Dear Sgt. Grit - On December 16, 2008, Lt. Kenneth H. Rose, USMC Navigator in World War II went to guard Heaven's gates after a lengthy illness. Kenny, as he was known to all of us in our church, was a large man both in life and spirit. He served in both the U.S. Army and the Marines and was a POW both in Germany and Japan. He was most proud of being a Marine. When our son joined the Corps six years ago, Kenny always referred to him as "my Marine". Every time our son has been home he has made time to visit with Kenny even when we were not sure Kenny would know him. On those occasions he put on his Dress Blues knowing that Kenny would recognize the uniform if not the Marine.
At his Memorial Service this past Saturday, our son was given the distinct honor of presenting the American flag to Kenny's widow, Patti. There was so much Marine tradition in the Memorial that I cannot tell it all here. There is a local Ex- POW club here and they also had a small ceremony for Patti. Rolling Thunder was also present for their presentation. The family held up well throughout the service but when Taps was played and Rob presented the flag, they began to shed their tears. The other two presentations were done when Kenny's urn was placed in his niche in the Columbarium after the service and that is when the tears really flowed.
Our son flew home from Norfolk, VA, just for the Memorial service at the request of Kenny's widow because, as she said, "Rob was always Kenny's Marine. You just had the privilege of raising him." Actually, my husband is a no longer active Marine Sgt. himself.
I thank God every day for all of the Marines and other servicemen and women serving our Country, past, present and future. Thank you, one and all, for your service to our Country.
Mom and Wife of Marines
I'm not old enough to have met the general personally (being only 40 years old) but, did have an experience I want to pass along. Several years ago I joined the National Guard after a 15 year break in service. I attended AIT at Ft. Eustis, Va, and it was while I was there, that I was traveling with a friend that lived in that area. While in the car I noticed a menu from a restaurant that had an address of Puller Parkway. I asked my friend about it and he said that the Pullers had lived in that area and Chesty was buried not too far away. I, very excitedly asked if he could show me and of we went. We arrived at a church out in the middle of nowhere and I walked up to the cemetery. There was nothing special about the marker except the small American and Marine Corps flags at the head. I stood there for a moment and heard the echoes of "Good Night Chesty, wherever you might be" from that squadbay at Parris Island. I felt the tears well up inside as I stood there in the presence of why I had joined the Corps so many years ago. I took the time to take a few pictures for posterity, saluted and about faced. This is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life.
"The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him."
G. K. Chesterton
Dear RAdm. Stark,
I liked the comment you had about Marines comparing us to Rotties, or Dobermans, but I'd like to tell you of one that I think is even better.
On a program about the fight for Fallujah, Iraq on the military channel. I heard a young LCpl. give an analysis of humanity so profound that it has stuck in my memory. I only wish his name had stuck with me as well.
I'm paraphrasing here but I hope I do him justice;
"90% of the people of the world are sheep" he said, "the other 10% are divided equally between wolves and sheepdogs."
"The wolves of the world spend their time attacking the flock, killing, raping, stealing and committing acts of terror."
"We Marines are sheepdogs, while we will willingly fight, and kill. It is only in defense of the flock that we do so."
Tyler Therrien Cpl. USMC EAS 7/87
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
George Santayana, The Life of Reason, Volume 1, 1905
Dear Sgt. Grit, A lot people say the medics who served with us Marines were Marines.
My Dad was a 22 year old naval gunnery officer on a LSM on Feb. 19, 1945 and went into the h&ll of red beach 1 at Iwo Jima that day. Standing at his post directing fire, his ship shot to h&ll and his gunners wounded he took two rounds of enemy fire, one that is still in his arm to this day.
He tells me he has never understood how those Marines could get and move out getting cut down by the dozens then hundreds. I served in the Corps from 69-73 and tell him any boot navy officer who exposes himself to provide covering fire for Marines in combat and gets shot twice for doing it makes him a Marine also. He beams with pride at 86 when I tell him that because its true.
Mike Rhodes/Sgt. USMC
In regards to Jim Leonard's letter about the drumming out of the two Marines. I was there that day also. I was stationed with Mike and Hdq Btry from Dec 1959 till Feb 1961. Red Ebert was Hdq Btty's 1st Sgt and then the Bn Sgt Maj. I met Red at Mike Btty's first reunion in 2000. I never thought I would ever see him after I left in 1961. He was at the reunion but died the next year. He join the Marines in 1941 and retired 30 years later in 1971. Spent the rest of his time in Pa. He cared for his Mother for a long time. He was a great supporter of the orphanage near Fuji Japan. He was always collecting money for supplies for the orphanage. Sgt Maj Ebert was one great Marine.
Cpl Tom Loch 58-61
"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious."
I served in the MARINE'S from 1975-1979 at EL-TORO with Marine Air Control Group 38 then with the 3rd MARINE DIVISION. This is about how proud I'm of my son Justin who is a CPL. in the MARINE'S who is serving overseas in the GULF REGION on the U.S.S. Iwo Jima. We both went in at 17 right out of High School and I wanted to attach both our pictures from boot camp. You must remember that there is and age difference of 31 years but when I saw his picture I had to find mine and do a double take. What I saw was myself and I just could not believe the likeness. I know this will not be important to others but I wanted to share it with you at Sgt. Grit.
Don't know if you all have seen this trailer yet but this looks like a great trailer for an HBO movie coming next month. Movie is based on a recent true story of a Marine escorting the remains of a fellow Marine home.
"I am free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally."
W. C. Fields (1880 - 1946)
Hello Sgt Grit: Surfing the net and came across your very find web site....came upon a letter or short story from an airline hostess by the name of Helen Tenant Hegelheimer of her job attending to the troops on the way over to Vietnam of the 5 hour flight.
First of all sir I enlisted in the Navy and volunteered for Vietnam. To make a long story short 1966 my tour took me from Norfolk to Travis then to Alaska to Tokyo to catch an LST homeported in Sasebo, Japan working coastal Vietnam for 16 months.
When my tour of duty was up left Vietnam to Tokyo Sunday morning....waited out until late in the dark of nite loaded up with both Marines and Sailors and flew out of Tachikawa Air Force Base, Tokyo flew 12hrs non-stop in a Air Force C-130 Jet with cargo seats for comfort.... no lady hostess on this flight but we didn't care where going home gave us box lunches our only meal in 20 hours we didn't care where going home and the head didn't work. We talked about going home and landing and treating us well when we got to Travis Air Base in San Francisco maybe a nice welcome home a great meal, etc.
When landed it was late at nite 0200 no fanfare, no nice meal and shuttle off to a Navy bus to Treasure Island didn't see any protestors like we heard about must of got tired and went home.
Next stop was at a barracks to where we stowed our gear and hit the rack for revelry 0630. I guess I'm home figured that's how we all got treated when we came back to the world. Got Honorable discharged headed back to a small town in Ohio....didn't say much about the war to my parents...took me sometime to get settled down. Two years later my brother enlisted in the Army did a tour of 12 months in Plieku came home walking with a Bronze Star but has the same stories about going over and coming home as I read about Hegelheimer Bio.
Dear Sgt. Grunt,
Several years ago I interviewed a large number of Marines in the 2nd and 4th Divisions about the Battle of Saipan.
My book on that subject is called: D-Day in the Pacific: The Battle of Saipan (Indiana University Press). The book is widely available (Amazon, History Book Club or Military Book Club, Barnes & Noble, etc).
I believe that many of your Marines would be interested in this book.
Thank you for your help.
Harold J. Goldberg
David E. Underdown Professor of History
Chair, Asian Studies Program
University of the South
Sewanee, TN 37383
"A Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever."
December 6,2008 would have been my wife's father's birthday. Mort Spero USN WWII passed away last year. In honor of his passing my wife decided to celebrate his birthday. His favorite meal would be served. The catch was, that to attend you had to bring a TOY for TOTs. 14 of our friends attended. My wife Carol brought in 3 large bags of toys to the pick up station at her work. What a great time, and what a great cause.
Cpl Tom Flynn
USMC 69-71 and beyond
hey Sgt. Grit
Just wanted to send you a couple of pictures of our dog Nick wearing his new collar that i got from you for Christmas. the close-up shows he's no bulldog, but he's still our little devil dog
(former) Cpl. Walt Short
3rd. Marine Division
"All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree."
"Not as lean, not as mean, still a Marine", and proud of it.
I stepped on the MCRDSD yellow footprints in September 1974 2 A.M. Several months later after completing Teletype Comm School, a Chicago buddy of mine at 2nd MarDiv Headquarters Communications Platoon told me a story of his brother who went to PI the same time he did. He was on the ship that embarked the Mayaquez in May '75, the last official battle of the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. I'll never forget when he told me his brother confessed to peeing in his pants when they started passing out ammo and were told to lock and load before boarding the Mayaquez. To me his brother "fought in Viet Nam".
I never did a tour in Viet Nam, and 4 years after successfully completing boot camp was Honorably Discharged in September 78 as a Corporal.
Now at the age of 53 years, I wear a Sgt Grit t-shirt "Not as lean, not as mean, still a Marine", and proud of it.
I have two sons, my oldest son is in the Corps, a Sergeant, Iraqi Freedom 3 tours, with a Purple heart, and just stationed to Quantico to teach officers how to use a radio. He married a WM (Lance Corporal) and now have a baby WM, with another on the way. This time a boy.
1. While attending a Christmas ceremony at our Baptist Church, they asked for veterans that were in the Korean War, Viet Nam War, Desert Storm, and currently serving in Iraqi Freedom to Stand Up. I didn't stand up. Both my Wife and my sister urged me to stand up. I whispered to them I was a "veteran from the Viet Nam Era", I was not in the Viet Nam War. They said it was the same thing. I believe it is not. I did not endure the same physical/ mental conflicts and challenges that other Marines did in actual combat.
2. My youngest son will be graduating from High School with honors 11th in his class top 3%. While completing applications for College Scholarships, they ask if any parent is either of the following:
To me I don't fit any of these categories. Does Honorably Discharged not mean anything to them? At the age of 53 I'm not Active Duty. I only did 4 years Active Duty, so I'm not retired. I'm not disabled either.
I've been searching the Internet for Military Scholarships, but to no avail because of that missing Honorably Discharged category. I'm hoping that when my youngest son completes College (Forensics Major) that he too will want to become a Marine like his dad and older brother. Then we'll both have to salute him.
Cpl David Gaytan USMC '74-'78
"Life is not holding a good hand; Life is playing a poor hand well."
"Never try to reason the prejudice out of a man. It was not reasoned into him, and cannot be reasoned out."
Just finished reading the newsletter this morning about Customs and Traditions. I was honored as the youngest Marine present at the Marine Corps Ball, Marine Barracks Guam, 1990. It wasn't until the ceremony progressed, how much of an honor it is. After the ceremony, The oldest Marine, a Sgt Maj, shared his stories with me as I sat next to him at the Ball. I've often used the term "crusty" and still do as a term of respect for experience and knowledge. He was crusty, and most likely has moved on to his assignment with St. Peter, guarding the Gates to Heaven. Semper Fi Sgt Maj wherever you are!
Cpl James Alford
Mar Bks Guam
1/6 2nd Mar Div
4th Mar Div, MarCor Res.
After 29 years I had the opportunity to go back to MCRD San Diego to witness a recruit graduation. One of our members (retired gunny) of the Marine Riders of Las Vegas, has a son who was graduating in December of 2008. I contacted the President of our club and we set up a ride down to Diego. We had about 27 members attend the graduation. We were escorted on to MCRD and seated in the reviewing section with the Commanding General of MCRD. What an awesome feeling it was to see those young Marines and remembering back 29 years ago when I was in their shoes. This was the third trip our riding club has made to MCRD, and I was honored to have had the opportunity to attend. If any of you Marines out there get the opportunity to attend a graduation, take it! As the old saying goes Once A Marine Always A Marine. I would also like to extend an invite to any of you Marines out there passing through the Las Vegas area to stop by and see us at the Leatherneck Club. For any riders out there look us up at Marineriders.us
Scot A. Motl
SSgt Jan 80- Dec 92
"For myself the delay [in assuming the office of the President] may be compared with a reprieve; for in confidence I assure you, with the world it would obtain little credit that my movements to the chair of Government will be accompanied by feelings not unlike those of a culprit who is going to the place of his execution: so unwilling am I, in the evening of a life nearly consumed in public cares, to quit a peaceful abode for an Ocean of difficulties, without that competency of political skill, abilities and inclination which is necessary to manage the helm."
Rules For Dating a Marine's Daughter
If you pull into my driveway and honk you'd better be delivering a package, because you're sure not picking anything up.
You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter's body, I will remove them.
I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don't take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open- minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes too big, and I will not object. However, In order to ensure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place to your waist.
I'm sure you've been told that in today's world, sx without utilizing a "barrier method" of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate, when it comes to sx, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.
In order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is "early."
I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry.
As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process that can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don't you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?
The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool. Places where there are no parents, policemen, or nuns within eyesight. Places where there is darkness. Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness. Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T- shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka zipped up to her throat. Movies with a strong romantic or sxual theme are to be avoided; movies which features chain saws are okay. Hockey games are okay. Old folks homes are better.
Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied, balding, middle-aged, dimwitted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless god of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel, and five acres behind the house. Do not trifle with me.
Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming in over a rice paddy outside of Chu Lai. When my Agent Orange or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) starts acting up, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into the driveway you should exit your car with both hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car. There is no need for you to come inside. The camouflaged face at the window is mine.
"Courage is endurance for one moment more..."
Unknown Marine Second Lieutenant in Vietnam
I was wondering if you could help me get some information. I was in the Corps from 88-98. I always heard and used the term "dropping the dime" or dime dropper when I was in. We used it when someone would turn us in for something or got us in trouble. What is the history on this term?
-Cpl. Chris Harrington
The Columbus Ohio Marine Corps League Detachment has made Gilles Lagin, a citizen of France, an Honorary Member of their unit. He has been mailed a framed copy of the League Certificate so recognizing him. Marine Lagin was recognized earlier in 2008 by becoming only the second non-US citizen to be named an Honorary United States Marine. This took place through action of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, as part of a commemorative ceremony held at Belleau Wood. The Commandant took that action in recognition of Lagin's lifelong devotion to preservation of the memory of the bravery and sacrifices of the Marines at Belleau Wood during WWI, and for his creation of a museum in France honoring the WWI Marine Corps. The Belleau Wood Detachment members thought it only proper to induct Lagin as a member, and wish all Marines to be aware of Gilles Lagin's contributions to the Corps.
John Maurer, Commandant
Belleau Wood Detachment #508
"Prejudice is opinion without judgment."
Gentlemen of the Corps:
I have just read "Chesty" authored by Col.Jon T. Hoffman. What a great read of a great MAN. The sad part of the book was when it ended at page 538. However, when I need some inspiration, I pick up the book and read random excerpts. What a boost.
Dear Sgt Grit,
In the story "He Interrupted Me" the former corpsmen mentioned the Commanding Officer of HMH 364 (Col. Gene Brady) well I knew Col. Brady when he was a Major with VMF 541 ( as the Executive Officer of the squadron) back in 1961.
Yes he was a great gentleman and it was a pleasure to have served with him.
He may not remember me as he had a whole squadron of men to command but I sure remember him and a glad he is still among us old salts.
Keep up the good work with stories like this from former Marines and those great Corpsmen.
Give Chief Thompkins my thanks for the story and the best of luck. I also served in the RVN 68-69 with HMH 463.
Karl R. Leech, SSgt. USMC(Ret)
"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.."
I was hoping that in your next e-mail, that you would give a congratulations to the Recruits that are becoming Marine's on Jan. 30th please.
"We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times."
I office with retired Marine Gunny Sergeant Gary Marr he recently corrected one day. I was telling him about my deceased son Brandon R. Taylor who was a proud Marine in 1997 - 98, unfortunate for Brandon he fell from a rope exercise during Basic and shattered his right ankle. The Marines performed two surgeries and seven months of rehab before they had to inform Brandon that they couldn't keep him due to the extra metal in his lower leg. He was very disappointed but accepted his 10% disability with pride. In May of 2008 I loss my son to suicide. I guess he couldn't handle all his disappointments in his brief 29 years of life. Mr. Marr informed me that once a Marine my son would always be a Marine, so when speaking of him always say "My son is a Marine not was a Marine". Thanks for your time. I love all the stories. Thanks again.
John B. Taylor
LCPL Chadwick Gilliam
Chad was from a very small coal mining town at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains. Everyone in the town knew everyone because they were either friend or related. The funeral service was performed by Preacher Bob and two others. They were Baptist and I had never attended Baptist services before. The room was filled with flowers. They were everywhere. They surrounded the open casket that Chad laid in. During the viewing it was standing room only. The funeral home was packed as people came in and paid their respects. Family and friends arrived with gifts of food in hand to share with others. There was plenty of food to be had by all. The funeral home stayed open until 10:00 p.m. with the Marines Corps gently reminding folks that they were closing soon. The family had already retired for the evening.
The following day service was again held at the funeral home and once again it over-flowed. As I had been to funerals before, I knew the hardest part for the family had not yet happened. It would be when the coffin was shut. The Honor Guard was summoned and shortly thereafter his mother appeared. My heart went out to her. As a mother, I could not imagine her pain at that moment nor did I want to intrude on it. I took my place with the Marines in the procession.
The streets of downtown Mayking were lined with the townspeople who weren't at the funeral home. They stood alongside the road and waved their American Flags. Those with no flag had their hand over their heart. I experienced mid-town America and I realized something as I rode along. Although they appeared to be backwards to an outsider and their town was obviously poor, they were so wealthy in the only ways that mattered and their backwards ideals is what America is missing today.
Chad received a 7 gun salute (with three volleys). The Marine Corps League was there. The Honor Guard from the I&I was there with the ceremony being performed by the Marines. Two Marines from Kuwait had been sent back to attend the funeral. His best friend and his Platoon Sgt. There was also a group of Army soldiers (seasoned type) in uniform that attended.
His father was the tower of the strength both days. His mother cried enough tears for both. His young widow brought tears to my eyes as I watched her mourn the loss of her husband of a mere 4 months.
The Patriot Guard stood their post both days at the funeral home and at the grave site. I looked at them in awe. You never knew they were there, yet you knew. You never knew when they left, but when they did, all was well. They stand their post, holding onto the flag and never waver.
The funeral director did tell us that they did not expect any trouble from the protestors. He said they might be "a bit crazy to come to these parts, probably get capped and it would be justifiable". I think the word got out.
In closing, I remember one young man who came rushing into the funeral home right before the service began. I'm sure he thought he was going to be late. He had come straight from work and wanted to pay his respects to Chad. He was covered in coal dust, from head to toe. He was black. I just wanted to shake his hand.
Don't you forget that you're First Marines! Not all the communists in H&ll can overrun you!
Col. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC
rallying his First Marine Regiment near Chosin Reservoir, Korea, December 1950
Hello. My name is Tiffany Plonka. I am currently enrolled in a vocational school in San Jose California, in a video production class. I am working on a final project which is a movie the lasts 5-8 minutes long. I am not sure if you are going to be able to help me, however it never hurts to ask. I've decided to make my project on the life of an American soldier. The hardships of adjustment joining the military as well as the adjustments of coming home to become a civilian. This isn't due for some time yet, however I am trying to form some contacts within that I may get some opinions and advice as to what to film over. I am making this into a documentary hoping that it may open some eyes to people that are otherwise shut tight. My own father served in Vietnam in the Army. He doesn't speak of it much, and when he does it seems to tear him up inside. I recall him speaking of his treatment when he came back home. How he was still in uniform and went into a restaurant where they refused to serve him.
It's small things like this that people seem to overlook in the every day world that should be noticed. These days seem to be better. I've seen a group of soldiers in the airport walk through a standing ovation. People these days seem to understand that just because they don't support the war, soldiers deserve our respect, our love, and our support.
It would be extremely helpful if there was any one that you may know that would be willing to speak to me of their experiences sometime in the future. I understand that it may be hard to do so; the few people I know that have served do not speak of it openly or lightly, rightly so. I would be grateful if there was anything anyone could do for me.
Thank you very much for your time.
tifferzaplonka [at] yahoo.com
"The flag doesn't wave because the wind blows it. It waves with the last breath of every service member that has given his life for this grand and great nation."
Marshall Tall Eagle Serna
Reading the stories about drumming out brought back a dim memory. I was in Electronics School at MCRD San Diego in 1965. If memory serves, the classes were drawn up in formation behind the chow hall. I can't recall if it was a regular formation or special for the occasion. An ex-Marine was paraded, and the charges read. I seem to remember his uniform being stripped, but that may be my selective memory. I don't recall drums. It was chilling, but didn't make the impression on me that similar events made on others. I guess I couldn't imagine that happening to me.
I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say we would have far preferred to die in combat at 19, than to live our lives with that shame. Only thing lower would have been to be photographed at a North Vietnamese Anti-aircraft gun, assisting them in bringing tyranny and genocide to Southeast Asia.
The guys who were drummed out must have long beards-how could they shave, looking at themselves in a mirror?
Last month, going to the movies, a young fellow with a date, shoulder-length curly hair, and a Marine PFC's green blouse worn as a coat over his jeans passed us on the other side of the street. My wife restrained me from speaking to the boy.
I'm one of those who don't recall the Yellow Footprints. I arrived at Parris Island about 2 am in the summer of 64, having spent the bus ride making out with a WM recruit. (Top that, guys!) We didn't have the pleasure of meeting our DIs, Sgts. William Harris, Michael Martin and Ezekiel Owens, until mid- morning. Would love to hear from Sgt. Harris and Sgt. Martin (have been in touch with Sgt. Owens who has a locksmith business in Jacksonville, NC). I owe them for my success in life.
My only hiking story doesn't match the 100-milers. I was in Comm Support Company on Okinawa, a nice interlude before departing for RVN, where I was able to learn my trade in Radio Relay.
The platoon had problems. We had a great officer, Second Lieutenant Hogley (the same guy who headed up our school at BES). But in my view, the Gunnery Sergeant, one of the Staff Sergeants, the two Sergeants and about half the corporals were worthless. The Lieutenant was getting all his information from the senior NCOs. The troops had low morale and disdain for the leadership. I tried to be a good NCO, though I was new at it, which got me in endless trouble. They sent me to NCO School, where I came out first in a class of 57. Unfortunately, the school taught that persuasive leadership was better than authoritarian leadership-the kind being practiced in my outfit. So I got in even more trouble trying to practice what I'd been taught, but, thankfully, nothing official.
One of the NCO, Sergeant R, sticks in my mind. He liked to chew troops out in front of their peers. He liked to wipe a finger under a wall locker to see if he could find dust and so delay liberty. He favored the corporals who followed his example of abusing the troops. He taught me a lot about leadership, by serving as an example of what not to do. Praise in public, criticize in private. Concentrate on the big things. You will get more out of people who respect you. Treat everyone with dignity. I've often been grateful to Sergeant R in my career.
I was on light duty one time, due to being hit by a jeep trailer that left a lump on my leg larger than a goose egg. That meant I missed the Physical Readiness Test (PRT) for the outfit, avoiding lots of unpleasant exercise.
Of course, the senior NCOs accused me of malingering. The week after I got off light duty, our new officer, Lieutenant Smith, another mustang officer up from the ranks, decided we were going to do a 21-mile hike, over the center of the island and up the coast, and back. With rifle, helmets, cartridge belt, and so on.
This wouldn't have been a big deal for an infantry outfit, but our guys weren't in shape for it.
We did it in seven and a half hours walking, plus an hour break for lunch. Not bad for a comm outfit used to riding. Lieutenant Smith walked the whole way. Staff Sergeant Russell, a black staff sergeant sometimes the target of racist comments by other NCOs, but the best NCO in the outfit, walked the whole way. I was the next senior man to walk the whole way. The Gunny, the other Staff Sergeant, and Sergeants R & M all took turns riding in the radio jeep or the ambulance. So did some of the corporals-not surprisingly the ones favored by Sergeant R and other NCOs.
One of the principles of leadership is the leader sets the example. So you know what kind of leaders they were.
When we had six miles left to go, over the center of the island, the Navy Corpsman ordered me into the ambulance to ride the rest of the way, to protect my just-recovered leg. I refused. He told me if I injured my leg, I'd be court marshaled. I told him I was walking in with the guys.
SSgt Russell came over and whispered, "Good man, Corporal Hall." Coming from him, it remains one of the memorable compliments of my life.
Luckily, I had no damage other than the blisters we all had. A division grew up in the outfit between those who had walked, and those who rode. We began calling one of the suck-up corporals, who rode part way, "Kathy."
When we reached Camp Hanson, all the NCOs who were riding debarked to march in with us. "Hi, Sergeant R, nice to see you. Did the jeep break down?" one of the other corporals called. "Shut up," was the response.
I would be happy to hear from any of the guys from electronic school, 1965, or Comm Support Company, Camp Hanson, 1966, or any of the guys in Radio Relay, HQ, 26th Marines at Khe Sanh in 1967, or from Plt 273, Parris Island, 1964. My e-address is tartanmarine(at)comcast.net.
Robert A. Hall
Cpl, USMC 1964-68
SSgt, USMCR, 1977-83
"Marines die, that's what we're here for. But the Marine Corps lives forever. And that means YOU live forever."
The mythical GySgt. Hartman, USMC; portrayed by GySgt. R. Lee Ermey, a Marine Corps Drill Instructor using his own choice of words in Full Metal Jacket, 1987
My son knew well before he was of age to enlist that he wanted to be a Marine. His Mom was concerned and worried about what would happen if a war rolled around. I was proud that somehow I had managed to raise a son with clear vision. I was 4F in '79 due to an ankle injury that some Doc said would prohibit me from being able to carry out my duties (regardless that I was a three sport letter winner...the Army would take me but I would not settle for anything less than being a Marine). Boot camp came and went in '99 for my son (San Diego), graduation in October. Now I was the proud 'Marine Dad'. Seeing him with no neck, arrow straight, and a Marine I still get a bit overfilled with that thought. Duty station - Camp Lejeune, 2nd AABN, HQ. Lots of pride in telling all who would suffer through my story"...my son is a MARINE...".
All is well, then 9-11, Lejeune goes full security. Lots of rumors and stories....then the call that we are going to Kuwait. I go to Lejeune a couple of days prior to his unit shipping out via 27 hours on a leased DC-10. His Mom (my ex for some years now) is along as well. I tell him to roust up some of his buddies and let's go get steak and beer. We do, the steak house is packed with dozens of Marines strutting like banty roosters, ccky, acting as if there is nothing in the future to be of concern. I pick up a pretty good size tab (after being referred to as "Dad", Grandpa" for most of the evening. Let me tell you Marines do wobble after X amount of alcohol. I picked up the tab for several other tables of Marines who I am certain were shipping out in the next couple of days as well. The very least I could do.
Next day - 0630 - enter the barrack...a bunch of hungover, sleeping / sick Marines....they had decided not to call me Grandpa anymore....spent the day packing gear, getting squared away, and then the send off. Lots of tears around that day...I had none, the good Lord took my fear and carried it for me as I am certain he did for many.
Months go by...no word...(this is way prior to emails and phone calls)...trying to follow the progress of my son and his brothers...the Lejeune website offered very limited info (which is a good thing...didn't need some sympathetic a$s popping off a Marine from info gotten from the Marines). Summer day, hot, working in the garden, cell rings....unidentified caller...usually do not answer those calls at all, grabbed this one on the second ring....my son...just outside of Baghdad calling from a sat-phone for $ 20 @ 5 minutes. Alive and well...never thought so much could be said in such a short time. Couple of days later letters start showing up that had been written 2-3 months prior.....the point to all of this...while so many are sniveling and whining about this politician or that should send their own off to war (thank you Lt CMDR McCain and Mrs. Palin), they have no idea what in the h&ll they are talking about or what it means to send one of your own off to some distant land to protect those who cannot even dream of the freedom to condemn the local dog catcher. SEMPER FI till I die....every Marine has a place in my heart.
S. C. Trier
"You'll never get a Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!"
Capt. Henry P. Crowe, USMC; Guadalcanal, 13 January 1943
Hello Sgt. Grit. My family has a very real tradition of service to the United States Marine Corps. My father, Raymond, joined the Marines in 1943 and was on the first assault on Saipan, June 15, 1944. He was in battle for 17 days and was wounded July 2, 1944 and was never returned to combat. His sons, Al, Dave, Ben, Mike were all Marines with Ben serving 10 years active duty and 2 years reserve. Ben spent multiple tours in Vietnam receiving a Silver Star and Purple Heart. Ben's son, Sgt. Trever Runnion served 13 years in the Marines and is still on active duty. Ben's first cousin Philip spent 2 years on active duty, with most of that in Vietnam. Phil's son, Philip Jr. was in the Marines 4 years and left a Sgt. Additionally, another first cousin, Brian, spent a two year tour. That is 9 Marines in 3 generations.
Lastly, my grandson Vicktor. It has been his dream to be a Marine Officer. In Sept. 2008 he started Marine JROTC and is now a Cadet Lance Corporal. He is as proud of himself as I am of him.
Several more members of our family served during W.W.II. and Korea. I am very proud of my Uncle Royal who survived the Bataan Death March and earned the Bronze star and Purple Heart for a different battle. He served 12 years in the Army before the Japs killed him while he was a POW.
Dr. Ben Drake
Thank you for your newsletter. My current billet is OIC, Det 3, Surg Co A, 4th Med BN, 4th MLG, MARFORRES. At my "liberty" job, I am a Nurse Practitioner with a large cardiology group in South Louisiana. While on rounds one day last week at the hospital, I entered a patients room that was new to me. I immediately noticed a tattoo on his left forearm in the shape of an anchor. I asked him if he had ever been in the Navy, and he looked up at me and said "no, I am a Marine". I knew from his chart that is age was near Korean veteran, age, and when I asked him, he softly said "yes". Further questioning revealed he was a member of the 1st Marine Division in 1950. Suddenly, my interest and level of respect went way up. Our conversation wound up pinpointing his unit: 1st platoon, Able company, 1st battalion, 1st Marines.
I was stunned. His answer to the next question could've knocked me over with a feather. I asked if he knew a Sgt George Terrell, and he turned his head towards me, smiled, and asked me "from Texas?"
My uncle, the late Sgt. George C. Terrell, USMC, served in the exact same platoon at the Chosin Reservoir, Korea, 1950. A BAR man, Purple Heart, Silver Star. After home from Korea on duty at Quantico, he met my mother's sister at a dance in DC. When I related the story to my cousins, all of them were elated that I had made contact with someone Uncle George had served with.
Fortunately, this Marine is convalescing well, and should be home soon. This FMF Navy LT, OIF veteran, will be looking after him closely, as I always take care of my Marines.
Michael A. Couvillon
LT, NC, USN(FMF)
OIC, Det 3 SCoA, 4th Med BN
4th MLG, Marine Forces Reserve
"It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.."
To: 0331 Grunt. Nam Christmas Day of '66 till shot Feb 28 '67. - Golf 2/3 Society has changed a little since the days you mentioned. It was deplorable the way they treated you Heroes. I wanted to pass along a story to you that made it in the local Omaha news. The local chapter of the Patriot Guard ( www.patriotguard.org ) was escorting a Hero to his final resting place. During the ceremony a group of freedom hating hippies decided they were going to disrupt this solemn occasion. In response one of the Patriot Guard riders cold-c0cks one of the protestors that got too close. In the end the protestor was the one that got arrested. Semper Fi Brother and keep the faith!
0151 by trade, Grunt by choice.
I was watching the military channel and watching a recent "Making of Marines" and was very interested, watching the new training but seeing the same attitude or feeling of being made a Marine. My boot camp at MCRD San Diego, was 56 days long in May, 1966. 8 weeks of very intense training. Seeing that boot camp is longer now but with the same goal, of being a Marine. One of the DI's said more than once that after the training they were being admitted to a brotherhood and would be the same until the "Day you Die" you will always be a Marine. I was very proud seeing the young men and women who were training to be part of our beloved Corps. They have the same pride and enthusiasm that we had, knowing at the end of the training they would be part of a very unique group of Marines.
I remember the little things that meant so much and you had to have done it to appreciate them. Of being able to blouse our boots, unbutton the top button on the shirt, spend a little more time in the head without our DI screaming. I know they are doing and feeling the same things and the pride of graduation and knowing that you are finally a U. S Marine.
CPL of Marines
"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."
There were two Marines, a grandmother, and a beautiful girl...
A young Marine and his commanding officer board a train headed through the mountains of Switzerland. They can find no place to sit except for two seats right across the aisle from a young woman and her grandmother.
After a while, it is obvious that the young woman and young soldier are interested in each because they are giving each other "looks". Soon, the train passes into a tunnel, and it is pitch-black. There is a sound of the smack of a kiss followed by the sound of the smack of a slap. When the train emerges from the tunnel, the four sit there without saying a word.
The grandmother is thinking to herself: "It was very brash for that young soldier to kiss my granddaughter, but I'm glad she slapped him." The commanding officer is sitting there thinking: "I didn't think the young Marine was brave enough to kiss the girl, but I sure wish she hadn't missed him when she slapped and hit me!"
The young woman was sitting and thinking: "I'm glad the soldier kissed me, but I wish my grandmother has not slapped him!"
The young Marine sat there with a satisfied smile on his face. He thought to himself: "Life is good. When does a fellow have the chance to kiss a beautiful girl and slap his commanding officer all at the same time?!"
First, I have to say that Peter Wojciechowski must be on tough Son if he made it through boot with a name like that.
I too made the short hike (by 150 mile standards) from MCRD San Diego to Mathews - to live in tents for three weeks - and we did the distance (what? only about 15 or 20 miles) with full gear and M-1's at half-step double time. We arrived in time for noon chow - our introduction to c-rations, and yes we used our P-38's that I too still have.
While I'm here, is there anyone out there from that platoon - I cannot recall the number, 215 or maybe 219? The time was Jan 1956 till Apr 1956 and the DI was GySgt Costello - don't recall the ADI, Cpl. (?).
I feel kinda like a stepchild with the Corps because I entered at the end of Korea and got out before Vietnam. They sort of skipped my war. Although I was once on alert with 3/1 to go to Beirut, if that counts. But, like Minnie Pearle and the horseshoe, I don't think about it too long when I realize the sacrifices many Americans, not only Marines, have made so that I can be with my family today - thanks guys.
Cold War Marine
j.w. wilson 1956-1959
"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government."
My husband is so proud Daddy's Little OOHRAH girl (Triniti Rain-3)! This is his favorite website ever & his dream would be to see his little 'rine Corps girl in the magazine or online (even just once!) LOL. He insisted on me sending you this picture!
Thanks again and God Bless,
His ARMY wife,
Mr. & Mrs. Clifton Hughes
First, let me thank you for your efforts with your News Letter. Also, I appreciate the fine quality of your customer service and of your product(s).
Each Thursday evening I sit and read the notes, thoughts, Sea Stories of Marines, both old and not-so-old. Each Thursday, I realize we all sing the same tune regardless of age or time served. The open, honest, straight from the heart comments always speak of the pride we all feel in being Marines. Each Thursday the comments in your letter bring all the emotions to the surface. Great and intense feeling of Pride, Camaraderie, Sadness, Happiness, and a never fading feeling of being a life member of the most deep and sincere Fraternity ever seen on this earth. Some of the words of General C.B. Cates says it all for me. "What more can be said about a group of men that have chosen a life of hardship and the most hazardous assignments in battle?" I don't have that exact, but still says it all.
Semper Fi, PJ Hardy, Major, USMC, Ret. (A Proud Mustang!)
"Nothing is more essential to the establishment of manners in a State than that all persons employed in places of power and trust must be men of unexceptionable characters."
"[M]y religious belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that, but to be always ready, no matter when it may overtake me. That is the way all men should live, and then all would be equally brave."
Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson
Courage is Being Scared To Death, But Saddling Up Anyway
My Son, CUSTOM NAME, is a United States Marine
God Bless America!
Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done.
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