Mrs. Wilson, no one - even those with the very best of intentions - can ever provide you with words that will ease the ache in your soul and the void in your heart resulting from your loss of Ivan.
But, please be assured of this: Ivan did not die in BadSand. He simply picked up a new set of orders, and moved to his new Duty Station. If you read the proper version of The Bible, you will find the proof in Genesis: "On the 7th day, God rested, and the Marines overran His perimeter and have been guarding The Zone ever since." When you close your eyes to pray, take a look at that solid line of Proud Marines standing tall at the Gates of Heaven, and know that Ivan - now a member of this most elite of Details - is looking on his Mom and his family with pride, saying (under his breath, of course: no talking in the ranks!), "I'll see you soon!" Ms. Wilson, you have sacrificed beyond measure, and this fossilized 'Nam Vet thanks you, madam, and sends to you a sincere and emphatic, "Semper Fi."
Here In The Sandbox
Today reading the newsletter here in the sandbox, I came across Cindy Peckam's letter. It reminded me of what our country stands for. Even though we feel insulted by uninformed people saying horrid things to us, it is their first amendment right.
I've figured out a great way to make them feel like a heel, but keep my dignity intact. I just say "Thank you! When you say things like that, it reminds me I'm protecting your first amendment rights!"
Parents/family members can change it to say "my Marine is protecting your freedom of speech."
SSgt G. L. Guthrie
It Sure Was Fun
I went through PI in 1960. (Platoon 128) We were issued M-1's. I never saw an M14 until Feb. 1962. We were on the Med cruise from Sept 61 until Feb. 62. Just before we left the Med to return to LeJeune, we had a joint exercise with the guys who were replacing us in the Med. They had M14's and M60's, etc. I was a machine gunner and we had the 1919A1. I recall all our guys mocking the M60, asking if it was made by Mattel, because of all the plastic, etc. The 1919A1 was a solid block of steel and practically indestructible. We didn't think the M60 looked as sturdy. It sure was fun firing it from the hip though!
Who is your favorite Marine?
Its time to pick your favorite....
Here's are the choices:
LtGen Lewis B. (Chesty) Puller
GySgt (Manila) John Basilone
Gen A. M. Gray
BGen Smedley Butler
BGen John A. Lejeune
Maj Gregory (Pappy) Boyington
SgtMaj Daniel Daly
MGySgt Leland (Lou) Diamond
Gen Alexander A. Vanderift
LtGen Holland (Howlin Mad) Smith
LtGen Victor H. Krulak
MGen Roy Geiger
GySgt Carlos Hathcock
LtGen Carol Mutter
SgtMaj Brad Kasal
never Say never
Hello to all the old Jar Heads out yonder.
I just had to answer the e-mail from Doug Scrivner of the July 31, 2008 He had said there is not a Marine alive that does not remember his DI's! Well Doug I'm am just the one that does not remember his DI's. And one reason was that I was In 3 different platoons In boot camp, well not 3 but two with three sets of DI's. I'm going back to the early 50s. At that time after 15 days we had to go to Elliote's beach and on the return from the beach our platoon area was up side down, we had 4 Nealson huts plus one DI hut and all the bunks were turned over and the locker boxes turned on end and for the first time for all of us we saw a Marine Officer! A Capt. And he started screaming at us something about us having a free ride with a Head DI that didn't know how to do his job, so with that we got a new set of DI's to deal with and I could not tell to this day what was wrong with the first set. Well to set # 3 We just got to the rifle range and into our new set of Nealson huts when the DI came to me asking me just why I requested to see the Chaplain? I told him I did not and he In turn told me that he wanted to see me, I was told by the Chaplain that My Mother had passed away and I was sent home on leave. When I returned to boot camp after 6 days ( I had a ten day leave, but came back in 6 ) my platoon had moved ahead so that I would not miss out on any training I was put into a HQ Co. To answer the phone for a week I was then put Into a new platoon just coming to the range which gave me my third set of DI's and I don't remember one of the total of nine DI's that I had. At that time we had 3 DI's for each platoon, what they do now I don't know, So Doug, never say never, because you never know!
Semper Fi to all.
Now one of the old Corps.
Im sending this picture of me and Robert Mitchum. This was taken in dongha in 1967.
Cpl. of Marines
Thousands Of Degrees
Counter Insurgency Training at Camp Las Pulgas, Camp Pendleton in the mid sixties. We were housed in Quonset Huts. The head and showers also in Quonset hut. Upon arrival I was in my hut stowing my gear and one of the young Marines (first FMF tour) came busting in and stated "Sarge, I am not going to shower while we're here!" I asked him why and he stated that "When you flush, the urine in the urinals comes out in the showers!" Under standing that we were housed in an old facility in the middle of nowhere, I grabbed him and my cover and headed for the head. When we arrived in the head, he immediately pointed to the very obvious sign over the urinals that stated, "Sound off before flushing when people are in the shower." God love em... I was born older than this young lad!
Chu Lai, RVN, mid sixties. "Burning the sh!#ters" and my weekly malaria pill dilemma. I knew a week had passed when Doc came around and enforced ingestion of the malaria pill. For whatever reason, the pill caused severe digestive distress for me. Once taken I had a pretty solid time frame in which I had get to a "sh!#ter". Well, took my pill, followed my time frame, and headed for the sh!#ter. Arrived there a little late of schedule, in severe distress, and was informed by the young Marine assigned that lovely detail that he had just burned the barrel and I had to wait till it cooled down. I informed him that I did not care if it was still blazing and plopped myself down. I am here to inform you that, regardless of the urgency, you cannot accomplish the mission when your butt is hanging over smoldering waste at temps that had to be in the thousands of degrees! Terrible experience. Might add that the youngster got quite a kick out of my situation.
God Bless and watch over our Warriors in harm's way. never forget how it was.
The Gunner, USMC, Retired
Tattoo I got from the cover of your summer 2008 issue
I Convinced One
While stationed at MCAS Futema in Okinawa as the Training Sergeant for MALS 36, I was ordered by my MSgt to go and get him 200 yards of flight line. Not having been a rookie to this game, I immediately set out on the new mission with a plan to deliver and get the rest of the day off. The Japanese Nationals were constructing the new cryogenics pad just up the road from MALS 36 HQ. I convinced one of the cement truck drivers to play along with me. He backed the truck up near the Top's car while I went into the Top's office. Top said, "I thought I told you to go get 200 yards of flight line?" I replied, "that there was a Foreign National in the parking lot that wanted to speak to him." As the top and I walked out the hatch to the parking lot, the truck driver yelled, " Hey Mac, where you want this load of Flight Line?" Needles to say, Top never sent me on a FNG Mission again and I got the rest of the day off, although I did pay for that quick thinking at Mess Night.
GySgt RT. Gold
USMC Retired 1980-2001
About Half Way
Back in 85' I was on my first deployment to Oki with C Co. 1/3 and on one particular night getting ready to head out to Kinville, I signed out at the Duty desk and was told by the SOG to check and make sure the windows were rolled up in the Jeeps! Well, I got just about half way there then it hit me... there are no windows on these d*mn things! Yea, they got me! I had a laugh about it knowing they were also laughing their a$ses off!
L/CPL T. Hawes 84-88
Charlie 1/3, Weapons Plt
MCAS, Kaneohe Bay, HI
Misses It In His Heart
I was looking at the tattoo section and wanted to email you and add my husband if you don't mind. My husband always said he would never get a tattoo. That was until about 5 months before retirement. He came home and said I have a design and I am going to get a tattoo. I almost fell over for he said he would never get one. So I wanted to share it on your site if possible.
He served proudly from 1983-2003. He misses the USMC on certain things. But most of all he misses it in his heart. Like they say "Once A Marine Always A Marine". If you look closely you will see the EGA in the grips of the eagle claw along with the American Flag. This tattoo has a lot of memories only he can tell. I am so proud of my Marine Husband.
" SEMPER FI "
Wife of Retired GySgt Cooper ( Coop Dawg )
I received Word
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I am a Former Marine, from back in the sixties. Last year my daughter joined the army. After giving her a really bad time, I asked her why the army? Without batting an eye, she looked at me and said, "because the Marines wouldn't take me, I'm too old". This last week I received word that my daughter was killed in Iraq. I wish I could take back some of that harassment. Those kids are brave too.
Rick Mahanay, OR
Noise Like Little Man
I was an aircraft comm/nav systems technician (6212) with HMM-365 when it was still part of MAG-26 at MCAS(H) New River. I haven't seen too many wing-wiper tales, so I thought I'd try to fill that gap. In aircraft maintenance there are safety checklists to be followed when working on the flight line. Short cuts can produce startling results. Two cases in point:
Working on aircraft communication equipment requires starting the APP (auxiliary power plant) - which in a CH-46F helicopter requires checking a whole series of cockpit switch settings, pumping a hydraulic reservoir up to 3000 psi in the aft section, then returning to the cockpit to engage the battery switch and press the start button. If you suddenly hear the sirens of the base crash crew coming your way, it means that the pilot left the Fuel Jettison Switch engaged and the battery powered pumps were dumping jet fuel on the tarmac.
If you are dispatched to check out a faulty Radar Altimeter, you would start the APP, power up the equipment, and press the Push To Test button on the face of the device. A test circuit generates a reading of 75 feet - which indicates the device is working properly. However, if the CH-53 is already powered up with the crew chief doing a rotor blade tracking (main engines cranking with rotors whirling) and the first mechanic is sitting in the pilot's seat, if you don't notice that Altitude Hold is engaged on the Automatic Flight Control System you may find your self suddenly 75 feet off the ground looking at the controllers in the tower atop the hangar.
One rigid rule that maintenance people were required to follow was, whatever the pilots wrote on the "yellow sheet" (that part of the aircraft logbook set aside for aircraft gripes) had to be transcribed to the Maintenance Action Form word for word - sometimes with amusing results. When the gripes are a bit weird, the temptation to respond in kind can be a source of trouble. Here are two of those.
v When the front rotor head and rear rotor head are slightly out of sync there can be a vibration indicating blade tracking is required. One yellow sheet said "Rotor heads need alignment - making noise like little man beating on fuselage with little hammer." The first mechanic just could not resist signing off the MAF with a description that said "Tracked rotor blades and took little hammer away from little man."
My favorite, which got the technician involved summoned to the Maintenance Officer's shack, was when a boot second lieutenant wrote a gripe about the radio direction finding equipment, saying " The UHF/ADF system fails to operate properly with the ON/OFF switch in the OFF position." This was a classic A-799 MAF. "A" meaning no defect and 799 being the code for No Action Taken. However a description was mandatory, but discretion was optional when the description submitted read "Adjusted vacuum between pilot's earphones."
If anyone reading this served with HMM-365 on the Caribbean cruise that became the Peruvian Earthquake relief mission, I would love to hear from you, especially if you remember the attached CH-53 that got to wear the 'NARF 365' insignia.
Hank Merritt 2322046
Sergeant of Marines
I was assigned to the 1st Marine Division, 11th Motor Transport Battalion "Bravo" Company from Feb 1969 to March 1970. My company had many vehicles in its Motor Pool. The standard truck in the Battalion was the reliable five-ton. We also had a couple of the twelve-ton Tractor Trailers for hauling the "big stuff." We also had a tracked vehicle which was called a "Huskey". Sorry, I can't remember the military name for the vehicle. These vehicles were sent into the field and were attached to units operating out in the bush. They were capable of hauling a platoon of Marines through rice paddies and rivers. I trained on them, but was assigned to drive the fuel tankers (lucky me) when they were needed.
If you had the morning job of collecting and burning "you know what," then I was the guy who filled the diesel tanks. I also drove the Mo-Gas tanker which was not fun; thankfully, I didn't have to drive it very much. The main vehicle that I drove was the five-ton, which gave me the opportunity to see most of the area around Da Nang. We hauled everything to the various bases, food, ammo, beer, sodas, etc. I always went out of my way to stop at intersections and pickup up Marines hitchhiking along the road, but nobody would ride with me when I drove the fuel tankers.
I remember one time we needed metal plates for the construction of a new bunker on my company's section of the perimeter. Since we are Marines we were always short of everything, so we went out on a scrounge run. We weren't having much luck until my Sgt. spotted a U.S. Army Heavy Lifter Helicopter taking off from its landing pad. As we watched the helicopter fly away, the Sgt. shouted out "Lets Go," and we raced down to the landing pads and started to dismantle the nearest landing pad. We were able to get seven sheets of the metal pad into the truck when we spotted the helicopter coming back. He must have radioed back because at that moment some Army guys came running out of a hooch at the other end of the field. We drove off laughing and waving to the helicopter pilot and the Army guys. Of course the serial number of the truck was covered so the only thing they saw was the yellow "USMC".
Of course it wasn't always fun and games. Several trucks were shot up and drivers were wounded. Being Marines first we also had to pull guard duty and go out on patrols and ambush patrols just like other outfits. When the 1st Division Headquarters was attacked during TET, our battalion sent a reactionary force to help defend it. Unfortunately they were ambushed before they got there and several of my buddies were wounded.
I have enclosed a couple of pictures of my time in Vietnam.
I also wanted to add that when I went through Boot Camp at Parris Island in 1968, we were issued M-14s. I never saw an M-16 until I went to Camp Pendleton. I was wondering when M-16s became standard issue in Boot Camp.
L/CPL Michael Smith, 3531
USMC 1968 -70
Sgt. Grit; Having spent a tour with 1st motors, I became an expert at the ''barter'' or ''hustle'' from the deep water docks at Danang,to a scary place called the Mudflats that afternoon. I was a resupply driver, hauling c-rations, Ammo, Marines, Pulling a Water Bew (Buffalo) I had been shot at, by NVA,VC,and once Marines, who were returning fire from the bed of the truck, missing me by inches, He took out the windshield, having fired through the cab South of Danang,Trucks forward, and behind, have been "blown'' by undetectable ''box mines", Danang (zone 3) was the most heavily mined area during that period. I had (gunner's) Mechanics who rode the gun on ''Rough Riders''(large Resupply Convoys) going into "Indian Contry''Shot off my Ring Mount. During the Battle for Hue 1968 We were used as Med Evacs,Some of the Drivers having been wounded, Grunts became "Gear Grinders''..Mostly we were (TAD) to the "Grunts" for months, usually sleeping in, or under the trucks. If you have ever seen a truck with its hood up along the road, and asked the driver what was wrong? He usually lied saying he was waiting for a wreaker, what he was actually doing was waiting for the" Grunts'' to return from the ''Scivy House'' The new (multi fuel) Trucks were very Dependable.During the Vietnam War, those who kept count, say 285 Marines with Motor Transport were Killed in Vietnam, But for the most part, We had it pretty good!
One phrase that is said often is "First to go, last to know." That is in great part to the short term notice we receive before supply runs, maintenance runs, etc... As for stories, I am a little short. I am a Motor Transport Mechanic so during my deployment to Iraq I was mainly inside the wire in Al Qaim, and Al Asad.
CPL Dustin "Beaker" Coble
MWSS 473 Motor T
When I was station at M.T.M. Co.1st FSR/FLC we had a large wooden board in our garage area that read.
We may not be the pride of the MARINE CORPS but without us the pride doesn't ride with pride.
Stay safe younger brother BROTHERS and SISTERS and I always tell anyone that I know that is headed to the sand box (Kevlar on, weapon clean and knife sharp)
Ruffrider means a combat convoy we used this in the Nam Gun Truck is a truck with a 50 cal on a ring on the top of the truck or some other type of weapons on it. Water buffalo is a water tank trailer, a duce and a half is a 2 1/2 ton cargo truck. A Mighty Mite not sure if I spelled it correctly was a smaller version of the jeep. I was Motor T in the first Persian Excursion ... re-fueler ... one of the "Diesel Weasels" ... I was on a fuel call one time and the Marine whose truck I was filling asked "What would happen if I threw a match in the back of your truck ... I said "Gee, I don't know ... let's find out", and jumped up on top, lit a match and threw it in. After months of burning this stuff for cooking fires, I knew d*mn well it would go out, but the guy I was fueling dove under his truck and was calling me every name in the book while I just laughed at him.
I was a truck mech for 12yr's and you didn't always have the tool's you might need at the time so you would have come up with something to fix it. So their was a saying. I don't know where it came from but here it is. I've done so much with so little for so long I can do anything with nothing. I've thought of myself as grease monkey because you're hanging on to the under side of a vehicle all full of grease.
As far as Motor-T goes....
one thing we used to joke about on convoys in Iraq was "from rumble strip to rumble strip".... the phrase came about as when you drive for long distances on the paved highways (Iraqi & CONUS), oftentimes the asphalt is 'scored' just outside the painted lane markings in the event should the vehicle operator start to drift off the roadway, the movement of the tires over the 'scoring' produces a loud noise intending to wake the operator before the vehicle hits a guard rail or runs off the pavement. The 'scoring' can be found on both sides of the pavement.
and if you have been on a convoy that lasts FOREVER... this rang true as you would see other operators drifting "from rumble strip to rumble strip"
(here is the exact meaning of a rumble strip that I found on the Federal Highway Administration's website) (Rumble Strips - Noise and vibration produced by shoulder rumble strips are effective alarms for drivers who are leaving the roadway. They are also helpful in areas where motorists battle rain, fog, snow, or dust. Rumble strips also help reduce highway hypnosis-a condition where white lines and yellow stripes on long, monotonous stretches of straight freeway can mesmerize and wreak havoc with a driver's concentration.)
We used to refer to our MOS (3531) as 35drive
Ft. Leonardwood, MO where Motor-T school is conducted is referred to as: Ft. Lost in the Woods
Sgt.Grit; I spent 67-68 with Bravo Co. (T2) 1st. motor Transport Bn. Keith William Nolan Authored "Battle for Hue" Tet 1968,this writer tells how Charlie Co. 1st Motors (T3) operated During The Battle for Hue. That 1st morning it was a little convoy haulin Grunts into the Macv Compound who were ambushed at the Shell traffic circle, The NVA occupied S. Hue as well as the Citidel,This little Convoy With A short Co. Of 1/1 Grunts were trying to reach The Macv Compound, on the south side of the Perfume River, directly opposite the Citidel.It was the only building in Hue still held by American Forces, They were surrounded by a couple of Regiments of NVA,so in typical Marine Response Less than a co. of Marines Alpha co. 1/1 were sent into Hue. Nolan also reports how a "Quad 50'' Army Guntruck would go to the Aid of Golf Co. 2/5 crossing The Perfume, on the Hguyen Hoang,laying down Fire, helping to evacuate Wounded Marines, Its Commander Army Sgt. Robert Lauver is now a guest at Golf Co.s Reunions. The Silver Star Bridge aka The Nguyen Hoang,where Pfc Nolan J. LaLa Charlie Co 1st Motors would earn his Silver Star.Anyhow read the Book. Battle For Hue tet 1968.... "ROUGH RIDER'' Large Marine convoy, Headset what was put on the Browning 50 calibers when the Barrels were screwed into the Receiver.Multi Fuel new engine that replaced the gas engines, by 1967 we were driving these dependable engines,Duece n a half 21/2 ton truck.Ridin gun, Gunners were usually Mechs who would ride the Ring mounted 50s, They were usually the first to be Hit, Command detonated Road mines set off by a babysahn or woman with d cell flashlight batteries hooked to the mine by com wire. Suds Run haulin beer and coke, Usually around Danang.Marines didn't haul Beer above Hai Vanh Pass,We left that to the Army. Mount Up get your a-- in the vehicle. 1st MOTORS got the Pres Unit Citation and The Combat Action Ribbon(had to be in HUE) It was retro (1969)
"Motor T, Nothing moves with out me!" and there is another saying around the motor pool, but really wouldn't make for a gr8 Tshirt. The ol' "If you can't Truck it, #uck it" I think you get the idea. lol. Thanks so much for the great store that you have supporting ALL our brothers and sisters. I really enjoy reading the letters you post also.
Semper Fi and God Speed,
Sgt Nathan L Pruitt/3533
2nd FSSG, 2nd TSB
As a Sgt(E4), I was stationed at Troop Training Unit, NAB, Coronado, from October 1953 to March 1956. SgtMaj Kirkendall had me to get a license to drive one of the Navy jeeps to pick up mail; up until then I had no reason to drive, let alone a standard transmission. I got used to driving, and a little cocky also.
One day, I had to take the jeep to the detachment motor pool for an oil and filter change. The ramp I had to drive up seemed to be about 45 degrees to me. So, I put the jeep in low gear and floored the thing to get up the ramp. Only problem, when I hit the top of the ramp, the left front wheel came off the ramp and the jeep almost made an unplanned dive into the pit. Fortunately, the jeep hung up and didn't completely make it into the pit.
Two Marines in the pit, there to change the oil, made a quick, panic exit. I was told to get out, and they would get the jeep back on the ramp. I, also was told never to drive onto the ramp again.
James R. McMahon, 1043043/0141/0121
GySgt of Marines (1949-1970)
Everybody in the Marines always makes fun of the motor-t drivers. "Yea that Marine was so dumb motor-t is the only job he could do." "How hard can it be? All you have to do is drive." All motor-t drivers suffer in either the horrid freezing winter or the miserable muggy summer at the most dull place in the world (Fort Leonard Wood) for their MOS school. However when motor-t drivers enter the fleet they become a much more versatile Marine. Even though your motor-t, guess what? whatever unit you go to, you are about to get OJT. You become a grunt, combat engineer, mechanic, dozer operator, etc. Overseas every base in Iraq depends on you. Without you there is no chow, no mail, no red bulls, no gatorades, no ammo, no fuel, no water, no toilet paper, no dvds at the px, nothing. You work countless hours and drive forever, sleep whenever you get a chance. Motor-t guys are the best at making things happen. We will make special convoys or trips, just to get a free satellite hook-up for our room, or maybe some free near beers from supply. It is what the Marine Corps is all about. Without motor-t the Marine Corps shuts down, and that is why motor-t is the heart of the Corps.
Corporal Jeff Lloyd
Sgt. Grit---I was the Motor-T Officer for the 2nd Battalion, 26th Marines in Vietnam during 66-67. By far the most common slogan (written on make-shift signs or stated verbally) was the title of the hit song (at the time!) by Nancy Sinatra "Those boots were made for walking....". I think most Marines who served in Vietnam will identify with that song, r.e. availability of any request for "wheels". I hope this helps.
Brian Moriarty, former Captain, USMCR, 1965-1968
I was stationed at Cherry Point as a heavy equipment mechanic where I befriended an MT driver, Johnny Frye. He had an embarrassing event happen one day on base. He was assigned to drive gasoline truck around base to refuel various pieces. Yes, you guessed it. He run out of gas. He finally got back to his duty post around 1600. It took him awhile to figure out why the CO was taking such a giant chunk. It was not until after the CO was finished that he realized he had been driving a gasoline truck. The engine tank ran out of gas. He still had hundreds of gallons is the refueller. He walked back to his vehicle. Did what he should have done and returned to post. There was no liberty for a few weeks. I later worked with him at Da Nang(VMFA 115). He was never bothered by the event. He just considered it another ripple while sliding down the razor blade of life.
Sgt J. T. Brien USMC 63-66
Here's a Motor-T saying that may not be "PC" enough to make it on a T-shirt, "If you can't truck it, F*@K IT!" Or try; "Motor-T! (Unless you want to hump that M-198)"
And a story:
Despite the heavy work load at 1/10 Motor-T, the horseplay never ceased. Someone had start this "good game" thing. They would come up behind someone and give them a "good game" smack, like a football player or something, except it kept escalating and everyone wanted to one up the last good game. I remember looking out the tool room window and seeing someone bent over the engine compartment of a HMMWV, then I saw someone go past the window carrying a huge board, a load SMACK, a lot of yelling. I'm surprised no one ever had to go to the hospital. There was always some new crazy horse play going on but, on a serious note, the work load was unbelievable at times and those Marines always kept the Battalion running. From Camp Lejeune to Kuwait, up through Iraq, back to Kuwait, and then back to NC, despite numerous stupidity attacks of the operating truck monkeys (aka operators), every truck rolled off the ship back onto US soil under it's own power! All we had were the parts we brought or were able to bum or "acquire" from other units. I have never seen a group of crazed, immature, horse-playing, knuckleheaded, Leathernecks perform so well! It was an honor to serve with these Marines. 1/10 Motor T "Got dat a$s!"
Now here are some good FNG missions:
"Go to the armory and check out an asbestos suit, you're going to be pulling butts on the flame thrower range". (flame throwers had LONG been out of service! LOL!)
Or how about the arty guys having the FNG "register a round"? When the FNG wanted to shoot the howitzer he had to register the round. Which meant lugging the round all over the pos. To FDC, to supply, back to FDC, over to motor-t, over to the ammo train, then to comm.. And then if he was lucky he got to shoot it.
Then there's always the "Hey go get a BA 1100N (pronounced, B A eleven-hundred November) with an ST ring attachment." Or "These tires are low, look up the NSN for air, and get some on order."
"Go to gun 7 and get 100 feet of gun line!" (there were only 6 guns in the battery)
"Go ask the armory for the BFA for the MK-19" (or for the M9, that one works either way)
Can't Remember The Name
After ITR at Pendleton in the fall of 1964 and a trip home on leave, I was assigned to Maintenance Company, 1st Battalion at Pendleton. A corporal in the company office was looking over my SRB commenting that I was over qualified to be a mechanic and asked how did I get assigned to that. I replied that they asked me (in Boot Camp, I think) if I could name the firing order of a six cylinder engine. I told them I never worked on a six, but I had been drag racing with a Chrysler V8 and named that firing order, so they assigned me the mechanic MOS. The corporal then asked me to write maintenance on a piece of paper without looking around to see how it's spelled. I did and he assigned me as the clerk in the shop to keep track of service schedules and maintenance histories. He also handed me a request for transfer and suggested I put in for electronics school, since he thought I could get in.
About the end of January 1965 the transfer came through and I took a short leave and reported to Basic Electronic School at MCRD, San Diego. I'm sad that I can't remember the name of that corporal because he basically helped set me on a course for the rest of my life. After discharge in 1967 I immediately got a job with IBM and went on to spend 33 years in the computer industry.
Thanks and Semper Fi, Corporal!
One guy I do remember in Maintenance Company was called Spanky and he would tell us new guys he had more time in the air jumping into the back of a six-by than we had in the entire f'ing Corps.
Sergeant, Radar Technician
MACS8 Cherry Point
As being a fellow "Hard Charger" I would like to extend the deepest gratitude for your site. I have really enjoyed the stories shared from my fellow Marines & supporting family members. Your weekly newsletter is like a breath of fresh air. With that said I would like to share a story of my own...
"DISCIPLINE" care of Drill Instructor Sergeant Sands MCRD San Diego, 1st Battalion, Delta Company, Platoon 1055, June - July 1991 (was WIA second phase due to broken foot, 1st Bn. did not mess around. Dropped to MPR for four week - graduated 2nd Bn. October of that year.)
It did not matter what was going on in the squad bay. The names were called. "Aye sir, aye recruits." You got your as$ to the classroom area of the squad bay as fast as you could. Covers on the deck up against the bulkhead spilling over from all the content that were in your pockets. Then it begins - Running (thunder), flying, sitting, leg lifts - 15, 45, 90, 25 swimming. Bend & thrust. When pushing came, with all its varieties, it was always accompanied by DISCIPLINE! "The instant willing obedience to order. Respect for authority, and self-reliance. It's a way of life sir!" Reciting this little definition, one of the foundations of recruit training & the Corps, kept the recruits of platoon 1055 in the classroom indefinitely at the mercy of Drill Instructor Sergeant Sands. Once he was satisfied DISCIPLINE had been achieved. The bark of "Go away!" came. With your reply of "Go away aye sir. Left foot. Right foot. C lock, ease about click." If the "go away" command was not executed properly. Brother - you were back at it again until you got it right.
The last time I recall another Marine speaking of DISCIPLINE & it's definition was MCT. One of our troop handlers, Corporal Germitten (aka Curious George), had us in the bleachers at the weapons range casually lecturing us new Marines on Corps values & our lack of knowledge. He asked us what DISCIPLINE was, and out of the 50 + Marines there, I was the only one to stand & recite it to his amazement. My reward was having to push.
That little word & its definition has stayed with me for the past 17 years & will remain for the rest of my days. It is still as fresh in my mind as the day it was planted. I've never cared to look up Webster's definition as I'm sure it will be incorrect.
1991 - 1995
Honey Buckets Burning
Well, do I remember the burning events. Nothing like honey buckets burning...
Seems that one evening a "Gunner" who loved to go to the two holer and sit and smoke his cigar in peace made the mistake of dropping his lit cigar into the bucket.
Well, what fun...
One question tho, does the medal come with combat "V" attachment?
I Was Flabbergasted
A couple months ago, I had the opportunity to visit the New Marine Corps Museum just outside Washington D.C. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised by all the exhibits, info, and displays therein. The store which sold many kinds of memorabilia was well stocked and reasonably priced. Now for the main part of my story. Upon exiting, I observed a Marine Corps staff car pull up to the curb and out jumped a "Squared Away" Marine. I was in civilian clothes and had a cap with the Marine Corps Logo and he walked up to me, extended his hand and said," Hi Marine, I'm Ron Coleman." I now realized, I was shaking the hand of a "Three-Star General."
At this point in time, I was flabbergasted to say the least. Here I was an early 50's Marine Corporal not only shaking the hand of a 3-Star General, but having a conversation with him as well. He was there to Officiate a Promotion Ceremony and stopped to greet me before going inside. How he knew I was a Marine is beyond me. Perhaps it was my demeanor, the cap with the USMC logo, or whatever, I just don't know. Meeting and speaking with him was quite an experience I'll remember for a long, long time.
When I got home, I looked up Lt. General Ron Coleman on the internet and it displayed quite a respectable resume. I noted at our meeting that he wore . an array of ribbons and medals thereby impressing me even more. At this juncture, I envision him as a possible future Commandant of the Marine Corps.
Cpl. Joseph P Miller 1482458 USMC
1954 - 1957 - Discharged 1962
In vietnam I was the arty fo attached to a/1/3. I always tried to meet all the new troops. I would make the rounds of the lines every night but could never remember the password so when I was challenged with "who goes there" I would respond none of your d**med business. Everyone knew it was me so they would respond "come on in Smokey". I would then sit down with the troops including the new guy. I would ask him where he was from etc. The troops were in on the set up and would eventually ask "where we going in the morning lt" you should have seen that fng jump. They were almost always right out of itr and scared to death of sgts much less a LT. After everyone had their laugh I would explain the rules. While in the field he was to refer to me as "Smokey" and never ever salute me.
DON "SMOKEY" STOVER
1965-1967 L/CPL 1967-1970 1/LT
Cuban Missile Crisis
Dear Sgt. Grit:
My name is Rich Lee and I'm a former US Marine; discharged October 1963.
During the end of my four year tour I was with VMA 225 Cherry Point, NC, and in October 1962 we were ordered aboard the USS Enterprise for the Cuban Missile crisis.
Which brings me to the reason for this email....I've been troubled for many years over why so little recognition has been given to those service men and women who served during that very critical deployment.
It wasn't until the year 2000 that it was proven the Cuban Missile Crisis put our Nation at the brink of Nuclear War, and yet our Government has not authorized some sort of visual recognition (ribbon, badge) on the uniform of those who served during that period.
Therefore, I'm going to contact Congresswoman Ginny Brown Waite of Florida on this issue.
Sgt. Grit, I'm requesting your assistance because of the wide reach of influence you have among Marines, and if you would consider assisting me in soliciting support to implement legislation for the issuance of a ribbon or badge, etc., to all those who served our Nation during that most critical time I would be most appreciative..
Please let me know if you would consider getting involved.
Sarge- This is Cpl Lawrence S Edwards -0331. 03 Walk a lot. 1969-1973. 2-26Th. Of course like all of us we are wonderful bast*rds second to none. And yes I do know the nomenclature of my m14. It is a shoulder held, magazine fed -gas operated weapon. It is 7.62 mm rather than that piece if sh!t 5.56 varmint gun they tried to convince us was better that my m14. Ok the m14 was heavy compared to the 16. Matty mattels ray gun sucked. My score on qual day was - now this was with an m14, 237. Col. Gailbreath pinned my expert badge on me and only asked me one question on my final exam. He said son where did you ever learn to shoot like that. I said sir- my father was a marine. He then shook my hand and said OUT F#!KIN STANDING Private. CARRY ON MARINE!
SEMPER FI MAC!
I am fortunate, I graduated in Nov.1958 in Plt.192 on Parris Island , and ran into my Sr.D.I about a year and a half later while a member of K- 3-- 8, during some recon rubber boat training, and about 5yrs. ago found him on a Drill Instructor WEB sight. He is now living in his home state of Kan. and we keep in touch with e-mail. I consider it a great honor to call this man a friend, and now talk to him on a first name basis. He did a great job turning a lot of scuzzy maggots into Marines
LCPL Bill Hetherington
No longer on active duty
No One Looked
It was 1964, I believe and we were on "Steel Spike I", that sailed from the East Coast to the Southern Coast of Spain. I, along with 8 other Marines and Corpsman, were on an old WWII Liberty ship. "USNS George W.G.Boyce" We were a floating bomb, with Av gas in the after holds and artillery ammo in the forward holds. As a MT man, we didn't make the initial landings on the Spanish beaches. We went in at D+2 and landed at about 0030. As we drove our small convoy off the beach, we had a WO Lee from Force Troops as our convoy commander. The senior enlisted man, was MSgt Vallesano from 2nd MT Bn.
The convoy stopped and we all got out of our 6 Bys. MSgt Vallesano called me over from the rest of the Marines that were standing around and said that we were stopped by a road guard and he needed the pass word for the day. We had yesterdays password ( it changed at midnight) and it was now 0115 on D+3. He told me to sneak around the woodsand go over to the camp fire, that was obviously the road guards unit about 50 yards into the woods. I snuck around and nonchalantly walked by the fire and said, "I'm on duty in a little while, what's the pass word?" No one looked at me to see exactly who was talking, so someone told me it. I think it was something like,"Robin" and the countersign was, "Hood" . So, I snuck back to the convoy, relayed the password, Top went forward and soon, we were on our way. We reached the rest of our battalion in about an hour and I never heard anything about our little ruse after that.
As I thought about it years later, no plan is ever foolproof. As Clint Eastwood said, when he played GySgt Tom Highway, "Improvise, Adapt, Overcome". And we did just that.
MSgt USMC Retired
Checker Board Squadron
To Sgt. Grit,
First off this is the first time I've written to you, although I have felt the desire to in the past, so many others have expressed my feelings and thoughts much more eloquently.
I'm a viet nam vet, '70-'71, at Danang Air Base. I was a radar technician on the Phantom F-4B fighter with VMFA-115, the Silver Eagles. In reference to the letter written in the July 31 newsletter by R.M. "Zeb" Zobenica, Capt. (Ret), although I "may" have hesitated to disagree with anything a Captain said while I was on active duty, I do not feel the same hesitation now. While agreeing with him that "the Great Santini" was a very good movie about marine air and showed some of the unique spirit and personalities of the Air Wingers, one thing he indicated was in error. I was in VMFA-312, the Checker Board Squadron, depicted in the movie and we flew F-4B Phantoms not F-4Js. At least this was so when I was there at MCAS Beaufort, S.C. From Oct. '68 - June '70.
I would like to pass on my e-mail address to anyone who was with either of my squadrons and if you have anything to remember and want to communicate send me a line. E-mail usmcdale @ sbcglobal . net.
I have one final thing to add. My son is on active duty in the Corps with the 3/8 at Camp Lejeune. Proud of him would be an obvious understatement of my feelings for him and what he and his brothers in arms are doing these days. They are being deployed soon, I won't say where for security reasons, I wish everyone would continue to pray for this new generation of Marines who are carrying on the proud traditions of the United States Marine Corps.
Semper Fi Marines,
CPL DALE R. McNETT
I'm still watching Generation Kill. One of your readers said that it was a movie that depicts the Corps in a way that civilians would like to see it (or words to that effect). I agree that there are many inaccuracies. However, and having not been to the sand box myself, the story does proceed pretty much as Lt. Fick's "One Bullet Away" (which I previously expressed). Lt. Fick was platoon commander with Bravo Company during the invasion of Iraq.
I mean no disrespect to anyone's perspective. However, I do see the difference between the ideals we all share, and where things go awry and we end up far from that ideal. Sh!t happens! The Marine who wrote that Marine's in Bn Recon were all squared away, was not in 1st Recon Bn (I don't think). I was. We were not all squared away. Some Marines were very squared away, and sometimes we acted like 'retards' (including some officers and senior NCOs)--and sometimes, it just depended on the day or the situation. Just like real life.
I carry some f#!ked up stories with me. Trust me; they are not sea stories that should be shared with strangers on a message board - even if to my brother and sister Marines. It is easy to forget about those things, because I need to, because the ideal is much more inspiring and heart warming than reality. I think most of us do that at least sometimes. And, I don't think there is anything wrong with it either-at the end of the day we are all hard charging Marines. Nothing can take that away - not even the fact that things are seldom the way they should be, but are only the way they are.
Sometimes a story comes a long that gives us the opportunity for self-reflection. Sometimes its good to remember what really happened to learn or re-learn its lesson. That is true, even if the story, in this case Generation Kill, is flawed. We already tend to remember our time in the Corps in the brightest light (we are all the hero of our own story) - but it is also useful to remember the rest of it too. After all, it is the grit that makes the time worth remembering in the first place.
Generation Kill, at least, is not the absurd insult that Heartbreak Ridge was.
Mark Lurtsema, Marine Rifleman, 1980-RIP
I Have Heard
I am not trying to gig you LCpl Murrell, but I never heard of a Marine, especially at Boot, wearing "PANTS" and to refer to trousers as such got one on the deck doing at least 30 4-count pushups at the Di's count. Or, worse yet, one of the DI's would suddenly turn up with a pair of over sized lacey women's undergarments for that particular recruit to wear all day long, than scrub clean on the concrete wash tables and fold properly and return for the next, God forbid, maggot that called his trousers, "PANTS".
The only Marines that ever wore or wear "PANTS" are what we referred to as the now politically incorrect terms, WM's or BAMS.
I have heard this quite a bit in the past few years, even from those home on Boot leave, so I guess the Corps has instructed DI's that now, not only Army, Air Force, Navy and women wear "PANTS", but now, God forbid, Marines wear PANTS?
The terminology has stuck with me for over 44 years and it still makes my teeth grit when I hear a man, especially a Marine, call what he wears to cover his butt, "gun" and legs, "PANTS", instead of trousers or jeans or uties. Or cover his noggin, a "HAT", instead of a Cover. Or his winter green uniform top covering his "JACKET" instead of his "Blouse".
Of course Boots are no longer allowed to be called "Scumbags", "Girls", "Ladies", "Maggots", or anything other than Recruit. Surely the DI's don't have to call someone in training as a Boot, "Marine", for that is not kosher until that "Maggot" proves himself worthy and earns his EGA. The first time I was called that honorable name was in formation on the main grinder, after 14 weeks of horror and pain, when my Senior called us to attention and retorted..."Marines of Platoon 375, dismissed!" The terminology is one of the things that told a Marine he was in the presence of another Marine, no matter what he was wearing, or on active duty, formerly active, or retired. As to the A/C, we may have been in "disneyland" at PI in Third Battalion with brick barracks, but air conditioning or even a fan? And cold water from a scuttlebutt was sure and swift punishment. Milk in the mess hall was the only drink served cold. Punishment for joining the Corps, no! It was part of the conditioning to be able to stand what we surely would have to in the near future, and our DI's, all combat vets, knew it and were trying to keep us alive to back to CONUS and train the next group of civilian "MAGGOTS".
Tradition is not just the name of a piece of music from "Fiddler On The Roof", it is a form of respect for those who made the Corps what it is purported to be from its very inception. A respect for the very uniform that sets a Marine apart from the norm. History and Tradition were a major part of my training in 64 and those before. The automatic knowledge of those things are what makes the Corps separate from the other services, as well as the willingness to do one's duty. Not just for a tour, but as long as breath keeps moving in and out of our bodies and keeps that oath alive in our minds and spirits.
a slogan, a motto? H&ll no, it's a way of life
The Command Was Repeated
I was re-reading one of your newsletters (7Jun08), and Sgt. William Thompson's account of doing "To The Rear March" up and down a hill at Camp Matthews reminded me of a game my Basic School Platoon Commander taught us.
I was in 2nd Platoon, "F" Company at TBS (March - August, 1966), and our Platoon Commander was Capt. Donald Myers (not sure of the spelling). He was former enlisted, and I think, an Annapolis grad. He came to us (as did several of our officers both at TBS and earlier at OCS) from a tour in 'Nam as an advisor with the Vietnamese Marine Corps, and was a "recruiting poster" Marine officer--the epitome of "A-J Squared-Away".
After one of our overnight or longer field tactics problems (forty-two years later, my memory sometimes fails me), we had to force march up and down hills back to Camp Barrett. The distance was either ten or twenty miles, but I'm not sure which, on this particular occasion. We were carrying M-14's and full "field gear," maybe including the "field transport pack" (both the haversack and rucksack fastened together with the shelter-half "horseshoe roll" strapped on top and e-tool attached). All I remember for certain was being tired when we started. We were at "Route Step" in "Column of Two's" on both sides of the road, when Capt Myers called out "Last man up!" The response was for the two men in the rear to race to the front of their respective columns. When they were at the head of the column, the command was repeated, over and over again. I didn't have any blisters on my feet until we started playing that game, but we did get back to the BOQ a little earlier than scheduled.
Thinking about Capt. Myers and The Basic School reminded me that we had several sons of Marine generals associated with TBS during my time there.
Our Training Officer was Capt. (or Maj.) Richard Weede, son of Gen. Richard G. Weede. (The General was CG of FMFLant two years later when I was assigned to H&S Bn. in Norfolk, and he honored me by pinning on one of my captain's bars, while my wife pinned on the other. I don't know if he did that with all officers promoted under his command, but I was impressed by that fine gentleman.) 4th Platoon was commanded by 1stLt.
Krulak (can't remember his first name), and I have often wondered whether it was he or his brother who was the future Commandant. (Can anybody fill me in?) I seem to remember that the sons of Commandants Greene and Shoup were at TBS during that time, as well.
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine
1963-76: Vietnam Dec '66-Dec '67 (FO'd from "I" 3/11, for "L" 3/7 for 6 months; and AFDO for 3rd 8" How. Btry.) CO of "D" Co, 4th Recon Bn (later combined with "C" and redesignated as "C" 1/23), Corpus Christi, TX
I Was Required
I was once stationed at El Toro from 20 March 1973 to 22 September 1974. Although my time was brief there, I have fond memories of the Air Station. This was my first duty station right out of MCES.
I was stationed with MABS-13, MAG-13, 3rd MAW. Our 'Utilities' buildings (Quonset huts) were located on the back side of the runway, next to Motor Transport. We had the responsibility of maintaining the generators, decontamination units, shower units, and equipment for debarkation. My MOS was 1141 (Basic Electrician), however our unit was so small that we generally assisted other specialties.
I was required to received a military license to drive a Jeep and 6x6 in the Jeep School conducted just off-base out the back gate. Although young at the time and having been raised on a farm,