After a rather strenuous afternoon of "fun and games" the Senior Drill Instructor, SSGT Hartsock, stood before the formation and simply stated, "ladies, if you think this is bad, what do you think will happen if the bad guys get you"......

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I Bit My Tongue

Hello Sgt. Grit,
Just wanted pass on a couple of thoughts regarding Marine posers and the status of Corpsman.

My only experience with someone that claimed to be a Marine but wasn't (in my opinion anyway), occurred about three years after I got out in '84. I had just started working in a plastics factory at the time and one of the other new machine operators was wearing a Marine Corps t-shirt. I asked him when he got out and he said '82. I asked him where he was stationed and he said Parris Island. "Oh were you in admin, supply, motor-t?" "No I was just stationed there" he replies. Puzzled, I asked him how long he was in and he said "two months." "How'd you only do two months?" says I. "I quit", says he. I asked how the h&ll you "quit" the Marine Corps and he says he just didn't want to be a Marine anymore, so he quit. I was dumbfounded to say the least and a little p**sed that he would be passing himself off as a Marine when he in fact he was dropped for being a non-hacking t**d. Instead of reading him the riot act and telling him to never wear the shirt again, I bit my tongue and just shook my head in disgust (his Mom was my supervisor and I really needed that job), and I've regretted not saying something ever since.

Regarding referring to Corpsman as Marines. I work for the Post Office now and at my station we have enough Marines to form our own "fire team" and two Corpsman. Both Corpsman are Vietnam vets (one of them took an NVA bullet to the gut and had half of his stomach removed). Every November 10th I pass out small gifts that I've purchased from you to all of them wishing them a Happy Birthday. I walked up to one of the Corpsman to hand him his "Death Cheaters" hat and said "Happy Birthday Marine!" He looked at me puzzled and said "But I'm not a Marine." I told him "That any Corpsman, especially one that took care of Marines in combat, has earned the title Marine." Especially if one of them has taken a bullet to the gut!

During my time in the Corps (if my memory hasn't failed me) Corpsman and Chaplains serving with Marine units were the only Naval personnel authorized to wear the Marine Corps uniform. They are so authorized by the Commandant because of the unique bond that those two MOS's have with the Marine Corps. That uniform says they are Marines! If it's good enough for the Commandant, it's sure as h*ll good enough for me. Like one of your bumper stickers grudgingly acknowledges, the "Best Part of the Corps is the Corpsman" (we can argue about that over a few beers).
Peter Lukic (6112)


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If It Was Easy

I recall just before my EAOS of June '77, I was at Lejeune with 3/2. I was offered DI school when I reenlisted for 3 more. It was explained to me then, that there was "new standards" for DI's in that there would be no more "hands on, no yelling, no obscenities" basically all the stuff I was subjected to and came out the better for it, would not be allowable. This basic training is in part what separates the USMC from the others. If it was easy, then everyone could do it. Sure, at the time, it was a measuring of physical/physiological toughness to see if you can handle it or will you crack. Better to crack now than in some muddy hole or situation where it gets you and other people killed. There's no "time outs because I'm stressed" in battle. I would have liked to try my hand at the Drill field but as it was explained to me, I turned it down back then.
N. Miller 1971-78

Shameful And Disgraceful

Since Sgt. Grit held the contest for the precious black sand of Iwo Jima, I am seeing plenty of it on Ebay for sale. Let me just say: I would have loved to be one of the winners of this precious bit of memorabilia! I entered, but oh well. If you received one and have it listed for auction on Ebay, Shame on you Big time! I really don't think Grits intention was for those to get a financial gain from it. Just my opinion.

You are absolutely right. It was not my intent for Iwo Jima sand to be sold. H&ll....I'm the capitalist pig and I didn't sell it. It is sacred ground and should be treated as such. Shameful behavior, just shameful.
Sgt Grit

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I Have A Friend

I was really disappointed that I didn't get the bag of sand. I know I answered all the questions right. I have a friend who is a Marine Iwo Jima vet, whom I wanted to present the sand to. I just noticed in this latest batch of letters, that Marines were having a hard time trying to figure out how to present their bags of sand. I wouldn't have had a problem at all. I really enjoy your Sgt. Grit News.

Don Renwick/E-4 1954-1957

Mentally Prepared

I was in Plt. 25, MCRD San Diego Jan. 53. Receiving barracks was something else, frightening to say the least. A good friend as well as my brother had gone thru earlier so I was mentally prepared, I thought. Sure some guys got banged around, but our DI's had to cull out the ones that could not make it in combat, plus they only had a short while to get the civilian out of us and make us Marines. I grew to where I loved "boot camp" and was saddened when it was all over. We went from Diego straight to Tent Camp 2 at Camp Pendleton.

I love the Corps and am busy in the Marine Corps League. Would love to hear from anyone who went through training with me.
Ronald Payne, former Sergeant

Two Salty Lance Corporals

Sgt Grit,

I recently took note of the Battle-Jacket issue that has been getting press in your newsletter. I went through boot camp during the last vestiges of the brown shoe (leather) era and was issued one Battle-Jacket and one green blouse as part of my basic clothing issue. I cannot speak for others; but the Marines in my units never referred to this article of clothing as an Ike-Jacket. I do remember that the Battle-Jacket was very comfortable and very popular - especially amongst those who were not issued one.

Two Salty LCPLs I've enclosed a photo of two "salty" Lance Corporals (my buddy Ron Selkellick and myself) taken behind the Communications Company, Schools Demonstration Troops' barracks at Quantico, Virginia sometime in 1962.

Wayne 'Mac' McNeir
Master Sergeant
USMC Retired

First Assignments

This is to the article written by Doc Scott. What you did prior to leaving for the Orient is your story, being Navy trained, but what you mentioned as for the transport, by ship at the beginning days of Vietnam was very accurate. I myself went on the ship named US Breckinridge. I also went to the schools in the N.T.A., then known as the Northern Training Area. God, the jungle there was worse that Vietnam. I was in B-1/9, & I was on the US Okanogan when arriving at Da Nang like you. I remember the first assignments & escalating there on. Your record of events & locations are very good to what I remember of then. I was by MOS in those days 0331, M-60. When deployed to red beach I was not issued any ammo for the M-60, but was given two rounds for my 45. I do remember that I was in a little shock for this act, as my father was in the Marines #976402 in WW II, in the Pacific. We were in the very beginning days of Vietnam for an assigned fighting force by Marines in that land. I know as a grunt that we all considered the Corpsman as a brother in arms. Thank you for being there.
Sgt. Jack Drea # 2097674
B 1/9 03-65/10-65
F 2/9 10-65/04-66

To One-Up Me


There seems to be a lot of talk about people claiming to be Marines. That doesn't bother me too much, as stated in many of your messages, it's easy to prove them wrong. We know what it takes, we know where we've been and how we got there. We know how we felt when we were handed our EGA for the first time. We know how we felt when we carried a buddy (and his gear) out of harms way. We know the chill down your spine when you hear the Marines Hymn played, especially on the Bag Pipes. Something surreal about that.

No one, regardless of how well a lie they tell can ever know those feelings. Remember "The Uniform does NOT make the Marine, the Marine, makes the Man.

Also as a sidebar. Over the years I've met hundreds of people that clamed membership in other services Army, Navy Air Force. Except for my Brother-in-Law who was an Air Force MP for 22 years and my sister who had a clerical MOS in the Air Force, everyone I meet is either Special Forces, Rangers, Airborne, Seal, UDT and Air Force Special Ops. I'm heartened that just by telling them that I was a Marine, requires them to one-up me with tales of their daring do. So I guess even our brother services have their fakers.

The difference is that they want to be something special within their service.

We Marines don't have that problem, we know were special, after all......Were MARINES.

To all my Brothers & Sisters "In Harms Way" Your always in my thoughts, wish I could be with you.

Best Wishes, Prayers, a Safe Return and "SEMPER FI".

Kept Me Alive

What is this 'abused' recruits stuff. I was a proud member of Recruit Training Platoon 111, know what..all that 'abuse' kept me alive during my 4 year tour with 2ndBn4thMar in many hot spots. If you have recruit abuse complaints, cry on the Navy Chaplains shoulder. I am alive today, at age 65, because of the 'no-nonsense' training my DI's gave of themselves. The Marines don't claim no abuse wimps.
Sgt. E-5 Darrell J. Balde, 1877090, 2/4....and better for it.
Semper Fi

Older Brother And Father

Family Service

I read your Sgt. Grit American Courage Newsletter each and every time it comes out.
Being a former Marine from 1992-2002, I served with my older brother and father in a Marine Reserve Unit.
I just wanted to let you know I appreciate everything you do for our Devil Dogs and the other military organizations.

Semper Fidelis
Sgt. S. Lopez, USMCR

Not NO, but H&LL NO

. When I put my feet in those yellow footprints in 1966 at PI, I had no idea what to expect as every other swinging "richard" on that bus.
We were put through some grueling stuff. I mean, this is when the PFT ruled, not the wimpy PRT. We didn't have tennis shoes. We ran every day {and some nights} in our boots and we were always in full combat uniform. The herringbone had just left the ranks prior to my arrival.
And did those satines every look sharp with 110% starch. But, I regress.......

When you made a mistake you can count on getting a boot in your butt or a hand across your face. Many a time a DI would come in front of me and putting his finger right in my forehead to make a point. None of these were acts of aggression. We didn't really understand at the time {another reason for the finger in the forehead} that these were moves to "Preserve us as Marines." In the movie, "Full Metal Jacket" a statement by the DI was made, "Marines die. That's what Marines do." I am offended by that statement and I'm sure it was just a movie stunt. Marines are not put on this earth to die. We are hear to "fight for rights and freedom and to keep out honor clean." "Die" is not in our vocabulary. There was but a short time to teach us so many things. And these DI's did an "OUTSTANDING" job. As proof..... I'm still alive and I thank my Marine DI's for that.

I signed my only son up for the Marine Corps in 1994 and he spent 8 glorious years in our beloved Corps. He was in a training accident in Hawaii and Discharged on a medical. Broke his heart. However, when I found out they had "Stress cards" at PI, I about lost it. What's next, "silk skivies?"

Now, when we talk about aggression of DI's at PI or that other place, I say &%$@#*^%&* to that. And to be a wimpy recruit and turn in a DI for doing his job, that's BS. The Marine Corps didn't offer you a rose garden and they don't care what you think {I'm talking boot camp here}. The DI's are charged with the heavy responsibility of turning young men into today's finest. Leave the DI's alone and let them do their F___ing job. "We" Marines appreciate it.

Semper Fi,
J.M. Clontz USMC {Ret}
Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Iraq

Stopped At A Traffic Light

I was driving through town the other day, stopped at a traffic light and the guy next to me honked his horn so I rolled down the window. He said he was following the four best bumper stickers he has ever seen through town and just wanted to thank best bumper stickers me...I told him I would cover my truck with them to let people know how I feel, but I thought this would be a good start..Thanks, Sgt. Grit for the great products...

Semper Fi,
Todd Rupprecht, Cpl of Marines '90-'95...
(I actually enjoyed my time at 29 Palms...)

110th Regiment

Sgt. Grit,
Has there been any recent uncovering of any famous person or people in the media passing themselves off as a Marine vet or any armed forces vet for that matter? Just read your last newsletter and Doc Herdina mentioned coming across several people committing this shameless act. I would imagine that with the Iraq war still hot n' heavy there are many people out there passing themselves off as Army, Navy or Marine combat vets, but I have not bumped into any recently. As the good Doc alluded to, it truly is sad when someone does this. I did come across a "piece of dung" a number of years ago who saw my "USMC - Death Before Dishonor" tattoo and commented that he too was in the Corps. When I asked him what his MOS was, he looked at me and then stammered something about infantry and that he was in Viet Nam, but did not say 0311. I obviously suspected that he was lying and I started to get a little annoyed. Not being a Viet Nam vet myself I was not able to ask him any questions about that era that might trip him up, but I did ask him what unit he was in and he mumbled something like "110th regiment". I think that is when I really got p!ssed, and for a moment I considered asking him a few more questions to make him sweat, but I just replied, "yeah, sure" and walked away. He was not worth the effort. I realize this sort of thing is probably far more commonplace than many of us are aware of, but it really disgust me when people do this. Just wondering if any others have experienced this sort of cowardly act?

Semper Fi brothers,
Mike Kunkel
Corporal 0331
Weapons Plt, Lima 3/8, 2nd MAR DIV

Bidding War

Picture on Sanjo Street

Here's a photo of that famous Jacket. Much more comfortable than the "Blouse". When I got out I almost had a bidding war going for it. Should have kept it, but.

This picture was taken on Sanjo Street, Nara Japan 1953. I was a Corporal then.

Bob Schwerin S/Sgt USMC

Remember Falling Out

We were issued Battle jackets, and Khaki's and Tropical Uniforms. I still remember falling out in formation the night SSgt McKeon took his recruits to ribbon creek. That was April 8, 1956, and we graduated from boot camp on 14 April 1956 We lived in Quonset Huts, and we all scrubbed the deck with a tooth brush. More than once we all had the DI's give us attitude adjustments. I think I turned out all right, 23 years Marine Corps, 10 years as an MCJROTC instructor,11 years as an NJROTC instructor. Thank you Marine Corps.

MSgt Bill Dugan
Platoon 27,4th Battalion Parris Island

A Better Person

Sgt Grit

I have read several of your letters that have come from fellow Marines. I say Semper Fi to all fellow Marines, that are still serving or have been released from their duties. I'am from the old school of Marines. The young Marines that I work with tell me that I'm like the sticker that I have (Not as lean, Not as mean, but still a Marine). That's me all the way. I was in boot camp at Parris island Plt; 129 1st Bln (B)company in the early seventies. I have been out of the Corps for thirty two years now and I still and will always love the Corps. I lost friends and fellow Marines in Vietnam and after Vietnam, they will live on in my mind and my heart. You can take a Marine from the Corps, but your can never take the Corps from a Marine. It will live inside of them for ever I don't how young or how old, it puts something in your heart that seems to live for ever even after you are gone. I must say I enjoy reading some of the letters even the one from the old Marines. I didn't have all this new equipment, mre's, hmv, etc. etc., I had M-14 and c- rations. Had my -ss beat four times in one day for reasons I still don't know but it made me Marine-up. We were spit on slapped pushed kicked extra punishment all this and I'm fine, I'm a better person and tougher for it. I still remember my Senior Drill Instructor SSgt. Dillon and I will always remember this man for what he make of me in my boot camp days. I hope that all Marines will live their lives to the fullest because you never know when it is your time. I hope they all have God in their lives and are blessed beyond measure. It has been a pleasure to serve with the best and to have known a few of the best.
L/CPL Charles Harden, "h" btry, 3rd Bn 10 Marines, 2nd Marine Div, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
Now with the Laurens County Sheriff Dept. Dublin GA. Semper Fi to one and all Marines

Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders

Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders visit the Marines in Iraq. Cpl Marks with knows how to roll! That's my boy - a chip off the old block!

David Marks
Plano, Texas

Ditty Bag

Hello Sgt. Grit, just a quick thank you for all you do for Marines Past and Present. I usually read your news late at night and yes , well up some. Guess you can call it pride... for Country, Corps.
I graduated from 2d Recruit TrngBn, MCRDep, Parris Island, S. C., Co. K. Platoon 204, April 1964.
I.T.R. Decal on Ditty Bag There isn't a day that I do not thank my Drill Instructors for the Good Beginnings in my life. Their names were Sgt's M. M. Wingard , R. L. Kirschner and C. M. Britton. I completed Infantry training at Camp Geiger the following May.
I have attached a picture of the 1st I. T. R. Decal on my original Ditty Bag, which I still use to this day for hunting ammo and gear.
It's a bit of the Corps I literally hold on to.
Semper Fidelis.
R..A. Simms
Sgt. E-5 / 6441
USMC 1964-1968
VMT-2 / 103

Always Treated Like

I have to agree with LCpl Orbinati and Doc. Scott, We FMF Corpsmen have been through a lot with Marines. I spent most of my career with The Corps. and was always treated like a Marine, one of the guys. My time in Nam was much like Doc. Scotts, beach landing and all, 1965, 1st Recon BN. Now 40 yrs. later, I belong to The Marine Corps League and have the full respect of all the Marine. Once a Marine/FMF Doc. Always a Marine. All you FMF Corpsmen, wear your Marine uniform with PRIDE. I DO.
Doc. Morong Ret/USN/USMC

Ack Ack Jack

Concerning phony want to be Marines. I was in the Corps for 4 years 1963 through 67. 64/66 with B Recon at K Bay and then shipped out to Camp Schwab Okinawa, on the 10th of March 65 (my birthday). We hit the beach on May 7th 65 at Chu Lai; my last duty station was Quantico, VA as an Enlisted Instructor of mines, booby traps and demo, as well as small arms training instructor on occasion.

Once out of the Corps I attended college and got a job with the Secret Service as a Uniformed Division Federal Officer. I spent a little over 26 years at the White House (1970/97), and this is where I met my first phony Marine.(another UD/ Officer) I was in the locker room getting into uniform when I was approached by this individual who introduced himself to me and stated he was also in Nam and a former Marine. I asked what outfit and when he was in country, he responded by saying something unintelligible, so I asked him to repeat what he had said and again I could not understand him. I then asked where in Nam he was stationed, he mumbled something and then said something with his hand over his mouth (mumbling) and then said "I don't like talking about it). He then excused himself and said he had to get to post.

Once he left one of my friends who was listening to our conversation addressed me by saying, "I see you met Ack Ack Jack. I said who? And he was laughing by now and said Ack Ack Jack. He then informed me that this individual would approach former Recon Marines and other individuals who served and try and pass himself off as whatever they were and whatever branch of the service they were a part of. Needles to say, that from that day forward he kept away from me as I let it be known to every new guy who came on board about Ack Ack Jack before he had an opportunity to try and pass himself off as a member of the US Armed Forces.

Cpl. Tony D
B Recon
PI Plt 166/Hawaii/Okinawa/Chu Lai Viet Nam/Quantico, VA
Semper Fi

All Over

In the 13 Sep 2007 Sgt. Grit Newsletter in a Story by S/Sgt T.B. Dudley titled Oh, All Over he writes about the 2500 MOS field as being spooks or classified radio communications. Well a lot of Marines who laid field phone lines, and did radio relay, and set up communications other than Radio would be interested in that. 2531 was a field radio operator, my MOS. I didn't go to school to learn Morse code or I would have been a 2533. There was training for high-speed key, the use of that required a high clearance. I too was all over the place; radio operators were in need, so we got lent out a lot. I was in Third Mar Div, Headquarters Btl, Headquarters Co., Radio Platoon out side Da Nang Air Base in fall of 65. Until the arrival of 5th Communications Btl. when I was transferred to them. I went places with both outfits that I wasn't sure who I was with or actually where (didn't pay enough attention I suppose), but I was T.A.D. to them. But I knew my parent organization. I am sorry but I have never heard of whatever the h&ll Dudley was talking about. Maybe he just didn't give enough info. Or maybe he also tried to narrow the info too much making all 2500's fit what he was doing. His was a special job within the 2500 field. Trouble is it could be confusing and could make him sound a little like a wannabe himself, except that he did know what outfits were his parent Organization. You may not know where you were but you probably should know who your with, remembering your parent org. So a remark like "oh all over" with out a little explanation like Dudley gave, should be a warning sign. Some things you don't forget. Service number, Sr. DI, outfits, etc. Just had to say something, I don't know everything but I never have heard a radio operator referred to as a spook, but it doesn't mean they weren't. I was in Two Div (2nd and 3rd) and two Air Wings (2nd and 3rd) sort of, all over.
Ken Travis (63-68)

Semper Fidelis

pic of tattoo

Hey just wanted to drop this pic of my tat.
Cpl Adams
B co 1st LAI

A Big Pile In The Middle

When I enlisted in March 1972, straight out of high school, I was sent to MCRD, PISC. I was in 2nd Battalion, Plt. 233. We were told our platoon was the first to try out the new 13 week boot camp. This was to include basic and ITR. We did go to Camp Geiger and New River for our training, though. We had two or three different SDI's and several JDI's but the only one I can remember from beginning to end was a short, mean little *&% $#@#$ - Sgt. Lee. He took nothing from anyone - and gave h&ll to all. I don't remember being allowed to have anything that was carbonated until the day before graduation. The strongest thing we had to drink was grape juice. Coming back from chow or class it was nothing to find all the bunks, foot lockers, etc. in a big pile in the middle of the squad bay and being told we had two minutes to get everything back in order and bunk made properly or we would start all over again. After graduating from PI on June 19, 1972, see attached - I was stationed at WERS-27, MWSG-27, 2nd MAW, Cherry Point, NC.

April 1942 platoon On a different note - could anyone tell me if they, or their fathers, remember being in the attached platoon? It is Plt. 237? or 231? The picture is dated April 1942 and my father, Aubrey "Mac" Hunter, is fourth from the left in the first row. There are signatures on the back, see attached of personnel in his platoon. My father passed away on October 31, 1963 when I was 9 years old. If any one has any information concerning my father I would greatly appreciate it. No one in the family can seem to tell me anything about his time in (everyone on his side of the family is deceased). I have pictures of him standing next to a truck point out a Buy Bonds sign.

Ben Hunter

Gen. Pace, 2nd platoon reunited

Sept. 5, 2007;
Submitted on: 09/05/2007 11:10:19 AM ;
Story ID#: 200795111019
By Cpl. Ryan Blaich, II Marine Expeditionary Force (FWD)

KARMAH, Iraq (Sept. 5, 2007) -- Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Peter Pace, made a unique visit to Marines stationed here, Sept. 4. As far as meetings with four-star generals usually go, this event was much less formal. It seemed more like a gathering of relatives, a way for Gen. Pace to connect the hardened war fighters of today to the heroes of his past. It was evident he saw himself, and his old unit, in the Marines who stood in front of him.

Nearly 40 years have passed since then 2nd Lt. Pace first stepped into a combat zone as a platoon commander. The year was 1968 and the battle was infamously known as the Tet Offensive in Vietnam. It was there he battled against communism and the hand of fate, which made a profound impression on Gen. Pace's commitment to country and Corps. The event marked a time in his life never to be forgotten throughout his career as a Marine infantry officer.

Decades later and less than a month before he retires from office, Gen. Pace returned to the battlefield to join the same platoon of Marines he led into combat as a final salute to the Corps and to those who have ever served in 2nd platoon, Company G, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

Gen. Pace stood stoically in front of men who have seen many recent battles, some just weeks prior. He shared much of his past with them as they stood silently, gathered around weight benches and dumbbells at their outpost, known as Observation Post 3, near downtown Karmah. Only the hum of a lone generator could be heard as Gen. Pace not only recalled the full rank and names of the men who perished under his command, but his fight to make sense of it all as well.

"Guys to the left of me got shot. Guys to the right of me got blown up and nothing happened to me at all. I didn't understand that. I got out of Vietnam without even a scratch on me," Gen. Pace said. "But, I made a promise to myself back then that I would continue to serve in the Corps, in their memory, and try to do my job out of respect for them."

Gen. Pace said he would only retire after he stopped getting promoted, and in his words, "It worked out OK."...

Read the rest to understand what a devastating blow to the military and the US Marine Corps that the PC police and the media have given us.

...Most people would agree it worked out a little better than OK.

On Sept. 30, 2005, Gen. Pace was appointed to his present position, making him the first Marine to ever serve as the president's top military advisor. He also serves as the military advisor to the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council and the Department of Homeland Security. Until recently, no other Marine had ever made it to vice chairman, except Gen. Pace.

Despite the long list of successes on Gen. Pace's resume, he never forgot where and with whom it all started.

"After just over 40 years of service, when I do get out, I will still owe the Marines of 2nd platoon, Golf Company, more than I could ever repay," he said. "I'm so proud to be here with you."

The platoon seemed in awe, almost speechless by his visit. Maybe they were trying to digest the idea of a top-ranking, four-star general who humbly made it his priority to meet each of them individually, hand out coins and take personal photographs while thanking them for their sacrifices.

As Marines maneuvered around the outdoor gym for a group photo with the most distinguished member of their platoon, Gen. Pace said, "I'd love to be able to show my guys from Golf, 2nd platoon, your picture. I know they'll be proud of you," referring to the Marines of his Vietnam platoon, who he still visits.

It is this close knit bond between Marines, officers and enlisted, which Gen. Pace said is the foundation to the health of the Corps.

After each Marine had their photograph taken with the general, got their coin and asked their questions, he had one final gift to give, a knife. Both symbolic and traditional, the K-bar knife has been a staple of Marine combat gear for generations. It was this he chose to bestow upon the latest platoon leader of 2nd platoon.

"I wanted to give you this. From one 2nd platoon leader to another," he said. "Out of respect for who you are, out of envy for your future time in our Corps and out of envy for your opportunity to lead these Marines."

1st Lt. Chad Cassady, a former sergeant, was the proud owner of the new knife and said he felt privileged to receive such a gift from a man he has long respected. Cassady had met Gen. Pace nearly two years ago at the Marine Corps Ball ceremony, not long after Gen. Pace was elected to chairman. He did not think their paths would ever cross again.

"I didn't think I'd ever see him again," Cassady said. "I never could have imagined we shared a connection."

Cassady does not plan to use the weapon in combat, but instead will proudly display the grand memento in his house. Not everyone there got a K-bar, but perhaps was able to take away a sense of belonging.

As the platoon's Corpsman, Seaman Kyle Bourgeois, put it, "I just feel fortunate."

Silent admiration filled the eyes of lance corporals and captains alike and everyone present received something less tangible than a steel blade or a metal coin. Gen. Pace was handing to each of them an item that never fades or gets dull; a sense of pride and the relentless will to succeed.

The bonds formed and shared between Marines, units, and platoons are timeless.

"Forty years from now, you'll remember these officer's names and they'll remember yours," Gen. Pace said. "A lot of stuff is going to happen between now and then. You are going to have a lot of experiences, most of it is going to be a blur, but you remember this, you'll remember each other and I'll bet you, you'll find ways to get together."

"It'll be very difficult for me to walk away," he said. "I was shaking hands the day before yesterday in Afghanistan and a soldier came through and said, 'Sir, thank you for your service. We'll take it from here.' As I look at you, that's spot on. You have taken it."

Lesson Learned

Sgt Grit
When I went through MCRD San Diego in 1967 I thought that a lot of the BS we were put thru was nothing but harassment. One night the platoon screw-up went to the head at about 0200 and smoked a cigarette. Caught by the Drill Instructor, He was marched back to the platoon area and the entire platoon was ordered to fall out. We were marched to the rear of the mess hall where the dumpsters were. Every single one of us was given a cigarette that had been marked by the DI. The entire platoon was ordered to climb into the dumpster, and light up. The hatches were secured and we spent about 10 minutes in it. When we were allowed out we had to show the DI the smoked butt with his mark. I couldn't see why the entire platoon had to suffer just because one screw-up had to have a smoke when the smoking lamp wasn't lit.

About a year later, while on patrol in Quang Tri Province, I was on watch when I spotted the glow of a cigarette across the valley. We called in artillery which resulted in secondary explosions. The next morning, we had a body count of nearly 80 NVA. 80 men died because one person had to have a smoke. Lesson learned.

Sgt. M.L. Peterson 2384386
Platoon 1042
USMC 1967-1971


In reply to Terry Stewart, Sgt(E-4) 1952 - 1955: From Dave Engler Cpl(E-3) (410936) 1942 - 1946: Parris Island 1942 - Drill Instructors wore the old "Campaign" hat and all "boots" wore pith helmets. Also, there were Gunnery Sgts then - E5 was Platoon Sgt; E-6 was Gunnery Sgt; E-7 was Master Gunnery Sgt; the latter two were sometimes referred to as "Gunny". Those were "line" ratings (rockers). "Technical" equivalents (straight bars replacing "rockers") were: E-5, Staff Sgt; E-6, Technical Sgt; E-7, Master Technical Sgt. First Sgts were E-6 with a diamond in the space between the chevrons and the rockers, and Sgts Major were E-7 with a diamond in that same space.
A "Warrant" Officer was just that - a non-commissioned rank with the rights and privileges of an officer (including uniform), without the commission. Two grades: W-1, "Marine Gunner" and W-2, "Chief Marine Gunner". Rank insignia of the former was a bronze "bursting bomb" - later, a gold bar with one or two transverse red bars, after the W-2 rank was authorized. Rated a "Sir" from all "enlisted" grades and were sometimes referred to as "Gunner". They also "rated" the same "Mister" as second and first lieutenants.
Ditto, no Lance Corporals, and no "OORAH" nor "Yellow Footprints" either! Loved that old '03 Springfield - one great rifle! Ah, sweet memories from an "OLD Marine
Dave Engler, 1942 - 1946.

Walter Winchell's Relatives

Sgt. Grit:

In your newsletter of 12 September 2007, I noticed that reference was made that Walter Winchell's nephew was killed in an accident in the swamp in 1952 at Parris Island. Winchell supposedly asked that people pray for the Marines there in training.

I went through Parris Island in the Fall of 1944 and it was rumored, that Wichell's son had committed suicide while in Boot Camp. The story was that Winchell, during his Sunday night radio program, had asked people to pray for the Marines at Parris Island at that time.

Is there anyway you could find out how many of Walter Winchell's relatives were eliminated at Parris Island and if it is a record?

Just a little bit of levity.

Thanks, Edw. Hoffman 1944-1953 USMC

I Hope That

MCRD 1962 we once had a cry baby in our platoon, well we took him aside and guess what he graduated, a cry baby no more. Some time the boots take matters into their own hands and take care of the problem. We had two Korea war vets as D.I's one a E-6 one E-5 and an E-4. The E-5 & 6 had seen combat but not the E-4 but he was just as tough. We got knocked around, but I thought that's what the Marines were about, making you tough, and they did and I'm glad. Some of us were some of the first to go to Vietnam and three of my boot camp mates died over there. I hope that they never change boot camp, lets put it this way, if you can't take it then get out, the proud, the few the Marines.
L/CPL of Marines 62-66

I Learned Something

Hey fellow Marines. I have to agree with Col. Stanton. I went to Parris Island. 3rd Battalion, I Co. Plt 3017 in December of '83. On my mother's birthday as a matter of fact. My mother was a Marine, my uncle a Marine (retired Master GySgt after 33 years) and my father is a retired, highly decorated, Navy Corpsman. So I KNEW what I was getting in to when I enlisted. No excuses. The first day, I d*mn near came to tears because I was so mad! I didn't do anything wrong, kept my mouth shut and still I was digging for my life. I learned something that day for sure. I graduated as the Honor Graduate in my platoon. Dress Blues and all. My father, 4 years retired (Senior CPO) was there in his Dress Blues and it was probably the proudest moment of both of our lives. I went on to earn 4 meritorious promotions and left the Marine Corps to go to college. After college, Clinton began drawing down the military and even my RE1A re-enlistment code wasn't good enough to get me in to OCS.

Anyway, tears don't determine your mettle. Actions do. And I've seen and heard plenty of combat veterans from Iwo to Iraq who shed plenty of tears but managed to fulfill their duties over and above. Guaranteed that trust was never an issue.

Semper Fi Marines
Adam Plummer
SGT of Marines
'83 - '87

Toes And Elbows

Sgt. Grit:
I have been reading these stories about the "Old Corps" and just wanted to make a few comments; I was sworn in the Corps on October 22, 1954 at Macon, GA, arrived at Parris Island that night, ate my first meal of SOS the next morning, and then all H&ll broke loose!

I was in platoon 437, first battalion, MCRD.

We had four D.I's. S/Sgt. Plevyak, S/Sgt. Chism, S/Sgt.Conklin, who looked just like Jack Webb who played the D.I. in the movie, and Sgt. Chism. All squared away Marines!

When I hear the term old Corps, I think about these men and the men who served during World War Two.

I don't consider myself "Old Corps"

As for crying while at P.I.; I heard a couple of my platoon members crying for their mothers the first night. I don't condemn them. H&ll, we all felt like it! I was 19, had one year of college behind me, and had a year of R.O.T.C. so I knew how to march, knew the M-1 and had some military bearing. I felt sorry for some of the "Gomer Pyle" types in the platoon.

As someone has written, the first 4 weeks were H&ll, but then we started jelling as a platoon.

I was physically fit, having played all the major sports in high school, and was on the varsity swimming team at Georgia, but the mental harassment took some getting used to!

When we screwed up, I can remember doing "toes and elbows" Anybody remember those? Or, the manual of arms with our locker boxes. Or, holding the M-1 in front of you on the back of your outstretched hands?

We called our field uniforms "utilities". and it was "field scarves", not "neck scarves".

I graduated from Parris Island January 18, 1955, asked for tank Corps, got Sea Duty, served aboard the USS Intrepid for 14 months, made two "Med" cruises, and went back to the real Corps at Camp LeJuene in 1957.

I opted to return to college and got out the fall of '57, and finished my degree work using the Korean G.I.Bill of Rights.

I would not trade my time in the Corps for anything! Still get a mist in my eyes when I hear the Marine Hymn and the National anthem.

Semper Fi and keep up the good work! Still a Marine!

David E. Tyre.......1511856.......Sgt. of Marines

At Least One Hash Mark

Sgt. GRIT;

Another true story from the best Rifle Company the Marine Corps ever produced. I had just completed a Vieques and Med cruise with F 2/7 2ndMarDiv. I finally got my transfer to the 1stMarDiv to become part of a Marine Corps for a study in Unit Readiness.

We formed as K 3/7, Camp Las Pulgas-The Flea-remember the K 3/7 Nellie's Tit initiation before you could become a member? Every NCO and SNCO had at least one hash mark reported for duty from the Grinder, Force Recon, Marine Barracks, and other Grunt outfits throughout the Marine Corps.

The snuffies had just completed infantry training and reported for duty with the same Gung Ho spirit and discipline as though they were still in Boot Camp. Needless to say, we maintained this attitude during training and competition at Camp Las Pulgas, aboard ship, with PT everyday whilst sailing on the USS Mountrail to become B 1/9, 3rd MarDiv Okinawa, Camp Hansen...the best!

Just ask any of us. By this time every one of the NCO's & SNCO's knew the snuffies who they were and who they belonged to. Consequently, they were as disciplined on liberty as they were on duty. OK...on rare occasions we had to step in between a fight with Marines from other outfits over who was the best of the best. As a matter of fact one of our Squads was " U.S. Marine Corps Top Squad" for 1963.

During our stay at Camp Hansen our Company helped build the original guerilla trails, traps, counter guerilla warfare camps and E&E in North Camp. I believe the camp has a name now. Almost all the time there it was nothing but monsoons and typhoons. We stayed pruned and mildewed.

Looking back it was the best d*mn training in the world for Vietnam-except Vietnam. I believe the Marine Corps is still using the camp for training. After that it was on to Camp Fuji, Japan for cold weather training with the Japanese Army. A cruel cold weather gear! In any event we got a few laughs out of it by improvising.

We went to Tigagahara and Gotemba and bought all the blankets, red, yellow and blue rain gear and this is when the laughs began...imagine being camouflaged with this kind of gear? We were quite a sight, miserable, wet and cold as h&ll the whole time there.

We did accomplish something good at the Orphanage in Gotemba. We repaired and painted the buildings, playground stuff and Big John, the cook, carried food that was left after every meal to feed the children and the Nannies everyday and we all brought a bunch of toys, dolls and goodies from Tokyo (another story about liberty) for the orphans.

We finally completed training there and departed for Okinawa to finish our tour of duty and feeling we were ready for Vietnam but we did not go as the best Battalion in the Marine Corps (I swear on my guidebook). Finally we staged at White Beach in 1964 and shipped out on the USS Bexar, another APA.

After landing in the states we split-up going our separate ways. I'm looking at our Company B photo by Blackie and I can still name a bunch of them but I have all their names on the back. Strangely enough my first tour in Vietnam was with...B1/9-1965-66...the Spearhead.

Semper Fidelis,
Jason James E. Leverette
1stSgt. of Marines (Ret)
1557327 (Levi)

Very Cool Character

reference the letter from retired chief Corpsman wheeler: i knew s/sgt (later sgt. major) alan j. kellogg in 3/6 in 1968 when he was my platoon sergeant, prior to his returning to vietnam for a second tour, during which he earned the Medal of Honor. i am not surprised to learn that he wore "granny glasses". he was a very cool character, always wore sunglasses, even in the field. i AM surprised to hear about the corvair. when i knew him he had a badass gto, 1967 i think, blue exterior and white interior with a four speed hurst tranny. and a four barrell. i spent many an hour in that car, "swooping" from LeJuene to nyc. (does anyone remember "swooping"?) he lived in bethel, connecticut as i recall, and was recently married. we were not buddies by any means: i was a lance corporal, and he was a staff sergeant, my platoon sergeant. in those days the two didn't fraternize. his nicknames were "sonny", or "a.j.", but we didn't ever address him as that. he was a fine platoon sergeant. when he took over the platoon, he told us he had just left drill instructor school because he was "insufficiently motivated". don't know if that was true, but he sure had plenty of motivation in combat! as to the story about being recommended for "the blue max" twice, and receiving a navy cross instead of one of them, i know for a fact that he does not have a navy cross. (as a matter of fact, there was only one individual who earned both the navy cross and the MOH in vietnam. he was a navy riverine, a first class bosun's mate named williams, i think.) sgt. major kellogg did have a bronze star w/v and 3 purple hearts, and i think a gallantry cross, in addition to the big medal. if you are reading this, sgt. major kellogg, i want you to know that you had the respect of your platoon in 3/6, long before the medal. i for one have never forgotten you, and i'm proud to say i knew you. semper fi!
bill doherty proud former pfc, 1965-1969.

Lost My Clout

I have some "Sands of Iwo" that I personally brought back with me. I was with the 4th Division on Iwo. A few days before we left Iwo, March 17, we were back by Airfield #1. A buddy had figured out how to diffuse a Japanese hand grenade without blowing himself up. He was filling them with the "sands" to save as souvenirs. He taught me the technique so I proceeded to prepare some myself. A Captain came along and rightfully threatened us with a court martial. However, if we prepared one for him he would forget he ever saw us.

I brought three of those grenades back to the states with me but shortly after that somehow misplaced two of them. I still have the third and have always had it on a shelf in our home. As a father of four wonderful daughters I kind of lost my clout when I would tell them not to do anything foolish.

Always proud to be a Marine

Jack Watson

Blue Covers Instead Of White


Perhaps you can find space for one more footnote on the "Ike" vs. "Battle" Jacket discussion on-going.

I enlisted in April 1947 and after boot camp was issued Dress Blues and a Khaki and Green jacket (take your pick for the name). I may be getting old, but I do clearly remember many of us calling them "Ike Jackets" and we didn't even know much about "Ike" in those days, something about his being an Army General in WWII (just joking of course). I sure found out who he was when I was in Korea and heard he was coming there to "bring us home" (see picture) but the only guy that went "home" with him was his Army son.

jackets After boot I went to the 22nd Marines at Quantico (later re- named Schools Demonstration Troops?our mission was training candidates at Quantico's OCS. We could not go on liberty unless we wore our dress blues. We then had blue covers instead of white (see picture); a year later I marched in Harry Truman's Inaugural Parade (20Jan49) and we wore white covers (see picture).

ike jacket In 1948 I was sent to a school in San Diego and wore the Khaki "Ike"/Battle Jacket there (see picture). Green jacket is also shown later (see picture).

I agree with one of your readers who stated he "missed" those jackets and they never should have abandoned them. They were comfortable even though the khaki jacket was like the khaki shirt and trousers?hard to keep starched and pressed. Gabardine would cure most of those problems.

Semper Fidelis,
Gerald F. Merna
Mustang 1stLt USMC Ret.

These Kind Of Idiots

Just another short story about another phonie. Last week while buying parts for my RV the manager/clerk said he was in Nam in 1966 as a Marine Officer. Today I went back and we were talking and he said that he was drafted, was in for two years, served in Nam 14 months and a pilot flying VI P'S around the country as well as being in Alpha Co. 6th Marines in DaNang. I called him on everything and he got real mad. I won't shop there anymore! I told him before I left about remembering what lie you tell and to whom you tell it. I guess these kind of idiots think they can snow anyone.

Tom Mintz
S/Sgt med ret. 1975
Viet Nam 1968-69
Radio Tech/Door gunner

Other Things In Life

It's been 47 years since that late night bus ride into Parris Island. I can remember it like it was yesterday.

Yes, I woke up one morning after being at PI for about five days and asked myself "What the h&ll did I get myself into?" Once I reminded myself that I had volunteered, it was easy for me to suck it up and get on with the task of training and trying to become a U.S. Marine.

I say it all the times, I got myself into a "fraternity" of brothers whose historical and modern day prowess is to be respected and admired by warriors and civilians alike worldwide. I am very proud to have served.

I served from "60"-"64" and was never in combat. I only left the Corps in "63" because I got married and did not want to be married and in the service at that time. Otherwise I would have "shipped over".

My experiences in the Corps prepared me for so many other things in life. It made becoming and surviving as a New York City Transit Police officer for twenty years almost a piece of cake.

I have the greatest respect for the men and women who are in harms way today (Iraq/Afghanistan). They are contributing to the great history of the Corps. I wish them good luck and God speed in returning to their families and loved ones.

It is my greatest hope (and prayer) that the high M.C. standards forged over the years are not watered down as so many other standards in our society today. America faces some tough adversaries today, but they are no match for a well trained U.S. Marine. Yes, there are recruits that cry today because they think boot camp is too tough, big deal. There has ALWAYS been crying recruits. They either got over it or they didn't. Their crying is no reason to ease up on making our fighting men and women equal to the tough assignments given them. This is definitely no time to be concerned about crying recruits. Our fighting men and women face an enemy that appears to be very committed to their cause, and crying is not an option for them.

Semper Fi

Wm. Joseph, L/Cpl.

Traded A Grease Gun For

reference the letter from former sgt. terry stewart: drill instructors were given the smokey the bear covers after the ribbon creek incident at parris island in '56 or '57 (i forget) to enhance their prestige and professionalism. i had a similar experience with issued gear when i went through parris island in september 1965. they were changing over the boots, from high and rough outside to slightly shorter smooth outside. i got one set of each. like a dope, i traded the rough side out boots to someone for a second set of smooth side out boots. we still had the smooth side out boots when we first landed in vietnam, and they virtually melted in the wet. the rough side out were much better boots. not only as field boots, but you could bring up a shine on them by mashing down the rough outside with a bottle and then polishing the flattened out finish. in the days of spit shines they took a shine like nothing else. now spit shining is a lost art - the dress shoes are permanently shined, and the field boots are not to be shined. i suppose this is better, less time shining gear means more time for training and / or personal time. still, i hate to see it go. judging by what i've seen they don't even shine buckles or dress emblems anymore. does anyone remember shining the back of our trouser buckles, and "modifying" them so you could unhook them instead of opening them? i think even 8th and I uses permanently shined insignia now. we also were issued two types of the sateen utilities. some had the covered buttons and had the emblem on the pocket - much sought after - and some did not. it was that jerk macnamara saving money by trying to make everyone the same. no concept of the pride expressed by uniform differences. as to the green wool shirt, which looked like darker tropical worsted shirts, they were organizational property during my time, intended to be worn under the utility jacket during cold weather. i had one, which i traded a grease gun (m-3 submachine gun) for in vietnam. it was considered