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You asked about sea duty stories...here's mine. Went to P.I. December 1959, most memorable Christmas I ever had to say the least. Out of P.I. on to I.T.R. then Sea School. Memorial Day 09 Out of Sea School assigned to the U.S.S. Little Rock CLG 4. After many shake down cruises due to the fact the missile house was a little heavy for this light cruiser, adjustments were made and we had a ship we could be proud of. In 1961 we made our Med Cruise and became part of the Sixth Fleet. Now you know the background here's the story...

The Commanding Officer of our Marine Detachment heard the Fleet Marine Force was having landing exercises and thought that his Marines should be part of the action. We got the word that we would be included with the real Marines in this mock invasion somewhere off the coast of Greece. I think we were suppose to be about the hundredth wave in. I guess they didn't want us screwing up the real Marines.

The big day arrives and we are all psyched up. Down to the mess decks to pick up our C-rations, what C-rations none on board what have you got cookie how about some peanut butter, jelly and crackers? Well ok but don't tell the real Marines. So we pack up our backpacks hoping our jelly cans don't show and careful not to crush our crackers. General Quarters sound and we head topside to meet our landing craft. We are set to go with our starched utilities, lumpy backpacks, spit shined boots and Gong Ho attitude. What's the ships band doing topside? Over the side men onto the cargo net hit the landing when it's coming up, hang on to your rifle, don't crowd the net finally all on board. Coxswain cast off and please stop laughing. What's that music from the Halls of...

Now men when we hit the beach don't forget come out screaming and set up a perimeter. Out we go screaming and yelling perimeter set, why is everybody looking at us? Maybe because we are in the center of Headquarters and this area has been secure for three days. Anyway we get shipped off to some remote location that few if any Greeks knew about. In this Theater of Operations we are in the upper balcony behind a big pillar. Well a least we have our peanut butter and jelly. Our area was so secure the only noise we heard at night was the cracking of our starched utilities.

I Survived 2009 War games are over and as much as we hate to leave we have to get back to our ship. Our landing craft is waiting at beach some real Marines waiting to wish us well, who said bellhop? As we head back to the ship my thoughts of the last few days go through my mind and I'm wondering how the h&ll am I going to get the jelly stains out of my utilities. Then I hear the ships band playing from the Hall of... and I know I'm home. If that Coxswain would just stop laughing

Fast forward 1962 now with Second MarDiv. Eighth Marines that's right I'm now part of the real Marines. We are now on the U.S.S. Boxer off the coast of Cuba, something about missiles. I'm a fire team leader just waiting for the word to join this Theater of Operation. Only this time we are center stage opening act. No cargo nets this time, we have choppers up deck ready to take us in something about vertical envelopment. This show never opened I heard we lost our Russian sponsor. I thought I would never say it but I was happy to see Jacksonville again.

I finished my tour at Cherry Point. I guess the Air Wing needed us real Marines to keep the rats from taking over the empty hangers we were guarding.

The bottom line is being part of the Marine Corps was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I wouldn't change it for the world.

Cpl. Bill Finkel 1883821 Sir.

6th Annual GriTogether

Coming May 16 - Make Plans Now

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The Invincible Eagle

Marines Corps Tattoos
The latest Sgt Grit Photo Video Montage...
An outstanding collection of Marine Corps tattoos! Well done Marines...Invincible Eagle Video (You Tube)

Then It Was John Wayne
Ok enough already about the ammo dump blowing up. Who remembers the night in 68 when somebody dropped a flare onto a jet fuel tank? The thing burned for about two or three days sending a column of smoke straight unto the air for a couple of miles. Afterward the cruise book took note of it with the caption "I shot a flare into the air. It fell to earth. We ALL know where!"

I was walking guard for VMFA 542 at the time. That's right. Walking. Like one of those clay thingies in a shooting gallery. Later Charlie flipped a couple of rockets our way. I remember being Joe Cool taking my time to the bunkers. That is until shrapnel rattled off the building I was next to. Then it was "John Wayne, kiss my ***!". Talking to some grunts years later I found out that was said a lot back then. Like to hear from anyone in the squadron from back then. Semper Fi,

Jim Martin

Father's Day Shirt

Smile From Ear To Ear
I just wanted to share a little motivation with all my fellow Marines. Every day my 2 year old son finds a way to make his father very proud, and when he started singing the Marines Hymn to me, I had a smile from ear to ear and a tear in my eye. It would be great if you could put the video I took of him in one of your upcoming news letters.

Jim Dumser, Jr FOX CO 2/25 '97-'05

I understand your pride. Shortly after my oldest daughter took up the harp I insisted she have her instructor teach her the Marines Hymn. She was to shy to ask her instructor. She taught her self in less than one day. I immediately called my Vietnam buddies and she had to play for each one while I held the phone next to the harp. She even surprised me by adding it to a recital.
Sgt Grit

Corpsmen Never Forget
Every time I hear news on the television that one of our servicemen was killed overseas it brings to mind my time when I served as a corpsman with 2nd Bn 5th Marines in 66 and 67 in Vietnam. Our Battalion had lots of Marines killed and wounded and I personally was involved with providing medical care to many of them either in Hotel Company or while at the Bn Aid Station. The Marines depended on their corpsmen to perform their duty when the time came. Far too often, many of the wounded had horrific wounds from mines or other high intensity explosions and our best was not good enough to save their lives.

Heroic acts during these times left the corpsman to ponder their own mortality when nothing worked. We all knew things would happen that we could not control and all we tried to do was save a good buddy's life. We knew most of the Marines we took care of as we lived among them for months and considered them our brothers and at times cared more for them than our own family members. Combat does that to people.

Most of the corpsmen serving with grunt units were young, usually 19-22 years of age and some older. Our medical training was adequate at the time but not enough when things got really sour. We were expected to provide emergency medical care that a trauma trained surgeon would be hard pressed to perform under the circumstances. When our best failed and we lost a Marine, we were the first to know it, many hours before their family would receive word. I remember thinking I let my Marines down when I was unable to save a friend. It haunted me then, it haunts me now and even more on the day when they died. It never fades for memories last forever and I remember every wounded and dead Marine I took care of. I am sure many others out there feel the same way. Marine corpsmen never forget and I just wanted to express my thoughts because Memorial Day is almost here.

Roger Ware
2/5, 66-67, Vietnam

Passed The Word
I was assigned to PLT 283 2nd.Battalion { two story wooden barracks } on Parris Island from September to December 1957.

Now to my fire watch story. During about my tenth week of boot training, I was included on the fire watch roster that placed me one relief prior to the guy responsible for waking up the duty DI, who just happened to be our senior DI. He gave special orders, to the first fire watch member to pass on, that he wanted to get up 30 minutes earlier than the usual wake up time. When my watch was over I went right to my rack. This is were the "fun" really begins", the lights go on and there standing in the center of the squad bay is SSGT. Dickerson in a T shirt with blood running down his cheek and his eyes on fire yelling "fire watches get your F--KING MAGGOTTY A--S to my house NOW and line up in watch order".

One by one he calls each in to his house asking each guy if he passed the word, I am by now sh--ting bricks, now its my turn, he screams in my face "did you pass the word maggot? " I reply "SIR, I think so, SIR".The next thing I know I'm on the deck and he is punching the living SH-t out of me and the only I could think of what a way to start the day at PI. Then he drags what's left of me back to the squad bay and turns my F--k up into a teachable moment stressing that Marines in combat can get killed when some {me} Sh_T BIRD fails to pass the word. This the best part of Marine boot training. It teaches you important lessons in such away that you will never forget.


Bob lLake LCpl
Marine Barracks
Naval Weapons Station Yorktown Va

Wish You Were Dead
Sgt. Grit,

I am sure all Marines remember being talked to by the chaplain. The entire series was present including what seemed like every Drill Instructor at MCRD San Diego lined up across the back wall of theater, the chaplain was giving his pep talk and trying to keep everyone motivated. At the end of the talk the chaplain asked were there any questions. This recruit stood up and stated "Sir the Drill Instructors have told me that they are gonna kill me and I need your help." The Chaplain smiled and said I am sure they won't kill you but you might wish you were dead." By the time we departed the theater I know every Drill Instructor at MCRD was there and that poor guy was surrounded by them yelling and screaming and pointing, the guy was in tears and I am sure he p!ssed his pants. I never seen that poor guy again. I don't know if they killed him but they may have buried him alive.

I was 17 when I went to boot camp, I didn't know anything about anything. However my SDI (SSgt. Wheeler) seen fit to make me a squad leader. One day we were in formation waiting to go to chow. When one of the Drill Instructors yells "Montoya get down here." So I run down to where the DI is. He says "What is wrong with this recruit?" I look him up and down and I can't figure it out. The DI says look at his feet, I look down and see his boots are on the wrong feet. The DI's made that guy walk around like that all day long. It was a lesson learned he never put his boots on the wrong feet again.

Semper Fi
Sgt. Montoya

Nick Names
In the early 60's at P.I. the battalion nick names were:

1st batt.---"Dodge City"
2nd batt.---"The Twilight Zone"
3rd batt.---"Disneyland" (the new brick buildings)

I have no idea when these nick names started or if they have been changed over the years only other Marines can answer that so all you alumni from P.I and S.D. from the "Old School" to today send in the nick names they were using when you were in boot and list either P.I. or S.D.

and also what year you went to boot and the Women Marines must have some nice nick names for your batt./company also.

lcpl joe lacey
plt 127 p.i.
may-aug 1961

Wear That Title
Are you kidding me? Did I read that right? Is someone whining about being called a BAM? You're a Marine. If you're a good one, you've been called much worse than that. Do you really think that those German soldiers meant the term "devil dogs" as a compliment? H&ll No they didn't! But you wear THAT title with pride, don't you? You don't mind being called a "jarhead" do you? BAM is just another title. I don't know that anyone really means it in a derogatory or demeaning way. It's just part of our colorful vernacular. If you want to call me a "spam", whatever that means, go for it. As long as the "M" is capitalized, I could care less.

When did the Corps get all 'touchy - feely' anyway? Maybe you should have raised this issue with your D.I. on day one of your training. I'm sure that he or she would have taken you aside and taught you some nice coping techniques to help you find your "happy place" when your feelings were hurt. All of this would, of course, be done out of hearing of the rest of the platoon, because your D.I.'s always put your privacy above all other concerns. Or maybe that is the Air Force. If you're so soft that being called a BAM is going to do irreparable damage then maybe the Corps isn't for you. If you've already earned the title, then wear it, and all that it entails, with pride

-Keith Dunn-
0311 69 - 72

I would like to thank Rodney Riffe for his two cents worth on explaining that calling a WM, as we were called, a BAM is derogatory and demeaning.

I served from 1969 - 1971 and always found it insulting. Of course most of the men would say "I'm just kidding" if you made any remarks back about it. It is nice to know that some one actually understands it! Thanks.

Semper Fi
Sgt. Peggy Blum (now Brigham)

Into The Front Seat
Sgt. Grit

I always enjoy reading the letters that appear. With regards to letter #2, from Jean Tweedy, I enjoyed her comments and must believe that she was a credit to the Marine Corps.

I just wanted to say that when I returned stateside from Guadalcanal in May of 1943, I was amazed at the Women Marine's who were driving the trucks that met us at the dock in San Francisco.

All of us felt that for a Woman to Join the Marine's they must have first passed a Beauty Contest. Some of them were just a little rank happy, as I recall when I climbed into the front seat with two of them, I was politely told that I had to be a Senior NCO, I explained that I held the rank of a Staff Sergeant and was asked where my stripes were. When I mentioned we did not wear stripes in a combat area, they were a little amazed. I recall that someone vouched for me and they did let me ride with them. I had only been overseas for 9 months but had almost forgotten how beautiful a woman could be.

With regards to Jeff Howard and his regarding his Mother, letter. #4. If I had met her, before I met the Girl of my Dreams, I could have easily been his Father. His Mother was another one of those startling good looking Marines. yes, we used the slang word BAM, but never in the presence of a Woman Marine.

M/Sgt. Howard J. Fuller, USMCR Ret.
1940-1946 Active

SQUAD, Right About, MARCH
Re: The eight man drill. I went through PI in the middle of 1960 and we used the eight man drill as well as other column movements. I don't ever remember using it after boot camp but that was a long time ago. What I do remember is that: 1. You had better learn every position or you were lost.

2. A good sense of pride in successfully completing the movements. ["SQUAD, Right About, MARCH", did look good on the parade deck, back alley, or main street.] Finally, was this just not one of the many ways of teaching (and learning) command and control and unit integrity? Not by any means to belittle the phrase, but we were "Gung Ho" before "Semper Fi" became the main call word.
SgtMjr(ret) RL Lowe

Note: I am aware of era call:

Gung Ho
Semper Fi

Any other you can remember?
Sgt Grit

Desert To The Sea

I've been busy lately and out of touch, but faithfully reading every issue. To update -------

1. The wife and I were at the Kennedy Space center in February 2009 and I had my Grit USMC cover on (Red in color). A gentleman came over and introduced himself and his sons after inquiring about the hat. Turns out he was a Guadalcanal Marine named PETER JACQUES. He was in the 3rd division, wounded on another one of the Solomon Islands, was in a hospital for a year and then discharged.

He went on to college at USC or UCLA, graduated then tried to get back into the Corps. Failing that he went into the Army and retired as a Lt. Col. In the Quartermaster Corps.

2. Another WW2 Marine that I see on a regular basis at a club meeting in my hometown of Indianapolis is Henry "Hank" Warren. I'll get the straight skinny on some of his exploits and send them along for a later issue.

3. I enjoyed the commentary on the rifle range, the shooting positions and the scoring. Looking back I think my assignment to the 5th Marines had something to do with my expert qualification with the M-1 and the Colt 45 and some land navigation skills, but I had forgotten the scoring. I was quite impressed with Major James Murphy and his 247 out of 250. My best was 230+ and there were several of us in 4-58 Basic School that were that good. 247 is incredible.

Oh to be 22 again!

4. I'd like to hear from some of my classmates from Basic School Class of 4-58. (PS: I still have the yearbook and some pictures.)

5. Commentary from the 5th Marine "DESERT TO THE SEA" 150 hike from 29 Palms to Camp Pendleton in March of 1960 has slowed way down recently. I know more than 7 of us survived the event. How about the rest of you guys? We need to hear from Gunny Walker, Gorton Cook, Tolson Smoak, Jim Linane and all my guys from the 2nd Platoon just to name a few.

That's it from here!
Cooper out.

Bernie Cooper
Lt. of Marines
2nd Platoon, H Co.
2nd BN. 5th Marines
1st MarDiv.

We Don't Passout
3rd Recruit Training Battalion, Eye Company, Platoon 3137 at MCRD San Diego Thought you might like to see a couple of pictures of 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, "Eye" Company, Platoon 3137 at MCRD San Diego. Formed 7-24-69, First Training Day, 8-4-69, Graduated 9-30-69.

Platoon Commander: SSGT. David L. Noakes (Ret. SGT. MAJOR)
Drill Instructor: SGT. Curtis A. Kauffman
Drill Instructor: SGT. Alfred W. Schultz (we were his first platoon and he loved making us do PT!)

Schultz making sure we don't pass out after taking shots during the first week of processing I'm third from left second row from the top. My starting weight was 220 and graduated weighing 180.

The B&W is Schultz making sure we don't pass out after taking shots during the first week of processing.

Semper Fi,
Jon Rodgers

Almost Ambushed
I regret that forty some years I cannot remember all the facts, but what comes to mine is the medevac during the evac of the myself & three others outside of Khe Sanh June 26, 1967, What I can recall is the pilot was killed when we crashed into a mountain, myself & one other survived both of us wounded. We took the 50 caliber off the tripod and worked our away from the crash site. Early in the morning we were almost ambushed by our own. From that point my mind is blank.
I was with India Co. 3rd Bn. 26th Mar.3rdMarDiv.. If there is anyone that served with me or can remember us, please contact me.

Arnold Ramirez
Retired USMC
kungfu08 [at] att .net

You Marines Get Over Here
Hey Sgt Grit:
I was in 87 - 91, we were definitely not called BAM's except by ill guided young Marines who were trying to act like they were old Corps. I just used to laugh at them. We were called WM's, but I think at the time it was more of a gender distinction for description purposes.."I need the wm's to clean the female head", "take this down to the wm barracks", etc. I can't recall ever something like "hey you wm, get over here". I believe that would have been "hey you Marine or Cpl, get over here". Just as when describing different Marines, "he was a dark green Marine, or he was a light green Marine", etc...If there were a bunch of Marines standing together (male & female) we wouldn't have heard "Hey you wm's and you Marines get over here", it would have just been "you Marines get over here".

Second, shooting competitions. I was series high shooter in boot camp. After arriving on Okinawa it was decided that the boots would do their yearly quals at that time, rifle range, gas chamber, pft...so it was off to the rifle range, qual day shot a 244. I was taken from Comm Co and sent to H&S and earned an 8531 MOS as a Primary Marksmanship Instructor. I will say with pride, not bragging, that I have had some great rifle scores on the range, both rifle and pistol, highest on any given qual day a 246 rifle, 381 pistol (9mm).

What I will brag about was the ability to teach Marines, both old and new, how to shoot better with their weapons. I loved this job. It was up at 3:30 every day to drive from Kinser to Hansen to be on the line before sun up, but I LOVED it. I had very few Marines who had trouble with receiving assistance from a young (female) PFC/LCpl...one old Gunny, but that's a story for another day...

Coaching Letter One of the Marines I was fortunate enough to coach was Col Michael Wyly. The Col had never shot expert with his pistol before... after Monday firing, I asked if he had a few minutes that we could go over some mistakes he was making with his shooting. He stayed for a while and also on Tuesday. By Wednesday, he was shooting sharpshooter, which he was ecstatic about! Wednesday evening, I came down with some kind of bug that put me on bed rest. Thursday my NCOIC took my place on the range. The Col shot expert! My Cpl explained the tradition of giving your rank insignia to your coach. Col Wiley said he knew of the tradition, but that LCpl Keim deserved it.

I was just happy hearing the story! But lo and behold, the next week on the rifle range a young Marine came looking for me, it was Col Wyly's driver, he gave me an envelope. Enclosed was the attached letter. This was one example of why I loved coaching Marines on the range. Yeah, the shooting was great, but helping Marines progress in their shooting still gives me a warm and fuzzy!

Semper Fi!
Michelle R Christman (Keim)
Cpl of Marines 87 - 91

1500/4600 MOS Reunion
Sgt Grit
Reproduction/Lithographers 1500/4600 MOS are having a reunion in Branson, MO., June 23-27 2009, all hands, all years.

Contact Dave Zeferjohn at 785-783-3936, cell 808-782-6131 or e-mail dazef03 [at] cox .net. for info.

This is a very informal gathering, just a group of Marines doing what Marines do, sharing stories and experiences. Always remember our motto "Reproduction is FUN".

Sgt Grit I have enjoyed your newsletter from day one, keep it going.

Semper FI,
Dave Zeferjohn
"Mustang" 53-74

Long Overdue
Marine Commendation Medal certificate Sgt. Grit Sir,
Please find attached Official Citation for Marine Commendation Medal for Valor while serving in South Vietnam with U.S. Marines (1966-67). I was originally recommended for this medal in October, 1966. But never received it. Yesterday history caught up with me and the long overdue medal was presented at the Marine Reserve Center in Chattanooga, Tn.

Semper Fidelis,
Elbert L. Gatlin Sgt. of Marines

Aircraft Taking Off
In SD we didn't have any sand fleas but my platoon was housed in metal Quonset Huts (without heaters) next to one of the active runways by the San Diego airport. I went through boot camp in November and December of 1965, winter time here in the land of Sunshine and Beaches. It was so cold at night we slept, when there wasn't aircraft taking off or landing, with our uniforms and field jackets on. We could see the jets taking off and we would wish that we were on one no matter where it was going as long as there wasn't a Drill Instructor on board. I guess we all have memories of our boot camp days no matter if we were SD or PI boots. The thing most sacred in our hearts is that we are all Unite States Marines.
Bob T.

Most Riky Tik
I was sitting outside my hooch, at Marble Mountain, late 1968 or early 69. I had a clear view down towards the showers and out- houses ( the polite name ). A Marine was going to the showers, wearing only a towel, and stopped off at the out-house to do his business. What he was doing was fairly clear since the door and upper half of the walls were just screens. I could not hear what happened, but from his actions I can guess. He lifted the lid, turned and ran through the door, fell and did a high crawl at high speed. He had gotten about twenty feet from the door when green smoke billowed out of the out-house causing myself, and others with me, to nearly die laughing. Tough humor for tough times.

I can only assume that someone booby trapped the lid with a smoke grenade, and hearing the sound of the pin coming out or the spoon coming off, encouraged the Marine to leave most riky tik.

Sgt. Bassett

Camp Elmore
Sgt. Grit,
In (a bit delayed) response to Earl McDowell's question, "Anyone reading this news letter remember Camp Elmore at Norfolk, Va?" in the 12Mar09 newsletter:

My last duty assignment before being released from active duty on 1Jun69, was as Assistant S-4 and Bn Embark Officer for H&S Bn, HQ FMFLant, Norfolk. The battalion was quartered at Camp Elmore. I was there from January of '68 until my EOAS. A few weeks ago, I did an online map/sat. photo search for the camp and discovered that it no longer exists. (At least, I couldn't find it, and as an old art'y FO, my map skills were pretty good. By the way, a greeting to my radio operator on Operation Desoto, Bill Stansbury: good to see you joining in on this newsletter. I wonder where you got that picture of yourself.)

My wife and I rented a house a block north of Little Creek Road, just north of the Azalea Gardens and a little west of Little Creek Amphib Base. Many days, as I drove to Elmore, I would pass the battalion XO, LCol. Siler, who often jogged into work. With stop-and-go traffic, he would then pass me, and so-forth, often arriving at the front gate before I did.

I enjoyed my tour at Elmore, and with my EOAS date approaching, I requested an extension, if not augmentation into the "regulars," but found myself one of those 100,000 Marines who were sent home to join the Reserves, if they so desired, when the Corps down-sized back to its authorized manning level as part of its withdrawal from 'Nam.

So, yes, Earl, there are at least two of us besides you who remember Elmore. Through Sgt. Grit, I've also heard from Sgt. Jim Donegan, who also worked in the "S-4 Shop."

In addition to the features located at Elmore that Earl mentioned, there were barracks for Headquarters Company, Service Company, MP Company, and WM Company, and various office buildings and shops. There was also a small PX just inside the front gate, and, as I remember, an indoor pistol range.

Semper Fi!

Tom Downey Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine
1963-76: PLC candidate, '63 and '65;
Basic School Class 4-66 (Mar-Aug66);
FAOBC 5-66 at Ft Sill (Aug-Oct66)
Vietnam, 4Dec66-18Dec'67:
"I" 3/11: FO for "L" 3/7 for 6 months, then Btry FDO;
AFDO for 3rd 8" Howitzers my last 4 months
Reserve unit, Corpus Christi, TX: XO of "C" 4th Recon;
CO of "D" 4th Recon; CO of "C" 1/23 after the
two recon companies were combined and re-designated

My Brother And I
Platoon 252 1962 Sgt Grit

Here is a photo of our platoon 252. My brother and I are at each end of the third row up.

L/CPL Dale Landon 2008036

BS Both Ways
I went to boot camp 3 months after my older brother. Out of boot camp in April 1957 to ITR and into the same Company my brother had been in. Went to get my first Liberty and Liberty Card in 3 1/2 months and the CO says, "I had an Olson in here three months ago, any relative?" Now I wanted to see the sights, not BS. But I had to say "Yes Sir, He was my brother."

Now the Lt has to take me out to the next room, to a bunch of pictures, of about 250 men each, and ask me, "Which one was your brother?" He... I had never seen the pictures, but I pointed to one of the Marines and said, "This one Sir" He said, "I think I remember him!" BS both ways I'm sure, but I got my Liberty Card! Some things you never forget!
Bob Olson 1957-58-59

Haven't You Ever Seen
I was a recruit at MCRD San Diego, Ca. (03/1964) Platoon 328 K- Co. Our platoon was quarantined with spinal meningitis, so we had to eat last in the mess hall. On one occasion we arrived too early and came in on a platoon of Woman Marine (Boots), in the recruit mess hall. Their female drill instructor yelled and screamed at them, What's the matter girls haven't you ever seen a group of swinging d--ks before? NOW GET UP and GET OUT NOW! not long after that we were taken off of quarantine and never seen them again.

An Hoa Ammo Dump
I was on a radio relay shot at An Hoa when the ammo dump in DaNang went up. Even though we were about 30 miles away it was still a spectacular sight.

I can't remember if it was before or after the DaNang dump went up but sometime that same spring the ammo dump at An Hoa went up. Here are some photos I took of the explosions that night. I used an engineer's stake for a make-shift tripod and took a long exposure. Several times that night a huge blast went off and night turned into day. The picture of the shrapnel is what we policed up around our hootch and radio bunker. The toe on the right will give you some idea of scale.

An Hoa Ammo Dump Explosion An Hoa Ammo Dump Explosion An Hoa Ammo Dump Explosion Shrapnel from expolosion

Bill Wright - Sgt.
1st Mar. Div. - HQ. BN. - Comm. Co. - Radio Relay Plt.
'68 - '69

From Boot Camp
pictures of my boot camp time Sgt Grit
I have enjoyed your web site for a few years now. I thought I would send you a couple of pictures of my boot camp time. From boot camp I went to amtrac school at Camp Delmar at Oceanside. Then to 3rd Mar Div at Camp Gifu in Japan, where I was put into a Anglico plt as a radio operator and forward observer, and we went to Iwo Jima but this was Feb 56 Then the 3rd Mar Div moved to Okinawa in March of that year. When I returned to the states I spent my last 14 months in the PX at Parris Island S. C. Met a bunch great men in the Corps and have been able to find a few of them that I served with.

Cpl. Bernie Caldwell.
P.S. That was before crossed rifles were on the chevrons

Muddy Waters
The recent medal for bravery that I received for actions in Vietnam along the banks of the Song Vu Gia River while trying to save a wounded Marine has received an invitation from Pat Boone to meet him while he is in Chattanooga this month. The connection between Mr. Pat Boone and I goes back to his wonderful song "Moody River". This song was playing on the radio at the time I was serving in Vietnam. It was my favorite song.

In the song the words go: "Moody River Your Muddy Waters Took My Babies Life". But when I hear the song The words I hear are "Moody River Your Muddy Waters Took My Buddies Life". It was along the banks of the Song Vu Gia River just south of DaNang when on October 13th, 1966 that my Marine Buddy L/Cpl. Perry L. Poole was severely wounded. Despite my efforts and Doc Harpers to save him, he died three days later from his wound in a hospital in DaNang.

Back in 2005 I started to email with Mr. Pat Boone. I told him how much the song means to me. And he was touched by my words to the song. Mr. Boone told me then that his song "Moody River" would from then on have a new meaning for him. I look forward to meeting Mr. Pat Boone later this month.

Semper Fidelis,
Sgt. Maddog

Mortar Platoon
3/26 Marines Mortar Platoon 1966 Sgt. Grit:

Attached is a picture of the 3/26 Marines mortar platoon. Taken in Okinawa 1966, just before deployment to Vietnam. I was a member of that platoon during transit and for a short while "in country". In Vietnam I was transferred to L/3/26 where I was given an M79 and became a grenadier. In the photo, the Marine second from left, first row standing, is a Sgt. Armstrong who earned the Navy Cross during action around Con Thien on Sept. 7/8, 1967. Same area and time, I believe, that L/Cpl. Starkey mentions in the latest Sgt. Grit newsletter.

Cpl. Charlie Carter

Summer Of '65
Sgt. Grit,

In catching up on back issues of the newsletter, I have seen several boot camp platoon photos this weekend. That reminded me of my own OCS platoon pictures, particularly the one from Senior PLC's during the summer of '65 at "Mainside" Quantico, which I have attached.

Tom Downey wtih his OCS Platoon Our platoon commander was Capt. Fitts (left side, front row). The Platoon Sergeant was SSgt. Yoder, and Sergeant Instructor was Sgt. Mauty (both on the right side, front row, from left to right). That's me in the next-to-top row, far left--the only one with eyeballs straight ahead, instead of looking at the camera. On the far right side of the same row was my bunk mate, Pete Grimm, who was Art'y Liaison Officer for 3/7 when I was FO for Lima 3/7 in '67. The candidate holding the platoon sign was Leonard Dornak, later KIA in Vietnam as a lieutenant (named on The Wall). Straight above "Candidate" Dornak in the top row is Fred Cuny.

I've read several comments recently about how "oohrah" was not used in the 60's. Actually, the first time I ever heard that "Recon Growl" or "Tiger Growl," was on a platoon run during that summer, and it was Fred who was sounding off. I'm not sure where he picked it up, but it definitely sounded "cool." I expected Fred to go far in the Corps, but that didn't happen, as I found out later. Fred's college grades slipped, so he was dropped from the officer candidate program. Instead, he went on the become a major player in the disaster relief field around the world.

Unfortunately, in 1995, he was shot by Chechnyan rebels, who suspected him of being a spy, while trying to help the desperate people in that part of the former Soviet Union. His death made the national news. You can read his story in a book titled The Man Who Tried to Save the World, by Scott Anderson. When I did a "Google" search today, I found that a movie was being planned in 2002, in which Harrison Ford was to play Fred's part. As far as I know, it never materialized.

Semper fi!

Tom Downey
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine
1963-76 ("For pay purposes")
Vietnam: 4Dec66-18Dec67

1928 30 Calweapon

Very Loud
Retired Major Bill Davis. Rambo! The machine gun I'm holding is a 1928 30 Calweapon used in WWII, It is functional in a semi automatic mode. Retired Major Bill Davis holding his 1928 30 Calweapon Makes a very loud noise when fired and is guaranteed to keep suspicious characters away from your house!

Short Rounds
Sgt Grit. If one observes those Warrior Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan - how they get the job done as Marines have always done - one cannot tell the difference between the PI Marines and the SD Marines. There is no difference! Marines are Marines regardless of the sand under their feet in Boot Camp.

Semper Fi.

David Aday, Major
USMC, Retired
PI & OCS Quantico Flavor

In response to Doc Decker's email concerning the rocket attack on DaNang in November of 1967 I was there staying at the 3rd MAF Transient Facility waiting on assignment to Chu Lai. That was my first time experiencing incoming. I don't remember anything blowing up then but during TET of 68 when we were hit with incoming for over an hour or so and they hit our bomb dump in Chu Lai, we later heard that the bomb/ ordnance dump at (1st?) LAAMBS Battalion in DaNang was also hit and that Freedom Hill (327 area) was also hit.
Gene Hays
MSgt, USMC Retired
Chu Lai '67-'68

Sometimes you are encouraged about our country's future when you see something like this. Specifically, there is an annual contest at Texas A&M University calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term:

This year's term was "Political Correctness."

The winner wrote:
"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.."

R. J. Wiedemann LtCol. USMC Ret

I wanted to reply to the question about sand fleas at PI. I was a recruit the summer of 1972--the sand fleas were terrible at that time. I am a Woman Marine and always thought the term BAM was very derogatory. I went through as much "challenge" and harassment as everybody else does at Basic and feel that I totally earned the title of MARINE. I will never will forget the time the DI pinned on my eagle, globe, and anchor. I am a Marine forever and very proud of it.
LCPL Jane Curtis

Dear Sgt Grit,

Just got done reading the news letter It warmed this old Marines heart. The last veterans day parade I rode in was rough on me because it was in honor of my buddy who was killed in Vietnam. There was one woman sitting on the curb and as I rode by she started to cry and looked so sad she touched my heart I told my driver to stop by her and I offered her a ride after picking her I found out that day she received the news that her son a MARINE was killed in Iraq needless to say I lost it to her I say

God Bless you and to the rest of my fellow MARINES SEMPER FI

SGT C j Westra retired

Sgt. Grit:

I want to thank S/Sgt Merton Bushong for giving me the scoop on the way we qualified back then. Man! Brought some good memories. I can still smell the powder and hear the rounds popping the target while we were down in the butts! I had an "M-1 thumb" on qualification day and almost didn't get my last shot at the target on shooting at 300 yards rapid fire. As I fired my last shot, the target was coming down.

David E. Tyre...Jesup, GA...And...Semper Fi to all of you!

Makin Island
It is most interesting that, even after many years, the Corps lives up to its belief in not leaving fallen brothers behind. I am certain that the way this ceremony is carried out will bring a tear to your eye. Check out the video on YouTube.

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Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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