I recently signed up to play golf for a local community fundraiser. As I arrived at the clubhouse, I listened to all the rules and hole assignments, then stepped up to sign in. when the starter asked me my name, I told him 'Don Grisez'. He looked me in the eye, stood up and reached across the table to shake my hand. He proceeded to pull $65.00 (the entry fee) out of his wallet and handed it to me saying that my son Cpl. Sean Grisez had called that morning from Afghanistan to pay for my golf and to wish me a happy Father's Day. Needless to say, there wasn't a dry eye in the crowd.
As I'm sure all you Marine dads know, words can not express how proud I am of my children and how much Sean's act of love meant to me.
Semper Fi,
Don Grisez Cpl of the Marines '74-'78 and proud dad of Cpl Sean Grisez and LCpl Brandon Grisez


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Chaplain's Corner

The Alphabet Men of C Co. First Tank Battalion (Part 1)
By Bob Boardman

Fate is the same for the man who holds back, the same if he fights hard. We are all held in a single honor, the brave with the weaklings. A man dies still if he has done nothing, as one who has done much. - Homer in The Iliad, 800 BC

At Camp Elliott in San Diego after Boot Camp in early 1943, we were "volunteered" alphabetically, A, B, C & D, for Marine Corps tank training at Jaques Farm. The Alphabet Men, of whom I was one, were Alvarez, Atkinson, Backovich, Bahde, Barwick, Brenkert, Christensen-and many others too numerous to list. Even today, almost 60 years later, I continue to ponder the mysterious fate of being thrown together with some of America's finest, only because of the alphabet.

After Jaques' Farm, fate placed us in the 17th Replacement Battalion and we loaded aboard the USS Rochambeau in San Diego together with the 18th Replacement Bn. We made a 28-day zig-zag "luxury cruise" to Melbourne, Australia. There were 4000 to 5000 troops aboard. Down Under we were carefully planted among the depleted ranks of the First Marine Division after the key battle of Guadalcanal.

We were not Marine philosophers, just green, untested-in-combat troops, but our fate continued to carry us together alphabetically, inexorably to close with a no-quarter enemy. What is fate?....Read More

Sand of Iwo Jima Contest

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1) What does Iwo Jima mean in English?
2) What Marine Medal of Honor winner lost his life on Iwo Jima?
3) On what day was the flag flown over Mt. Suribachi?
4) Where does the "black" sand come from?

Complete the entry form here

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He Looked Up To Me

In 1961 I was on a cruise to Vieques Puerto Rico and I and four others were selected to be aggressors for the landing. We had only minimal food and supplies and were told to live off the land. There were alot of fruit trees and little kids were everywhere selling everything including cold beer. We slept on the ground and one of us was Pvt Pellegrini from NYC. He was paranoid with the tarantulas that were everywhere. Every night before we went to sleep he would clear all the Kuni grass away and fill all the holes in the ground with rocks. One morning all of us were awake except Pellegrini. I stood over him pointing my rifle loaded with blanks at his chest. One of the other guys gently shook him a wake and said "Pellegrini, don't move there is a tarantula on your chest but Lynch is going to kill it" He looked up at me with bug eyes and knocked me over getting up. I think he would have killed me except that we went through Parris Island together.
Sgt JKLynch 1938818

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Memory Lane

Reading your weekly newsletter always revives long lost memories. My best friend, John was part of a career Navy family, whose father was a Commander. In typical military tradition, all of John's friends were treated like adopted sons.

About a year after my discharge, I got a call from my adopted- mom. She asked if I'd take Peggy; who attended an all girls- school, to her senior prom. While family traits were ruggedly handsome, they didn't suit the girls. Most of them were big boned, or over-weight. If you've seen Shrek, you'll know what I mean. But, Peggy had an inner beauty and a heart of gold; for a kid sister.

In my Dress Blues and being 22 years old, I guess that I cut a dashing figure of a man, among giddy teenagers. Peggy's Mom had bought a corsage and was surprised that I did, too. Peggy looked absolutely radiant and as we danced every number, I made sure that I only had eyes for her. When we got home and for many years after, Mom treated me as if I had been awarded the Congressional Medal...I guess that I was a hero to her and to Peggy, too.

The Riot

One Saturday night, as an MP at Kaneohe MCAS, a call was received that there was "a riot" at the E Club. MP vehicles of that era were stick shift, 1950's vintage, Chevrolet pickups, with a giant gumball on the roof.

It was (an unauthorized) common practice to make "emergency stops" by putting the truck into neutral; shutting off the engine and applying the emergency brake...A way-cool technique to an impressionable teenager.

As we arrived at the Club, I used this technique to stop the truck; in order to quickly exit the vehicle. Unfortunately, the guy who was riding shotgun, jumped out too soon. If you've ever seen a rubber ball, attached to a paddle by a rubber band, that's what the passenger door did to his body as his feet hit the ground.

Our squad entered the club on the run, but our yells for order were ignored, amid the pandemonium. One of the guys (from Cripple Creek, Colorado) jumped up onto the bar. When he banged down the butt of his Remington, 12 gauge, riot gun (which had a hammer) it blew a large hole in the ceiling. There was immediate and absolute silence as everyone; including me, lunged face down on the floor.

This incident was a double edged sword. It was policy to have an empty chamber in MP weapons, so a reprimand was made. But, congratulations were given for creative thinking, in using an effective method that achieved instantaneous order.

I truly enjoy reading the input from other Marines. If only for a few moments, my mind becomes young again.

Semper Fi !

J.J. Haight
USMC, 60-64

Hawked My Overcoat

Sgt. Grit.
I read Sgt. Kramer clothing note, and I was issued Khakis, tropicals, green Ike jacket, green wool shirts, wool overcoat, and all my dungarees had the pockets, metal buttons and the rest of I thought WW2 items. This was in fall of 1953. When in Japan, I hawked my overcoat when the raincoat with liner came in. I still have my green shirt and green winter gear plus may other items. I give a class at my daughters history class on the Chosin and how that came about twice a year. There are about 200 students that must behave while I do my thing and let them know the Marine Corps is special.
Sgt. Peter Wojciechowski 53-56.

Dear John Letters

Received three of them in 14 months, did pi jan 28, 1958, discharged march 6th 1959, ref the khaki uniform, here's my picture wearing them in 1959, issued at pi.

Uniforms enjoy reading the memories, forgot my platoon # at pi, records show that i was in P co 3rd batl 1st inf. we had tropical uniforms as well,

done 25 years law enforcement, retired 1994,
semper fi, LL Collins

Rough Side Out

Do you remember the utilities with the sleeves that had only a strap and a button or a little later the utilities with the buttons covered on the pockets and front. How about the boots with the rough side out. What a job to spit shine. I was late for the herringbone utilities.

Sgt John R Young (Ret)

He Gave The Command

In reading SSgt Blair's mention of the San Diego runway adjacent to the practice drill field at MCRD in the June 6th news letter, I was reminded of my own experiences there. I went through platoon #3151 from Nov'70-Jan'71. Our practice grinder was adjacent to an airport taxiway, where the planes, usually from PSA, would rev up before hitting the runway. I remember one of the last practice sessions just prior to the graduation drill competition. Our DI was Sgt Johnson. It was a particularly busy day for PSA using that taxiway. Sgt Johnson had just gotten done emphasizing our inability to differentiate "port arms" from "right face". They both sounded like "AAARRRT HYUH". Half would do a right face, the other half would come to port arms. Complicating all of this, the large jet would start revving the engines, so that we could not hear the command of execution for the "right flanks" and "right obliques" while marching. It was a fiasco. Sgt Johnson maneuvered us all into a single line along the airport fence. When the next plane came out and started to rev up, he gave the command, "Flip Bird!". At which point we all executed a perfectly timed one-finger salute. While holding that salute, we all, in cadence, repeated after him, on command, "f///-you PSA!". The airplane windows on our side of the plane filled up with faces. I believe Sgt Johnson got into a bit of trouble for that one, but our platoon did take the drill comp.

(Cpl) Dana Smyser, CoG, 2/7, 1st MarDiv ('70-'72)

The Bull

Sgt. Grit...I truly like your web site...I get on it all the time...right now I would like to ask fellow Marines who served at El Toro Marine Base during WW11, and after, if they remember a tough by the name of M/Sgt. Albert "The Bull" Gordon ..He was really something...tough as hard nails...chew you out in a second..and yes I even heard young Lieutenants reply to him as "Sir"... Just wondering if any one was left around who remembered him.....San Diego MCRD...toughest training on earth.

Let Us Never

I recently responded directly to Sgt Newton that is incarcerated and feels that himself and several other Honorably Discharged veterans are being shunned by fellow vets and vet organizations. When I was a baby Marine (17), I chased some Long Beach girl around while UA for 14 days. As a result I spent 14 days lost time in the Pendleton Red-Line Brig in '64. A Marine Major told me what an embarrassment I was to "his" Marine Corps, the EGA and humanity itself, and should exit it ASAP. 4 years in Vietnam and 2 tours as a DI later, he was still a Major and I his GySgt Supply Chief.
My 2 best friends in H&S 2/7 both had to return to the world from RVN in '65. Joseph Nimoroski had to marry his girlfriend, and was KIA 2 days after returning to RVN on Harvest Moon. Ken LaFrancis' Dad passed and he chased that same LB girl, stole a car and went to prison. I lost both of them, did I love one more than the other? Was my loss any less for either of my 2 brothers? I taught my recruits that Marines live by a Code of Honor. That along their path in life they would meet Marines that served before them, with them and after them. A Marine never loses faith with his fellow Marines, and we always look after one another. This site is proof that all it takes is a cap or shirt or tattoo to indicate who are Marines and we gravitate towards that person, with our Semper Fi. I can't tell you how many times the stories on this site, have brought this old 60 year old man to tears. The is a reason there is a UCMJ and a brig. We are Marines and like all other creatures, not perfect. Let us never turn our backs on our Honorably Discharged brothers, that have fallen from our Code. Instead lets lift every person up that has ever taken the oath to defend our nation, and leave no man behind..We are losing our WWII, Korea and VN vets daily...Lest we never forget...those youngsters that fill our shoes today..Semper Fi

Potter, MGySgt of Marines
RVN: 2/7 65-66, 1stMT 69-70, FSSG 72

San Diego Zoo

Your recent newsletter triggered a lot of memory in this "old Marine!" It took me back to recruit training in January of 52', in San Diego, Tent Camp 3 inside the gates of Camp Pendleton from San Clemente, to G-3-5 Korea, then 54' & 56' at Marine Barracks, Atsugi, on to DI School, then 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, Diego, to Sea School where I served as an Instructor, while the base was under the command of one of the Finest the Corps has ever produced, "General Victor H. Krulak."

It brought to mind one of the most laughable incidents in my 10 years of duty among the finest, during the retirement parade of "Sgt. Major John Muth", of the Recruit Training Command! Fortunate to be selected to serve as part of the reviewing staff, directly behind the Sgt. Major, and Colonel Hochmuth, proceeding to advance to review the troops "as they passed in review, we overheard the Colonel say to John, "what are you going to do following retirement, John?" The Sgt. Major paused to answer, then quietly said, "I'm going to go to the San Diego Zoo!" The Colonel said, "what would a Marine Sergeant Major do at the San Diego Zoo?"

Muth replied, "I'm going to get even with the monkeys...I've been taking orders from them for over 30 years!" Smiles overcame us all, even the good colonel, knowing that "only a Marine Sergeant Major could pull that one off!"

While at Sea School I was blessed to have been selected to accompany retired Marine General H.M. "Howling Mad" Smith to some civic affairs when he and his family lived in La Jolla, and the former Commandant General Ian Richies of the British Royal Marines along with his family, when they visited San Diego. I drove Major General James Risely on his trips to Atsugi. Incidentally I was an 0369/5841, not a driver.

Since, I've been blessed to come home to Arizona, serve as a Special Assistant to a U.S. Congressman, a State Police Officer, and then be elected twice to the Navajo Tribe, Indian Wells Chapter, incidentally I'm married to a Navajo.

I proudly wear the "bolo tie" of Navajo Code Talker Sgt. Major Dan Akee, and count his friendship and that of former Code Talker Bill Toledo of Laguna, New Mexico as an important part of my life's experiences.

I also remember T/Sgt Joe Lazarko, and T/Sgt Billie Love, who both played prominent parts in the D.I. movie in 1957. Joe has been to some of the DI Association reunions at San Diego. They were part of the Recruit Training Command.

When we meet again on the streets of Gold, and remember the 3rd verse of the Hymn, "if the Army or the Navy ever look on heaven's scenes, they'll find the streets are guarded by United States Marines!" I'll be looking for John Muth, the General, and the rest of those I had the pleasure of serving with! What "sea stories we can share!"

Sergeant Richard A. Stauffer, Phd

Bombs AWAY

Ah, K-Bay. It was 1966 or 67 {Yep, I'm getting old too}. I started out as a bus boy in the e-club and ended up as a bartender.
I was with an F-4B squadron that I can't even remember. Naturally, being good Marines, we had a rival with the squadron in the next hanger.
So, inspection was coming up and we had to do something to these....sub-Marines
After work one night when I was walking back to the barracks {I had to walk I was too drunk to drive} I passed by the OD's Jeep. A flickered flame of thought entered my mind. I jumped in the Jeep {The OD was in the e-club getting a drink at the office of the SNCO in charge of the club] and headed to the bomb dump. All the practice bombs new and old were here. I selected a 250 pound green mother of all bombs. I couldn't get one any bigger cause it wouldn't fit in the Jeep and besides I couldn't pick up anything heavier. I know, I know......wimp. Now I've got the bomb loaded and I head back to the barracks area. There is a stream of Marines coming back from the e-club so, no problem finding a servant Marine to help me get this mother in the barracks.
K-Bay Barracks were all alike, two floors and squad bays. No private rooms back then unless you were Staff NCO. With the help of a fellow Marine or maybe it was two from my unit, we managed to get the bomb on the top level, standing on it's fins, right in the middle of the squad bay. What a pretty site. We were so good, we didn't even wake the fire watch. We all slithered out of there leaving the OD's Jeep somewhere in the barracks area. Well, the next morning you would have thought I'd dropped the bomb on Japan. We had three 6-by's loaded with practice bombs and about 10 EOD people giving every squadron a lecture on the hazards of handling practice bombs. I was NCOIC of my shop that day and had other plans. Back then they didn't take names to see who wasn't there.
If anyone ever asks, I deny all the above.
J.M. Clontz USMC {Ret}
29 years; Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Iraq

Snake Marine

In 1972, while with Mike 3/9 in Okinawa, I went to the NCO club at Camp Schwab and witnessed a floor show I will never forget. It was a mongoose-haboo (not sure of spelling) fight refereed by a local. The extremely poisonous snake made numerous strikes at the mongoose as the oversized rodent danced back and forth trying to make the kill. The show was beginning to bore most of the spectators until this Sgt staggers to the stage and grabs the venomous snake and literally chews it in half. He staggers back to his seat with the back half of the snake in one hand and a Bud in the other. The M.P.'s were called and a bunch of us Marines approached him to see if he had been bitten. He staggered out of the NCO club and no one seems to know what happened to him.

About a year later, while working as an operations chief (S-3) for HQBn, 1stMarDiv, Camp Pendleton, I ran in to this Sgt again. He was now a SSgt and was with Division S-3. We became pretty good friends. His name is Larry Walker. I asked him about the snake incident and he told me that he was so drunk that he remembered nothing of it. He said that he remembered waking up the next morning with a terrible hangover, a foul taste in his mouth and 'these peculiar scales in his teeth. SSgt Walker was an easy going Marine that one would never suspect him of such behavior.

A couple of years later when I was a Nevada Highway Patrolman, I had just returned home from my 2 weeks of USMC Reserve obligation. I picked up my patrol car at the station and was heading home when dispatch called me and gave me a number to return a call to a Sgt Walker. I assumed it was an officer from the Reno P.D. wanting to question me about a previous accident/arrest.

When I got home I called the number given me. "Marine Corps recruiting, Gunnery Sergeant Walker speakin." I couldn't believe it. "Is this you Larry?" I asked. He actually spotted me through the recruiting office window as I drove past in my patrol car. Small world. When I went to the recruiter's office to visit him, he had photographs of him chewing that snake in two under a piece of plexi-glass on his desk. GySgt Walker told me that he used the picture as a recruiting aid.

A couple of years later in 1977 while I was with a reserve unit in Sacramento, I had the opportunity to bypass 2 h&llish weeks of drill at 29 Palms and finagled orders to the Kansas City Finance Center. While there I decided to search for the whereabouts of Gy Walker on the old fish-file. I found him. He was with an I & I unit in New Hampshire. I decided to pull a joke on him. I called his unit and asked for Gy Larry Walker. A LCpl paged Walker and he answered the phone. "Gy Walker? This is Gy Foster from the Kansas City Finance Center and I am sorry that I have some bad news for you. There has been an error on your pay records and the Marine Corps has been paying you as an E-8 with 2 dependents for the past 6 months. You owe us approximately $2,147.92." He came unglued. "Are you sh&%%@#* me?" "Gy, we can work out an allotment for you to repay the finance center at your convenience. How would you like to set it up?" After about 5 minutes of the snake Marine cursing me and dam*ing the finance center, I couldn't hold back any longer. I busted up laughing. After his blood pressure got back to normal we had a great conversation and got caught up on what we had been up to.

USMC 1966-1974
USMCR 1974-1979

My Favorite

Eddie's Eagle Globe and Anchor My name is Eddie. I have been the Marines for two years and right after I got home out of bootcamp I wanted to get my first tattoo and I wanted it to be the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor. I have since gotten three others and am very proud of every single one but this is my favorite.

Long Haired AWOL

I cannot forget the great times too that I had while in the Marine Corps. The "Run" platoon was a special platoon of Marines stationed at Marine Bks Great Lake, IL. Back then we had the cream of the crop sorta speak in collecting the AWOL's that had been arrested and were housed in the local county/city jails. Back then the AHJ ( Police ) would then notify the Gov't who in turn would dispatch a team of two Marines to collect these AWOL Marines and or sailors.

It appeared that the busiest state( back then ) for the 9th Naval District was the that state of Ohio.

With so many cities that make up that state - we even used a chartered bus several times over and just traveled the state working city to city.

At one time we even spotted a hitch hiker on the freeway with a very short haircut. I ordered the bus to stop (as the NCOIC) and sure enough - he was AWOL - Marine.

The toughest collection was a Marine that had been AWOL for over 2 years. We need leg and waist chains for this long haired AWOL.

We also took pride that we didn't need to get rough with any of these AWOL's. Having US Marines walk into the jail - calling them to attention - often shook the jail and those going back with us - They got the message. Most of us had been or just returned from Vietnam.

Several today as told - went to complete a fine career in law enforcement.

Even some of us were lucky enough to attend US Secret Service school - POB and become a dept counterpart to help protect the president when a movement came through your AHJ.

Semper Fi

Sgt. Gene T. Spanos
Lieutenant Retired 72/95
USMC 66/71
Marine Bks G-Lakes, IL ( 67') & ( 69/70')

I Swear I Say My SDI

Reading all of the sea stories in your last newsletter reminded me of an incident I had in basic. I was with Platoon 1021 at 'Diego in 1988. We were all on our footlockers for the nightly health and welfare inspection by our SDI. Since my last name began with an "A", I was one of the first inspected. As our SDI proceeded down the one side of the squadbay, my buddy next to me whispers; "Check out McChesney", who was almost directly across the squadbay from us. Now when we were issued our gear, we had the choice of boxers or briefs, and McChesney had chosen boxers. There he was standing at attention in all of his glory with his entire package hanging out of his boxers. This breach of uniform regulations, of course, soon passed up and down the line, and as the SDI got closer and closer to McChesney, the snickers and held-up laughter began. Of course our SDI thought we were grab-as5ing and threatened unimaginable pain and suffering if we didn't knock that sh!t off. Well, soon enough, he got to McChesney and let out a "JESUS H. Christ MCCHESNEY, TUCK that SH!T IN!" We couldn't hold it any longer, and I'm sorry to say the entire platoon broke discipline and fell out laughing. I don't know if I was the only one who saw it, but I swear I saw my SDI barely succeeding in keeping a straight face. We all ended up paying dearly for that, but it was the only time during basic I recall laughing until graduation. Man am I glad I chose briefs.

To all those who are serving, and who have ever served, this Marine offers a hearty and hale SEMPER FI! Thank you Sgt. Grit for this outstanding forum to tell our stories. We are truly a Band of Brothers.

P.S. By the way, as any combat veteran will tell you, no "Doc" of mine ever had to buy a drink when I was around, and as far as I'm concerned they deserve as much or more respect as I would give any of my fellow Marines.

Craig W. Anderson
LCpl. of Marines
"A" Co. Marine Barracks, Subic Bay '88-90
"L" Co. 3/9 1stMARDIV '90-92

All But One

Your readers' stories regarding the Marine Corps continue to amuse and fascinate me. I can think of no other field of endeavor which causes as deeply-felt camaraderie as the Marine Corps.

My son, Midshipman Second Class USNR, at Maine Maritime Academy is currently training toward a commission in the Navy under the auspices of a hard-charging Gunny and a Mustang Major. They are somewhat mystified that he's not Marine Option, but his classroom abilities in Engineering require his talents elsewhere in the Naval Service. However, he's watched Marines' hailing rituals for some twenty-two years:

"Semper Fi."

"Do or Die."

"Bravo One-Four."

"VMF 231."

"Swing with the Wing?"

"In the rear with the beer and the gear."


"H&ll, No, PI."

"Green side out."

"Roger that."

For a Marine, this exchange needs no translation. It's sort of like the "Trail'st thou the puissant pike?"* exchange from HenryV.

It seems that somewhere among 231 years of tradition, Marines have picked up a "neanderthal" reputation. However, of five Twentieth Century innovations in the art of war: amphibious doctrine, close air support, vertical envelopment, combined arms, and suppression of enemy air defenses, all but one were initiated and perfected by the United States Marine Corps.

It seems to me that despite all our reverence for the "old corps" the one constant amongst Marines is change for the better. Admittedly, some bright ideas like the "Mighty Mite" have since disappeared from the inventory, However, the title "United States Marine" represents all the best from Article One of the Code of Conduct.

Confusion to the enemy and success to the Marines.

K. Brown

French Actress

Sgt. Grit,

I also would like to know where Cpl. J.R Brown is today. Cpl. Brown was my Junior Drill Instructor for plt.20 - 31 JAN.56 - 9 APRIL 56. Cpl. Brown had just completed Drill Instructor School and was assigned to Company B, First Recruit Bn. It was my turn in the company to pick-up the next plt. and Cpl. Brown along with a Sgt. Wire were my junior drill instructors. After a few weeks Sgt. Wire was assigned another plt. as there was a shortage of drill instructors. He went to work with a new plt. and Cpl. Brown and I had plt. 20 all by ourselves for the next 12 weeks.

Cpl. Brown was a native from Ohio been to Korea wounded in action and got out of the Marine Corps after his first enlistment. He tried civilian life but could not adapt so he reenlisted in the Marine Corps and ended up at Parris Island as a Drill Instructor. Cpl. Brown had difficult in calling cadence for the plt. but in a few weeks he got the hang of it. Each D.I has his own patent on how he calls cadence. Cpl. Brown and I worked very hard with the plt. and the proudest we were was when the Plt. was awarded the DEPOT HONOR PLT. for their hard work in all four phases of competition.

Cpl. Brown was interviewed along with many other D.I`s at Parris Island and he was selected and sent to Hollywood for 6 weeks to make the movie D.I. Cpl. Brown married a French actress while in Hollywood and brought her back to Parris Island however Beaufort,S.C and Port Royal was not her cup of tea so she returned to Hollywood.

Cpl. Brown upon returning from Hollywood was assigned to the base Public Information Office as he was a celebrity for a period of time. I lost track of him as I packed my seabag and went to the 4th Marines in Hawaii.

J.R Baumgardner Maj. USMC Ret. (1951- 1977)
Drill Inst. 1954-1956--Jan-May 1966-

78 RPM

Sgt. Grit...
I was stationed at Camp Catlin, Territory of Hawaii, from Jan, 1954 to Jan. 1955. During that period, I was Sgt. of the Guard for a few weeks. One of our duties was to raise and lower the Colors. One Sunday, I and my Corporal were standing at the flagpole, flag in hand, ready for the playing of the National Anthem at 0800. The person in the guardshack had the phonograph at the wrong speed, and played it at 78rpm instead of 33 1/3. Needless to say, it was a short presentation. To my amazement, there were no repercussions, possibly due to it being on a Sunday (hangovers and all).
Donald C. Shope
Former Sgt., USMC
1289552 (1952-'55 )

Hollywood Games

Sgt Grit

I have read of many former Marines from the 1957 era mentioning Sgt. Brown who appeared in the Movie "The DI".

Well I too had him for my Jr DI, for a short period of time. I was a member of PLT 202 in July 1957. Sgt Brown was with us when we were issued our 782 gear. I had just recently seen the movie prior to enlisting and I quickly recognized that I had seen Sgt. Brown before, but could not recall where.

After we finished drawing our gear we went to our barracks and our Sr DI has us assemble around the table in the middle of the barracks and told us who Sgt Brown was and admonished us severely that if we every brought it up that the consequences would be serve. Enough Said!

Sgt Brown had a very large amount of Hollywood Games that he loved to play with us like: FLOOD!- AIR RAID!

We were not the least sadden when day he did not appear and we heard he had been reassigned!

Jim Cocke
Plt 202

Unspeakable Things

I have been reading the Sgt. Grit news letter for a few months and decided that I would send in one of my own unique stories. I am a still active duty Marine on my first contract entering my fourth and final year. This story is of my previous duty station, Parris Island or PI as it is most commonly known in the Corps. I am an 0121 Personnel Clerk and was stationed at PI with Recruit Training Regiment (RTR), Support Battalion, Recruit Processing Company, Recruit Administration Center. In other words I worked in the building that unitilized the famous yellow foot prints.

The way our admin shop was, was like any other admin shop in the Marine Corps, lots of PFC's, LCpl's and Cpl's working sun up to sun down in front of a computer screen. Our shop was broken up into several sections, discharge, unit diary, orders, legal, and SRB (Service Record Book). The main focus of this story is the SRB section and their unofficial mascot. However it was decided I will never know but the Mascot chose was a small stuffed bear, like one you would find in a childs christmas stocking. It was a weekly if not daily tradition to "kidnap" this mascot, torture and mangle it. And of course the whole section would up in arms over this demand to have it back each time we took it. Whoever had taken would of course return it but not before they had done unspeakable things to it. The mangling this bear received ranged from being pierced by a few hundred staples, wrapped in copper wire (that took them forever to fix), impaled with straightened paper clips, and frozen solid with a can of compressed air. After a while though, the SNCOIC put a stop to that and business returned to normal.

LCpl King
SRB Clerk
I&I Staff
GSMCO 4thMaintBn 4thMLG
Rock Island, IL 61299

Ship Still Bobbed

Sgt. Grit,
Just finished reading some funny sea stories and wanted to add one of my own! This story takes place during my second Med cruise (on our way back to Beirut) at our first liberty port which was Naples, Italy. My unit (Lima 3/8) was a Helicopter Assault Unit so we were on an LPH. Anyway, before leaving Morehead City we of course stowed our gear and grabbed a rack. Since it was my second float I was smart enough to grab a top rack. At the time I was thinking that I was a salty LCP, so when one of our new "boots" grabbed a bottom rack and replied that I was stupid for grabbing a top rack and having to climb up 4 racks to get to mine, I replied, "you'll find out why soon enough boot". I forget what his exact reply was, but it was something to the effect of, "my mother didn't raise no fool, I'm taking one of these bottom racks". Well, we made our way across the Atlantic without any incidents, but sure enough we docked in Naples harbor as planned and everyone took off for the liberty boats and a night of wild drinking. Since this was my second cruise and I had already been to Naples probably 4 times before, a few buddies and I went down to find a decent restaurant and then returned for some good sleep with no duty the next day. Well just after mid-night I guess, the liberty boats started hauling all the drunken-*sses in and as expected the harbor was not all that calm and even though we were anchored the ship still bobbed slightly. Not sure if it was that, or that these dumb-*sses just had too much to drink or a combination of both, but anyway, 3 or 4 of the guys below me laid in their rakes and after just a few minutes started barfing over the side of their racks, each other and onto the deck all over everyone's shower shoes (except mine which were wisely stowed with me on my rack). I just laid back and covered my face with a towel to mask the permeating odor while the poor fire-watch and Cpl of the guard had to herd the offending turds into the head to get them cleaned up. The funny part of the story is that the smart-*ssed boot who questioned why I wanted a top rack, quickly learned why as he spent the next hour cleaning the barf of multiple drunks off of his gray, wool navy blanket, uniform, towels and PT gear!
Semper Fi to all fellow Marines and God Bless all of you fighting for our freedom! To our fellow Marines who have given their bodies for our cause, and to the families of the Marines who gave the ultimate sacrifice - a very heart-felt Thank You!
Mike Kunkel
CPL, 0331


Are there any old Marines who took and passed the EDDY Test? I did, in 1943, and was selected to attend radio/radar school at Wright Junior College in Chicago, Grove City College in Pennsylvania and NTTC, Ward Island, Corpus Christi Texas. After the war, I worked for 42 years as an electronics engineer. I hope to hear from someone who had the same experience.
John Hill, SGT. 43-46

Experienced The Antics

Referencing the two comments from the June 20th issue, I also 'experienced' the antics of Corporal (E-3) John R. Brown while a recruit in Platoon 351, 1st RTB aboard Parris Island. My platoon was in training during the 1 October to 31 December 1956 timeframe. I checked my recruit book before writing this and confirmed that Brown's middle initial was, indeed, "R" not "G" but other than that, the accounts are right on. Interestingly, we have never been able to find John Brown after the movie was distributed and he may have either followed his actress wife to Europe or he may have passed away. The Drill Instructor's Association cannot locate him anywhere. My senior D.I., then-Sgt E-4 Eugene Alvarez is still in contact with the leading actress (Jackie Loughery) as a close personal friend. Gene, a two-tour D.I., is a retired PhD from the University of Georgia system who has authored a number of superb historical books on Parris Island. He is now a 75 year-young Marine living in Florida. It's very special to still be in frequent contact with both my senior D.I. and my senior recruiter from NE Philadelphia some 51 years later.

Maybe not really "old Corps" but I did have a service number (1647380) was issued an M-1 (#441380), had herringbone utilities, boondockers, collar emblems on khakis and trops, brown dress shoes, among other things.

Joe Featherston
Major, USMCR, Ret.

Arizona Platoon

I was also proud to be in Arizona Plt 3019. We started boot camp on 07-07-67 and now forty years later 07-07-07 we celebrate that glorious occasion on a special date. Our Drill Instructors were Gunnery Sgt Green, Sgt Reynolds and Sgt Newman. We left Phoenix and the temperature was in the 100's. We arrived at MCRD San Diego and the temperature was around 60 degrees and to many of us desert rats this was a welcome place to start our careers as Marine Recruits.

We were a tight group and much was expected of us because we were all from Arizona and were not allowed to forget that we competed for ribbons in our learning of history, first aid, drill and rifle range. There were others but I forget which ones. Anyway at the end of the seventh week after the junk on the bunk inspection we were led to believe that we had lost the chance to become the honor platoon and having heard the loud rejoicing of our sister platoon and the mad look of our DIs we knew that we had not done enough. This lasted a couple of seconds and then the word came that we had aced all the ribbons and were the honor platoon. We were taken to the big grinder and went through our close order drills and we were stopped in front of alot of new platoons and displayed our proud and colorful guidon. We graduated after eight weeks.

Alot of us were in the Nam by Dec and Jan and I know we had at least eight KIAs that I found on the Arizona Viet Nam memorial that is located on the grounds of the capitol building. How many were wounded I have no idea.

I served with Delta Co 1st MP Bn FLC III MAF our TAOR was from south of the air base runway to the east along Dogpatch. We manned post 1 thru gate 12 which was the gate that led to the road that went to the Freedom Hill PX Hill 327. We also had Hoa Vang district and the Cam Le Bridge. That bridge was attacked and taken over on the south side by the VC/NVA units on 23 Aug 68 and again on 29 Feb 69.

Thanks again for the great newsletter and keep up the good work.

Semper Fi Carry On.

Edward (Taco) Contreras
Sgt (Ret) 1967 - 1970
Arizona Platoon 3019 Honor Platoon.

The Only Difference

I would like to respond to Corporal Ross P. about Darryl Newton and all the other comments made of this Marine. I served my Corps and when I returned from overseas, I ran into my wife's new love. Needless to say, I began drinking on the base, Camp Pendleton California. That was my mistake. I eventually went out and showed him what I learned after 10 years of service. What I did was wrong. I did my time. The only difference between him and I is, I never asked you or anyone else for any kind of assistance. Like I said, I did my time. I am a Marine, 0311 and proud of it. The only person that can take that away from me, would be the Marine that gave it to me. My Drill Instructor. I still spit shine my shoes and work boots. I still use my military alignment. I am still squared away. Every Memorial Day, 4th of July, Veterans Day and Marine Corps Birthday I wave My American Flag, My MIA-POW Flag and My Marine Corps Flag. Some of us make mistake's in life. That's just the way life is. Do Not Think You Have The Right To Call Anyone One Of Us An EX-MARINE.

Cpl Charles Lindberg

Sgt Grit, we have lost a very good man and a great MARINE this week in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis & St. Paul, Mn. I could write volumes about this Marine but I won't at this time. I will say that he was a modest man and he didn't get the recognition he so richly deserved until recently for what he did on Iwo Jima. Every time I heard him speak I got chills up and down my body. A bronze bust of him will be included in the monument to all veterans that is being built at Veterans Memorial Park in Richfield Mn. It should be completed in July 2008. I'm sure he won't be called " A Liar " at Heavens Gate and that there will be many of his Marine buddies from Iwo Jima to welcome him to his final resting place.
God bless you Cpl. Lindberg--Rest in peace.
Semper Fi, Robbie, PFC- 1472172

Whining Is Embarrassing

Sgt. Grit,
I want to chime on with my thoughts on the Marine who is incarcerated. Most of us have made regrettable mistakes in our lives. Obviously, this Marine is in prison because he made a big mistake. That doesn't mean that he is no longer a Marine. It means that he is a Marine that F***ed up. What I do not respect is all of his whining about the circumstances he created. We are Marines because we stepped up and paid the price of becoming a Marine, with everything that entails. Being a Marine is a lifetime commitment to excellence. We don't get entitlements for being a Marine. We owe a debt to our nation and to our fellow Marines because we earned the privilege. I recommend that our incarcerated brother start acting like a Marine, pay the consequences for his actions, and quit whining about being unloved. Even in prison he should act like a Marine instead of a convict. The whining is embarrassing.

Semper Fi,
Mark Lurtsema


"AAVP7A1 RAM/RS" I served on the USS Carter Hall with the 26th MEU (SOC) BLT 1/8 on a med float during 2003 during Operation Enduring freedom as a part of JTF Liberia and JTF Horn Of Africa. This was my baby and I still miss her everyday. Amtrackers can be passionate about their vehicles. :)

Amtrack Tattoo Cpl. "Rommel"
Formerly 2nd AA Bn.

P.S.- Keep apricots away from it!

Sugar For His Coffee

Funny then, Funny now! 1959 Cherry Point GCA 38M, (Ground Control Approach- Radar Air Traffic Control) never told a soul, Capt Martin liked sugar for his coffee. Our crew was out of sugar. Tore the place apart. There under the fridge was a bag of sugar, on it was written, "Keep out Crew 2"! We then wrote, "F... Y..! the Phantom strikes again!" , the Capt got his sugar, remember the year, 1959, it was a long time ago! Capt Robinson CO of the Unit never found out who! Capt Robinson could be a jerk! We sent him a card, "As an outsider, ... What do you think of the Human Race?" Still, Crane, & Taylor were all in on this! 1959! Never got caught!
Yet! R Olson 1957-58-59

Don't Mess With Marines, Young Or Old

Check out this link about a 72 year old Marine. Once a Marine, always a Marine.



Without A Break

Thank you,
The patches I order arrived on Monday. My unit from Nam 5th comm bn. and my unit from Desert Storm MWSS 273. They will finish up my riding jacket for my bike.
I come from along line of Marines. My Dad Sgt Major William R. Elder JR. enlisted in 1941 and retired in 1962. He was wounded on Iwo Jima. He passed of natural causes in 1999. He enlisted my half brother, his own stepson, Gysgt Harry W. Davenport while on recruiting duty in 1955 he retired in 1976. Harry did three tours in Nam trying to keep me out . I enlisted in 1969 he came back I went over. We lost Harry to Agent Orange in 2006. I retired in 1993. My nephew Jeff Richey finally got out in I believe 1997 to become a US Marshell. So from 1941 without a break in time someone in my family was in the Marines until 1997. 56 years I guess you would have to say we are a Marine Corps family.
I still talk with some of my brothers I served with in Okie, Desert Storm, and Beaufort. We are a close family once a Marine Always a Marine. We all live from one end of the states to the other but we still have that bond. Some still have that DI voice and we all still like hearing about Marines. We remember good times and the hard ones, The nicknames such as Cabinshoe, Chewy, PaPa Smurf, Princess Palmer, and I better not leave out Old Fart. Marines we are a special breed.

William R. Elder
Gysgt USMC

Never My Intention

Sgt. Grit,

It was never my intention to place something in the Sgt-Grit Newsletter, as a direct result of my article in the June 7Th edition, one reader launched a personal attack on me as an individual. Therefore it's vital I be permitted to reply in a civil and dignified manner. After wards I will not respond to such comments or responses.

I'm deeply offended that a brother Marine would attack me personally for simply bringing to light a situation that affects countless incarcerated veterans. It would not have been offensive to speak out on the issue, but to attack me personally was not only wrong, it was demeaning and malicious, even more so since Michael Gray does not know me or my situation.

My article in Sgt. Grit was not to solicit money. At no time did I ask for money. I clearly stated what help we (myself and our Veteran's Group) needed. That was information and assistance to obtain the benefits we as Veteran's earned, I.E. Medical, Disability, and Educational. Also help from organizations in there areas. While the California Prison system is vile, I did not complain about the conditions of my confinement. There is other avenues for that, not Sgt. Grit.

Yes, I did commit a crime against humanity and brought discredit upon myself. I'm "repaying" my debt to society as society deems fit. That does not change the valid truth of being a veteran and a Marine.

I am not a "villain trafficking in good men's Honor." I earned the title of Marine, I served over 4 years of honorable service, as one MgySgt. recently wrote me "not even death can change that fact."

As a prisoner, jailbird, convict, or whatever adjective used, I do agree the public should remain vigilant, there are prisoners who spend hours, days, weeks, and months figuring how to scam money from strangers. I however and not one of them. I never asked for money to be sent to me or anyone. Only help from veteran organizations to obtain legally for fruits of our services. The fruits (benefits) we earned.

Mr. Gray wrote that if I was on active duty I would be in the Brig. Let me remind Mr. Gray of General Lewis "Chesty" Puller. He once visited the 5Th Marine Regiment, after his inspection he said, "Now let's go to the brig and visit the men." Even Chesty believed in giving men the chance to reform and change. He did not abandon those men, those Marines in the brig. He visited them, what an honor he gave those Marines. It was an act of Great dignity and compassion.

My plea was a "set up" as Mr. Gray wrote to Sgt. Grit, there is nothing to "set up" for. To obtain our benefits we must provide proof, DD214, "Page 11"'s, medical records, ETC. being in prison our applications go unanswered, misfiled, ETC. Veteran organizations do not want to help us which most claim is their objective, even the one's who offer up membership. There is no "set up" to obtain anything that's one is rightfully and dutifully entitled to.

Be mindful, the same incarcerated or jailed veterans will be released back to society. Released to lead law abiding lives. It's my wish and endeavor to be a participating citizen contributing to the well being of my community and family. Being afforded access to services for veterans, job training, and employment assistance, education, and medical will only help not only me but society at large.

Mr. Gray it's obvious you have a negative view of prisoners, that is your right, but your do not have the right to maliciously align anyone without having intimate knowledge of that person, in that sir your are in error. My article was submitted in good faith, with good intentions. I wanted this opportunity to respond to clear the "air." State my purpose of my article. If you have further comment on this issue you and anyone else can write me directly. Do not waste space in Sgt. Grit to write malicious and demeaning articles that are unfounded. God Bless Us All.

Semper Fi
Darryl D.J. Newton

Single Act

The value of a single act:
Years ago I purchased several of the "Once a Marine, always a Marine" coins to give to WW2 Marines that I was meeting through attending WW2 Commemorative events . I had a co worker who mentioned that her Grandfather had been a Marine in WW2 and she was going back the upcoming weekend for his 84th Birthday. I gave her one of the coins and told her to simply say when she gave it to him: " With Thanks from a Doc ". When I saw her the following Monday she told me she didn't know whether hug me or hit me. She gave him the coin right as the Birthday party was starting, just thinking she would get it out of the way before she forgot to do it. She said that after giving him the coin and saying what I told her to say that he got up an put the coin in the middle of his fireplace mantel and that nothing anyone did , gave him or said equaled that gift in his eyes. He kept going back and touching it and smiling, his back was a little straighter and she spent all day Sunday hearing his stories about what he did and saw, she had no idea he a had been an Iwo Marine, wounded twice and that he was in active combat in the Pacific to end of the war . She had just assumed since he hadn't previously said much, that he hadn't taken an active part in the War and never really thought to ask him about his experiences. Semper Fi
HMC (FMF) Elheran Francis
USNR (Ret)
aka The Saint

Just Act Natural

In 1964 I was an E4 stationed in the Marine Training Detachment at NAS Los Alamitos. This was a reserve Naval Air Station with a several Marine Reserve squadrons, we were regulars there in a training capacity. Good duty, though kind of off the beaten path.

Over at the Education Office they had boxes of paperback books. They were free for the taking. One day I found one on Yoga. The blurb on the cover said it would improve my se.x life. That got my attention and I thought I'd give it a try. Like at 24 my se.x life needed improving? What would improve my se.x life was some willing young ladies, not a book, but it was intriguing nonetheless. In the I beginning I started practicing the breathing exercises. I did this sitting on my bunk. Well this didn't last too long as my buddies thought this was hilarious and started razzing me endlessly. What to do? Aha! At the end of the squad bay just outside the head were two very large closets. On one side was where the buffers, wax, and toilet supplies were kept. One the other, was a series of large strong shelves where we stored our seabags. There was a little window just off the top shelf with a streetlight outside providing a little