A few weeks ago you had several letters from Marines that had the opportunity to meet or know someone that knew General Chesty Puller.
I had forgotten the story that my mother told me years ago about my close call with the Great General. It was when my Dad was in the Marine Corps. He had already fought in WWII and was called back in for the Korean, "Police Action". He was with the First Marine Division, and they were being address by General Puller just before they shipped out from Camp Pendleton. I was only about 3 years old. I was with my mother in the audience and she was paying attention to General Pullers speech to the troops. Once she looked down to where I was suppose to be and I was not anywhere around. She panicked and was looking everywhere but could not find me. Then there was this big round of laughter and she looked up and I was climbing up on the stage with General Puller.
That was the end of the story as I can remember, but I am sure my Dad never heard the end of it from his buddies. Because my Dad was in the Marine Corps is the reason that I joined. But I often wonder if by chance getting that close to a legend like General Puller might have had something to do with it.
My Dad - Don L. Hampton
Cpl USMC 1943-1948 and 1951-1952
Enjoy your newsletter very much.
Sgt USMC 1969 to 1973
Zip Right Through It
I'm currently serving as a Combat Replacement with G 2/7 in Southern Afghanistan, although my parent unit is G 2/4. Yesterday, November 20th, I was helping one of the local nationals do some construction in the Bazaar (shopping center) and he had requested a saw to cut some wood. I went in the FOB, and came back out with a Circular Saw. I dropped it off with him and came back in the FOB to get a few more things. As I was in the FOB I get a call over the radio from one of the posts "Hey Sgt, this Afghan is about to cut his arm off with the Saw." I run out to the Bazaar and to my amazement, he, along with the other Afghans present, are looking at the saw trying to figure out what it is. I walk over to them, take the saw, and turn it on. They jump back from the sound, and seem terrified of it. I then take a piece of wood, zip right through it, and all of the Afghans began laughing. It amazes me at how "Bass Akwards" they are out here. But just like the saying goes, "American by birth, Marine by the grace of God."
Semper Fi Marines
Sgt Elder, Michael M
0311 2003- God calls me home
This is outstanding. I would really like to get more stories from Currently serving Marines.
I Feel Fortunate
This is my Senior Drill Instructor, S/Sgt (in 1962) William Way and his two Marine brothers. He is on the right, the shorter of the three. He retired as a GySgt in 1968. The picture was taken on the Marine Corps Birthday in 1989.
On the left is his older brother, Ernest Way. Ernest served in the Corps in WWII and received a purple heart. In the middle is his youngest brother, SgtMaj Robert Way. Gunny Way told me SgtMaj Way was selected to be SgtMaj of the Marine Corps but declined to save his marriage. On the right is GySgt William Way. Gunny Way was a three war Marine and went to Eniwetok, Guam and China during WWII.
Gunny Way is 82 years old and retired, of course. He lives in Oceanside California.
The second picture, taken in 1998, is one of my Junior Drill Instructors, Sgt (in 1962) Jesse Pacheco. He retired as a SgtMaj in 1979 with a total of 32 years active duty. After boot camp, he went to the 4th Raider Bn which was commanded by Lt. Col. James Roosevelt. SgtMaj Pacheco was also a three war Marine. He was on Emirau Island in 1944, then Guam and Okinawa. SgtMaj Pacheco said he next went to the 6th Marine Division and landed on the Island of Japan on 30Aug1945. He went to Korea in 1950, was at the Chosin Reservoir and returned to CONUS in June of 1951. He did three years on the drill field and three tours in Viet Nam,
SgtMaj Pacheco is 84 years old and lives in Lawrence Kansas.
I didn't find all this out until recently, when I managed to find them after more than 40 years. While in boot camp, they never talked about their service. The just went about the job of turning a bunch of "maggots" into Marines. What amazes me is they were, respectively, 36 and 38 years old at the time and ran circles around our 17, 18 and 19 year old azzes. What fine Marines. I feel fortunate to have served with them.
The Few. The Proud.
NCOs Endorsed Kalka's Idea
Here's a story I'd like to share.
On July 1st, 1968 while serving as Platoon Commander of 3rd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 27th Marines. I received orders for a mission. It was a four-day, three-night patrol to establish various PPBs (Platoon Patrol Base), and then conduct numerous small unit patrols out of them. Shortly thereafter I convened a meeting with my squad leaders and my Platoon Sergeant (Sgt. Charles Kalka) to plan that mission. We were going to a part of the TAOR (tactical area of responsibility) that I was unfamiliar with due to my being "in country" less than a month. Since we would be leaving just before dusk my team was concerned about some critical navigation issues. We decided on the lead squad (with our best point man). Then Sgt. Kalka suggested that he and I switch places...that he would go with the lead squad and I would go with the 3rd squad (the opposite of our usual procedure)... since he was very familiar with that patrol area. Initially I rejected that suggestion, but eventually acquiesced when Kalka persisted and all the NCOs endorsed Kalka's idea. It was not a big deal at the time. No one thought anything about it; just a Marine's routine devotion to duty, doing what he thought was best for his Platoon.
Ten minutes after leaving the 3/27 base we were ambushed. Sergeant Kalka, in the exact position where I was supposed to be, and identified by the enemy as a leader due to his proximity to the radio, was killed by small arms fire. As I rushed forward while we assaulted through the tree line, I came upon Kalka. He was already dead, lying on his back with multiple entry wounds. That image is seared in my memory. I can still see it today. When you're alive because of the dedication, devotion, and selflessness of another, it's something that never leaves you. I am alive and my family exists because of Sergeant Charles Kalka, USMC. I have thought about that quite frequently since my return from combat.
Due to the sentiment in the Country in late 1969 and the "reception" accorded Vietnam Veterans, many of us just buried and repressed....we just moved on.... trying unsuccessfully to not think of the memories, although we were quite successful about not speaking of them. So it was some 30+ years later that I started a quest to try and contact Kalka's family. I felt a strong need to tell a family member that I was alive as a result of Kalka's dedication, devotion, and selflessness. At the same time I was reluctant to "open old wounds" and cause the family any emotional pain. It was a long and unsuccessful search involving many phone calls, false leads, and fruitless Internet searches. Often I thought of giving up... wondering if I was being selfish, that I had nothing to offer his family but painful memories. Although often quitting for periods of time, I always seemed to return to the search.
Then one night as I called yet another number, a young lady answered and I recited my usual introduction, "I'm looking for the family of Sgt. Charles Kalka, a Marine who I served with in Vietnam". She said, "wait a minute", muffled the phone and I heard her call out "Mom". An older woman got on the phone and I recited my intro. She replied, "That was my brother Charles". With my heart in my throat I said, "I'm alive because of your brother Charles". I then proceeded to tell her that Charles was a courageous, brave, dedicated, and devoted Marine. She cut me off with a question...."Did he suffer?" came through the handset. I responded "Absolutely not. He died instantly. I was by his side within 5 to 10 seconds. He did not suffer." There was a silence on the other end of the phone line for about 5 seconds followed by an audible sigh. She then said "Thank God. I've always wondered all these years."
It had never occurred to me that I could bring any solace or comfort to his family after all those years. For that I will be eternally grateful. I am as glad that I persisted in my search, and that I made that phone call, as I am of anything in my life.
Sgt. Kalka's name is on panel 54 West, Row 30 at "The Wall". Whenever I get to Washington, D.C. I visit him to update him on my family, and to say "thanks" yet once again.
0302 RVN 68-69
Plt Cmdr Kilo 3/27
XO Echo 2/4
"The best battle implement ever devised". . . or so said Gen. George Patton of the M-1 Garand, U.S. rifle, caliber .30, gas operated, semi-automatic, shoulder weapon. Recently, at our Marine Corps League Detachment "shoot", I took my personal M-1 along. Some of the younger Marines had never seen a real, live Garand, so I offered them the opportunity to try her out. Invariably, after each of them fired a clip of eight rounds, the reaction was, "SWEET! What a great rifle! Wish we could have had these!" One of our senior members, a Korean veteran (tanker) was taken back to those days with the venerable M-1.
In observance of Veterans Day 2008, I displayed my M-1 for all to see. One old soldier, a Korean veteran - armorer (the Army called him an Ordinance man) advised me my rifle was an M-1 A-1. I asked him to describe the difference between an M-1 and an M-1-A-1. "That's easy", he said, "the A-1 had a pistol grip stock but the initial issue of the M-1 had a straight stock." How about them apples!
The receiver on mine was manufactured by the Springfield Armory in July 1945 and even though it uses parts from several different manufactories (Winchester, H&R, etc.), they function perfectly and enable me to consistently hit the bull's-eye at 300 yards. It's just a testament to the weapon engineering genius of John Garand (who happened to be a Canadian national!).
I guess I'm just an old sentimental Jarhead who misses the interchangeability of the ammo for the M-1, the BAR and the .30 cal LMG of yesteryear.
Oorah! and Semper Fi!
USMC - 1955 - 58
Dear Sgt Grit,
Ensure that no Marine who honorably wore the eagle, globe and anchor is lost to the Marine Corps family. General James L. Jones Jr., Commandant of the Marine Corps
I have found this to be so true. Whenever I meet fellow Marines, I instantly seem to bond with them. We have that special something that quietly bonds us as "brothers". I served in Vietnam from 1967 - 1968, and was sent home after being wounded during TET of 68. Because of the Marine stickers, and my license plate, I have been thanked many times for serving. It gives me a feeling of pride and satisfaction to receive their thank you's, even after all these years. I'm enclosing pictures of my vehicle for you to see. I'm looking for someone who will be able to airbrush my vehicle with Marine insignias, pictures, etc. If I ever get that done, I'll submit pictures so you will be able to see the final project. Thank you for your service, your web site, your news articles and everything you do for the Marines of our great country.
Sgt. Joe D. Hill
"Hq & Delta Company", 1st Bn, 3rd Marines, 1967 - 1968
Semper Fi, LINK LINK LINK
McHugh A-1-5 KIA 11-28-1950
Ted and Hal, Bob went up TODAY to again get this picture, that he first saw on November 28th, 1960, exactly 10 years to the day when he was working on a telephone line and looked down across the street and saw a headstone, knowing the type it was. He went over and it was none other than his buddy who went over with him and their ship landed on November 10th, '50, the Corps, birthday. He has pictures of him and other KIA's that he is sending to post on the KWP., site, ALL with him in his unit that was called up from Pittsburgh. Another meaning of Semper Fi, From a Marine of yesterday AND, it doesn't change.
Just came back from cemetery--58 years to the day
Bob LINK LINK LINK
His Old Uniform
Ted Hetland and I, from Rhode Island were in Boot Camp in 1957 together. We were also honorary members of the WWII, DI's. Our friend Mike Portella, is one of the few members left. His old uniform is on display at the DI school, as you can see in this picture. Mike is a veteran of Guadalcanal, and wanted Ted to take him back to PI one more time to visit what he calls, "his room." So Ted volunteered to take him back. They were there last week.
Also, in two of the pictures you will see Mike, and Ted, with former S/Sgt. Chuck Taliano, who is famous as the DI in the Marine Poster, "I didn't Promise You A Rose Garden."
How many Marines from Guadalcanal, do you think are still around? Very few I would guess.
Guns And Ammo
Tom Saito was the Editor/Publisher of Guns and Ammo for >40 years. As most of you know it is hard to get in a word in when I'm in a conversation but not with this guy. I listened for hours to his tales of fighting in the South Pacific. His stories of guns, gun people and hunting were like a movie script. He fought tirelessly for all of us to keep and bear arms. His love for the Corps and his Country were second only to his lovely wife Brigitte. Another Marine reporting for Guard Duty, St. Peter!
Osprey is amazing, Although the same for our Birthday Cake...
Larry "Gunny" Sizemore
Billeting / Transit Supervisor
West BIAP, Baghdad, Iraq
Here is a Song well motioning it was one of the favorite Cadence
of Boot Camp as a United States Marine Corps Training during
1968-76: The cadence was formally used when ever ran around the
Base as a motivational Song. With all the changes today in Boot
training, I sincerely wonder if it is still being song?
"You can have your Army Khakis and the Navy Blue,
but here is a different fighting Man I introduce to you!
His Uniform is unlike any you've ever seen,
the Germans called him Devil Dog,
His Title is Marine!
He was trained in Parris Island,
The land that God forgot,
The Sand was fourteen inches deep,
The Sun was blazing Hot!
And when I go to heaven,
St. Peter I will tell,
Another Marine Reporting Sir!
I served my Time in H&ll,
"Parris Island, Parris Island"
Sgt. Ramberto Rodriguez (Rob) ret.U.S.M.C
former Recruiter 1st Marine Corps District, NY
3rd Mar Div and 1st Mar Div FLC, H&S Company, Supply Platoon,
FLSG-A Dong Ha and FLSG-B Da Nang Vietnam 68-69
Belated HAPPY THANKSGIVING memory
Here is a memory.
DEAR SGT GRIT,
I recently ordered a set of ribbons from your magazine to place on my uniform which has hung in the closet protected since the day I returned home from Nam Feb 1968 Surprisingly the creases in the shirt and pants are still sharp as ever. The tie still in a knot. My intention was to donate it to a new local military museum but had to put it on one last time. Another surprise although forty years older able to still fit in it except for the strands of gray hair sticking out from the p!sscutter. You see I was a Navy Corpsman who proudly served as a Combat Fleet Marine Force Corpsman with the 3rd Mar Div and proud to wear the uniform of the United States Marines " DOC "
SEMPER FIDELIS to all the Marines and Fleet Marine Corpsman
In response to all of the letters that were written about the "Ballad of The Green Beret" in your last Sgt Grit News, I'd like to weigh in on the topic as well. Back in the summer of 1968 my tank had hit a mine and we were back in "the rear" of the sprawling Dong Ha Combat Base repairing the mine damage. The daily drill when we were in the rear was to wake at dawn, eat morning chow at the 3rd Motor-T chow hall, spend the day making butt-kicking repairs with a break at noon for noon chow. Then after evening chow we'd head to the tin-roofed hooch that served as the enlisted club to collect our two-beers-a-day ration. When the beer was consumed, we'd then head over to the doggie's outdoor movie theater that was up the hill from the tank park. On one particular evening the movie was "The Green Berets" with John Wayne. We sat on the telephone pole seats and hooted & hollered at the horrible acting and the not-so-accurate portrayal of the Vietnam War. Just as the movie was ending the base experienced about a dozen incoming mortar rounds. We movie watchers piled into the open trenches that were alongside the outdoor theater until the "all clear" was sounded. As we crawled out of the trenches, off in the distance "Puff the Magic Dragon" opened up on the suspected NVA mortar position. We watched in awe as the stream of thousands of red tracer rounds tore up the jungle. Shouts of "Get Some!" rang through the air. What a way to watch a war movie!
Former Sgt of Marines
RVN 19689 - 1969
Check The Length
During my second tour of duty at MCRDep, SDiego, from June 1957 to July 1959, I was assigned to HqCo, HqBn, and worked at the Depot HQ, on the second floor, overlooking the Parade Ground. One particular afternoon, my wife had stopped by for lunch, and we were watching the various recruit platoons on the grinder. One platoon in particular was having mail call; even from the parking area in front of the Depot Headquarters, you could hear the DI's "encouraging" their recruit charges. One recruit, in particular, kept running around the platoon, and then back to the DI in front. My wife remarked, that he must be getting a lot of mail. I told her, that the DI was just holding onto one letter, and that the recruit didn't get hold of the letter real good, and had to keep running around the platoon, until he could.
Also, during the time, I was promoted to SSgt (E5), and as such was assigned to a Battalion staff position, during the weekly parades. One Friday afternoon, we had gone through the rehearsal, and during the actual parade, when the Battalion staffs go front and center (all of the staff was armed with the sword), upon the command "Present Arms", I managed to run the tip of my sword into my right ear. When I heard the "ripping" sound, I thought I had run my sword into my barracks cap, and could picture it "waving" about 2 feet above my head. I did manage to finish the parade, with a bloody right ear. From then on, I always checked the length of any sword I was issued for the parades.
James R. McMahon
Gunnery Sergeant of Marines (1949-1970)
Marine Makes Insurgents Pay the Price
November 18, 2008
Marine Corps News|by Cpl. James M. Mercure
FARAH PROVINCE, Afghanistan - In the city of Shewan, approximately 250 insurgents ambushed 30 Marines and paid a heavy price for it. Shewan has historically been a safe haven for insurgents, who used to plan and stage attacks against Coalition Forces in the Bala Baluk district. The city is home to several major insurgent leaders. Reports indicate that more than 250 full time fighters reside in the city and in the surrounding villages.
Shewan had been a thorn in the side of Task Force 2d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force Afghanistan throughout the Marines' deployment here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, because it controls an important supply route into the Bala Baluk district. Opening the route was key to continuing combat operations in the area.
"The day started out with a 10-kilometer patrol with elements mounted and dismounted, so by the time we got to Shewan, we were pretty beat," said a designated marksman who requested to remain unidentified. "Our vehicles came under a barrage of enemy RPGs (rocket propelled grenades) and machine gun fire. One of our 'humvees' was disabled from RPG fire, and the Marines inside dismounted and laid down suppression fire so they could evacuate a Marine who was knocked unconscious from the blast."
The vicious attack that left the humvee destroyed and several of the Marines pinned down in the kill zone sparked an intense eight-hour battle as the platoon desperately fought to recover their comrades. After recovering the Marines trapped in the kill zone, another platoon sergeant personally led numerous attacks on enemy fortified positions while the platoon fought house to house and trench to trench in order to clear through the enemy ambush site.
"The biggest thing to take from that day is what Marines can accomplish when they're given the opportunity to fight," the sniper said. "A small group of Marines met a numerically superior force and embarrassed them in their own backyard. The insurgents told the townspeople that they were stronger than the Americans, and that day we showed them they were wrong."
During the battle, the designated marksman single handedly thwarted a company-sized enemy RPG and machinegun ambush by reportedly killing 20 enemy fighters with his devastatingly accurate precision fire. He selflessly exposed himself time and again to intense enemy fire during a critical point in the eight-hour battle for Shewan in order to kill any enemy combatants who attempted to engage or maneuver on the Marines in the kill zone. What made his actions even more impressive was the fact that he didn't miss any shots, despite the enemies' rounds impacting within a foot of his fighting position.
"I was in my own little world," the young corporal said. "I wasn't even aware of a lot of the rounds impacting near my position, because I was concentrating so hard on making sure my rounds were on target."
After calling for close-air support, the small group of Marines pushed forward and broke the enemies' spirit as many of them dropped their weapons and fled the battlefield. At the end of the battle, the Marines had reduced an enemy stronghold, killed more than 50 insurgents and wounded several more.
"I didn't realize how many bad guys there were until we had broken through the enemies' lines and forced them to retreat. It was roughly 250 insurgents against 30 of us," the corporal said. "It was a good day for the Marine Corps. We killed a lot of bad guys, and none of our guys were seriously injured."
Submitted By: John Wear
As I read the story of the Marine and the three punks, it reminded me of when I went home some many years after leaving the Corps. I was in a local gin mill when a fellow I knew from school day's said I know you, you're Ed. Knowing he was looking for trouble and having been his whipping post as a kid he immediately became abusive verbally. I listened and said nothing till he threaten to " beat on me like he used to do", with out looking at him I said "jimmy you don't know me, you don't know where I've been or what I've done but I'll tell you" and with that I turned and looked at him saying, I was in the MARINES, spent three tours in Vietnam, got out and became a cop with two years on swat and one on street level narcotic's unit, then I said now jimmy do you really want to screw with me and go back down to the field." his response was A nice cold miller light, and he paid. Funny how the word MARINE sends spine tickling fear into bullies isn't it . Last I heard from him OOHRAH MARINE CORPS.
They Ate Everything
In Vietnam, I was a radio-operator, but had OJT training as a forward observer for my artillery unit, Alpha Battery 1/13, attached 1/26 Marines. In the early days of December, I was assigned to Bravo Company in the Hai Van Pass, to accompany a patrol going up into the mountain ridge that overlooked the pass.
We started out at first light and hiked uphill for most of that morning. Close to noon, we came upon a clearing under tall canopy. The air was cool and smelled of campfires. We scouted around and found no recent of occupation. By midafternoon, we felt safe enough to break for chow. We settled on a gentle slope that faced a small waterfall and a very small pool.
As we settled down and broke out our C-rats, two otters appeared out of the rock cliff. They immediately began sliding through the water, performing tricks, and diving from the small bluff of rock. They chattered to each other and choreographed their movements. Then, at the end of the show, they climbed out of the water and stood on their haunches. They were asking for food. We laughed and clapped, and offered them peanut butter, crackers, chocolate bars, and whatever else we had. They ate everything until they were stuff, then they moved back into their den. We policed the area and moved on with our patrol.
Two weeks later, I had the opportunity to go the beer-garden in DaNang and followed a crowd to a Bob Hope USO Show. He was there, Raquel Welch was there, And so was Joey Heatherton (my favorite). But, as I watched the show, I thought of those otters. They were the USO show for the NVA. They had trained them and fed them, while they were starving in the Annamite Range. They were losing the war and one of those otters was their version of Bob Hope.
joe r. taylor
After reading your letters of Marines' stories from boot camp I noticed that I have not seen very many stories related to Marine Bandsmen. Though sometimes not seen as "real Marines" because we are not "grunts," we still have to go through boot camp, combat training, maintain our PFT's, and all the things every Marine is required to do. When people ask to hear what stories I have from boot camp, this one always brings a laugh so I thought I would share it.
While in boot camp at Parris Island with platoon 3066 in the summer of 1997, our platoon was headed to the obstacle course for the first time. Our fiercest D.I., Sgt Belcher was in charge of running us thru the course and while at the rope swing, he instructed us to yell out our MOS as we swung across the pit. I was in the third squad and watched as my fellow platoon members yelled things like "Infantry," "Motor-T," and "MP!" I knew that the D.I. had no idea of what MOS we all were and I pondered if I should really yell out mine or just say "Infantry" so as not to draw attention. Though when it came my turn to go, I decided that I was not ashamed of my MOS and that whatever happened would be OK. I ran full speed at the ropes, leaped high into the air and yelled at the top of my lungs "BAND" as I swung across the rope and landed ready to go onto the next obstacle.
What I did not notice at first was that my entire platoon was cracking up laughing and in no time Sgt. Belcher was in my face. He then had me "Standing Tall" while he proceeded to call me everything but a man, and why would I insult him by saying such a thing? He then instructed me to get back and do it again, without the wise attitude, and yell my true MOS. Though he never asked WHAT my MOS really was.
So back I went to the start and proceeded to run, leap, and yell "BAND" at the top of my lungs as I swung across the rope and landed just waiting for the beating that was sure to follow. At this point the platoon had lost it and was laughing uncontrollably. Sgt. Belcher was waiting for me, threw me down into a push-up position and I can tell you that what he said was not fit for print on the internet. This lasted for what seemed like forever.
While this was going on the Senior D.I. had made his way over to see what the commotion was about. Sgt. Belcher had me stand at attention while he proceeded to tell the senior D.I what I had done. I watched as the senior D.I. (who did know what my MOS was) leaned over and whispered something to Sgt. Belcher. Sgt. Belcher then came over, told me to get out of his face and on we went for the rest of the day. Nevertheless, no one ever forgot that I was in the band, including Sgt Belcher.
Later on, after I completed my MOS training I was stationed at the Parris Island Band. As I saw my Drill Instructors around the base they never forgot that I was in the band and that "incident" that happened during boot camp.
Sgt. Jeff Rodgers
1997 - 2001
In response to Ron Bergeron and his story about "Treestump": We had a similar inspection only it was our company CO who was walking through. Our Heavy (Sgt Colinson) had us in shower shoes and towels and instructed us that the moment the Captain stepped into the DI Highway we were all to drop our towels and yell "Good Evening Thir" (with as much of a lisp as we could muster) Obeying orders we did such and the CO turned bright red turned on his heel and literally ran from the Squad Bay. It was the 1st and only time I ever saw our Heavy smile.
Cpl Jon P.
Like Was I Ever Gonna
First off just found your site it looks great. My question may already be on your site but I'll ask anyway. I served from 1985-1989. Boot camp at Parris Island. MOS...0311. My question is while in boot camp at the rifle range I was pulled into a room and asked a series of questions from a Capt. Like was I ever gonna get married? Was I interested in a 20plus career in the Corps etc. I shot expert and had no disciplinary actions etc. Just wondering why I was questioned. Was it for some special MOS or unit etc. I don't recall a lot of my fellow Marines being asked these same questions. And again it was only at the rifle range. Ended up serving Marine Barracks in Norfolk, VA, for 2 years then my second 2 years in the fleet Camp Geiger. Any info would be helpful, just wondering all these years.
Cpl. RICKY R. WILLIS
Not Yet Privates
This is in response to Sgt. Alvino's post titled "Private or Recruit". I may have replied on a similar post before, but wanted to add a few cents anyway. I went through Parris Island back in 1981, and back then our DI's told us that we were recruits, not yet privates as the rank of E1-Private is a respectable rank in "their" beloved Corps and we had not yet earned the right to be called private. As such, we were referred to as recruits...well..........actually a few other classic names, but never private! Semper Fi to all Marines and God bless those in harm's way.
Cpl 0331, 81-85
50 years ago I was a member of Plt. 2011 at the University of Parris Island. Am still in contact with a bunch of platoon mates and we have been swapping memories. For the birthday, the platoon was on mess duty at the WM Btn. area. along with a few other recruits was assigned to a work detail. Many memories are still alive after all that time. We graduated on December 26th and moved on after the first of the year. We were issued Brown Shoes and M1's. In January 1962, we were issued M14's - supposedly one of the first FMF units to be given these weapons. I hated that weapon because I did not make Expert on the range as I had planned. I had fired 216 the previous year with my M1, improving each year but dropped down to 214 that year because of my lack of familiarity with the M14 - had to qualify soon after it being issued and did not take the necessary time to familiarize myself with it - dumb move. I suppose it was a good weapon but I loved my M1.
Our shoes were brown and stayed that way all through my tour of duty (I left active duty in Sept. 1962). On one occasion I used oxblood polish to give them an extra omph during inspection. Our CO, a LtCol. walked past me and down to the end of the rank. I could see him out of the corner of my eye bending down and looking at our shoes. He then came back to me (I was a LCpl. at that point) and proceeded to chew me out if I did not get them back to brown. Needless to say, I got them back to brown immediately after inspection. (I almost got away with never having been assigned to Mess Duty until Gunny Picone found out while inspecting my records just prior to my promotion to E-4 (I was issued Sgt. stripes and the Gunny always referred to me as Sgt.) Anyway, I was assigned to Mess Duty for my 30 day stint and broke a cardinal rule. I volunteered to cook as they were short of mess cooks. I spent 30 days cooking 90 dozen eggs each morning and then working in the butcher shop after cleaning up my grill and surrounding area. I worked until 1800 each day while the rest of the messmen worked until the chow hall was cleaned up. That's what I call dumb luck.
Semper Fi to all of my recruit mates in Platoon 2011, India Company, 2nd Recruit Btn, October 4, 1958 to December 26, 1958. Our DI's were SSgt. R. Lance, Sgt. N. Centers, Sgt. H. Murdock who was replaced after about 4 weeks by Sgt. F. Silva. I was in contact with Sgt. Murdock until his death in January of this year. SSgt. Lance and Sgt. Centers (Maj. Ret.) have passed away from the effects of agent orange. Am still in contact with Maj. Centers widow and daughter. Never was able to find Sgt. Silva and would love to hear from him if anyone knows his whereabouts. They were all special men and great Marines.
Former Cpl. of Marines
Here's a new game; "Guess the FOB" 2MEU should guess this one.
Answer at bottom of newsletter.
In response to Rich Young (54-57), who wrote about sewed down pockets...
I can remember how our fatigues and khaki uniforms had so much starch that putting them on was called-breaking starch. These uniforms had heavy, heavy starch and the creases were sharp and we adopted a talent for easing our legs into the pants without causing big wrinkles. The heavy starch resulted in the careful way we walked and sat down. In fact, we would discourage others from touching or grabbing hold of our sharper than sharp Marine Corps uniforms. You could recognize a Marine dressed in starched fatigues/khakis, from long distances. The care and wearing of Marine Corps uniforms is our distinction and shows how Proud we are to be Marines!
As Big As Some
To Al Crivelli, and SSgt Rasmussen In regards to the B.A.R. question I also was trained on this firearm at ITR in 1967 at Camp Pendleton, we also were still using M-1 Garand, as our personal weapon, What a sweet rifle that one was. Don't get me wrong the M-14 was the weapon I preferred but I along with most of the other Marines got stuck with the M-16. It's a good thing I received the training on the B.A.R., and the M-1, because I ended up in a C.A.P unit in Vietnam. All of the Popular forces attached to my unit of 14 Marines, had been issued the M-1, M-2, Thomson MC, and of course the B.A.R.. Part of our mission with the C.A.P. Unit was to train these P.F.s how to Maintain, field strip, Load and fire their weapons. That B.A.R. was as big as some of the guys who had to fire them.
Cpl Tom Loyd USMC 67-69,
Civilian Maggots To Marines
Going through Boot Camp MCRD in March of 1968 we learned the only correct way to identify ourselves to our Drill Instructors was. "sir the private requests permission to speak sir" the words I and You were killers and would cost us both physical and mental pain. The first time I or anyone used the term You in referring to any DI cost us plenty of grief. The response went like this " do I look like a female sheep you FFFFFing maggot scumsvcking puke? do you want to boink me you lowlife piece of sh!tty excuse for a human being-I cleaned it up of course just now.
The language and strong delivery of it was incredible and to this day I've never heard things strung together so well when it comes to cussing. What wonderful things to learn as an 18 year old boot. Got my complete attention quickly, actually it started on the bus from the airport, loud and crazy from the gitgo, scared the h&ll out of me. If I talk about it with another Marine they understand, any other service or civvies they have no clue why bother, even Docs FMF although they know how crazed Marines can be.
The term I simply wasn't acceptable and was also punishable in physical and PT type ways-like "squat thrusts forever". Speaking in general was dangerous because if it was your turn anything and everything you said was wrong no matter what. Like when the Corpsmen at Balboa Naval Hosp.gave us a light duty chit after we gave blood and told us to be sure we explain the chits to our DI's, we all PT'd until at least half of the group passed out. Hey the above is not meant in anyway shape or form as a complaint, we needed it to change from civilian maggots to Marines, I wouldn't have it any other way, My platoon # 364, K company started out with about 78 of us and on graduation day there were only about 45 of us left from the original number, the rest were pickups.
Semper Fi Brothers,
Oly Olson, Sgt- 3/1968-1/1972
any platoon members out there, Samson, T.J. Anderson? get in touch thru Sgt Grit, Lar, CHI-TOWN
Sgt Frazer Was A Relief
just wondering if anyone is out there from 112, DI's Sgt calendo (can't remember how to spell his name ) Sgt . frazer, Sgt. suggs and a forth i believe was Sgt. caldwell. I remember Sgt calendo putting his foot into my butt for refusing a carton of cigarettes. i remember Sgt suggs liked to run us all the time. i remember two recruits from 112 that got drummed to the brigg when they got caught smoking in the head. every platoon, i believe was on the parade field during this very scary moment. Sgt frazer was a relief when he was on duty. i remember recruit gray getting a blanket party in our Quonset hut camp geiger for not taking a shower, he was a squad leader before that.
pvt. lawrence l. collins
My daughter-in-law carved a USMC pumpkin for me last Halloween and it has become an annual treat that I can keep forever as it was carved in an artificial pumpkin. I saw Catherine Riddle's pumpkin and wanted to let her know the Navy stencil and many more were found at http://pumpkinwizard.com. I also wanted to thank her son for his service as my own son, Sgt. Thomas Basch, has been to the sandbox twice and is nearing the end of his enlistment. I am a very proud father and Marine. We have been father and son since his birth, now we're brothers forever.
Cpl. Tom Basch '73-'78
"Our Country won't go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won't be any AMERICA because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race!"
~LT. GEN. Lewis "CHESTY" Puller, USMC
I Read The Whole Page
A Sea Story of Hospital Experience and Grateful to be a Marine and Not an Army of One! I was a patient, partly paralyzed from head wounds and brain loss and damage in the Yokosuka Navy Hospital and were belly down on the Stryker frames- reading magazines, and books-the trooper on my right broke out really loud laughter at something he read; passed it to his right and that guy really laughed, too! So I pleaded for that fun and laugh whatever it was they slid the "Colliers" or "Saturday Evening Post" down to me and I read the whole page, which included a special framed announcement of praise for some "doggy" who had been awarded the Medal Of Honor---and I couldn't-didn't see any thing funny about it!
Finally, I had to ask as hated to miss the fun, what is it? "Well! Read the award citation!" so I did- this soldier as the North Koreans were really kicking azz and wiping out unit after unit of American soldiers, this was the time period when even an American General was taken a POW!, was in a machine gun nest, the last man standing! He fired the heavy till jacket and barrel burnt out, the light 'til out of ammo, picked up his M-1 and fired all that ammo, threw his last two grenades, then when "they last saw him, he was up swinging his rifle and knocking the enemy troops in the head with his rifle!"( Not Little Bunny Foo-Foo!)" He got the award posthumously, I'm sure--but still didn't see the funny part!
Finally the guys almost yelled:" Who the h&ll were the 'they' who saw him and turned in the glowing report?? "An Army of One??? I know Marines would not leave me-except maybe another Makin???and No greater LOVE has any man than to lay down his life.... Clyde D Beaty S/Sgt USMCRET all above the best of my memory and note I've lots of brain damage!
Pull Charging Handle
Fred Resener, as I recall the steps for "lock & loading" your rifle (M16A2 that is not currently loaded) are as follows:
1. Pull charging handle to rear & depress bolt catch to LOCK bolt & carrier group to the rear.
2. Run charging handle back home.
3. Give a firm slap to magazine, and fully insert into magazine well.
4. Depress bolt catch to send the bolt & carrier home - thus, LOADING your rifle. (If needed, use the forward assist to help seat the round).
5. Point rifle down range. You're ready to rock & roll!
In an emergent situation, you'd slingshot a round thus, cutting out many of these steps. Hope this helps & that I did not leave any steps out?! Semper Fi
The Captain Came Down
I was in platoon 162 in Parris Island in August of 1962. My bunkmate was Sam Harris from Miami, Florida. A few minutes before falling out for a Captain's inspection, Sam spilled some Wisk on his m-14.He was panicky but we all fell out for inspection. The Captain came down the line and briefly checked Sam's rifle. The Captain then proceeded to field strip the weapon and flung each part in a different direction on the parade ground. The captain abruptly walked away and we spent a few hours doing p/t in the squad bay while Sam was retrieving the parts to his rifle.
I was assigned as Section Leader, Machineguns with I Co, BLT3/2....we were on the Med float in the fall/winter of 1976.....well we were having a small game of volleyball on the hanger deck of USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2)....we had been having some bad luck keeping the balls in the hanger, they kept going out near the elevators and into the sea.......as we saw the last ball head out we were all sad....I thinking I would save the day and thinking the ship was sitting still in the middle of the Med, dove in to rescue the ball.........the ship was moving although slowly.....I got the ball and watched the ship slowly move past me..not wanting to get caught in the screw wash I moved out a bit. then I saw my only hope, mops were being cleaned the way they get cleaned on ship, by hanging them on ropes and trailing them off the fantail behind the ship. I yelled to one of the sailors to throw me one of those.....they couldn't believe I was down there but quickly threw me a line and pulled me and the ball aboard......as soon as I got on board a navy chief began to read me the riot act.....until my PltSgt came to my rescue, he was able to talk the chief out of anything drastic and I'm sure the laughing at me all wet clutching the ball made it easier........moral of the story...never assume a large ship in the middle of the sea is not moving.
Sgt Douglas Bowyer
Sgt. Grit, we want to let you know of our recent reunion of Platoon 151, vintage 1962, to encourage others of that vintage to do the same. Following stellar instruction from SSgt. W. E. Dillsaver, Sgt. W. H. Murphy, Sgt J. L. Gartside and Cpl. R. A. Snogles, Parris Island Platoon 151 graduated on September 25, 1962. Forty Six years later, on October 25, 2008 we celebrated our First Reunion just outside Quantico, Virginia attended by twenty platoon members including 1st Sgt Jan Gartside and 1stSgt. Ronald Snoggles. The photo below shows most of the members attending and positions 5 & 6 on the front Row are 1st. Sgts. Gartside and Snoggles. The Internet served us well in locating over half of our platoon and we'll locate additional Marines prior to our Second Reunion scheduled for the Fall of 2009 near Parris Island.
We had a wonderful weekend renewing friendships and reliving Parris Island and Fleet experiences with each other and our Drill Instructors. Our Platoon Photo from 1962 is at www.parrisislandmarines.com along with many of the same Resource links we used in our search. It's never too late to find your lost brothers.
Sgt. Phillip Deal 1962-66
Went through MCRD San Diego 2d BN, Plt 2237 in Oct-Dec 1966. In Boot Camp, carried M14, in ITR M1 Garand. During ITR we got Fam'd on (remember the really big cutaway model?) and got to fire the BAR, but I'd hardly call it a "Class" and it certainly did not qualify us for it. Never set eyes on one since. Also threw ONE grenade and fired ONE mag of .45ACP in ITR. It was apparent that critical supplies were correctly being conserved for those who needed them, in MOS training and in 'Nam. So the BAR was still around after '64, but clearly not much more. The previous writer is probably correct as to formal training and actual use. Maybe they just wanted us to know what one looked like in case we stumbled on one somewhere.
Regarding "Former" Marines - I would have hoped that no one would stand up for that, more recently, the conventional wisdom is that "there is no such thing as an ex-Marine or former Marine, Marine Veteran is the more apt designation. No matter, Semper Fi to all ex-Marines, former Marines, and Marine Veterans. It has been very gratifying to hear the respect and acknowledgement of the "silent majority" who have chosen to be more vocal since 9/11, and which was far less heard than the disrespect for VN Vets in media and on the street for so many years.
D. B. Barry, 2297519
Proud One-Hitch Sgt, '66-'70, One-Tour Da Nang '68-'69
We Marines Know That
In reply to Fred Resener's comment,
Devil Dog, your memory is not getting rusty; you are dead on. On the firing line at the range (at least when I was last there in 93) the command was, "With a magazine and x rounds, Load and Lock." Lock and Load seems to have become one of those phrases that has worked it's way into our society; like "I'll be back." It just seems cooler somehow.
Let's continue to let the "other branches" do it the new modern way. We Marines know that it is nonsense to lock the bolt before loading the rounds.
SGT Kelley 89-93, 98-02
Ensure that no Marine who honorably wore the eagle, globe and anchor is lost to the Marine Corps family. General James L. Jones Jr., Commandant of the Marine Corps
Marines blown up in minefield after hitting trip wire at FSB site: (Mar '68) One day I had been assigned to "D" strip and had just completed installing the last cluster of mines when I almost forget to attach the trip wire to the larger m-16 landmine. I was then ordered over to "A" strip to help finish up with the clusters that needed to be installed. It was at that time while looking north that a huge explosion took place. I immediately hit the ground carefully thinking to be sure to land on the comm wire. Later on we watched while we were told no one moves - that 3 Marines had been severally injured. We watched as they loaded all 3 Marines into the jeep trailer and up to the middle of the fire support base called Gio Linh. It should be noted that if I had stayed exactly where I was earlier - I too' would have been injured. It appeared that one of the Marines had stepped back into the minefield and tripped up a trip wire to the m-16's landmines. They were assigned that day to string the fence line up to close off the minefield that day. They were medevac'd to delta med back in quang tri province.
11th Engr Bn Vietnam 2/68-2/69
Had Seen Another Jeep
Upon our return to Maui after Tinian, I was transferred from "A" company to H & S company in the 4th Engr. Bn. to head a newly- formed repair section. All personnel were skilled mechanics. As you know, most enlisted men usually rode in crowded 6 x 6 truck from camp to various towns for liberty. One day I was approached by Sgt. Fishwick who asked if I would allow men in the repair section to build a Jeep which could be used in our section's work as well as transportation while on liberty. Being young (22) and foolish, I said "w