After returning from Vietnam, serving with Ninth Marines, I was assigned to Marine Barracks, NAS Norfolk. It was September 1971 and I was recovering from surgery at Portsmouth Naval Hospital. I was on convalescent duty, basically just doing anything to keep me movin around for the exercise. On this particular day dressed in my stateside utilities, I was going from room to room emptying trash cans.
As I walked into one of the rooms a distinguished looking gentleman pulled himself up on one elbow and bellowed. "How's it going Marine" the booming voice brought me to attention and I answered with the greeting of the day. As we began to converse, I started to feel more relaxed while we exchanged small talk. The conversation was short due to several corpsmen interrupting us and telling me to leave so they could perform their duties. It was strange as I felt I had spoken to the gentleman before. As I exited the room one of the corpsmen smiled and told me who he was. I had been correct in my assumption, each night in boot camp I had spoken to him.
Goodnight Chesty, wherever you are!
Cpl. W Whitley
Lieutenant General, Lewis Burwell Puller passed away October the 11th 1971. It was an honor Sir!
I was the Director of Sea School and NCO School, MCRD, San Diego from March 1978 until Dec 1981. Sgt Yaz was living in a room that was directly across from Sea School. Sea School was located where 12th Marine District is today. Sgt Yaz used the Head facilities at Sea School.
Sgt Yaz's duties were to clean the CG's office and empty trash cans in the Depot CP. He normally wore a black glove on one of his hands. He was quite the character. His room resembled a museum. He had a regular Marine rack and wall locker. He could have passed a junk on the bunk inspection at any time. Room was always squared away! He had photos of every CG from 1948 to the present (1977). Sgt Yaz loved to show his room and all his photos. He was a former boxer and had some great Sea Stories. During the day he normally spent most of his time on the 2d deck of the Depot Hqtrs in the old Barber Shop....most of the time sleeping in the barber chair....the barber shop was not used at this time...
He was probably in his late 70's when I met him. Sea School maintained an Instructor on duty 24 hrs a day when we had students. These Instructors tended to watch out for Sgt Yaz. He had fallen in the shower before and we kept and eye out for him to insure his safety.
One of the details for Sea School Students were to clean the CG's Office and Chief of Staff's Office. I know that Sgt Yaz also participated in that detail. One time he broke the CG's water glass and another time he spilled a bottle of shoe dye.
The Sea School Students took the heat for those two incidents. I am sure there are many more Sgt Yaz stories....He was a very small man but had a very strong grip. Always referred to me as "Skipper, Sir". I was a Captain at the time...
I know that he was robbed off base and that the CG determined it would be better if he was moved to a retirement facility. This all occurred after I left this assignment. Great NEWS LETTER!
With My Dog
Just thought I would pass on a pic of my dog. When I'm not working overseas I go to the local R.S. and poolee functions with my dog. Thought ya'll might enjoy.
Heavy Machine Gunner
Norm: I was a heavy machine gunner in Korea 3rd bat 7th weapons co. 50 to 51, I never heard of atrypod with a seat, I sure wouldn't have wanted one. I had to pull my machine gun and tripod of a hill when the water can was streaming from heavy fire. The 5th rok went so and left us high and dry and the gooks were coming at us from three sides. Before I left the area I put a grenade in my mess gear and pulled the pin, put the lid on very carefully, left it behind. I would like to have seen the look on the gooks face when he opened it, if he had a face after that?
Staff Sgt Bob Langford 50 to 54
Good afternoon another outstanding newsletter. A reply to Mr. Norm Callahan about sit behind tripods .The M1917A1 HMG was water-cooled had a sit behind tripod. The tripod & cradle weighed about 50 pounds the gun itself when the water jacket was full weighed aver 40 pounds. The parts from the water jacket back to the trigger were interchangeable. Since this was a watercooled the barrel was thinner antifreeze had to be used in the winter that might be the reason you never saw one in Korea.
SEMPER FI to all
Ruben B. Scott 1138959/0331
He Would Need Me
I am a Motor-T Marine that served on active duty from 92-96 with 8th Comm Bn Hq Co MT Plt. On a routine supply run I asked a young Pfc. for an Alice pack frame. Of coarse he informed me that they were for staff NCO's and Officers. being a LCpl. I did not rate one. A Senior LCpl. came around the corner and asked what the problem was, the Pfc. explained. The LCpl. looked at me than turned to the Pfc. and asked him "do you know who this is?" the Pfc. said no. the LCpl. said to him "he is Motor-T you get him what ever he wants!" The LCpl. knew that he would need me, before I needed him!
Cpl. Dougall MacDougall USMC
Open-Ended Questions It reminded me of a young Army Staff Sergeant with the 88th Infantry Division some sixty-four years ago who was building a bridge across the Arno River under fire, got blown off the bridge and swam back out a few times to rescue his crew. He "plunked" a couple of pieces of shrapnel out of himself, used battle dressings and sulfa powder to dress his own wounds, and then, rather non-plussed, went back to work. A few days later, he found himself in a rear-area hospital with serious infections, almost lost one arm, and finished up the war running mess halls in Florence. I remembered that his rows of decorations, albeit impressive, contained neither an award for valor nor a Purple Heart. When I asked him about it, he told me he didn't feel he'd done enough to earn them. I was a brand-new Mustang Second Lieutenant at the time. That Staff Sergeant was my father.
Dear Sgt. Grit:
I finally had a chance to read about Dominic Esquibel, the young Marine Corporal who declined his Navy Cross. He stated his refusal to wear the medal as "personal".
Soon afterward, curiosity got the best of me and I started asking open-ended questions of some of the bonafide heroes I met at the Basic School, and later in the Fleet Marine Force: Wesley Fox, Archie Biggers, Van D. Bell, and Lewis Wilson, to name a few. Their answers were nearly identical. They all felt that they hadn't done anything any other Marine wouldn't have done in the same situation, and that they weren't wearing the decorations for themselves, but for the other thousand guys who did even more heroic things, but who went unnoticed. In that respect, they all taught me about ownership for those decorations. It seems to me they're owned by that PFC who yanks on your rifle belt knocking you off your feet just before the mortar round impacts; by every Sergeant who leads the way into a defended first-floor window, and by the Lance Corporals who cover them while they dive through the frame. In short, those decorations are part of Marine Corps History. In that sense, they're owned by everyone who's ever worn the Eagle Globe and Anchor.
Corporal Esquibel is that kind of hero; whether or not he ever wears a Navy Cross, he is now part of that history. You can rest assured that, like me, there are at least two-hundred-thousand other Marines and Marine veterans who'd just like to shake his hand and tell him: "Thanks, Marine; well done."
I Was Sworn In
Dear Sgt Grit
I was sworn in on Jan,10,1961 the day of my 17th birthday I'm a Jersey City N,J Marine after P.I. and camp Giger my duty station was Camp Lejeune serving with Lco.3/8 I must say being a Marine was the best years of my youth, After two input's with a line co I was transfer to 2nd Recon Bn.. morfort point which was located outside of J Vill (Jacksonville NC.) I was discharge honorable on Jan 9 1965 from active service.
I was a grunt and proud of it I reach out to all my fellow Marines and say Semper Fi. and always remember you have served with the finest fighting force this world has known and till our last breath we will always be Marines'
In response to Betsy Gill (September 18), mother of Recruit C.H. Lyman V.
Congratulations - your son has a proud heritage. It seems like once it gets in your blood, it stays.
My Great Uncle, Sgt Major James Bruce Bunch joined the Corps in 1925, and served under Colonel Charles H. Lyman, in the Fourth Regiment, Shanghai, China in 1929. My nephew, Corporal Jeremy Staggs, served with 3rd Battalion 5th Marines in Iraq.
Attached are boot camp pictures for Bruce (1925) Jerry (1980) and a slightly more recent picture of Jeremy.
An Hour To Calm Down
I was with VMFA-122 @ Cubi Point, Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, in the summer of 1978. As luck would have it, I drew guard duty at the Quonset huts where our det was staying while working on our F-4's. It was late summer and we were being slammed by a typhoon that was churning across the islands. I, a lance corporal, was walking guard duty in the dead of night around these huts with the wind howling and the rain drumming down. Flipping my night stick like a keystone cop, (that was it for a defensive weapon), I turned the corner of the Quonset hut only to come face to face with a 100 lb rock ape sitting on a 55 gal drum so he was essentially eye level. Well, we saw ea other about the same time when we were about a foot apart. The ape screamed, I screamed, the night stick flying, (didn't find it till the next morning) the ape took off as I was crabbing backwards trying to get away from this screaming demon that had beset me. It took me an hour to calm down, and all my squadron mates had a great laugh at my expense when they returned from the 'ville in Olongapo. Semper Fi, my friends.
Tony Folds, sgt of Marines
Best Of Times
Here are 2 pictures that I found in my stack of pictures. One is of me "Doc" Wentz and a picture of the ceremonial 50,000 round of "A" Batt, 11th Marines 1 MarDiv some time in early "67". Hope you can publish this so some of the gunners would appreciate it. My time with the USMC was the best of times and I still relate to all Marines. To all the United States Marines that I served with thank you and to all others Thanks you for being here.
Michael L. Wentz Viet Nam 66-67
My First Command
I write because you awakened memories of my first command. The NCO leadership in my first Platoon during a very trying period for the Corps of the late 1970's was superb in so many ways. After the Platoon Sergeant moved to the Enlisted club, a few corporals including yourself, a DomRep named Gutierrez, Cpl Sanele and Sgt Elizondo helped me rebuild 3rd Platoon. Many good NCO's were added, but you were the core group. I certainly remember you having a great attitude no matter what training we were involved in. I can picture in my mind your quick smile and leadership skills of inspiring your troops to perform to their best.
Though I put in for transfer to the air side and had a successful career, I never forgot my roots. There are no comparisons in other MOS's to the closeness and camaraderie of Marine infantry. My one regret is that I don't think I told each of you how much I valued your leadership in making our unit one that any would be proud to serve in.
I remember very clearly that when I arrived in April '77 that our numbers were 13 and when I left our numbers were 39. You and your fellow NCO's emphatically demonstrated that you were responsible for the strength and spirit of your 38. This was really proven under the command of Capt Jan Huly as he assigned our platoon the left flank during the Palm Tree exercise we participated in. (He retired earlier this year as a LtGen.) He told me after the exercise that he selected us because he knew we were the most tactically proficient platoon. Thanks so much for supporting me. Please, accept my condolences for the loss of your brother and father. Please, pass on to your brothers and my Marine brothers a hearty Semper Fidelis. I pray God is blessing you and your family daily. OORAH Marine.
LtCol USMC (Ret)
3rd Plt K 3/5 Mar 77-Aug 79
I Hated Those Letters
Are there any Postal Marines still around out there? I served on Pendleton, 29 Palms, Okinawa, and with the 1st MarDiv and 1st MAW in Nam from 1968 to 1970. Working in the postal units as assigned by the CG's by those units to make sure the mail got to those in the field. It wasn't a pleasant job, because the forward units would send the mail back in packets with big red KIA or MIA stamped or written on them. Some of the stuff coming in was registered and you knew your fellow Marine was getting a 'screw you' from his wife and her attorney but the mail had to go through. I hated those letters because I knew what they would do to the guys in the bush and I wanted to be with them. And as many times as I tried I kept getting turned down. Not everyone was destined to be a 0311 or a Recon Marine some of us had to stay behind.
Sgt USMC '68-72 2475082
Are there any 0161 Marines from the Vietnam era still willing to admit that we served in country and pulled guard duty on Reactionary Force Zulu and still made sure that the grunts got their mail. It was hard on us we knew what was in those Registered letters from attorneys but we had to make sure it got through anyway. I caught a ride on a CH46 to LZ Baldy the morning after 2/7was overrun to deliver registered mail and ended up loading body bags and wounded along with the mail I couldn't deliver. Yeah I was scared but ashamed too because I wasn't there sooner to be able to help my fellow Marines.
Still a Marine after all these years
Dear Sgt. Grit,
Ever wonder about the struggle Fleet Marine Force Corpsmen wrestle with when it comes to branch loyalty? I don't know if anyone has ever expressed such in this forum but I'm here to tell you that it is difficult for me to explain in clear, tangible terms. Although I am most proud of my service as a Marine "Doc" in a line company, I'm obliged, as well, to the "top-notch" medical training I received from the Navy. I was no more proud to wear my Navy Dress Blues as I was to wear my cammies and caduceus with the EGA on my cover. My DD214 says "Navy" but my pride resides in the Corps. Having said that, how can I honor both and be true to either? Has anyone ever expressed a firm answer to this for the sake of clarity and conviction?
HM3 P. Roy
2nd Plt, Co. L.
3rd Bn/8th Mar Regt.
Always In Trouble
I love browsing the newsletters I receive. As I was looking through my most current edition on the anniversary of 911 I noticed a picture of platoon 371. Out of curiosity I clicked on the picture to enlarge it and get a closer look see. The Drill Instructor in the middle was my Senior Drill Instructor when I was at Parris Island. I knew by the look in SSGT Davis' face that this was the first man whom ever put the fear of God in me. I was always in trouble growing up, always fighting and causing general mayhem in our hometown. I look back now and realize that his ability to "put me in my place" saved me from a lifetime of run in's with the law. God Bless him wherever he is.
Thank you for all you do for those of us who will always be Marines. We are a special group of people and I do miss those days. Just as this very newsletter quoted;
"Once you enlist, you can't wait to get in. Once you're in, you can't wait to get out. Once you're out, you wish you were in. I guess I fit into the last line of that poem now."
Oct. 76 - Jan 77
Looking at my hair the other day (yeah -it's not regulation, but I'm kinda gray now) got me to thinking of a bus ride over 35 years ago.
My sister had gotten married exactly a week earlier; I had been best man, long-hair and all, and I was now riding a bus in San Diego sometime before midnight. A Marine Corporal from the depot was driving and had unceremoniously told us all to "shut your sucks!" So much for the San Diego County Transit System! Lowering our voices, everyone looked around at what limited sights there were on the way to the yellow footprints awaiting us.
Out of about six hometown guys I enlisted with, there was only me and another guy whom I'd known since we were little boys in grade school.
If you had ever seen my friend's high school graduation photo, you would have seen a curly blond-haired young lad with Elvis- style mutton-chops giving his best studly looks for all who gazed upon his fair visage.
I ran my hands through my shoulder-length hair and wondered what I'd look like without it; no doubt, as did many another guy sitting on that bus.
Doing that, I glanced at my buddy as he grinned at me, run his pocket comb through his hair one last time, held it up to the open bus window, kissed it good-bye and said, "Guess I won't be seeing you for a long time!"
Looking back on that warm night, I guess he didn't know how prophetic those words were.
He became a good Marine, got out, eventually married and is a good citizen; never met a stranger, and friend to all. I understand he had a health problem awhile back; I lost touch with him, but if you get the chance, stop by and see him at the barber shop in Tuttle, OK. Good man, that Dan! More sea stories later.
Raise Our Hands
Sgt. Grit, before it is too late I just wanted to tell you my story as I have been reading about so many waiting see their marine recruiter. In early 1942,february I think, all men between the age of 18 through 45 had to register for the wwii draft. I was at a farewell party for our local chief of police who was being drafted. He mentioned that he had tried to enlist in the navy and also the marine corps but had not been accepted due to physical reasons.
The thought came into my mind that before I might be drafted that I should check to see if I could pass the physical exams. First I went to see the Marine recruiter who checked my weight and had me read an eye chart. He said I should return the following Monday to go to Cleveland for the complete physical and that I should bring a change of underwear as I might have to stay overnight. This was before the Marine Corps was accepting draftees.
When I had completed the physical exam I and four others were conducted through a door into an office where an officer told us to raise our right hands and take the required oath. We were then told that we would leave for Parris Island at midnight. I had to phone my dad and tell him I was not coming home as planned and he would not have to travel to Akron to pick me up. At the time I did not even know what the Marine Corps was. Those who were sworn in were obligated to serve for the 'Duration of the war plus six months' in the Marine Corps Reserve. I met another recruit later who told me he road a bus for twenty-four hours to get to the recruiter in Cincinnati. Some sixty-four years later I was telling this story to another Marine veteran in Florida who said his was a similar experience in St. Louis.
At that time there were no yellow footprints and only sea-going Marines were issued blues. The train taking us still had kerosene lamps hanging in the cars and a pot-bellied stove in the corner
Bob Gaston, SSgt. USMCR
384564, 42-46 48-50
I remember well junk-on-the-bunk inspections during my days as a young enlisted Marine. A sea story (probably) that I heard a couple of times about someone standing a junk-on-the-bunk goes something like this:
The inspecting officer approaches a Marine standing next to his rack with his clothing and equipment laid out for inspection. The inspecting officer asks the Marine, "Where's the stick?" The Marine asks, somewhat perplexed, "Sir, what stick?" The inspecting officer replies, "The stick you stir this sh*t with!"
Also, regarding the transition from the M-14 to the M-16 at the recruit depots during the early 1970s, I was assigned to Marine Barracks, Ft. Meade, Maryland during the mid-'70s. The M-14 was still the T/O weapon for enlisted Marines at the barracks, private to sergeant, and the weapon they used for rifle range requalification. Most of the junior Marines were assigned to the barracks after boot camp and whatever MOS training they completed, and they were completely unfamiliar with the rifle. We staff SNCOs and the officers in charge of requalification details had to run everything from A to Z at the army's rifle range, including an honest-to-goodness snapping-in week with drills and getting the Marines use to shooting positions with the M-14. The weapon was quite a challenge for guys who had only fired an M-16.
Semper Fi/ Dave Marvin, Major, USMC (Retired)
This is in response to Bob Lake's comment about the ol' "Junk On The Bunk" Inspection! I was lucky...privileged enough to experience mine when on tour with 2nd Marine division in spring of 91. Very tedious, time consuming, and
anal. That's a good word for it! Blacking out the eyelets on your web gear, folding t-shirts so they were all perfectly 6"x6" squares, everything had a certain measurement distance, and place from the other; and of coarse this changed a half dozen times. But the best part was when a general was coming around for troop inspection. I remember him going off on the 1stSGT "Well yes, they look pretty, but do they work? Can they function the way a Marine needs to function in combat?" Oh he was p!ssed.
After getting out in 93, I was approached by the "prior service" recruiters. But I needed some time out, time to enjoy my new found freedom.
"Your either in and fighting to up hold freedom, or your out and enjoying your freedom!" After a year, I was missing the fun. I looked them up and found out all I had to do was check into a reserve unit. Under gentlemen's agreement I would serve a minimum of 6 months, and they agreed I wouldn't have any "major" inspections. On the sixth month I arrived for my weekend adventure, and was informed there would be...you guessed it a JOB! I checked out the same day. "Junk on the Bunk inspections" More fun than people should be allowed to have!
Cpl 89 to 93
Every year, or more, we stood a junk-on-the-bunk (era 1960-64). I got to be pretty good on this and the one in '62 was the one I remembered the most. Everything was perfect except the plastic card that held the brass, insignia and ribbons. Everything would slip off so I used scotch tape to hold it in place.
The IG, a colonel, stepped into our small squad bay and walked directly to me. "Are your socks named stamped?" Yes Sir I replied, (forgetting the DIs advice to not wear unstamped socks). "Show me". I tried to hide the part where the name belonged. "Higher". Yes Sir. "Is the other sock stamped the same?". Yes Sir.
He then walked over my perfect display (except for the nameless socks I was wearing of course) and picked up the plastic card of my brass & insignia. All the parts stayed in position but dangled. He then inspected my lockers with cigarettes & pinups on the doors. "Do you go to church". Not since boot camp sir. "Do you take much liberty?" All I can get sir.
And that was it. Our unit got an outstanding and I got mess duty.
Sgt Grit: I served in the mid-Sixties and I believe we would have one about once every six months. It would occur on Saturday mornings which meant we would be up all night Friday preparing for it. Since all of our gear was to be laid out on the bunk and there was constant activity all over the barracks, sleep was impossible. Of course, when the IG would walk through, you were expected to look like you were completely squared away and just had eight solid hours of sleep.
Those living in the barracks were always jealous of the "lifers" living off base who would come in about a half hour before it was to begin, unlock their foot locker and place everything on an empty bunk. Everyone knew that gear had not seen the light of day since the previous JOB.
C. F. Larkin Cpl 2237155 Semper Fi
I would assume that the term would be passed on forever in The Corps. Another term we used was "Things On The Springs". Hopefully that term has been passed on also.
Thank you and Semper Fi,
I absolutely remember "junk-on-the-bunk" inspections and it certainly was not something you looked forward to. One creative jarhead who tired of the routine of displaying his foot-locker essentials at unusual times, devised his own short cut. He sewed on to a blanket in the very exact order required, a pair of skivvies, socks, t-shirt, etc., etc., which he kept folded up in his locker. Whenever the call for "junk-on-the-bunk" inspection came, he reasoned he'd just simply take out his blanket and show his stuff while the rest of us scrambled to get everything organized and placed in the exact order. Unfortunately for him it did not work, not even once. While inspecting our platoon the DI decided to pick up a pair of his skivvies to see if they were folded correctly. Oh boy! There are only three ways to do anything; the right way, the wrong way and the Marine Corps way. It's never good to not do things the Marine Corps way.
I remember sleeping on the deck after putting everything out on their rack the night before so it would be ready for the inspection.
I had a problem with one of the first inspections we had shortly after the 1stMarDiv returned to the "Land of the Round Eyes." Coming back from leave, I had purchased a nice red civvie shirt to wear on liberty.
However, being male and a dumba$$, I washed it with my skivvies. These were the white ones with the tie-ties.
Not hard to predict what happened. I had pink skivvies for the inspection. You all can imagine the humiliation and the comments that were made to this then corporal.
Bob Rader aka Sgt. Wolf
Back in 64 in the 10th Marines we had a IG coming sometime in Aug. and the Gunny held a JOB every other night after chow for two weeks b-4 the IG and we had one guy who just left it all on his rack and slept on the deck for 2 weeks! I seen other Marines who kept most of there JOB clothes folded and packed away in boxes for inspections and never used those clothes for wear!
Thanks to LCpl Bob Lake (57-60) for spotting that omission.
Semper Fi brothers/sisters, God bless the Marine Corps!
LCpl Joe Lacey 61--65
Junk on the bunk... seems that was one of the most hated words in the lexicon. That is, until I was able to save up enough money to buy a complete duffel bag, and have it JOB quality.
I recall standing IG with Radio Relay and Construction Company, 7th Comm. Bn. Seems we had at least one JOB per week for the month before the IG. Well, guess that wasn't really all that bad. It was the company and platoon JOB's that created the hassle.
I found it didn't take very long, to learn that your JOB display was enhanced by the tighter you made up your rack.
H&ll, yes I remember that nightmare - but things got a little easier in 1970. Some background: I was attached to HQMC Flight Section, NAS Andrews AFB, and as we all know the AF doesn't have squad bays, they build 'dormitories' with real rooms, and much as they hate us for it, Marines aboard AF bases get to live in them.
Sometime during the winter of 1969-70, the USO threw a 'significant anniversary' party, and as a reasonably 'accomplished' amateur photographer who spent a lot of my liberty hours at the DC USO photographing the activities, and the girls, and the girls participating in the activities (you get the idea), I (and my camera) was invited. During the course of the evening, I had the opportunity to photograph the Assistant Commandant, General Lew Walt, paying his respects to Mamie Eisenhower; shortly thereafter I caught General Westmoreland speaking to her.
I had three 8x10 enlargements made of each photo, mounted them on mats, and sent two of each to Mrs. Eisenhower with the request that she keep one and autograph the other, which she was gracious enough to do. I then sent the copy with the former First Lady's autograph and the remaining copy to each of the Generals, with the same request, and they were kind enough to comply. General Walt even included a note on his personal stationary, "...with warm regards and appreciation."
I mounted both above my rack, and they - especially General Walt's with the note attached - drew closer attention during all subsequent inspections, including the IG, than my junk-on-the- bunk display (which may or may not have been totally squared away). Suffice it to say that there were never any recorded irregularities.
Additionally, since married personnel were also required to bring their uniforms in and stand inspection on 'borrowed' racks, there was no shortage of them requesting the use of mine.
Duke Sgt USMC 1966-70
Rodent ID Card
Camp Lejeune 1980, walking guard at the armory inside of the Bn Supply at HQ. We hammered together a wooden box, and made a rat trap baited with part of a hoagie sandwich. 15 minutes later I pulled the string dropping the box on a nice sized screeching rat. Sliding a piece of glass under the box we turned it over to view our captured "intruder". Being the diligent guards we were, my buddy and I knew we were duty bound to call the Sergeant of the Guard (3 decks up in Bn HQ) to come relieve us of our "prisoner". Dialing the duty phone to the Sgt upstairs, I relayed the capture of an intruder at the armory. He ordered us to "Hold him, we will be right down!"
Seconds later we could hear the heavy footfalls of at least three Marines barreling down the stairwell at a furious pace. Then there was a pounding at the Armory door. "Who Goes There?!? I yelled. "Sergeant and Corporal of the Guard!" was his out of breath reply. "Step back and be recognized!', as I peeked through the tiny hole in the door. "Slide your ID card under the door!" I yelled. After a few seconds the Sgt freed his ID card from his wallet, and the card came sliding under the door. "Sgt of the Guard Recognized!" and I unbolted the door.
The Sgt pushed past with his hand resting on the .45 holstered at his hip. Along with the tiny beads of sweat, you could see promotion written all over his face as he charged into the armory asking "Where is he? Where Is He?!?" My buddy was standing over the wooden box with M16 trained on the prisoner. I pointed at the box and announced proudly "There he is!". The now out of breath Sgt of the Guard, Corporal of the Guard, and Company Driver dropped their gaze and peered down at the "prisoner" . . . all of the visions of promotion vanished, his hand fell away from the side arm, and they all stared at the rodent.
His voice trailing off, he muttered something about how wrong that was, and they all three turned and trudged back up to the 3rd deck. The Company Driver glancing back with a look of half humor, and half disgust at having interrupted his sleep. The rat then showed us his Official MCB Camp Lejeune Rodent ID Card, and we released him after feeding him his half of the hoagie.
G Cagle Sgt USMC 79-83
In response to the name change from CAC to CAP. I was with Cap 1-4-1 in 1969, sometime during our two weeks at CAP training in Da Nang we were told that the name was changed because the abbreviation for Combined Action Company was CAC CO. In Vietnamese, Cac Co, means "kill girl" and there had been an incident where a young girl had been killed by the PF's.
Alpha 1/4 Jan.-June
BAS 1/4 June-Sept.
CAP 1-4-1 Sept -Dec
By the way, I just confirmed with my Vietnamese pharmacist that "CAC" indeed is a vulgar reference to a particular male body part in Vietnamese. No wonder they changed the unit designation to "CAP."
At Low Tide
I just finished reading " THE LITTLE KOREAN GIRL AND THE RED APPLE" by: Howard E Fisher it brought back so many memories I to served in Korea about the time I arrived at the port of Inchon aboard the Merchant Ship the Phoenix at low tide and climbing up those walls with full transport packs seems like every time I went on a MarLEX landings we made on the Islands around Korea it was low tide in Inchon I was with Fox 2-11-1st Marine Division and we supported the Fifth Marines so when they went out we did with full Transport packs up the ladders of Inchon walls.
I to remember the trips from the rail head from Munson to Inchon and the children alined along the tracks seems like it was for miles and miles all the way some with no Arms,Legs,Scared faces the one I remembered the most is seeing this small boy with a bullet hole in his face we to gave some of our C rations one thing he did not mention was to make sure was to take off your watches before you handed any thing out
Seems to me like I was on the "Sh!t List" all of the time getting caught off limits in Seoul, getting caught with out any ammo in the M1 chamber while on the road, being off the road, getting caught in the Pattey fields But I made out every time one time was to dig a latrine it snowed that day and never stopped Then sent on Guard Duty with other Marines that Had messed up to guard an opened section that the Army had left open seems that they had left some of their supplies behind and it was Winter back at our compound we were ration a 50 gallon barrel a month for our pot balley stove we had to make it last for a month so we froze part of the day and here we are with about 500 gallons and we were only there for 15 days on the time I was put on Pot duty that night we got a direct hit on the pot house at that time I was a young Marine and now I am an Old Marine of 74 years But STILL A MARINE
Cpl of Marines Ernie Garcia (Barney Bear) Korea 53/54
This Sounds Right
Sgt. Grit: In his letter of Sep 11, Peter Berg states that he was told in Nov of 1973 that his recruit series was the first to go through MCRD San Diego using the M-16 as a T/O weapon for both recruit training and infantry training. This sounds right to me. I was in Platoon 2094, 2d RTR, from Sep through Dec of 1973. We were told that we were the last recruit series to go through recruit training with the M-14. We were issued the M-14 for all phases of recruit training, including rifle qualification. We were issued the M-16 only for infantry training at Camp Pendleton. I loved the M-14, and fired expert with it on Qualification Day.
One more item that may be of interest to Marines and Marine veterans in the greater Tucson, AZ area. I and some other Tucson area Marines are in the process of forming a Marine Corps League detachment based in the city of Marana, AZ. I am asking that any Tucson area Marines, Marine veterans, and FMF Corpsmen interested in joining this fine organization contact me at the below email address.
Rmshirley55 (at) hotmail.com
A Little Bit Humbled
As an old Amphibious Recon. Korean Campaign Marine, let me say that I always enjoy the comments sent by other Marines and their Loved ones.
I guess I would qualify for the old Corps status that's referred too in some of the letters I've noted. When I entered the Association of Marine Brotherhood, in the winter of 1950 ,I Was apprehensive too say the least. My Cousin was a Marine in 1945 and gave me a few pointers which helped me through MCRSD. On the ship to Korea they needed good swimmers for special detail. I latter found out I had been assigned to the most respected outfit in the Corps. Amphibious Recon. The same unit that brought up the rear guard out of the Chosen! They took heavy casualties on that action and received the proper recognition as was proper.
When I reported into Recon. I was a little bit humbled by the records of their actions up to that time. I heard stories of Bravery beyond belief. And following these men into the actions after that left me in a complete state of respect. To this day it has helped me to find my confidence to handle most anything that Life throws at you. Bravery comes when you find out that fear gives you nothing and may get you killed. Through the first incursion into the Punch Bowl and the Firefights, I saw men charge into 6 Ft high weed infested rice paddies, into burp gun fire in an attempts to get prisoners.
On direct frontal attempts to consolidate MLR lines taking Mortar fire all around them! On Winter night ambush patrols to take prisoners! We also made the first Helicopter vertical assault landing in a combat zone on the Eastern front in Sept. of 51. Their accounts of men jumping on tanks and dropping grenades down the periscopes left me with the firm belief that no enemy of this country would stand a chance confronting a heavily armed group of Recon Marines in any location on this planet ! Let me say here that I know any Marine would lay down his life for his Brothers his Country and his Family! As someone once said " For Those That Have Fought For It, Life Has A Flavor That The Protected Never Know! May God Shine His Light Of Approval On My Beloved Corps So It Will Be The Shinning Example For This Nation Into Eternity ! IN HIM
Sgt. Vern Hughes, 50-53, 1152476
I Got To Sick Bay
My time in the Corps was spent between June 1968 and April 1975 in San Diego for boot. Quantico, VA for schooling as an armorer. Then to 29 Palms for a year until I was sent to Marine Barracks Rodman Canal Zone until 1970. Back to Quantico in 1971 to 1972 and finally back to California at MCAS El Toro until I was discharged honorably. I remember the day before my discharge I was checking out of all the places on El Toro. When I got to sick bay I was sent to see the dentist. They examined my teeth and wanted me to come back the following week to have a tooth pulled. When I told them I was getting out the next day I was asked to be there at 0630 to have that tooth pulled. I said no problem. The day I was being discharged, I was standing in formation when this Major(I think) noticed my swollen jaw. He asked if I had been in a fight. I said, "No Sir! I just had a tooth pulled, Sir!. He started to laugh and when I started to laugh also, I found out I shouldn't have done that cause it hurt like you know what. He then handed me my discharge papers and moved on. I know I'll never forget my final day in the Corps because of that tooth pulling.
Anyway, I want to thank you again for your wonderful website and for your newsletters. I really enjoy reading them when they come in.
Sgt of Marines
I really enjoy getting the Sgt Grit News. A great way to keep informed about new and Old Corps values. I especially enjoy stories about Marines from my era. I've emailed you several times and swear I'll just read and not compose, but some of the letters stir old memories and my juices start flowing. I get a kick out of the Yemassee stories and left the main road on the way to Fla many years ago to see if the old receiving shack was still there. Two old timers sitting in the shade told me it was torn down back in the 60s, and Marines were still coming back to visit. Stories about the place still abound. My uncle who enlisted in 40 told me about this little town with weeds growing up between the railroad ties having only recruits coming in about once a week. His story about two sh!tbirds who couldn't march properly being placed on opposite ends of the grinder got my attention. One yelled so the other had to hear him " I'm a sh!tbird from Yemasee the biggest sh!tbird you ever did see.!" It had to be loud enough for the other to hear and answer "ME TOO!" Then he had to start the process. Pretty hoarse after a while?! When I attended in the summer of 52, I remember being marched back from a class into our 4thBn Quonset hut area. We were dismissed for a five minute head call, and on the way saw a recruit carrying his locker box walking in the company street yelling "Locked my locker lost my key." "I'm a sh!tbird from Yemasee!" Funny now, but for that poor recruit, the temp had to be in the 90s. That boot was still barely holding up that locker box when I passed by on my return to my area.
About the old timers living on base. How many of you old timers remember the police sergeants who had to be in their late 60s or early 70s assigning the BARs and swabs out of the quarters behind the company office. I happened to pass by the big Quonset hut slop chute while I was on mess duty in 1952 and swear this MSgt didn't have room for all his hash marks. The Pvts and PFCs were all over this guy listening to his sea stories and keeping him in beer. He was wearing his blues. It was Marine Corps Birthday and they were having a grand old time. F'n mess duty. I sort of enjoyed and learned a lot at ITR Pendleton, but hated troopships and mess duty.
Frank Athis 1335915 USMC
PI CamPen Korea Henderson Hall 52-55
I just ran across the question as to who was the first boot camp series to use the M16 and it brought up another question. When was the old rifle range at Camp Mathews shut down? I was in Platoon 155, MCRD San Diego in July 63 and we used M14's there. A lot of the tents were in pretty bad shape, torn in half. I remember that my rifle was locked to the foot of my cot, exposed to the rain where the tent was ripped. Did the range close at the same time that they switched over to M16's? We used shot-out M1 Garands and BARS during ITR at Camp Pendleton.
I was a 3531 with 9th Motors and we shipped from Okinawa and landed at Da Nang in early July 65 with 2/9 and H&S, 9th Marines. We all used M14's until I left in April 66. I did see the Air Force MP's on the Da Nang airbase carrying what I believed were Armalite rifles which were very similar to the M16.
Joe, Alpha Co., 9th Motors, 3rd MarDiv, USMC 63-66 "You call we haul, you squawk, you walk!"
MGYSGT Sir John Marjanov
The stories told to you by your Motor T buddies were not true. Sir John lived at MCB Pickle Meadows, Bridgeport, California . I know because when I was stationed there in Motor T, back in 1979-80 I made the remark " who's the old grease monkey" in the heavy equipment shop. I was quickly straightened out by the Colonel, who was also at Johns side when he passed years later just "WHO" the grease monkey was.. Below is an article from Sgt Grits June 2, 2006 newsletter:
7th Motors assigned to Motor T Moutain Warfare Training Center
MGYSGT Sir John Marjanov
Attention on Deck Marines and Friends. I'm sorry to inform you all that a Marine Corps Ledgend has passed away. MGySgt. Sir John Marjanov has passed away 24 May 2002 and reported to Chesty for duty at the pearly gates. I had the proud distinction to knowing Sir John as he was called at Pickle Meadows Marine Corps Mountain Trg Ctr. I worked close to Sir John when my unit in 79 or 80 rebuilt all the roads at the training center and I can say that he was a colorful figure. Below is his accolade: Subject: Taps for Master Gunnery Sergeant John Marjanov, USMC Master Gunnery Sergeant John NMN Marjanov enlisted in the United States Marine Corps on January 16, 1941 and went to Parris Island, SC for basic training. He was assigned to 5th Marine regiment at Quantico, VA. He volunteered for the newly formed 1st Raider Battalion. Upon acceptance to the Raiders he was sent to Navy Parachute School at Lakebust, NJ; Commando School in Scotland; and Airborne training at the Army's base at Fort Benning, GA. While he served with the Raiders in the Pacific Theatre, he participated and distinguished himself in campaign on Guadalcanal, New Britain, New Guinea and other classified missions.
He took part in the Pelelieu landings with 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, in Leyte with 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines, the invasion of Iwo Jima with the 2nd Battalion, 26th Marines, and the victory in Okinawa with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines. Toward the end of the Pacific Campaign he participated in the classified operations of mopping up Japanese war criminals in China, during which he was part of the capturing of General Yamashita. After the war, Master Gunnery Sergeant was involved in the protection of American and British interest in northern China against Chinese Communist guerrillas until he was transferred to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
When hostilities in Korea erupted, Master Gunnery Sergeant Marjanov was assigned to the 1st Marine Brigade in Korea. While there, he participated in the defense of the Pusan Perimeter, the amphibious invasion of Inchon, and the Chosin Reservoir campaign. Because of his actions at the "Frozen Chosin", Master Gunnery Sergeant Majanov was knighted by the Queen of England and awarded the Victorian Cross the Order of the British Empire, 1st Order; Britain's equivalent to our Medal of Honor. He was returned to the United States for a short time when he was assigned back to Korea and was there for operations "Punchbowl", "Unigok", "Bunker Hill", "Hook", "Reno", and "Boulder City". During the Vietnam conflict, Master Gunnery Sergeant Marjanov served with the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Marine Divisions. While on active duty, Master Gunnery Sergeant served at MCMWTC, Pickle Meadows on five separate tours. On 30 September 1974, Master Gunnery Sergeant Marjanov retired from active duty with thirty- three and one half years of service.
Master Gunnery Sergeant Marjanov's decorations include the Silver Star (two awards); Bronze Star with Combat "V" (two awards); the Purple Heart (eight awards); Victoria Cross; the Order of the British Empire; 1st Order; Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry (Corps Level); the Navy and Marine Corps Medal; and the Combat Action Ribbon. He passed on to his eternal home in the morning hours of 24 May, 2002 at Pickle Meadows with Sailors, Marines, and one of his former Commanding Officers at his bedside.
Semper Fidelis Chaplain Andrew Peter Sholtes Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center
Platoon 322, 1951
This was my Uncle Bill Turney's boot camp picture. Platoon 322, 1951.
Harold L Ramer
Now Without Killing Yourselves
"Now without killing yourselves, Get Off My Bus." These are the last four words you will hear prior to your life changing forever. The change begins immediately when you first mirror the yellow footprints. Whatever doubts you had if this is real are quickly gone as yelling is heard from all directions and your heart attempts to escape your body. The night is young and so are you but you will quickly learn that you have everything to learn once again. We have come from all points throughout the USA. From the big cities to the rural farms. Different social status, Black, White Hispanic, and Asian to name a few. We begin our journey into an elite brotherhood very different. But we will emerge as one, a United States Marine.
What little knowledge we bring with us is quickly forgotten as we are deprived of what we bring with us both mentally and physically. We are stripped of our character to begin the crucial rebuilding process. Our heads are all similar as our youth is shaved to the scalp. We are very wide eyed but we seem to see nothing. Time seems to stand still as it rushes by at a pace never before experienced by any of us. You are whisked away from room to room not knowing what to expect next. Fear is everywhere but there is no time to think about it. Every second is being fulfilled to it's maximum use. A brief phone call home to ensure your safe arrival is a lie. As no one feels safe at this time. Dental, medical and psychological exams are done without hesitation or approval. The longest two or three days of you life are only a glimpse of what lies ahead.
Arriving in your permanent platoon is indeed a very freighting experience for anyone. You will do nothing right and everything wrong. You will quickly forget your left from your right. You will think up is down and vice versa. The simplest of tasks will now cause great confusion to your very confused young mind. Stress at a very high intense level will confuse the brightest and toughest of minds. It is nothing but a blur as it is occurring and it seems to last forever. Confusion is all around as drill instructors bark out their orders. Some orders are impossible to complete but we still try because we can not think that far ahead under these stressful conditions. We will learn how to bathe, how to shave, how to dress and how to speak and act by the numbers. From one through ten we must not skip a single beat. To do so would earn us extra time at pushing our bodies off the deck. It's all about learning how to kill but we do not understand this at this time.
Soreness is an everyday issue as we run or march everywhere we go. Everything is done with the sense of urgency. We move like bees in a hive. Our focus is so great that a spaceship can whiz by our heads and we would not even notice. It is not our job to notice spaceships. We are here to follow orders and carry them out. Drilling is an everyday thing. Our rifle is our best friend as we march around the parade deck. The only sound our ears are allowed to pick up is that of our drill instructors barking out the most beautiful cadences. As time goes by we begin to gel as a platoon but no one is giving us praise. We are still worthless and are often reminded of this by giving us some extra training in a giant dirt pit. This pit builds character as the reason for being in it is usually false. To do your best will never be good enough in their eyes. Nothing is ever personal but it seems as if everything you do is personal around these parts.
As the end nears you will have a brief moment to reflect on what you have accomplished. From qualifying with the rifle, to swimming with all of your gear. From drilling to inspections and the countless miles ran and humped. The transformation is near it's end but soon it will begin once again. Our movements are crisp and our appearance is clean. Our words have purpose and our reflection reflects confidence. Hair is back on top as we now walk with tremendous pride. The drill instructors are still here to remind us of where we are and where we have been. They have not flinched once during their grueling task. They make KILLERS for a living and this is not an easy task. To question their methods is wrong, to look at the results is proof. They are at a level in which very few will ever reach. Many try to become one and many fail, so this truly is the best of the best.
We must never forget why we chose to become US Marines. We must never forget those that made us Marines. And we must never forget those that died for their country and the Eagle Globe and Anchor. If everyone could be a Marine then we wouldn't be Marines. When America dials 911 the Marines will always answer. Alwa