I would like to share this story w/ all your readers...back in '68 I was stationed at Camp Lejeune after my tour of duty in 'nam, I was notified that my grand father had died and my presence at home was indeed needed...after getting to Washington d.c. I was put on stand by to fly home to Cleveland...
So many owe their lives to the DOC - here's a Tribute shirt for you OUTSTANDING Corpsmen out there!
The shirt is available in a T-Shirt and Long Sleeved T-Shirt.
Only available to order
until May 11th!
I boarded the plane, sat down and waited for lift-off...at the very last minute some fat pasty faced business man, all sweaty w/ cholesterol oozing from his body, no kidding, he looked like a candle, waxy and shiny appeared and told me I had his seat and would I please get up, of course I went ballistic and reluctantly began to debark..as I was walking off the plane still b1tching I walked thru 1 ST class...a man stood up and said "son, take my seat, I will wait for the next flight, I was a Marine in Korea and you need to be at home, I know how it is to be away from home too long"...given the social climate at the time, you know," Marines are baby killers, peace, love and jane fonda was the rallying cry" what this Marine did for me was exemplary, I will never forget that man, Marines take care of each other, by the way, it was the only time I have ever flown first class...CPL. Jack Bublik.... USMC
5th Annual GriTogether
Saturday MAY 3, 2008
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
The Roberson Pipers playing the Marine Corps Hymn,
Marine Corps Authors, Free High 'n Tight Haircuts,
Lots of Food and Give-aways!
Join us for the USMC party of the year!
You won't want to miss it!
Get the details at our GriTogether page.
Just In Case
Mar 23 1968 Camp Carroll Alpha 1-12
Got traffic ticket summons in mail today, they want $115.00 for a fix it ticket got in California. It says; "a traffic warrant for your arrest has been issued by the justice court of Tulare", and paying it will save you embarrassment and inconvenience of an arrest on this charge. Wrote back said if they had the balls to come up here on the DMZ and collect the money I would gladly pay it Ha! Learned to hear incoming rounds pop out of the tubes, so then you have 3 maybe 4 seconds to get into a hole before they hit. You can hear them in your sleep, sometimes only a second or so? Also you can here the rounds coming back through the sound barrier it is a pop when they slow down maybe. Can't hear mortars for sh!t. P. S. Sent money home to pay the ticket just in case.
I'm Real Proud
My Dad, Retired SgtMaj John Swindle was in Korea from Aug 2, 1950 to Dec 4, 1950. He was in A-Battery 1st Bn 11th Mar Div. He was wounded on the 4th of Dec 1950 at the Chosin Reservoir and received the Purple Heart. I'm including a photo of him, from a book called "This is War" by David Douglas Duncan. My Dad is the Marine in the center looking down. I'm real proud of my Dad.
Proud daughter of Chosin Reservoir-Korea Vet
Last Weekend for Memorial Day Shirts.....
Reserve your Marine Corps Memorial Day shirts now to honor those who have served and gave all. The shirts will ship in time to wear on Memorial Day.
Get a Short or Long Sleeved T-Shirts in Grey or Sand color. Only available to order until April 27, 2008
I was stationed in 14 area on Camp Pendleton with 1st Bridge Co., 7th Engineer Bn. from Feb. 1964 until we went overseas on June 1st 1965. While on Pendleton, I certainly do remember the Johnny Miller trucks showing up every weekday in the early evening. Sometimes you just didn't want to go to the mess hall, and you knew you could count on Johnny Miller.
Sept, 1963-Sept, 1967
Vietnam- Aug, 1965-Aug 1966
Pete brought back memories of Camp Pendleton when he mentioned Johnny Miller Trucks. But to be more specific I believe we called them Johnny Miller and his Roach Coach.
Sgt S Scott
Camp Pendleton 1965-1967
For Pete Formaz, yes I remember the Johnny Miller trucks very well. We referred to them as the "roach coach". The food, mostly sandwiches, tacos, burritos, candy bars was sold at a "reasonable " price. The roach coach never came around, at least at Camp Onofre, the two days before payday. Almost every grunt was flat broke on those two days. However, come payday, if you didn't have liberty, the roach coach was the place to dine, standing room only in the long line. We had a couple of guys in the weapons platoon that had a scam. One would get the driver's attention, the other would toss a sandwich or whatever, over the top of the truck to an accomplice that's sole purpose was to stand between the truck and the barracks, stare skyward and catch anything tossed his way. Once I had found a dead snake, probably a harmless species. As I stood in the line, I tossed it over the top of the truck to the waiting accomplice. The expletives yelled were...well you get the idea. We laughed for days.
Floyd White C-1-9 '59-62
In answer to Pete Formaz question. Yes I remember Johnny Miller trucks. I was station at Base MT at Camp Pendleton in 58 and 59. Every evening they would ring their bell to tell us they were out front of the barracks. It was a mad dash to get there to get some goodies. They would also stop at the Motor Pool around 10 A.M. and again mostly everyone bought a sleeve of miniature donuts, chocolate milk, sandwich or whatever. I have Great memories of them.
a reply to pete formaz remember Johnny miller trucks, yup i do i was at tent camp #2 in 1952 before i was sent to korea eat a lot of sandwich's off his truck's. they would always come at chow time when we were in line at the mess hall.
I'd Like To Think
There were about 15-20 of us young Minnesotans that joined the Marine Corps in July 1949, out of Minneapolis and ended up in Platoon #26 at MCRD San Diego. Our DI, SSgt Radner decided that since we came from the Land of 10,000 Lakes we must ALL have web feet and therefore should be able to duck walk -- which we did, especially at Camp Matthews, at the Rifle Range.."over hill, over dale, as we hit the dusty trail" was our theme song, punctuated with Quack-Quacks in between maneuvers. We really got quite good at it, and the DI would put us on "display" to the other Platoons..Ah, yes, those were the days! So, as crazy as it may sound, I'd like to think that our Platoon was the one that was instrumental in the fad of duck walking, thanks to our Outstanding DI, SSgt Radner and his assistants.
/s/ Richard A. Swank, MGySgt, (Ret.) 1949-1972
Recall Being Grateful
Remember the 'Johnnie Miller trucks'? and/or duck-walking at Camp Matthews circa 1957?....how in the world could anyone who was there ever forget those?....Matthews had "Little Agony", and "Big Agony"....dirt trails that came up-hill towards the tent area from the vicinity of Mike pistol range (as I recall)....powdery dust caliche/adobe soil....'Little" was shorter, not quite as steep as "Big"....recall being grateful that we had only seabags at the range, no footlockers, since the seabags were a bit easier to carry....a real attention- gainer....of course, by the time we were back there as DI's, not long before Edson Range opened at Pendleton, (late '63, early '64) duck-walking vas verboten (something to do with knee injuries), but....vee haf odder vays to get you maggot's attention....mit der logs in der dust, yah?
Dick Dickerson, '57-'81
Visiting Da Nang
Hi Sgt. Grit,
This is to let you and everyone else know there are now 3 retired Nam Vet Marines living in Da Nang. Any Marine reading this and passing through Da Nang needs to contact me for beer and maybe even a place to stay for a weekend.
Marines always welcome, family by appointment.
Richard 'Charlie' Brown
The Same DI
First let me say that your newsletter has brought me hours of laughter and sadness. What a wonderful avenue for Marines and their family and friends to sound off and keep in touch.
I was fortunate enough to make the grade and earn the title Marine in 1973, March to June, Parris Island, Plt. 325 H Company, SDI was SSgt. Burkamp, ADI's were Sgt. Benn and Cpl. McDavid, who by the way made Sgt. during our glorious 3 months on the Island.
My story is a humorous one to me, in that it involved a drill instructor from another platoon in our series. During our two weeks at the range, if you remember, we packed up and move out to Weapons Bn. for two weeks and then packed up and moved back to main side to complete our training. Anyhow, while standing in formation waiting to go to chow during the week of "snap in" one of the drill instructors from another platoon came walking out on the stairwell at the 3rd floor holding a M-14 in his hand screaming about someone forgetting to lock up their weapon. I know you guys remember having someone forget to lock up their weapon. Well anyhow, this DI wants to know who belongs to Serial number, blah blah blah, and some "Prive" answers up it was his and he was told to come and show his self to the DI. This recruit gets about ten steps from his platoon, the DI tells him to stop and the DI, by the way this DI looked just like the cartoon character, "Dudley Doright" for you old timers out there, takes the M-14 by the barrel and throws it at the recruit, who by the way, never flinched. This weapon hits the pavement and the stock explodes. There are pieces to this weapon everywhere. End of Story for now.
I graduate, made Meritorious PFC, and off to Armorers (2111- small arms repairman) School in Aberdeen, Maryland. Graduate from armorers school #2 in the class, got my choice of duty stations, Quantico was available as was Cherry Point and Parris Island. Well the guy who finished first took the one I was hoping to get, Quantico, so that left me with PI or Cherry Point. I pick PI and off I go on Labor Day weekend of 1973. End up in H & S Bn. Service Co. and at the Armory on Main Side in behind 1st Bn. We moved the Armory to Weapons Bn. finally, under the Weapons Bn. Mess Hall if you remember and he is where the story turns funny.
One day there's this recruit trying to turn in his to get it fixed with his DI standing just behind him and off to the right of the window and the stock is broken. The recruit is terrified, as we all were at time, one of my NCO's in the Armory sees the broken weapon and starts yelling and wanting to know what happened and you know, the usual crap, and this DI now presents a good view of himself and says something about the recruit running out the barracks hatch and towards the steps and he fell and the weapon fell down the steps. Yep, it was the same DI from when I was a recruit. Obviously I kept my mouth shut and went and fixed the weapon and made sure the barrel wasn't bent or anything bad.
When I went back out with the weapon to the little windows we had for Marines to do business with us, I asked the recruit his serial number and he recited it and I handed him the M-14. As he grabbed the weapon I held on for just a second and said, "I sure hope you've learned your lesson about locking up and securing that Weapon to your rack". The DI turned blood red and off they went. Him and I ran into each other at a later time and had quite the laugh about the incident. He said when I did that he almost crapped.
Thank you for allowing me to tell my story. Thank you all for serving this wonderful country of ours. God Bless all of you in Harms Way at this time and be safe.
SSGT. Burkamp, Sgt. Benn and Sgt. McDavid, if any of you are still out there. Thanks for making me a Marine. I owe you one.
Sgt. Ricky A. Wilson (2111)
March 1973 to March 1976
Remember The Smiles
Was with HqBn, 1/12. Anyone remember the "CLUB" that I built for my troops at Camp Carroll?????
I got started, the officer and staff had a nice club at CC. The troops got their beer rations and sat on a pile of dirt. This greatly offended me, as it was these dedicated Marines that were losing their lives. I got approval from my CO to build a "club" for the troops as long as I was totally responsible for their response when duty called. With the help of a couple of my "troopers" --- especially "Cpl Scarpa" we built a club that was referred to by the Commanding General as "The Showplace of the DMZ". I will always remember the smiles and the laughter of the young Marines for their opportunity to relax and realize that somebody actually gave a d*mn about them......!
One particular night, I had so much to do, that I could not be on hand at the club; which was required by my CO. I might add, that did not make the most popular guy on the hill that night. At about 8:30pm we received one round of artillery through the back side of the club. I was no longer the "bad guy" for not opening the club. I will never forget the happiness, the smiling faces of these young troops. I miss them all, and think of them so much. God Bless them ALL.
SSgt. William D. Bondurant
On a fun note I have a incident that occurred that I thought your readers might enjoy. While stationed at the Marine Barracks in Hawaii at Pearl Harbor from 81-83, I participated in an incident I'll never forget. We had gotten a GySgt. (believe his last name was Larson) from another base (Marine Detachment Wahiawa NAVCAMS) within Hawaii who had been assigned to our Marine Detachment at Pearl Harbor. He would drive a old international jeep with camo paint and cargo netting for a headliner.
Guy was seriously gung ho, and used to do various things to motivate people. One morning, around 6:30am the Gunny decided to have what he used to call an Iron Lung contest after morning PT. We would sit in a large circle with arms interlocked on the large grass parade field which we used to have in front of our main headquarters building. Well the Gunny would pop one or two CS canisters, toss them in the center of the circle and see how long people would last, the winner would be declared the iron lung and usually get an extra day off. This particular morning we did the Iron Lung contest and there was a good wind blowing. Well Gunny pops the 1st canister of CS and the cloud immediately begins to drift towards two buildings in our area next to the parade field, one building was the old movie theatre for the detachment and the next building where the cloud just hit full on one side was for the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet Band.
I've never seen so many sailors so quickly piling out of a building in skivvies coughing and cursing because the CS had went in all the open windows, all the while Gunny just stood there smiling while we couldn't stop from laughing. Needless to say the Gunny wasn't allowed to use CS on the parade field anymore. What's even funnier is I think the reason he was transferred to Pearl Harbor was because at the Naval Communications site which was basically a giant satellite station, he had also popped CS inside the building once during a react drill and got some of the Navy officers a little mad at him. Go Gunny....
David Reid Cpl.
Whatever happened to that Jeep?
On June 16, 1944, I was sent up to the 0-l line (Saipan) to replace Lt. Whalen (2nd Plat. "A" Co. Engrs, attached to 2nd Bn. 25th Marines) who was critically wounded while attempting to knock out a large dual purpose gun emplacement on the 0-1 line. After we started moving, I soon realized we were loaded like pack animals - with flame throwers, 16 lb. C-2 demolition charges, extra flame thrower fuel (5 gallon cans), two bazookas with spare loads, two 30 caliber light machine guns, and two BAR's in addition to our regular gear.
I appealed to our Bn. HQ. for a Jeep and trailer and was told that none were available. Col. Hudson, 2nd Bn. CO said we could load some material on a Jeep and trailer that came up each evening after the defense perimeter was established. This helped considerably, but many times we didn't have the material nearby when it was needed. We had a man, Joe Moran (age 42), whose feet had gotten in bad shape. He stayed with the Jeep to re-supply our needs. Moran was later killed in action on Saipan.
After the battle for Saipan was over, we again asked for the Jeep and were denied. The Army was pouring equipment ashore to work on the much-needed airfields. Someone made a scouting trip to the pier area and saw many Jeeps with trailers lined up with no guards. So a midnight requisition was made, with a little paint over "US Army" and the id. number. The Jeep and trailer were loaded onto an LST and on "Jig" Day on Tinian our Jeep and trailer showed up, making our travel much easier.
But that's not all - when we loaded at Tiniantown on a U. S. Navy supply ship for the trip back to Maui (about 200 men sleeping on cots), the ship's captain (a Lt. Com.) asked me if anyone ashore could use a good refrigerator. They had recently acquired a larger one, and the old one was in their way. I immediately thought of the C.B. Bn. who were staying on Tinian, and they had generators, so they loaded the refrigerator into a boat. The Capt. had mentioned their need for a Jeep to pick up mail and run errands while in port, so I sent two men with the refrigerator and instructed them to load the Jeep (which we had borrowed) and bring it back to the ship.
Now the Army will know what happened to that Jeep. I sure hope the statute of limitations has expired on such a caper!
On the current cover of TIME magazine, April 28, 2008, the flag and pole in the Flag Raising On Mt. Suribachi have been replaced by a large redwood tree. The topic is 'How To Win The War On Global Warming'. I personally feel this is a mockery of one of the most revered symbol of the Marine Corps and want TIME magazine to hear about this. I would like for you to pass the word for others to take a few seconds, even if not a TIME subscriber (I won't be for long) and inform them that we do not appreciate their lack of respect for this American Icon. The letter I sent to those b*stards at TIME magazine follows.
NOTE: In case one cannot see this issue, on page 53 there is also a picture of two painters repainting the stars and white stripes of our National Ensign green. I'm one of those that sure would like to witness something like that in person. That is, as long as some of my friends can help my wife with my bail!:)
5 Are Still Around
57 YEAR ANNIVERSARY !
On hill 307, a/k/a HORSESHOE RIDGE. At 8 in the evening until 10 the next morning, (6:a.m to 8:pm C.S.T) IT HIT the FAN. The 1st Bn., 1st Marines were thrown into the gap left by the retreating 6th ROK division. To plug a portion of the hole so the army on the west and the 7th Marines on the left could regroup, hold and maintain their position until given orders to establish another line. Charlie Company had the high position from which the Chinese tried to attack for the 14 hours. The Company lost 15-20 KIA's and 110 WIA's during the engagement. Two squads of that company took the TOTAL 14 hour brunt of that attack. It was reported by an FO, the next day who flew over the hill that between 2400 and 2500 were laying out in front of that hill. They usually carried their KIA's away from the scene, but evidently there wasn't enough remaining to do same. Both squads, one rifle and one light machine gun had a total of 5 men leave the hill the next morning without being one of the above casualties. And the 5 are still around.
And we remain,
Chesty's last regimental command
Echo Company, 2d Battalion 6th Marines, 2004
I sure hope this fits within the parameters of the news letter. I have left all the 'forwarding' info so as not to create an 'attribution' issue.
Lord I wish the past 43 years had not passed so quickly.
Michael S. GRAY
USMC R ret.
This story is about some of the finest men I've had the distinct honor of knowing and serving with. They are what I consider to be one of the best infantry units in the Marine Corps, Echo Company, 2d Battalion 6th Marines. I was fortunate enough to be the commander of this unit from 2004 through 2006 and deployed twice in that brief time to Iraq and Afghanistan. My story today focuses mainly on events while deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, in the winter of 2005 /2006.
We lived in the maintenance bay of the Fallujah train station, located on the north side of the city. Our area of responsibility was the northwestern part of the city which included the slums, the open air markets and the bridge over the Euphrates River made famous by 4 unfortunate Blackwater employees, and a rural stretch of countryside that boarded the Euphrates known as Azragia. The majority of the city's population, including some of its most dangerous streets, were in our sector. All of which was patrolled almost exclusively on foot. There was no better way to know your area and the people in it than a foot mobile security patrol.
We chose the call sign "Bounty Hunter" for the Iraq mission. In Afghanistan, the Marines adopted the company call sign "Infidels" as a direct result of the beheadings that Al Qaeda was doing at the time. If those guys considered themselves "holy warriors," by beheading helpless non-combatants begging for their lives, we stood for the exact opposite and wanted to make sure we were counted among their enemies. However, once in Iraq, we worked too closely with the Iraqi Army and Police and didn't have the time to explain to each new organization why we chose such an inflammatory call sign, even though when explained it to the Iraqis, it made sense to them. In the end, the call sign "Bounty Hunter" was the choice of the company, narrowly beating out the call signs "Rick James" and "Raider."
The Company First Sergeant is the senior enlisted advisor to the company commander, ours was First Sergeant Zickefoose. He came up through the ranks as a sniper and was a Silver Star recipient from the first gulf war. He was an amazing Marine who led by example in all things and really held the company together. In October he had the foresight to write to an organization called Operation Santa, which sends Christmas presents to servicemen overseas. All through the months of November and December boxes filled with wrapped Christmas presents slowly arrived addressed to the 1stSgt. The unopened boxes were kept out of sight from the Marines in a storage container until Christmas Eve. That night, after our evening meal, the 1stSgt, company radio operators and I unloaded each box and went down the list of names of everyone in the company to ensure each Marine had a couple of presents to open on Christmas morning. We stayed up most of the night completing this task and even put up a 5 foot tall artificial Christmas tree that was sent from home. By morning, we had the tree decorated and all the presents scattered around it for everyone to see. At 0700, everyone in the company was called into the chow hall for a company meeting unbeknownst to them the presents that awaited. The 1stSgt and I spoke to the surprised Marines for a few brief minutes, wished everyone a Merry Christmas and began to serve breakfast while the platoon sergeants handed out presents with Santa hat on their heads. The presents weren't much, mainly decks of playing cards, socks, candy, a few board games, stuff like that. But just the surprise of opening a wrapped present on Christmas morning in the Spartan conditions of a forward operating base was one of the coolest things I've ever seen. Presents and hot chow were even taken to the Marines on watch and to our observation posts in the city. That evening, we cancelled our patrols, had a special Christmas meal of roast beef, turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, green beans, corn, and even chocolate cake for desert. We even let the Marines smoke cigars and cigarettes in the chow hall while we watched the only Christmas movie anyone could get their hands on... Elf with Will Ferrell. It was a good day, and we needed a good day.....
About a month earlier, we lost one of the best Marines in the company to an enemy sniper; Corporal Joshua Snyder was killed on 30 November 2005. Up until that point, IEDs, grenades, RPGs, and small arms ambushes were just nuisances to us. They were a concern to our patrols, but largely ineffective. Accurate sniper fire was the only thing the insurgents found that could effect us. The Marines set aside a Christmas present with Corporal Snyder's name on it. At that point we were still optimistic that we could finish our deployment with minimal casualties. That attitude would soon change.
On a night patrol in the city, late one night in early January 2006, PFC Kyle Brown kept seeing something following him from the rooftops. There was curfew in the city at night, so there was absolutely no movement that was not friendly forces moving around. He later told his fire team leader that he wasn't sure if he was imagining it or not, but what he described scared the daylights out of him. He thought he saw a winged creature following him from rooftop to rooftop jumping 30 or more feet at a time. He said he could see it with his night vision goggles and with his naked eye but no one else on the patrol reported seeing such a thing. He wanted to shoot at it, but wouldn't be able to accurately say what he was shooting at. The closest thing he could think of was something out of the movies like "The Mothman Prophecies." He spoke with the battalion Chaplin and began talking to the most religious kid in the company, Corporal Felipe Barbosa. Corporal Barbosa was a devout Christian, and could often be found reading his bible when others were watching movies or playing with their personal play stations. After several conversations with Corporal Barbosa, PFC Brown who was previously unreligious, converted to Christianity and was saved. But in the following days he still seemed distant and distracted like he couldn't get what he'd seen out of his mind. We never found out what that was or if he was imagining it.
I woke up on morning of January 7th with the radio watch in our command post yelling "QRF, QRF" which meant for the quick reaction force to get ready. We always had a platoon of Marines on standby with gear staged and manifested to leave at a moments notice. As I was putting my gear on, the radio watch stuck his head in my room and said that one of our patrols was ambushed and had two killed in action and one wounded in action. I rushed into the command post as the quick reaction force was assembling. I tried to make radio contact with the patrol to pin point their exact location and let our higher headquarters know what was happening, but was unable to reach the patrol and could hear the firefight growing in intensity outside. The QRF was ready in minutes and we zoomed out the gate and through the narrow and winding city streets towards the sound of the guns. It was about 6:30 in the morning, it had just rained and there were hardly any civilians in the street yet.
The patrol in the firefight was made of two squads on foot, with 10 men in each. They moved along independent routes a few blocks from each other, using a technique called satellite patrolling. If one squad got in trouble, the other would always be in a nearby position to assist.
In this case, one squad had been ambushed by a group of insurgents using sniper fire and automatic weapons, which put it in a very difficult position. The squad not caught in the ambush was quickly able to maneuver behind the insurgents and force them to withdraw. The whole ambush lasted about 5 minutes.
The Marines caught in the ambush had moved into nearby houses to treat the wounded as best they could. When the QRF and I rolled up on the scene, the streets looked liked they'd been hosed down with blood. The squad caught in the ambush was clearly distraught and very much freaked out by trying in vain to save the lives of their best friends.
The squad leader quickly relayed to me that a sniper shot one of his Marines, Corporal Brett Lundstrom who immediately collapsed in the street. Without hesitating, the platoon Corpsman, Doc Engles rushed in the open to try and treat him. He too was hit. The bullet went into his upper chest through his side and hit his arm on the way out. He ran for cover on the opposite side of the street from his squad and rested behind a parked car. When the Doc saw Marines about to rush across the street to his aid, he motioned for them to stop, that he would run back across the street to them to prevent them from needlessly exposing themselves. He made it about halfway before he collapsed from his own wounds. The squad threw smoke grenades and returned fire to cover the attempt to pull their wounded friends out of the street. The enemy then opened a heavy volume of fire into the smoke, which struck and killed PFC Jariad Jacobs instantly. At this point, the insurgents were forced to withdraw by the platoon's maneuvering squad. That's about the time the QRF and I then rolled up on the scene. While coughing up blood, Doc Engles had given directions on how to best treat the other wounded Marines before he went into shock himself. Looking at his face, I thought he was dead when they carried him out of the building. The wounded where quickly loaded onto trucks and driven off to Fallujah Surgical hospital known as "Charlie Surg" and an immediate search was set out for the insurgents. All available assets in the city were called in to include helicopter gunships and mounted platoons in Hummvees. The entire area of several city blocks was cordoned off and a house by house search followed.
The helicopter gunships overhead gave the direction and distance of two military aged males running south from our position. As the Marines pursued the fleeing insurgents south, a report came over the radio of a Marine down in the rear of the company formation. The command vehicle quickly turned around and rushed to the scene and saw an M-16 lying in the street and a several Marines taking cover behind a small corrugated aluminum kiosk on the south east side of a large 4 way intersection. The newly saved PFC Brown had been seriously wounded by enemy fire and needed an urgent medevac. We positioned the command vehicle as best we could to provide protection to the Marines coming under increasingly heavy fire. As it turns out, when the Marines crossed the intersection headed south, two rocket propelled grenades were fired at vehicles at the cordon, and sniper and automatic weapons fire began to engage the rear of our formation from the buildings on the north side of the road. Just like a scene out of a movie, First Sergeant Zickefoose exited the command vehicle under a hail of bullets and calmly signaled to all available Marines in the area what buildings the insurgents were firing from. This may seem obvious for the listener, but the echoes and shadows in an urban environment make target identification very difficult.
Thanks to the First Sergeant's efforts, the buildings occupied by the insurgents began to disappear in a wall of smoke from impacts of the Marines' suppressive fires just as the medevac vehicles arrived.
The medevac vehicles that carried the last group of wounded Marines to the hospital were just blocks away and in route back to our position when they were called for. Despite all the firing by the enemy, PFC Brown was the only man hit, and he was quickly loaded on in a Hummvee and off to the hospital. But as the vehicle departed it was struck several times by enemy fire and disabled. Aware of the dire circumstances, the vehicle commander, Staff Sergeant Bridges, commandeered a passing Iraqi Police truck in order to expedite the trip to the hospital. The Marines left the shot up Hummvee at an U.S. Checkpoint and quickly loaded everyone into the police vehicle. The Iraqi Police truck was nothing more than a Nissan pick up with armor bolted on the sides of the bed, to better protect those riding in the back. It was both faster and more maneuverable than the Hummvees, but being mistaken for insurgents and shot by friendlies was now a significant possibility. To prevent potential fratricide, one of the Marines in the back, Lance Corporal Delillo, contacted the Battalion Watch Officer to advise him that an Iraqi Police truck was now being used to evacuate an injured Marine, and hoped like h&ll the word would make it to the guards at the front gate before the speeding police vehicle came into range. Simultaneously, Lance Corporal Delillo also assisted the Corpsman, Doc Routson, by applying hand pressure on PFC Brown's jugular vain while a tracheotomy was performed. The Marines later recalled that standing in the back of a speeding Iraqi police truck waving to the guards as they approached the gate was the scariest things they did during their tour. Thanks to their teamwork and quick thin king , the word did get passed to the gate guards about the unorthodox medevac vehicle and they arrived at the hospital without further incident. Sadly, PFC Brown's wounds were too great to overcome and he died upon arrival.
Back to the firefight...Once the medevac was on its way to the hospital, 1stSgt Zickefoose quickly coordinated with me and led the squad that was pinned down in an assault on the buildings occupied by the insurgents. His quick thin king and decisiveness in the face of sniper and machine gun fire forced the enemy to withdraw and prevented them from inflicting further casualties on the company from a position of advantage.
As the enemy withdrew, we pursued them through the city for the next several hours, clearing all houses in the area of any remaining insurgents. As the fighting moved from house to house, 1stSgt Zickefoose remained with the lead squad and constantly exposed himself to enemy fire in order to protect the Marines around him. As a direct result of his stellar combat leadership, there was not a single Marine or civilian casualty during the remainder of the fighting despite receiving small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire for the rest of the afternoon. At the end of the day, 23 insurgents were detained and sent to the regimental detention facility for further processing.
We held a memorial service for our fallen comrades a few days later. It's the best way for the Marines to begin putting closure on the loss of some of their closest friends. After eulogies have been said for their fallen brothers by commanders and friends, the roll is called. Names of some of Marines in the company are called and they all answer present. Then the name of the fallen is called three times, each time with more emphasis to make sure he's not present. "Corporal Snyder. Corporal Joshua Snyder. Corporal Joshua D. Snyder." Taps is played after the 3rd calling of the name, while the command salutes the rifle, boots and helmet memorial. All the talent in Hollywood cannot capture the emotion and drama at this moment. I've seen tears stream down the faces of some of the toughest men I know. PFC Brown was eulogized by Corporal Barbosa, the Marine who led him to Christ. Sadly, three weeks later, Corporal Barbosa was himself killed in a tragic vehicle accident. It's almost as if, his work in this world was complete after leading PFC Brown to salvation and he was called home to the Lord.
The rest of the story in a nutshell, we didn't have another combat casualty after the morning of 7 January. EVERYDAY for the next 3 1/2 months, the Marines still had to put on their gear and patrol the same streets and walk among the same people that took the lives of their friends on 7 January. They didn't always enjoy it, but they got the job done. By the end of their tour, Echo Company Marines had captured or killed more known insurgents than just about the rest of the battalion combined. The incredible resilience and professionalism of the Echo Company Marines never ceased to amaze me.
We later learned that the sniper that stung us so badly that January morning was firing from a modified vehicle much like the DC sniper in 2002 and we adapted our techniques to deny him any additional opportunities. And much to our chagrin, we never caught or killed him. He was killed however, on the outskirts of Fallujah by an adjacent unit. It would have been nice for us to get him, but in the end, I'm just glad he's dead.
The great majority of the Marines I had the honor to serve with in Echo Company got out of the Marine Corps in the months after getting back. I still run into a few on active duty here and there, and it's always good to see them. Doc Engles recovered fully and greeted us on the tarmac when we got home.
Before handing over the command of the company to the new guy, I tried to leave everyone with what little wisdom I've gained from our experience together in Iraq . "In the end," I said, "Your life is not about you. You're in the middle of it, but believe it or not, your life is about everyone else around you and how you choose to influence them with the short time you have. How will you be remembered? Have you helped out a brother lately? Even if you don't want to be remembered, what did you do to contribute to the common good? Remember Josh Snyder, Jeriad Jacobs, Kyle Brown, Felipe Barbosa, and Brett Lundstrom, who left their futures on the intersections of Henry and Fran, Cathy and George and Cathy and Frank streets, and tell everyone how they selflessly gave their lives for you, and for each other." They are all my heroes.
The best example of selflessness in the company was Sgt Joshua Frazier, who ran out under fire on the morning of 7 January to drag PFC Brown to safety. He volunteered to return to Iraq for a third tour to when he was killed by a sniper, 6 February 2007.
I closed with part of a speech stolen from a past Marine Commandant called the Eagle and the Wolf. "Inside me, inside each of us there is a battle going on every day between the eagle and the wolf. The eagle represents everything you ever hope to accomplish in your life... love, wealth, happiness, success, accomplishment, power, and fulfillment. The wolf represents your accuser, the little voice inside your head that constantly tells you you're not good enough. You can't make it, you're not smart enough. You don't belong here, they'll never accept you. You're not good looking enough. In the end, who wins this battle? ....the one you feed."
Major Dave Pinion
Marine Combat Training Battalion
"Be professional. Be polite, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet."
USMC Rules for Gunfighting #21
Hello Sgt. Grit,
I didn't see a direct link to you tattoo section so i thought i would send my tattoo image to the only address i could find. I got this tattoo after i was in the fleet for about 2 years and it was a gift from parents. Prior to my EAS i was 6541 Aviation Ordnance and i loved my job. Thank you for you time and help.
LCpl. Stephenson (eas 10/29/2005)
Never Could Figure
We all have our "funny" stories experienced during recruit training, although most of the time it wasn't very pleasant. I figured out what was going on the first day and I must admit drill instructors are probably the best actors in the world. This is purely meant as a compliment. Too bad some recruits took things too seriously and did some really stupid s**t. I'm sorry, I gotta laugh. I got slapped around almost on a daily basis simply because I came from New York. The mindset of the Southern drill instructors at PISC was that we didn't respect our parents. Never could figure that one out. On a couple of occasions I contemplated retaliation. What kept me from doing so? I was no idiot and wasn't about to wind up at Motivation, STB (Special Training Branch) or possibly CCP (Corrective Custody Platoon). Does anyone remember those names? This would be in addition to being set back in training.
In 1966 the war in Vietnam was really gaining momentum and replacements were desperately needed to fill the ranks. My DIs did the best possible job of getting a platoon of 80 raw recruits (we graduated with 72 after the non-hackers were weeded out) in shape and in the proper mindset to do battle with a very capable and formidable enemy. If it meant putting their hands on you or PTing you to death, so be it. The profanity was a little extra ingredient and I kind of enjoyed it for it expanded my vocabulary.
We have all been there, did and heard that. Hearing about what you did or accomplished after boot training would be more interesting in my opinion. Keep the interesting and informative stories coming in. This is one outstanding newsletter. To all my Vietnam Brothers, always remember the Marines fought 80% of the ground war! Don't believe it? Check it out. PS - And I mean ALL Marines!
Sgt of Marines
In today's Newsletter, a Marine's Mother mistakenly referred to Golf Company as "Gulf" Company. May I set the record straight as to what the military alphabet is?
A: Alpha; B: Bravo; C: Charlie; D: Delta;
E: Echo; F: Fox (Trot); G: Golf; H: Hotel;
I: India; J: Juliet; K: Kilo; L: Lima; M: Mike
N: November; O: Oscar; P: Papa; Q: Quebec
R: Romeo; S: Sierra; T: Tango; U: Uniform;
V: Victor; W: Whiskey; X: X Ray;
Y: Yankee; Z: Zulu
This is the way I learned it at MCRD San Diego in 1968.
Semper Fi, Tom Knight (Cpl., 1968-1970; Vietnam 1969 - 5 months only because President Nixon pulled us [1st Bn 9th Marines] out in July 1969)
"Joined the Marines in late Summer of 1957. What an exciting time, I was at the very end of the Old Corps, crisp khakis, Eisenhower jackets. Does anyone remember duck walking. We did a lot of that at Camp Matthews, must have looked pretty silly. An old Marine Cpl A Johnson 1957-1961."
First off, let me say that I too am a graduate of Camp Matthews at Torrey Pines, CA. We did half-step double time from MCRD to Matthews for our 3-week Mediterranean Plan (not to be confused with a cruise to the Mediterranean). We as Cpl AJ says, we duck-walked everywhere with an M-1 Garrand on our shoulders. And, to prove how tough we were, we lived in tents (at least they had wood floors) and shaved every morning in the dark - I don't recommend it if you are older than 18 yrs and have more than "peach fuzz".
As WE all know, U.S. Marines are always full of antics. I laughed, as many of you did, at the story of smuggling ones self to Okinawa (in route to VietNam). While I was stationed at MCAF El Toro as an MP (c1957) Eisenhower's dream (the nation's interstate highway program) was getting well underway, the 1st Marine Div. was back from Korea and so were the crazy guys (and gals) that came with it.
I was an 18 year old and told them they were all shell shocked (I guess they call that PTSD these days) because at times they would perform the most wild events (even for the fifties). With the construction underway for I-5, which was to essentially parallel Highway 101, there was plenty of opportunity for Marines and their antics.
Highway 101 going South from Los Angeles passed Santa Ana, CA and MCAF El Toro. As 101 moved in a southerly direction it gently curved to the West for a mile or so then straightened southerly again. Where the highway curved there was a road (I don't recall the name of it) that continued straight for about half-male or so and effectively terminated at the main gate of El Toro. Fortunately - for me - I was not on duty that night.
It seems as though someone had place some of the construction barricades - you know the ones ..... with the flashing yellow lights on them - across Highway 101, thereby directing southbound traffic (LA to SD) right into the main gate of El Toro.
I don't recall any of the details but perhaps someone else was there with firsthand knowledge.
Crazy jarheads I are one and can't even spell.
j. wilson jan 1956 - jan 1959 and proud of it.
ps - Anyone from our old platoon? (I can't recall the #..... jan-may 1956, GySgt Costello - DI at MCRD)
"Whopple-one-a-perape" .... best I can spell the way he counted cadence - I was embarrassing because all the other DI's sounded "cool".
I served during peacetime, 1979 thru 1983, getting out just prior to Beirut. My primary MOS was 1833 (Amtracs) and also served as Company Supply Chief (as a Lance Corporal) in Okinawa probably due to my having been sent to school for Embarkation (0431?). Anyway, during those years I bought my very first camera and began documenting my time to try and show the folks back home what being in the Marines was like. The images show the squad bays, BEQ's, friends, vehicles and weapons we worked with as well as general area shots. Sadly, I have lost touch with everyone I knew during that time. I am hoping that fellow Marines of that time can enjoy refreshing their memories by looking through the gallery. If anyone knows anybody in the photos, leave a comment! Maybe, I can reconnect with some of my buddies too.
Right now there are about 230 images, mostly from Del Mar, Camp Pendleton and 12 or so from Camp Schwab Okinawa. I will be adding about 200 more of Pendleton, Okinawa and also Camp LeJeune in the days to come. Enjoy and Semper Fi!
Here is the link to the gallery. Take a look and if you're good with it, please put this in your newsletter and also a link from your site. Thanks and feel free to email if you have any need.
Main page, you can go to the upper right and hit 'browse' to get to the thumbnails if you like
J. Cris Yarborough
Sgt, USMC (1979-1983)
Just Been Overtaken
Seen in Broward County Florida
My son, who said he would have joined the Corps if they had give him "credit for time served" as a dependent rug rat called me this afternoon to tell me had just been overtaken on the road in Broward County, Florida by a car bearing Marine Corps license plates with the tag showing D FEW. My son noted it and chuckled...before he saw a trailing Silverado pickup, also with USMC tags, this time indicating D PROUD.
Great team going there, maybe a husband and wife?
1647380 (2531/2511) & 093611 (6406/3060/6602)
During the early application of computer technology, I became aware of the term "Percussive Maintenance" related to how we man-handle our computers when we're frustrated with its inability to do even the most basic commands. Expanding upon that concept, we can easily recognize any "Percussive Instruction" we might have received at MCRD.
PERCUSSIVE INSTRUCTION (Circa 1962)
"Percussive Instruction" is a brief but VERY intensive course of instruction ALWAYS conducted in the presence of one or more USMC Recruits. Like wise it is NEVER conducted in the presence of a Marine not under Smokey Bear cover. This instruction typically follows the observation by one or more Drill Instructions that a finer point of Marine Corps orientation requires additional focus.
This instruction is not included in the Recruit's official training record due to the questionable nature of the follow-up testing protocols. However, it has been occasionally and sadly included in the Disciplinary Records of some former Drill Instructors.
The value of these instructions is their ability to be conveyed instantaneously while the subject is still fresh in the minds of the group or individual. While Percussive Instruction is always applied "singly", the non-participants would be well served to monitor and learn from the instruction....even if second-hand.
Percussive Instruction courses were developed over generations of Recruit training to cover a wide range of subjects from basic hygiene oversights, to weapon assembly, to uniform dress codes, to weapon accuracy, the finer details of close order drill, obstacle course refinements and attention deficits (to also include deficits while at ATTENTION).
The impact of instruction is usually long lasting only rarely leaving a physical mark denoting the actual site of instruction.
My own instruction events (utter stupidity unintentionally displayed to a Drill Instructor, an inability.....soon corrected....to satisfactorily mark a stationary target at 500 yards with a simple metallic projectile) were very helpful in my overall attention and focus. I also participated in a number of Agitation Instruction events (see below) usually involving the entire training group.
Percussive Instruction should not be confused with any enhanced instruction conducted during Physical Training events nor any "Agitation Instruction" (agitation - the act of agitating something; causing it to move around (usually vigorously)) which might involve larger pieces of Marine Corps property such as foot lockers, sea bags, shoulder weapons or training aids of various sizes.
Sadly the use of Percussive Instruction is employed rarely in this new millennium. However the VERY high quality of Marines completing MCRD training is an indication that equally as effective courses of instruction are currently being applied.
Sgt. Phillip Deal
To Cpl A Johnson, I remember Duck Walking but only at Camp Matthews.
R Olson 57-59 (maybe just us Swedish Marines remember!)
1st Bn, 7th Marines is holding its' biennial reunion, in Albuquerque, NM, May 15-18, 2008. For more information contact Terry Kirkland, at terrylk(at)bellsouth.net or go to http://www.marzone.com/7thMarines/1Seven.htm
Memories Battalion Landing Team 3/5: Floated out of Long Beach on The USS Renville 01 Mar '66, Floated out of Okinawa on The USS Westchester County to Mt Fugi, Japan, Floated out of Okinawa, again, on The USS Princeton to Subic Bay, Philippines, Floated out of Subic Bay to Viet-nam for several Search and Destroy operations...
been reading this since the beginning. please tell former corporal mike regan that his story was the BEST i ever read! bill doherty former pfc '65 - '69.
I am unable to respond to your email right now because I am kicking it at the beach in beautiful, sunny, Iraq. We are really taking the fight to the enemies front door and destroying his ability to function in our A/O.
Semper Fi Sgt. Smith
VMF/VMA-211 is holding our annual reunion in Bettendorf, Iowa, dates are Sept.24-28, 2008.
Contact VMFVMA-211 (at) cox.net
Jerry Thurman, 563-386-4662 All years welcome
Stop Global Whining
Combat Veteran US Marine Corps
Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done!