I was a Drill Instructor, 2nd Bn, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego and on occasion we did use some corrective measures to insure that some maggot would remember the Marine Corps Way. But, it was never sadistic by any means like the Rock of Knowledge.
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It's the pride of where you went through boot camp that makes you think one place is tougher or better then the other. All Marines whether they are at P.I. or Diego are trained the same. All DI's get the same training in DI School and the training schedule they use from T-1 to graduation is the same for all Marines.
Each graduating platoon was your reward and pride because you know you trained them to be disciplined Marines. At times the Drill Instructors in would have two platoons. One in their 11th week of training and one in receiving barracks.
Oh how the 11th week recruits looked at the maggots in receiving barracks and said, "Was I that f _ _ ked up".
Cpl. R. Chowaniec
'North' China Marines
Have you ever heard of the NORTH CHINA MARINES? Not the China Marines. They are the Marines who were the embassy guard in Peking /Tientsin Who were captured on 12/7/1941. They had loaded their weapons on board ship on 12/6 to head home.. but the Nipponese showed up at 0700 on 12/7. With no weapons the Col. Had no choice but to surrender. My father was the SGT Major of the detachment. They were interred in North China until they were moved to Japan in Jan of 1945. My father enlisted in 1913 and retired in 1953 as a CWO3.
Having been born into the Corps in 1946, it is only natural that when I had a choice I enlisted in 1965.
This is the web site for these members of the Band of Brothers.
Cpl. R. Dietz 1965-1971 and still
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Dick Cramer prints - Recruiting posters - Chesty Puller Posters - And a few historical photos on sale this week....Check them out
Thomas R. Berton passed away 2-11-07 at the Cleveland Clinic. He had Pulmonary Fibrosis and was awaiting a double lung transplant. He was a Sergeant in the Marine Corps. and served 2 tours in Vietnam. His men were called The Magnificent Bastards. I just wanted to pass this along to you, because I know you reach a lot of ex Marines out there. He was only 58 when he passed away and there were a few Dr's at the Cleveland Clinic who thought Agent Orange may have been a factor in Tom's disease. Thank You for allowing me to send this message on.
Respectfully Patricia Berton (Spouse)
I found the following letter while going through my fathers things. He joined in February, 1943 at the age of 18. His name is at the bottom of the letter, Terry F. Thomas but it is not in his handwriting. I believe dad and his buddy James Sweek composed the letter together and James, whose penmanship was better, wrote it down. The fact that my father was a Marine was the reason that my brother and I joined the brotherhood.
Terry A. Thomas 2360897 Sgt. of Marines DaNang 1970
November 3, 1944
Saipan, Marianas Islands
On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress. Since that date many thousand men have borne the name Marine. In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our Corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.
The record of our Corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. Over 90 of the 169 years of its existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the nation's foes. From the battle of Trenton through the Solomans, Tarawa, Kwajalein, Saipan and Tinian to Palau, Marines have won the foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home. Generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres, and in every corner of the seven seas so that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.
In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our Corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term "Marine" has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.
This high name of distinction and soldierly repute, we, who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the Corps. With it, we also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our Corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as this spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "soldiers of the sea" since the founding of the Corps.
Written to be published to all hands in the Third Bn. Second Marines on the 10th of November, 1944.
PFC Terry F. Thomas CP Message Center Clerk
PFC James William Sweek Communications Platoon
Since my son is a Marine rifleman, I seem to always find "trigger pullers" to write to and send packages to. The last package I sent included a can of traditional Spam. I said he should not eat the stuff. It should be used to dip their bullets in. That way when they kill a terrorist, he goes straight to h&ll, and never gets to even wave at those 72 virg!ns as he goes by.
The commanding officer of our ship used a somewhat similar tactic when he was an advisor to a Vietnamese junk force unit. They operated next to a South Korean Army outfit that would poison the wells within any village where they took fire. Our CO talked them into including red food dye with the poison. You guessed it. When the boats took fire, and the sailors entered the village, the wells got a shot of red food dye.
I Joined The Navy
Sgt- I would like to tell you about my Marine days. Yes I joined the navy in Jan 1943-Did all the stuff then thought I was going aboard a ship, but-ha,ha, a big flat bored Marine truck picked us up at the foot of Broadway and took us to Camp Elliott to a barracks of Marine Raiders. Next morning a ole Sgt got us out and said send all that navy clothes home. We did. He then fitted us out with all Marine stuff. Helmet, shoes, and a rising gun. We were now Marines-we were young and took to it all right. Now I think it was great. We were made men. Shipped out to the Solomens Islands. Yes we did what we had to do. NOW I am proud to be a FMF Corpsman. Now we have a Marine legion post here, so I'm still with you all. Semper Fi
Never Thought Ill Of It
Class of 60'. First night I was "decked" twice by SSgt Fuller. It was explained once. That boot camp was intended for us to survive combat. I was punched, strangled, butt stroked in the following months. I survived 5# of cookies from a girlfriend. It was all meant to survive combat. Funny I never thought ill of it. Graduated Platoon Guide and Pfc.
I wish I could have done more for the Corps. missed out of Viet Nam when they looked for volunteers cause I asked the First Shirt about the surfing. Got a chance to help a little bit by relieving the Marines in Khanabad in '03.
Moms, your boy needs to learn tough. Its the Marine Corps way
On The Club Wall
In the 1 Mar newsletter there was mention of GySgt Fritz Werner. As I read the first couple of lines I knew what it was about.
In '68 while in I/3/11, on Hill 65 I heard this story from our 1stSgt., A. Denello (sic). What a character. He had tales about many old Corps SNCO's. I haven't thought about him in years until I read the story last week. he was a story himself as he was going through a divorce at the time, and used to post the letters from his wife's lawyer on the club wall.
The Seabees came to the hill to pipe water to the mess hall, from a elevated water tank. He made arrangements to get a toilet seat from them, every time he went to the "4 holer" he took it with him. To top it off he had his girlfriend send him a tape of nothing but a toilet flushing. It sure brought back memories of the world whenever the 1st Sgt went to the four holer.
That was 38 years ago, remember it like yesterday, Please don't ask me about last month, you know it's a military thing.
Keep up the good work.
G-3-11 65/66 , I-3-11 68/69
Patron Saint Of Artillerymen
I take exception to CPT Alki Hase's comment "Oh yeah and Lawton, OK - Ft. Sill. The saddest place to be stationed at in the Armed Forces, Yuck!" To all artillerymen (of which you claim to be one), Ft. Sill, OK is sacred ground, protected by St. Barbara, the Patron Saint of Artillerymen everywhere. Artillerymen, of all nations, are a band of brothers trained at and bonded by Ft. Sill, Ok. St. Barbara will get you !
Move, Shoot, Communicate
Lee A. Boise (USMC 1954-1984)
Gathering of Eagles
I know this is last minute. but if you can throw something into your next newsletter in regards to March 17, Washington, DC. A Gathering of Eagles. This is a wakeup call to Americans and Veterans. Any of us who can, should be there.
You can view info at www.gatheringofeagles.org Please take a moment to check it out.
V. Chabin, Cpl. USMC Veteran
Proud Then And Proud Now
I very much enjoy your newsletter and the opportunity to respond. Concerning boot camp, some real good stories being posted. In 1964 myself and 4 other boots decide to join the Corps. I believe they called it the Buddy system back then. We opted to go to San Diego MCRD. Hollywood Marines they used to call us. The way I see it there was swamps at PI or sand and sun at San Diego. I don't want to go on and even attempt to sell the story about that being the "Old Corps" Only Chesty and others can claim that privilege. I do remember this One guy had his appendix busted out when a DI put a fist in his stomach. As for myself, well I was a boot and answered OK sir instead of Yes sir. I took a fist to the lip, Darn thing was swollen and even bothered me at the rifle range and attempting to fire the rifle, I learned to listen that day. Hey all worked out well and it made men of all of us, that is the ones that made it. We all survived Viet Nam so that speaks for the training God Bless those that didn't. Later approx. 8 years later, I had a nephew that insisted on following my footsteps, He joined at PI had phone calls to home and a host of other good benefits as I recall. I cant speak for what Boot Camp is like today, but all Mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers can count on your son or daughter coming home a true hard core American. Whatever they do there is for a very good purpose, Brotherhood and learning to count on each other in battle like no other branch of Military service ever! I was proud then and proud now to call myself a United States Marine...God Bless the Corps...there is a reason why they call us 'The Few The Proud"
Corpsman, as we know, are Navy Personnel. I, for one, am a Vietnam War Marine "Doc" serving in country with the 9th Engineer Bn 12-67 to 12-68. I was sent to my next duty station following Nam to Beaufort Naval Hospital working the whole blood acquit ion program through Parris Island Recruit Depot thereby spending my remaining 1.5 years with the Marine population. I must say that I was honored and privileged to have served my Naval tour with the Marines.
I have been reading for some time the comments made about non Marines using "Semper Fi" in greeting and or closing conversations.
Some have said that only Marines who have earned the EGA may use this greeting.
Others have said that family members and spouses may use the term.
Still, others have said that "Docs" are accepted into the Fold and too can use the term.
Is there any way to really know what is right or accepted.
I have never personally been confronted by anyone stating that I may not use the terminology as I do in a most respected way.
Russ Tracy, HM2
USN '66 - '70
TAD USMC RVN 12-67 to 12-68 9 th Engineer Support Bn
Stan's description of February 7, 2007 in the American Courage Newsletter #143 was quite poignant. Stan placed a link to http://www.hmm-364.org/iraq-crash.html in his description of that emotional day. On that link are pictures of Marines KIA on 7 Feb 07. One picture is of Sgt. Travis D. Pfister and his wife, Sgt. Jessica Pfister, also a Marine. I write to share with Stan and my fellow Marines and their families some details of the Memorial Service held for Sgt. Pfister in Pasco, WA on 4 March, 2007.
Sgt. Pfister was from the Tri-Cities (Richland, Kinnewick, and Pasco) on the Columbia River in south central Washington State. On 14 Feb 07 Governor of CA Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered Capitol Flags in Sacramento to fly at half-mast for those Marines of the Purple Foxes KIA on 7 Feb. A Memorial Service was organized for Tri-Cities for 4 March, 2007 to honor Sgt. Pfister. The Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) were invited to attend. WA State PGR Captain Joel "Cowboy" Oestriech (Marine) and regional Ride Captain Mike "Psycho" Lovas (Marine) expected an unusually large turnout, about 60 motorcycles, which would stage at the local truck stop and be escorted to the memorial service by the local police.
Uninvited were 4 members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas, who came to use Sgt. Pfister's Memorial as a platform to spread their message of hate. Fortunately, WA has a newly enacted law which prevents such people from demonstrating within 500 feet of a funeral or memorial service. (I will not dignify the Westboro Baptist Church members present by calling them "protestors." Protestors are people who demonstrate disagreement to government action within their right to Free Speech and Redress of Grievances according to the U.S. Constitution. The Westboro Church Members are not protestors. They are hate mongers. They have no Constitutional right to dishonor Sgt. Pfister and his family with their sick messages of hatred and prejudice.
At 11:30 AM there were 390 PGR motorcycles in the parking lot ready to show their respect and honor Sgt. Pfister. Headed by a local police car with lights flashing, the first 7 motorcycles formed a missing-man formation and proceeded to the TRAC Center. Leading the formation were Cowboy and Psycho, followed by the missing man and relative of Mrs. Sgt. Pfister, "Knuckles." This missing man formation was followed by three Limos bearing the family members. This moving formation of respect and honor for Sgt. Pfister stretched from the Truck Stop to the TRAC center 7 miles away. The formation was greeted at TRAC by a block long formation of American flags on both sides of the street. The flags brushed the shoulders of the PGR as they rode by, bringing moisture to the eyes of many an old grizzled vet. The Family was dropped off in front of the TRAC Building, and the motorcycles of PGR were parked in the field next to the parking lot. Approximately 2000 flag bearing Americans lined the streets between the Hate Group and the Memorial Service, where another 1000 attended the indoor service. As the Memorial Service began, and on cue, the entire body of Americans there to honor Sgt. Pfister and his family turned their backs on the hate group. The hate group soon departed. Their effect was to strengthen the resolve of those Americans there to shield the grieving family of Sgt. Pfister.
It was this old Marines privilege to participate in Sgt. Pfister's Memorial Service and to honor and respect this American Marine and his family. We were also riding in respect of what Stan and his family endure having family in harm's way. God Bless you and your family, Stan. You are thought of with respect and honor.
Paul C. Burton
Sgt. of Marines 1963-1969
MSRD Honor Platoon #352
0351 36 months in country.
Nation President USMCMC
Riding in Memory of RVN KIA'S Ms. Barbara Robbins (CIA), Cpl. Walter Ruben Shortt, LCpl Dennis Richard Andrew, Lt. Diane Hedwig Orlowski, Cpl. James C. Marshall, SSgt Billie O. Kean, L/Cpl. Robert C. Burke (MOH) , SSgt Albert Russell Taylor, Lt. John Thomas Corley, Lt. Richard G. "Bill" Cleveland. NEVER FORGOTTEN!
Really P!ssed Off
I was at the shopping mall yesterday and I saw a young man about 30 years old and he was wearing a Marine Corps cover, so I went over to him and said Semper-Fi to him because I never pass up a fellow Marine without a greeting.
The man turned around and wanted to know why I called him a Semper-Fi I explained to him that when I saw his cover and it had a Marine Corps insignia on it I thought he was a former Marine he replied to me the reason he wears the cover so he wont forget what the Marines are doing to his people in his country and killing them for no reason.
I got really p!ssed off over this remark and replied to him that he should go back to his country and fight for his people and hopefully that a Marine put a bullet in his *ss.
I get so tired of hearing people from other countries knocking the USA but yet they come hear to live and work refuse to speak English and then have the balls to tell me how great their country is.
Prior USMC Vet
This is Tim McMahon HMM-262 65-67 RVN 66-67. I read the letter to you titled "Longest Day" in reference to the HMM-364 (Purple Foxes) CH-46 crash. It's really something how so many are affected by any incident in Iraq. I was with HMM-262 in Nam flying gunner and fixing hydraulic problems on the old CH-46's which were pretty new then. The guys in Iraq are still flying and fixing the same aircraft somewhat modified now but basically the same birds. Our squadron HMM-262 hadn't been to war since Vietnam, but are now fighting the good fight. We as "Old Tigers" have been in touch with our younger "Brothers" in the current squadron for years now. We've set up a support system to send care packages over to them, and one of our guys Larry Zok thought it would be a good idea to have a squadron coin made up and have them presented to the guys in country. The day before the HMM-364 accident the squadron CO had a formation and he and the SgtMaj presented the coin to every squadron member. The Marines cherished the coins and made a slit to form a pocket in their squadron patch to carry the coin for good luck. Since the squadron just arrived in country they were riding on missions with other squadrons to get the lay of the land (fam flights). It was on one of these fam flights with HMM-364 that one of our Crew Chiefs Cpl Tom Saba was flying when the aircraft was shot down, the day after the coins were presented.
We try to send a representative of HMM-262 Vietnam Veterans Association to all funerals where an HMM-262 Marine has passed. Cpl Saba was from Toms River, NJ and I'm from Trenton. Tom grew up in Staten Island and that's where his funeral was. As a representative of HMM-262 VVA I attended Tom's funeral and it was as if I had known him all the time. He was a "Brother" just like the "Brothers" I lost in Nam and I felt the loss that his family and friends felt. I presented Tom's Father with another coin to replace the coin lost in the accident and it was an honor for me to attend the services. Taps to my "Brother".
Looking Over His Shoulder
Sgt Grit, I was working in an office of which I cannot name the company or location. I was looking for some equipment that I needed for a computer and when I opened the cabinet door I found an American flag all crumbled up and it was obvious that it had just been thrown in there, I took it out and said out loud I don't know about the way this flag has be thrown in here like this, to which an Armenian employee who worked at this place said what and I said my comment again, to which he replied "I don't give a s*** about that flag"! I looked at him and said excuse me!, by now he knew I didn't like his comment. I walked over to him lifted up my shirt sleeve and showed him my Marine Corps tattoo and said I DO! It took every nerve I had not to jump down this guys throat for the comment he just made, had I done that I knew it would cost me my job, so I went and got another Marine who was part of the construction crew and had just spent two years in Iraq and had him help me fold that flag and put it away properly. The rest of the time that I was at the place this piece of crap kept on looking over his shoulder at me and just before I left when no customers were around I went up to him and said look mister it is because of people like me that you live, work, and earn AMERICAN money and live the way you do, be careful of what you said especially when it comes to this flag and who you say it too, be especially careful if you happen to say it to a Marine, next time you might not be so lucky! If you don't like this country and our flag then get out go back to where you came from!
USMC Reenlistment Offered
The Marine Corps is reaching out to former Marines in its effort to grow the service to 207,000 Marines by 2011. Part of the effort to grow the force is to contact noncommissioned officers who have separated from the service and offer them the option of coming back in.
The Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway is sending a letter to every Marine who has gotten out in the last four years. It will say that, "You may have already served your nation, but the job's not done". Everything is negotiable: four-year enlistments, two-year enlistments, airborne school, other military schools, and so on, plus NCOs should be able to come back on active duty with their former ranks.
The service will begin recruiting an extra 5,000 per year beginning this year without reducing standards. The Corps will be competing against the other services and especially against the Army, which has been slated to grow by 62,000 over the same period. To meet their goal the Corps will probably put between 300 and 400 more recruiters on the street.
Standards are important to the Marine leadership, Conway said. "We do not want to sacrifice the quality of recruits simply to make the numbers."
The Marine recruit standard is higher than that set by the Defense Department. The DOD standard states that 90% of all recruits must be high school graduates. The Marine standard is 95%, and the service is recruiting 96%. DOD officials said that only about one-third of 18 to 24-year-olds qualify to join the military.
The 27,000-Marine increase will be put against those units experiencing the heaviest "deployment-to-dwell" ratios. The Marine Corps would like to get to the point of seven months deployed, 14 months at home station. The General said aviation units, military police and civil affairs are among the most heavily stressed units.
The Commandant is adamant that the Corps must do something about deployment-to-dwell time. [Source: American Forces Press Service 16 Feb 07]
An old southern country preacher from Georgia had a teenage son named David and it was getting time the boy should give some thought to choosing a profession. Like many young men, the boy didn't really know what he wanted to do, and he didn't seem too concerned about it.
One day, while the boy was away at school, his father decided to try an experiment. He went into the boy's room and placed on his study table four objects: a Bible, a silver dollar, a bottle of whisky, and a Playboy magazine.
I'll just hide behind the door," the old preacher said to himself, "and when he comes home from school this afternoon, I'll see which object he picks up.
If it's the Bible, he's going to be a preacher like me, and what a blessing that would be! If he picks up the dollar, he's going to be a businessman, and that would be OK, But if picks up the bottle, he's going to be a no-good drunkard, and, Lord, what a shame that would be. And worst of all, if he picks up that magazine he's gonna be a skirt-chasin' bum."
The old man waited anxiously, and soon heard his son's footsteps as he entered the house whistling and headed for his room. The boy tossed his books on the bed, and as he turned to leave the room he spotted the objects on the table. With curiosity in his eye, he walked over to inspect them.
Finally, he picked up the Bible and placed it under his arm. He picked up the silver dollar and dropped it into his pocket. He uncorked the bottle and took a big drink while he admired this month's Centerfold. "Lord have mercy," the old preacher disgustedly whispered, "he's gonna be a Marine!"
Submitted By: Randi Graig
New MCL Chapter, Lincoln, Ne
. Hi to everyone at Sgt. Grit! Thanks for the wonderful work you do. I just wanted to let you know about a new Marine Corps League in my town (Lincolnton, NC) that my parents (both Marine's) are part of. If you could please pass the word. Anyone interested in joining can contact my father, Ray Trevino at (704) 735-6936 or send me an email at teresaschick @ hotmail .com and I will pass it along. Thank you again for your wonderful work!
The Making of a Marine
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I have had the great pleasure of reading your newsletter and receiving your magazine for many years now. Over those years there have been many a time when the stories would bring tears to my eyes. You see when I was 17 I joined the U.S. Navy and did my boot camp between my Jr. and Sr. yrs. in H.S., that was in '71. When I graduated in '72 I did my "A" school at the U.S. NAVAL HOSPITAL CORPS SCHOOL at Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, CA. Then in the fall of 1972 I was sent overseas to serve as a Corpsman of the Marines in Quang Tri Province. The ironic part of all that is that during H.S. I had been a "hippie" and had protested against the war in Viet Nam. I was going to go for "Consciences Objector" status, when I decided to enlist in the Navy as a Corpsman so that I could do some good, rather than harm. Little did I know at that time that the Marine Corps didn't have their own "medics". Boy was I in for a surprise when I ended up "In Country". But I will say this, I have never been treated better in my life then when I was there. Those guys bent over backwards to make sure that myself and the radioman were protected every time we went out on patrol.
Being there changed me in many ways, much more than I can go into in a letter here. I was an HM3 by the time I was ready to go home, and certainly was not the same person that had demonstrated against the way a few yrs previously. While I was there we went on one recon patrol where I made note of seeing a NVR Lt. General walk into a bldg., upon debriefing I mentioned this fact and the time and place that it occurred. At that time we reported to a Light Col. of the Marines who was attached to the D.I.A. A few days later he approached me and told me that, that piece of intel that I had brought back turned out to be very important to the powers that be, and that I needn't worry about that Gen. any more. One of our two man teams had been dispatched to reach out and touch him. But this Lt. Col. took quite an interest in me and told me that I was a very bright young man, quick on the uptake and aware of my surroundings at all times. He went on to tell me that he felt that I had all the makings of a good Intelligence Officer, and asked if I would be interested in switching services and becoming an Officer and serving in Intelligence. I was just 19 yrs old at that point in time, 10,000 miles from home and had stars in my eyes. I thought, "Cool, a spook". So I said yes. I was sent back stateside and discharged out of the Navy. I ceased to exist as far as the Military was concerned, "kind of", I was put on a plane and sent to Quantico, VA where I went through the Joint Intelligence School, and then shipped up to PA to attend the War College, when all that was through I still had to go through OCS. When all was said and done I was commissioned as a Captain of the Marines. The ink wasn't even dry on the commission when it was put into a black folder and handed to the Col. (now a full bird) and I was put on permanent assigned duty to the D.I.A. and assigned primarily to Counter Intelligence, S-3, then G-3.
Needless to say the work was nothing like what you saw in the movies. We ended up spending a lot of time with the civilians from the various Washington "Think Tanks" creating scenarios and then coming up with ways to defeat them. I ended up staying with the D.I.A. for almost 2 decades. I still can't talk about a lot of what I did for the agency, but I did get the opportunity to spend some time TAD'd to DARPA, that was fun and interesting. I am proud to say that I had the pleasure of knowing (albeit not very well) Lt. Col. Oliver North, and Major Ed Danes. Both of whom I still highly respect. Col. North is in many ways everything the Marines Stand for. He "fell on his sword" and ended his own career for the good of this country. I ended my career in the Corps in '95, Clinton had decimated the Military and especially the Intelligence Services. At that point I was an O-6 and rumor had it that when the next promotion list came out I would get my star. But for personal reasons and disgust with what was going on in the country at that time regarding the Service; I decided to resign my commission.
That was 12 yrs ago now. And I have found that it is true that "Once a Marine, Always a Marine". You can take the man out of the Corps, but you can not take the Corps out of the man. I still wear my "high and tight", and while I've gained more than a few pounds since then, I still walk straight, head high, and somehow ppl that meet me in my civvies know that I was a Marine. It still shows.
Today I have an adopted son who is in the Corps, he's a Corporal now and recently came home from being stationed in Okinawa for several yrs. My oldest Son is in the Army, he's an E-4 soft stripe, Airborne MP and just got home last fall from a yr in Afghanistan. When he was first deployed to Afghanistan in '05 I wrote a short story about the day I put up my "Mother's Flag". I'd like to include it here for you. (See next weeks AmericanCourage Newsletter) Marines are proud, and yes, even cocky, and deservedly so, but don't think for a minute that we don't shed tears for our fallen brothers and sisters.
J. David Staller, former Col. USMC
Boot Camp Twice
I believe I am among the very few who has been to 'Boot Camp' twice and served in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions.
My first trip was in 1956 for 45 days. I was in Plt. 197 somewhere at the end of PISC in Quonset Huts where it flooded every time it rained and we had to move all our gear to the top bunks. I'm not sure, but I think it was 3rd Bn.
The Senior Drill Instructor was SSGT Downey, Juniors were Sgt Vidor and Sgt Cagler. We all paid for snickering when Sgt Cagler had the duty. He had a speech impediment and whenever he said, "one ninety seven it came out one ninety sstheven". (Of course we repeated, one ninety sstheven.) "Get outhied" and we repeated, get outhied...so instead of marching it was double drill everywhere we went.
My second trip was in 1957 with Plt. 117, 1st Bn. The Senior Drill Instructor was GySgt Hellerman, the Juniors were GySgt Garner, Sgt Bolden and he was the 'thumper' (he received a battlefield commission in Vietnam) and Sgt Fisk.
Other than our one and only trip to the outdoor movie with the 'thumper' and having the "smoking lamp is lit for one cigarette and one cigarette only".
That is what he meant. He called the 'guidon bearer' front and center (me) and gave me the cigarette and ordered me to light it and take one puff and pass it on. By the time it reached 15 recruits or there about the cigarette was red hot ashe.
Another memory that stands out is having to 'duck waddle' to the buses after graduation with our seabags on our heads. I believe someone was a split second off on the manual of arms at final parade.
Some day maybe I will my pack my 30 years service into a book. Anyone remember those Marine Drill Instructors?
Jason James E. Leverette
Andrew F. Estenes, Jr., PFC
According to the book "The Spearhead, The World War II History of the 5th Marine Division, Conner, Infantry Journal Press, which was my father's, and who served with the 28th Marine Regiment on Iwo Jima:
There is an Andrew F. Estenes, Jr., PFC, listed as serving with the 26th Marine Regiment, and which was assigned to the 5th Marine Division. He is also listed as having been wounded in action although this listing is shown as Andrew E. Estenes, PFC. There appears to be a typographical error on one of these entries since there is no one else listed with this name.
According to the same book, the 26th Marines did not appear to be assigned to the Suribachi assault. Hope this helps clear it up some.
former SSGT USMC
I have just starting to get your letters a few weeks ago, I enjoy reading it very much and it brings back a lot of memories. One thing that has bothered me is about Marine Reserves. I joined reserves when I was in high school after I joined I heard from regular Marines that we were not a Marine. On Aug. 5th 1950 are unit was activated for the Korean War. I went to Boot Camp in San Diego platoon 1-89, then went to Tent Camp 2 at Camp Pendleton for combat training. next I went to Korea, was with the 1st Marines as a field telephone linemen with 4.2 Morter Co at the Punch Bowl from the spring of 51 till the spring of 52. with this even though all my records have me as a USMCR I say I am an inactive MARINE and proud of it. Every thing around our house and car shows it.
It Can Grow
I share this story in the hope that it inspires other Marines to see what they can organize. They will be surprised how it can grow!
Six years ago through word of mouth about a dozen Marines got together for lunch here in Sarasota, Florida for The Birthday. It was quite a simple affair, just a toast, some cake, and sing The Hymn I started a roster and mailing list, and the next year with the list and continued word of mouth we had about 38. The following year we had grown to 60, to include a General, a Corpsman, and a Woman Marine. The following year we had grown to 78 and had to get a private room in the restaurant. That year we also had the distinct privilege of having as our Guest of Honor a Congressional Medal of Honor awardee. A local resident, Hector Cafferata who was awarded the MOH for his actions at the Chosin Reservoir on "Fox Hill" with Fox 2/7 attended. This past year we arranged a notice in the local paper and had grown to over 100. The youngest Marine was 26 years old (an active duty Marine with two tours in "the sandbox" on recruiting duty here in the area) and the oldest was 88 years old. Our Guest(s) of Honor were WWII Marines, and we had 28 Marine Veterans of almost all the Pacific Island battles, including 10 Iwo Jima survivors! Check the photos attached. What an experience! What an honor to be in the presence of those Marines!
Try it for this year's Birthday. Call the Marines you know in your community. Have them call the Marines they know. You have a lot of Marines in your community, and you have WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, and Iraq Marine Veterans too. Our format is no speeches. It's just chow , swapping lies, some toasts, a cake ceremony, and sing The Hymn.
2nd Lt., 1st Lt., Capt.
0302 RVN 68-69
Best Of Times
I graduated from boot camp at Parris Island in late summer of 1958 just a few years after the McKeon incident. Word got around the base that there was another "McKeon" on-board. One day I received a visit from someone who said he was Sergeant McKeon (but was now demoted and I believe when I had an encounter with him he was either a private or PFC and as I faintly remember, someone said he was working in the PX).
After a bit of interrogation and a lashing that I was a "disgrace" to the "McKeon" name, he left. At the time this visit was pretty significant as everyone in my platoon knew of Sergeant McKeon and the drowning of the six Marines. Matter of fact, it was a pretty convenient threat for the DI's to use to threaten to march us into the swamps.
Fifty years later that now seems like the best of times.
Donald (Jerry) McKeon
Cost Me A Case Of Beer
Sgt. Gonzales, I was at MCRD about the time you were, but I think in the series just in front of 230. My platoon was 227. I enlisted at the very end of 1963, but didn't get to boot camp until early 1964. I do remember the airport next to our huts...man do I remember that airport and wishing I could have been on one of those planes out of there.
I only got hit twice, both times by Sgt. Timiteo Brown. I was placed in charge of the outside detail. Every morning after PT we policed the platoon area. About the second or third morning things weren't to his liking. He called me over to him, asked if I was in charge of this detail, the one that had screwed up. I said, "Sir, yes sir." At which he punched me in the gut. Not hard enough to bend me over...but hard.
The second time was about a week before graduation. He walked up to me, grinning, and asked, "Rasmusses (he never did pronounce my name correctly), have I ever hit you?" I answered, of course, "Yes sir!". With that he hit me in the gut, and grinned again. So did I.
I counted that as a love tap. I don't think there is a man anywhere, other than my step-father, that I have ever respected more.
I actually cost him a case of beer while in boot camp. We were at Camp Matthews, the day before qualification, and I had just finished putting 10 of 10 into the bulls eye from the prone position. When I got up I noticed Sgt. Brown and Sgt. Brewster behind me.
The next day, during qualification, I missed the bulls eye on the last shot of my 10 from the prone position. From behind I heard, "D*mn it, Rasmusses, windage! You just cost me a case of beer." Turns out he and Brewster had bet, Brewster saying I wouldn't repeat the firing of the day before.
In writing this I just remembered another Sgt. Brown incident at Matthews. We were in our tent, and one of the guys was imitating Sgt. Brown, Latino accent and all. Just guess who was standing in the tent doorway while this was going on. That was funny...well, not for the poor fool who got caught, but for the rest of us.
The thing to know, was that Sgt. Brown didn't have to be at Camp Matthews for the entire time we were there. But he stayed to be with his boys for qualification during his off time.
We would have followed that man to h&ll and back. Respect.
SSgt Stirling Rasmussen, USMCR
The Reunion is for all PRESENT and FORMER U.S. Navy CORPSMEN and anyone who attended NAVAL HOSPITAL CORPS SCHOOL. It will be helo NOVEMBER 5 thru 7, 2007 in GATLINBURG, TENNESSEE. Contact person is James D. Bishop, Secretary for Corpsmen United - USN at (904) 321-0410 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your newsletter. I, too, am a former "FMF" Corpsman who served in Vietnam (66-67)
James D. Bishop
Sand Fleas Do Bite In The Winter
I like the older movies (the D.I. with Jack Webb, Wake Island, etc.) Of course. But I'd say from the more recent one's, it's a tie between Heartbreak Ridge, & Fire Base Gloria (made for T.V. movie?, but it has R. Lee Ermey in it, as a Marine).
I was in Plt 3000, at P.I., 11/5/73 -2/4/74, D.I.'s: SSgt Smith (senior), Sgt Henshaw, Sgt Lowe, & Sgt Martin.
And yes, the sand fleas do bite in the winter (reach up & scratch them, only when the D.I.'s had to)
We had some memorable times during boot camp, fire drills (just for practice), someone forgot to flush the toilet (doing a fire drill after a D.I. pulled what wasn't flushed/feces, & placed it by the door, after we were sent outside, & stomped it all over the barracks coming back in/rag, & used a flip flop as a squeegee), send us out of the barracks, & the D.I.'s would trash the place (rifle range), practicing eating on our foot lockers, at the end of our racks (1-2-3,etc., someone placed their elbows on the table in the chow hall), quick meals at the chow hall (let's go, you're done), smoking lamp (with a puff of smoke, & put them out, or they'd be cut down close to nothing, & then we could smoke what was left), get your footlockers, then o.k. put the back, & I did my share of bends, & thrusts (especially with my sister's S.W.A.K. on her envelopes).
Some of us got bounced around also, I was a house mouse, I got mine in the house, in the early A.M. prior to leaving for Elloit's beach.
After boot, I was in 3rd MAQ, VMA(AW)242 (Delta Tango/lightning bolt on the tail, & bats on the fuselage), MOS: 6053 /A6A Hydraulic/Pneumatics. I got out in 11/4/77, sometimes I'm sorry I did !
I got to return there (P.I.) when my son graduated in 11/95, what a flashback! He served with the 3/2, at Camp Lejeune, N.C., 0311, & carried a SAW(95-98). Perhaps my grandkids will also make the trip.
Some of the best times in my life were spent in the Corps, Semper Fi, Do or Die !
God Bless the Hero's (old, & new) !
Probably Needed One
There has been a lot of talk of being struck, or "thumped", or getting an "attitude adjustment" during Boot Camp. When I went through MCRD, our DIs told us that it was against he UCMJ to strike a recruit. I can also remember that I personally, never witnessed it first hand. Does that mean it didn't go on, I can't say. What I can say, is that when I went through, I was expecting to get thumped on at least once in a while, just to get my head out of the clouds. I also made the mistake of watching the movie "Full Metal Jacket" about two weeks before I was standing on the yellow footprints. I say that it was a mistake because, I watched it with my mother sitting in the room. I loved the movie, and naturally she freaked out. I guess that is why I was expecting to get hit every once in a while, it was no big deal for me. Besides being a 200 pounder that stood over 6' tall, from Detroit, it was a long time since I got an azz whoopin', and I probably needed one. Because the Corps was now Politically Correct, and hitting was strictly forbidden, I was disappointed after I earned the title Marine that I never got hit. The way I look at it, we were then, and are now training to be Marines, the worlds deadliest fighting force. Beat my azz now, if that's what it takes to bring me home from a war later. Just because I didn't get hit, doesn't mean our DIs didn't have there own way of instilling discipline. Like I mentioned I was over 6' tall, all of my DIs were about 5'9" or shorter. If you do the math, the brim of their DI Smokey cover should be just about to my mid-nose level. Have you ever been pecked (like a bird) on the nose? It didn't really hurt, it was more funny but I didn't dare laugh. It did make your eyes tear up, but if that happened, you can bet that you would be doing mountain climbers until the DI was tired. I can recall one more form of discipline that I witnessed. We were practicing for Final Drill, you would figure that at that point we should have had our s#@t together. Nope! Our Senior DI was giving the commands, and for what ever reason, we just couldn't get it right. We were halted on the parade deck, and just standing there in the 100 degree heat. That's when my SDI went off, murmuring "You Mother F@#%ers You Mother F@#%ers You Mother F@#% ers You Mother F@#%ers". All the time he's saying this, he is also slamming the tip of his NCO Sword on the deck. To this day I don't know what this one kid said or did, but the SDI turned to him stuck the tip of the blade to this recruit's neck. From where I was standing, I could see that it was making an indent, and I thought he was a goner. Just then out SDI said "You Mother F@#%ers" again and pitched his NCO sword at an innocent passing bunny rabbit. After that, we got the rest of drills and everything else squared away the first time. No rabbits were harmed in the aforementioned sequences.
Cpl R Palombit
'88 -'92 Desert Storm
Sir, Pvt. Pogue Sir
I am a Marine who has gone through Boot Camp like so many others and lived to tell about it. I understand the "Marine Mom's" concern over her son and would like to tell her that the Marine Corps has a proven record of putting young men through the same 13 weeks of intense training and weeding out the men who cannot take the everyday "in your face" pressure and orders. In July of 1955 at San Diego, I went through those 13 weeks of Boot Camp and lived to tell about it. The first time I had personal contact with our drill instructor was the first day. We were at attention and Sgt. Miller was in my face and asking my name. " Sir, Pvt. Pogue sir". Sgt Miller, with his steel black eyes glaring in my face replied, Pogue.."did you say Pogue". Sir Yes sir I replied. Then he came up to me, nose to nose and asked me "are you a Pogue?". this was like the Abbott and Costello routine "Who's on First". No mater how I answered his question, I was in trouble..Sgt Miller used me as an example to prove to the other recruits, that even if your name is Pogue, you can be the best at anything you do." Pvt. Pogue to the Duty Hut" and off I ran.."Sir, Pvt. Pogue Sir." Miller, standing in front of me says, "Pogue I understand that you can draw?". "Sir, yes Sir" I shouted. Sgt Miller takes out this small picture of the field inspection and says, " Draw this as large as you can on this piece of white cardstock now". "Sir, yes sir" I shouted. "Over by those steel lockers and get out of my face, now". There I was in the duty hut with all these DI's and Sgt Miller orders the right guide to get a detail together and police the Ice Plant around the quonset huts. The right guide gave the orders to a group of recruits and one decided he didn't have to take orders from the right guide. In about 3 seconds the recruit was in the duty hut with 3 DI's and promptly was flying over my head and up against the metal lockers. I'm trying to draw this field inspection, with this recruit coming down right next to me as my pencil breaks in three pieces. Sgt. Miller was slapping the recruit on both sides of his face, over and over again, shouting "you will obey all orders regardless of who is giving them to you. do you understand?". and the recruit shouted back "Sir, yes Sir." We won the field inspection and our Honor Platoon 145 graduated those great Marines to go on to better things in the Corps or in private life. It takes a better man to take an order than give it.
Sgt G.W. Pogue 1235114. Semper Fi.
Sgt Grit On 2 July 1959 I stood on the yellow footprints of MCRD San Diego.
In 1971, I was at Marine Air Control Squadron - 4, First Marine Air Wing (Fwd), Monkey Mountain, DaNang, South Vietnam. "Back In The World" (Lancaster CA) the Antelope Valley GI Supporters was sending Care Packages to a bunch of us in 'Nam. I got a lot of them.......maybe because my Big Sis' was part of the AVGIS folks.
In one of my Care Packages was a homemade greeting card. This greeting card was made by 10 year old Avery as part of a Camp Fire Girls project. On green construction paper cut like a 4 leaf clover was Avery's name and address. Yep, you guessed it......Avery became my pen-pal !
Upon return to "The Land Of the Big PX / The World / The U. S. of A." I delivered a First Marine Air Wing plaque to the folks at the AVGIS's. My wife, son, and daughter went with me and we had dinner with Avery and her family in Lancaster, CA.
After din-din I gave Avery a Vietnamese doll and a display case and thanked her for being "so special" during a very "trying time" in my life. It was a very wonderful "coming home" event. It was 1971.... and my orders took me to MCAS Cherry Point NC. Several duty stations later, I retired out of my Marine Corps at Camp Pendleton CA. It was 1979. Somewhere along the way, I lost all contact with Avery.
Almost all my Marine Corps time was in Aviation Electronics... MOS 6611, 6212, and finally 5979. I continued my Avionics career throughout my "civilian (?) career". In 2006 I worked on a short term, 4 month consulting job at the airport in Mojave CA, about 25 miles north of Lancaster CA.
One Saturday after work, I tried to contact Avery "one more time" at her mother's 35 year old phone number. I left a message on the recorder. About a hour later, I got a return call that went something like this:
Lady's voice: " Is this Jerry Miller ?"
Lady's voice: " Are you a retired Marine ?"
Lady's voice: " Were you in Vietnam about 1971 ?"
Lady's voice: ( She started crying )
Me: ( I got tears in my eyes, too !)
Yes it was Avery. We talked for about an hour.....a priceless time of "remembering".
In addition to being an Avionics Liaison Engineer, I have been a licensed Evangelist for many years and I was scheduled to preach the next morning's message at our new church in California City CA. My message was already prepared......"The Military Man, Then and Now". (II Kings 5: 1-14) about Naaman, Captain of the Host (the Biblical name for Commanding Officer).
Avery, her husband Mike, and daughter, were in attendance that Sunday morning. In the middle of my sermon, I had the distinct honor of introducing Avery (Brodish) Toker and her family to the congregation. Yes....more tears of joy and yes......Avery brought the Vietnamese doll with her.
GySgt Gerald R. "Jerry" Miller 1864806
U S Marine Corps (1959-79) Retired
"Once A Marine, Always A Marine"
They Didn't Have Old Smokey
Dear Sgt Grit...Semper Fi!
I had to chuckle at A.W. Hademan's (Plt 2025 Danang 69-70) notes on the unending "competition between PI and San Diego. After we had "settled in" with our regular "parents"...Plt Cmdr and 2 DI's, we had some interesting late evening "closure" sessions. These were informal (well, sort of) lectures, Q & A's, foot/leg injury inspections (nobody in their right mind admitted to these but our "parents" diligently checked for them), and mail passed out...that is another story I'm sure you've heard gazillions of anecdotes on...another PROUD tradition.
During one of these in our squad hut, our Plt Cmdr, SSgt G.C. Payne brought up PI in an answer from a fellow recruit. He mentioned the competition and all the scuttlebutt we'd be subjected to. Yes, the location with all the beaches and girls in California was mentioned. He also brought up ITR and that Rattlesnake Canyon at Camp Pendleton was named for its "unique biological diversity". Then he smiled and looked at all of us, pausing for a moment.
"Of course, the reason we feel the recruits at MCRD San Diego are a click up the scale is that we are EFFICIENT! Because of our location, we have saved MILLIONS of dollars in fuel and logistical supply during WW II, Korea, and the current Vietnam engagement. The Marine Corps and the U.S. Treasury LOVE MCRD San Diego and Camp Pendleton. So if any Marines from "flat land" bug you recruits...and future Marines...just stand tall and let them know how much in tax dollars you have saved the country. Oh, yes, and remind them they didn't have Old Smokey. You'll have THAT pleasant experience soon."
With that it was lights out in the hut, a squad scream of "Good Night Sir!", and smiles on the faces of us from Nevada, Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah thinking about the "city" kids marching through that Rattlesnake Canyon SSgt Payne had alluded to.
Of course we ended up with close friends from East of the Mississippi from Brooklyn, Southies from Boston, Philly, the Ohio River country, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and St. Louis...all via P.I. And there was always that lively comparison.
P.L. Boddy Jr. Plt 1013, 1st Bn. "Summer of Love" '67, Danang 69-70
...and may God bless and keep you SSgt G.C. Payne aka "Panama" with your Havatampa Jewel cigars wherever you may be...
Oh, you were correct about Old Smokey, too, SIR!
Dear Sgt Grit
The memories we have of Boot Camp are forever etched in the personality of a MARINE. One memory lead me to realize the value of a pair of boots owned by ADI SSgt. B.E. VanDusen, Third Battalion - Platoon 375, Parris Island 1968.
Two weeks into Boot Camp I was given the honor of being named House Mouse. I don't know how or why I was chosen. I was told by a friend of the families who just happen to be a Captain in the Corps, that when you go to Boot Camp do what your told, do not talk unless talked to, keep yourself squared away and it will be a great experience. Looking back, I believe he was meeting his quota for enlisting recruits. As it turned out SSgt VanDusen attended the same college I had and that's how he came into my life.
He had been in the United States Air Force for some time before becoming a Marine. What was the Air Forces lose was the MARINES CORPS gain. He had a pair of boots that had been spit shined so many times that they resembled patent leather. These boots had to be at least 10 years old but had the look of a pair of baby shoes that had been bronzed and ready for display on the living room mantel. He was very proud of those boots and had let me and the other house mouse know on more than one occasion NOT to damage them.
On the return from the rifle range to main side, it was our responsibility to pack all the Drill Instructors personal belongings. We got pushed for time so I put the boots in a box along with some books. Will the books got tossed around from the move and one of the heavier books put a dent and scruff mark on the toe of one of the boots. Later I would learn the valuable lesson of 'do not damage the Boots' of the Drill Instructor.
Once he started unpacking the boxes he found the Boot, I thought I had heard most the Drill Instructors vocabulary by then, but it was nothing compared to what I was about to hear. I was told to report to the Drill Instructors House, there I received a one on one training session that stayed with me to this day on how to following and obeying orders.
I left Parris Island with the most profound respect for that MARINE, the job he had excepted as Drill Instructor and Honorably completed in the highest MARINE CORPS tradition.
Thank You SSgt B.E. VanDusen
Cpl. Garry Haire
Young Lance Corporal
I have enclosed a picture of myself when I was at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba with 2d Combat Engineer Battalion, 2d Marine Divis