Responding to JMA Cpl, 1979-1983. I also served from '79-83 in Hawaii. I'd bet anything you were in the 3rd Marines. And your training area was the Kahukus. I know that place well. Probably my fondest moment was returning to K-Bay in the back of a deuce full of dirty, tired grunts. A pickup truck with a couple rednecks followed for awhile, then sped past us. Up the road away, at a stop sign they pulled over. As we stopped, they chucked two six-packs of cold beer up into the truck. I never seen 12 beers disappear so quickly.
Thank you guys whoever you are.
Sgt G.Mckruit G. 2/3 1Mar.Bgde 80-83
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Reading letters from former Marines does bring back memories. We remember the good times and kind of forget the bad times. I was in Korea in 53 just after the cease fire. I was transferred from E-2-5 to Bn Supply.
It was not of my choosing, but in the long run a good move. I remember the exchange of prisoners, both ours and theirs. I stood guard duty on the main road leading to Freedom Bridge & Freedom Village. What was remarkable was that the North Koreans & Chinese were issued new clothing for the exchange. As the convoys passed us they pelted us with shoes & clothing and arrived at their release point claiming that this was the way be treated them by taking the clothes off their backs. It was a shame that most of them couldn't understand our language, but I believe they got the message of what the middle finger stood for.
Jack Nolan 1131869 (1950-1957)
Through Their Enlistments
I've been reading your Newsletter for a long time. Some times I'd see names or subjects that ring a bell. Within the last few months, you've run a number of comments or add-ons regarding the All Arizona Platoon, Platoon 354, in 1964. Those articles opened up my memory from way back in my mind. You see, I was one of those that had the Honor of representing the Great State of Arizona in a special State Platoon, that wasn't very common back then. My memories, unlike many others, of boot camp have become vague over the years. I guess your mind covers up or filters away certain parts of your growing up that you'd rather not remember. Charles Hightower's comments on the names of our DI's blew through my mind like a fresh breeze. Prior to his comments, I couldn't have told you any one of their names. Just vague outlines of them and things that they did. I believe it was Sgt Cohen, who loved to demonstrate his knockout abilities by putting his fist about 1 or 2 inches in front of a recruit's face, and drive his arm forward, without any draw-back, and knock the unlucky recruit out cold. He had been some kind of Champion body builder in the past, and loved to do this "event" frequently. I do know his next Platoon, which he picked up just before we graduated, happened to have a couple of "special" Koreans in it for training as recruits. Now Sgt Cohen didn't like Asians, and almost immediately pulled his event on one of the Koreans. Trouble was, the guy didn't go down. Turns out that both the Koreans were Sergeants Major in the Korean Marines, and wanted to see actually how our boot camp compared to theirs, the hard way, without the knowledge of the DIs. They both were Black Belts in Korean Martial Arts, so it doesn't take a Brain Surgeon to figure out what the "cause and effect" was. I never heard the final story of how bad Sgt Cohen was "taught" respect by the Sergeant Major, but I know it was just a blur to everyone else standing there.
Hightower! You remember the "cry baby" we had for a number of weeks beginning boot camp? He couldn't do anything right, and was as weak as a baby. Even Midnight "thumpings" by the Platoon didn't make him come around. He just disappeared one day (the only recruit dropped from our Platoon), and nothing else was said about him. Turned out he had faked his way into the Marine Corps, and was only 15 years old. I was just glad we hadn't been at the Rifle Range with him, cause he would've surely blown his brains out there.
I've often wondered how many of the original Platoon members made it through their enlistments. Vietnam was getting hot n heavy, and losses were heavy. I was one of the lucky one's that didn't go immediately after MOS training. I waited a couple of years before I volunteered to go, and made some rank before reporting to Vietnam. That was the longest year of my life, but I got out without a scratch. Can't say the same for my helmet and flak jacket. I've still got a couple big pieces of metal that my protective gear stopped from hitting me.
I spent just short of 22 years on active duty, then went to work with the Department of the Navy, as the Marine Corps Casualty Coordinator for WestPac. Eight years after that I joined the "Riffed" line and really became a civilian. The Marine Corps gave me everything a man needs to succeed in life and a career. Those that followed our foot steps are every bit as good as we were, if not more so. So when one of us "ole timers" sees a modern day Marine, we see ourselves in days gone by. Even today I some times wish I was young enough to get back in the "game" again.
SEMPER FI to all my fellow Marines (male and female).
Robert Eisenreich (AKA: Ike)
1stSgt, USMC (Ret.) 1964 - 1985
No Come Off
While station at Cp Hansen, I was having a drink after dinner one evening when this Captain setting next to me told me the story of getting the commode in his bathroom cleaned properly. Seems it had developed some unsightly yellow rings. So he ask his maid to clean it properly. She advised him she had tried and rings "no come off". He said he instructed her to a brush. Over the next week or so the rings started to fade. He said that while in his quarters during lunch that day, he noted that the rings were gone, so he called the maid and ask how she had accomplish the task.
She told him that she use brush and cleaner that she had purchased in Ken Ville. "Work very good" she said. He told her how pleased he was and ask that she show him. He said she left and came back with a can of power with instructions in Japanese, and a symbol that turned out to be a skull and cross bones. She then retrieved his tooth brush put powder on it and started scrubbing. Where upon he said he d*mn near lost his cookies
After downing the balance of his drink he said "You know, I had noticed that my tooth brush was always wet, but I just thought that she was running it under water when she cleaned the bathroom". I use that d*mn brush two/three times a day. Now I have the cleanest commode in Camp and I am waiting for my GD teeth to fall out" A few others heard this story and every one, except the poor Captain cracked up.
JACK T. DARBY
Major, USMC (Ret)
096494 and 1358700
Jan 1950/Aug 1976
Out Of The Corps
I've been out of the Corps for over 30 years and always wanted a tat to show my pride. I worked in a very dirty place and all cuts got infected. I retired last year after 30 years and got this a month later. I couldn't think of anything that said "Marine Corps" any louder than this!
Down The Alley
I have a hang-up with numbers; I remember phone numbers going back many, many years, but I suppose the easiest number was my service number issued in March, 1949: 1 043 043. I have no idea what any of my rifle numbers were; either M1s, or M14s, though.
While I was stationed at MCAS, Yuma from October 1964, to March 1967, a new bowling alley was constructed and the CO, Colonel Joe McGlothlin, was to officially open it, by rolling the first ball down the alley. Unknown to the CO, a new, undrilled ball, was returned to him for the spare shot. Needless to say, everyone really broke up, when the CO couldn't find any holes for his fingers and thumb.
I always said, the last place I wanted to be assigned was HQMC, and it was, I retired in January 1970.
James R. McMahon
Gunnery Sergeant of Marines
He Flashed His Light
I guess my favorite sea story occurred while I was a young Grunt with the 4th Marines in Hawaii back in about 1962. We had been doing the unthinkable...drinking in the squad bay. My little Cajun buddy Ralph Dagle ad been getting really hammered and was snooping and pooping around, over and under the bunks and footlockers when Taps sounded. We were still pretty well wired and laughing our butts off about Ralph's antics when the OD came in to do his squad bay check. He made it about 15 feet into the squad bay, just where it started to get really dark. He evidently heard a noise from on top of the wall locker. He flashed his light up to check it out. There was Ralph, on hands and knees, bare a**naked on top of the wall locker growling at him. The ODs only remark was "Well, I guess you guys are safe tonight."
We also pulled one of the best pranks while in the 4th. A Corporal would sleep in and we would all hang for his sloth. We decided to fix him and brake him from his wicked ways. He slept in a single bunk toward the end of the squad bay closest to the stairway going to the battalion parade ground. Slept real heavy too. He woke up still in his bunk at morning formation in the middle of the parade ground. The gunny didn't think it was too funny.
After our tour in Korea (1950-1951), we boarded a General class ship which was a "liner" compared to the APA's and AKA's on which we had previously served.
Much to me and my buddy's dismay we were assigned to mess duty but were relieved to find that we would be working in the Officer's Mess. Finally, we thought, we are going to be eating good food. WRONG! It seems the Chief of the mess hated Marines and called us every name in the book that he had ever learned in his 20+ years, except Marine.
We we're allowed to eat after his spit and polished galley had been thoroughly cleaned. And the food that we were fed was not what the officers had dined on.
This was two weeks of h&ll and we were silently wishing to be returned to Korea for an extended tour or to find some way for "pay backs".
Since we we're docking in the morning in Oakland the last meal the officers ate was steak and eggs. Of course, we got our usual bowl of cold oatmeal and a piece of dry toast. The chief told us that we were to report back to our unit after breakfast.
While the Chief was proudly standing by his spit and polish galley receiving handshakes from the officers for the outstanding meals he had served, my buddy went to the "reefer" and stole a dozen or so eggs, put them in a pot with just enough water to cover them and turned the burner on high. This allowed us just enough time to make a strategic withdrawal to our unit.
We returned to the galley area, along with a few hundred other Marines just as the water boiled out and the eggs began exploding. It sounded like a barrage of "incoming".
You can imagine the mess it made when those eggs exploded. The chief's spit and polish galley was covered from overhead, to bulkhead, to deck with egg and shell "shrapnel". And it smelled like an uncovered slit trench.
The moral to this story? Never under-estimate the retaliatory efforts of a Marine, whatever his rank.
Thank you Chief.
J Robertson (48-51) One of the Few, the, the Retaliatory Marines.
To Talk To Me
Always enjoy the articles you publish. I joined the Corps during the war in Korea...served my 8 years on active and reserve duty...partly with the 1stMarDiv and then with AirFMFPac at El Toro. In response to the Marine who spoke of "Old Corps" traditions, i.e,. service numbers and button colors, I still have my USMC green dress blouse...with BLACK buttons. I never saw one with brown buttons. I still have several buttons from my Dad's uniform from WWI...they are black. He served with the Marines from 1916-1919...did his boot camp stint at Groton, CN., I guess prior to PI being activated as a training camp. Then I have a younger bro who served with the 3dMarDiv during VietNam.
When I was stationed at El Toro in the G-1...MG Christian F. Schilt was the CG. This gentleman had the CMH...received it as a young 1Lt in Quilali, Nicaragua, c. 1924. He flew his bi- plane into the streets under cross fire...brought in ammo and food to the grunts and then tied wounded onto the wings of his craft and flew out. He did this 5 times....really a fine Marine! I was proud to have known him and served under his Command. One day in G-1...where I was the NCOIC of Overseas and CONUS assignments...and had access to the Marine Corps General Orders...a MSgt walked into my office and asked to use my phone. I recognized his name....MSgt Clemons, I think...he was on orders from HQMC to go to MAG-13 at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. After he got on my phone he turned to me and said that there was an officer that wanted to talk with me. I grabbed the phone and stated..."Sgt Morrell speaking, sir"...the response was..."Sarge, this is General Shepherd"...I flew out of my chair at attention...Gen Lemuel Shepherd was Commandant of the Corps! He told me he was sending me a naval dispatch at 1300 hours modifying MSgt Clemons orders to read..."when he feels like it, he can go to Hawaii"...it turns out that MSgt Clemons was Gen Shepherd's drill instructor when he was in boot camp. MSgt Clemons had more hash marks than he had room for on his greens. I will never forget that conversation!
As a post script to the conversation concerning ex-Marines (who have PCS to guard the streets of heaven) and "former" Marines....I am neither....I am a Marine and always will be. Once a Marine, always a Marine!
Enough scuttlebutt for now. Keep those cards and letters coming! Semper Fi!
Lawrence D. Morrell, Ph.D.
Sgt USMC Korea
Wasting My Folks Money
In March of 1966, I was a nineteen year old college student wasting my folks money and my time and had visited the Air Force recruiters office, taken the tests and was waiting to be sent to AFEES in Atlanta for entry. One Friday afternoon, I was driving around the court house square in Dublin and noticed the Marine Corps "A" frame sign, remembered the number and called the recruiter when I got home. Saturday morning he was sitting at my dining room table and Monday I was on the bus for Atlanta - delayed enlistment until May 12th. That night is when I saw the yellow footprints in front of receiving barracks, MCRD, Parris Island. The next day, we were picked up as Platoon 184, C Company, First Bn with SSgt Paul A Rossano as SDI and Sgt Leslie Clark (can't remember the other DI but he was first class - made me squad leader). Boot camp was eight weeks then, due to the Vietnam war. I received a steam burn on my left hand while on mess duty, spent a couple of weeks in the Naval Hospital at Beaufort, a few days in Hospital Platoon and then joined Platoon 199, B Company just before the rifle range. Senior DI was SSgt Mullins along with Sgt. Young and Sgt. Shrewsberry, all outstanding Marines. Just wanted to thank Rossano, Clark, (?), Mullins, Young and Shrewsberry for making me a Marine. No other mentor, professor, coworker or friend has had the effect on me that these men had and almost forty-one years later, these thanks are long overdue. I would very much like to hear from any of these men along with anyone in 184 and 199.
Ronald K. Bell
We were given Service Numbers in 1969. Mine is still memorized (258 52 26), and, believe we switched to SSN in 1970. Anyway, in 1970, I approached a Master Gunnery Sergeant at IIIMAF, Camp Courtney, Okinawa. He had 35 years active duty. I asked him if he was "Old Corps". His reply, "Nope, that was before my time"......
1969 - 1972
Marines Wear Trousers
Here's one for ya. This is no sea story. I received my draft notice at age 26 while serving in the Army, 1st Bn 28th Infantry, Black Lions, 1st Infantry Division, Phuoc Vinh, RVN. To make it doubly ridiculous is the fact that I'd already served a four year tour in the Marines, Mar. 59 - Mar 63. I wrote a very polite letter to the draft board telling them I would be more than happy to report for my physical if they could talk the Army into letting me out of Vietnam about seven months short of my 12 month tour. I never did receive a reply.
Went to PI and don't recall any yellow footprints, but that may be because I was so busy trying to keep from soiling my pants ( that's right, pants. Only Marines wear trousers. Pants are worn by sailors and split-tails. ) while several insane monsters, wearing Smokey Bear hats, were screaming at us to get off " their bus! " Plt. 317, Nissen huts, Mar - Jun ' 59. They were constructing brick buildings while I was there, but those civilians sure were taking their time about it. I mean, they didn't work just because it was raining, what kind of civilian s&&t is that ??
Tattoos: when I was in the Corps it was considered a Navy sailor kind of thing to have numerous or ornate tattoos. The most I ever saw on a Marine was four, two bluebirds (one above each nipple) and two black panthers (one clawing its way up each forearm.) Back in the day you couldn't see any tattoos, unless the Marine had one on his hand (which was very rare) because there was no such thing as a short sleeved shirt in the Corps. As far as one of those tats climbing up ones neck, they just weren't in vogue.
EGA: Never heard this until a couple of years ago, it was always Eagle, Globe and Anchor, never initials. We received ours prior to final inspection in Boot Camp, one for our pee cutter and two to put on the collar of our Troops. You know, Tropical worsted; shirt, trousers and cover. ( In the Army they were called TW's.)
Semper Fi: I heard or read a story about CMC being told by a wounded Marine, "Semper Fi." I got a laugh out of that one because when I was in the Corps it meant " Screw you, buddy." Semper Fidelis and Semper Fi meant entirely different things, back then.
That's enough for this installment so I'll sign off.
Kirk J. James, Cpl 1841667, 0341 ( 81's) Mar 59 - Mar 63 USMC
Sgt 12724303 11Bravo Dec 64 - Nov 67 US Army
Only Unsuccessful Assault In Marine Corps History
I am sorry to admit that my stay at the E-club may have aided the only known Marine assault that was a semi failure. During the summer of 1965 or was in 1966 (I'm getting old) I was with the 6th Engineer Battalion, USMCR undergoing amphibious training at Coronado, CA. This training was prior to our transport to San Clemente Island to perform various construction projects.
While at Coronado I noticed a pen near our Quonset huts that housed a goat. There was a building near the goat with two sailors and a flood light that was on the goats cage at night.
I inquired as to the reason a goat was housed with apparent security and was advised by the sailors that the goat the navy mascot and was to be used in an upcoming parade. I thought I saw an opportunity to enhance Marine / Navy inter service rivalry.
I presented my idea to Marines, McDermott, Miyake and others whose names I do not recall. The idea had over whelming acceptance. We reconnoitered the area and found that the pen housing the goat was temporary and not secured, it simply rested on the ground. We decided that Miyake, being very agile (2nd degree black belt in judo) could climb to the roof of the building and take out the flood light. When the lights went out the rest of us (number of participants had now climbed to over a dozen) would rush the pen, pick up one side and while the rest held up the pen a couple of Marines would sn*tch the goat.
The plan sounded fool proof, two sailors guarding a goat, what are they going to do? Nothing. After all we're UNITED STATES MARINES. Assault is what we do.
On the night of the assault, as we were to leave aboard an LST the following morning for San Clemente Island, we retired to the E- club to celebrate our upcoming fool proof plan. We had the cooperation of our NCO's, as they had arranged to provide us with a six-by to transport the goat on board the LST. We planned to release the goat on San Clemente to join the hundreds of other goats on the island.
It was a festive night as we knew we could not fail. The beer flowed freely, too freely. I awoke the next morning to hear about the assault, I had apparently consumed too many beers to be woke, as had most of the others. A few had remained sober enough to attempt the assault but encountered one aspect we had not envisioned in our plan, the Navy's communication system.
When the Few and the Proud approached the goat area the sailors simply called the shore patrol. Multiple shore patrol units arrived and the assault was repulsed.
The only saving factor was that two Marines, whom I don't recall as part of the assault plan, were able to obtain the Navy flag from the flag pole and it made it's way to San Clemente with the unit. However while on there island a Navy plane landed and the Navy demanded the flag. It was returned after threats of disciplinary action. The plane and demand for the flag's return fortunately occurred before the flag was cut. The two Marines that had the flag had decided that the only fair way to decide who would keep the trophy would be to cut it in half.
It was actually a great training lesson. Never forget the enemy's communication.
Busted For Staying
Here is a story from Camp Schwab. I loved it there and we were given two sea bags of 782 gear for 'Nam.
During Christmas 1967, a platoon of us spent a month at Camp Schwab, Okinawa. We were given no Liberty or money to run into Henico (sp) the little town close by. Our records hadn't caught up so we got a "flying $20" every so often.
They believed busy Marines are happy Marines. We had work details everyday including cutting the grass at the Japanese women employees quarters. Some of us became experts at dodging work details. You could go to the MARS station and call home by Ham Radio, or sneak off and run down to the beaches and swim. We found the beach house that rented sail boats, or loaned fishing gear. My buddy caught a foot long Moray Eel and I caught a poisonous Lion Fish. No more swimming for us. We just watched the Sea Cucumbers.
We got busted for staying in the mess hall and missing morning muster. Confined to barracks, I checked finding my name not on any cancelled liberty list. I went to the Enlisted man's Club and ran into the Sergeant. I don't know who's eyes were bigger. He put a chaser with me to ensure I scrubbed the shower with a toothbrush.
My wife and I were at our grandson's baseball game the other day and she was being bothered by some kind of little bug. She asked me why they weren't bothering me and I told her they knew better than to bother me because their cousins told them that I was at Parris Island and I could not be effected by them. Semper Fi
Ralph Doherty (Sgt. 57-66)
Simply Shook His Head
I enjoy your news letters, especially reading some of the funny sea stories submitted by your faithful readers. I decided to tell a little story of my own:
I was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Tustin just prior to the base being closed in the mid-90s and worked in Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) 16, Ground Support Equipment (GSE) Shop as a 6073 (Aviation Support Equipment Electrician). One fine Marine Corps morning we received a case of common rubbing alcohol from supply. No one was sure who ordered the alcohol or for what purpose so we decided to have a little fun with it. One of the brainiacs in our shop soon discovered that rubbing alcohol was highly flammable and decided that it would make the perfect "weapon". Being in the Air Wing, the only time we got to fire any weapons was during our annual qualification at the rifle range so we decided to conduct a little "field training" of our own. We located several empty spray bottles and proceeded to fill them with the rubbing alcohol. Now armed to the teeth, we divided ourselves into groups of "hostiles" and "friendlies" and took up strategic positions around the compound. Suddenly. all heck broke loose as us "good guys" attacked the well dug in positions of the "enemy". Fire was every where and all of us were getting hit pretty badly. Despite the heavy fire, we overran the hostile forces and victory soon followed. Afterwards, all of us soaked to the bone in rubbing alcohol we decided to call it quits and take a smoke break. (Here's where things got interesting) One of the guys decided to amuse himself by dipping his finger in a bottle of rubbing alcohol and lighting it on fire, his version of a human torch. After a pretty cool pyrotechnics display, his finger began to get a little warm and he tried to blow it out. Well, as hard as he blew the flame on his finger would not go out. In a panic, he tries to put his finger out on his pant leg, which is soaked in rubbing alcohol. See where this is going??? His pants now on fire, we jump on him to smother the flames, of course forgetting that we ourselves are also doused in alcohol. To make a long story short, we managed to put the flames out and escape any injuries. After checking ourselves over to make sure all body parts were still intact we began to laugh at our stupidity. It was then that I looked up and noticed our XO standing across the compound, enjoying his morning coffee and cigar. He had witnessed the entire episode. I could tell he wanted to come over and chew us new ones but with cigar and hand and a bunch of rubbing alcohol-soaked Marines, he thought better of it. He simply shook his head and pretended not to see a thing. Phew....
Those were the days!
A huge Semper Fi to all my brothers and sisters fighting the good fight at this moment. I know s**t is deep for you but I hope that reading stories like this one helps you to remember better times of your own. Stay safe and know that we here at home are behind you 100%
Sgt. Steve Chargois
Once a Marine, always a Marine!
Letters From A Buddy
It was the spring of 1966 when a buddy and I decided to enlist in the Corps. We arrived at MCRD San Diego in April of 1966, and were assigned to PLT 1001, 1st Bn.
Sometime during the first few weeks of our stay, we were invited to join the D.I.s in the Duty Hut. This was accomplished by a scream of "Barnett and Cornell, get your a##es in here. NOW !". Repeated in chorus by the entire platoon.
As I ran to the hatch of the duty hut, I was met by my buddy, flying backwards out the hatch. He had forgotten to knock and request permission to enter. After we had untangled ourselves and properly asked to enter, we were standing tall in front of our junior D. I., a Corporal at the time. He was holding two letters in his hand and if not literally foaming at the mouth then doing a very nice imitation of a mad dog. He proceeded to use language that only a Marine recruit would understand, to inform us that he had been to the base post office to get letters that had been sent to us. These letters had been sent by another "buddy" of ours who had enlisted several months prior to us and was doing sea duty on board USS Galveston , somewhere in the south pacific. He had addressed these letters in a manner that, was sure to attract attention to Pvts Barnett and Cornell, and not in a positive way..
Our D.I. proceeded to speak to us for several minutes regarding our friends, family and heritage. He also informed us of the necessitates of providing the proper address, etc. if we expected to receive mail. Again this was all done using language common to only a Marine D.I.
He then requested we open our letters which he had been so kind to hand deliver to us and advise him of the contents. My buddies letter read.." Jack, F##k You. Bob." . My letter read "Rick, F##k you too. Bob.
Needless to say that this unleashed another tirade form our D.I. He demanded to know who the @#$%$#^ was that would send such a missive. Being good Marine recruits (and scared half to death) we immediately "gave up" our friend.. who had wisely not included a return address. We were then politely requested to write our friend and advise him that such letters were not appropriate communication between fellow Marines and that if our D.I. ever had the opportunity, he would like to discuss the finer points of letter writing with our friend.
This all happened over 40 years ago and we are all still friends and have had many laughs over the "Letters from a buddy". Though later, while going thru schools Bn. At MCRD, my buddy , Bob, did visit me, I didn't introduce him to my former D.I.
1966 / 1968.
Dear John Letter
I was in platoon #491 at MCRD in 1952 ... we were probably the last platoon to get khaki's and also the first to get "tropicals" ... the last platoon to get 2 pair 6" boondockers (with leggings worn during 4 weeks infantry training at Tent Camp #2), and the first to get 2 pair of the black combat boots ... the last to get the WWII metal USMC buttons on dungaree jackets. (Donated to the Gold Star Museum at Camp Dodge, Johnston, Iowa. Give your "precious stuff" to museums so your next of kin won't have to deal with the problem.) I also gave my "Dear John" letter received after 2 months in Korea to the Museum, (in 1999), and the Curator checked and said it was only the 3rd Dear John he could find in existence in War Museums in the World. (Both pair of boondockers had to be re-soled/heeled near the end of boot camp, a week before we graduated. I well remember the DI's yelling: "Heels! Heels Heels!") All this was before the maltreatment BS that came later! When I reached Treasure Island upon returning from Korea ... I was offered another stripe if I would be a DI at Dago ... I told them: "NO, because, if I treated recruits they way my boot platoon had been treated ... I'd be court-martialed."
PS: One of my dungaree jackets issued in boot camp had the herringbone pattern with the "grenade pockets" .... also donated to the museum.
Sgt JJ Kramer 52-55
Married An Actress
My junior DI at Parris Island was pulled from DI duty to play the role as Jack Webb's assistant in the Movie The DI. His name was Cpl. John G. Brown, the meanest sh*t we had encountered on PI. needless to say we were glad when he failed to show up and a new Jr. DI had replaced him, we did not know what happened to him until after graduation. He got out of the Corps after the movie and married an actress he met in Hollywood. He was the Buck Sgt. that interrogated the fire watch. There are recruits in Marines from our platoon and earlier platoons that would like to find him today.
Carl Fishel, Sgt. USMC
Once upon a time there was a Captain at Cherry Point, NC who was a pilot of the new A6A Intruders that we had just acquired from the Navy at Oceania, VA. This Captain liked to be a semi-hard ^ss to a few of the enlisted Marines in the squadron. One night before the squadron was to fly across country to Yuma for training in the dessert a certain enlisted Marine went out to the Captain's aircraft and shorten the relief tube that is attached to the middle of the ejection seat between the pilot's legs. This tube has an elongated funnel on the end and is what the pilot uses to relieve himself on long flights or when the need may arise. Some where over Texas the next day after refueling in the air and maybe taking a drink of water the Captain had need to use this relief tube. He could get it unlatched but with the tube being shortened about 6 to 9 inches it just would not reach up beyond the top of the seat. Needless to say in trying to use the relief tube the Captain wet him self considerably. And the B/N sitting in the right hand seat could not but witness the hilarious episode. Once this news leaked out Captain "Shorty" as he was nicknamed by a few, seem to be considerably more friendly and easy to get along with. To this day the name of the Marine who shorten the relief tube is safe with me.
Sgt. Marty Maners USMC 1963-1967
I read your newsletter with a lot of interest and amusement. The "old timers" who contribute rekindle memories of the terrors that befell us at that island many years ago. They bring a lot of laughs among the group that assemble at the Marine Corps League every Friday night. I don't know if they still use terms like yardbird, skinhead, tie-ties, clothes line watch, sand pit and mess duty anymore, but there have been times when I think many of us could write a book on the experiences from the early 50s era. I'm sure those who came later feel the same way, Some of the experiences mentioned bring back memories that I've long forgotten. The letter written about using ink to put stripes on the sleeves of utilities brought a smile to my face. Some of those jobs on the sleeves were pretty bad. The paint overs after promotion were especially bad. While at ITR at Pendleton, I even saw some who put a small X over the top of their PFC stripe to show they had been busted. I saw a Lieutenant jumping all over one of the bustees in a chow line and the practice stopped, and the blacked out stripe had all appeal of one who had just come out of the brig. I don't know if stamping of clothing with the rubber marker is still used, but a buddy from the League tells the story of a recruit in a group following instructions from the DI, stamping his name on the outside of the back of his shirt collar instead of the inside, and it wasn't noticed until the platoon was readying for final inspection. All of us can imagine the interest stimulated in the DI. I don't think skinhead, yardbird or orifice were used in this encounter. Keep those tidbits coming. Semper Fi to all you one time Sbirds out there.
Frank Athis PI Class of 52
Yakking It Up
Just recalling some things when stationed at H&MS 36, MCAS Futenma, Okinawa, Japan in 1978-1979.
I worked in the van complex near headquarters and the barracks where we lived was on the opposite side of the runway. So usually you had to go a mile and a half around the runway to get to the complex. During the day there were cattle cars and buses to shuttle you over but we were working the graveyard shift. So many times we had to walk it. The runway lights were usually off by the time we were leaving for work so it was much easier to just cut across the runway for a 1/4 mile walk even though that was forbidden. We were never noticed except by the dog at the firehouse. There was one night we didn't chance it though. Jimmy Carter was visiting Okinawa and Air Force One was parked on the runway. We thought it might not be a good idea to be walking around the runway in the dark that night.
Another time one of the guys in the shop was fixing some two-way radios and wanted me to help him test them. So he stayed inside the van complex while I walked out and headed over to the Red Baron, a small sandwich shop with some other goodies, on that side of the flight line. We were yakking it up on the radios and using some "colorful" language back and forth. Suddenly a Cpl from the firehouse comes on the radio and says we're using the frequency for the firehouse and to watch the language. I tell him sorry and we keep talking as I'm walking back. Now a MSgt from the firehouse comes on the radio and starts chewing me out for using an emergency frequency. Then he says he wants my name, rank, and serial number. He doesn't know who I am or where I am so I'm not about to tell him anything. Then my friend I was talking to is hearing my side of the conversation but not the MSgt's. He comes on the radio and says, "Hey Hower, who are you talking to?" I didn't want the MSgt to hear that! So I pushed the emergency alert button to transmit a high pitched squeal until I got back to the van complex to block anything my friend was saying until I could shut him up. I heard the MSgt say when I finally let go of the emergency button, "Very Funny". They never caught us.
SSgt Rick Hower
A friend on mine gave me this Post Card from USAA. It is a Memorial Service held after the Bn came off line. Each time we would come back to a Reserve Area we would hold a Service for all the Marines we lost in the last engagements.
I would guess that the Marines at Present Arms were the Squad or Fire Team Leaders representing the KIA. I did not know if you would like it and maybe add it to your News Letter or a filler for one of your Catalogs.
Floyd D. Newkirk, Wpns. Co. 1st Bn 1st Reg Korea 51-52
June 21, 1951 1st Bn 5th Reg 1st Div Me. Service 001
Finding The Holy Grail
I enlisted in Jan 61 and was issued and allowed to wear the emblem from day one. It took 13 weeks to earn it but we were allowed to wear it. We were the last series to wear the emblems on the collar 's of the tropical uniforms in our Boot Plt photo's at Dago. Plt 1015 series honor Plt. There were still a lot of the: OLD CORPS' emblem's around and finding one was like finding the holy grail. Same as finding a serviceable set of Herringbone utilities. To me the Old Corps is the Marines who were in at the time of the old rank structure E-3 Cpl ,E-4 Sgt , E-5 S/Sgt etc. I still call myself a boot because it was drummed into us at the time (46 years ago) That there was the" Old Corps, The New Corps, And Now this Sh-t" And that we were so low that we had to look up to see whale shi-t on the bottom of the ocean. The only thing lower than a Marine recruit was a sailor recruit.
Sgt Doyle Clark
Back in 10 November of 1967, 2/9 was in the Con Thien area. The mess hall delivered, to the field, the biggest birthday cake I had ever seen. It was on a 3/4" sheet of plywood and had to be carried by eight Marines, due to its weight. The CO made sure every Marine got a peace of it.
During the cake eating the CO promoted several officers. One in particular was promoted to Captain. After the usual words were given the CO, still with a straight face, told him he was to be transported back to the rear on the truck that brought the cake. Once there he was to report to the medical office for a much needed surgery procedure. We were all shocked at this because there did not seem to be anything wrong with the Capt. The CO then explained the procedure to be performed. "Sir, you will have 9 sq. inches removed from your stomach area. In that space you will have a 1/2" sheet of Plexiglas inserted. This will enable you to see when your head is up your a**." We had a good laugh on that one.
It is also interesting that I often find people who need that operation.
Hail Of 30-06
Not all the training pranks were in the enlisted ranks. We were on the Quantico range for BAR familiarization as part of our 1-57 Basic School. We moved back to the 500 yard mark and someone noticed that there was a trooper style Gunny hat at the 200 yard mark. Word spread quickly. When the word came to Commence Fire, the hat disappeared in a hail of 30-06 rounds. Everyone on the line got the pleasure of making a cash donation for a replacement. Not all the lessons learned that day were from DI's
Ron Donahue Lt.1-57 [50th Reunion Aug 23]
"Old Corps" and "New Corps"
How's this for a "dividing line between "Old Corps" and "New Corps" I was in when we had steel pot helmets, 1911 A1 .45s, and plain green flak vests, M-16 auto riflemen, and M115 jeeps, that's old Corps to me. Now it's Fritzs, 9mm, camo vests, SAWs and Hummers, that would be considered new Corps to me.
Got a question to throw out to the faithful, when I was in, the steel pot helmet was used as a wash basin, cooking pot, barf bucket (I always got sick riding in the back of tracks) and seat, what do you use for those things now? Can't cook in the Kevlar ones, can you?
To: L.A. Whalen's post concerning the EGA. Yes, SOME reservist did not go through boot camp when we were called up in July '50. If you had certain, defined requirements, you HAD TO GO to Korea, as they needed live warm bodies, quick, to fill out the Division so they could make Inchon. Quite a few in the 11th Marines so qualified and were gone, without hesitation. The rest, ALL went to Diego, to learn how to spell Marine. And don't know about the EGA situation, but do know this, the enemy, when they are shooting at you didn't ask whether you were a regular or anything else, you were in trouble. And a whole bunch of us boots wound up on the lines, 24/7.
And on June 9th, '51, 56 years ago, last Saturday, we lost a good Marine that day that was physically hit, BY A MORTAR ROUND, Alexander, "Baggs" Marchese, and WE REMEMBER!
Chesty's last regimental command.
Great place to relive the past. Ordered a green utility cover, received fast did not think of the changes that must have been made. The NEW Corps cover is lighter weight material, the old was heaver material lighter green color, no sewn-in square corners and had a herringbone pattern. We didn't have the camo utilities. We didn't even have boots till a little later, issues lace up leggings. Had a service number that indicted what an old a salt you were. Boot camp at sand flea heaven, (P.I.) we lived in tents, don't remember the yellow foot prints; do remember a line to toe on upon arrival. Not me but a recruit found smoking by the DI, who was a police officer in Norfolk called up to active duty, had the smoker stand in the middle of the platoon street, with a bucket, a towel and cigar the cigar was lit, bucket over his head the towel around the neck and told to smoke all he wanted..
"All Present Or Accounted For, Sir"
Every lieutenant is convinced that his gunnery sergeant is the best in the Marine Corps, but in my case I think it may be true. Or at least I have a major contender.
After serving an initial officer tour with 3d Tanks, 3d MarDiv, on Okinawa I was transferred in the mid-1970's to Marine Barracks, Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, as a Guard Officer.
I was assigned to Separate Guard Company, Cubi Point Naval Air Station, which had its barracks next to the Seabees up on the hill above the Air Station, just across the road from the Cubi Point Officers' Club.
Separate Guard Co. was a task-organized unit, primarily responsible for providing security for the U.S. Naval Magazine, which at 20+ square miles was the largest American ammunition processing and storage area in the Pacific, and which contained the "go to war" reserve ammo for the Pacific Fleet and the 3d MarDiv as well as munitions for Clark AFB. It also contained a Nuclear Exclusion Area containing special weapons. Separate Guard was the size of a small battalion, commanded by a major with a captain X.O., and consisted of three company-sized platoons commanded by first lieutenants. I commanded 2d Platoon, and Gunnery Sergeant Earl Bartlett was my platoon sergeant.
Gunny Bartlett was a superlative Staff NCO. He had played football for the Marine Corps back in the States, and went into the Reserves and played professional ball as a lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers for a couple of years prior to returning to active duty as a career Marine. He was over six feet tall, Black, weighed about 245 pounds--- none of which was anything but muscle---and had the only perfectly round head I have ever seen. He had a head like a shaved bowling ball; when he wore his utility cover the bill was perfectly straight, not curved down on the corners as usual. He didn't have a neck. His ears kind of sloped down into his axe-handle-wide shoulders and his huge arms, bulging with muscle (He had a very hard time rolling up the sleeves of his utilities, and had to surreptitiously slit the lower seams to make it work.) terminated in hands the size of small hams which hung below his knees. He had a deep bass voice that could be heard, as a result of a tour as a drill instructor, upwind at about a half a mile. And to put the icing on the cake, belying his outward Neanderthal appearance, he was a very bright guy, and had a wicked sense of humor.
Gunny was the most squared-away Marine I ever served with. The Philippines is a very hot and humid place, and he liked to set the example for the troops, so at lunch he would march over to his hooch and "break starch" on a clean set of utilities and don a freshly spit- shined pair of boots for the afternoon. A bachelor, he lived in a room in the Staff NCO Quarters just across the road from our headquarters barracks. He once invited me over to his room. He had put up a long piece of steel water pipe the length of one end of his room and on the pipe hung a dozen starched and pressed utility uniforms. Above them was a shelf containing 12 starched and pressed utility covers. Under them were six pairs of spit-shined combat boots.
I was a married officer on an accompanied tour, but as many of you may know, a permanent assignment to the Philippines was paradise for single Marines. I was always impressed by their stamina. We worked "24 on/24 off" at Separate Guard. The U.S. dollar was worth so much in the P.I in the '70's that two or three enlisted Marines could afford to rent and furnish a house in Oolongapo City outside the gate, hire both a maid/cook and the appropriate number of live-in hookers, and still have money left over to bar-hop practically every night until the midnight curfew chased them home. They would party until midnight, head home and "refresh" their girls until 0200-0300, and then head back in to the base at 0500 to make our 0600 P.T. formation. After calisthenics we would generally run anywhere from 3 to 5 miles... and given that our barracks was at the top of the highest hill in the vicinity, that meant running the back end of the run uphill. Running next to my Marines was like running past the San Miguel Brewery as they sweated out the last evening's consumption, and periodically one of the troops would run to the side of the road and barf up beer into the jungle prior to rejoining the formation.
Morning formation in uniform of the day was at 0745 in the parking lot in front of the Barracks. The company would form up in three platoon blocks fronted by their platoon commanders, and the C.O. would march out and call the formation to attention for Colors and to pass the day's activities, assignments and training schedule. Prior to the C.O.'s arrival the Company Gunny would poll the platoon sergeants for "present for duty" status.
One well-remembered morning, when Gunny Bartlett was checking personnel status with our squad leaders, the third squad leader, Sgt. Etsheidt, reported "one man missing". Gunny asked, "Who?" The squad leader told him that one of his Marines had come in early that morning from town, still drunk out of his mind, had hit the rack, missed P.T. because he couldn't be woken, and when he was woken again just prior to formation said, "F---k it... Tell Gunny I ain't comin'". Gunny Bartlett never missed a beat. He called the platoon to attention, turned over control to the 1st squad leader, did an about face, saluted smartly, and asked, "Sir, permission to be excused for zero 5 mikes?" "Granted, Gunny", I replied.
Now our barracks were non-air-conditioned tropical barracks, which meant they were sturdy steel-reinforced concrete structures that had screened sides with floor-to-ceiling aluminum louvers that could be cranked out to let the breeze through the entire structure or shut to keep out the monsoon rains. My platoon was billeted in four man rooms on the "second deck", which had a set of outside metal fire stairs leading up to the steel door on the end of the barracks. It was these steps that Gunny Bartlett ascended in his quest for the missing Marine. The rest of the platoon had been given "at ease" out on the parking lot, and necks craned back towards the barracks as my Marines followed Gunny's echoing progress up the stairs, through the door, and down the hall towards the miscreant's room. He arrived in the room of the hung-over young Marine---a private who had been assigned to the Marine Barracks right out of Boot Camp and who had only been with the Barracks for about three months---and the second deck of the building reverberated with a series of bellows, clangs and crashes. The Marines in platoon formation cringed as whispered exclamations of "Oh, Sh- t!" were heard. (Gunny was famous for his up- close and personal "counseling sessions" with uncooperative young Marines.) There were further sounds of scuffling heard echoing down the second deck as Gunny and his charge approached the steel fire door at the end of the barracks.
As luck would have it, the major opened the first deck door at the end of the barracks on the way to take the morning formation just as Gunny and his burden reached the door above. There was a resounding "CLANG!" as the steel door was kicked open into the steel railing of the fire stairs, and then a kind of horrible warbling "AAAAAHHHHH!" as the young Marine, who was about 5 feet 9 and 150 pounds, sailed out of the open door gaining altitude as he cleared the railing and fell to the grass at the end of the barracks, clad in one rubber flip- flop and a pair of issue white boxer shorts. He landed right in front of the C.O., on his back, and after a minute of trying to regain his breath, got to his knees and elbows just as Gunny Bartlett marched out of the door and down the stairs, squaring away his military alignment as he came. Gunny made the corner and saw the Skipper standing there with his hands on his hips, looking at the kid on the grass. Gunny snapped of a crisp salute and a "Good morning, Sir!"
The major returned the salute, looked bemusedly at the kid on the grass, looked back at Gunny Bartlett, and said, "Gunny, did I see what I just saw?" Gunny replied, "No sir, the Major didn't". The C.O., nodded and replied, "Very well then, Gunnery Sergeant, carry on.", turned, and walked down the sidewalk out to the formation.
Gunny Bartlett walked over to the Marine, picked him up by the back of the neck and the elastic waist of his skivvy shorts, frog-marched him over to the end of the third squad, planted him next to the last Marine at the end of the file, and with formal facing movements marched to the front of the platoon, called them to attention, did a crisp about face, saluted, and reported, "All present or accounted for, Sir."
I loved the guy. With him as my platoon sergeant I had the easiest job in the Marine Corps.
LTC, Armor, AUS(Ret.)
...and former Sgt. & Cpt. of Marines
Our Marine Corps League Detachment # 1233, The Fox Valley Marines, marched in the Aurora, IL Memorial Day parade. One of our unit's Marines, 87 years young, Lee, a WWII Marine from Batavia, IL, was having a hard time keeping up, and we keep asking him if he wanted to drop out! He kept saying h&ll no, I will not drop out, and I can make it! We finally had to sit him down and call an ambulance to take him to the end of the parade route! All I have to say is that Lee is one h&ll of a Marine, who would not drop out! Men like Lee are what the Marine Corps is about!
Former. Sgt. Harold E. Withey Jr.( Hal)
Medevac Crew Member
To Doc Byars Sgt Grit #150
Doc, there will Never, be a time in my life that a Corpsman of any era has a door shut in his face. You have earned the right to the EGA, you and others like you have ensured that Marines like me and my fellows could come home. I was a medevac crew member in RVN, (HMM-364 1-67 to 4-69 out of Marble M