At age seventy-one, I can still walk 40 miles non-stop in slightly over eight hours without training! I wrote to the Commandant and asked permission to join up with the boys in Iraq. All I need is a forty five and the King James version of the Holy Scriptures! So far, no reply. I had hoped to relieve some Marine with a family but it never happened. Believe me, there are enough retired Marines out there to take over the job with no problem! Semper Fi!
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I would like to take this opportunity to say "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" to all Marines, past and present. May God bless our beloved Corps and may we never turn our backs on Him.
Gary L. COON
MSgt USMC (Ret)
November 10th, 1967
Thought you might be interested in the attached photos. November 1967 - Birthday-in-the-Field. We were somewhere south of Con Thien. The cake was brought in on a 6X. The Col. cut the first piece and the Top cut the rest. There was enough for everyone in 2/9 to get a piece. As the cake was being brought in a Birddog flew overhead and popped red and blue smoke from its wing tips. What a sight.
The other two shots are of the Moon scape in the area. Farther down the line the Lt. and I got into a heated argument. Like in WWII, the GI Joe cartoons, where they come upon a wall with a window in it. All the glass was broken except on section. The question was, "Are you going to brake it or am I?". The Lt. and I spotted a beautiful bird on a dead tree. It did not belong there, not with death around us. The bird flew away as we tried to decide who was going to shoot it. Strange times, strange memories.
Happy birthday to all and Semper Fi.
John Halpin, Sgt.
Viet-Nam - 2/9
Happened on 23 June 1968
Returning home from a combat zone can be a very joyous occasion for most military personnel, but for those who were in actual combat, the experience of homecoming can be quite different. This was especially the case for Vietnam veterans, who returned home alone after a couple of days upon completion of their tour of duty. I'm sure many Vietnam veterans experienced a homecoming similar to the one which follows.
30 June 1968: I've been taking Darvon for a week now, but there seems to be no relief from the excruciating pain. My head feels as if it is about to explode and I can't even remember the flight out of Kadena AFB in Okinawa by GOVAIR to MCAS, El Toro, CA. Prior to 23 June 1968 I had the normal short timer fantasies of how it was going to be, booking on that silver freedom bird back to the "world." It had been a long 18 months and I had made it out of that h&ll hole, Vietnam. To this very day I cannot remember the flight from El Toro to JFK International Airport. Even more baffling is I can't recall what airline I flew to JFK on or how I got to the Long Island Railroad on the last leg home.
What's happening here? What I can remember very vividly was what had happened on 23 June 1968. At approximately 0200 the concussion from a NVA rocket had thrown me through the air landing head first in a trench line, which had been dug by the engineers only days earlier. This occurred at the Quang Tri Combat Base and I was in transient to fly out to Da Nang at 0600 and then on to Okinawa. I had already turned in my weapons and 782 gear and I felt really naked. To make matters worse, as I was getting up, another Marine in full battle gear jumped on top of me, crushing my head against the wall of the trench. Bleeding profusely from the forehead and scalp I could remotely hear another Marine say jokingly say, "Hey buddy, you get to get a Purple Heart your last day in country." I immediately replied, "they can keep it, I'm outta this f#$%^&g place in four hours." A couple of Marines carried me over to the BAS and the Corpsman cleaned me up the best he could. Charlie figured that Quang Tri would be easy pickings since it wasn't secured by the grunts of the 3rd MarDiv. They were wrong.
USMC Picture Caption Contest - Round 2
If you can come up with a winning caption for the photo below, we'll send you a free poster with the picture and caption. When we start selling the poster, 10% of the sales will go to a Marine Corps related charity of our choice.
Give it your best shot, Marine!
So I'm sitting on the train with my feet resting on my seabag and looking at my reflection in the window. Where am I? I look around and there are only a few people on the train this early in the morning. No one even gives me a glancing look. Am I invisible or am I really sitting here? They have to see the uniform, right? Oh well, welcome home. What did I expect anyway. These people didn't know or even care what I had seen and done in the past 18 months. After all, they were engrossed in their own dull, uneventful world and my presence did not fit into their daily monotonous routine. We were told in advance how we were going to be treated when we got home. I finally get to my destination, Island Park. Am I really here? I throw my seabag over my right shoulder and step off the train onto the platform. I'm really home! Or am I! As I cross Long Beach Road onto Arlington Walk, I notice that the bench we used to hang out around had been removed. I found out later that it was removed in order to deter drug addicts from loitering. And this is small town America. As I make a left onto Quebec Rd., I stop a moment to switch the seabag to my left shoulder. Everything seems so serene and tranquil this early in the morning. I never remembered it being that way before going to Vietnam. I finally reach Julian Place and I pause to shift the seabag onto my right shoulder. As I get closer I can see my mom taking out the trash. My eyes begin to swell as she recognizes me. I dropped the seabag and rushed into the safety of her open arms. I was finally safe at home and with overwhelming emotion I began to cry for the bad dream was finally over. Or was it? I had mixed feelings about leaving Vietnam. I knew my brother Marines were fighting for their lives and at the same time it was an immense feeling of relief that I had made it home virtually unscathed physically and mentally. So I had thought at the time. Four months later I was back in the land that God had forgotten. I was "home" once again. Wannabes will never understand this story.
Joseph Alvino, Sgt. of Marines
Reading of the names
Sgt. Grit: I have the honor of being one of 1933 persons picked to read the 58,000 (+/-) names on the Vietnam Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery between November 8, 2007 and November 10, 2007. Each person will have 30 names to be read in front of the 'Wall' at specific times. I will read my 30 names at 0830 November 10, 2007. Happy Birthday Marine Corps. I did a little research on the 30 names and found that 28 were Army and 2 were Marines. Also out of the 28 Army Personnel, 2 were recipients of the Medal of Honor. There were 244 Medals of Honor recipients in Vietnam. 153 recipients are listed on the 'Wall' and I will be reading the names of 2 of the Medal of Honor recipients. Former Marine Corps Sgt. Dick Hoezee (1966/1970), Semper Fi.
I'm the one wearing the ribbons
Pfc. M.A. Perkins, USMCR, reported to B-1-7 directly from the family nursery farm in Minnesota during August 1950. No service records came with him but it was soon obvious that boot camp was not part of his past service nor was any form of military courtesy part of his past training.
Pfc. M.A. Perkins, USMCR, was assigned to the 60 MM Mortar squad and quickly developed into an excellent gunner. He further honed his gunner's skills at the Inchon Landing in September 1950 and really reached new heights at Chosin in North Korea.
Pfc. M.A. Perkins, USMCR, was one of the only two Marines from B-1-7 Mortars to walk aboard ship at Hungnan to continue fighting the war in South Korea.
Pfc. M.A. Perkins, USMCR, left Korea with the rank of Sgt. And was assigned to Quantico where his 60 MM Mortar expertise was utilized to help train the young Marines to become 2nd Lts.
Sgt. M.A. Perkins, USMCR, was briskly strolling toward the Main gate for liberty decked in the uniform of the day with two rows of new campaign ribbons shining on his chest when he met a Captain. "Good morning, sir" was his greeting.
"Sgt., don't you salute Captains?" was the response his greeting received.
Sgt. M.A. Perkins, USMCR replied sincerely, "But sir, I'm the one wearing the ribbons."
Sgt. M.A. Perkins, USMCR, received one of those missed lessons in military courtesy that remains with him to this day.
MSgt "Pat" Burris USMC Ret.
Shake The Hand Of A Man
Many of you know that I served with Sgt. Grit in Viet Nam and am considered by many to be his best friend. I always say that I knew Sgt Grit when he was a Lance Corporal!
Because of him, I have had the best day today in many years.
I called him to just shoot the breeze and one of his employees who answered the call said there was a message for me from a fellow Marine. I took the number and then asked for a name. She said it was from a 1st Sgt Lackey. I was sort of lost because I only knew one Lackey, a Staff Sergeant. He was my senior drill instructor in 1968 at San Diego. I called the number and asked for 1st Sgt Lackey. He responded by saying: " Is this Huntsinger?"
It was indeed my senior drill instructor and he had heard me mention his name in one of the newsletters. After 40 years, I was talking to the man who had made me a Marine.
We talked about His famous phrase, which I still use to this day but cannot use here. He remembered making me the guidon and relieving me of that duty some five minutes later for, let me paraphrase here, apparently not being able to walk in a straight line. I reminded him of how, before our final inspection, he flooded the showers and used Wisk to get us clean.
The great man that I remember was still that, a great man. He did not demand respect, he Commanded it
At the end of our conversation I received the greatest compliment of my life. He asked me to go to the Marine Corps Ball with him. I had to decline for family reasons but I can absolutely guarantee this, next year I will be sporting a high and tight with dress blues and medals and will be able to sit next to the man to whom I owe so much. It will be my honor to shake the hand of a man of honor, courage, and commitment....1st Sergeant Floyd Lackey.
SSgt D. J. Huntsinger
P.S. He never laid a hand on me, but that stare made me wet my pants a few times.
Returning from China and First Liberty
Guess you can call me one of the lucky guys as rather than being shipped to Guam on the LST leaving China we flew directly to El Toro California. After three days of medical test and other inspections of a personal nature we were allowed liberty. With spit and shine shoes three of us were at the O. D. desk with a three day pass. The Officer of the Day started to laugh and would not let us out the gate. "Out of uniform" was part of his enjoyment as we had the true old uniform and worse of all he said "that john brown belt has got to go! Where have you grunts been."? The Ike jackets were in and as we were up for discharge there was no way we were getting new uniforms. Back to the barracks a Gunny was surprised to see us return. He got red in the face and marched up to the O.D. gate with the three of us in toe when he found out why we were not allowed liberty.
I learned fast just why this Gunny got his rank as the O.D. was backed in the corner and his face turned white. We were given an additional pass and were on our way in about the time it takes to relate this note and never were stopped by the Shore Parole.
The Officer of the Day was not on duty when we returned to the base three days later however there was a direct order to correct what happened. Five days later I was discharged and I still have my john brown belt ---that will not fit!
Corporal Stewart Shotwell
First Marine Air Wing
I would be honored to have you post my tattoo on your page. I was a Dragon Gunner 0351 & I wear this one with pride! Semper Fi Always Marines!
Charlie Devil Dog Pittman
Cpl. USMC 79-85
The meaning of 782 gear
Howdy there Sgt Grit, it's the 26th and with no today's update reread the 24ths and thought the second time around it was twice as good.
Many moons have crossed many mountains when I thought of, but have never asked, this question of you. And maybe to all the fine audience you have now as I had short tours as a DI, a rifle range coach, even a split tour in organizing not one, but two reserve units the 104th at Fort Lee VA and then the 98th here in Clarksburg. And since for ever the questions has been asked me of a word of terminology, such a boon docks, slop shoot, and all the rest. But I have never been able to pin down the meaning or the originality of the term "782" gear, which included all that a Marine needed for survival.
Being only 75, out there in the world of former active Marines, especially those of you with the grey matter, that made you commissioned officers, or more importantly 1stSgt, Sgt Maj, and yes DI's, does any one have a definition? I no longer have a Marine bible, "the guide book for Marines" Request an answer even if it is a here say one, thanks in advance, and Semper Fi to all
Nile E White
Figured It Was Time
Well after seeing all of the Ink on your sight I figured it was time to go out and get another Marine Corps tattoo.
I proudly served my time with the 1st Battalion 7th Marines in 29 Palms back in the Mid 90's.
Thanks And keep on fighting the good fight.
Palm Coast, Florida
Skin For Them All
These pictures were forwarded to my family as soon as I was done. This tattoo took 8 months of brainstorming. I come from a long line of heroes and service members. I don't have the skin for them all but I can at least represent the two men who mean the most to me. My father as a man and as a Marine in Vietnam, my turn (twice) in the sands of Iraq and my best friend, my brother in Afghanistan. This small symbol is a representation of our bond and love of this country. Please display this on your website as proudly as I do.
SSgt Thornton Ben W.
Packed In Cosmoline
Sgt Grit I enjoy your newsletter very much. Brings back a lot of memories. Particularly the stories from some of the old timers. I went through MCRDSD in Jan 1942. Graduated Mar 1944 Plt 177. DI's Sgt J. Richmond, Cpl W Brady and Cpl J Prewett. My serial No. 369396. Standard uniform issue WW 1 helmets Springfield '06 rifle.
I remember being issued rifle which was packed in cosmoline [grease] It took us 2 days to clean them up with kerosene. When we had them cleaned [no leaking grease] we then were given a Lewis Machine gun to de-grease. How many Marines today can field strip a Lewis and reassemble it in 10 mins.? Magazine included.
I served guard duty with Sgt Otto Linderman, [an Icon in the Corps]. Being a youngster I did not appreciate it at that time. He was a true Marine and a good mentor. He gave a set of dress blues to go home on leave with. I had them altered to fit my lean frame and still have them. Inside the sleeve is his name and date of issue, 1932 Marine Corps depot Albany Ga. I also had the privilege of receiving mortar familiarization with Sgt Lou Diamond. Went overseas as a replacement in C co. 1st Bn. 1st Marines 1st Marine Div. Peleliu Okinawa. China
Sgt Arthur Dreves
Boot Camp Humor
We were having a class on hand to hand combat, and the drill instructor Cpl. Reynolds picked on the biggest guy in the platoon by the name of Paul Masucci.
Cpl. Reynolds told Masucci to be on guard cause he was goin' to come full blast at him. Masucci, flips the Drill Instructor and now he is really mad. "Protect your self at all costs. You got me mad and watch out." Once again Masucci flips the Drill Instructor who now says to Masucci "do you know anything about hand to hand combat?"
"yes Sir: I was an instructor."
"Why didn't you tell me."
"Sir, you didn't ask?"
The platoon 224 burst out laughing and the Cpl. said "you guys think that's funny. Two laps around the parade field."
That's a true story. Happened in 1952 and I never forgot it. My name is Michael Sunder Thanks for letting me relive my youth.
I Do Not Have Whiskers
As a member of Platoon 198, formed in May, 1951 at MCRD, San Diego, I wanted to share a memory of boot camp...one I delight in telling...and with 25-years as a news reporter, I told it many times!
I was a slight, blond haired blue eyed boot from Capital Hill High school, Oklahoma City. I had never shaved, except as a 6- year-old messing with my dad's shaving gear. We, of course, were required to shave daily in boot. One day at inspection I was asked if I had shaved that day. I replied, "no sir, I do not have whiskers." The DI had me go before the platoon. reached into his pocket and pulled out a straight-edged razor, whisked it across the grinder a few times (to sharpen it?) and told me to shave!. Sadly, I found out I had whiskers and pulled them out one by one. Needless to say, I shaved every day thereafter!
USS Valley Forge (CV 45)
A Story By James Taylor
"Once a Marine"
As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my cart of groceries towards my car, I saw an old man with the hood of his car up and a lady sitting inside the car, with the door open. The old man was looking at the engine. I put my groceries away in my car and continued to watch the old gentleman from about twenty-five feet away. I saw a young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm, walking towards the old man. The old gentleman saw him coming too and took a few steps towards him. I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something. The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade and then turn back to the old man and I heard him yell at the old gentleman saying, "You shouldn't even be allowed to drive a car at your age." And then with a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot. I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief and mop his brow as he went back to his car and again looked at the engine. He then went to his wife and spoke with her and appeared to tell her it would be okay. I had seen enough and I approached the old man. He saw me coming and stood straight and as I got near him I said, "Looks like your having a problem." He smiled sheepishly and quietly nodded his head. I looked under the hood myself and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me. Looking around I saw a gas station up the road and told the old gentleman that I would be right back. I drove to the station and went inside and saw three attendants working on cars. I approached one of them and related the problem the old man had with his car and offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and help him. The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us he straightened up and thanked me for my help. As the mechanics diagnosed the problem (overheated engine) I spoke with the old gentleman. When I shook hands with him earlier he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine too. I nodded and asked the usual question, "What outfit did you serve with?" He had mentioned that he served with the first Marine Division at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal. He had hit all the big ones and retired from the Corps after the war was over.
As we talked we heard the car engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood. They came over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was stopped by me and I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card. He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it and I stuck it in my pocket. We all shook hands all around again and I said my goodbye's to his wife. I then told the two mechanics that I would follow them back up to the station. Once at the station I told them that they had interrupted their own jobs to come along with me and help the old man. I said I wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me. One of them pulled out a card from his pocket looking exactly like the card the old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then, that they were Marine Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around and as I was leaving, one of them told me I should look at the card the old man had given to me and I said I would and drove off. For some reason I had gone about two blocks when I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long, time. The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name........."Congressional Medal of Honor Society." I sat there motionless looking at the card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to no one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together, because one of us needed help. He was an old man alright, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage and an honor to have been in his presence.
If you were not stirred
August 23 saw the 50th Reunion of 1-57 Basic School at Quantico. Of the 327 Graduates, 70 had passed away. 62 attended, many with their spouses. It might have been the smartest group of officers in Marine History since only one was killed in action. He was hit by small arms fire exiting a copter in Viet Nam.
1-57 furnished a bunch of Company grade Officers in Viet Nam and produced a one star and a two star General. Lots of stories at the cocktail party on Thurs. Some true.
Friday we were guests at the Sunset Parade at 8th and I. If you were not stirred by that Drill Team and Marine Band you are already dead.
The Iwo Jima vets were at the same Motel and over coffee we heard stories of the real heroes of the Second world War. Very few did not have the Purple Heart.
Saturday we had a Banquet in the new Marine Corps Museum. What a magnificent structure, surely one of the great Military Museums of the world. No Marine should pass the chance to see it! General Magnus the Asst. Commandant, gave an inspiring speech and the whole weekend was a class act.
The general impression was the Corps is turning out top level Officers. Their training is the best in history, their armaments and weapons top grade and the morale is, as usual, Marine quality. It was good for some of us old guys [real service numbers not social Security, pre OOorah, pre yellow footprints, M1, BAR and 45 1911 qualified to see the modern Corps and realize the same spirit exists that served us so well in the past.
Ron Donahue 1st Lt
Never mention the other four
I come from a family who considers military service a given. Of 21 first cousins, 17 of us became Marines, and we never mention the other four, except to shake our heads sadly now and then.
I was part of the seventh generation of our family to become a part of the Corps, though having a Navy WAVE and a Marine DI as parents, the 'leap' from High School to Boot Camp was not that great a leap.
Like you, I was humbled by the honor of being a part of history, but there is one thing that I would like to tell you, that separates the two of us.
Each time I put on that uniform, each and every time, I remembered those who wore it before me, and I felt awed by it. I felt this way, because of you, and those like you, who made being a Marine, a very tough act to follow!
Thank you, sir, for giving us the history of service, that makes us all reach further, and carry on longer, just to keep up!
Know that you are honored and respected, and yes, loved, by those of us who had you and your generation to guide us.
I am reminded of the birthday cake ceremony, that always brought tears to my eyes. The passing of a single piece of cake, from the oldest Marine to the youngest, as if to say, "Ok, I've done my part, its time for you to step up and take the lead."
My service was no where near as eventful as yours, sir, but like you, I feel blessed to have even been a small part of the history of our Corps, when men such as yourself, showed us the way.
7th generation Marine, out of uniform 20 years and counting
Our officers are different
I just read the note about General Pace leaving the note cards with his stars under the names of his platoon who were killed. I have never been so moved. This act epitomizes what a good officer is made of. We don't hear much about how our officers are different from other services. How ingrained they are to think first of their men.
Drew McFadden, USMC 61-65, 0802
Vote for the D.I
Jack Webb starred in the 1957 release of The D.I. It was one of the things that inspired me to ultimately join the Corps. Recently, I have been trying to get a copy of the movie but have found that it is no longer in distribution. I visited the website of Turner Classic Movies, www.tcm.com, to try to get some information and found all I wanted and more. The movie is in fact out of distribution but it urges those visiting the site to cast a vote to potentially influence the distributor to began distribution. My feelings are that many were inspired by this movie and perhaps some would like to go to www.tcm.com and cast their vote. Those interested would go to the website and click on "movie data base", in the space provided type "The D. I." and hit the go button. A screen of title matches appears with The D. I. among them. Click on the title and more information appears to include the opportunity to vote for support of re-release. The more votes we can generate the greater the chances we will have to own a copy.
USMCR 1966 -1972
My first tattoo
I have read your newsletter for about a year now both enjoy and anticipate every issue. I am a 61 year old Viet Nam Veteran, I spent 13 years in our beloved Marine Corps and never got a Tattoo. Well last week my son and my daughter finally talked me into getting one and I would like to share it with you, my "Brother & Sisters" and all of your loyal readers. My time was spent at H&S Bn, Support Co, MHE Plt, RVN, as a Heavy Equipment Mechanic at ASP1 behind "Freedom Hill" from Jan 1970 till Dec 1970. Keep up the good work and May GOD BLESS you and your organization and ALL of our troops who have or are now serving OUR Glorious Country.
Here is the Tattoo that I am so very Proud of.
Louie W Goodner
I arrived at MCRD SD on 13August1960 (at night) in a cattle car to the yellow footprints. My story about boot camp goes about the same as all the others. My senior DI, GySgt Williams, SSgt Reaper and SSgt Tavarossi took charge after processing. Needless to say, rude awakening. Gunny Williams did not believe in hitting recruits but we paid for it in other ways. We were in Quonset huts at MCRD right next to the grinder and 6 men tents at Camp Edson for rifle range. There were quite a few DI's who carried swagger sticks. Ours did not.
The one different story I have is that there were 6 of us (Mexican/Americans) in Platoon 276 and would speak Spanish. Our DI's heard about it and tried to stop us but we persuaded them not to, so we had to teach the Platoon how to speak Spanish. Taught them how to say "The smoking lamp is lit, Aye Aye Sir". SSgt Tavarossi being Japanese/Hawaiian did not like it and we had to learn how to say "Good Morning" in Japanese. All in all boot camp was not hard.
Then we went to ITR at Camp Pendleton, that was a whole different story. There the hits and all the other stuff went on. Had to spend Thanksgiving day with a rifle inspection. One instructor carried a cut down cue stick that and was not bashful about using it.
About Corpsmen. As a grunt, 0311, they are Marines. They protected us and we protected them.
Served with L/3/5 in 61, went to Okinawa and became L/3/9. In 1962 we became 3rd Expeditionary Brigade in the north part of Thailand during the Laotian Crisis. Marine Corps history books have us using blanks and running training exercises, bunch of lies. We carried live ammo, run combat/recon patrols in the jungle. Some of my friends say that we went into Laos and Cambodia, I do not know for sure. Would not surprise me as were less than 30 miles from Laos and Cambodia and would fly in helicopters for 30 minutes to an hour, get inserted, run patrols and picked up and back to Camp Rama at Udorn Thani. Marine F4s provided air cover for us until the Air Force got there, bad story.
Came back to the States to C/1/5 for a year and then sent to Barstow. That took all interest in me staying the Corps. Going from grunts to a warehouse.
While living in Albuquerque, I joined the Reserves which was a grunt company and later designated a Recon company. That was fun. Also went on active duty as a Recruiter in El Paso, Texas. I have not met any wannabes but have met two former Army airborne troops who had nothing but respect for Marines. One fought in WWII and jumped with the 101st (Puking Buzzards) on D- Day. He did not feel that he was strong enough to have served in the Corps.
Hope someone who served with me sees this and gets in contact. I am in contact with about 6 Marines who were with me.
Proud to have served and proud to be a Marine.
Frank D. Briceno
Swagger Sticks: Early in my career, I bought a "Cruise Book," 3d Marine Division, 1955-56. One of the early pictures shows Maj.Gen. Thomas Wornham assuming command of the 3dMarDiv. All of the general staff officers are carrying swagger sticks, except for the Navy staff officers. I bought the book because I wanted a yearbook type remembrance of my early days as a rifleman/scout with Recon Co, 3dMarDiv. (This was long before the Recon Battalions.)
LtCol Edward P. Craft, USMCR (Ret.)
Don't take my word for it
Dear Sgt. Grit.
I don't spend a lot of time writing "Letters to the Editor" so to speak but I must make a counterpoint. I am sick and tired of the hearing crap about Corpsmen not being Marines. I agree. They are not Marines. They are MARINES. Don't take my word for it. Go visit the new Marine Museum at Quantico and look at the Medal of Honor wall. Not only does it honor each and every Corpsman was has been awarded the Medal of Honor, it also honors Signalman Douglas Munro of the U.S. Coastguard. Signal Munro died while saving countless Marines. In every case, the Corpsmen were awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of Marines. In most cases, they died doing their duty. To say that these men do not deserve to be called Marines is ludicrous. They served their country and cared for their Marines with pride. Robert Bush, William Holyburton, Fred Lester, Frances Pierce, George Wahlen, Jack Williams, John Willis, Douglas Munro, Edward Benfold, William Charette, Richard Dewert, Francis Hammond, John Kilmer, Donald Ballard, Wayne Caron, Robert Ingram and David Ray were Marines to the core (no pun intended).
While I'm at it, let me remember:
We didn't have yellow foot prints.
I don't know what OOHRAH means.
We didn't have hip pockets.
We didn't have Lance Corporals.
We didn't wear gabardines.
We didn't have short sleeved shirts.
We wore dungarees with marker pen stripes.
The Phonetic Alphabet was: Able, Baker, Charlie etc.
We had serial numbers.
We wore Battle Jackets which were sometimes referred to as Ike Jackets.
We wore a "P" Cutter with the Battle Jacket.
We wore a Marine Corps Emblem not an EGA.
Boy, that sure makes me sound old. Whoa Nellie, I am old.
Kern, G. D, Sgt. 1190828/2533
Tribute to Omarfrog
I lost my husband almost 10 yrs ago. His first love was U.S.M.C., second love was wife and family and third love was American Legion. We were married 36 yrs. Due to remark made by his mother in law, we started collecting frogs. Since his call sign in Korea was Omar, he became Omarfrog on the computer. I coped for a long time pretending he was on his 2 week active training. Last Dec, to celebrate my 65th birthday I decided to keep him near my heart and designed this tattoo.
widow of Gunny John E. Mummert
How do they turn corners
Sgt Grit: Recently it was our pleasure to host the Marine Corps Band, PISC at our Annual Apple Festival. The band's appearance was arranged by our local recruiter Ssgt Brandon Hampson, RSS Chillicothe, Ohio.
After the parade, we were asking them what they thought of coming to Jackson, Ohio?
First thought: where the h&ll is Jackson Ohio?
Second thought: Are we playing in a corn field?
Third thought: Where are you going to put 50,000 people?
Last thought: we want to come back.
These kids took the time to talk to two children whose fathers were at Parris Island; talked to any parent or relative who has sons or daughters serving overseas and tried to put anyone at ease.
The gentlemen in charge of the parade stated there were just as many people here as showed up for the Ohio State Marching Band two years ago. These kids were given a rightfully deserved standing ovation all around the parade route.
In a nut shell, if anyone thinks the Marines of today do not measure up to those of the past they are sadly mistaken. FYI, the most comments received was "how do they do that movement to turn corners?" Our thanks to the Marine Corps and this band for their participation.
Veteran Service Officer
Jackson County Ohio
Find As Many As I Could
Dear Sgt Grit
A few years ago I decided to find as many of our Plt. and D I's as I could. Our Plt 356 was formed June 14 1957 with SSgt Joe Curley as Senior DI. Sgt Tom J Hayek as Junior DI. Also there was a Sgt Carson at the start but he wasn't with us long. I advertised in "Leatherneck" and heard from S/Sgt Joe Curley. I met him in Branson Mo. last year. I found Sgt Hayek through the internet. I visited him and his wife Peg this summer. I have found several of our Plt members. Recently in the "St Joseph News Press" from St Joe Mo. there was an article about 5 class mates that joined the Marines and left for boot camp same time as I did. So I called one of them. I guess they were in Plt 358 of our same series. As to the question as to when we arrived at MCRD gate It was after midnight. Dale Hartley 1607484.
Never a dispute with the Seabees
Some have written about the bound between Marines and Navy Corpsmen.
I would add that while stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Marine Barracks "61"-"62" I observed that although the "Jarheads" were always spoiling for a fight with any "regular" "Swabbies" who dared to come up to the EM Club at Marineside, there was never a dispute with the Seabees who were also stationed on the island.
They could come to our amphitheater, club, PX and we could go to theirs without incident. There was a respect afforded these guys that other Navy personnel did not get.
Wm. Joseph, L/Cpl. "60"-"64"
In late 1967, our platoon (Echo 2/9) was returning to Camp Carroll after a long op in the bush. As we were nearing Carroll at a far distant, I noticed some men wearing white up at the camp. I asked one of our Marines who they were and he eagerly explained to me that those guys were on mess duty and we would have a hot meal waiting for us when we arrived. Sure enough, when we arrived we unloaded our gear, got cleaned up and headed for the mess tent. I could not believe who I saw serving mashed potatoes. Non other but my drill instructor whom I hadn't seen in 14 months. I was really surprised that he remembered me. I didn't know whether to shake his hand or hit him. SSgt Myron Brookshire completed his tour on the drill field and returned to his primary MOS which was a cook.
Almost 40 years later I thought about Brookshire and assumed that he too was with 2/9. Perhaps H&S Co or HQ Co.
Anyway, with the help of my brother-in-law who's a PI, I located Brookshires address and phone number. I wanted to call him and thank him for making me a Marine and also invite him to a 2/9 reunion. I dialed his number. One ring, two rings three rings and there's his voice. His very distinctive voice instructing me to leave a message. I froze. The flashback of SSgt Brookshire bellowing orders in my face over came me and I froze. I hung up. When my heart stopped racing and I got my composure back, I thought to myself. 'I'm 58 years old. I'm not afraid of that 'old man'.
I dialed again. I got that very distinctive voice message again and I froze again. I hung up and wrote him a letter. After several weeks had passed, I assumed that he just didn't care to relive the past or he just didn't remember me. Why should he remember me?
Over a year had passed. One day I was at the golf course and my wife called me and asked if I knew a Myron Brookshire. I couldn't believe it. He was at the local Denny's waiting to have a cup of coffee with me. I raced over there. He spotted me right away and likewise. He stood to shake my hand. I didn't remember him being so tall. Still lean with grayish-red hair. Cowboy boots, levis and a western shirt. He was sporting a cavalry type hat with a large anchor globe and eagle pinned right in the front. Should of been a smokey bear. He was still fit for a man in his late 60's. We sat and talked for 2 hours. A fine gentleman he was. He retired from the Marine Corps as a warrant officer.
Myron Brookshire is now living in Arizona where he is a spokesman for the wild mustang program with the Bureau of Land Management.
GYSGT JOHN D. FOSTER
Echo 2/9 Vietnam 67 & 68
1st Radio Bn 2008 Reunion
San Diego, CA ..... May 15-18, 2008
The Bay Club Hotel at 2131 Shelter Island
Contact the Hotel at 1-800-672-0800, or
Rick Swan at rswan @ swanassoc .com , or
R.J. Zike at rzike @ cox .net , or
check the website at www.swanassoc.com/1stradiobn/index.htm
Dear Sgt Grit:
First let me say thank you for both a great catalog and a great newsletter. Sometimes you leave me in stitches and sometimes you leave me in tears. I find myself wanting to go and do just like I did 13 yrs. ago but I am older and softer now. I have, however, found a couple of other ways to help in the WOT.
I have traded in my M-16A2 for the postage stamp. I have included a link to a great website that connects deployed Marines with the folks back home. Every day there is a new posting from Marines around the world who need supplies and toiletries that they can't get from their PXs. I would appreciate it greatly if you could share this link with my brothers and sisters out there. I have also heard about an off road magazine who sends off road lights overseas for HMMWVs. I will add that one as well but I support ANYMARINE.COM http://www.anymarine.com/ and hope you will allow me to share this organization with everyone else.
I often think about Parris Island and reminisce with a reservist I work with. I have lost track of my buddies over the years but I often meet new ones and although I don't have many stories to share, I'm happy to listen to theirs.
Lastly, Happy Birthday, Marines! 232 years and still the greatest fighting force in the world.
Attention on deck
Even though I am a "Cold War" Marine (1955 - 58), I weep every time we lose a member of our Corps, especially those who saw the worst of war and the best of the Corps. This week, we remembered one of these heroes, Dick Thomas. Dick entered the Corps in 1944, at the height of WW II, and after boot camp and ITR was assigned to the 1st Div in time for both Okinawa and Iwo Jima. He served with the 1st AND 3rd Divs. during those terribly trying days. It was my privilege to hand-make an insignia plaque honoring him two years ago.
Dick had a rare form of Parkinson's Disease that robbed him of his ability to speak, but it never dampened his enthusiasm for the luncheons we Marines (superannuated detachment, as we call ourselves) have every month or so. In recent days he was diminished in body, but not in mind or spirit. On October 19, he took his final assignment in the great security detail . . . "If the Army and the Navy ever look on heavens scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines ".
Attention on deck! Dick is passing by. Rest well, friend.
You've earned it.
Never Say Die
Here is my Marine tat. The bottom reads Never Say Die. Hope you enjoy it.
Cpl Alfred S. Meyer
2nd Mar Div, 2nd FSSG, 2nd Supply Bn, Supply Co.
Veteran's Day Address
As commander of our VFW Post, I was requested to give a little speech for this Veterans Day. My thought was that I would pull from my personal experiences.
I looked back upon the 23 years in the Corps and I think that one instance stands out for me. I was on recruiting duty assigned to my home town of Houston, Texas and later transferred to Galveston, Texas to replace a retiring Marine. I was on duty for one day at my new location in Galveston when I received a phone call from a Sister Angelina at one of the local Catholic schools. She asked if I could come out the next day and give a talk on Veterans Day. Of course I accepted without a thought.
Going back to recruiting school, we had to memorize canned speeches for different occasions that we may have to give during our tour in recruiting.
I started thinking, what would be appropriate for a junior high class, what would get their attention and at the same time be informative.
I broke out the books and somehow I just didn't think any of the speeches that we had to learn would get across what I wanted to say. I did a little research on Veteran's Day and below is what I presented to that group of students.
On this upcoming Veterans Day, I think that we as a nation should look back and re-instate the meaning of Veterans Day and what it means to each of us.
Let us take a trip back in time and look at how Veterans Day was originated and why.
World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926 and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. Veterans.
In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans.
Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.
What is a veteran. Where do they come from. What is the significance of making a national holiday in remembrance of this group of people. I will try to explain my views of what a veteran is and why the deserve this day set fourth back in 1926. Webster describes a veteran as a former member of the armed services.
Somehow, to me, that answer is incomplete. It describes a job, but what is a veteran as a person.
If you had to describe a veteran, it would be very difficult. They did not just appear in a cloud of smoke as perhaps a magicians trick. Neither are they a highly specialized people, but they are a special people. Throughout the years in our nations history, these men and women stepped up to serve their nations call. A veteran could be a rancher from Texas, a school teacher from New York or a farmer from Iowa. If you were to see a veteran walking down the street, how could you identify this person. If he or she was in uniform, the identification would be easy, however, if this person was not in uniform, what then. It would be almost impossible to identify these individuals as they could very easily be your grand father, father, mother, brother or sister. This veteran could even be the paper boy that used to deliver your paper to you. One thing for sure, they would be walking very proudly in the knowledge that they are a member of a very elite organization. An organization that sets them apart from their neighbors and families of whom they have sworn to protect.
What I am saying is that a veteran is no different than any other person you may see walking down the street, but these men and women are very special indeed. When their nation called, these men and women stood up to answer their nations call. They left their jobs, homes, families, their secure position in life to honor their nations commitment and possibly put themselves in harms way. This is the creed of the veteran, to serve their country in time of peace and sometimes in war to protect its nations borders against danger both foreign and domestic.
Therefore, on this upcoming Veterans Day, it is only fitting and proper that we remember why Veterans Day was originated and why. Throughout the years from the American Revolution to the present, there have been men and women of all races, religions and life styles answer their countries call.
There will always be this special group of men and women to step forward when needed.
We should therefore, honor all veterans both past and present, both having served and still serving in the Armed Forces of the United States throughout the world.
We should also offer a prayer for those in foreign lands and in harms way that they return to their loved ones safely.
I will close this with this small comment:
All Gave Some....Some Gave All
Needless to say, I received a standing ovation. Later we saluted the flags with the Pledge of Allegiance and following that, we said the Lords Prayer.
It would be an honor if you were to print this in your newsletter in remembrance for all veterans both living and passed on.
" Freedom IS NOT Free "
GySgt Robert Eastmade (USMC Ret)
VFW Post 981
Arlington Heights, IL
In the Dictionary
Howdy Sarge -
Just read the latest newsletter after coming home from my cardiologist and am reminded of an incident that occurred on a cold, windy afternoon in November '52. It was in Ascom City where a bunch of us greenhorn replacements clambered off the back of duty 6X6 to find out the what/where/when etc. (We already knew the "why" and "how" - or thought we did.)
We were met by then-TSgt. Ted Bouknight from Brooklyn (a WWII veteran of a few Pacific campaigns) who passed out some timely advice. In his best Brooklyn-ese, he let us know that if any of us were concerned about "buying the farm", we could forget about it since that process started the day we were born and it was now up to someone else to determine the "when".
He added that "sympathy" was in very short supply but if any of us really had a need for it, we could find all that was available in the dictionary "right between sh!t and syphilis". An early version of "git 'er done"?
Thanks to that advice, the next couple months are going to go smoother, I'm sure. I'm awaiting heart bypass surgery that's needed to get me strong enough to have a tumor cut out of my right lung. So, to all you parents and relatives of Marines, this "attitude" will sustain your sons/daughters/nephews/nieces/ husbands/wives through whatever they have to face.
MSgt. USMC (Ret) 1952-1973
P.S. I actually chuckled when the heart doc informed me of the heart problem AFTER I had been told about the lung cancer. Git 'er done!
Let us not forget that in the words of Chesty himself, "Ribbon Creek was and is a tragedy." But, Sgt, McKeon was intoxicated and off-duty when he woke his platoon after midnight for their march through the swamps. Through his negligence towards his duty as a DI; SIX young men were lost to our Corps and our Country. I don't want to take a contrarian viewpoint but the Drill Instructor in this case was mentally impaired by his intoxication and made dangerously wrong decisions. Do I think training in swamps is good? Certainly, and especially at night. Would I want to be led into said swamp by a drunk? Ask yourself the same question. And ask yourself: Is a drunken leader a good role model? Chesty was right when he said that training should be as close to combat as possible, but Chesty was never drunk when he lead Marines. And I was never drunk when I lead Marines.
Sgt. USMC 1966-1971
One Little Toddler
The other evening was "Trick-or-Treat" in our neighborhood. All along our street the grown-ups were in lawn chairs on our driveways passing out candy & treats to the costumed kids. One little toddler, a girl not more that 2 years old, was wearing a "Buzz Lightyear" costume. Her mother pointed out my salty, faded, red ball cap with the EGA on it. The little girl immediately said "Ooorahh"!
Needless to say, she got an EXTRA handful of candy from me!
S/Sgt USMC 3516/3531
I am not sure exactly where to send this to, whether you have a forum specific column for this sort of thing or not. Frankly, I am disgusted. I must say something specifically to some of the Marines, and former Marines, that I know read this website, concerning maintaining oneself to Marine standards. Our motto, Semper Fidelis. This mean always faithful. What specifically are you always faithful too? Everything that you believe in as a person. With our married brothers and sisters in arms, this includes remaining faithful to their significant other. So what happens when one is unfaithful in marriage? Does this then mean that they can remain faithful to everything else? Questioning ones integrity on one thing starts a chain of events that only leads downhill. Doing things such as committing adultery are a disgrace to oneself and to the Corps, and reflect on every single person that dons the uniform. People hear about it or see it happening, and think "oh, he's a Marine, I bet that girl he's with isn't even his wife." Its like one of those punishable crimes that is severely under investigated and under punished, and frankly it makes me sick. Marines, please take some pride in yourself and keep you word. Remain faithful to what you believe in. your actions reflect the rest of us as a whole.
Human After All
I am 70 years old now, but still a Marine at heart. I will never forget nor regret how tough our DIs where on us. At the time most of us were sure we would do them serious harm first chance we got. As it turned out I remained at MCRD after boot camp and went through radio/telegraphers school. I had occasions where I got back to the old boot area and visited with my old DIs. It turned out they were human after all and were just doing an important job, and doing it well. Making Marines out of young boys. Turning them into men takes real talent, determination, and pride in what they are doing. God love 'em.
Semper fi Sgt. grit!
Once a Marine..always a Marine, ooorah! did you know that the Marines in Okinawa are being relocated to Guam? its suppose to take effect on the year 2012. I am so proud that they would be station here. at one time, they were Marines station here (Barracks Duty) but they were moved out in the late 80's. I'm excited and happy, now I can sleep better at night knowing that our shores and streets are guarded by the few, the proud the MARINES! ooorah! love reading the articles all happy and sad...salute to Sgt. Grit!
LCpl R.C.Blas, Guam, USA
Walk The Walk
I just read a few write ins and got the biggest chuckle in awhile. I'm going back 40 years ago June, when I entered boot camp at San Diego, MCRD at twilight hours. The names of my three D.I.'s are still on the tip of my tongue like it was yesterday. S/Sgt Trejo, S/Sgt Jordan and Sgt Garcia were the three toughest people this young 17 year old smart a** ever met. I will never forget what these men taught me, nor do I want to forget it. Yes, one of the three put a a** whipping on this big mouth young punk. Yet, the