Anyone wanting to 'watch' a Parris Island Sand Flea incident check out "The D.I." with Jack Webb.
This 1957 movie about Parris Island has several good scenes that depict Marine Recruit Training during the 1950s and some that are down right 'corny' ('Just Whistle...").
One has to keep in mind when this movie was filmed. The entire Sand Flea scene is a riot!
I also used this movie as an aid to remember my eleven General Orders. As one recruit yelled them out, I wrote them down. Since my memory isn't quite as good as it once was, I had to do this so I could recall them, just in case.
"The D.I." is in my VCR right now and I plan to enjoy my lunch watching this movie and recalling my days at 'The Island'. Semper Fi,
Send me stories of jokes, pranks, practical jokes while on active duty.
by Bob Boardman
"The men who followed Him were unique in their generation. They turned the world upside down because their hearts had been turned right side up. The world has never been the same."
â€” Billy Graham
After an accelerated wartime seven week Marine Boot Camp in early 1943, hundreds of us in our new green uniforms and our equipment packed in khaki-colored sea-bags were sent by ten- wheel trucks to Camp Elliott on the outskirts of San Diego for infantry training. Camp Pendleton had not opened yet.
In other chapters I've told how after initial infantry training, we were "volunteered" alphabetically for tank school. I sometimes wonder what would have happened to me if my last name was Zaring!
As new prospective tankers we were sent off to Jaques Farm, an old fruit orchard, for training. Never mind that some of us were well over six feet and could hardly squeeze into the 15-ton light tanks of that day.....
As I Was Growing Up
As a Former "Woman Marine" from the early 1970's and a Marine Mom, I look at the approaching Memorial Day, as I do EVERY year, with a Grateful heart for all the men and women that have given the "ultimate sacrifice" for our country! My father instilled in me patriotism for America as I was growing up.
My father's ashes are at the Houston VA Cemetery. He served in England as a bomber mechanic during WWII in the Army Air Corps from '41-'45 and was Darn Proud of his country and the Freedoms 7 Opportunities it has for its people! He was a 1st generation American born son of two Italian immigrants that came to this country in 1902 with just a few dollars in their pockets and the "American Dream" in their heads. My grandfather worked on the NY Central Railroad for 51 years and my grandmother worked in a vegetable canning factory with my dad on her knee as she worked long hours. They paid for and built 2 homes next to each other in a tiny town nestled in Western NY where they lived until they died in the early 1970's. When my grandmother returned to Italy in 1968 to visit her family after all of 66 yrs later, her family marveled at how she spoke English the whole time she spent with them. She told them "I am an American now and I speak and read & write English! I found out later that my 1st grade elementary school teacher taught her how to write and read English. She only got as far as the 2nd grade level but was proud of being able to read and write! Something that was NOT a priority to teach to females in Italy back when she was growing up there.
My grandfather fought in WWI and was gone for 3 years in Europe. He returned and worked hard and instilled in my father as he was growing up to be Grateful for the Freedoms and Opportunities America has for us. And be grateful for the Sacrifices of the men and women before us for protecting our great country and its freedoms!
I passed along to my son, who served as a U S Marine from May 2001-May 2006, the same principles. I will never forget 9-11 when he had just flown to California the night before. He was home on leave for 10 days and we talked him into going back a day early for good measure (Sometimes the airlines doesn't get you back in time to report back from your leave). He was in a hotel room outside of Camp Pendleton and was "wound up" watching the twin towers incident on TV and called me at work. He said that he knew he was going to make someone pay for what had happened and was "motivated"!
In Nov 2004, he was in the first group of Marines to go into the Battle of Fallujah. He was in Iraq from Sep 04 - Mar 05. It WAS the MOST INTENSE 7 mos of all my life! I hardly ever slept at night! BUT, I was so proud of him!
I KNEW that my Grandfather, and Father were WATCHING OVER HIM from the HEAVENS to help him come HOME SAFE!
I KNOW that prayer gets a Marine Mom through the trial of waiting for their son or daughter to come home from war! I will NEVER forget his homecoming! I was as Joyful that day as the day I delivered him into this world! It truly was special! I cried with so much happiness to be able to hug him and see that he was safe. He returned with a Purple Heart from wounds he received in the Battle of Hit. There is NOTHING LIKE THE DR's that are stationed in IRAQ! There ARE AMERICA'S FINEST DR'S! He was sewn up and back in battle in a day or so!
I am so GRATEFUL for the sacrifices of the men & women who are currently defending our freedoms at home & abroad! I pray that their efforts are NOT in vain! I pray that the leadership of this great country of ours "gets it together" and finishes the JOB they started!
This DOESN'T NEED to be a political war! I pray that the "Great Comforter" be with all the families to get through their trials of waiting for their loved ones to come home safe!
GOD BLESS AMERICA and all it STANDS FOR!
J E Denton
Former Sgt, USMC
( More than just a day off work )
M is for the memory we have of those who put their lives on the line to give us the freedom and privilege of living in this blessed nation...
E is for the enduring gratitude we have for the sacrifices these men and women make for those who stayed at home...
M is for the merit we recognize in those who serve our nation when such service comes at such a high price...
O is for the obedience we honor when those in uniform follow orders that may, and many times do, cost them their lives...
R is for the reverence we give to the thoughts we have on this day, or any day, when we remember those who give so much...
I is for the integrity we salute when those in uniform stand up for all of us even when some of us do not stand up for them...
A is for the allegiance we have to the nation that these brave warriors fight and die for...
L is for the love that goes with those who are in harms way, and who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for you and me...
Offered respectfully by,
W. Larry Chapman, Jr.
Capt. USMC - Vietnam Era
4th Annual GriTogether 2007
If you missed it this year, check out the pictures...
A Giant Died Today
(A Remembrance of Marine Fred Hanson)
By: Michael A. Crane
The late Stephen Ambrose wrote in his best selling history of the 101st Airborne, Band of Brothers:
AI was ten years old when the war ended. I thought the returning veterans were giants who had saved the world from barbarism. I still think so. I remain a hero worshiper.
Ambrose and I are the same age and about this verdict I agree with him entirely.
When I was a 17 year old Marine recruit, it was men like Fred Hanson who were the models for our emulation. In fact, Iwo and Tarawa Marines were the only men my Drill Instructor spoke about with a respect approaching awe. Himself a Navy Cross winner from Korea, my DI didn't think much of the human race to begin with and even less of recruits who he regarded as bearing no human attributes whatsoever. Make no mistake, these men of Iwo Jima were held in a reverence that's difficult to comprehend for anyone who hasn't experienced Marine Corps boot camp. Suffice it to say that in the pantheon of Marine gods those courageous veterans of Iwo Jima have an exalted place shared only with Tarawa Marines. Not that other Marine warriors were any less heroic but just that it was Iwo Jima that defined everything that the Marines had stood for since its founding in 1775. It's in the diamond hard simplicity of the Marine Corps Motto, Semper Fidelis, Always Faithful: to God, Country and Corps. Semper Fi motivated the selfless courage of the Iwo Marines that led Admiral Chester Nimitz to praise them in language that graces the Marine Memorial in Washington D.C., Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue.
In specific context, Fred was in the third assault wave of the first day of the invasion. That means that the enemy's guns hadn't been knocked out yet. Every square foot of the beach was in the Japanese gun registry. If you've never watched the old Movietone News reels of that event you have no idea how terrifying that experience had to be for the 20,000, mostly teenagers, who hit the beach on February 19, 1945 against some of the fiercest troops in the Japanese inventory. The absolute ferocity of battle is attested to by the statistics: during the 33 day contest 7,000 Marines were killed and another 19,000 wounded including 25 surgeons and 827 Corpsmen. Plus, 21,000 Japanese died there. One young Marine NCO wrote later: Life was never regular again. We were changed from the day we put our feet in that sand.
After 60 some years Fred is finally back with the buddies he left behind in the black volcanic ash. He remembered them often as we chatted. Near the end his mind was often fogged by the ravages of age and illness but he never lost the clarity of his memories of those Marines who fell on that stinking sulphuric island. As frail as he became, in my mind, Fred always bore the unmistakable stamp of Iwo Marine. Mystical? Perhaps. But a powerful emotion none the less. It's the reverence for their heroes that makes Marines positively unique and, more importantly, it's this reverence, not some corporate bottom line, that motivates them do the tough, deadly work that they are singularly qualified to do.
Interestingly, Fred often said that as bad as Iwo was, he was more frightened at the earlier battle of Saipan. I'm not sure I believed him. He did tell me that he never felt lonelier in his life than he had on Iwo Jima. Then he laughed and said, Surrounded by 50,000 Marines and shot at by 20,000 Japanese and I was lonely, how do you figure that? But I noticed that he talked more freely about Saipan even the horrific Japanese banzai charges that scared the h&ll out of the toughest veterans of the Pacific theater. So I suspect there was silent torrent of terror that ran through his unspoken thoughts about Iwo Jima that he couldn't or wouldn't express and I didn't probe. Plus, he had been wounded on Tinian and that necessarily makes a man more thoughtful and cautious. Men of Fred's generation, particularly Marines, didn't whine. B!tch all you want, that's OK, but absolutely no sniveling. It was unmanly, unseemly and un-American. You can't understand the gallantry of the American fighting man Marine, Sailor, Soldier, Airman unless you grasp that critical concept.
Iwo gave us the most defining icon of the war, the photograph of the American flag raising on Mt. Suribachi which took place on February 23rd. Fred said the men in his company didn't even know the flag had been raised mainly because they were busy trying not to get erased by heavy Japanese gun fire from the opposite end of the island.
Iwo Jima was also the defining event for every Marine, including Fred, who was able to walk off that rock. For those who had to remain behind, a stone marker at the cemetery said When you go home tell them for us and say for your tomorrow we gave our today. Poignantly, the Marine Corps Hymn gives us this stanza:
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on heaven's scenes
They'll find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.
I'm certain that Fred Hanson is at that Heavenly guard post along with the other brave men of the Corps who fought at Iwo Jima particularly those valiant warriors of 4th Division, 23rd Marines, Fred's Marine family.
Our nation and community are diminished by the loss of a valiant friend but the Marine Corps pantheon has added another star to its crown. I was blessed to have known him and proud to have him call me friend.
Until we pull liberty together in Paradise, Gung Ho, Good and Faithful Friend. You will be sorely missed.
Michael A. Crane is a California attorney and Marine masquerading as a civilian.
The Bikini in Chu Lai
Mr. Jack Redmond of Les Brown and his "Band of Renown". Wow memories flood back. I was at the 1967 Bob Hope show in Chu Lai. Bob and Miss World, (a beautiful young lady from South America I recall), and the redoubtable Barbara McNair. Before the concert started a group of Marines, in the combat gear, straight from the bush, dirty and maybe a little tired because they were lugging their stuff, all were marched down to the front and sat on the ground in front of the stage.
The show commenced, Bob saying that we were so close to the Cong that he could smell their rice cooking, the same jokes from WWII and Korea, but now for a new age audience. We still laughed. Miss World showed some skin, but not enough as far as I was concerned. Some songs, the band played, it was fine.
Then Barbara McNair came out and started singing. In the middle of her song the grunts got up and began to move out. So Barbara stopped singing and said, "Wait a minute fellows, my act gets better." She then took her clothes off and sang in a bikini. We all cheered and the grunts sat back down. Don't know if that was staged or not, but it was great stuff. Ms McNair died not to long ago and I will never forget her.
Nor will I ever forget you Mr. Redmond or Bob Hope or any of the others who cared enough to take our minds off war for a while. Thanks for the memories.
Steve Eslin, Pvt to 1st Lt
RVN Oct 1966 to Jan 1969 (Couldn't get enough I guess)
Hi Sgt. Grit,
My name is Gianni Marasco
I was stationed in Baghdad about eight months ago, when one of my Sgt. friends played a major prank on me.
I was lying on my cot, when my friend runs in screaming, "A bomb, a bomb is coming down from the sky!" I run outside of my tent and looked up. After scanning the sky for a moment I notice an object black, and round with a parachute slowly coming down from the sky. I immediately begin to panic. All I could think of was, "What are they going to tell my family?!"
After 13 minutes of waiting for immanent death, the "bomb comes down and I realize that the "bomb" is a black basket with a piece of paper saying, "Gotcha."
Sgt. Gianni Marasco
Marines And The Yankees
I don't know if you follow baseball - but here some interesting information on a real American hero.
Recently, Henry A. Bauer ( Hank ) a decorated Marine WW II veteran passed away.
He served in the PTO and later on would help the New York Yankees go onto win seven world series - he was 84.
Marine Bauer served three years in the pacific, was stricken with malaria in New Georgia, took shrapnel wound(s) on Guam, and then took a bullet through the left thigh on Okinawa.
He earned two bronze stars and two purple hearts.
Marine Bauer concluded the war with a lasting sense of his bitterness towards the Japanese.
Sometime after the war - when the team went to Japan - Marine Bauer refused to participate in a wreath - laying ceremony held at Hiroshima.
In the years that followed he wrote : The one thing the Marines and the Yankees have in common - its called "pride".
Semper Fi Marine
Rest In Peace
Operation Little Switch
I think Freedom Village as I knew it was later changed to 'OPERATION LITTLE SWITCH however, I stand to be corrected. I was a Cpl. at that time and was a member of the 1st. Marine Div. Inspector's office. Col. Nelson, who later took over one of the Regiment was the officer in charge of the area where the first sick and wounded were returned from the North Korea command. Most of them were returned by helicopter to the tent hospital there in the compound where they were examined and given whatever treatment necessary before being processed to Japan or Germany for further treatment.
I still have the arm band R A M P ( Repatriated American Military Personnel ) Home made from Marine Green Uniform material, perhaps by some of the native South Korean women.
Just wondering if some other Marine remembers that occasion in August 1953.
Would love to here from anyone.
Sgt. James M. Carter (Honor Platoon 60 Parris Island 1950)
Moments In This Marine's Life
Day I grew up more than any other;
The first Day of Boot Camp, MCRD San Diego.
Second day I grew up more than any other;
The first time I heard shots fired in anger, and I realized they were meant for me.
My son's graduation from MCRD San Diego when I was asked to stand and be honored as a Marine no longer on active duty.
Day most grateful to the one who listens to my prayers;
Last week at 29 Palms, when my son stepped off the bus returning from his tour in Iraq. He followed my instructions to NOT bring home any Purple Hearts.
Taking the Blue Star off my car and giving it to my son's Gunny for bringing him home safely. Yes, we all know that the Gunnys run the Corps, don't tell the Commandant.
Olsa, M. A. Sergeant of Marines,
Released from active duty, August, 1969.
Proud Father of Olsa, J. W. Lance Corporal of Marines, TOW Platoon, 1st Tanks.
Being the gourmet chef that I am I feel compelled to send you my favorite meal that I fixed in the Bush back in 1968 in the Nam. Take one 7.62 Ammo Box (empty) Add cans of Beans and Franks, and any other meat dish you can get into Ammo box.
Break up small pieces of C-4 lite them (carefully) stir till hot. Eat with pound cake wash down with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. Burp,
Duke Humphrey Corporal Of The Marines 1968-69
My wife and I just spent 10 days in Hawaii in celebration of our 19th anniversary. We are a blended family and took our grown children with us since they didn't get to go on our honeymoon to Hawaii years ago. My stepson was there, he had followed in my footsteps becoming a Marine also. We stayed at my Marine Corps brothers house on Oahu. We had both served with C co. 1st Tanks in Vietnam and had RR in Hawaii together. Thirty-nine years later and we are still tight, that is the Marine Corps way. We talked about getting the Eagle, Globe and Anchor tattoo but just didn't have the time. We weren't concerned about the orders of none past the sleeves. When my wife and I were boarding our plane for the flight home we saw a young couple with tattoos. The young lady had some tastefully done that were truly beautiful and the young man had brilliantly exotic tattoos on both forearms. In small letters lost in the beautiful artwork were the letters USMC. I said" Where are you stationed Marine?" He said he was going on leave before going to training as a weapons instructor and had just left 2/3. My wife asked how I knew he was a Marine. He was squared away in civvies, had a high and tight, and carried himself like a Marine but she couldn't believe he was a Marine with all the tattoos. I said he has USMC inside the design and asked him how he got those tattoos with the new directive. He had heard it was coming and got them done before it was issued so they were grandfathered in. He still looked like a Marine.
Later, on the plane he was several isles back and when the stewardess came by I told her I would pay for whatever the young Marine and his wife ordered since we were brothers. She said there was no need for me to buy him anything because servicemen are her heroes especially Marines and she would take care of him. Then she asked how we could be brothers. I'm silver haired and overweight and we couldn't be siblings but I showed her my little USMC tattoo under my watch band and said I'm a Marine also. The blonde stewardess on American Airlines provided me free drinks too. When I fly again, it will be with American Airlines, they appreciate Marines with tattoos.
Phillip A. Morris, Sgt of Marines '67-'69
I keep reading about the Yellow Footprints that the "young" Marines talk about but I don't recall ever seeing them. Where were they and were they there at Parris Island in 1948.?
Semper Fi !
Mike Walsh may have stumbled on the answer to the controversy of who is "Old Corps" and who is not. If you had a Marine Corps enlisted or officers' service number assigned instead of just using your Social Security number for I.D., you are probably "Old Corps" at this point. And I bet that you remember your service number, too!
2015828, Plt. 170, 1Bn, P.I., Sep-Dec 1962 LTC, Armor, AUS(Ret.) ...And former Sgt. & Capt., of Marines
All Three Ends
I am a long-time subscriber and commend you upon publishing a wonderful newsletter for Marines, their loved ones and anyone interested in the Corps.
Within the pages of your newsletters are the heart-felt love for our Corps, the memories of veterans and the excitement and concern of newly initiated families. One can feel the sincerity, the warmth and the devotion within the depths of each story.
I remember so well, of being the first man home from Korea to come aboard MCRD Parris island for duty. I arrived directly from USNH Philadelphia and still limped with a cane. I was assigned as a Special Instructor in the 1st Officer Candidate Course, which was held in PI. I was the bayonet-knife-judo instructor.
Parris Island was swarming with recruits (March 1950). There were tent cities all over the place.
I later became a SDI in the 2nd Recruit Bn. I have been on all three ends of boot camp. I have been a recruit, a Senior drill Instructor and a Recruiter.
God Bless All Marines and their loved ones.
One of the Chosin Few
Top Walks In
Summer 1970. I'm a LCPL on head detail in the hanger of HMM-261 MCAS New River. We fall out for formation. I receive my Cpl stripes. After formation back to head detail. In the process of cleaning the crappers Top walks in. Get my butt chewed out. NCO's DON'T clean heads. Valuable lesson learned. A Marine NCO doesn't have to take crap from anyone.
Attached Fort Briggs
In this article of Grit does anyone remember the bet on march of 110 miles. My buddy in Stevensville, Montana does. He was on it. They then attacked Fort Briggs. His name is John Hockenbury HOSS
I had to laugh at the Marine from Canada who was in Quang Tri Province and was receiving letters to fill out the proper Alien forms. My twin brother, Dan and I enlisted at the same time at 17 years old. We celebrated our 18th birthday while in boot camp at P.I. That is another story. While both of us were in Vietnam, our mother received numerous threatening letters from the local draft board in Carmel, NY that bad things would happen if we did not register for the draft. She repeatedly wrote letters back telling the draft board that we were in the USMC and were fighting in Vietnam with HMM-262 (Dan) and HMM-265 (Dennis). After numerous letters back and forth, the draft board apparently believed mom and it all went away. Dan and I also told mom to call the draft board and tell them to come get us. I don't recall they ever did.
Cpl. Dennis V. Nix 2068570
Plt. 207 P.I. 1964-1968
To Dave Plt 1071 PI 1967:
I was also in 1st Bn in 1966 and in 2003 went back to PI and also commented on how small the grinder was. I was told that it had in fact been made smaller when they built the new barracks. So no, it is not our youthful awe and memory going, it actually was larger when we were there.
Plt 154 March 1966
If my memory serves correctly, the Regiment was the 5th Marines out of Camp Margarita, MCB Camp Pendleton. They humped around the perimeter of Camp Pendleton with weapons, field packs, and ammunition. As anyone who has spent time at Camp Pendleton knows, the hills are true ball-breakers!
I'm sure there are former Marines out there who remember Camp Horno and the mock up of a small carrier's flight deck (can't remember its name) where "vertical envelopment" tactics were first R&D'd in the middle to late 1950s.
One bit of "indoctrination" that has stuck with me for 51 years, is the "Marine Corps Prayer" as drilled into my platoon at MCRD San Diego by SSGT Thurman "T.J." Johnson: "Now I lay me down to sleep/With my bag of emblems at my feet/If I should die before I wake/I pray my soul the Marine Corps to take/God Bless the Commandant, My Drill Instructor, and my M-1"
T. Duke Ogden
SGT, 1956-1961, 0311
Quickest to Boot Camp??????
I wanted to join the Navy while in High School, but I was only 17 years old, and my Dad and Mom wouldn't sign for me, so when I became 18 years old, I went to the Navy Recruiters and signed up, but I had a two week wait before being notified, so I went next door to the Marine Recruiter and joined up, this was a Saturday morning in July 1950, arriving at Parris Island from Orlando, Florida by cattle car on Wednesday morning, and the rest is history. ONCE a MARINE ALWAYS a MARINE
Al Simmons -- Morgan Hill, CA -- MCL Attachment 1122 San Jose, CA Parris Island 1st. Recruit Bn. Platoon 68 18 July 1950
one of my most enduring memories of the sand fleas was the last uniform inspection I stood. The entire unit was in formation outside in the Beaufort heat, and we were in alphas. The sand fleas discovered that they could fly up under our skirts and nail us through our nylons. The guys were lucky they had very little exposed skin, hands and heads, while we women were exhibiting the ultimate discipline of not showing how uncomfortable we were at being bitten in such a tender area.. Afterwards, there a number of women who were crowded into the heads to strip down as fast as we could rip that uniform off.
A. M. Grabill
America is not at war,
The Marine Corps is at war,
America is at the mall - and Congress is out to lunch.
It was 2 A.M. and it was Parris Island 1955. I was walking guard duty around an empty warehouse. On each rotation around the building I would meet another member of our platoon walking the other way guarding his empty warehouse. We would chat. briefly. As I approached him on one occasion he stage whispered to me "Someone just ran behind your warehouse!" I turned and ran backtracking to the far corner, and stopped out of breath, not sure what to do. There was a full moon and as I stood silently I saw the shadow of a man coming to the corner. D*mn, and I don't have any bullets! I grabbed my M-1 by the muzzle and held it high above my head as Staff Sergeant John Mulcany, my senior D.I. looked me straight in the eye (probably wondering why I didn't brain him), Calmly he said "Put that down!" I snapped to attention and he said "carry on", and left. The man never mentioned that incident to me or anyone as far as I know.
John Malone U.S.M.C. 1528675 L/Cpl temporarily unassigned.
Dear SGT Grit
All those great letters about MCRD jolted me back to my short stay at P.I. (18 Weeks) Looking back it was more humorous than pain, NOW! The writer talking about the Marine Service Numbers has it correct, it was a great way to know who was the saltiest. With that I'll just say that I was in Platoon 232 and my M1 rifle number was 1065110 (I tried to find out if it was still around but someone told me it was scraped. D*mn!) My Serial number was 1688470.
L/Cpl Robert Fournier 1957 - 1960
When I read the message by L. H. Marshall, Sgt Maj, USMC Ret. (59-89), in the 18 Jan 2007 newsletter, it really brought back memories.. My unit, MCRD, "The Arizona Platoon #354, was the last unit to qualify at Camp Matthews.
I to remember tents (with wooden floors) we were housed in. I think that is the 1st place I learned the importance of racking DIRT and the grooming if the all important Ice Plant.
I just wanted to thank the Sgt Maj for bringing back some good and bad memories. Semper FI..... I really believe the statement, :Once a Marine Always a Marine."
Robert D. Adams
Worked Within Hours
I truly enjoy your newsletter. Always pleased with any of my orders. Just had to add some info about the C rats peanut butter we had in Viet Nam. Yes, the peanut butter and the oil was separated. The oil sat in the middle of the lump of peanut butter in a puddle. We, in the Air Wing, found that if you were constipated, eat only the oil! Worked within hours. If you had the runs, eat only the peanut butter lump. Also, worked within hours! What a GOD send. Hope this enlightens Paul Trainer, 62-68.
John J. "JJ" Novotnak
Marble Mountain Air Facility
His First Platoon
On the cover of your spring catalog is one (at that time Sgt.) R.S. Sutis. He was one of 4 DI's I had at MCRD PI Platoon 1001 graduation February 1965. Senior DI was SSgt. A.L. Jachimowicz, Sgt. B.W. Davis was fresh out of DI school, he joined our other DI's several weeks into our training. We were his first Platoon. Of course they told us we were such screw-ups he was sent there to kick ^ss and take names. Cpl. York who is not shown in any of our official platoon pictures, but does appear several times in pictures of our training in my platoon 1001 book, was with us from the start. I reported to Parris Island on 10 November 64. Some birthday party... I did make PFC as a squad leader and qualified expert with my M-14, went on to the Air Wing as a helicopter electrician with VMO-1 at New River Air Facilities and then the air station at area 22 Camp Pendleton where I left the active life in the Corps and went home to South Florida and went to college.
Met my wife of 39 years in Jacksonville, NC while she was a senior in Jacksonville High School.
I have some great memories of the Corps and lost a cousin and some friends to Viet Nam.
Semper Fi...Once a Marine Always a Marine.
Ronald P. Petrey Cpl. 1964-1968 2114142 (MOS6615)
I was there. It was the 5th Marines that had the "honor" of performing this action. Although it took us 4 days to do it. The first 2 days (day 1 and day 2) we marched 50-55 miles from Pendleton to someplace outside of San Diego (Camp Elliot?). Then on day 3 they brought in the tractor trailers filled with beer and we had a blast....not realizing we had to march back to Pendleton day 4 and 5.
Sgt A. J. Steen
I Received this letter and was ask to forward it to you.
Semper Fi, Jim Murrell
I am writing this on behalf of myself and other equally suited veterans. I am an Honorably Discharged US Marine who is currently incarcerated, of the later I am not proud. I did serve my country honorably and earned the title of Marine on the hallowed grounds of MCRD San Diego.
Many times I have contacted veterans organizations of various matters, either received no response or told I have no moral character. Of the worse is the Marine Corps League. Often many veterans I talk with wonder what's going on. Before we were imprisoned we were veterans, this does not change when we get ourselves locked behind bars. The Marines I live with ask in response to being shunned "What ever happened to 'Once a Marine always a Marine?'" So often their the remembrance of being a Marine helps us overcome the many adversities we deal with on a daily basis. Even the prevention of suicide.
We order pins from Sgt. Grit that bear this motivating legend, or "Marine Veteran", and other creeds of our Corps. Yet time and time again we are abandon by our brother Marines because of being in prison. Many of us work for .32 cents an hour, when we receive a donation request from a Marine or veterans association we donate. Yet when we request help from the same association we get their backs turned on us. We have issues getting our benefits like medical, educational, and disability. We are not asking for handouts only help in receiving what we have earned.
We are told that we do not have moral character, I would like to share the following with you. There is a Marine who is a survivor of the Bataan Death March, (Mr. Keech), he has since passed about a year ago. I was in awe of him and considered it an honor in being asked to sit at the same dinner table with him as he asked me the basic Marine questions, Boot Camp, Unit, years of service, etc. He lit up when I told him I was a 5Th Marine, he had served IN the 5Th Marines prior to Bataan. Though he could not walk very fast, some felt he held up traffic, not once did I walk past him on the stairs or on the sidewalk with out "by your leave".
I had the honor of Frank Soto who earned two purple hearts in Vietnam with the Lima 3/5 (68-69), he called me brother. He cried when I gave him a 3/5 pin purchased from Sgt. Grit by my friend and brother Marine Jim Murrell who submitted this letter for me. Frank cried and shined that 3/5 pin so it sparkled like a star.
There is a Marine who was awarded multiple Silver and Bronze Stars, Purple Hearts, and a Navy/MC Distinguished Service Medal from his tour of duty in Vietnam. His name is Russel Weisse. There is a Navy Seal who was equally decorated from Vietnam, if these men do not have "moral character" the do not lack "Valor".
I served during peace time but was treated like an equal among there combat vets, who gave me the pleasure of being the President of the Mess for 2006 Birthday Ball, which was a blast.
I was the Vice Chairman of Veterans In Prison, the Director of the Calif. Department of Correction has ordered a veterans group for each prison. I have been transferred to a new prison, the group here is still in the initial stages. We need help, We need information on benefits, up grading discharges, and other information of interest to veterans. We need visits to our group from the associations on the "Outside". If you are willing to help in any way please contact me, on The closest prison to see how you can be of service to your brother Marines. I Can be contacted at :Darryl Newton 2100 Peabody Road, #3-203, Vacaville, Ca. 95696.
I would like to thank Jim Murrell, who is a board member of the Fleet Reserve Association in Bakersfield, Ca. who has been the total embodiment of Marine and looking our for your own. He has went beyond the call of duty to help me and other Marines in prison. He has purchased every Marine publication for me over the past 7 years. He has met every need that I have, some of them more than once. It is not the material help, he has just simply been a friend when I needed one most. At times when it got rough, he barked at me like a drill instructor, reminding me not to give up, by the Marine that I am. It has been a blessing to have his friendship and it all started because we were Marines.
Please, not being forgotten reminds us of what we once were, and what we can once again be. May God Bless America, continued success to our Corps.
Sgt. Darryl Newton
I entered boot training on October 22, 1954, at Parris Island. I was in platoon 437, A company, 1st battalion. One of 8 "rebels", as they called us. The rest of the platoon was from "up north", mainly Cleveland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.
I was raised only an hour and a half from Parris Island, and still get amused at the sand fly being called a sand flea. I first heard this when I got to P.I., and we were being given "extra added instruction" behind the barracks one evening!
A sand flea is a small animal that lives in the surf on the Atlantic seaboard. About the size of your thumb's first joint. They make pretty good fish bait!
The sand fly is what we are talking about. Never had to bury one, but can remember getting my "tender parts" chewed on while standing at attention many times at P.I.
I have tried to locate some of my buddies from Parris Island but have only found a few, all these years.
I got out in September, 1957, to reenter college. I was in 81 mortars, 2nd Marines at Camp Lejeune.
David Earl Tyre...Sgt. of Marines...Semper Fi!
It took me a while to do it, but I finally ended up getting my Marine Corps tattoo...
Sgt A. Julian Burgower, 1994-2001
Jill St John
I was in attendance to 4 of those tours. The first in Dec 64---Jill St John was the prime attraction and she had posed nude in the Cavalier Magazine--A CDR Rodgers had her autograph it. She was a little embarrassed but a good sport---I sat at the Bar in Nha Trang with Les Brown---We were the only two there- a nice visit. I really did appreciate what those USO Tours did for the troops.
Thanks - Franklin
Last week I was part of a group that visited Washington, DC to see some of the WWII memorials. It was a brief trip so we had time to visit only the WWII Memorial, Arlington Cemetery and The Marine Memorial (Iwo Jima).
As a veteran of the 4th Division I very proudly wore my bright red "4th Division hat" At each of these sights I saw other Marine vets identified by hats or jackets they were wearing. When we spotted each other there was a great exchange of "Semper Fi" and a firm hand shake and sometimes a hug. As a survivor of Iwo Jima it was especially emotional to greet some buddies at that statue.
I was one of two Marines in the group I toured with. As we headed home, people on the bus asked "Did you know all those guys you saw there?" My reply was, "No, it's just that every Marine knows every other Marine in a special way". I explained that Semper Fi has meaning that is best understood only by a Marine.
Marine pride has no equal.
Sgt. Jack Watson
Stop Or I'll Shoot
This is the tattoo that I had done in California right after I got home from Iraq in March 2005. The Arabic line below the Eagle, Globe and Anchor says "Stop or I'll Shoot".
E Co, 4th ATB
The Left Handed Salute
The color guard passed in review, the banners flying high... And the crowd stood silent in respect... Old Glory passing by.
There were no protests at the scene... Just Americans proud and true... to honor the colors of our nation, the red, the white, the blue.
Many were the veterans... Wearing medals of wars long past... And the young were wearing uniforms... As the colors moved slowly past.
There was in the crowd and old man standing... His legs were bent with years... But the sight of our proud flag... To his faded eyes brought tears.
His old form worn and trembling... His clothes tattered and not regal... But on his breast there shined an emblem...the Anchor, Globe and Eagle.
And as the colors passed on by... He stood there stern and mute... With tears streaming from his faded eyes... He raised his hand to salute.
Now his stance was not of what they teach ... In the military way... His feet misplaced and back was stooped... But he never once did sway.
Then a young lad wearing the uniform of a United States Marine... Came to the old man standing there... And said Sir you're causing a scene...
You see I must tell you now... And my words you may refute... But you must never to our flag... Give a left-handed salute.
I see you have the Globe, Anchor and Eagle there upon your chest... And I question if you ever served... With what is America's best.
We've fought in every American war since 1775... And Marines have always gave their all...and thousands fell and died.
The old man looked with shameful eyes at the young lad by his side... And said Marine I realize... You must think I have no pride.
But you see young Marine an old man here... One armed and barely alive... My other arm I left in the sand.... On Iwo Jima in '45.
Many were my buddies that fell on that hot black sand, and I made a vow I would never forget... The price they paid for our great land.
Yes, I too was a Marine young lad... Perhaps not as good as you... But we fought and died the same way then... For the Corps, and the red, white and blue.
So don't judge harshly I beg of you... This old man in his final day...but as a Marine of yesterday... Please let me my homage pay.
Yes, let me pay my respect to my buddies... Who fell so long ago... And as the colors pass us by...please try and understand ... The only way that I can salute is with my old left hand.
The young marine stood silent... Then with tears clouding his bright eyes... He came to attention proud and tall as the colors passed on by.
He stood there at attention beside the old man bent and stooped...but he whispered a soft "Semper Fi" as he slowly raised his left hand in salute.
Semper Fi to all Marines, Past Present and Future
from the pen of cd sliger, USMC 1957-1960
Rainy Day Brighter
I enjoy reading the newsletter every week,. It never ceases to amaze me the observations and thoughts shared by Marines and their families. Sgt Bob Imm made the observation that whenever he heard some guy say "yes sir" when in the middle of normal daily dialogue, it was always a Marine.
Last week on a rainy day, I was waiting for a ride outside the VA Hospital and experienced an MCM (Marine Corps Moment).
A young man approached someone and asked where the smoking area was, using the polite "sir" when he spoke. as he lit up I said "Hey Devil Dog." He turned and spied my USMC Veteran cap and we shook hands and talked for awhile.
Turns out he was back from his second Iraq tour and I was thrilled to see the quality of this young Marine.
As we spoke, a Korean War Marine vet came wheeling up in a wheelchair.
Without consulting each other or hesitating, we both turned, snapped to attention and saluted our wounded brother. It surprised the h*ll out of the elderly gent, but he returned the salute and gave us a big smile.
As we stood there and talked, at least a dozen veterans came out of the hospital and each one that passed had a Marine Corps patch or cover and gave us a "Semper Fi" on their way past us. It made the rainy day that much brighter.
Semper Fidelis and God Bless our young men and women in harm's way.
LCpl John Nihen 75-78
While Those Around Me
In the American Courage Newsletter #148 GySgt. R. James Martin wrote a follow up to Cpl. Worthington's challenge at college, where he spoke of how lessons learned in the Marine Corps helped him later in life.
Although 10 years younger than Gunny Martin when I re entered college in 1964, I vividly recall being looked upon as 'different' as I continued to sport my high and tight haircut while those around me grew their hair down to their shoulders. While others partied their brains out I completed 4 years of college in 2 (along with 3 summers), graduated with honors, and then volunteered to serve on active reserve duty with the Corps as a L/Cpl in the 81mm Mortar Platoon, 2nd Bn., 25th Marines.
One of the most gratifying experiences came later in life when I mentored a student of mine (I was a high school social studies teacher at the time) and convinced Andy Ciriaco to join the Corps. He did and became a career Marine distinguishing himself as a Recon Marine, DI, and Staff NCO with the Silent Drill Team. 30 years later I had the opportunity to sign Andy up once more- this time as a member of the Marine Corps League. Andy (who presently lives in Oceanside, CA) traveled to NY and presented me with his challenge coin. He told me that it had saved his life many times (jumping from planes and helicopters) and he wanted me to have it because I saved his life many years ago by having him join the Corps. Now I know why they say, "ONCE a MARINE, ALWAYS a MARINE!"
Respectfully submitted by
William Ober, Commandant
Huntington Detachment #792
Marine Corps League
Parris Island Sign
In response to Larry Spohnholtz' request to know the exact wording of a particular sign in the last paragraph of his letter in the May 17, 2007 newsletter, I myself would like to ask a certain request. During my boot camp days at Parris Island from June 27-Sept 14, 1984. I was with 'H' Co. 3rd Bat. Series 30084. SDI SSgt Rozman. Bat. Cmdr. Lt. Col. Aymond, Bat. SgtMajor Fratterelli, Col. Van Riper and Maj.Gen. Ohlmstead as the CG. As I stood in formation during 1st phase training, I was in 1st squad and approx. 5th man. Every morning as Series Chief DI Gunnery Sergeant Panickowski ordered 'REPORT' to the SDI of each platoon, there was a red sign in front of me. It read something like this:
'When Lt. Col----- stepped on the footprints here at Parris Island, South Carolina June 27, 1958, he thought he was going to die here.'
I don't know if the wording is accurate. I'd like to know if the sign is still there after all these years.
0311 Basicinfantry 1984-1988
While On Saipan
My brother Warren served in the 4th Mar, Div. in WW-2 He was in 4th tank Bat. B-Co 14th Mar 4th Mar. Div.
While on Saipan Warren wrote a letter to our mom. We were making an attack on a ridge, and we hit them from the flank. WE were pretty well in Jap territory when we spotted a whole mess of them. I opened up with my .27 mm and my machine gun, and we sure chased them out of there. Our tank was the lead tank in a column and while still shooting at the Jap's we hit a shell hole and stopped. We couldn't get out of the hole, and with so many Jap's around us, it would have been suicide to try and get out of the tank
The Jap's tried to swarm us, but the tank in back of us got all but two of them. One of these jumped on our tank and with some kind of bomb blew a hole in our hatch cover. Then he drew his saber and tried to commit hari-kari, The other tank covering us got him first.
The second Jap got beside our tank where he was safe from fire of the other tanks, so I opened the hatch and dropped a couple of grenades, and that finished him.
The Captain and I took turns holding a thin piece of metal over the hole over our heads for two hours so that no Jap could drop a grenade threw there into our lap.
While the Jap's were jumping around the outside of our tank I saw the driver jump back from looking out the periscope. I asked him about it later and he said one of the Jap's had looked in at the same time and it surprised him. I t was kind of funny.
I am wondering if you could put that in the news letter. Warren is now in a Rehab Hospital in Ocala, Fl. Any one wishing to write to him may send messages to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will see that he gets them.
Lost 4 Marines
Got this after returning from Iraq. Eight months patrolling the Hit-Haditha corridor in the Al Anbar Province. Lost 4 Marines from my platoon.
Semper Fi my brothers,
LCpl Williams, J.D.
Dear Sgt. Grit,
In response to the letter written by Jack Redmond, a member of the Les Brown Band, I would like to offer my appreciation to him and all of the others who came to Vietnam to support the troops. From left to right, Bob Crosby, Raquel Welch, Barbara McNair, Bob Hope, Miss Peru, (I don't remember the name of the lady standing next to her) and Les Brown. The unique thing about these shows is that Bob Hope's staff always made it a point to find out something about each base or its commanders to make a joke about it. In our case, I remember him making a joke about "Chu Lai steak" which of course was roast beef. On a personal note Mr. Redmond, I salute you and all of the others who sacrificed their time to make us laugh, to remind us just how beautiful our American women are and in the midst of combat, giving us hope and a much needed boost to our morale. Thank you again.
Ronald E. (Gene) Hays II
MSgt, USMC, Retired
PI Graduation 1953
PI graduation, April 1953, with most scheduled for Korea, but since that ended a few months later, never knew what happened to anyone. A couple of us, reluctantly, sent to Montford Point, Supply School and then off to fight the paper wars. Got out at the end of my tour, and because of my training at Supply School----NOT!----I put 40 in Law Enforcement. See Pictures
J. E. M.
What a great read, all stories from Marines again. The memories will last a lifetime.
Art C Sgt of Marines 59-65
I recently ran/walked the 500 festival mini marathon in Indianapolis, may 5th, and had a real nice time. I was overwhelmed by All the Semper Fi's and ooh raahs I received during the run. It was amazing and I'm blessed to be a part of such A great family as the elite group of jar heads.
Memorial Day Tribute Video
Just a note to tell all that a member of Korean War Veterans of Alabama passed away in Russellville Alabama last week... PFC. Bobby N. Bray, a veteran of two wars and in Korea walked out from Haga-ru to Hungnam with First Marine Division. The Corps furnished flag detail and our chapter served as honor guard...
Submitted by George Ellis , S/Sgt. 780th FAB.....
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I just read Sgt Purdy's letter about earning the title of Marine. I too volunteered in April of 1962 and graduated from Parris Island, 3rd. Bn.,Plt. 352 and earned the title. I just want to mention, that most of the Corps fine officers graduated from Quantico, and I'm sure that they too feel that they earned the title.
Cpl. of Marines
Purple Heart Coin
I Will Not Forget Coin
Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done!