the day and all through the night. The next morning was Sunday and I decided to go to church, I thought I needed it. When the services where over, I was about to walk out the door, when the preacher stopped me. He said he needed to talk to me. I thought it was strange, as I had never talked to him before, h&ll, he didn't even know who I was. I followed him back to his little office in the back of the chapel. When I walked in behind him, I just about passed out, the anger and rage came back over me again. The LC nurse was there! She said we needed to talk. That is when I learned the lesson of my life. She told me that the young man I was assigned to take care of had no chance of survival, and there was really no need to have someone in the room with him since he was comatose. She did it for me! For Me? What the h&ll did she mean, she did it for me. In my mind, he needed someone there, he had no one. She said no, it was for me. I will always remember she said, the ones that I take care of will depend on me. This wasn't a game, it was for real. We have to deal with real people, with real lives. If I thought it was all a game and it was okay to be late, then this (losing men due to my negligence) was the consequences that they and I would suffer. I was never late again for anything after that day, up to even this time of my life. What a hard lesson that one was to learn! I don't remember the LC's name, nor the name of the young man I took care of. Funny about that, you think I would remember. Even though the names are far from my mind, their memory, will always be with me.
1/3 - 2/9 '75
Oh, and by the way, thanks to all you grungy jarheads for watching your Doc's a$S
My most memorable New Year's Eve was in 1951 at the Punchbowl in East Central Korea. As a Forward Observer with C-1-11 I was providing artillery fire support for the 1st Korean Marine Regiment there. After lighting up the sky with a midnight barrage my five-man FO team, our Corpsman and I huddled in our bunker to celebrate the New Year with the Forward Air Controller and his radio man. Someone produced a few bottles of Canadian Club medicinal alcohol and after passing them around we got into the holiday spirit and began singing "Auld Lang Syne". After a few choruses we heard voices outside the bunker singing along with us. When I looked outside I saw a platoon-size group of Korean Marines standing at attention in the sub-zero night singing with us. We joined them outside, singing and passing the bottles around until the CC was gone. It was a great moment of camaraderie and only later did we learn that the Korean National Anthem was sung to the lyrics of "Auld Lang Syne" until 1948 and that most Koreans still used the old tune. It didn't matter that we didn't understand each other; for a few minutes we sang their anthem with them and they celebrated the turn of the year with us. Unforgettable!
Sometimes Santa Comes
Marines are Warriors but also ambassadors of good will too......
Christmas day 1989, my unit (D Co., 2D LAI Bn) was conducting raids in search of Manuel Noriega just north of Rodman Naval Base, Republic of Panama. We hit hard and fast, stirring up the locals but that day we came up empty. After going into the town of Nuevo Arajjan, I felt pretty bad supposedly ruining these simple people's Christmas morning. After our scouts had cleared every hooch, an old man came out to my LAV. After all that we had done to break the calm of his town's Christmas morning, he said "Merry Christmas Marine and thank you for the best present ever!" I was kinda taken back by his comment and asked "What present may that be Sir?" He replied "Freedom!" At this point tears formed and fell from my cheek and my crew gave these simple people MRE's, cigs, and whatever gifts we still had on board from our families back home. At this point the whole town gathered around the rest of the vehicles in my platoon and I saw that every Marine was doing the same without a word spoken between any of us. We received orders to proceed on and carry out our mission that day but I will never forget the spirit of sharing and love of Man that exemplified what Christmas is all about.
Who says Santa has a big red sleigh?.....I say that sometimes Santa comes to town in a 14 ton fully combat loaded camouflaged LAV with 7 Santa's aboard!
Semper Fi & Merry Christmas to all!
Mark Davis (U.S.M.C. 1983 -1993)
Flip Of A Coin
Reading Harry Navins letter on 12/14/06 reminded of the scuttle butte that was kicking around in those days on the ''Canal''. I was with the 3rd on the Canal. We heard that the flip of a coin decided which div. would land on Bougainville or Tarawa. Never found out the truth about the scuttle butte. Is there any one still out there who really knows if that scuttle butte was true or not.
Jim Smith # 443758 ''Never forgot'' Ended up as Sgt. of the guard at the ''Brooklyn Navy yard brig''. just before the war ended.
Sgt. Grit. I know it's better late than not at all. It was Christmas time ( December 23, 1972 ) I had just worked out a barter with several of my fellow grunts at the bomb dump which did cost me several hours of guard/patrol duties. It was all worth it at the end of the day though. The guys that gave in were pretty upset with themselves when they found out that it was the most awesome event to hit the area, ever!
Bob Hope and his troupe finally made it to the Rose Garden (Nam Phong, Thailand). I may not have been up front but that 210mm zoom lens brought things right up close and personal. It was a fantastic show and morale builder. It was the talk of the Security Element at the Dump for some time after.
The lasting memories that he gave out were far better than any present to this date. Thank you Bob Hope and thank you God for keeping him at your side.
Semper Fi to all you Marines, both home and abroad. Keep up the great job and soon you will rotate home and be with your loved ones.
Sgt. Ken Dove Sr. 0311
I was fortunate enough to spend Christmas in 1967 and 1968, my birthday (December 29th) 1967 and 1968, and New Years 1968 and 1969 in Vietnam during one tour. It was the heart breaking not to be with my new wife and daughter during these holidays but I spent them with my brothers of Charlie Company, 1st Tank Battalion. I've forgotten most of them over the years but now that I've had a son serve as a Sergeant of Marines in Iraq, the memories I had blocked out are starting to return. Those that I remember, have a great Christmas, New Year and Birthdays if you are still around. Sgt. Moody of Chicago, Tony Schilacie, Tator, Big Oscar (looked like Oscar Robinson) I heard you lost a leg on float, sorry. Pineapple in Hawaii, John "The Beaner" Juarez with Flame Tanks. Smitty the cook for 2nd platoon" Death Dealers" your food could choke a maggot. Red and all you other Tankers. See you in Las Vegas in August. God, please watch over those serving overseas this year. Semper Fi.
Sgt. P. A. Morris "Chief" 2318350
Eat Real Fast
I am thankful for heat this Christmas 54 years ago I was the night cook with the 7th Motor transport Batt with the First Marine Division in Korea during the Korean War. I worked from 18:00 to 06:00 7 days per week, it was 33 below zero that night we had zero heat, it is hard to cook with so may clothes on. The 7th were a great bunch of Marines never once did they ever b!tch about their food. They had to eat real fast or the food would freeze in their mess kits.
Former Sgt. Phil Street
Sir, Nothing, Sir
This is a week too late to get it in the Christmas newsletter, but I thought you would enjoy it anyway.
While at boot camp, Plt. 3103, in November 1981 at MCRD San Diego, we were treated to a nice Thanksgiving meal for evening chow. We were given a gracious 15 minutes to enjoy this meal. We were told by our Drill Instructors (Sgt. Gonzoles, Sgt.'s Harvey, SDI Sgt. Biez) that there would be a bowl of hard candy on the chow line and that this candy is for the D.I.'s only. Sure enough, it was there.
Fast forward one month. It is now Christmas Day and what a wonderful day it turned out to be. After being called up in relays to be thrashed all morning long, we were finally going to get a break and enjoy a Christmas meal.
Once again we were told by Drill Instructor Sgt. Gonzoles that there would be a bowl of hard candy on the chow line. And we were told again that the candy is for the D.I.'s only. That point was stressed. Then he threw this in, "I believe that some of you got a piece last time. IF you think you are good enough to get a piece of candy and not get caught, go ahead. Just don't GET CAUGHT!"
Well it had been raining and after noon chow we were being marched around. Sgt. Gonzoles gave the command, "Platoon halt! Private (don't remember name), get the #44& here!" The Private locked it up in front of the D.I. "What is in your mouth boy?"
"Sir, nothing, Sir."
"What the $44@ is in your mouth boy?"
"Sir, candy, Sir."
"Oh, no s#4t huh? Spit it out."
With that the private spit it out on the wet dirt. Sgt. Gonzoles then took his shoe and rolled the candy around in the dirt.
"Pick it up boy and put it back in your mouth." The guy did and then Gonzoles said, "Swish it around." Then, "Spit it out." Then "Put it back in your mouth." Then "Swish it around....."
After 3 or 4 times of this, the Drill Instructor had the private doing pushups over his piece of hard candy. I don't think anyone else wanted anything to do with candy that day.
Russell, John P.
Just Another Day
I signed up in October of 1955 and was off to Parris Island to be indoctrinated as thousands of others had been before me. My experiences were not unique, with but one exception. It wasn't funny then, but I can manage a smile now. My platoon 156 was at the mid-point of our training, and we had just returned to our Quonset Huts after sloshing through the swamp until late in the evening. We were not allotted time to shower and I felt a bit grungy. I waited until everyone was sleeping soundly and decided to sneak out of the hut and take a nice refreshing shower. I had the place to myself, and was in heaven rinsing off when I heard this loud booming voice yell " Who the %$#@& is in there? Don't move until I can identify you". I only had time to put on my unlaced boots. I grabbed the rest of my clothes, tucked them under an arm, and took off running for all I was worth. I got a brief glimpse of my antagonist and I saw what looked like Captain Bars. I felt he was not yet able to identify me since most nude Marines look the same at a distance. I ran in between huts, through other platoon areas, and even around the mess hall. I was determined not to be caught. Just when I thought I had enough distance in my favor, I ran into a close-line wire. It caught me in the neck and I was parallel to the ground when I fell. I thought my neck was broken and could not breath. Now it was raining and I was crawling on my knees trying to get up. I made it to my hut and dove into my bunk and pulled the blanket over me. I then heard somebody approach the door and enter. The footsteps got closer and closer. This person then stopped at my bunk and I could feel his breath. He stood still for at least five minutes hovering over me. I had the feeling my life was about to end before my nineteenth birthday. Then the footsteps started again and they got quieter as they headed for the door, and he was gone. Nothing ever came of this, and to this day I don't know who that person was. This is one of life's mysteries and just another day in the life of a USMC Recruit.
Battan Death March
Yesterday I attended the funeral of a Marine hero, Theodore (Ted) Williams. Ted was a survivor of the Battan Death March, and ended WWII in slave labor in Japan. He wrote two books describing the ordeal, which left him with a lifetime of serious health problems. I had the distinct pleasure to attend a Nov. 10 Association dinner in Orange County, Cal. with Ted, where he received the honor of being the oldest Marine present.
It was the Marines like Ted that inspired me, and many others, to become a Marine. Semper Fi and Godspeed.
Sgt USMC '64-'68 Vietnam '67-"68
The Gift of Valor
Based on a front page Wall Street Journal article that readers called "extraordinary, profound, and gripping" A powerfully affecting chronicle of a young Marine who sacrificed his life for his comrades and earned that rarest of accolades The Congressional Medal of Honor.
The Gift of Valor
By Michael M. Phillips, Hardcover, 241 pages.
Do They Still
I am home on leave in Flint, Michigan from Schools Battalion.
I was given a link to your site & newsletter.
I was going Christmas shopping with my parents and an older guy & his wife spoke with me.
It was "Semper Fi & Good Afternoon"
There were questions about my current duty status, handshakes & smiles.
Later in the store the man (by himself) approached & spoke to my parents & I.
God Bless You Marine Mom & she got teary eyed.
He pushed an envelope into my hand.
As he spoke with my parents, I opened it and found a letter & $10.
I tried to turn it down, I have leave money.
Young Marine, All you need to know it this; THIS old Marine loves you.
He choked up as he said that but turned & walked away.
Later I read that letter of explanation.
It spoke of Chesty Puller & how this Marine had been attacked. The top of the letter had this hyperlink
I have copied the most important part of the letter.
Like I was told at MCRD San Diego:
"Wherever you go in this world & life you will find other Marines who will help you on your way.
They are your brothers, comrades in arms, life & death.
They will care for & keep you as you will also do for them & others.
This is our sacred bond & duty to our brothers."
Do they still give this speech?
Pass the word to THIS old Marine: Yes they still give that speech.
My parents were amazed & so was I but I have heard of this kind of thing. Someday I will be that old Marine, & I will say those same words.
Young Marine, All you need to know it this; THIS old Marine loves you.
Pfc J. Shaw
This being the Christmas, reminds me of the two Christmases I spent overseas in 1944 and 1945...In '44 I spend Xmas in the South Pacific standing guard duty on the noon to 4 tour...hotter than h&ll...in 1945 I spent Xmas in Peking, China on the midnight to 4am tour...colder than the North Pole...( At least I qualify as a "China Marine")
I stayed in the Marines Reserves for about 18 and 1/2 years...had to leave the Corps because I was working 40 hours a week, remodeling an old duplex, and working hard in college to enable me to finish 4 years of college in 4 and 1/2 years...( In college I took about 8 to 12 credits a semester...but I went to the spring and fall semester and the six week and the 4 week summer semester I like to think only Marines could do such a thing. ( The college was good enough to allow veterans credit for gym and health classes because they felt we had these things while in the service...saved us quite a bit of college work).
Semper Fi Mac....
S/Sgt. Oscar A Pearson
Here is my sea story that I will condense for the readers.
Returned from Nam June 1971
Received orders to engage in war games late summer 1971 (Sept. I think)
Sent to San Diego to board Navy LPH (got tired of hearing Navy Chiefs saying " Stupid Jarheads, quit saluting me .")
Deployed on LPH to California coast near San Clemente
Inclement weather socked us in, LPH anchors for two days off coast
Looking from lower deck out , one roll of ship I see all sky. Next roll, all ocean
Squids laugh at Marines trying to catch plates of food sliding around in mess
I didn't eat for those two days.
Word passed to saddle up. I steal....appropriate grey Navy blanket and stuff into pack
I set PRC-25 to proper freq. Listen to pilots on CH-46's ferrying 105's into Camp Pendleton
Hear one pilot say "UH-oh. I lost my toy." 105 dropped into Pacific
Troops and toys deposited on hill at Camp Pendleton
Spend the night on hill. Bored, I tune on PRC-25. Find out I can get Kenny Rogers and The First Edition's premiere
Episode of their TV show on radio
Next morning....wait and wait and wait
Get the word of a practice medevac in afternoon
Get new word of a real heat casualty, no drill
46 pilot cannot find LZ for medevac
HST member pops smoke for pilot
Smoke grenade ignites grass in LZ. Wind spreads fire quickly
Marines stomp fire, beat fire with packs, etc
Marines prevail after some time. All Marines covered with ash and soot
One Marine says "I wish I could find that Shore Party a$Shole that popped smoke
I reply, "Me too!" Ash and soot cover red patches on my trousers and cover.
I popped smoke
I never admitted this before.
L/Cpl Dan Buchanan
A Mustang story
After returning from a tour of Japan and Viet Nam several of the former members of the 1st and 3rd Ontos battalions were being gathered to form the 5th Anti-Tank battalion at Camp Pendleton I joined them there after my 30 days leave. After a few months we ended up at a new place called Camp Los Flores. This was September 66.
It was here we NCOs found ourselves teaching various classes. The classes were attended by a lot of "new guys" most of who would be in Nam in a month or so, and a few of the "old guys" who couldn't get out of them.
Occasionally a member of Division would come to check on us to make sure we were actually teaching the classes and following the manuals. Most of the time it would be a clipboard toting shaved tail ROTC Lieutenant who knew nothing about the topic and because of our combat experience, would usually introduce themselves, set silently, take notes, make check marks in the right places on the form and leave.
As my luck ran one day, during a class on mapping a young Lt mustang let me know that he was my monitor for the class. Of course with in 5 minutes of meeting him he had explained how after boot camp he had gone to OCS and how much a Marine that made him. I knew this would be a fun afternoon.
I conducted the class in the normal manner, but just before the (Take 10 expect 5 and get 3 minute) break I told the class how important mapping was and how learning was a part of their job as Marines. I ended it with "remember the Marine Core Motto Semper Fidelis which means Be Prepared" and dismissed the class for the break.
As I expected when I turned around, I was met with a gasping red faced Lt who could hardly speak. Threw clenched teeth he explained how the motto was not be prepared, but always faithful. I promised that I would correct the miss quote before class ended. As I taught the next 55 minutes the Lt was fit to be tied. Then I wrapped up the lecture and was ready to dismiss, the class was waiting to leave.
I held up my hand to stop the tide and explained that I needed to correct an error I had made earlier. I stand corrected, I said the Marine Corps Motto is not be prepared, I explained that be prepared was the Boy Scouts Motto adding that they had adult leadership, and that Semper Fidelis really meant Time Flies. Amid laughter the class left, and I left the Lt scribbling on his clipboard.
Sgt. USMC 1964-68
Anti-Tank Btn. (Ontos)
We Had An Edge
Sgt. Grit, et al:
As a San Diego, CA. Marine recruit was so very fortunate to enlist at a time that our Corps was filled with WW2 and Korean veterans. I enlisted in late 1960 and was transported to boot camp in January 1961. We few Oregon recruits had to wait for thirty days in receiving barracks for the whole company to be made up. Enlistments were slower in those days of "peace" and harmony. We spent our days in receiving learning the "ropes" from more experienced Marines. We spent our days fielddaying the barracks and area. Brass fixtures, of which there were many on the three floors, and porcelain fixtures never looked better when we finished each day.
This time spent in Receiving barracks was a blessing in disguise for we recruits became "salty" by the time the Company was finally formed. We knew the basic routine and response; "Sir, Yes Sir" was the only acceptable answer to a interrogatory from a Marine of any rank. We knew how to make up our racks, how to do our utilities correctly, the basic marching movements. (We were marched to and from chow by non- training personnel).
My point here is to acknowledge after so many years the Non- com's, Corporals, and PFC's that were not part of the essential recruit training regimen and yet they unselfishly gave of themselves to make us better Marines. Most often these were the veterans that had many awards for their service in the Pacific or Korea and yet their attitude was one of teaching the next generation. It truly was an unconditional "Welcome" to the Corps. This brief period and those associations helped during the weeks to come. We had an edge, given to us by those that had went before us. I have often thought of those Marines and of those I can recall I wish to thank them for their generosity, their sacrifices and their loyalty to our Country and our Corps. They shared without reservation their experience and their knowledge with a few young men they did not know beyond the fact that we wanted to be Marines. Little did we know or understand then what values those who went before us truly gave us.
To Capt. Elliott, GySgt's Bates, Turnage, Smith, McGehee, Sgt's Jenkins, Callahan, Cpl. Capps; Thank You and God Bless You for all you have given me and our Country.
Dwaine Goodwin, 1955382
Grit: An article in one of the local newspapers (Hendersonville Star News), on 15 Dec mentions another use for Silly String, rather than the obvious.
The mother of a soldier from New Jersey says her son stationed in Iraq uses Silly String to spray the area in front of him while on patrol. Seems the neon colored string will hang up on trip wires attached to booby traps, without being heavy enough to detonate them.
The local UPS stores, throughout middle Tennessee, will be collecting cans of Silly String until the end of January, then they will be forwarded to Mrs. Marcelle Shriver, in New Jersey for shipment to Iraq. The pressurized cans are considered a hazardous material and will require special handling arrangements.
The owner of the local UPS store, Ms. Janna Von Kessel also urges anyone who know of a particular soldier, or Marine now serving in Iraq to e-mail her the name and address of that individual at store.3016 @ theupsstore .com and Mrs. Shriver will see that he or she receives the Silly String. Ms. Von Kessel also says, "You pray for the troops and you send them cards and cookies, but this seemed just a little more significant to me."
If you want to get involved, a little more than normal, this seems to be the way to do it. I don't know any Marines now in Iraq, but I intend to send, at least, ten cans....
James R. McMahon
GySgt of Marines (1949-1970)
Seeing Those Grunts
This in response to your Nov 30, 2006 Newsletter and Mr. Wasielewski who wrote "NOT A SINGLE SHOT". I was a grunt (0311) and served in country from Dec 7, 1966 to Dec 28, 1967. I ran patrols, ambushes, search and destroy operations in most of I Corps area, and I would like to say, "Shots Were Fired." I'll refer to the Hill Fights, which started in April 1967 and ended in late May 1967, and the ambush on July 21, 1967 of the 175mm artillery convoy at Calu. Lots of my buddies died or were wounded in those battles. Maybe what the writer didn't hear were the shots that didn't fire from the jammed M16s we were issued, the week before we got to Khe Sanh.
I was a grunt (0311) with Mike Co 3/3, 1st Platoon, 1st Squad and on April 30, 1967, we started the attack on 881s. Dug in NVA troops opened up on us with machine guns and small arms, we pushed on and made it to what we thought to be the top of the hill, but instead, were in the Saddle of the 881s and 881n. We were pinned down for several hours, caught in a heavy crossfire of every gun imaginable. Our Radioman was shot right next to me, so the Lieutenant told me to take the radio. Things got worst when they opened up on us with rockets fired from Laos. We called in for a bombing mission to take them out, but were refused because they were in Laos. They were out of range of our artillery, so they tore us up. I was hit in my right hand and left leg so they took the Radio from me. My M16 rifle didn't jam, so I was still able to fire with my left hand, someone had to reload for me since I couldn't use my right hand. One round landed in Command group of 2nd Platoon, killing the Lieutenant and wounding the Radioman and several others. The Lieutenant got us in a defensive perimeter in the tree line, where we were trying to regroup and recover the wounded and dead. We were almost out of ammo, I had about half a clip and one grenade left, so I pretty much thought I were going to die there, when the Marines of Kilo Co 3/9 broke through and got to us. Their Corpsmen came up and started helping our Corpsmen -who were over whelmed with casualties - with the more seriously wounded. I can't describe the elated feeling of seeing those grunts and the debt I owe to them. I spent 17 days on the Hospital ship and returned to Mike Co.
On July 21, 1967 a large convoy carrying a 175mm Artillery Battery to Khe Sanh passed through our Company position at Calu (between Khe Sanh and the Rockpile). The Lieutenant and I were standing on top of my bunker watching the show when he said, "they will never make it." He was right, within minutes they were ambushed at the first bridge bypass. Our 2nd Platoon were the point of the convoy so they were caught with machine gun and small arms fire, suffering many casualties. I was told to take my undersized squad out to reinforce them and to help get the wounded out. The Lieutenant went with us. It was pretty bad when we there and we did get several of the wounded out, but one wounded Marine was shot as we were getting him out of the Ambush site, he died instantly. I often wonder if they were shooting at me, and missed. I heard that Shot, "loud and clear." We got every one out but became trapped ourselves. The NVAs started an assault on us - four from my squad, including the Lieutenant and a gun team on the other side of the road - in large numbers. A grenade wounded the Lieutenant and my Rifleman, with the Lieutenant being the more serious. I heard a small plane, looked up and saw this guy (bird dog or FO) firing an M16 out the window of the plane, just about then I heard a Jet pulling out and saw the bombs as they whistled by, on target. Saved by a crazy FO and the Air Force. We got the Lieutenant out but he later died of the grenade wounds. I guess grenades don't count as shots fired. We did pick up some sniper fire as we pulled back, killing more good Marines.
Con Thien was the worst hellhole in I Corps Area. The Marines (grunts) suffered casualties from the incoming mortar and sniper fire on a daily basis. I saw a glimpse of it when I rode shotgun for a re-supply convoy. The incoming started soon after the trucks were circling to unload. (Throwing every thing off the trucks as they turned to head back out). The Mail bag landed on a bunker and was quickly retrieved. Mail was like fuel to grunts. I felt bad leaving when they were under attack, but happy to get far away from Con Thien. I didn't volunteer for any more convoy duty.
Mr. Wasielewski was right about the lulls in the fighting, but it depended on who (MOS) and where your unit was located. Before we were moved to Khe Sanh we enjoyed about two Months of duty at the Rockpile, while the Marines at Con Thien were being hammered by the enemy, but that changed when we arrived at Khe Sanh. Grunts were always on duty and had to respond to help other units that were under attack. It was a feeling of assurance that when things really got bad, you could depend on Marines and Corpsmen (Corpsmen are actually grunts in disguise) to come to your aid. Also the Air and Artillery support, without them I wouldn't be here.
Sgt. Caesar D DaSilva
USMC 1966 - 1969
Didn't Understand My Position
After reading the many newsletter stories of MCRD experiences I just had to add mine to the list. As a real hotshot, I quit high school in the middle of my senior year in 1957. After finding myself in a bit of difficulty with the local police juvenile officer I had to make a decision as to what I wanted to do about my future. I decided that I would be a tough guy and join the paratroopers. Well after finding that the local Pasadena, CA recruiting office did not have an Army representative, I wandered into the USMC recruiting office. The Marine recruiter was at least 7-foot tall and about 280lbs HA and, in dress blues, appeared to be everything that I wanted to be. It did not take him long to get my agreement to a two year enlistment. It was agreed that, in a few days, I would travel to LA to take my physical and a written test. I would then be informed when to report to MCRD San Diego some days in the future.
My father dropped me off at the assigned address and agreed to pick me up later in the day. I took and passed the physical and was told that I received the highest score, of those taking the test that day. After taking the test we, about fifteen of us, were taken by a Marine Staff Sgt into a storage area, two at a time. He sat us each on a stool and asked us what we wanted out of our USMC experience. He made it clear that with a two- year enlistment we would spend all out time climbing the hills of Pendleton. Only with a three-year enlistment could we expect to gain any worthwhile knowledge and experiences. My East LA brother said that climbing hills and learning how to fight was why he joined the Marines, and he was excused. I, anxious to better myself, quickly agreed to the three year hitch. The Staff SGT then had my full attention while making it clear that only with a four-year enlistment could I expect to travel and see the world. I couldn't agree fast enough!
Now, this veteran Marine must have thought he had a real gullible young man, and commenced to make the final sale. He told me that with my high score on the written test he could promote me to NCO in charge of the rest of the recruits. I would be in- charge of the entire group traveling on a bus from LA to San Diego. The only catch was that I had to leave for MCRD) that day. Well, with the thought of such a high promotion, and possibly a medal or two, if I played my cards right, I again agreed to his proposition.
The bus ride was uneventful with me signing for dinner at a cafÃ©, along the way, and we arrived at the San Diego bus/train station that evening. It was about five seconds after exiting the bus that I was sure that the red headed Corporal waiting next to the Six-By didn't understand what my position was. As I was handing the Corporal our collective orders, and was about to do some explaining, it took him less than five seconds to make me understand that I had no idea of what was in store for me and my subordinates.
The next eleven weeks were the beginning of the greatest four-year learning experience of my life. I will always credit the Marine Corps, my Drill Instructors, and future NCOs and Officers with turning my life around. Only my immediate family means as much to me as do those I knew in the Corps. I have long ago moved to WA state but travel to SO CA each year. While in CA I spe