Sgt Grit:
I read this newsletter every Thursday. I enjoy it, and find it sometimes challenging to maintain the "thousand yard stare." I spent three tours in Iraq, mainly the Anbar province, operating in the teams of 1st Recon Battalion.
On my final tour, I was the Assistant Team Leader of my team. The reason why I am writing, is in recognition of Mr. Chargois being told he was not a "real Marine," because he was an "airwinger." Staying as humble as possible with respect to every who has earned our beloved title; as recon Marines, my team and I were a little more trained than our average ground-pounders.

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To the "angels on our shoulders," that brought their aircraft to ground level just to get hits on target, armor that brought the buildings down, and of course the steel rain that pulled my unit out of jams, and to all of those who kept these life-saving battle winning assest running, a mere thank you could never show true appreciation. You all gave us another day to take it to our enemy.

To the so called sniper that discredited my brethren for how they served. Obviously he needs to go back to his school that bred the hunter of gunmen that he became and beg them for a lesson in humility and teach him the ethics of a silent professional. Every special operations school that I or my friends have attended, have walked away knowing that they were nothing without supporting elements. No matter what kind of warrior you may be, your life-line is not only your die hard team members but your supporting elements that ensure your needs are met. Thank you to all who have walked the lines before me. I am beyond proud to attempt to maintain the standards in which you have set, regardless of MOS. Mr. Chargois, I am appalled to hear how a so called sniper disrespected your service, I don't believe he has really seen the unforgiving scenes of a real battle, these are the guys that come home thinking they are a one man national asset (OMNA). SEMPER.

P.S. I have been recalled for a fourth tour of duty in Iraq...."A true warrior prays for peace, but is willing to kill in a moments notice."

Sgt M.D.S. "Thermite"
2002-2006
1st Recon B-1 & C-3

Coming in February

Spring Break Shirt Special: 2-7-08 to 2-24-08 University of.... Shirt Special: 2-21-08 to 3-9-08

Gained Respect

In reference to some grunts having a lack of respect for wing wipers, they eventually grow out of it. In August 1968, I reported to Staging Battalion, Camp Pendleton and was assigned as squad leader to a group made up of young grunts straight from ITR/High School.

Even though I gained respect by being a Cpl, holding my own during field training and pulling the ham & limas out of the C- Rats before they had to pick, they still ragged me a little about being from the Air Wing. (Saving them from the ham & limas carried the most weight.)

gained respect Fast forward to October 1969 and I ran into 3 of them outside the Deli at Camp Butler, Okinawa on our way home. They had been humping mortars for 13 months and had a new appreciation for the Wing. Seeing the Marine Air-Ground Team work together with sacrifices on both sides does wonders for the attitude.

Today www.popasmoke.com, the reunion organization for Marine Helo crews, receives emails from grunts offering thanks for saving their lives and the Wing Wipers have tremendous respect for those grunts who serve on the ground. MAGT is the ultimate team.

Wayne Stafford
USMC 66-70
RVN 68-69

Old School

Old School EGA I was in the Marine Corps Reserves from 1990 - 1996, activated during Operation Desert Storm. I've been involved in the Young Marine Program, the Marine Corps League and the Military Order of the Devil Dogs. (I am the first female Devil Dog in Maryland). I have four other tattoos, but never went for the USMC until last week. I had my boy Brendon at Flaming Dice draw up a couple of designs and I went with the "old school" EGA.

Hope everyone enjoys it!

Evie Remines

The Only Brand

Just wanted to add to the Marine Corps Tattoo pics I too have inked myself for life, with the only brand that matters, I am a Desert Storm Veteran. And in the States I served with A.Co. 3rd LSB in Kaneohe Bay, HI from 91-94. I was a Combat Engineer Proud Marine Corps Ink (Heavy Equip Operator) with a red patcher unit. While in Saudi I served with a security detachment, near Al Jubail. We serviced mostly Camp 5 , Camp2 1/2 (Wally World) And one of the Ammo Supply Dumps out in the Dessert! Just wanted to send some pic so my Proud Marine Corps INK! The 4th pic (the Eagle) was picked by my son when he was 7! (just a patriotic tat)

Thank you
(Cpl.) William (Bill) Bowser
Desert Storm

You Were There

Well, hello all;
I have been seeing many comments about air wingers, Corpsmen, grunts, and so on asking or commenting on who is a REAL Marine. I would like to take a shot at clarifying who is a real Marine. Of course, we all go through boot camp, and rifle range, and ITR (that dates me). From there we go to schools like radio, artillery, and so on.

The point I want to make is that a rocket attack on Da Nang airport did not specify what MOS to injure or kill. When the ammo dump blew up in 1969, it did not specify what MOS to injure or kill. When a rocket attack came.........we all hit the deck. Let me make these points and add my comments:

To the Supply Sgt......Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the flak jacket, God bless you To the Admin Clerk......Thanks for getting my orders back to the world correct, God bless you To the Pilot and his Air Wing crew......Thanks for the support and napalm, God bless you To the 0811 guys......nice shooting, God bless you To the Cook......I was hungry and you were there, God bless you

To the Corpsman who has such strong shoulders he can wear both a Navy uniform and the Marine Uniform, and will go through the gates of h&ll to bring a Marine an aspirin, God bless you

I think you all get my drift.

SSgt DJ Huntsinger, 1968-74

We Miss You

Today marks two years since I lost my brother in life and my brother in the Marines. Hard to really believe he is gone I miss the phone calls and the emails. One heck of a Marine and one heck of a brother. He fought til the end as a Marine would, but after five years the Cancer from Agent Orange just could not be stopped. We miss you Harry. Rest in peace.

Harry W. Davenport
Gysgt USMC
1955 - 1976
1937- 2006

Soul Was Tried

In answer to SF's question on who was the longest serving Marine. Archibald Henderson, served a total of 60 years, the last 22 as Commandant. 30 years out of PI and I still remember that. Of course to some one who was on active duty in 1950 I'm "New Breed" But to our Brothers in Iraq, who weren't born yet I'm "Old Corps". :)

And to Marine Ashe, anyone can serve when it's easy and popular. It takes a Special MAN to serve when the Cause is unpopular but still right. Never forget Thomas Paine's words about "Sunshine Soldiers, and summertime Patriots". He said "These are times that try men's souls. Your soul was tried and NOT found wanting. Well done Marine, Welcome home.

Thomas Bogan

The Only Pocket

Sgt. Rich Young '54-'57 must have absorbed the same influence I did. Nothing went into our blouse pockets, ever, and the only pocket used was in the trousers rear for a wallet. Our hands did not have a pocket. While serving on sea duty, many of us had our dress uniform trouser side pockets removed and sewn shut. There was nothing more fitting for a Marine Corps recruiting poster than a squared-away Seagoing Marine!

Spike Berner
1518119
Sgt. of Marines '54-'57

Obnoxious Kid's

Re: What Do You Think?
Sgt. Chargois, you handled it perfectly. You are the 'Real Marine', not that Blockhead (You may replace this with any other word you wish).

Re: Not Yet
Nice response to the obnoxious kid's question, but when did Marines start saying 'Re-upped' ? That is a U.S.Army expression. The correct Marine expression is 'Ship-over'. It seems Marines are losing their Naval traditions. I've heard many Marines today saying things like Floor, Ceiling, Wall and Downstairs. It puts my teeth on edge. When I was a Pvt/PFC, my NCOs would jump right on me if I used that terminology. It didn't take me long to learn to use proper nautical language. Calling a door a hatch also got me in trouble.

Re: Left Sock, Right Sock
Absolutely correct. I had my pockets sewn shut when we had 'starch khaki'. When Tropicals came in, I didn't sew them, but I still put my gear in my socks. Car keys presented a problem but I solved that by wearing them around my neck like dog tags.

Paul Santiago GySgt (Ret)
1946-1968

It's The History

Sgt Grit,

I enlisted in 1960 and completed Boot Camp at Parris Island that summer (PLT 244). I returned to PI to complete Drill Instructor School in February of 1963, and enjoyed a 2 1/2 year tour on the field in 3rd RTB. No, I didn't treat my T--ds as I was treated, and they were good Marines anyway.

I went to 'Nam in '66, 3rd MarDiv, and put a number of my recruits in bags for shipment back home, all of them heroes. I returned to PI in 1996 to assess Recruit Training, as my state (Montana) was considering building an adolescent boot camp. I had the privilege of standing next to another generation of Drill Instructors, who didn't treat theirs as I treated mine, and THEY were good Marines.

It's the history, traditions, and discipline that Make Marines - not brute force.

Peter C. Formaz, GySgt of Marines
(long ago)

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The Boy Turned

Sgt Grit;
I know we have used terms such as "NOLOAD", no longer on active duty, and others but I was never comfortable with those acronyms When I closed my business and retired I had the attached business card printed. I believe the phrase "Marine Veteran" covers all bases. Also, vistaprint.com will print 250 cards of your choice for just the cost of shipping.

For those veterans residing in Tennessee who would like to serve their country despite their age there is an organization known as the Tennessee State Guard. This is a strictly volunteer group serving under the governor of Tennessee. You purchase your own uniforms and equipment and receive no pay. Training meetings are monthly with classes on military subjects as well as disaster training, much as the National Guard. My unit consists of veterans from the Army, Navy and Air Force. I am the only Marine and was sworn in as an SFC (E-7) and even the CO has referred to me as "Gunny". The main area of service in my unit is the conducting of military funerals. For more detailed information see "tnsg.us".

One last comment. I am a 50% disabled veteran and one day, at Wal-Mart, My knees were especially painful that day so, for the first time, I used one of their motorized carts. I was wearing my Sgt. Grit USMC cap and as a father and his son, about 7 or 8 years old, passed me the father looked at me, turned to his son and said to his son "What would you like to say to that man?" The boy turned and said "Thank you for your service". I was moved almost to tears.

Jerry Lape
S/Sgt 1957-1969

I Knew their S

Sgt Grit, Just had 2 add a perspective here....I am a retired navy Corpsman served with Marines. As to the wingers not being Marines b...s...! As a line Corpsman I can d*mn well say they are.....when I called for a medevac they hauled! The sweetest sound I ever heard was the sound of a med slick coming in for my patients...I knew their s... just got a whole lot better! I cannot count the number of times Marine wingers came into pickup my patients when it was a hot LZ or when the weather was so bad nothing flew.....the Marine wingers were coming and h&ll wasn't stopping them! In my book the Marine wingers are heroes and just as d*mn fine a group of Marines as I ever stood muster with on the drill decks and grinders stateside!

Semper Fi Doc Herdina 1968 to 1994

PS as to the lout of a lawyer who keyed the Marines vehicle...he is a disgrace to his profession and a bottom of the barrel human being. He deserves his vacation in France...France deserves him!

The General Put His Arm

Sgt Grit,
After the comments about General Gray, I just wanted to wade into the discussion and tell about my experiences with Commandants, or future Commandants, of the Marine Corps.

It seems like I have had so many run-ins with them during my time in the Marine Corps that it all just still goes to show just how small our Marine Corps truly is and if you stay in on active duty for any decent length of time, there is no telling who you are going to be serving with.

My experiences started right from boot camp (Jan '73 -Apr '73, Parris Island) where the base commander at that time was Major General Bob Barrows, a future Commandant. Later, after I had done a tour of Sea Duty onboard the USS Forrestal CVA-59,

I was stationed as a Sea School Instructor at MCRD San Diego. While I was there, we had visits from General Louis Wilson, who was the current Commandant then, and one day, out of the blue, General Lemuel Sheppard decided to drop by the Sea School. He was living in retirement in La Jolla, CA at the time but wanted to come by the school and see how things were going.

Also, while I was still serving at the Sea School, our OIC, Captain Kotora got his orders back to the fleet and was replaced by this 1st Lieutenant (Captain selectee, if I remember correctly) who had just finished his tour of sea duty, named James Conway, another future Commandant.

Finally, I went back to the fleet myself and served with India Co. 3/9 from 1984-1988. While I was on Okinawa during that tour, General Paul Kelley came and visited us up at the NTA area (I was an NTA instructor at the time) to do a reenlistment ceremony and just to see how things were. The best memory of that visit was the General had been out to the rappel cliff and was returning by jeep to the base camp. There was a rifle company in training up there at the time, which one I do not remember. Anyway, while the jeep was on the road back, this lance corporal steps out of the jungle on the road in front of the jeep and puts his hand up like an MP telling someone to stop. The jeep comes to a halt, the lance corporal does a proper salute, produces a camera and asks if he can get a picture of himself and the Commandant together.

General Kelley hops out of the jeep, takes the camera, hands it to the NTA 1st Sergeant and says, "Anything for a Marine!" The General puts his arm around the Marines shoulder, the 1st Sgt takes the picture and hands the camera back to the L/CPL, he once again does a proper salute, and then disappears back into the bush. I remember someone commenting later that the kid must have "balls the size of church bells!"

Also, one of my battalion commanders at 3/9 was LtCol. James Jones, another future Commandant but also who went on from there to become "supreme intergalactic overlord" (OK, it was Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, but close!).

What great memories and great fun!
Semper Fi
SSgt Bob Tollison

Years After

Marine Corps Tat Here's a tat that I got many years after getting out of the Corps.

Sean Torres
1986-90,91

Marine Corps Birthday

Sgt Grit,

I was a Presidential Security Marine stationed in Washington DC in 1999, I have many fond memories of my time in our nation's capitol, but my fondest memory that I have was just after the Marine Corps Birthday.

I missed the Ball because I had to work that year and I also missed my own birthday (mine being on the 7th of November), so I decided that I would celebrate both of them on my next time off. When I finally got the time off I went to a local bar just down the road from the Marine Barracks (8th & I), and let the bartender know that I was celebrating both birthday's. As the night wore on a lot of people bought me drinks, but one gentleman in particular, I must have talked with him until closing time, we talked about the Marine Corps and how it had or had not changed, how the equipment was different from when he was in to now and the MV-22 (strange I remember that exact part).

The next day as I relaxed in my barracks room, I received a call from the guard house, telling me someone was waiting for me at the main gate. When I got there, a gentleman was waiting for me, he stated he had gift of me from the Marine I had spoken to the night prior. The gift was a Message To Garcia, I was stunned, but when I opened the book on the inside was a message from General Al Gray. He had been the Marine I had talked with all night. I still have that book and read it anytime I find myself needing to clear my mind or unsure of what to do.

I have never forgotten that night, and I never had a chance to talk to General Gray again to thank him, so I wish to say it now, Sir, Thank You for the best gift I have ever received.

Sgt S.
1998-2006

Smoking Lamp

After given the command of smoking lamp is lit by Sgt. Banks, privates of Platoon 3088 had to repeat,

Sir, smoking lamp is lit for one cigarette and one cigarette only. Sir, caution, cigarette smoking may be hazardous to your health. But Marines don't give a d*mn, they don't live long enough to catch lung cancer!

K. VanHooser
Platoon 3088
Sept. 68 - Nov. 68
MCRD San Diego
2484603

Next

Sgt Grit:

In B Lonn's missive in the Newsletter of January 17th, he noted that his tale is "a bit different, but, probably, not unique." He was so right.

Mr. Lonn and I must have overlapped at P I in early 1964 (although, I don't think we ever met) and our experiences are similar. I, too, attempted to enlist right after JFK's assassination on November 22, 1963. In my case, it was my pulse rate that caused me to fail the physical, twice - it was over 90, each time - nervous. After my second rejection, I stopped smoking for a week and took a tranquilizer before my physical, got my pulse rate down to 88 (now, 44 years later, it is only 54), was accepted and sworn in on 10 December 1963.

During this final physical, as I was going from one examining station to another, a Corpsman behind me said, loudly, "Hey, you, read the eye chart!" I turned around to him and he said, "Well, you just passed your hearing test." Then he added, prophetically, "Don't worry, though, if you can't hear. In Parris Island, they yell!"

I left for P I on 15 January 2004 and ended up in Platoon 209. Since I was in the 2nd Battalion, as was Mr. Lonn, I probably spoke with the same Navy shrink ("talking doctor") that he did. However, the psychiatrist's question to me, as I stood nervously at attention in front of him was, "Private, are you afraid of your drill instructor?" I shouted back, "Sir, yes, sir!" and he responded, "Next!"

Like Mr. Lonn and so many, many others who have commented on it in these newsletters, my life was turned around by my time in Parris Island and the USMC and, these many years later, on an almost daily basis, I attribute many of my positive attributes and actions to the lessons, discipline and pride that I learned there.

Semper fi.

(fmr) Sgt. Rick Feinstein (2070029 '63-'69)

WWI

Sgt Grit,
Just wanted to relate a story that happened to me. In July 1973 I was attending Sea School at the Marine Barracks at Portsmouth, VA. I managed to get a weekend off during the middle of the school so I and a buddy of mine, PFC Palmalski, decided to fly to Washington, DC to just see our nations capital. We also had decided to take our Dress Blue uniforms with us to wear even though we knew that it was going to be terribly hot & humid, but we didn't care. We were hard chargers and wanted to do this the right way. We got a flight and arrived at Washington on Friday night, talked a taxi driver into taking us to a hotel that was close to the mall area of Washington. Fortunately, he took us to a hotel that was not very far from the White House and they did give discounts to active duty service men & women. We checked in and prepped out uniforms for the next days outing.

We arose early the next morning, did our usual sh!t/shower/shave routine, donned our uniforms and downstairs we went for breakfast. When we went to the hotel restaurant, we got our first taste of what prices were really like in Washington. The hotel room was discounted but not the food, and between the two of us, it looked like all we could afford would be 2 straws, a napkin, and a glass of water for us to share! As we were sitting there with these looks of complete surprise and probably shock on our faces, a tall, elderly gentleman came over to our table. He did not say a word to us but just stood there for a few minutes. He was dressed very well in a very nice suit and had this great shock of white hair on his head.

Palmalski and I didn't quite know what to think of this guy. I was already formulating something punitive to say to him because I thought that since he didn't introduce himself or initially say anything to us that he was some type of older war protester (remember, this was 1973) and this was his chance to be confrontational with a couple of Marines in uniform.

Eventually, the waitress came by and asked us what we wanted and then the gentleman finally spoke and told the waitress that whatever these Marines want to put it on his bill. We were really flabbergasted now and asked him to sit down. He did so and went on to explain that he was a former Navy Corpsman and had served with the Marines during WWI and was at the battle of Belleau Woods.

He told us his biggest memories of that fight was the noise but also that he kept falling into bomb craters and that the Marines would jump into the crater after he had fallen in, pull him up, and direct him as to which direction he needed to go and that direction was always forward. He also said that he had an opportunity to meet General John Lejeune, and expressed tremendous respect and gratitude for those Marines that he had served with and all Marines to this day. He thanked us for our service, shook our hands, got up, and left.

I guess that it is true that Doc's still continue to look out for us, even if it is several years later.

Semper Fi, Doc!
SSgt Bob Tollison
Marine Detachment USS Forrestal CVA-59, July '73-July '75

But No Longer Feel

Sgt Grit,
Apparently I have a problem that many Corpsmen have, {not really a problem as I see it}. I spent some time with the Marine Corps. About two years. I lean more to being part of the Marines than part of the navy.

The majority of my time with the Marines was with the battalion recon unit. I trained with these guys, slept with the unit, and took liberty with them. These Marines I considered my brothers and still do today. This is where the problem lies. We are not quite Marines but no longer feel we are sailors.

Now I consider all Marines my brothers and have that Sgt Grit sign on my door. {MARINES ALWAYS WELCOME relatives by appointment}. I will buy a Marine a drink, and shake his hand and thank him for his service .

Thanks
HM3 Vancil
1/27 68-70

Be The Most Hardcorps

OOH RAH SGT GRIT
I love to hear the stories of my brother Marines, though different, I'd like to share mine----

I had only been out of Michigan once, a family trip to Disney, when I joined my beloved Corps, I had visions of seeing the world as no civilian can. My recruiter signed me up for aircraft maintenance, and I thought that was great, trouble is I'm color blind as a bat, they decided not to let me blow up aircraft , and I signed an open contract, tell me where to go , I said, I'm a killing machine LETS GO--Then i got orders for admin school, when i complained to my Drill Instructor, he told me "Be the most hardcorps clerk they got " I was perfect, as a second generation Marine , I was locked and c0cked, my old man was proud of me and mom was scared, i worked as a clerk at the Marine Detachment at Fort Leavenworth later to become an Admin Chief at the War College. I was a good and understanding clerK,

I dropped what I was doing to help my Marines at all times, I camouflaged my typewriter and came to blows with the first Marine to call me a " Pouge", I'm a rifleman first and fired Expert at Boot , I was a 300 PFT'er and proud of it, WANT Some ILL GIVE Some OOH RAHH

Numerous Compliments

Received my embroidered camo cover from you the other day. Fit, Embroidered Camo Cover quality, and workmanship are all outstanding as usual. Have already gotten numerous compliments on it, and have referred several new (former Marine) customers your way as a result.

Thanks again for your outstanding products, and service.
Lisle Neher, Vietnam 1964-1966. USMC 1963-Forever.

Khe Sanh 1968

To step back in history a bit to the Siege of Khe Sanh 1968 Tet Offensive with some humor. The first thing that comes to mind is complaints of not having armor in Iraq. When I was at Khe Sanh, (from Feb 18th 1968), all we had was that flac jacket with metal strips in it, I put it away for an Air force one, one about as useless, the round that hits you, you never hear. I have seen what gear they wear in Iraq, we never had night vision on our helmets, or scopes. Of course we were not fighting from house to house, but in the villes they were bobby trapped many times. We were sitting ducks in a duck shoot, with rats running around as big as house cats.

One day I decided to take a chance and have a sit in out outhouse with a 3 month old Playboy magazine. A 130mm round came in and hit the area behind the 'throne room', and blew me out the front door. I crawled to the Navy Shower and the Bn Chaplain was sitting there with a sh..t eating grin on his face and said "I guess they caught you with your pants down!" And ya know I never did find that magazine.

The area behind me was the 3rd Marine Engineer area. Our Throne room had been blown down a few times. And taking a quick shower was a hairy deal also. So needless to say we didn't take many showers. My socks got so ripe, I could throw them across the bunker and they would stick on the wall. we had a Doc too, he was very paranoid,he built his hole 15 feet deep, and just enough room to move around, I went down there once, and Claustrophobia set in. We told him that the hole wasn't safe, could cave in in him and the rats might get him.

If there are any Khe Sanh vets out there email me at howjb @ sbcglobal .net. Thanks Sgt. Grit for what you do, talk at ya later.......
Jerome Howell
3rd Shore Party Bn. A Co.
USMC Vietnam: Nov 1967/Dec 1968. Dong HA (Nov 1967 to Feb 1968) (Charly LSA) ConTien, The Trace, Da Nang (FLC), Khe Sanh Feb 18th 1967 to June 1968. Also spent time in Barstow Cal and Iceland Marine Barracks.

I've Heard The Same

In response to Sgt Chargois' letter, yeah I've heard the same thing too. It's even more annoying for me, because I'm a female who served in the Air Wing in the 80's-90's. No it's not the same as being a trigger puller, but without the admin clerks, supply clerks, avionics, armory, intell, etc., the trigger pullers wouldn't be able to do their job. You handled the situation a lot better than I would have, but how do we know he was really a Marine. I've run into more former Marines who claim the sniper MOS, than could possibly have been in the MOS.
Semper Fi,
A. Grabill
86-93

Slept Mostly In The Day

Sgt. Grit;
One of your news letter should be about the aviation section of the Corps.
I was a Reciprocating Engine mechanic, (corsairs) Then converted to jets, (FJ-4). We kept the planes in top notch condition, battle damage (Korea) was quickly repaired and the next morning we sent our plane with its pilot out to face the Korean hoard. We slept mostly in the day as we would work ALL night repairing our aircraft.
Sure we never fired our M-1 at the enemy but we made it possible for the Airedales to support the Grunts! Close air is a winner! As any Grunt with his A*s on the line will tell you. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest.
L/Cpl Floyd Moore 1607903 USMC

Give Us Huey-roids

In response to Sgt. Steve Chargois on Air Wing Marines. When I was at Lejeune we always thought you Air Wingers at Cherry Point had it good. Rumor had it you wore your hair longer, had better chow halls, got to slide by on the rules more, all to keep you happy. After all (rumor had it) what officer is going to crack down on the non-rate or NCO that packs his chute or wrenches on his bird? But I gotta tell you, you guys are just as much Marines as anyone else. Just like the office pogues we used to harass were just as much Marine as the most hard core. Your toys just cost more than ours. But one comment - At Camp Lejeune we had made a raft to fish on at New River and French Creek. Made by tying together 55 gallon drums and wooden pallets. It was no cigarette hulled ocean blaster, but two or three of us could fish off of it nicely. It was great, until one day - we were 20 yards offshore in French Creek, and heard the usual WUMP-WUMP- WUMP of 53's escorted by Huey gunships coming up New River. Then the Hueys turned 90 degrees vertical, blades slapping the air, BAP-BAP-BAP, as they turned up French Creek the noses dipping and blade tips just feet off of the water. And there we were. You never realize how flat the water is until there is four chopper skids and rotor blades heading for you, and no where to hide. As they approached I thought sure we were going to get chopped to pieces from the angle of the blades. And if the blades didn't get us, the skids were sure to give us Huey-roids. I swear we could hear them whooping and laughing as they passed overhead. We were as flat as we could get on that raft, without having to jump into the water. Washed in rotor blast and rained on by water lifted from the river. Oh Sure, I'd have done the very same thing if I was them. Who could have passed up that opportunity? After that day, it was a mad dash to the shore every time we heard the choppers coming. Well, it was that or fight back by trying out one of our homemade SAM's, made by attaching a road kill opossum to one of those 4 foot South Carolina bottle rockets. You don't realize how much you really love the Corps until you look back on it almost 30 years later.

G. Cagle
USMC Sgt 79-83

What Arty Could Do

Sgt. Chargois,

Thank you for your service and dedication to keeping your brothers alive and well, regardless of their attitudes. I had the same problem as an artillery scout the first time I was attached to infantry, until I showed the grunts what Arty could do for them if they got their a$s in a sling.

Semper Fi

Sgt. 'Flash' Hudson
0861
1999-2005

27 Air Medals

I wish to say to Steve Chargois that he is 100% correct. In the Marines, each Marine is trained to support other Marines. If one of us fails, the entire mission may be compromised.

I was an aviation Marine, and am proud of my time in the Corps. I was crew-chief on 46's and didn't hump any hills. I did ride a couple of them down and will say that I earned 27 air medals, so am I a Marine?

I leave that up to you to decide, but inside, I know I fulfilled my mission and am proud to say I am a Marine to this day

Raymond Boyd
Sgt 66-70
RSVN 68/69

Who's Your Marine Daddy Now

Regarding the letter from Sgt. Steve Chargois and the A$$hole that told him he "wasn't a real Marine" because he was in the wing. Me and about 10 other Marines that I keep in touch with would love to explain to said A$$hole how very wrong he is.

Last time I checked we all sweat the same way in PI and San Diego. We all had to qualify on the same ranges. We all earned the same Eagle, Globe & Anchor. What a pretentious Jacka*s! Grunts might be the "tip of the spear", but they wouldn't be able to do $h!t with out the support of the Marines in the other MOS's. If Mr. Sniper (isn't it funny how every arrogant little pr+ck is a Sniper or Recon) was sitting out in the badlands somewhere bleedin' from three different holes, he ain't walkin out. H&ll no! He's gonna be on the horn to that arty Marine, or that fighter Marine to give him some cover and then he's gonna call for me and my crew to come in on our big green CH-46 to pick his sorry bvtt up. Who's your Marine daddy now!

No, if anyone's lacking in the Marine dept, it's Mr. Sniper. Seems to me he needs to brush up on what it really does mean to be a Marine and a part of this brotherhood, not to mention working up on some common courtesy and manners. Sgt. Chargois, you owed him squat for an explanation and were far kinder than I would have been. We're Marines and no blowhard little t&rd is gonna say otherwise!

Semper Fi Brother,

SSGT Pete Lukic
6112 (And D*mn proud of it)
1977-1984

Turning Around F-4 Phantoms

Here we go again, air wing vs. infantry. Well said, Sgt Steve Chargois, on your response to the grunt who stated that you were not "a real Marine" because you worked in aviation. Make no mistake about it, my hat is off to the kids who slogged their way through the mud and jungle of Viet Nam, dodging every terror one could possibly imagine.

No, I was not a grunt. I was with H&MS 13 in Chu Lai (6511, aviation ordnance, 1969), working the bomb dump by day and flying flare crew by night in a 30 year old C-117 that leaked oil constantly out the right engine. While "We Light 'em, You Fight 'em" might have been our crew's mantra, we endured our share of terror during the many rocket and mortar attacks on the base, and standing perimeter guard when called on (that was always fun, the slightest noise setting off M-16's and M-60's, all firing wildly into the bushes, NCOs screaming wildly for some kind of discipline on the line).

We worked hours upon hours without sleep, turning around F-4 Phantoms with new bombs loads, rockets and gun pods, in which "kid" pilots and RIOs (they all looked so young) flew mission after mission, rain or shine, giving close support to the grunts in the field. Our flare crew, circling near the DMZ, provided the light at night so our guys on the ground might better see from where the enemy was coming. After flying for several hours non-stop, we would land and head back to the bomb dump and start loading, grabbing sleep where and when we could. We were always ready to go airborne, in any weather, at any hour of the night in support of fire fights that raged continuously.

Sometimes, ground units would come in out of the field for a rest and set up camp down by the runway. We had a great relationship with these guys, and generally, they with us. Many a round of beer was purchased by one group for the other at the E-club. A mutual respect was always in evidence.

We would always keep a wary eye on their actions and movements. They had a sixth sense born of their experience in the field. When they moved under ground into their bunkers, we moved into our bunkers. Nine times out of 10 we would get hit that night or early morning with rockets and mortars. It was uncanny.

For certain, I probably had a more "comfortable" stay in Viet Nam overall than the basic grunt. But not "a real Marine"? Give me a break. In my mind, from the lowly clerk typist to the Commandant, we are all Marines, in total support of one another at all times. We are, and always will be, brothers.

Semper Fi,
Bob Imm (Los Angeles, CA)
SGT, '66-'70


Cpl Gilkey at Sgt Grit Store

Randy Gilkey
Cpl of Marines
69-74
Tulsa, OK


Sandinista Battle Flag



Marine Corps Pose with Captured Sandinista Battle Flag


Felt A Hand

While working out at a local Oklahoma City hospital's gymnasium an older gentleman who was accompanying his wife during rehab noticed my Marine T-shirt and asked if I had served in the Marine Corps. I told him I had some fifty years ago. He proceeded to tell me he had served some sixty years ago. He explained that he had been with the 2nd Marine Air wing on Peleliu. I asked if he happened to have met my CO, G. G. Sweet, who had also served there. He had not, but he did meet General Rupertus and Chesty Puller. Because the airfield had not yet been taken, members of the Air Wing were assigned as stretcher bearers. While waiting to join a patrol he felt a hand on his shoulder and turned to meet Chesty and the General who were there to see the patrol off. The gentleman's name is Delmer Dean. His brother also served in the Marine Corps, and his photograph while manning a Howitzer on Tarawa is prominently displayed in the new Marine Corps Museum.

Marine Veteran Cover I also often wear a Marine Veteran cap I purchased from Sgt. Grit, and as a result have had the pleasure of meeting other members of "The Old Breed".

E.N. Spence USMC
Sgt. '54 -'58

I Don't Want Anyone

Sgt Grit
About this real Marine stuff...I joined the Marines in '60 and all I wanted to be was a machine gunner. I was assigned aviation over my brief objection (due to bouncing on the deck). At further assignment to Memphis NAS for school I choose parachute rigger (you get to jump), door gunner (you get to fly) & something else all before the chief finished saying "Put your first name in the box that says first name."

When the chief said "I don't want anyone picking 6711 cause everyone does and no one gets it" I immediately erased the 3 options I had choose and wrote 6711 1,2 & 3 and became a wing wiper. Occasionally Recon would run by an hour before reveille and I considered joining...until I saw a whole stick parachute into a clump of thorn trees.

After making Cpl I got a chance to be part of the invasion force for Cuba. But missed that and the First Marine Brigade Viet Nam landing too. So don't rub it in, I wish I had had some mud time, that's what we trained for

Lima Echo
Cpl of Marines '60-'64

He Got Off The Train

It was April '58 and the train pulled into Yemassee, SC. So long ago that many of the memories, some still fresh, seem to be fading. I remember the receiving barracks behind the train station where we stayed that night before riding the "cattle truck" to P.I. My brother was visiting me last spring and we decided to ride up to Yemassee from Jacksonville, Fl.

He got off the train here in 1952 and neither of us could find the barracks now. A woman told us it had been moved up the hill and was now a furniture store. We easily found it and we were awash in memories when we opened the door. The proprietor was gracious enough to show us around through the place. Not very big as many of you from that era will remember. Thinking of this, I decided to see who may still be around.


Platoon 246 - Sr. DI Gunny Brown, S/Sgt. Walsh and "feared one" Sgt. Breedlowe Reeves. I remember Pittman and Gates and Denucci and only faces of others.
---and the day we out posted, waiting at the train station to go north, one of our guys was last seen walking hand-in-hand with a young girl up the dirt road--never to be seen again. I often wished I could ask him if it was worth it and also wished I had the onions to be him.

Thanks for the forum Sgt. Grit and thanks to all who have ever served.

John Bolan, Cpl. 1560356
God bless our beloved Corps

He Told Me

DEAR Sgt GRIT.
My name is LCpl Current Brandon J. I am a 3051 warehouse supply clerk stationed in Okinawa JP i am attached to MAG36 (MARINE AIR GROUP 36).

And what I wanted to say was thank you. Thank you for supporting us Oklahoma Devil Dogs, although i was recruited out of A.Z. by one of my older brothers, both are SSgt's in the Corps, i am an Oki Mar out of Muskogee Oklahoma. I have seen people show support to our beloved Corps for the ten yrs my brothers have been in but never has the support measured up to that of the staff of SgtGrit. My older brothers are twins and have done pretty much everything together, from boot camp at MCRD SAN DIEGO to M.O.S. to their first duty station and also first shop.LOL

I still laugh and wonder how the h&ll their Gunny put up w/them, but i know they're good Marines. They've seen the desert together twice and now they are recruiters or as they like to call it "Talent Scouts for the Marine Corps" in A.Z. together, although they aren't in the same office they share tips and tricks with each other.

My story is almost as exciting, while being trained/I.T'd in MCRD San Diego last January, my brother Ronnie was attending recruiters school on depot.

He saw fit to stop by the squad bay to check up and see me..seeing how he'd been there once before, as we the rcts of Plt 1002 A co. were running downstairs preparing to step off to chow i noticed a bright yellow shirt...My heart dropped into my stomach taking notice to who it was, and also having seen him speaking to my KILL HAT Drill Instructor Sgt Schoemer, who is now D.I. SSgt Schoemer, later that same day we were going over rifle manual and i was called to the dreaded quarterdeck...my thoughts ran back to when my brother stopped by earlier in the day my Drill Instructor Sgt Schoemer started putting me through an I.T. session and as I screamed as loud as I could he bent over and whispered "bet you didn't know I knew your brother, he told me to kill you" again my heart fell, cause it was at that moment I realized...I was stuck w/a killer for three months of my life and life would never be the same.:)

Thank you for your time Sgt Sincerely
LCpl Current Brandon J. USMC

Instead Of A Sergeant Major

Sgt. Grit,
For those of you who haven't heard we now have a Navy Captain as Commanding Officer of Marine Aircraft Group 12 in Iwakuni Japan. We also have a Master Chief Petty Officer assigned as the Command Master Chief of First Marine Aircraft Wing instead of a Sergeant Major. I would have never learned of this had I not checked out their websites as I periodically do since I was a member of this group in Vietnam.

This begs the question: Why hasn't this been reported in Semper Fi or Leatherneck ? It has not been written about in our retirement newsletter or any other Marine publication I know of. It makes me think about what General Victor (Brute) Krulak wrote in First to Fight about when he was asked to write a point paper about why we need a Marine Corps.

Are we headed towards a new efficient streamlined and unitary military that becomes a "one size fits all" blurring the lines of distinction between the different branches of the Armed Forces? It smacks of the same failed War strategy of the former Secretary of Defense who once boasted that one soldier now can do the work of 10 soldiers of the past.

He conveniently did not apply this same rationale concerning troop levels in South Korea, Bosnia and other regions, not to mention the lack of boots on the ground that hamper us to this day in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What's next: possibly a Unitarian World Military under the United Nations? I can not fathom the thought that any of our Marine Generals would willingly subordinate Marine Officers and Enlisted men in a Line or Operational unit to an officer of another branch of service. Chesty has to be rolling over in his grave.

Semper Fidelis
Gene Hays
MSgt, USMC Retired

VMA(AW)225 Reunion

USMC - Marine All Weather Attack Squadron 225, VMA(AW)225 DaNang 69-70. The Viking Reunion will be held in Reno, NV, August 20 to 23, 2008. Contact Tim Murphy Timurf @ Comcast .net 304-876-8133, or Wayne Teglia WRTeglia @ SBCGlobal .net 775-358-1182.

Thanks in advance for the posting. Semper Fi,
Murf
Tim Murphy
Timurf @ Comcast .net
304-876-8133

Trusty Junk

Hello
I am writing in response to Sgt. Steve Chargois'comment about serving in the air wing. I served with MWSS-373 ACES at MCAS Miramar 98-01 and was also FAP'd to H&HS Miramar for most of that time. 7011 Expeditionary Air Field tech and Aircraft Recovery Specialist. Ran the FLOLS ("Call the ball Maverick"), emergency landing gear, and other ancient but trusty junk that saved a lot of money and more than a few careers and F-18's.

Since I got out I've heard a few stories and gotten some gruff from a few "grunts"...and one probably wannabe but never was sure...but mostly it was all in good fun. As a LtCol once said to me, "who are they going to call when they want $hi+ blow up?"

Anyone who has the gumption to ride around in a CH-46 in Iraq that first saw combat in South Vietnam and might still have a round or two tinkling around in it has my vote as being a true Marine. It's all just the usual Marine competitiveness.

Andrew Mathias
Cpl 97-01

So I Volunteered

Sgt Grit:

I can't tell you how much I enjoy the stories you print in your newsletter. I read every one with the anticipation of reading the words of a brother Marine from long ago. I find myself mentally engaging in the experiences of men young enough to be my grandsons and recognizing common situations from my own era, May 1962- March 1965. I remember some of the changes taking place in 1962.

We went through boot camp at MCRD San Diego with the most beautiful brown shoes I have ever owned. I almost cried the day the order came down to die them black so we could be like the other services. Winter of 62-63 I was wearing a Battle Jacket (some called it an Ike Jacket) at Camp Pendleton and did so until the wear out date later in the year. I also bought a set of Herringbone Utilities at a Pawn shop in Oceanside. I don't remember when I quit wearing them.

I spent a year with Comm. Support Co 1st FSR. It was a time for me to go to schools and get my bearings. My heart was set on joining First Force Recon, but an injury prevented that.

I wanted to go overseas without re-enlisting so I volunteered for 2/5 which was on lock-on for deployment to Okinawa. I was assigned to H&S Company Comm. Plt. We ran everywhere! We had a long legged BN CO that made a feather merchant like me run to keep up. It was a shock to my system. 2/5 was a great outfit and we sailed for the Far East, and after 29 days exchanged colors with 3/3 on the dock at Okinawa. During the next couple of months we spent a week on a SEATO Exercise on Taiwan, and Cold Weather training at North Camp Fuji Japan.

August 1964 we were afloat in the Gulf of Tonkin when the Gulf of Tonkin incident was said to have happened. We went to General Quarters and having no duty station I went up on flight deck and didn't see a darn thing. We went on to participate in many relief missions and rescue missions in Vietnam. We were relieved and sent home after our 13 months was over. I have always wondered what happened to the buddies I made during that time. It was the best time of my life because of the friends I made.

Later in life I tried to reenter the active Marine Corps and was told I was too old. The Recruiter told me, "Go see the Army, they will take you. I did, they did, and I retired from Active Duty as a Master Sergeant. This confuses the heck out of my friends and neighbors when I wear USMC tee shirts and Caps. I just tell them, "Once a Marine, Always a Marine!"

Semper Fi!
Jim Bennett
CPL, USMC, 1997715

Desires To Return To Service

A few months ago there were a number of Marines voicing their desires to return to service in Iraq even though they are beyond the age limit for reenlistment. Well here is my story on exactly that topic. I left the Marine Corps in 1986 to pursue a college education. In 1991 I graduated with a BS and began working for the Dept. of the Navy as a government civilian engineer. In 2004 I got word of a project within my own work center looking for volunteers to operate a new system designed to counter IED's. With the wife's support I volunteer for the program, we are team from when I was active duty. I spent eight and half months helping to build the system. Then we spent three and half months putting the system through various tests and shack downs before being allow in theater. During this year of building and testing I was approached by a number of my fellow engineers and supervisors, each of which tried to talk me out going to Iraq.

I looked at this as an opportunity to give back to my Marine Corps. If I hadn't of joined the Marines I would never have gone to college. The only way I could get my fellow engineers to lay off was to tell them the first reason why I volunteered. If the equipment that I was building and did eventual operate in theater saved just one Marines life, then the risk of me losing my life was worth the risk. In August of 2005 I and about a dozen other civilians (most of us had spent time in the service of our country, though I was the only Marine) were sent forward into Al Anbar Province. I spent six months in theater with the equipment as both an operator as well as Team lead. This is a decision I would gladly repeat. I was 41 when we went into theater, twice the age of most of the Marines I saw.

Semper Fi
Cpl Michael Richardson aka MadMike
1982-1986
Headquarters & Maintenance Squadron 14

That Marine

That Marine that stepped on his own mine. I was there helping put in those mines. I was "D' Co. If I am right we had just had lunch and Capt. Brinkley ask the newby what he thought about putting in mine fields. he said isn't w