My story, on the flight to Nam in Dec 67 were three of us from the same boot platoon who went to the same battalion of 7th Marines.
We each were assigned to A, B &, C Companies. We saw each other maybe twice during out tour. A few interesting stories could be told some sick funny and others more to it's who we are. Getting to my point. We each got orders to rotate back home on Christmas Eve. Too late to check out and get to air base transit area. Dec 24 my hill got mortared Not sure of other two. Dec 25 all checked out no weapon and on duce and Â½ on my way to transit at DaNang. Checking in who would be there but these two boot buddies. Hugs and back slaps later We are assigned a hooch to sleep in along with twenty or so new replacements. We three stayed in our own corner radio on , C-rat coffee and talk. We talked some with newbees. After dinner and getting dark, siren went off, Sergeant runs in yelling get to bunkers . Newbies follow him, he comes back you guys are setting a bad example for newbies. Come on get to bunker .No! we replied, they are not even close they are hitting other end of base. He pleads again and reluctantly we go to bunker. As we finally go the all clear sounds .my buddy says see they were making last attempt to get us. Missed us last night too. Some ask what we mean .Go to sleep. Dec 26 we are on C130 to Kadena AF B Okinawa the most beautiful air port I have ever seen. Dec 27 0400 hrs we leave for El Toro on LULLABY flight. Arrive Dec 27 2200 hrs
Here comes good part. We were prepared for being cursed, called baby killers and garbage thrown at us. We three arrived at LAX 0200 wait for flights home no flight until 0700. We look for out of way place to sleep and a darkened concourse looked good. I said I would take first watch and wake one of you in two hours. Back in Nam mentality.
This old man, a custodian of African heritage comes over having never met us before. He said this terminal will open about 0400 and wake you. We told him out departure times. He showed us a not used area and said we all three could sleep, because this was his area and no one would bother us there. He would watch over us. 0600 he comes and gently wakes us, your flights will be soon I have hot coffee and doughnuts for you. He started to clean the floor and walk away.
We all thanked him as he walked away waving his hand to us and said something about his son.
We got to our planes and home.
Tears come to me every time I tell this.
Suicide Charley 1/7
Dec 67-Dec 68 RVN
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After reading a few stories about Pilots and how things work. Especially after reading that the system doesn't work in the "off" position. And signing off the MAF....A799.
I remember one time, when the pilot wrote up a gripe that "the pilot's relief tube was too short. Well needless to say it was signed off A799. Long enough for me. Even the CO had a chuckle when he read it. I won't mention the boot Captain to save him the embarrassment.
He might be a General by now?
Gary F Lewis
11th Motor Transport Bn., Da-Nang. I found these photos in one of my albums over the weekend. Hope they bring back some fond memories
Semper Fi - til I die
Mike Quinn Sgt. USMC 69-73
Buttons 12 Inches Thick
I went through MCRD San Diego in the late summer and early fall of 1957. Platoon 279. My assignment was at E Battery, 2nd Bn, 11th Regiment. My MOS assignment was 2511 (Wire Chief) or some such thing. That was on my DD-214 upon discharge although I never worked that job after going to school for it. Actually I was given an 0846 MOS (Artillery Scout Sgt, i.e., forward observer) for all the time after boot camp. Most of the time I was attached to a company in 2nd Bn, 5th Regiment as artillery support. Usually Fox Company. Now for my unusual type story that seems to show up regularly on this news letter.
It was sometime in 1960 and General David M. Shoup, the twenty-second Commandant of the Marine Corps, decided he had to see a live fire exercise. This event took place at Camp Pendleton just East of what was called "Cone Hill" in those days. There were 4 of us artillery types attached to F,2,5. A fresh out of OCS 2nd Lt, a couple of PFC or Private types and me, a LCpl. The infantry set up a base of fire and started firing at the "objective" real-estate, the maneuvering element maneuvered. The infantry CO, a Captain, wanted his artillery support close, so we stuck close to him. A jet flew over and dropped a 500 lb. bomb, an Ontos, with its six 106mm recoilless rifles, did its thing, some 81mm mortars dropped their stuff and I peppered the objective with a bunch of HE and a few WPs. The ceasefire flare went up, the maneuvering element proceeded to approach the object. The 81s did not see the ceasefire flare. They kept firing. The mortar rounds fell all over the place among the now "hug the ground" element. I was in a creek bed laying flat on my chest with buttons that felt like they were 12 inches thick. The 81s finally got the word and stopped firing. Everybody stood up and not one Marine was hit by the 81 stuff. Until this day, I don't believe you can kill anything with an 81mm mortar. Everyone went back to an assembly point for debriefing.
Our four man forward observer team got together and the Lt. had lost his helmet dodging 81mm stuff. He got us all to one side and said, "OK men, I want you to spread out and get me a helmet if you have to get the Commandant's" I looked for a while in the impact area and could not find a helmet anywhere. The Commandant still had his, so that was out. The company CO had placed his helmet in the right seat of his jeep and put on his soft cover and went to visit with the Commandant. I picked up the Captain's helmet and presented it to my Lt. He saw the Captains bars and said, "I can't take that." I took the helmet in my left hand and the Captain bars in my right hand, pulled them off and threw them in the bushes. I said, "Now you can sir." He did. The Captain threw an absolute fit when he found it gone. About 2 weeks later I lost my LCpl stripes and had to wear Cpl stripes. The Lt. had put my name in the promotion machine. I would like to apologize to you Captain if you read this and remember the event. But you have to admit that I was only following a direct order from your fellow officer.
Cpl. F. Dave Odom....1685348
PS Anybody ever get sent somewhere to get a 292 battery? By the way, my younger son was in the Marines and went to PI. He was scheduled to go to Iraq in Sept of 2005, but some illegal alien crossed the median and ran into him head on June 1, 2005. He was declared dead at the scene, but being a Marine he did not stop fighting for his life. The medical bill was just a few bucks short of 2 million. Had great insurance and co-pay was only a few bucks short of $1000. He is just fine now and is a professional grade drummer. By the way, he beat me every way possible in boot camp.
VMF-VMA-311 WW2 to Present
2008 Reunion 10-14 SEPTEMBER 2008 The Inn at Chester Springs near PHILADELPHIA, PA.
Visit the website for more details.
Contact Jim Galchick 1290 E. 12th St. Salem, OH 44460
(330)337-9383 jgalchick @ neo . rr . com or Fred Townsley at Oldsargfred @ gmail . com
Don Ehrgott 1385418
I am currently deployed to Iraq. We have a jet painted with 1st Mar Div on it, it looks real cool. I noticed the 1st Mar Div on your home page.
Thanks for your Support
GySgt Eddie Puente
VMA-311 Ordnance Division SNCOIC
Al Asad, Iraq
Al Anbar Province
The Next 24 Years
Dear Sgt Grit;
This has not been a good week for me. While reading Leatherneck, I saw the name of a SNCO/Officer I served with in the 60's. Then while reading Semper Fi, two more friends were listed as having left us to assume their posts on high. All were career Marines. So far this year that makes four that I know of and I wonder who has passed that were not reported to Leatherneck or on the retired list. I'm 71 and I don't know how much longer I have before I joint the ranks with my friends. I've heard we were heroes, but for some reason I don't feel heroic. I'm sure my friends from the Corps feel the same way. We were just doing our job because we love our country, our flag and our Marine Corps and the adventure and pride of being a United States Marine. I miss those guys, and even though I haven't seen or talked to them for years. I know when we meet again, we'll pick up where we left off just as if things had never changed.
A couple of weeks I related an incident from the coffee shop where the barista said serving in the Marine Corps wasn't a job, it was a calling. There is more truth to that than most of us realize. I don't remember when I became interested in the Marine Corps. I think I was around 9 years old and my brother had just joined the Marine Corps. I began to read about the Marine Corps and by the time I was 17 and joined the Corps, on my birthday, I could have taught history and traditions to the recruits in boot camp.
The next 24 years were filled with excitement, pride, fear, boredom and friendships. Sometimes for whatever reason, I alternatively loved, hated, respected and grew tired of my assignment, my leaders, my station. I was never disillusioned nor did I ever hate the Marine Corps. I stand tall when I hear the Hymn, chills run up my spine and I can't help but get choked up. I think about the Corps and the men that made it what it is today. I feel pride when I read about the Marines of today. I think about what they must feel being away from home and their loved ones doing those things that Marines do. No matter the time, place or mission, I know the Marine Corps will prevail and all will be right in our beloved Corps.
Goodnight Chesty wherever you are.
Jerry R. Hattox
Re: Major General John Kelly And A Fallen Warrior
On the way back from Iraq right after Baghdad fell and I'd returned from Tikrit the Division was supposed to return home immediately. As the assistant division commander I returned to Pendleton (via Bethesda) in Late May. Little did I know I would return to Iraq immediately and be there until November. In any event, I got a hotel room in Bethesda and all I had with me were my utilities that I'd worn nonstop since I'd deployed to Kuwait the January before we invaded (March 20th). I bought a can of Lysol spray, hung my utilities in the hotel room closet and used the entire can letting it soak in during the night. Even then it was best if I stood down wind of the ladies. I went to the hospital to see the 1st Marine Division boys the next day and met Mr. Nixon, his wife and daughter. They'd just buried Pat in Arlington.
His son was wounded and in spite of that he was helping more seriously wounded Marines into an Amtrac along the so called Nasiriyah "gauntlet." The gauntlet was an arrow straight 2.5 mile road that ran from the Euphrates River just outside the city and the same piece of road that the Army 157th (Jessica Lynch's outfit) was hit. I remember when I dashed along that piece of unsecured road in my HMMWV driven by my driver Cpl Dave Hardin, from Dallas, TX, in the early morning (0500?) of 25 or 26 23 March I saw the still burning and totally destroyed hulk of the Amtrac in which Pat Nixon died a few hours before. I didn't know what happened to it at the time as the fight in Nasiriyah was not the 1st Division's, but I did cross myself and said a prayer for those who must have died in that vehicle. Only when I ran into the Nixon's in the Naval Hospital did I know the rest of the story. Mr. Nixon gave me a picture of his son taken when he was home on pre-deployment leave. He was a mortar man and by all reports knew how to work a tube. The Nixon's had magnetic backings put on the picture and gave them to friends as keepsakes. I was touched to get one. There was a little anomaly shadow or something above Pat's head that looked like a little dark bird or bat. The Nixon's joked that Pat was a little bit of a devil at times, and it came out in the picture. Jesus Christ it was sad Seamus. When my own two boys were in Iraq I used to wonder all the time if I could be as brave as the Nixons if one of mine went down. The next day, it was a Sunday, I went to Mass in uniform (still ripe) at the Ft Myer Chapel then walked down to see Pat's grave in Arlington before I flew home to see my family in Pendleton. No stone yet, just a simple marker over the still turned up earth. I think there were less than ten graves from Iraq at the time - now there are row upon row.
When I returned to Iraq in June the division now "owned" Nasiriyah and the first thing I did was to ensure the hulk was removed. Our dozen or so heroes were long gone and buried in America's good earth, but I didn't want the Trac just sitting there.
Anyway, Seamus, wonderful people who lost almost all they had in their son Pat. His picture is still on my refrigerator at home along with my own kids.
Just wanted to share a photo of my devil dog. His name is 'Jarhead', and he's earned the name. He's currently an E-3, but that's after spending at least 6 months as a boot and being busted at least three times. He comes by his moniker and behavior honestly - he's in a proud Marine Corps family: My father was a Marine before WWII (Pvt Harold Somers), my brother retired after 23 years (MSgt Mike Williams), I did my 4 years, my son served his 4 (LCpl Peter Williams - part with the first outbreak of hostilities in Iraq with the 2/10), and my daughter was a Corpsman (HM3 Mallory Williams). We bleed crimson and gold. Love your newsletter and eagerly await every issue. Let's see some other "Devil-Pets" and/or mascots - would also like to see some Marine Corps motorcycles.
"Thanks" to my Brother and Sisters who went through all the sh*t I didn't have to. Special remembrance to those who paid the ultimate price.
As the old toast kinda' goes (and I always use whenever two or more Marines are gathered); To those Marines that are here with us, to those Marines who could not be with us, and to those Marines who are no longer amongst us. Semper Fi!"
-Sgt. Ken Williams
Jan 1975- Jan 1979
Motor Pool, you call, we'll haul and if we can't truck it f##k it.
Motor Pool, we've got 2X's, 4X's and 6X's and those big Mother's that bend in the middle go choo..choo..choo..choo..
And when we became a short timer in Country, we would tell the FNG that we had more time in the air jumping out of the truck than they had in the Corps.
Great reading and gear, thanks Grit.
Cpl of Marines
Viet Nam '66-'67
This is in response to your request for Motor-T stories and phrases...
"Better On Rubber Wheels, Than Rubber Heels!"
While serving as an ammunition/explosives driver, I was attached to an infantry company (Fox 2/8) for deployment to the Mediterranean. It was great duty if for nothing else because when we landed for exercises we took the LCAC's in, instead of those ever so slow landing crafts that the USS Saipan used. (The Saipan was quickly renamed the "Bedpan" after our first field op, during the work-up exercises for pre-deployment.) I think that we may have been an afterthought in the planning process, because the ship didn't have any berthing for us, we weren't on the pre-deployment exercises when most of those details got worked out. Because of this, a kind sailor found us an unused recreation room, and helped us convert it into berthing. It wasn't until four months later, during a ship-wide inspection of the Marine quarters, that we were "discovered". Our ranking officer was a second lieutenant and up to that point had been more than happy to help us disappear, but I'm pretty sure that he walked out of the CO's cabin with less of a backside than he went in with. The first four months we were living on easy street, but the last two months of deployment we were put on every detail and assignment that they could throw at us. Still, I wouldn't have traded those first four months of doing nothing more than sitting in the cab of my truck, overlooking the ocean, than another week on the Saipan playing games to keep us occupied. Looking back, I think that if we had just stayed inside of the door labeled, "Recreation Room" we would have been able to keep completely off the radar for the rest of the deployment. None of our detachment ever complained about our extra work that last two months, which goes to show that Marines may look for an easier way of doing things, but when given an assignment they may not enjoy, they put their heads down, don't complain, and get the work done.
Former Sergeant of Marines,
Semper Fi Devil Dogs. I was a 3533 at MCAS El Toro 90-92, MWSS 373. MK48-14,15,16,18 - Logistic vehicle Systems. It was always a treat being in southern California just after Desert Shield/ Desert Storm and all the young ladies loved Marines. As you drove by, they were more than willing to show their appreciation.
I remember a sister unit at MCAS Tustin, called themselves "Rolling Thunder" with their logo as an elephant on steroids. We would send the FNG's for lubrication fluid for the frozinator relief valve, or for them to locate - then drain said relief valve and replace the frozinator fluid. The Gunny in maintenance has the fluid in the gear locker. Once the Gunny got done with said FNG, he would be scraping 5th wheel plates until his cammies were waterproof for life.
Love the news letter, makes my week every Thursday morning.
Lance Corporal of Marines
MWSS 373 - El Toro
Platoon 1056-D - MCRD Parris Island
Motor T for life.
Sgt. Grit: I was a First Lieutenant and platoon leader with Truck Co., 1st FSR/FLC, Camp Books near Hill 262 to the West and Namo Bridge to the north near the base of the Hai Van Pass, RVN. We proudly called ourselves the "Mother Truckers". On each convoy, we typically had five to six "guntrucks" as we called them which were sandbagged 5 ton trucks with ring mounts and 50 cal. machine guns above the cab. I had the privilege of leading some fine Marines on convoys in 1969-70 as far south as Chu Lai and as far north as Dong Ha. Mostly, however, we hauled our usual 30 to 40 five ton trucks carrying 60 and 81 MM, 105 rounds, 106 canisters, and 155 and 8 inch rounds plus 50 cal. and M-16 ammo (and volatile JP-4 fuel tankers for choppers) to the 7th Marines at L.Z. Baldy and L.Z. Ross, occasionally to the 5th Marines at An Hoa, and even made some trips to your pos on Hill 55. And, one of the stories, Sgt. Grit, you may recall. As we were unloading artillery and mortar rounds, there was a Philippino band playing on a flat bed trailer at Hill 55 one day (late â€™69), but there were some VC bad guys in some bunkers opposite of and facing Hill 55. Someone called in some F-4s, and as the band leader started singing the Beatlesâ€™ "Itâ€™s going to be a hard days night. (with a Philippino accent), and as if on cue, two Phantoms rolled in hot and in succession dropped some 250 pounders on the VC position. I looked at a staff sergeant sitting beside me, and I asked him if he was going to write home about what we just saw and heard? In a Salty wry voice, he said, "Lieutenant, we may be in "The Twilight Zone", but I ainâ€™t Rod Serling."
Another time, a young Marine had hitched a ride with us out of Da Nang where he had been at the Naval hospital recovering from wounds on Freedom Hill. As we were heading down Hwy 1, I asked him where he got hit, and he pointed to nearby hills and said out there in Operation "Oklahoma Hills". Riding in the back of a 5 ton, I asked where he was from and he said, "Bartlesville, Oklahoma". For a stranger, that may sound like a unique coincidence in terms of the name of the Op and where he was from, but I nearly fell out of the truck because I also grew up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma - population: 35,000. I graduated in 1964, and he was a few years younger, so I didnâ€™t know him growing up. But, the irony was that we had both traveled 10,000 miles from a town where we were raised, and met for the first time in the Nam, but only after operation Oklahoma Hills. We had a good laugh, and then got serious and went back to the war.
One of the most poignant stories I can relate was one night sitting in a small rain-soaked tent on L.Z. Ross with another lieutenant and a Marine corporal from Canada. It was during the monsoon around Christmas 1969. We were muddy and wet and cold, using ammo pallets for a "floor", as another Marine came in and handed a letter to the young Corporal. The letter stated that he had just become an American citizen. He tried not to show his eyes watering up, so we just sort of quietly congratulated him and patted him on the shoulder. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life. That Marine earned his citizenship like few others, and it made us all proud.
As to the Mother Truckers, our convoys were quite literally a rolling ammo dump on wheels, and the JP-4 tankers were unbelievably explosive. Truck Company lost a Marine three days before he was due to rotate home when a mine blew up and exploded his fuel tanker. God rest his soul. Even though we had some M-48 tanks in front on the most dangerous stretches, mines were a constant along that 9 mile stretch of water boo tracks that someone in a flight of fancy decided to call a "road" - leading out the back gate of L.Z. Baldy headed west to L.Z. Ross on that small saddle at the base of the Que Sons. I would be remiss, however, if I did not express my eternal gratitude to our Marine brothers in the grunts and some hot Cobra and Huey gunships who blew Charlie out of some ambush sites before they could hit us.
Snipers and mortars were mostly a nuisance while we were rolling, but on one occasion NVA/VC dropped three 82 mortars among civilians as they targeted our convoy entering the ville on the southside of the Ba Ren River bridge on Hwy 1. There was a CAP unit in the ville, and my corpsman and I and the CAP Marines tried to patch them up, but it was a terrible mess with blood and gore all over the place. I will never forget a papasan laying near me waiting for care, not crying or moaning, just propped up slightly-holding his intestines in his hands. The worst that day was a small toddler about the age of my son (now a Marine Lt. Col.). The boy had his leg blown off and died from loss of blood and shock. In July 1970, the NVA/VC came back, and because there were ARVN families there, on orders from Communist cadre in the unit, they murdered over 100 civilians, and wounded about 150 more. When I returned in 2000, I tried to get people to talk to me about it, but with the Communist cadre in the ville (as they are now in every other ville), no one would talk. They remember the "Re-education Camps" after the war. I also tried to get onto Baldy and that road to Ross when I returned in 2000, but a Communist commander ran us off because it is now a base. The Vietnamese people may love Americans now on a personal level, but the Communists are still firmly in control. Catholic and Buddhist leaders have been routinely imprisoned in solitary for years, and anyone asking for freedom or democracy is imprisoned. Not that Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden, et al., and the anti-war Left cared about Vietnamese Communist Re-education Camps any more than they thought about the Khmer Rouge slaughtering its population. Sound familiar today?
From an old Mother Trucker to all my Marine brothers and their families,
I really enjoy your newsletter ! I was in Motor T from 1980 to 1984 and served at Camp Lejeune and on two Med cruises including 7 months in Beirut Lebanon from August 82 to March of 83. I remember some of our phrases for us and our equipment:
Deuce and a half
Mechanics were referred to as "Wrenches" or "Gearheads"
T.T (referred to ten ton vehicles or tractor trailers)
APC (Armed Personnel Carrier)
I have a couple sayings from our old platoon (support platoon, "C" company, 6th ESB out of Arizona)...we even made some t-shirts...
-You know how we roll!
-Support till it hurts
-Come and roll with the big dogs
-Finest courier service in the world! We take the fight to you! As for stories, I guess one of the funniest comes courtesy of our own Captain America (whose real name has been omitted, but all the boys know who). While in waiting for the word to pass through the berm at BPW at the kickoff of OIF1, H.E. was doing some work with the tractors and kicked up a couple of rocks which pinged off another truck. Well, our fearless Captain runs out of his tent with his 9mm pistol waving in the air screaming "We're taking fire! Follow me, Marines!" Everyone there couldn't help but laugh. The poor H.E. drivers didn't know what to think when they saw this crazy Captain charging at them with his weapon drawn. Needless to say, no one was hurt in the process.
Cpl Joel "Coondog" Cooney
Two good Motor T stories from a Supply Guy:
While stationed at Camp Pendleton in 83-84, I pulled up into the 22 Area barracks parking lot driving my '73 Chevelle that had started to make a constant "hiss". After briefly looking under the vehicle, I realized that it wasn't a hose, but rather it was coming from the back of the engine. My two roommates where both Motor T, and they informed me it was most likely a freeze plug. That weekend, we all pitched in and dropped the cross member, driveline, tranny, torque converter and replaced both freeze plugs - one of which had corroded through. We then put it all back together. 6 hours and $1.50 in parts later it was all done - right in the barracks parking lot...
While stationed at then 4th LAAMBN Fresno CA in 84-86, we received the new 5 Ton vehicles. As a supply guy, we drove about once a month to Barstow CA to make a parts run. On one trip during our return from Barstow, we crested the mountain pass and began to hear a loud banging from under the vehicle which shook the whole truck. After pulling over to the side of the road, we realized that the bolts on the "knuckle" that was attached to the frame had all sheared off! The rear drive line was actually two sections, both of which joined at this knuckle. The whole thing had been left to flop around like a broken elbow. Long story short, we used the tire winch to lower the drive line after disconnecting it from the tranny and rear differential and tossed it into the back of the truck. We then repaired a blown air line (the windshield wipers and front differential locking switch are both air activated) and then proceeded to drive back to base in "front wheel drive", albeit at a slightly slower pace. Good way to earn points with the Motor T folks who didn't have to drive a wrecker down to pick up our truck...
The only Motor T phrases that I remember is 1. "If you can't Truck it, F#$k it!".
2. "You either drive with the best, or walk with the rest".
R/S Gy Somerville sends
now on to motor-t I own plank as it were to motor-t school on the west coast in Pendleton we lived in a Quonset hut and our gunny was short one time on the hydrostatic key, a boot came to me and asked me for the key, now I had another brother in the field and I was a wrench, so after the boot asked me I sent him to the gunny, and the gunny gave me look and you could see a smile, but when your short on your retirement and a old dog it was hard too get a smile form him, so he sent the boot to the caption who was pregnant and ready too pop, she of course took a bit to figure out what he wanted and told the gunny too get the boot a KEY for the hydrostatic lock and a bit hot under the collar or should I say skirt, and the gunny set the boot too me, and said get the boot a KEY so I spent the hour and had too actually make a KEY for hydrostatic lock and put it on a 3/4 cable and put it around his neck and go see the gunny, the caption and my bro out in the field and there should be a KEY still at the school, now we used too run the boots around for awhile on that one but you could say that we pulled that one a little bit too long,
T D ALDRICH
While stationed in Iwakuni, our Motor Pool had a Cpl who answered the phone one time with the statement of, "Motor Pool, we got Jeeps, gamagoats, deuce and a halfs and them BIG Mothers that bend in the middle, can I help you?" They also had a sign out front that said " The Grunts may be the pride of the Corps, but without us the Pride Don't Ride!"
"If you can't find it, grind it!" referring to shifting a deuce. bustin nuts and knuckles
I just got out of the Marine Corps after serving with the AT Tow Unit in Broken Arrow, OKLA
I went to Fallujah, Iraq with 1st BN 24th MAR I was a 3521 Diesel Mechanic
Thanks for the newsletter
Once A Marine Always A Marine!
Sgt Grit , One saying I remember is "We have 2 X's , 4 X's & 6X's & then we have those great big mothers that bend in the middle & go "phish" "phuh" when you step on the brakes.
Semper - Fi Marine,
Ron Gray L/Cpl "60-64" (Truck Co. Camp Pendleton)
Sgt.Grit;Summer of 1967 1st Motor Transport Bn. was Moving Elements of The 1st.Marine Regiment, and Division N.to Quang Tri.I was getting bored with the pace of this huge Convoy, This "Rough Rider'' was long, The lead Trucks were going Through Phu Bai,and the'' tail" had not yet left Danang .After getting to the top of Hai Vanh Pass we had to set in for the nite. Nothing Happened that nite, but this gave the ''Gooks'' Plenty of time to set their Road Mines. As we finally got rollin the next morning, we were again delayed, it was a pontoon bridge Engineers had put across this stream, We would have to wait as it was "Granny Gear'' Crossing. I had switched Places with my 'Gunner' He was now driving. As the truck directly in front would get across, they would Haul A-- to catch the last truck, As we got back on the highway I Turned in time to see the Deuce in a half behind us disappear in the dust. Out of this dust flew its motor wheels and front fenders flying over my Head, I was thinking Wow! when I was yanked by my ''stackin swivel'' off the ''Gun''As I rolled to my feet, there was 20 year ''Lifer" Sgt. firing the 50 into the ground at these Peoples feet, He then leaped off the gun and yelling ''Cease Fire'' pulled his 45 and Ran across the ditch, He knocked a teenaged kid to the Ground,2 flashlight batteries he had used to detonate the mine fell out of his hands, This all happened in 5-10 seconds. We who were on the truck, our mouths hanging open, looked at each other, How DID HE KNOW? That night Sgt. Schefield got us all together, and said ''We were lucky that wasn't a ambush'' We would be Dead! Whenever you are passing through a "ville" watch the people, keep moving your eyes don't stare at some "Scivy House Girly" Thats why she's there for to distract you. Thanks Sgt. Schefield wherever you are! I went back to driving!
1962 I was at Camp LeJeune, a PFC and new to motor-t with 8th MTBN. My first solo assignment I was given a jeep and directed to pick up a Marine Recon officer who was to be transported to the field to review his troops making a jump. Upon my arrival the officer rained down all kind of "real Marines Recon" stuff and proceeded to inform me that I had better pay attention to his commands and react immediately and with-out question. We began our journey to the destination with him giving directions the whole way. I had no idea where we were but as I was driving along the highway I noticed to the right there was a steep embankment that went down about fifty feet or so and leveled off into a huge field and overhead the planes were dropping paratroops. All of a sudden the officer started yelling "turn here Marine" I figured he meant the road coming up, but then, he did say "act immediately and without question" So over the embankment I went, how that jeep stayed on four wheels is beyond me but it must have been a h&ll of a sight for the troops standing down below. We pulled up to the cattle-cars and the officer jumped out and ran around the jeep yelling and cursing. I could see some troops behind the cattle-cars laughing and standing in front of the jeep was, I believe a 1st/Sgt. He was standing very rigid, but he had a look on his face of suppressed laughter and little tears in his eyes. By now I was out of the jeep standing at attention, I didn't think I had done anything wrong. The officer asked me if I was crazy, I looked at him and said "no Sir, I was only following your orders. You said act immediately without question, you commanded "turn here" this Marine turned, will there be any further orders Sir? He said a few other choice things and told me to take that ***** jeep and get the ****** out of here. Riding back, alone, I was beginning to get worried, maybe I screwed up royally. But I honestly felt that I was as much a Marine as him or his troops. I have a different job, was a boot and all that, but I'm a Marine too. When I got back to the motor pool my Sgt. walked up and asked if I had a good run. I said yes Sgt., he looked at me smiled and said "good job Marine" and walked away laughing.
3531 (sloperator as it was known from time to time) I remember back (not far back) in 2004 I was stationed with HQBN motor t on camp courtney Okinawa (although you had to walk off base to get to it) during typhoon season our cwo would make us take all of the tarps off the hummers 5 tons and 7 tons and then park them in a wagon wheel with trailers around the main building when the Typhoon Condition reaches TC-2, well one day we went from TC-4 to TC-1C in about fifteen minutes, and there was no time to take off all of the tarps. luckily none were lost, but the next day we had fun with the FNG's (I was just merit. promoted to LCPL at the time) I had 2 or 3 newbies with me, and I would tell them make sure the canvas isn't ripped on the sides, and ill check it from the inside, and id hop in and push off about 4 or 5 gallons of water off the tarp onto the poor newbies! but it was all in fun and it even happened to me a few times! boy I sure do moss those days... CPL trigila
Two, both involving MSGT 'Hook' Bender and the commercial pool at 29 Palms. (can't recall if we've done these before or not....your call)
As the OIC of the EAP at MCAGCTC, 29 Palms, I put a lot of miles on commercial four-wheel drive vehicles from the commercial vehicle motor pool, drove all of them myself (a tad unusual, considering my rank, but it worked.....). Since the vehicles belonged to 'everybody', the usual tender loving care rendered as operator preventive maintenance, was done by 'everybody' s cousin, 'nobody'. MSGT 'Hook' Bender was the MT Chief, and I learned a lot from him........happened to be at the motor pool one afternoon, having a cup of 30-weight, non-detergent coffee about the time vehicles started rolling back in at the end of the day. As each sedan, van, jeep, etc. would stop at the gate, Hook would ask to see the drivers' trip ticket.....these had three sections on the bottom for the operator to fill out. 'pre- operation', 'during operation' and 'after operation'......an official document, and a way for the dispatcher to identify vehicles that might need to visit the repair shop. One of the critical parts of the 'pre-operation' section was verifying the engine oil level. That block, of course, was always checked as completed. Hook would ask the driver if that was so, and then would reach back inside the dispatch shack and bring out his cardboard box full of engine dipsticks, each with a tag bearing the number of the vehicle from which it came......Hook would then enquire of the driver if he had used a rather personal part of his anatomy to probe the oil pan, since he (MSGT Bender) had amassed his dipstick collection the night before. For a while there, if you were in search of a cooling desert breeze in the early morning, all you had to do was visit the C-pool, as the hoods flying open kept the air moving........
The Commercial Pool at the Stumps had quite a number of 4X4 vehicles, all painted green with white tops, and included in the mix were International Harvester Scouts. Some of these had a V-8 engine, others had a 'slant' four-cylinder. The dispatchers usually saved a V-8 for my daily perambulations around the various training areas (from memory, the stumps is something like 430,000 square miles in area). On the day in question, I got my trip ticket, did a quick pre-op check (including checking the oil), and lit out. The performance of the Scout that day just wasn't up to what I had come to expect (with a speed limit of 35MPH off-road, no less!), so when I turned the vehicle in that evening, there was a note on the trip ticket to the effect that this POS needed to be pulled into the shop and tuned up (or shot), as it was about the sickest V-8 Scout I had ever had the misfortune to be cursed with...... The next morning, I received a phone call from MSGT Bender at the motor pool, requesting my presence at my convenience, as he had something to show me that would be of professional interest to a fitshister (some reference to a greasy hands type there.....). When I got there, he took me into the shop, where sat the vehicle I had the day before..........he said "We found the problem, Major."...flipped open the hood, and said "See......somebody's done stole half yer engine!"...........in my defense, the dipstick on the V-8, and the slant-4 were both on the same side of the vehicle.........
Dear Sgt. Grit;
Here's a Motor Transport recall from when I was a Refueler attached to a motor pool with MABS-13 in Hawaii back in 1958. We were sitting around the dispatch shack drinking coffee and shooting the breeze on a Saturday when the phone rang. A Corporal answered the phone, "MABS-13 Motor Transport. We got 2- bys, 4-bys, 6-bys, and those big motherf**kers that bend in the middle and go chush-chush; if we can't truck it, f**k it." The caller asked, "Who's this?" The Corporal responded, "Who's this?" The caller said, "This is Colonel Jantzen; who's this?" The Corporal replied, "Colonel Jantzen?" The Colonel said, "Yes. Who is this?" The Corporal responded, "You don't know who this is? Bye Colonel Jantzen!" The Corporal hung up and we all left the dispatch shack.
R. Eugene Hill Corporal of Marines
My son recently returned home from his third tour in Iraq. Two years left to retirement. I am so proud of him. I just wanted to share my most recent tattoo that is a tribute to all the ones that gave all. Also, thanks for the news letter - I really look forward to it.
Sgt. Briglin / 69-71 (3-4) Semper Fi
Only Two Brownings
RE: Mention by an older brother; circa WWII of the Browning 1919A1
Mmmmmmmmm I am pretty sure he meant the Browning 1919A4 or possibly the A6.
These were the only two Brownings manufactured for WWII. The 1919 A4 was a pit or parapet mounted 'sit behind' and the A6 had a long barrel, hence a higher cyclic rate ( 650 vs 450 ) and an attached shoulder stock for use in the prone position ( My fav ) . The only 1919A1 that comes to mind was the bolt action Springfield rifle that was replaced by the Garand M1 rifle, .30 caliber that I went through ITR with after being in the first full series in San Diego MCRD with M-14's. ( 317, Feb, 62 )
My best regards to anyone that survived 'The Big One' whether or not I think they got the model number wrong... :)
2-62 to 3-68
I am attaching a picture which is a piece of history. Most Marines (me included) do not know that the Navy Seabee Frogmen hit the beach before we made our landing. This is a picture of my cousins (also a Marine) father-n-law (Navy) who was on the beach at Tarawa (Gilbert Islands) before we landed. This was the beginning of what the Navy calls the Seals.
Cpl. of Marines 81-85
Marine Barracks 8th & I
What I am
I am the legendary U.S. Marine. I am 19 years old, like many have said, too young to by a drink, to young to be a man, and to old to be just a boy. Yet old enough to fight, bleed, and die for my country, my god, and my family. Old enough to be sent to foreign shores and shed my blood for others I wont know. To carry a weapon and fend every day, for my life... and your freedom.
I have a "High and Tight" haircut, so I'm often called a Jarhead. I am just a number on a wall, in the computer, and just another body in the field. I chose this sacrifice of being away from my family at home, friends and other loved ones. I chose to bear these long cold nights with nothing but pictures, letters from home and the not so often phone call. The pain of not knowing what happens until its already been taken care of or is well into the situation. The pain of feeling useless, helpless, knowing there's nothing I can do to help, as if my hands were tied. A million things that could go wrong at any moment, and knowing this really does hurt. As if my heart were wrapped in barbed wire, and each beat tears deeper and painfully kills me a little bit each time. But I chose this for a reason....
I am independent, I get up every morning and do more before 0800hrs than most will do all week. I find amusement in the smallest, simplest of things. I talk with my fellow Marines, my brothers and sisters of my new "extended" family. We together cushion the sharp blows of reality. Mostly the bad news. And together we celebrate the good news. We care for one another, we will share our food rations and MREs when hunger strikes, our water with thirst. Our clothes and body heat when cold attacks, and our ammo for when the enemy does. Always thinking " I am my brothers keeper" and having the mind set that I will gladly give my life just so he can go home and see his. Fully knowing that every Marine to my left and right are thinking the same thing.
Our strategy is one against ten, but our tactics are ten against one. We train, eat, sleep, pt, learn, and live together as a family. So you see that I am away from home but I have made new family and friends. Whose blood is shed with mine. Although we are still "wet behind the ears" we can effectively engage and neutralize any threat that presents its self.
There are times when we sit alone, away from the pack and relax, or at least try too. We think about many things, home, family, friends, even "Suzie" back home. Here at base, stateside, the atmosphere allows us to learn. We sit on libo at the end of the day and things, I realize my pain from hurting and missing home. I get the chance to realize for what and why I've made the decisions I've made.
Something so simple as a bird running around on the top of a picnic table, looking around. Peacefully I can reflect how my little sister playing at home in the pool. Going horse back riding, and just seeing here so happy. Not only her but hundreds, their joy makes my pain go away. My body goes numb and my intentions remain clear I know my goals and what I've set my sights on.
I like many others realize this. It's never been about us. Never. That's why we chose to be Americas 911. The Elite. That is why I chose to be that " F**king Jarhead!" Hundreds of thousands before us roamed down this path of life, off the beaten trail that the other 98% of America lives on. And millions more after our generation is long gone. WE ARE THE MARINE CORPS.
We will always be around to claim your fears, Your insecurities, your doubts and troubles, We will always be there for you when you need us and even when you don't...
PFC Schottmiller, Thomas A
CLR-37 3rdMLG LS Co.
Well I Finally
Since the day I joined the Corps all I could think about was that NCO sword. Well I finally got mine in January of '08 and in August of '08 I decided to have the "United States Marines" text forever etched into my leg...
One of the most interesting guys I met was a former Marine in California. We took scuba diving lessons together and had an outstanding friendship. Prior to joining the Marines, he was a Ballet Dancer. He had majored in theater and dance in college. After arriving at PI,his fellow recruits really razzed him about being a Ballet Dancer. But when it came to physical fitness, he was way ahead of them! He was still a victim of abuse, however. He complained to the DI and the CO and he told them that he would like to take those "red necks" to the gym and have them try ballet exercises. The DI and the CO agreed. None of those "red necks" could hack it! He went on to be an outstanding recruit and later got accepted for OCS and earned his commission as a 2d Lt. He was discharged as a Captain and then he opened up a Ballet studio and taught Ballet "Marine Corps style" :-)! How's that for you? P.S. I'm a former Doggie"! I have a high respect for the Marines, though!
Wayne F. Frese
I'm not sure if this is the type of motor T story you were looking for, but it's one I tell often. I was in Transport Co, 7th MT Bn. in the early 80's. This was the end of the Carter era and equipment had to be scrounged- Items such as crank handles for the landing gear of the trailers. We were having an inspection and some resourceful Marines from my platoon scrounged items from other platoons to make a complete tractor-trailer. One of the "victims" of the scrounging was Sgt. Cappola. When he discovered this, he burst through the ranks yelling, "Has anyone seen my CRANK?" One devil dog suggested he show it, much to the delight of everyone!
I'm also attaching the patch of a little known Marine team. We were active in the 80's
Cpl. Keith Grisham, 3534 82-86
A marine corps aircraft in flight, if something is (1) RED,
(2) YELLOW, OR
never touch it without a lot of forethought.
A marine aircraft can land anywhere...........Once.
MSgt Benjo Spotts U.S.M.C. Retired
Up To The Task
Once a Marine, Always a Marine.
Here is a picture of ret. S/Sgt Mike Portella, 303040, taken July 2008. Mike became a Drill Instructor in 1946, after serving on Guadalcanal, in 1941. Mike was a member of the WWII DIâ€™s, until it disbanded several years ago. Mikeâ€™s old DI uniform is on display at the DI school on Parris Island, which didnâ€™t even exist when Mike was a DI. Mike wantsâ€™ all Marines everywhere to know our young Marines are as good, and up to the task as Marines have always been His message is we can all be proud of the DIâ€™s and officers training these young men and woman. And that we should not forget the job being done by our Marine recruiters, who do such a great job finding young men and woman who will carry on the great tradition of our Marine Corps Honor and Values, and great fighting spirit I was honored to tour the base, with this WWII Marine.
Cpl. T. E. Hetland USMC 1661545, Plt. 23 1957
Her One Request
Dear Sgt. Grit,
My Mother, Cpl. Virginia Ruth Nowack (Wiltfang) was a Lady Marine stationed at Henderson Hall in Washington, DC during WWII. I would occasionally travel on business to Washington, DC and would always bring my Mother along. During our last trip in 2006, her one request was that we drive by all of her favorite USMC places. She was brimming with pride as we drove around the base so she could show me where she used to work and she loved being escorted to her seat by a young Marine as we waited to see the awesome Friday night parade. She told the young Marine that she was a WWII veteran and he gave her an "8th and I" coin.
I never had a problem finding something to give my Mother for a gift. I'd just look at the Sgt. Grit catalog and order something!
My Mother lost her 13 year battle with cancer and two strokes on March 31,2008 at the age of 89. I had prepared a special memorabilia table at the visitation with many of her favorite Marine Corps (Sgt. Grit) items from our home along with other things that she loved. She was buried with her favorite Sgt. Grit earrings and necklace! It was always her wish to have a military funeral because she saw so many while stationed at Henderson Hall, across from Arlington cemetery. The local detachment of the Marine Corps League in Kankakee, IL (in which she was a charter member) came through for us. She had a flagged draped coffin guarded by 2 Marine Corps League members during visitation and had Marine Corps League pall bearers. I decided that I wanted her funeral service to be in our beautiful old church sanctuary. The organist decided that it would be an appropriate final tribute to play a rousing version of "The Marine's Hymn" on our massive pipe organ as her casket was carried out of the church. Full military rites were accorded at her final resting place, complete with young Marines in their full dress uniforms saluting as the casket passed into the mausoleum and performing the rifle salute, taps and the folding of the flag. The weather was beautiful and it was exactly the type of funeral that my Mother woul