Fall of '69 and I was a Plt cmdr with Alpha 1/5. We were doing combat patrols in the Arizona Territory. My plt Sgt had taken a squad out on patrol when the sqd ldr, Gene Plesh, was shot in the chest by a sniper. Medevac was shot out of the zone, so I took the rest of the plt out, about a klick, to help.
Second Medevac gets shot out the LZ and things are getting serious for Gene. I received a call on the radio from a "Comprise" bird (these were the Hueys flying out of Marble Mountain) asking for my pos. He said if we could move several hundred meters to get to the paddies and out of the trees he would try to get in. We were able to fight our way out of the trees, and here comes a slick flying in below tree level and he puts down in the water.
We throw Gene in and away they go, turns out he made it to the hospital with about 15 minutes of blood left in him and we heard he survived. The Huey was flown by Jeff Darrah and it was the DivCG's personal slick, no guns. Jeff's CO tried to bring him up on charges, but my BnCO put him up for a Silver Star, Jeff I hope you received it as that was one heroic thing you did to save my Marine. Don't tell me the Wingers aren't Marines. Jeff, Gene, if you are still out there and read this, give me a shout.
Captain of Marines, 68-73
You Make The Call
"Allies or enemies. You make the call. I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fvck with me, I'll kill you all." General James Mattis, USMC, to Iraqi tribal leaders.
Now that my American Marine Patriotic friends is a leader, that Chesty would be proud of.
Do or Die!
How about some Motor-T stories. 11th Motors was across from 11th Marines in '69. I rode along on a few convoys. Not easy duty. Let's hear 'em, I know there are outstanding Motor-T stories out there. Send them to: email@example.com
But I Do Know
We lost a friend, Sgt Joe Cerrone, KIA 1968- and the "real" Marines were the ones who held him when he died, the ones who put him on the chopper, the ones who flew the chopper, the fellows at graves registration, the ones who came to his parents' door that day, the Marines that came from everywhere (even from the hospital) to attend his funeral, and the ones who come and visit his grave 40 years later. I don't know any of their MOSs, but I know Semper Fi when I see it.
just my two cents--
Where ever in the world you are Marines--Carry on!
The Big Mommy
I arrived in Viet-Nam the 1st day of December, 1966. I knew nothing of the respect for the wings over us, until my first operation. We were helloed in and after going from point A to point B we were to be picked up and taken out. As luck would have it we were at the correct location of the LZ, however, there were no choppers. I was close to a field radio when I heard something about "Air-force, will not come in area". The CO was hot and loudly requested (demanded) Marine Choppers. There reply was something about the Marines were on other missions and only Air Force was available. As we started the march out I over heard someone say the Air Force would not come to pick us up because there was a sniper somewhere in the area and he might get shot down. The answer I heard was in reference to, if it was a Marine chopper he would come in low and slow, get shot at to locate the sniper, take him out and then take us out. They like to get in some trigger time and they never let Marines miss a pick up. This proved so true as time went on.
I will never forget the Big Mommy. pilot on top, big side door, chopper knee when you went in and the devil eyes on the front.
John Halpin, Sgt.
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A Thru M Fall Out
I left PISC in early Nov. of '66 with an 0300 MOS and orders for the 3rd Mar. Div. in RVN. That was, at the time, the worse roll of the dice that could happen and I was scared. In ITR I became an 0311. I told my family I was in "supply" and had to go to Pendleton for supply school. I reported to Staging Bn. on Jan. 1 of 1967. We were due to depart for Nam in late January if I remember correctly.
With about a week left before deployment our battalion was formed up on the road and some Marines appeared in front of each company. In front of the first company they announced "All 03's whose last names begin with A thru M fall out by those buses over there" - pointing. Next company "All 03's N thru Z etc." making their way down the line of companies. I was over at the buses. We formed up in ranks. And then we were told we had just become part of the 3rd Military Police Bn.. Onto the buses and off to Christianitos for M.P. training. We trained as grunts mostly. Our Alpha and Bravo Cos. were to be assigned to the DaNang brig and POW compound respectively. My Co - Charlie- had no specific assignment . Neither did Delta. On May 1st we shipped out on an APA for DaNang arriving May 30th.
My Co. was assigned as I- Corps Bridge Security. This was the large double-span bridge that crossed the river that ran thru DaNang. It was considered the second most important target in I- Corps since all the supplies from deep water piers at Ten Shaw had to cross the bridge. Delta still had no assignment and was disbanded and deployed individually to bush units.
We operated as a guard/ grunt hybrid. We had two platoons. One would be on duty on the spans and doing traffic control while the other ran day time patrols and night ambushes well out beyond our wire. These were only fire team size and we all recognized them as being nothing more than "speed bumps" for an anticipated large VC assault -in - force. The Plt.s would switch assignments every day. We also sent a two man observation team up-river every night on an RVN Navy patrol boat. Further, we would occasionally run block-and-sweep operations thru the villages of our TAOR if Intelligence indicated that there may be insurgents present. And, in spite of our aggressive in-depth defense of our bridge, we saw nearly no ground action. We did experience the many rocket attacks that plagued the DaNang area. We did repel, on several occasions, enemy diver teams with explosives, we did located and destroy a large tunnel complex just outside of our wire that was going to be used to stag an attack on the bridge, we did detain a number of VCS( sympathizers/ suspects) and we conducted civic affairs operations in our TAOR. In spite of the little contact we received I did earn the CAR. and a PUC.
But it wasn't enough. I felt guilty- and I still do- for having 'skated' my original assignment to the bush with 3rd Mar. Div. I thought of volunteering for the bush many times but did not want to place myself in a position later in life that if I lost an arm or leg or my eyesight that it would be my fault. But I had no objection to the Marine Corps sending me out there. I tried to off set my guilt by substituting quantity for quality. I extended my tour three times- two six month extensions and a three month. When I finally left Nam in Oct. of '69 the 3rd. Mar. Div. was pulling out and I was heading home for an 'early out'. I was discharged- honorably in Nov. of '69 and went about being a civilian. I graduated from college and law school. I practiced law for 15 years. But I noticed in my last year of law school that my head took a bad turn and I went off into a very dark place. My drinking took off, my anger was closer to rage, I isolated, had trouble sleeping, flashbacks, feelings of survivors guilt, guilt and shame in general, intrusive thoughts, drove too fast, drove drunk, considered suicide often and was generally self destructive. This was 4 years before PTSD was given a label and six years before I got near enough to a VA Outreach clinic to have the label applied to me.
I was initially rated as 50% and didn't believe I was 'that bad' but my counselor and a former Corpsman convinced me to get evaluated for a higher rating. It took the third VA psychiatrist to finally convince me that I was indeed "that bad". On appeal my rating was increased to 100%. I had already given up my law practice and was technically homeless. I wandered the country in a ten year old RV but had no permanent address. Friends received my mail and forwarded it to me c/o general delivery. I'd show up for VA appointments sometimes driving over a thousand miles in two or three days back to New Hampshire for a 1/2 hour evaluation or a hearing.
I avoided my family because of the shame I felt. Eventually I needed to get further away. I sold and RV and replaced it with a back pack and took off for two years around the world. It amazing how alone you can be on a crowded Chinese train. No one to ask questions, no one to answer to.
I'm on better meds now and I do a lot better. I'm married and own a house- with two dogs who think I walk on water. But I STILL feel guilt for having 'skated', for having given 'second rate' service- for not being John Wayne, for having been a REMF.
Jack Albright 2322141
Plt. 3084 PISC Aug - Nov. '66
Nam 5/'67- 10/69
Thank Those Marines
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I just wanted to write and thank those Marines who made my chow, flew me into hot and not so hot LZs, provided close air support, provided the trucks (cause everyone gets tired of humping), crewed the AAVs, manned the heavy guns, made sure the mail kept coming (every day that there was a mail call I thanked God), kept the pay from stopping, helped my wife through three deployments, and anyone one else I missed. Started in Parris Island, then Camp Geiger, I am an 0351/52, first in 3/7 Wpns Co. Dragons 1988-1990, then 1/1 D Co(Desert Shield and Storm TF Papa Bear), then 1/1 C Co. 1990-1993 All Marines are my brothers. To the Viet Nam vets I say: Welcome home and job well done! OOH-RAH!
Eric A. Eaton
Sergeant, USMC (EAS 25JUN1993, but still serving in my heart)
I Saw The Handwriting
Recently I have read many stories concerning our military personnel being disrespected. Other stories centered on those that served stateside duty not being considered as veterans. This has got to really hurt and is so undeserved. Only a few of us are so fortunate to be combat veterans.
Growing up I always felt that I was destined to do more with my life than playing sports in high school, going to college, and then entering the business world. After 3 semesters of college and untold amounts of alcohol I felt this burning desired to make something of myself, make my life mean something to others, and to have a clear purpose for my life. It was then I joined the Marines at the height of the Vietnam War. My Dad was a Marine and received a medical discharge missing all the action in WWII. To this day I know that has been his greatest disappointment in life. Maybe that is why he began a long career in law enforcement. It's not that we both want to kill something or someone; it's just that we both love our country and will do whatever it takes to stand in the path of those that want to destroy what we love so much.
After being in the Marines awhile I soon made my way to Jacksonville, N.C. where I was converted from a fixed wing engine mechanic to helicopter engine mechanic. It was then I saw the handwriting on the wall and started preparing my wife and family that my dream to become a combat Marine would soon become a reality. In late '67 I started my deployment to Vietnam finally arriving in DaNang in January '68. The minute I stepped off that plane I realized this foul smell in the air, but I knew this was where I was meant to be. Later that day I took a short ride to Marble Mountain where I'd spent the next 13 months. I was assigned to the headquarters' squadron component shop with a responsibility of repairing the helicopter's main and tail rotors. There I saw the main combat veterans that were flying missions each day providing support to our brothers on the ground. This is what I wanted, this is my chance to make a difference in someone's life, but I was assigned to a headquarters' maintenance squadron and they didn't fly........they supported those that do.
After many months of dodging the usual mortars and rockets, of "supporting those that do", and watching my request to fly falling on deaf ears, I couldn't stand it anymore. After chow one day I went over to the flight line where the most action seemed to be. I inquired with the LT in charge what my chances would be to start flying. To my surprise he directed me to gear up, draw a 60 and .38, and report back ASAP. He asked who my supervisor was and stated he would notify him of my new assignment. Like a good Marine I followed my last order, returned later, and was in the air before sunset flying as a General's Escort, a HR mission, and followed that night by many Medi-vacs. The days and nights seemed to blend into each other and became as one. I lost track of what day or week it was.......I didn't care.......I was finally where God meant for me to be.
Since I had been sleeping on the flight line I did not have an occasion to see any of my hooch or shop buddies, however I did see one who advised me I had been reported as AWOL. I made it a priority to contact my supervisor and advise him what the LT had said. Needless to say this did not stop the steam emanating from his collar, but I felt like he at least understood my motives as he too proudly wore a set of air wings. The end result was that my record was cleared, but I was ordered back to my shop and not to venture near the flight line again. This made my last few months almost unbearable. I knew where I was needed..... I had done the job, but as an E-4 my opinion didn't count.
In January '69 I returned to the world to face those that hated me for what I had done and those things I had not done. It did not take me long to figure out that it was the Marines or my wife and at that time, stateside duty in the Marines really sucked, although another stripe was soon added that eased some pain. I believed that all Marines belong in a combat zone. Since I was still assigned to a headquarters' maintenance squadron in California I knew I would face the same or worse situation regarding me flying on my next deployment. Therefore when my 4 year enlistment ended so did my days as an active duty Marine. I returned to Texas and immediately joined the police department. Maybe I was again where God meant for me to be.
In November '04 I read a newspaper ad looking for former police officers to train police recruits in Iraq. A month later on Christmas Eve I was boarding a plane for Baghdad. After during my 7 1/2 month stay in Baghdad I received a call on my cell phone from my youngest son, Jacob, who wanted me to convince his mother that he should join the Marines. Later during my next 7 1/2 month mission in Mosul I received another call from Jacob who had a Marine recruiter sitting at the kitchen table, Jake wanted to be a grunt. I returned from Iraq in April '06 in time to be present for Jacob's graduation from boot camp as a third generation Marine. He was following his own destiny. Today Jake is with the 3/5 Marines, India Company in Anbar province doing what God has led him to do.
To say I'm proud of Jake is quite an understatement. He has been a special son since his birth and there are not enough words to describe how he completes my life. Now my days and nights are measured by his occasional phone call to tell me he and his fellow brothers are alright. Attached is his picture in case one of your readers bump into to him someday. And I would be just as proud of him if he had never become a combat veteran as I am with 3 of my 4 best friends who served, but never saw combat. Their sacrifice and dedication to this country can never be repaid.
So to those that served outside a combat zone I say to you... stand tall........the majority appreciates your service, sacrifice, and dedication.
Bill E. Mills, Jr.
Sgt. E-5 USMC
Help Lay Wreaths
Here is a photo that was taken of a few of my club brothers & myself. The picture was taken on December 14, 2007 at the War Memorial. We were at Arlington National Cemetery the help lay wreaths for the wreath project. I can identify everyone in the picture but do not have the name of the person that took the picture. It was an individual that happened to be there and asked if he could take the photo.
Mike Shugar (Cowboy)
VP, Iwo Jima Chapter
Your Earned The Title
I will put in a few more stories about MOS and combat. I think this sums it up in true Marine style.
My Uncle Turned Out To Be Right
I find it disturbing lately to see how often the question is arising as to a Marines worthiness of the title based on his combat experience or MOS. I suppose it is natural for those who have been tested in battle to feel different or superior to those that have not. There may even be some sort of righteousness in that. The simple truth is that not all of us will be called upon for that task. I think that most young men desire that test, if just to see if they are up to it. My father spent 20 years in the Army and volunteered for Vietnam but was denied. I know that he still feels some disappointment in that. When I came back from the Gulf in '91 I felt some disappointment myself. But I didn't feel any less a Marine.
When I first decided to join the Corps I spent some time talking at length with an uncle of mine who got his knees butchered by a machine gun in Vietnam. He did everything in his power to persuade me to join the Air Force or Navy or Coast Guard instead, his rationale being that "Every Marine is a rifleman, no matter what his job is." The interesting part to look back on for me is that he was Army. Funny that he should remember this about us after all that time when some of us seem to have forgotten.
I determined to prove him wrong. I made sure I got an MOS in the wing. I'd always liked planes and ones that went mach 1.9 and blew stuff up were just my cup of joe. I was a hydraulics mechanic on F-4's and then F-18's and I loved it. And I know that it was very personal to my fellow jarheads to make sure our birds were up and ready to fly in Desert Storm. Particularly once the ground war started and some of our brothers in harms way might need some close air support. Ironically, I didn't fix a single plane over there. As soon as we arrived I found myself on guard duty and carried a rifle for the rest of my stay. My uncle turned out to be right after all. Other than ducking a SCUD or two, I saw no action. I did what my duty required of me. Just like every other Marine has, is now doing, and will continue to do. I may have come home feeling somewhat deprived, but I still felt every inch a Marine.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is that we need to remember what it is that makes us Marines. It isn't combat experience or our MOS. It's our Esprit de Corps and the well founded pride in the title that we EARNED. I can assure you that should the need ever arise for me or any other unproven Marine to cover your six, it will be well guarded, simply because we proudly bear the title of Marine.
Nuff said. Semper Fi!
Cpl. T. Clark
VMFA-232 Red Devils 87-92
My Own Medal Made
I felt bad for a lot of years that I had not done much of anything in Nam, I was there in ' 68 during Mini-Tet in Chu Lai. I have a lot of friends now that hold a lot of high medals, one holds the Silver Star from Khe San.
Now I am pushing 60, and finally starting to get smart. We had 88 men in our missile battery there...and the other 87 were always glad I was there because what I held was a spatula...I was the company cook..there was not a man in that battery that disliked me.
I remember one day, I had saved a bowl of vanilla ice cream for my supper, that was all I was going to eat, I had chocolate sauce on it and crushed nuts, chow was over, the mess hall was cleared out and I set the bowl on a table and went back to get my spoon...when I came back ...a Grunt was sitting there...his utes were in tatters...he was filthy...hadn't had a haircut in over a month and had at least 10 days of stubble on his face..he was making short work of MY ice cream, I picked up a glass salt shaker and crushed it in my hand, d*mn near sliced my forefinger off. He looked up at me and said, "Oh h&ll man, is this yours"...I looked at his disheveled self, and d*mn near crying said...no, its yours...and as soon as I get back from seeing the corpsman, I can get you some cake to go with that.
I have tears in my eyes now, just remembering that incident. I have been thinking for years of having my own medal made...the Vietnam Service Ribbon with crossed fork & spoon attached to it.
L/Cpl Mark Gallant
Was Surprised To Learn
MOS & Causalities at Khe Sanh You know, when it comes down to it, Marines are pretty much Marines, no matter their MOS. Now I never fixed my bayonet like my friends Mike Powers and John Rowland and I never charged an entrenched enemy bunker or ridge line like my other friend Steve Wiese did during his 18 month combat tour. I never sat month after cold isolated month on the top of a lonely piece of ground like Phil Nuchereno, watching my friends being picked off one at a time, wondering when and how my time would come. I never commanded men on an isolated hilltop like Ernie Spencer and to say that I was particularly brave or extraordinary would be a stretch. After all, I was just a private and did the job the Marine Corps assigned to me, just a regular Joe. I knew a lot of just regular Joes at Khe Sanh, men like Bill Poland and Beryl Bushaw who went about their very dangerous job with little sleep and little food. Who fought their own battles for survival ever day and somehow, perhaps through just plain luck, persevered.
The reason I bring this up now is the result of a conversation I had with a person I happened to meet a few days ago who was surprised to learn that there were "other than grunts at Khe Sanh." As an example I guess I could have mentioned Donald Saunders, Ken Williams or Wilbur Stovall. All KIA at Khe Sanh, none assigned to infantry units, but all three were Marines.
Although my personal knowledge of the Marine Corps Combat Base at Khe Sanh is somewhat limited to the period of time I was there, roughly August 1967 to sometime in April 1968, as I look back it seems like I was there forever. To this day, certain experiences remain vivid in my memory and dreams. I have read extensively about the events of the Siege and have spoken to numerous individuals who were there with me. Each recalls a somewhat different yet similar experience.
Outstanding stories. I could read them all day. You can keep em coming all you want. Thank you and Semper Fi
A Hero Is Someone Like
Sgt, Grit, I was only half way through your e-mail of 12/13 when I felt the urge to get out the word. I have to say to I'm not a hero, I just did my job that the Marine Corps assigned to me. When our country is in conflict or not, all jobs are import. I would say that all combat would cease, were it not for the backup of all mos's.
Today it seems, everyone in uniform from the Boy Scouts on up are called heroes. To me a hero is someone like Mitchell Paige with whom I severed with on Guadalcanal. A MOH recipient I was just another Marine doing what I was there to do. When people call me hero I'm embarrassed. Mitch was the Hero.
So to all my brothers out there let me end by saying, if you have earned your EGA and act like a Marine at all tines, then you don't have to be ashamed. Hold your head high, because if you were in combat or not, know that in doing your job MO to the best of your ability, you had your brothers back.
To that end let me, one of the few Old Breed, say thank you to all Marines for their service and I include all our brother services.
G/Hdq co 2/7 1st Marine Div.
All Most Sent Home
I want to let you know how much I appreciate your news letters, It is great to read about past present and future Marines. I don't care who first said "ONCE a MARINE ALWAYS a MARINE", but I know that I will be a Marine even after the life has left this body. I have been reading with interest comments about one MOS being more of a Marine than the other. When I was on active duty from 1964 to 1968 with two tours in Vietnam as a Combat Engineer I never thought I was any more or less important than any other Marine. We all done what we were called upon to do, and with out each others help we could not have gotten the job done. After all we are Marines. I Salute all of our troops for the sacrifices that they are making to keep us safe. The proudest moment in my life, was when I was handed the Eagle Globe and Anchor at graduation from MCRD in San Diego. I was all most sent home because I was under the minimum height requirement, that was the one and only time I ever argued with my Drill Instructor and won. To all Marines everywhere "SEMPER FI"
Thanks to Sgt B. S. Swancutt and Sgt J.L Washington for molding me into the man I am today
Robert D. Hawkins 2097089
Sgt of Marines 64 -69
Third Battalion Platoon 342
Of Course, We Did
Anybody remember those aluminum forms for shaping/starching utility covers?.....brought to you by a 'Wing Wiper', a SSGT Beavers, as I recall......held the patent, used to get royalty checks from the manufacturer.......He was a DI at MCRD SD in the early sixties, 1stBn, as I recall. Not sure of his MOS, (other than 8511), but suspect he may have been an Aviation Metalsmith.
(of course, we did use to razz anybody who got orders up to El Toro.....told them they'd have to draw air wing 782 gear and turn in their utility covers when working.......earmuffs, long un-breakable comb for use in the chow line, those boots with the elastic sides (for working around LOX), etc.......) Dick Dickerson, '57-'81
I Have Been Troubled
I have been troubled for over half a century by the fact that I never got sent to Korea after being called up from reserve status in 1950.
I could have gone, I missed several drafts and could have volunteered on other occasions, but I never did.
I have always worried about how I would have performed if I was in combat. Would I have rushed up that hill under fire? I hope so, but I'll never know for sure.
I wear the globe and eagle on my caps, stand when they play the Marine Corps Hymn and swell with pride, but do I have the right to stand beside proven combat Marines?
(former Sgt., 2nd Marine Division)
Smoke 'em if you got 'em!
I was not a smoker when I joined the Marine Corps. But I sure felt sorry for the guys that were! I can't remember for sure, being it was 50 years ago. It had to be 2 or 3 weeks before the smoking lamp was lit! And then the only one who was allow to carry a pack, was Squad Leaders. When and only when our Dill Instructor said "the smoking lamp is lit" would the Squad Leaders issue one cigarette to a recruit who wanted one. This would happen, sometimes after chow, or after drill. That's if we did well. As weeks went by, the Platoon was finely permitted to carry their own. Until one morning, five were caught behind the mop rack smoking! Then it was back to square one. That day while we went on a work detail. The five caught smoking when the lamp was out, spent the day in front of the DI's house, smoking pack after pact after pact. Five at a Time with a bucket over their head and doing up and on shoulders with their M1. And they were still doing that, and smoking under their buckets At 1600 when we came off working party.
Semper Fi, SGT.Grit. I am a Vietnam vet who served with 3rd MAF in a cap unit in country in 1970 I Corp. As a former Marine Sgt. I would like to acknowledge a job well done to you an every man or woman that has worn our proud uniforms now and in the years gone by. Just reading the comments and letters help me continue to fight my battles with PTSD. The training you receive in the Corps will enable you to fight and fight hard against any and all of the hardships that life throws your way, but I find great renewed strength from viewing your website and always leave totally motivated and full of our Marine Corps Spirit.
Been reading the rebuttals to the "air wingers" not being Marines. Let me add my view. As a FMF corpsman in Korea, I know that the performance of the old Bell helicopters drivers were a very key part in the performance of the Docs. 98 out of every 100 Marines hit were saved with the most seriously wounded "flown" out by the Air Wingers.
We used to handle guys like the sniper by "losing" his shot records. Ever had all the required shots at one time?
Jim (doc) Pitzer
Now, what is all this BS about one MOS being better than another in our beloved Marine Corps?
A MARINE IS A MARINE.... through and through. What is the matter with the thinking here? What's the deal with the 'boots' bringing up such non-sense? These particular Marines must be feeling bad because they did not see some "action!" Hey, boots, stop your crap.
A Marine is a Marine. We each were given a job to do, and LORD, most of us did them. And were proud to be a Marine. Hey, so what that I burned crappers in da Nam in '68-69. So what that I stood perimeter watch at night. So what that I did a stretch of KP duty. So what that I did a few walks in the bush on patrol. So what that I did watch in a tall tower, watching for movement in a free fire zone. So what that I had moments of pure boredom one hour, then a few wild out of control adrenaline rush moments the next. So what that I stood fire watch back in the WORLD in our company barracks. Hey, we all had various jobs to do. Of course, we all b!tched about our jobs. That is part of the Marine Corps. BOTTOM LINE: we were ALL the best we could be.... UNITED STATES MARINES. We all served with the best: United States MARINE CORPS. You know the slogan: The FEW. The BRAVE. THE MARINES. Semper Fi, Brothers and Sisters of the CORPS.
My first tour in Vietnam was with 2/9 in 1965/66. Our Bn CP was located 5 to 10 mi southwest of DaNang. Anyway, I had a portable radio which had shortwave bands on it. On one of the bands I could sometimes tune in on Hanoi Hannah and listen to her propaganda. During the program she would sometimes play a song to the tune of Twinkle, twinkle little star and if I remember correctly the words went something like this.
Bomber Bomber flying high
Like a demon in the sky
Dropping bombs to make die
Oh bomber tell me why
I was wondering if anybody else remember hearing this tune.
Sgt. Grit, the book can be found at Authorhouse.com the Title is 'All Were Valient'. Once on Authorhouse.com, the novel can be found by using the cursor on Bookstore, then type the title or my name Joe Salinas. It will appear on the left hand side and will have a description of what the novel is about.
Its about a Company of Marines from Co. Lima 3rd Battalion 27th Marine Regiment 1st Marine Division as they fight the enemy around their tactical Area of Operation south of DaNang, Vietnam during the TET offensive of 1968. Some of the Characters I used are real persons of 1st ,2nd, and 3rd platoons with weapons platoon personnel attached to each platoon for more firepower. This men were brought together from different MOSs and get the regiment up to par before sending the regiment to Vietnam. The Novel is 95% fact. Its all about combat trained Marines send in to battle the Vietcong and NVA from February to September 1968. They fought at Operation Allen Brook during may of 1968. No Drugs no s&x just Marines fighting to stay alive. That's the best I can sent for now, the rest is on the Novel for the reader to find.
Thank you and Semper-FI
Joe Salinas Semper Fi, Marines and Corpsmen!
Honors to all Korean vets!
This came in today and I hadn't seen it before. The scenes of the Korean winter caused chills recalled the frozen hillsides, Manchurian winds and wet sleeping bags and boots during a tour with the 1st Marine Division after the Chosin Reservoir fight in 1950. There aren't too many on my list who spent a winter there, but those will recall similar bone-chilling experiences; others may appreciate the interesting comparison of Valley Forge to the Chosin. Another war we didn't win, AND we didn't lose! Ask the people from the South how they've lived FREE for over half a century, and if you can get there ask the North. Quite a comparison.
Semper Fi, and God Bless All the troops that endured those cold nights, whichever winter they EXISTED in those years.
From Its Inception
From its inception the Marines have been a brotherhood. Who else in 1775, but a band of brothers, would have met in a tavern to discuss the business of taking on the British Empire? Seven Marine bothers led 300 mercenaries against the Ottomans. Marines took Gitmo and still hold it today. Governed the country of Haiti. Together, won their title "Devil Dogs" in Belleau Wood. Marines and their Corpsman raised a flag over a rock named Suribachi. Bled together on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Peleliu, and Okinawa. Stood together against the Chinese at the Chosin Reservoir. Da Nang, Khe Sanh, and Hue are still other banners for the brotherhood to rally under. Beirut, Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan are just the latest places Marines have banded together. Today on the news, Marines in Berkeley are fighting against an enemy in "pink". And in some ways, no less a threat against our country than those enemies holding weapons in Iraq. And in the history between the long list of names, of only a few mentioned here, Marines have also served, bled, and died together during "peace" time.
Sgt Grit Newsletter is a great place to relay sea stories. Say goodbyes to lost brothers. And reinforce the bonds that make all Marines, both past and present, a Brotherhood. But it seems every other month a discussion is incited on "Real Marines", Boot Camp too Easy, or Can I Say Semper Fi?
Bottom line - Those men that left Tuns Tavern had young men seek them out for service. Before there was a "Belleau Wood, there were young men standing tall at a recruiters desk. After Pearl Harbor, men flooded into Parris Island and San Diego. Due to Chinese aggression against Seoul, young men volunteered. During Viet Nam amidst protests and frightening newscasts, there were volunteers. In the "peacetime" between Viet Nam and Beirut, there were men and women to fill the ranks and keep a Brotherhood a Brotherhood. On September 12, 2001, recruiters accepted thousands of new commitments. Today, young men and women are still filling the voids left by fallen and faded away Marines. None of us walked into a recruiting station asking for light-duty, or No Combat Please. Everyone that has stood on the yellow footprints (or whatever they stood on before the footprints) did it with an understanding that it may cost their life. And every person that had already earned the right to wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor before 7 Dec 41, or 23 Oct 83, or 11 Sep 01 - was ready to wear that insignia again on 8 Dec 41, 24 Oct 83, and 12 Sept 01 - regardless of MOS, age, gender, or past service accomplishments. Marines are a different breed. To reach for the Marine recruiter door instead of the Navy, Army, or Air Force. And that is why after 60 years, a man still filled with pride, will place a bumper sticker on his automobile that states: "Not as Lean, Not as Mean, but Still a Marine"; "Once A Marine, Always A Marine"; "You will Die, I Will Die A Marine"; or the sacred "Semper Fi", even though he may have spent only 4 years of his life in the Corps. Real Marines are made by Drill Instructors before an MOS is assigned. They have then earned the right to wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor. And their Corpsmen and families are allowed to say "Semper Fi".
Sgt. Grit - I have been reading our news letter for about 5 years now and I have never had much to say. But all this flax about who is a real Marine and who is not is a lot of bull@#$%. When you graduate from boot camp you earned the title. You were not given a choice as to being a combat Vet. Without the support of the rear echelon we could not have done the job we were given. I served from Aug. 63 to Aug. 67. I was a grunt for almost three and a half years. I didn't realize until recently that there was all this talk of somebody being a poggybait Marine. It is a lot of crap and it needs to stop now and the jerks that keep it going have the problem. On another note, Echo 2/3 Marines from 1965 to 1969 are having a reunion from September 17th to the 21st in the Boston MA area. For more Information please contact Echo2/3 Marines6569.org.
Semper Fi. Ron Smith Cpl of Marines 63-67
Cry And Snivel
I am writing because I am sick and tired of the griping about who is a Marine and who isn't. We are "MARINE's, not politicians, who complain all of the time. If you want to cry and snivel, then you should have joined the Brownies, not the Corps. "Enough is enough", the men who did not go fight, but wore the uniform, if so ordered to go, would have gone and done their job just like everyone else, but they weren't given orders. Let's all grow up and be Marines and not "snivel about the minor things, but complain about the Major things.
A Marine 67-71 Nam 68-70 Steve Lippman
USMC Dress Coat 1859
My Fellow Marines,
My name is Sgt. Carl Kurtz (Fmr) I served between 1999-2005 I was attached with MCSFCo. Kingsbay, 2/3 and 1/23.
I have attached some photos of a rare kind. This is of the 1859 Dress blues. Now for a little bit of History (again).
We all know that during the Civil War our personal history is not very well known. Like the rest of the country we were split.
As you look at this coat think of all of the similarities on our dress blues today. The buttons although today are anodized are the exact same print as back then. Other aspects carry over the cuff design, the collar, the seven rows of buttons (although the last one is hidden now) even the frock style design of the jacket itself. I have been studying this coat with the help of some folks down at the National Marine Corps Museum for the last six years, I am in the process of making a reproduction to be shown at the Anniversary Civil War Battle in Gettysburg PA this coming July. (photos will follow)
Some other aspects that are missing from these photos are, the gold shoulder epaulets and the rank. NCO's at the time (Cpl's and Sgt's) would have had their strips the same as today although a bit larger. The NCO sword we carry today is the same as the 1850 Army Officer foot sword from back then, although it has gone through some slight changes over time like the scabbard and the blade etching. The photo of the cover is of a reproduction although made directly off of the 1859 regulations.
In the following months I will email you all photos and a finial description of all the information shown. This coat was listed to auction
For a little over $28,000.
Fort Worth TX
ckurtz @ cityofwestworth.com
Good Night At The Bar
Dear Sgt Grit,
Here is a true story. This just happened to me recently. I was staying at a Marriott earlier this month outside San Jose, CA when I decided to go to the bar for a beer. When I walked in there were 4 Marines in their Dress Blues, all E-6 or better, walking out to attend a function. I stopped the First Sergeant and extended my hand, looked him in the eye and said "Marine, thank you for defending our country". He responded "Thank you very much, no problem". (Spoken like a true Marine, defending the United States of America was no problem for him). I proudly pulled back my jacket to show him my shirt collar pin - 1st Mar Div Life Member -I always wear it- and said "I, too, am a combat Marine, Viet Nam era". Then the other 3 Marines came to me, shook my hand, and each one thanked me for my service said to me "Semper Fi". You can't know how proud I felt. They recognized me in front of everybody as one of their own, a member of the Brotherhood, and adding truth to the motto that all Marines know, "Once A Marine, Always A Marine".
After they left I sat at the bar and the lady across said to me "thank you for serving, my Dad was in Viet Nam". The bartender said he had 2 sons, one in the Navy and the other in The Marine Corps. Another lady remarked how sharp those Marines looked, adding she felt safe when they were around. Then a guy at the end of the bar raised his mug and said "To America's finest!"
All in all, it was a good night at that bar.
E 2/7 1966/67 VietNam
Clear A Mine Field
No civilian will know how hard it is for me to write the following. I have a distrust with any Vietnamese. My PTSD Doc. says that there was good Vietnamese, my answer is show me one, because you can't tell them apart. I think the same applies to Iraq and Afghanistan. When your fighting an enemy that is of the same race as the people you are trying to protect it's impossible to tell them apart. So in my book if you are receiving fire and some one comes at you with or without a weapon, and it mite sound cruel), shoot them fore they mite have explosives taped to there body. I saw this type of stuff happen when I was in Vietnam in 65-67, as a Combat Engineer.
I can remember my squad being sent out to clear a mine field that a couple of thirteen year olds or there about kids set. The way we knew they did it was a patrol of grunts caught them laying the mines. We all knew these kids, because we saw them almost everyday.
There was another incident that happen, which I didn't see, but I saw the after math, it was when a soda girl blew up a group of Marines. When they gathered around her and she pulled the pin on a grenade, that set off another grenade. The site is something that will be with me for ever.
It wasn't just kids it was adult as well. These two are the ones that really stick in my mind and I can't get rid of them.
"C" Company &
3rd Combat Engineer Battalion
Chuc Li North
St. Louis area MCL
We started a Marine Corps League Detachment, about 2 years ago, and are always looking for new members. Our detachment is the Private George Phillips Detachment #1214 and we meet every third Tuesday at the Manchester, MO American Legion (about 20 miles west of downtown St. Louis). We are up to 100 members. SEMPER FI.
mgollon @ sbcglobal.net
He Caught Me
Good Day Grit and my fellow Brothers and Sisters:
From February of 1961 thru March of 1963 I was stationed at what was then known as H&S Company Training & Test Regiment, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, VA.
My assignment at that time was working under the direction of GySgt Loy E. Cook (Later Warrant Officer Loy E. Cook). We were the staging area for the PLC's and Officer Candidates. Our main function was to greet them as Privates and convert them to 2nd Lieutenant on paper. Gunner Cook had a very unique signature, and one day while doodling I was able to re-create that unique signature. His responsibility upon us preparing a new Officer's Personnel Record book was to sign literally thousands of pages. (no rubber stamps or computers in those day's)
Well, low and behold he caught me imitating his signature, and the rest as they say, "is history". He piled hundred's of SRB's on my desk and said, Corporal Reynolds, go to work. I don't think I stopped signing paper's from the beginning of their training class until they graduated. Day and night.
So......if you were an Officer Candidate from February of 1961 thru March of 1963, that unique signature Commissioning you a 2ndLt might very well be that of this Corporal. Congratulations Lieutenant's. (not to worry, Colonel Fenton J. Mee signed also).
Semper Fi to All
Harry P. Reynolds 1847925
Cpl(E-4) - Plt 319 MCRD PISC June 1959
Like A Marine
I served my country in the USMC, and have always been proud of it. My current living situation is rough, I'm living in a pop up camper in the woods, and the winter months have been brutal. Anyone else in society would have already crumbled, but due to my basic training and survival skills, it has allowed me to withstand some of the hardest living conditions. I was not put here by choice, my ex and I split up, and having nowhere to go, I thank God above that years earlier I bought a camper. I am on disability, not much income flowing in, however, I am surviving all this and have goals to push forward, like a Marine climbing a hill in battle. I will not lay down and die. I think of all the young men and women serving our country to keep it safe, and my prayer's are with them daily. Being a Marine is something that lives in your blood, regardless of the circumstances. I'm a survivor, thanks to my training from the Marine Corps!
Heard A Noise
Sgt. been reading your letters for some time and really enjoy them. I have one for you, I was a Marine recruiter in the 50's I was going to give a spell at the Twinfalls Idaho high school occupation day, I was the youngest of four other branches, so was last, The principal ask me to cut my spell short so I said ok.
When it was my turn to talk, I told the graduating boys class that there was a couple moved to twin from the mid west the first night in there new house they moved there things in and they put some of there stuff in the basement there was a barrel of nuts and a barrel of apples put down in the basement, they went to bed in a very few minutes they heard a noise, he looked in the basement and said there were mice down there.
He found two traps and put them down in the basement, one by the apples and one by the nuts he went back to bed a short time later he heard the trap snap went down the basement turned on the light. His wife said did you get him by the apples, he said no I got him by the nuts and I told the class that how they have you, either you join the Marines or you get drafted in the Army. needless to say I got the graduating class to join the Marines.
S/Sgt Bob Langford USMC 50-54
Drove from Tucson to Phoenix the other day to testify before the AZ Senate Judiciary committee for the bill allowing CCW holders to carry concealed firearms on campus. The chiefs of all State University Police units were there, and were given the first opportunity to speak against the bill. After almost two hours of continuous testimony, when my turn came to speak, I think I 'woke a few folks up':
Procedure requires a speaker 'introduce' himself by name, and the organization or group he represents, if any. My introduction included "Sergeant, United States Marine Corps, Inactive", and "If I represent anyone, it's those of us who may not be 'police' but still recognize our duty to protect and defend..." I made my points, cut a perfect parade deck about-face, and resumed my seat.
Once the hearing on that bill was completed and I was leaving, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see one of those Police Chiefs with his hand extended and a big ol' chit- eatin' grin on his face. As I took the hand, he introduced himself - four stars on his collar - as "Corporal ---------". Semper Fi!
We may be on opposite sides of the issue, but more important is the Brotherhood: He's a Marine, I'm a Marine - we can work this out.
Duke Sgt. USMC 1966-70
People Would Say
Dear Sgt. Grit,
On 24 October 1983 I walked into the local Marine Corps Recruiting Station and announced to the SSgt that, "I wanted to kill Shiite Muslims....where do I sign?" These days, people would say that this was "Politically Incorrect", but at the time, this was what I knew was required. Have times really changed so much in 25 years?
This was the day after the Bombing of the Barracks in Beirut. As I type this, my #1 son is in his fourth week on the Island. Nothing could make me more proud than my son wanting to serve his country as one of the few...
Obviously his mother is concerned, but I told her that he will be trained to be the best, as are all of those around him. He could not be in better company in this life, or the next.
SEMPER FI !
9 Years Of That
The stories of Airwing Marines was true to a point. As a Corpsman of the Marine I flew out of Quang-Tri in 1969. Many times it was 8 hours of boredom followed but 30 minutes of sheer terror. The grunts used to ask us how in the h&ll we did it in "Them Big f-N Targets". I always asked them how they did it in all that mud, elephant grass, etc. I retired with 18 and 6 with constructive time. Proud that 9 years of that was with the Marines.
Being a Hospital Corpsman of the Marines is an honor and I still have many friends that I write to, all Marines. Many Navy corpsman didn't like the job, I did. Might have just slipped up and saved a few.
HMM-161 and HMM-262, Mike Westervelt HM1 Ret.
The differences between the services are often mentioned in the Sgt. Grit news letters and it was never shown more directly than watching the opening ceremonies of the Daytona 500. There was an Army Sgt. wearing sunglasses. I'm not familiar with Army rank but his rank indication was three up and 2 down. They were singing the Star Spangled Banner and you could see all other military personnel were saluting except the one wearing the sunglasses, he just stood there like the lump he was.
USMC 67 - 71
RVN 68 -70
When my oldest son was about 4 or 5 he told his mother that his dad was a Marine and then a policeman and then he was nothing. When my wife told me it made me so proud to know that my son thought of me that way. My older brother was also a Marine.
Frane H Peters
Wpns Co. 1st Bn.
6th Marines 2nd Mar Div.
I am 77 yrs old next month and am still a Marine and if the corps would take me I would go. Give me a weapon and let me go to it.
So According To Some
T. P. Sheehan has it right. I'm more than a little bothered by some comments in earlier newsletters that the Air Wing Marines aren't "real" Marines. Would these people say that a woman Marine was any less? In two conflicts (Korea and Viet Nam), in the first I was a diesel/heavy equipment mechanic. In the second, an engineer with the 1st MarDiv. going on engineer patrols in advance of the infantry was just one thing I did. I wanted to make sure the roads and bridges would hold up to the infantry when they made their move against the VC and NVA. On many of these patrols, because of my knowledge of VC tactics (see below), I would ride shotgun in the front seat, cautioned by my boss to spot any booby traps or related. And I did. These were placed, not by the uniformed enemy, but by those in civilian clothes.
Another point: In both of those conflicts, the enemy was not always in uniform. I was shot at in Korea as a train guard. In 'Nam, it was those in mufti that gave me the greatest concern. Driving through small villages, I usually rode in the back of our "jeep". I kept my eyes on the floor of the vehicle, waiting for the hand grenade toss so I could grab it and pitch it out ASAP. So according to some, being a 1300 MOS doesn't qualify? Give me a break! I also taught booby traps, demolitions and other dirty trick devices to the 03s in Okinawa before they deployed. More than one young Marine, coming back to the island, looked me up: "Captain, you saved my life!" Such made my job worthwhile.
J. L. Murphy
Private to WO 1 & 2, and Major Ret (20 years and 26 days)
Came A Little Faster
When I joined the Reserves in 1950 and prior to boot camp my MOS was 0311. After graduation from Parris Island I was assigned to a Guard Company in Rodman Canal Zone, still with an MOS of 0311. In 1952 I volunteered for Korea, still 0311 (BARman). After the cease fire I was transferred to Battalion Supply as Clothing NCO. I later changed my MOS to 3011 (Supply) When I arrived stateside reporting to Cherry Point, NC, I again changed my MOS to 3041 (Office Pinky).
No one ever questioned why I changed MOS's nor was I looked down upon because I was a 3041.
I will admit that once I changed my MOS my promotions came a little faster.
Jack Nolan, S/Sgt
I Personally Would Like To
Another thought, I can wear a Chevy emblem on my head, sit in my garage and say vroom, vroom. That does not make me a Chevy. The man who sparked this whole debate is more than likely a wanna-be. He probably didn't finish or may have even been discharged for other than honorable conditions or never really served. Although I personally would like to show him what a 3521 (motor transport mechanic) can accomplish with a wrench up the side of his head. Trust me, we threw enough of them, you know qualifying with other weapons in the event we ran out of ammo.
Semper Fidelis Brothers and Sisters, Cpl A.D. Wooddell 89-93
Kill Any Marine
After reading all the different letters about who was what you know I thought we were all 0311,s you know all riflemen first then whatever the USMC wanted us to be.
40 years ago I was in this h&ll hole called Khe Sanh and I don't remember name tags on the rockets, artillery, or mortar rounds that came in day after day. You didn't have to be a certain MOS to buy it, just unlucky. The NVA just wanted to kill any Marine they weren't choosy.
Another thing I would like to say is not all of the people hated us. After reading some old letters my Mom sent me from my (Nam Days) their was a 17 year old girl from San Pedro, Calif. named Diane who was kind enough to write to a 19 year old Marine far from home. I don't remember her last name and lost all my stuff when I came home and most of my memory over the years but if anybody knows her tell her THANK YOU. SEMPER FI
CPL. USMC 67-71
MOS 0311 with USMC 1/7 A Co,1st Platoon, 2nd Squad, from May 1966 until the 7th Marines moved to Danang. I was "volunteered" for a CAP Unit (CAC L-2) Langtree Hill until my tour of duty was up in June 1967. Not much during the daylight hours, but, every night without let up. With the stats of CAP Marines being killed I am so thankful