Sgt Grit Newsletter

Sgt. Grit:
Marine Moms are a special breed; they are proud of their sons and daughters, and they never forget that "it doesn't always have to be somebody else's son (or daughter)." who sails into harm's way.

My mother belongs to that "greatest generation" who made the most grueling sacrifices during the Second World War. She and my father still serve as my role models. The list of celebrities, politicians, and businessmen who joined up to defeat the Axis Powers is endless: Teddy Roosevelt Jr., James Roosevelt, Jimmy Stewart, and John Ford - to name a few. She joined the Womens' Army Corps in 1943 and took basic training at Ft. Oglethorpe, Ga. If you watch the movie "Keep Your Powder Dry", she's the short WAC near the left front at morning formation. She achieved the rank of T-4, and married my father at Camp Kilmer in 1945, following him and the 88th ID to northern Italy when Tito had designs on Trieste and a big portion of Friuli.

She was discharged in 1946, and returned to the US with my father and my sister, who was born two days before they embarked at Livorno. She endured Fort Bliss, and sharing a bathroom with another young couple in Hyde Park, Chicago through 1949 to 1951 when my father was recalled to active duty for the Korean War. When the war was over, they moved back to Chicago and she took a job at Armour Institute helping out a man who did a lot of Titanium research.

When I was in kindergarten, there was a severe shortage of teachers, so she volunteered again, this time to teach my class. None of the other kids ever knew she was my mother until the last day when I slipped up.

She continued to teach for another twenty-five years, bringing the three R's to two generations of students on Chicago's west side.

She supported me through college, always exhorting me to improve. I finally caught on my junior year and after that my grades were stellar.

When I told my dad that I'd enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduating, his comment was: "Mother, come here and talk to your son." If she had any misgivings, she never let it show. Her attitude was: "Return with your shield or on it." When I was commissioned three years later, she was the proudest mom in the Commonwealth of Virginia. My Dad got my silver dollar; he promptly handed it to her.

She endured my shipping out to Okinawa, my deployments, and my father's passing with courage, and she managed to stay in her home until she was 88 years old. Currently, she's in the Illinois Veterans' Home. Every time I visit her, she introduces me to everybody as: "My son, the Marine."

She started a book ten years ago about her experiences with my father in Cividale del Friuli in 1945-47 called "Signora Sergente". I wish I could finish it, but I probably couldn't do it proper justice.

So remember, Leathernecks, we may have endured recruit training, endless field work, long deployments, C-rations, and bad press, but it's our parents who aimed us high enough to achieve; who instilled in us the courage to go the extra mile for our country. This special lady, my mother, exhibits the best of those talents. Remember your moms on Mothers' Day.

K. Brown

Kind Of Smiled

Goooooooooooooood morning Sgt!

First "OUTSTANDING" job on the website! Just a note to add to the newsletter, several weeks ago I was called by the family of a WW 2 Army Veteran to play the bagpipes at his funeral. I told them "of course it would be my honor to do so". They requested "Full Dress" with the jacket, plaid over the shoulder and feather bonnet. When I arrived at the grave site there was an Honor Guard to do the military rites and I noticed one gentleman keeping a close eye on me. After the ceremony this gentleman came over to me and said he noticed the EGA on the side of my bonnet and asked when I had served. I told him I served with the 3rd MarDiv in 1966 to 1969, he said he had served with the 1ST MarDiv in WW2. There were 12 members present representing the Honor Guard but only one Marine in the group, this gruff Marine looked at me and kind of smiled and said "after seeing the EGA I thought you and I could have handled this ceremony by ourselves. I started to laugh and told him "Yes Sir we could have" and told him it was my honor and pleasure to participate with him. Just made me think you cannot beat a Marine or the way we think! "Semper FI"...our motto and a way of life! Cpl Brown 3rdMarDiv 66-69 RVN 67-68

5th Annual GriTogether - An Outstanding Day

Hundreds of Marines and family members came out to enjoy the 5th Annual GriTogether ? everyone had a great time...If you missed it, check out the highlights and see some pictures.
Marine Leathernecks Emblem Tattoo Hugs Project and Sgt Grit Wedding Cake

Army Of The Sea Of America

Arabic USMC Tattoo hey Sgt Grit,

I'm stationed down in Quantico VA, at TBS I decided to get the ink done in the pic when I graduated from school and became active in the Marine Corps. I took three years of Arabic in College, loved every minute of it and decided to get something to remember the important things in my life put together, Arabic and the Marine Corps. the result is what is across my back now. hope you enjoy. the page is very motivating. keep up the good work.

It's United States Marine Corps in Arabic. Translation is "Qawat misha al-Bahryihal al-Americaia" army of the sea of America is the literal translation. But essentially the trans means USMC in English.

Semper Fidelis
2nd Lt Greg Meyer

Just A Simple Woman

Dear Sgt Grit; Each week I look forward to reading your newsletter. To me it is a breath of fresh air in a sometimes cloudy media atmosphere. Being and old Marine nearing my 60th birthday I can look back to a time when I was a young and enthusiastic boy. Like most young men I was geared up to prove something, out to earn the title Man. With most of my friends in the military or running around trying to be hippies I decided to join the Marine Corps. Sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday when I stood in those yellow footprints, scared to death and trying not to show it. But this is not a story about me it?s about my Marine Mom.

My mother was just a simple woman who grew up in a time of the great depression and a World War to hard work and little reward to become a wife, mother and a housewife. She never traveled more than 200 miles from her home but on one cold February morning in 1969 she boarded a bus to travel over 500 miles to a place she only knew by addressing letters, Parris Island South Carolina. She arrived a day before my graduation to be greeted with respect and honor and escorted to the Hostesses House and a tour of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. It wasn?t till later on in the evening that we were permitted to join our families for a meal and time together. I still remember the look on my mother?s face when she first saw me. It was of surprise and pride. That night the boy she gave up became a man and she was so proud.

My mother like so many other Marine Moms was so very proud of me. She kept my Dress Blues picture close at hand to show everyone her handsome Marine as she called me. She was fiercely proud and very defensive of me in a time when being in the military was not exactly a good thing.

My Marine Mom is gone now, and there isn?t a day that goes by that I don?t think of her. One of the things that she has with her is that old faded picture she kept close at hand of her handsome Marine.

To all the wonderful Marine Moms out there I salute you. In my travels with the Marine Corps League I have meet quite a few Marine Mom?s. Each one is very proud of their Marine and almost everyone had a Dress Blues picture. On this Mothers Day I will remember my Marine Mom and pray for all the other Marine Moms. Because you are the foundations of the Corps you give it strength with your sons and daughters you are the Honor, Courage and Commitment each Marine strives to achieve. Without you the Marine Corps is nothing, with you it is the finest fighting force in the world. So Happy Mother?s Day Marine Moms and May God Bless each and every one of you. And remember Semper Fi is not just a phase it?s an attitude.

Semper Fi.
Anthony P. Sandrick, Jr. Cpl of Marines 1968 to 1972

Last weekend for
Corpsman Special

Corpsman Shirt Special
So many owe their lives to the DOC - here's a Tribute shirt for you OUTSTANDING Corpsmen out there!

The shirt will be available in a T-Shirt and Long Sleeved T-Shirt.

These shirts are available until May 11th!

My Timing Was Off

Sgt Grit: It is time for a little levity, so here goes: Other peoples' pain is funny, except when you are that OTHER PEOPLE. I have had the honor on two occasions. The first was as the PAINEE, the second will be in another newsletter.

LOCATION: Pickel Meadows, Northern California, January & February 1961. Temperature is zero degrees, snow up to our hips, six inches of cold weather clothing issued by the UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS and three inches of manliness issued by mother nature.

You know the drill. It is O dark thirty and we are freezing in formation for roll call. The Gunny then asks if any of us are from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah or other cold weather states. Being a Colorado native, like a dummy, I step forward and was told in no uncertain terms "You are volunteered for Mountain Ski Combat Tactical School. Report by 900 hours for instructions." Being from the eastern plains of Colorado I had never seen a pair of skis much less slushed through the snow on them. So with a deer in the head lights look on my face, I reported as ordered for...instruction in cold weather snooping and pooping . (Cold weather combat tactics).

Being six feet tall and weighing 130 pounds I was a natural. I could stand next to a snow covered tree and pass for branch covered with snow. After some intense instructions I learned how to ski with a sixty pound pack and an M1 Rifle.

At the end of our instructions we were to participate in a three day cold weather war exercise. I was assigned to be point man and apply all that I had learned. I was to find a route to our objective that would maximize our tactical advantage and give a greater element of surprise.. The enemy force was prepared for us to from the eastern sector. The route that I had found was steep, wrought with obstacles hiding under the snow, but gave the advantages we were looking for, surprise and camouflage.

With our plan of attack set and approved, we set out to be conquering heroes.. I took off huckkety-buck, flying down the slope like white aspen tree on two skis. Zigging & zagging and being Gung-Ho as h&ll. H&ll, Chesty would have been proud of me. THEN IT HAPPENED. A three foot tree stump just popped up out of nowhere 25 to 30 feet in front of me.. Training took over, I spread my skis at 45 degrees, through myself backwards onto my back, knowing that the weight of back-pack and 782 Gear would slow me down and stop me in time to avoid the inevitable collision with that God@#%$&# 3' tree stump. My timing was off, to quote Agent Maxwell Smart of GET SMART, "I missed by that much". The end result was that I plowed into that God@#%$&# 3 foot tree stump spread eagled at about 20 MPH . I did a horse shoe ringer around the God@#$#$&*^ 3 foot tree stump and went down the embankment in the most excruciating pain I have ever endured, and I have had quintuplet by-pass surgery.

With my manliness smashed and my testicles swollen to the size of cantaloupes I lay there writhing in pain. My squad and platoon leaders came down to where, I was sure, was my eminent place of death, to see if I was OK. Being certain that I would live but not reproduce, they burst out laughing. They broke radio silence and took 15 minutes call for a corpsman because they were laughing too hard to transmit the incident report.

The rest of the squad was called to assist in extracting my sorry carcass out of the ditch. Upon seeing my condition they too burst out in uncontrollable laughter. I for the life of me could see no humor in my pain. In what seemed like an eternity a corpsman and an aid team finally arrived to take me down the mountain to an awaiting ambulance. It took 20 Marines and a Corpsman two and half hours to carry my sorry a*s half a mile to the ambulance. Someone would slip in the snow and giggle as I moaned in pain. Then the rest would start laughing and they would slam me down and I would scream and the laughter would start anew. They would apologize and start laughing all over again.

They finally got me to the bottom of the mountain when some light colonel showed up to find out what was going. It took 2ndLt Henry another twenty minutes to explain between fits of laughter. As they were putting me into the ambulance the Colonel "Pats" me on leg and says, "You're going to be OK Marine". I PASSED OUT. I don't want to hear any more laughing.

Painfully submitted: L/Cpl G.D. Vallejos USMC 1960-1966

Chattanooga National Cemetery

Chattanooga Cemetery tombstone To a bunch of REAL GOOD MEN!


A Fifty Seven Year Remembrance!

On hill 307, a/k/a HORSESHOE RIDGE. At 8 in the evening until 10 the next morning, IT HIT the FAN. The 1st Batt., 1st Marines were thrown into the gap left by the retreating 6th ROK division. To plug a portion of the hole so the army on the west and the 7th Marines on the east could regroup, hold and maintain their position until given orders to establish another line. Charlie Company had the high position from which the Chinese tried to attack for the 14 hours.

The Company lost 15-20 KIA's and 110 WIA's during the engagement. Two squads of that company took the TOTAL 14 hour brunt of that attack. And the machine gun fired over 10,000 rounds that night without one misfire. Which was a very good thing, cause after he had been hit for the second time, the squad leader for the gun, Robert Handley evacuated himself to the Aid station at the bottom of the hill, with the shell extractor in his top pocket of his jacket.

It was reported by an FO, the next day who flew over the hill that between 2400 and 2500 were laying out in front of that hill. They usually carried their KIA's away from the scene, but evidently there wasn't enough remaining to do same. Everybody in the Battalion took fire that night, and both squads, above, one rifle and one light machine gun had a total of 5 men leave the hill the next morning without being one of the above casualties. And, fortunately, 4 of the 5 are still around.

And we remain,
Norman Callahan
Chesty's last regimental command

I Still Eat Slow

In 1954 I left high school as a skinny, weak, and pampered kid and joined the Corps. Upon arrival at MCRD San Diego I got the crap stomped out of me for talking back to a PFC that was picking me up at the airport. After my second week I was made to duck walk completely around the "grinder" because I called my trousers, "pants".

I am, and always have been, a very slow eater. All through boot camp we were given 15 minutes to march into the mess hall, get our food, eat, and return to formation behind the mess hall. I can't even season my food in 15 minutes so therefore I was always late for formation. After every meal, either the SDI or the JDI would bounce me off of every wall in the Duty Room for eating so slow. I went through 18 weeks of this and I still eat slow.

I tell people about this and they call it sadistic and cruel. I always tell them that I came out of MCRD a little heavier, in fantastic shape, a definite respect for authority, and a far better person than I was going in. For 18 weeks I feared my DI's more than death but I later saw that there was a reason for each and every thing that they made us do.

To this day, I still remember, and practice, the lessons I learned in the Corps. The Corps made me a much better person and I will never regret my tour of duty.

Semper Fi
Sid C. Gerling
Sgt of Marines

Bought This T-shirt

Jack's Insanity Shirt Freedom Fighter wearing Jack's shirt Freedom Fighter wearing Jack's shirt During a recent trip to a war zone in Burma to perform an assessment for a private contracting company Jack Slade took these photos. I was asked to forward them to you for your news letter.

Jack gave a shirt that he bought from your company to one of the KNLA rebel fighters. Jack was very impressed by this freedom fighter. Jack asked if he had ever used the handcuffs on his web gear and he said "yes, every time I man the .50 cal machine gun"

Jack was a little confused and asked what he meant. The freedom fighter told Jack that he handcuffs himself to the .50 cal machine gun so that he is not tempted to run away if his base camp is being over run by the DKBA or SPDC (bad guys). This so impressed Jack that he gave him this t-shirt.

Jack bought this t-shirt from SGT grit in remembrance of his best friend and machine gunner Chris Reger, may he rest in peace. This shirt has been worn on many missions and even The Las Vegas marathon that he ran with 61lbs of gear in a "support out troops" run. Now it goes to a tough Freedom fighter in Burma. Jack hopes it gives him the strength it gave him.

The other shirt Jack sent pics of says "Marines don't suffer from insanity we enjoy every minute of it". This was given to Jack by Chris's sister Vicki. She bought it from your website. Please post these photos for Jack, he is in Burma and asked me to forward them to you. He reads your newsletter all the time. Semper fi!

David Gray USMC

Over Fifty Years

Taken Oct, 2007 in Oceanside, CA. On the right is my dad, Retired SgtMajor Swindle, and on the left is Retired SgtMajor Semensow. Sgt Grit,

I'd like to share with you and your readers two photos of two great men that have been good friends for over fifty years! The first picture was taken at Qui Nhon, Vietnam in Aug, 1965. On the left is my dad, Retired SgtMajor John Swindle (then GunnerySgt) with Retired SgtMajor John Semensow (then 1stSgt). They were with 2nd Bn 7th Marines. On the left is my Donna's dad, Retired SgtMajor John Swindle(then GunnerySgt) with Retired SgtMajor John Semensow (then 1stSgt).

The second picture was taken Oct, 2007 in Oceanside, CA. On the right is my dad, Retired SgtMajor Swindle, and on the left is Retired SgtMajor Semensow. Them being good friends for over fifty years is just amazing to me!

Donna Swindle

Baby Blue Marine

Dear Sgt Grit, I was setting reading some stories and thought back to boot camp I enlisted in June 1980 and went to basic at MCRD San Diego, California and was a young long haired kid of 17 when we got to MCRD the drill instructor got on the bus and started screaming at us to get up and off the bus as we were making our way off another guy was so scared he tripped and fell off the bus and busted his head open right off the bat! boy was that a wake up call saying what the h&ll did I get myself into.

We went to the receiving barracks and was up all night getting hair cuts, clothing etc. I enlisted with my cousin and after the hair cuts I didn't know where he was but after a minute or two realized he was just the next recruit over next to me I couldn't tell him from any one else we all looked alike!

Any way I was a fat guy and became a DIET Private. That really sucked as I only received half rations in the chow line. Man was I hungry all the time. As we proceeded through boot camp and at the end of phase one I was not able to complete the pt test because I couldn't do pull ups so I was dropped to PCP which was psychical conditioning platoon or as we called it pork chop platoon and was required to pt twice a day for two hours each this was really tough and our pt gear got so sweat soaked that the metal hangers they were hung on in the shower room would rust due to the ammonia content from our sweat. You can imagine the smell but we were only able to wash our cloths on Sundays.

Me and another fellow Marine would set on our foot lockers at night and see how many different kinds of sweets we could name and sip cinnamon flavored mouth wash as it had a nice sweet flavor, that sounds crazy but when you crave sweets you do what ever it takes to taste something sweet!

After four weeks there I was picked up by another platoon to continue my training and after two weeks there I was tested again and again for some reason I wasn't able to do pull ups so I was sent back to the pork chop platoon I was so depressed I had thoughts of dropping out and was asked by my drill instructor if I wanted to go home. At first this sounded great just to get away from all this madness but then I started thinking about how me and my father had talked about when he was in the Corps in 1953 and how hard boot camp was so some of his fellow Marines had dropped out and went home and they were given the label of "BABY BLUE MARINE" I thought how would I be able to face my family and friends if I to dropped out and went home so for that reason and the fact that I deeply desired to make my father proud of me I searched deep inside and decided that nothing was going stop me from becoming a lean mean fighting machine and continued my training.

I was eventually returned to yet another platoon 2nd battalion Marines and these guys didn't like drop privates at all and at first wouldn't accept me as one of their own. so one night while I was sleeping I got what I call code red done to me where they took a blanket and covered me and held it down while the others beat the holy crap out of me I fought with all my might but was beaten black and blue. Literally the commotion woke the drill instructor and the lights came on he came out and asked just what in the h&ll was going on and I told him what had been done to me.

He made us all come to the front of the barracks and sit down then he told me to stand in front of everyone and he started having me answer questions about what I had been through with my training while I had been in boot camp I told them of my rigorous physical training and all the mental challenges and just how hard it was to continue and then he asked "TELL ME Marines HOW MANY of you could do WHAT HE has DONE" they all seemed to be ashamed of themselves for the way they had treated me and from that day forward my entire platoon helped and encouraged me every day to become stronger with my psychical handicap and when it was time to test me again for my psychical abilities I was able to do my pull ups and all of my other requirements and did graduate with my platoon.

In all I was in boot camp 5 Months which seemed to be and eternity but at the end I can say it was worth every minute of every day because I can stand and say I am a UNITED STATE MARINE! OOORAH Semper Fi

Cpl Terry G. Fortner 1980-83

Court Street

Sgt Grit,
Just wondering if anyone can tell me whatever became of Court Street in Jacksonville, N.C.? All of you Marines and Corpsman out there who were stationed at Camp Geiger or Camp Lejeune will know what I mean, as it was one of the only places to go around Jacksonville unless you hit the bars on Highway 17. I asked a Marine who was recently discharged and he was not aware of a "Court Street".

Then I asked another Marine from the 80's and he told me he had heard that Court Street was "closed". I was stationed at Gieger from 81 to 85 and the street, which if memory serves me correctly, was only about 3 or 4 blocks long, was a hustling, bustling place full of bars and tattoo parlors and little else. The cabbies all knew the area well! Aside from Court Street and the little bars on Highway 17, I don't recall too many other places to go that could hold a Marines attention for long! Of course things have changed over the years, so I am not too sure what a Gyreen does to occupy himself these days! lol

To all our brothers and sisters in harm's way, take care, God bless you and know that we are thinking about all of you! To those that have given their bodies or the ultimate sacrifice - know that we love you all and are proud of you!

Semper Fi
Mike Kunkel
Cpl. 0331
Lima 3/8

Got Misty Eyed

A few weeks ago I was searching on the Internet for horse items. I found a website about a young lady who makes what she calls "rhythm beads" for horses. She mentioned that she had Army and Navy related items to put a military theme on the beads but had not found any Marine Corps or Air Force items. I searched and found some Marine Corps pendants and emailed her the information mentioning that I would like to buy rhythm beads with a Marine pendant. She replied that she had found some Marine pendants and would look at the information that I had sent her. This young lady then thanked me for my service to our country and offered to send me the rhythm beads with an EGA as a gift for my service. I received the beads and the picture is of my horse with the beads on. This old Marine got misty eyed.

I was stationed at Camp Margarita in 1961 with L/3/5 and in 1962/1963 with C/1/5 and I remember the roach coaches that came around. Don?t remember the names of the coaches.

I went thru boot camp at MCRD San Diego starting in August of 1960 and remember very well going thru the rifle range. Not sure whether it was Camp Elliott or Camp Matthews. We were in tents and did a lot of duck walking. Did some of that at MCRD plus the bucket drills. MCRD had Quonset huts rather than barracks. We did a force march from the rifle range back to MCRD with one steep hill. All non-quals had to run around the platoon all the way back to MCRD. Fortunately, I qualified expert that being the only time I shot expert during the time at rifle range.

I was fortunate in that during active duty we were using M1- Garands until 1962 then were issued M-14?s. While in the reserves we used M-16?s. Life is great.

Semper Fi
Frank D Briceno

Provide Amusement

Dear Sgt Grit:

Several items in the 24 April 2008 Newsletter brought back fond memories of Platoon 329 MCRD 1951.

I have a heavy beard; so many mornings I was allowed to Duck Walk to provide amusement for the DIs due to "not shaving". Luckily I didn't smoke, because they also enjoyed having secret smokers puff a whole pack with a bucket on their heads.

As for Camp Mathews, our DIs also liked to march us up Little or Big Agony almost to the top, then do "To the Rear March" almost to the bottom, followed by another "To The rear March" back toward the top. They would keep this up until the dust got too dense to see us anymore.

Funny thing how these things and some other equally pleasant activities made a MAN out of me.

William Thompson Sgt 1951-1953

I Almost Caught

In 1950 I was at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. There was a lot of things going through boot Camp and some not so funny things, We would go to Camp Matthews rifle range for two weeks which now I think the University of California is on that property.

We all lived in Tents four men to a Tent and on the outside of the tents there several buckets of water hanging in the outside of the tent filled with water in the case of a fire. The first thing the DI told us was if we knock one Of the buckets of off its mounted which was a big nail holding the Bucket. We were all told to fall OUT of the tents with SeaBags packed with all our belongs. Of course this was all double time and some one ran into me and down fell the Bucket, immediately the drill instructor called as loud as he could, Pvt Smith bring the bucket here and better run and fast.

I think I almost caught the bucket before it hit the ground. I reported to him Pvt Smith is here as ordered sir, start drinking the water and there were a lot of bugs drowned in bucket. This went on for three days and he had me report to him every day for three days with the bucket just before chow time to drink more and on the 4th day he said have you learned your lesson Yes Sir, then he poured the remainder over my head. Now a days I don't think they would allow this but I always laugh when I think Of It.

Robert O. Smith

Look Out

Dear Sgt Grit:

Reading the letters in your current issue reminded me of an incident that happened to me on Okinawa in 1965. I was assigned to 1stMarDiv Embark section. I was working at White Beach Loading some navy ship as was my job. I got a call to report to my office asap, which was on the 2nd floor of division hq at Camp Cortney. I didn't waste any time and raced to hq, jumped out of my vehicle and raced into the building. Literally running up the stairs and around the corner, I ran smack dab into the Asst Div Commander, knocking him and his aide flat on their a**es. Mumbling apologies I hurried to help them to their feet, hoping i wouldn't be in to much trouble. The general took it pretty good wanting to know why I was in such a hurry and maybe I should slow down in the CP. he told me to get back to work and forget about it and just take it easy. I got out of there at a quick as I could, still apologizing and soon disappeared into the Embark office.

Not the end of the story. A few days later I was walking down the hall and the general and his aide were approaching so in proper military courtesy I moved to the side to wait for them to pass. The general saw me and jumped against the wall and said, "look out for that sergeant, he'll know you on your a** if you get in his way". I couldn't help but laugh as he waited for me to pass, gave me a wink and asked if I ever got that ship loaded....

Maybe that why I retired a Gunny, the 2nd best rank in the MC. ;)

Semper FI
Jerry R Hattox
GySgt USMC 1954-RIP

I Rather Doubt

Sgt Grit, I last wrote you in Nov '04 from Iraq. The past 4 years have really flown by. I've worked Iraq, Liberia and now I'm a cherry in Afghanistan (been here 3 months).

I was looking up some old friends from the days and found some. Then searched for my platoon from "HOLLYWOOD" (yes, I know its taboo but we called it that) 1st Bn C Co Platoon 1097 graduated 7 Dec, 1984. I found out my Senior DI is the 16th SgtMaj of the Marine Corps. SgtMaj. Kent was an outstanding role model for all of us in the platoon. He held us to some pretty high standards and demanded perfection from us. All of us have memories of boot camp and thought I would share a couple of mine.

In October 1984 our platoon had mess and maint week at San Onofre, one of the privates got a can of Copenhagen from one of the permanent duty Marines at the chow hall. We enjoyed the little bit of satisfaction when our Senior DI, SSGT Kent, came in the chow hall to make sure we weren't screwing off. Not wanting to get caught, I swallowed the Copenhagen and fought the urge to puke. SSGT Kent was very proficient at the thrashings he dished out and knew I would pay dearly if caught. I rather doubt he will come to Kabul to thrash me for something from 24 years ago but I wouldn't put it past him.

Another memory was in the squad bay and SSGT Kent called the squad leaders and guide into the duty hut. They were on their knees at attention as I was peeking through a crack in the blinds. SSGT Kent had his NCO sword and raised it like Conan the Barbarian, I thought he was going to cut their heads off with one stroke....he didn't but sure raised the fear in them.

With some blood, a lot of sweat and tears, we survived recruit training.

I am proud to say I was one of SgtMaj Kent's "F*$&ing Pigs" (what the SgtMaj called us).

I never had the chance to meet him in the fleet but by everything I have read, HE IS ONE H&LL OF A MARINE.

Semper Fi

Sgt David Howard, USMC
Sept. 1984-Dec.1991

David Howard (Union City OK)
Kabul, Afghanistan

All The Army Officers

From a former lieutenant (artillery FO and advisor to the RVN Marines in 1965-1967, with a son currently serving with the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan as a Navy surgeon). This gent also has 'combat' time in Iraq working for some government agencies...

Great story. When I was a student at the JFK Special Warfare School at Ft. Bragg, NC in 1966, the Marine Liaison officer, a major, said to the five of us Marines in a class of 60 Army officers all scheduled to be advisors," You WILL finish in the top 20 % of the class." We all did and at the graduation ceremony, they first played "When the Caissons Coming Rolling Along." All of the Army officers (mostly colonels, lieutenant colonels and majors) just sat and chatted among themselves. When they struck up the Marine Hymn, the five of us popped up from our seats and stood at attention. When it was over, as we sat down, all 55 Army officers stood up and gave us a standing ovation. That is Marine Corps pride and the respect of our sister service. Oooorraaahhh!

Dick Cavagnol

Lied About His Age

Jack Lucas lied about his age at 14 and enlisted in 1942. He was 17 when he pulled two grenades under him on Iwo Jima, saving the lives of fellow Marines. Jack survived mainly because one grenade was a dud. He was the youngest Marine at that time to have been awarded the Medal of Honor. Jack is now 80 yrs old and is a treasured member (and former Commandant) of our MCL Detachment. He was recently diagnosed with cancer and is at home undergoing treatment. Please keep him and his wife Ruby in your prayers.

Lamar Reynolds
Commiskey-Wheat Detachment
Marine Corps League
Hattiesburg, Mississippi


MARINE MARS STATION OPERATORS gathering at Veteran Communicators Reunion (VCR) 2008, Veteran Communicators of all services, all years. 18-21 September 2008, Gold Coast Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV. Contact Jack Williams, e-mail rjwilliams (at), phone 619-224-8767, (or include your POC info)"

Thanks, Semper Fi

It Starts Off

Dear Sgt. Grit.
I am trying to find the entire words to the old Marine Corps drinking song. It starts off with "You can have your Army kaki boys you can have your Navy blue" It ends with" And if old St Peter turns him down right straight back to H&ll he'll go and he'll kick the devil off the throne and boss the whole dam show."

We use to sing this in the Old Slop shoot in area 4 at Camp Lejeune in back in 1943.
Gunnery Sgt. E.E. Mazzie 539252 F.M.F

My Only Regret

Full disclosure, Marines - I'm the membership chair for the 3rdMarDiv Assoc - but my comments cross over to ALL Marine Corps veterans organizations.

I'm a member of quite a few of those organizations and the benefits of those memberships never cease to amaze me.

Two years ago, for example, I attended the 40th anniversary reunion of my boot camp platoon. When we were hunting for all the members of that platoon, 2 or 3 names were quickly picked up from the 3rdMarDiv Assoc member roster. I think others were found through the Marine Corps League and/or other MarCor groups.

Just last week, I was asked to do a favor for an old (non- Marine) friend. To do so meant contacting any Marine who happened to live in Davenport, Iowa. I went to the roster, found a name, contacted him and - just as I would do for another Marine in the same boat - he helped me out within less than 24 hours. We didn't know each other, we'd never met. All we had in common was the Corps and then the 3rdMarDiv Assoc.

Marines, if you're not a member of one or another organization, you're missing out on a lot of opportunities to reconnect with old friends and to make new ones. Those of you who are members of one or another group should be spreading the word, too, especially to the latest wave of younger Marines from, let's say, Gulf War One forward. It took me a while, after 'Nam, to join up and get active and my only regret is that I didn't do so sooner. It's up to us to urge these younger Marines to join up, to welcome them and to make sure they understand we really are a family.

To you Moms, Dads, spouses, etc. - most organizations allow for at least associate memberships, it not regular memberships, to make sure you're part of the family, too.

Don't know if there is an organization to which you would feel a special kinship? Do a web search. You'd be surprised how many organizations are out there, sometimes down to a Company level. And if you can't find that one particular group, try the next level up - Battalion, Battery, Regiment, Division, Wing - whatever.

Give it a shot - you don't know what you might be missing. Maybe some readers will want to chime in on this subject with their own stories.
Semper Fi,
Peter Schlesiona (G/2/4, 67-68)

Just A Marine

Reading the letters of family of Chosin Marines I thought I'd share my own little story.

My father is a Chosin Marine. We all knew he served in Korea but that was it. For his own reasons he never talked about his service. He was always proud to have served in the Corps but even his own family knew very little of his time there save that he was wounded and forever more would need a brace and special shoes to make up for the wounds he received and that the fingers of his hands were deformed from frostbite.

When I joined the FMDA I tried to get him to join as well and he would always give one excuse or another for not joining.

A couple of years ago we had a Memorial Day celebration and my wife and I met some Korean Marine vets. I mentioned that my father was in Korea. We exchanged information and last year I received an invitation to an event honoring Korea vets. Since Dad was the one who served in Korea I asked him to come. As we entered we noticed a lot of vets, mostly Army. There were officials of the South Korean government there.

Some people were going around asking what service and where did they serve. Dad simply said, Marine and Chosin. Later the vets were asked to form a line so that the government representatives could offer thanks.

The Marines were asked to be at the head of the line. The reps bowed to each Marine (something they did not do to the Army vets which upset them) and thanked them for their service. One old Korean vet, upon finding out Dad was at Chosin and Inchon again bowed to my Dad. He then took off his ROK Marine pin and gave it to my Dad as a token of his thanks for saving his country. Dad once said that he didn't do anything special. He was just a Marine rifleman who did his duty and went where he was told. The fact that he endured Chosin alone makes him a Hero. When I hear others boast of the sacrifices they made I think of Dad and the h&ll he went through and of the life he gave up after his wounds. Considering all he went through he has every right to boast and brag and yet he still insists that he did nothing special, he was just a Marine doing his duty. Ask older South Koreans and they will tell you what he and all the other Marines did was so special that they know the freedoms we have. And as for being just a Marine doing his duty, I for one can not think of a better compliment. No Marine is just a Marine.

HM3 Luis De La Cruz USN, FMF
3rd Tracs 75-77
Proud son of Cpl Frank Valtierra USMC
Inchon/Chosin Korea

Doc's Actions

sgt. grit, a number of years ago i had an invasive surgery that set off my pancreas and ended up with pancretitus. while in the university hospital in, ut. i met a corpman who installed a (pic line) in my chest so i could eat, persay. this corpsman, who unfortunity i cannot remember his name, found out about an incident with the x-ray tech that i had had. i was unable to move and needed to relieve myself, but the tech would not help me off the table. he said ( urinate on yourself). which embarassingly i did. when i looked at the window to my left there were two nurses standing watching every move. i was hot. after getting my ride back to my bed i reported this to the administration and the tech was immeadiatly terminated. when doc found out about this he headed to x-ray to open a can of whoop a$s on this tech. fortune smilled on this tech because doc was restrained from carring out his mission. i will never forget docs actions and just want to thank him, after all these years. thanks doc.
joe mish usmc 63-67

I Was Assigned

I just read the article by...CPL. Jack Bublik.... USMC about being kicked off a flight and ending up in first class. I had a similar experience, after my first tour in RVN, I was assigned to I&I Duty in Norman, Oklahoma. My Aunt who I was very close to passed away in '68 and I took five days annual leave to attend the funeral. At the time, service members in uniform could fly for half fare but if the plane was overbooked, we would be the first to leave. Sure enough, just before closing the hatch, the flight attendant (they were still called stewardess' back then) came down the aisle and I was the first uniform she came to so off I went. At the gate, I was told I would be on the next available flight leaving in an hour. My original flight out of Oklahoma City was scheduled to stop in Kansas City, Omaha and then into Minneapolis. I went to the lounge and enjoyed an adult beverage or two then reported back to the gate. I was assigned a seat in first class, served several drinks and a steak dinner. When we arrived in Minneapolis my original flight was not due in for another thirty minutes, fortunately the folks that came to meet me arrived early so we were on the road to my home town well before the original flight dropped their landing gear. It was also my only trip ever in first class.

L. H. Marshall SgtMaj, USMC(Ret)

Made Rude Noises

Sgt Grit:
I am constantly entertained by the stories your readers submit about their Boot Camp experiences. As Navy Corpsman, I have to admit that Navy Boot Camp was something less rigorous, to say the least. Those of us who went FMF in 1968 ended up at Field Medical Service School at Del Mar, Camp Pendleton, where our training was "upgraded." They gave us a whole four weeks to transition from basic Squids to Marine Corpsmen, and it was decidedly more rigorous than anything we had seen previously.

Still, it could not compare to the training that our next door neighbors at Del Mar were going through. The barracks adjacent to ours belonged to the toughest of the tough--The Recons. Their training was infinitely more intense than anything we would face, and we often made rude noises as they exercised to the point of sheer exhaustion. It was a goodhearted relationship, since we knew that ultimately, our lives might depend on one of them, and theirs ours.

As we neared graduation, the intensity grew and our understanding of what would be expected of us became more and more apparent. We were making the transition from Squid to Marine. "Ooh Rah" became our response to every challenge. Still, the Recons were driving themselves beyond human endurance and we were "coasting" in comparison.

One night, the relationship came to a head. It was two o'clock in the morning. We corpsmen--four companies of us--were sound asleep in our barracks when the Recons made their move. In what I remember as one of the most well-coordinated nighttime attacks ever mounted, the Recons hit all four doors of our barracks with smoke grenades, launching us out of our racks and into the night, to be greeted by a platoon of howling Recons.

We ended up laughing along with them, and friendships were forged.

Thus was our initiation to the special relationship that exists between Marines and Corpsmen. We fought and bled alongside them, and never were we happier to know that they had run that extra mile, did that extra pushup, and believed in themselves and The Corps.
Doc Thompkins, HMC
RVN 68-69

Camp Lejeune

The Marine Corps needs you help. If you were aboard Camp Lejeune between 1957-1987 please register with the Marine Corps for information regarding past water quality.

Register Here

Either Way

I am writing this in order to say thank you to the Marine Corps and all of the men and women that have served and continue to serve (past and present).

Sgt. Grit, I read your newsletters every week while sitting at my desk trying to pretend as though I'm actually working. I just finished reading your latest 'American Courage" and a co-worker began making statements about the military service as a whole.--- Oh, did I mention that I am a former Marine and a wounded Combat Vet. I served 11yrs active prior to being discharged due to injury.---

Now, I don't know whether my co-worker (we'll call him: Jerk) was trying to get a rise out of me or was Jerk sincere in the way he felt regarding the military and our great nation. Either way, he got more than I think he expected.

Initially, I tried to calmly explain to Jerk, that the Marines don't have the luxury of being able to pick and choose which fight we enter. All we control; is the outcome! Jerk, just like many of his followers in this country make the mistake of choosing to remain ignorant to what actually goes on in the world aside from what they hear on "BS" morning talk radio and chooses to remain silent when the recruiter asks for volunteers. Unfortunately, he and many will never know what we have come to know and cherish...the Esprit de Corps, the Pride and the Loyalty to something much greater than themselves. I get overwhelmed with emotion and pride when I read letters from parents and supporters showing love to those in harms way or the sad letters from those still in support even after their loved ones have been called home by the "Commandant in the Sky".

Well, as you guessed it, Jerk retreated as most Marine Corps enemies retreat or die; to his hole in the buildings basement after an hour of tongue lashing given by yours truly. Trust me, it was my pleasure! I sit here with fond memories of those I served with. I feel a special connection to each and every Marine I read about in your Newsletters. For me, it is how I stay connected to those carry on the tradition of the Marine Corps. I thank you for all that you and your staff have done and continue to do to help those like me.

Still Motivated,
CES, Sr. / 0311, 8152, 0121
Sgt. of Marines (disabled Vet) 95-06

VMF/VMA-311 Tomcat Reunion

VMF/VMA-311 Tomcat Reunion (WW2 till present) near Philadelphia September 10-14 2008 at Contact Jim Galchick 1290 E. 12th St. Salem, OH 44460 or
Fred Townsley more info. at and

Women Marines Association

Women Marines Association celebrating our proud Marine history and looking forward to our future and searching for our oldest woman Marine.

25th Biennial Women Marines Association (WMA) Convention & Professional Development Conference

When: August 28th - September 3rd 2008
Where: Westin Galleria, Houston, Texas

Celebrating 65 years of women in the Marine Corps the Women Marines Association (WMA) will host the 25th Biennial Women Marines Association (WMA) Convention & Professional Development Conference in Houston, TX. It is our hope to locate our oldest living woman Marine. Presently Miriam Cohen of Arizona holds that honor after turning 100 this past December.

The convention will start with a special 25th Anniversary celebration on the eve of the official start. Marines will gather to remember our past and talk of our future and continue the bond of camaraderie.

A diverse selection of seminars and speakers will be presented during the course of the convention. Marines of all eras will learn of the changing roles of women in the Corps, the Wounded Warrior Project, personal finance and preparing for deployment and veteran benefits. Guest speakers will range from MajGen Mary Ann Krusa-Dossin, retired Capt Vernice Armour, BGen Angela Salinas and Marines from around the globe. Gen James Conway has been invited to speak at our closing banquet. Members will participate in business meetings to further the goals of the association and conduct business pertinent in running an organization. A trip to the Houston Space Center is featured among the sightseeing adventures.

For more information, visit our website.


Like Mr. Mike Damigo put it in his post Apricots In Any Form, Apricots are just bad juju. Even using the Hawaiian Punch soda is bad because it has apricot juice in it. My experience was with a new driver and an M1. During an exercise in the early 90?s in 29 Palms, my young driver cut across the tail dust of another tank, and sucked in their dust. This caused my engine to die, and it would not relight. It ended up throwing off the mixture in the combustion, but anyway... We were stuck out in the desert all afternoon waiting on the retriever when the driver popped open a Hawaiian Punch and asked if anyone else wanted one. He pretty much got the punch, and the soda got thrown away.

So Mike, from a survivor of 3rd Tank Battalion, long before the Marine Corps had M1A1?s, yes we still believe in apricots and bad luck. The old 3rd Tanks chow hall (now demolished) at 29 Palms had a poster at the front stating that they proudly served no apricots or apricot products in their facility. And yes, I still correct the young Marines who get care packages with the dried fruit in them, which is what brought this story up tonight.

Take care and keep the powder dry.

Bark Bark

MSgt Tate
Al Asad Iraq

Famous Admirers Of Marines

This is a very good collection of sayings from famous admirers of Marines from Gen. Mark Clark to Gen George Patton, plus some great historical quotes. (I didn't know that Black Jack Peshing was the one who said "The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle."

All the photos used in the presentation are current Iraq/Afghanistan stuff. I wish the person who put this together had put in some WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam photos as well since he is using historical quotes from those days.

177.5 Mile Run

Good morning,<