As former enlisted Marine, 1957-1960, upon graduating from Dental School and joining the Navy Dental Corps in '67, I found myself attached to the Battalion Aid Station of 1/7 on Hill 10 in the RVN.
During the first day of Tet, 68, I was sitting on our magnificent 4 holer reading the Stars and Stripes before using it as toilet paper since the TP ship failed to arrive when an ambitious NVA sniper in a tree line 500 yds away decided to put a few rounds through our stately head.
Hearing the unmistakable "crack" of incoming and seeing our outhouse suddenly ventilated, I was stuck with the age old question...do I s### or get off the pot? That is a statement I will never forget!
T.L. Barton, USMC, Cpl, 1957-1960,
USN, Capt, 1967-1997
Remembered Meeting Me
In response to "Chesty" Puller, during my last year of active duty while working in the photo archives at Quantico, Va. in 1969, I had the privilege along with the other Marines working there to shake this great man's hand. We were looking through old microfilm that might have some footage of this legendary Marine. A movie was being made about "CHESTY" and they wanted to see if they could use any of the clips we found. When that was completed, I was assigned to the Marine Corps Museum as a guard and explainer of the different exhibits on display. One day while I was on duty, this great General along with a small entourage showed up to view it. I again got to shake this great man's hand, feeling incredible humility and honor doing so. Like the first time, the general mentioned the Silver Star and Purple Heart medals I had on my dress blues and remembered meeting me a month earlier and mentioned to me "You sure get around on this base, don't you Corporal? I could only reply, "Yes Sir".
Paul A McNally, Cpl. of Marines, 1965 - 1969
D 1/5 1st Marine Div. 10, 1966 - 6, 1967 2121897
Face Their Families
While at Parris Island many years ago, I didn't see any one drummed out of the Corps, but I remember one day while we were marching some where. The DI stopped us and made us do a left face. At first I was wondering just what I was looking at. Then the DI told us that we were watching the *0$@ing pukes that couldn't make it through boot camp. They were out side dressed in the most ridiculous clothes I think any one could find. I mean they looked like a badly dressed clown with dress shoes. All of them had their heads hung about as low as they could get and I truly felt sorry for them because I knew that they would be put on a plane or bus like that. Then have to face their families.
Then the DI started yelling as loud as he could (as normal) that if we didn't straighten up, we would be the next group of clowns standing there. Besides being determined that I wasn't going to let those DI's get the best of me. I think that was a h&ll of a wake up call and motivation to do the best that I possibly could to make it through boot camp and be called a Marine.
I do remember when I got back to the world and was getting out. There were a couple of guys that had been caught with Heroin in Nam and were getting Dishonorable discharges. I asked one of the Sergeant's what was going to happen to them and he told me they were getting drummed out of the Corps, taken to the back of Camp Pendleton and kicked out of the gate, but I didn't witness the affair.
Found this photo of me taken in N. Korea July 27, 1953 right after the truce was signed. Then Cpl. Max Sarazin, 1st ANGLICO. Promoted to Sgt 6 mos later. Past Cmdt Det 955 MCL, Pound Keeper Seadog Pound 338 MODD,
PDD Max Sarazin
During Sept 1953, I was one of the first 50 with 1st AAA-AW Bn, FMF (LtCol E. V. Boro, Commanding) permanently transferred from Camp Pendleton to MCB, 29 Palms, when it opened for business. Not much there then except there Bks we moved into while everything else was under construction. New units were arriving on a regular basis and by years end there was enough to rate a BGen as CG, Force Troops. Although I don't remember his first name, he was commonly known as BG "Big Foot" Brown, a tall lanky gentleman.
In late 1953, all units stationed there were ordered to assemble in formation. The purpose, the drumming out of a deserter who had been given a dishonorable discharge. At the appointed time BG Brown ordered the young man marched before the formation. Charges were read and the SgtMaj was ordered to strip the you man of all Marine symbols. The SgtMaj removed the USMC Globe & Anchor, he then cut every button from the uniform. The General then ordered all units about face and a Drummer to march the man out the front gate. I was a young PFC at the time and have never forgotten that occasion. It was a very chilling experience.
J. T. DARBY
Major, USMC (Ret'd)
He Interrupted Me
Last November I had the privilege of being invited to my first ever Marine Corps Ball. As a former FMF Corpsman, I have always felt more of a kinship with Marines than I ever did with the Navy, and this was an opportunity I could not pass up. Little did I know it would bring closure to a 40 year-old mystery.
The Ball was also a "welcome home" from Iraq for Marine Helicopter Squadron HMM-364, known since Viet Nam as "The Purple Foxes." If you've been on the ground in Iraq in the last couple of years, you have probably seen their CH-46's flying around. Their distinctive motto-"Give a Sh!t" is painted on the bottom of their helicopters and certainly is memorable. Anyway, two friends-both Corpsmen-died while serving with HMM-364 in Viet Nam, one of whom was my best friend, Bill Sperb, so this was indeed a special opportunity for me. (The other was Stephanie Hanson's father, Gary Young-read her book: "A Corpsman's Legacy"). I was seated at a table with Stephanie and her escort for the evening, a retired Colonel who was the Commanding Officer of the squadron at the time of my friends' deaths, Col. Gene Brady. I cannot remember ever meeting a finer gentleman. His gracious composure, sense of humor, and self-effacing manner made him stand out in any group he engaged. He is also a recipient of the Navy Cross. Seated next to me was another gentleman, Judge Joseph P. Donovan, the recipient of TWO Navy Crosses. I was in awe of them, but many of the 300+ people at the Ball saw my Viet Nam Service medal and my Corpsman's insignia and came up to thank me, tell me how honored they were to meet me, and how thankful they were for their corpsmen. Overall, it was a humbling experience.
At one point in the evening, a gentleman approached and introduced himself to me as "Rich." He told me that he had been a pilot with the Foxes in 1968-69, and I said, "Well, you might have known a friend of mine who died during that time, a Corpsman-" He interrupted me: "You mean Bill Sperb?" Stunned, I managed to say, "Well, yes..." He said, "Not only did I know him, I was flying the helicopter when he crashed. I was with him when he died."
For nearly 40 years, I have had a difficult time accepting that my best friend had been simply blown out of the sky. Now I know he was not alone when he died. He was flying his 803rd Medevac mission. His goal was 1000. Nobody knows if 803 is a record or not, but I have yet to hear of anyone claim otherwise. Bill's easygoing manner, his winning smile, and his dedication to "his" Marines live with me to this day. Since then, Rich and I have talked on the phone, exchanged Christmas gifts, and become friends. One never knows when a healing opportunity will take place, or from what direction it will come. I later learned that Stephanie had asked him to talk to me. The legacy she carries on in her father's name is the continued healing of wounds-physical and otherwise-from that tragic period in American history. I am proud to be associated with such fine people and to call them friends and brothers.
Doc Thompkins, HMC
Dear Sgt Grit,
The Gunny said "there is no place and no time I would rather be than here and now". By the living standards I had come to expect in Vietnam this was pretty good but it was not as good as home. I thought the man crazy. It was Christmas Day 1967, forty one years ago today.
The place was well north in South Vietnam. I had just come back from the perimeter where I manned a M60 machine gun for a four hour shift. My view had been unobstructed for as far as I could see in front of my position as the terrain was flat and desert like. I felt safe.
Desert like, except it was wet. Little fresh water puddles spotted the area around our outpost. It was great for bathing
but not drinking as it was used for bathing and we were all rather ripe with sweat. The Marines who were here more permanently than I had cots and were housed in heavy wooden bunkers covered from top to bottom with many layers of sand bags. They were well sheltered from the rain and I envied the fact that they were dry most of the time except when duty called them to the perimeter or patrol. When done they could dry off and change clothes and boots in a relatively safe environment. So far I had not been this lucky as I spent most of my time in the jungle digging a new hole every night sleeping and marching in the rain. Still the Gunny's statement was mind boggling as I recalled my mother's Christmas dinner and the love of my family on this day.
My job here was to run some field telephone wire and do whatever else I was ordered to do and that included guarding the perimeter and burning the human waste with diesel fuel.
In a group of 15 Marines there is always one who fancied himself a C ration chef. His family would send him hot sauce and other spices and he would make fancy the rather bland C rations that we lived on. We had such a Marine in this bunker on this Christmas Day. It addition the Marines came forward with the treats sent from their families "back in the world". Yes, we had a buffet of sorts on this Christmas Day. Although some of the cakes and cookies might be a bit stale no one complained. Beverages were limited to cool aid drunk from a plastic canteen or metal cup.
In a group of 15 Marines there is always one who fancied himself a rock star. We had such a Marine and he broke out his guitar. So here we were 15 men of all different religions singing Silent Night by candle light, eating fancied up C rations and stale sweets; each willing to lay down his life for the least liked among us. The Gunny was not crazy after all. The place and time he was referring to was not Christmas Day 1967 in Vietnam. The place and time he was talking about was within us. The love I felt in that bunker on that night I have yet to duplicate and never will until God calls me home.
First let me say that I am thankful for your newsletter and website. It's inspiring to read letter after letter from generations of Marines. Even when the daily grind seems to be at its worst, the emails make me realize what's important and puts everything right back into perspective.
I'm stationed at 8th and I Marine Barracks in Washington D.C. I was recruited out of boot camp to come here and become a ceremonial marcher. As it turned out, when I arrived I was placed in SDS (Silent Drill School) After 4 months of what seemed like boot camp all over again, I finally made the platoon. Not long after I injured one of my knees and was placed in another marching company, A2 earth pigs. I was more than proud to do the numerous ceremonies at the White House, the Pentagon, Andrews Air Force Base and Arlington. I don't think there could be a more honorable duty then putting our fellow brothers to rest. It's something that I'll never be able to fully describe to anyone. The feelings that come over you. The honor one feels putting to rest a brother I've never met, never heard of but they are still my brother. I'm forever grateful that I had that opportunity.
Unfortunately, my knee problems kept getting worse and the command keep moving me around to where they needed me. Now I'm running the gym and rec centers for MCCS. It's by no means a job to write home about. The point I wanted to get across in this email was that I'm still proud as ever to be a Marine. My father also reads this newsletter every week and we have discussed a great many times about this subject. Even though I'm 0311 doing a job I did not sign up for I'm still an 0311 and I'm still a US Marine. Thanks Sgt. Grit for your newsletter. It's a continued source of support and motivation.
Note: Perfect example of improvise, adapt, overcome. They're still making them the way they used to.
Much More Prefer
In 1963 while stationed in Headquarters company, 106 Plt, 2bn 8th Marines there was a drumming out of a Marine. As I remember the charges were extremely serious as the prisoner was still in hand cuffs. The whole battalion was in formation and after charges were read the Bn did a about face to the prisoner and marched of the parade field to the Marines Hymn. I will never forget that time in the Marine Corps. Though now I much more prefer to remember all the real Marines who have served our country with bravery and true honor for over 200 years. As a side line General Pullers son-in law was a 1st LT in H&S co 2/8 at the time of this drumming out.
Cpl Richard Colwill USMC 62-68
Semper Fi Saloon
Keep up the outstanding work Sgt Grit.
This is my Semper Fi Saloon in my garage
1stSgt Scott Leigh (Ret)
It Was A Sad Day
Regarding Doc Stern's story about meeting the Pullers, I was in the 3rd MarDiv (Fwd) comm center at Dong Ha, Quang Tri Province, Vietnam, when the message about Lt. Puller came through. It was an "Encrypted For Transmission Only" (EFTO) message that described his injuries. As it was passed around and everyone read it the mood became very somber. We all realized how it would affect Chesty and his wife when they got it. Chesty Puller was a living Marine legend at the time and those of us who were stationed at Quantico during that era were aware that the Pullers lived in Saluda, VA, about a two hour drive from Quantico and loved to invite young Marines into their home. I didn't take advantage of this but heard a number of stories from those who did. It was a sad day for the Marine Corps when Lt. Puller received his injuries; not so much for Lt. Puller, himself, because many Marines were killed or injured during this war (it's part of the risk of being a Marine that we all accept) but out of respect for his Dad.
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
- George Orwell
Mark Van Noy
Sergeant of Marines
3rd MarDiv, Dong Ha, Nam 68-69
Parris Island, Jul - Oct 62, Platoon 245
Here is one that I remember from "Leatherneck" back in the early 60's. I don't remember the poem but the final refrain. "The Old Corps."
The Old Corps.
There never was really an Old Corps.
Tun's first Marine sneered when the second appeared And muttered, "It's not like the old Corps."
He Thought Every Marine Should
hi sgt i served in Corps from 1953 to 1957 went to Parris Island after grad. went to Camp Lejeune for AIT just missed Korea. while we were training we stopped the war games for one day a jeep pulled up and out stepped gen. Chesty Puller followed by a duce and a half with hot chow, then he inspected the troops and shook our hands and said how proud he was. that was in 1954 and i will never forget that. After that i transferred to porthsmith navel base in NH. I got into a little trouble and spent some time in the brig, and one day our sgt. told us we were expecting a visitor when the brig walked Chesty Puller he asked us why we where there and to make us feel good he said he thought every Marine should spend some time in the brig it makes better Marines.
PFC ron dougherty USMC
Less Than Honorable
I remember reading about the drumming out that was done at Norfolk VA in the Leatherneck magazine or some newspaper and what a stir it caused. It was supposed to be this one time that caused the Marine Corps to cease the drumming out to sh#tbirds that had been court-martialed. Afterwards those that had been given a less than honorable discharge were taken to the main gate and taken to the MP office or gate guardhouse and read the reason for discharge and then told that it was a federal offense for him/her to be on any military base and then given the required paperwork, after signing that he understood all that was being done and then sent out the gate.
I know that this was done because I had to do this with one Marine while stationed at MCAS Cherry Point, NC. Don't remember what year it was, but I think that it was mid-70's.
SQ Commander The Command
I was in H&MS 26 MAG 26 at MCAS New River from 71 to 74 and I witnessed a ceremony of this magnitude in I believe 74. The young Marine being removed from our Corps must have been a real screw-up, seems like it took the Sgt Major five minutes to read all the charges against him.
It was made plain to the whole squadron the disgrace that came with it. And everyone in that formation knew that it was something you only wanted to see that one time.
First and only time I ever heard from a SQ Commander the command to the Squadron of "attention, right face, forward march, rout step, dismissed get the heck out of here" all in one breath.
Sgt USMC 1970-74
We Were At Parade Rest
I witnessed a Marine being "drummed out of the Corps" at MCRD San Diego. I was in C & E Battalion (Communications and Electronics) going to school between September 1961 and May 1962. All eighteen classes were ordered to put on the Uniform of the Day, which was tropicals, and fall out on the parade ground. This means that it had to be before or after the UD was changed to the winter green uniform. The Marine prisoner had white tape on certain parts of his uniform and a large white "P" on the back of his shirt. We were at "Parade Rest" as an officer read off the charges of his "Court Martial". On or about "a certain date", Pvt. "prisoner's name" did commit sodomy with PFC "a Marine that he had bullied", and on or about "two other dates", he had committed sodomy with two other Marines that he forced himself on, and having been found guilty is hereby awarded a Bad Conduct discharge.
There was one drummer who walked behind the officer that read the charges and the prisoner walked behind them, last in line to a point about twenty paces before the first class. The drummer tapped out a simple march tempo and the three started marching in front of the 18 classes, the prisoner about fifteen paces behind the officer and the drummer. As the officer approached, each class was called to "Attention" and then given the command "About Face". As the prisoner approached each class, they were facing the other way. I was told that he was marched straight to the gate and his belongings were thrown off of the base. I did not feel sorry for the prisoner as he bullied himself on three Marines who joined to become men. However, I did feel sad for the three Marines as their names were read as part of the charges. I guess that could not be helped. That happened over 45 years ago, but it is still fresh in my mind as if it happened yesterday. I wish that "Drumming Out of the Corps" could be depicted in a movie somehow.
Sgt. Norville R. Carter
To all Marines, past, present and future:
from Parris Island, Summer 1952...
"Beautiful Beaufort by the sea,
twenty-nine miles from Yemassee.
But I'm a S**tbird, as you can see
because I lost my locker box key!"...
Thanks to DI's Montera, Napolitano, Doudna & Liset!
to the 9th Marines, from Camp Sakai, Osaka, Japan, who moved to Camp Kawasaki, Okinawa on 4 July 1955, thus re-establishing the first, permanent Marine presence on Okinawa since WWII...
Thanks to Capt. Victor O'hanesian, CO of W-2-9, who later gave his life in Vietnam, as a Lt. Col., while carrying a wounded, enlisted Marine to safety!
to those same 9th Marines who made the 10th anniversary landing on Iwo Jima and also sat on a wet, muddy Okinawan hillside in 1956 to watch the Bob Hope, USO show...
Thanks for the memories!
Happy New Year, 2009, to all Marines!
S/Sgt Burns Hovey, USMCR, 1331128
In A Galaxy Far Far Away
Years ago in a galaxy far far away. As I recall It was called Viet Nam. I was recommended for a bronze star, That was the last I heard about it until Top was going over my records as I was being discharge at MCRD San Diego. He noted it had been placed on the wrong page of my file. More interested in leaving, I ignored it and went to face a world I no longer understood. To make a long story short, Years later the medal caught up with me in Moscow Idaho. I revived a full troop and stomp from the Marines and Naval ROTC and MSEP(sp). After a pass in review, (pretty heavy stuff for an ageing Cpl, I was feeling pretty full of myself. After the ceremony I was joined by my wife and young daughters. I remember the Company Gunny asking my daughters what they thought of their daddy being a "hero" My eldest looked at him and said "He is still just my Dad" The Gunny looked at her and laughed and said "i see my job is in good hands" Shook her hand and walked away. To Gunnies and Daughters everywhere who keep us grounded and straight.
Paul W. Upthegrove Cpl USMC
Old Breed Wore Herringbone
1962 Camp Margarita home of 5th Marine Regiment I was a Doc with I/3/5 (first platoon I think) we had six S**tbirds drummed-out. Company formation, guards brought the prisoners out and read the charges, the head of the detail approached each man and roughly ripped and cut the insignia off of each person, we were ordered about face and they were lead-off, soon after they were marched to a bus wearing cloths of the most neutral colors I've ever seen. Our Top was 1stSgt Ott and our Gunny was Gunny Martinez all the old Breed wore Herring bone utilities and received the utmost respect.
Doc Matheson FMF Corpsman 1961 - 1963
I Take A Header
Somewhere around the end of April '68, after leaving the Khe Sanh Combat Base, I was attached to the 11th Engineer Bn. at Dong Ha. These were some of the finest Marines I had met while in Nam. Anyway, I'm leaving the battalion messhall, diddy boppin' along, swinging my mess tray by the wire attached, without a care in the world. Dong Ha was known as "Rocket City" and wouldn't you know Charles decides to ruin my delightful afternoon by keeping that title alive. Hearing that familiar krump, I'm off and running for the nearest bunker. I take a header into a sandbagged fighting hole. It would have been embarrassing, but everyone else was scrambling for cover.
Lying face down I felt something slide under my flak jacket and lift me off the deck. So here I am flailing away with my mess tray being transported about two feet parallel to the deck. Another rocket hits just as I'm flung between the blast wall and bunker. I finally get unscrewed and I'm face to face with SgtMaj Head. He grabs my mess tray and flings it out of the bunker and rips into me. "Don't you know that tray can cause shrapnel?" I couldn't figure that one out for we were already in the safety of the bunker. We hoped. Then he gives me a wink and I know he's f***ing with me. This was a Marine's Marine, not very tall, but built like a fire plug. I still wonder til this very day what would have happened that fateful day if the SgtMaj hadn't carried me off to safety.
In September '68 I was assigned to MP & GD Co., MCBase Brig, Camp Lejeune, as an indoctrination NCO. One day I'm passing the Force Troops area across from the brig and low and behold there's a red and yellow sign with SgtMaj Head's name on it. Now, I've got to check this out. I enter the building and knock on the hatch with his name on it. He immediately recognized me and exclaimed he hoped I would get home safe for he never saw a more clumsy Marine. Funny, my mom always said I was clumsy. SgtMaj Head, wherever you are, thank you and may God bless you.
Joseph Alvino, Sgt., USMC
See What I Mean
Today, while reading the 18Dec08 issue, I found Warrant Officer/Major Joe Featherston's account of the night his Basic School Class presented their painting to Gen. Puller.
That night was what I consider one of the highlights of my Corps experience. No, I wasn't a warrant officer. I was a second lieutenant in Officer Basic Class 4-66 (Foxtrot Company) from March to August 1966, and I was up on the "flying bridge" above the Hawkins Room Bar "gathering intelligence" (eavesdropping) from some of the General's conversation with "his men."
One of the stories he shared with them has stayed with me all these years. He said that he no longer accepted invitations to speak at functions for new lieutenants at the Basic School since his last appearance there. Supposedly, he told that last class of "butter bars" that they didn't make lieutenants "like they used to": that back in his day, lieutenants could jump from the flying bridge down to the lobby floor without injury. In response, there was a mad rush up the stairs and a mass catapulting over the hand rail that resulted in several broken bones. His response was, "See what I mean?"
I thought it was great that the warrant officers gave that painting to the school, and we lieutenants were greatly disappointed when it suddenly disappeared after the WO's left. One of my platoon mates said he found it in a closet somewhere in one of the buildings. It's good to hear that it later found its way back "home" where it belongs.
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine
'63-'76 "for pay purposes": PLC candidate--'63 & '65; The Basic School & Ft Sill--'66; Vietnam--4Dec66-18Dec67, including 6 months as arty FO from "I" 3/11 to "L" 3/7; HQ Bn, HQ FMFLant, Norfolk, VA--'68-'69; XO of "C" & CO of "D" 4th Recon Bn (both companies combined and redesignated as "C" 1/23 during my tour) USMCR, Corpus Christi, TX--'69-'75.
How In This World
I'll never forget that morning of Sept. 75 being told I had only 3 F#%king heart beats to be on the yellow foot prints in front of the bus and 2 of them just went by. MOVE! for the next 13 week I thought that they were doing every thing to kill me instead of teaching me how to surviving the rest of my life.
March of 97 while at work I fell 38 feet breaking my back & pelvic and dying 3 times that day. The doctor told my family that if I lived for the next 72 hours that then and only then they would give me a 10% chance of living and that I'd spend the next 6 months in a wheelchair before I could start walking again. I told the doc that I'd be walking again within 2 months to which he bet me $100 that I wouldn't. Well needless to say 28 days later I came out of the hospital on crutches and thanking my doc for the hundred bucks. He asked me how in this world was I able to walk again so fast because I still had a non-union fracture in my pelvic & he had never seen a broken back that bad that didn't put me in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. I looked him in the eyes and said." Doc after surviving 3rd Battalion Rose Garden and playing in the sand spurs while dodging sand fleas and doing all of those bends & whoopee's & leg lifts, learning to walk again was nothing !" No matter how bad it hurt I would just think back to those fun days on the island where you knew better then to stop & give up because your DI's would bring a hurt on you like nothing you ever felt before in your life.
Keevin Prince class of 75
The Spare Pair
To Marines of 1956 to 1963, Colonel Schmuck, CO 5th Marines loved to walk every where, I can't ever remember a ride. We actually did 100 miles in 3 days with a big beer bust on what was the 3rd day. I loved that, got snookered, I won 4 cases of beer, rolled huge rock into the Gunny's pup tent and he could not get it out. all his gear was under that bolder. I saw two men drummed out of the Marines once at 5th Marines and once at MCRD. I'm 70 now and would love that hike again Semper Fi Tom G/2/5 1st Marines Reinforced FMF All The Way, and Gung Ho.
In the 1 Jan 2009 edition, it is good to see someone else remembers the first hike. I was in Radio Platoon H&S 3/5 and our Radio Chief drew an egg on his helmet cover saying we were going on a "wild goose chase." He said if he fell out he wanted to see every one of our boot prints in the middle of his field pack. After it was all over, I overheard him say he didn't believe in making young Marines walk 50 miles, get drunk on beer, and then walk back. I was 17 at the time but Marines were never asked for ID on base and in this case, the Col. bought the beer! I still have a certificate issued to every Marine who made the hike naming us a "Boondocker Supreme."
The second hike was, I believe, 155 miles and didn't include the beer day. Col. Schmuck also was famous for the "warm-up hike" before these where we marched out about 10 miles and were instructed to take off our boots and throw them into a box and put on our spare pair from our packs. Those who had not brought the spare pair walked back in socks!
Corporal of Marines 1958 - 1962
Some Alone Time
All C-Rat can openers were not created equal. If you found a good one, you hung on to it. A good one would just fall open, no effort necessary to open it. I still carry one I got in '65 on my key ring but need a piece of electrical tape on it to keep it from opening in my pocket. Opened everything up to two pound coffee cans with that little gem.
Drumming out was not common at Camp Lejeune in the '70's, we were required to give the "problem child" a ride to the gate. I decided which gate. There was/is a State Highway that runs thru the base from Sneads Ferry to the Swansboro area with several miles of nothing but pine trees along the road leading to Hwy 24 and the civilian world. There was/is an MP at each gate, when we had someone being discharged for reasons other than honorable, we would take him to that gate, escort him and his gear to the other side of the gate and turn our backs on him. We would then ask the MP on the gate to inform vehicles exiting the base to not stop for hitch hikers. My belief was that the individual needed some "alone" time to think about things.
I arrived at MCRD San Diego in mid January of '59, there were no yellow footprints at that time. Fifty years ago. D*mn I'm getting old!
SgtMaj USMC Ret '59-'89
Enjoyed The End Result
Sgt. Grit, Thanks for all the "News" that is passed along to those of us who served and those still serving. Every letter brings back floods of memories.
In your letter I received this AM (January 1, 2009) Mike Bateman mentions the Army Artillery units that were sent to the DMZ for support of Marines units in the field in late 1966. I was on the Rockpile in late 1966 and artillery support was called for between us and the razorback for on going operations that were probably part of Operation Hastings at that time. For those Marines, and there were not that many, who were on the Rockpile at the time we saw a sight that is still vivid in my mind. The 2nd Battalion 94th Artillery composed of 175mm SP's had moved up to the Artillery Plateau (Later to be named Camp J.J. Carroll after Marine Capt James Carroll), but we had no idea they were there. When the first 175's opened fire at night, we all thought that the Artillery Plateau had been hit and that was not a good feeling since there was nothing between us and them but open territory. The eastern sky lit up as if it were day time, and then we heard freight trains headed our way. I was with a team from 1st Radio, and we had teams on the plateau and several other lovely vacation spots along the DMZ. After quick radio contact we were told that "Yes", the Army had moved in some big guns. Mike Bateman, if you are reading this, you will not have to convince me that you guys were there, and I want to take the time to thank you for the fire support. As "Spooks", we supplied a lot of targets for you guys and always enjoyed the end results. After leaving the Rockpile I was part of a team at J.J. Carroll and had the pleasure of meeting a lot of the Army Gun Bunnies.
An Occasional Glance
It was the afternoon of March 18, 1958 and our commercial flight from San Antonio, TX had just landed in San Diego as the three of us, orders in hand were approached by two uniformed U.S. Marines, a Sergeant and a Corporal. "Reporting for duty?", the Sergeant bellowed. "Yes sir", I answered, as the three of us nervously handed over our orders to them. "Form one line and follow me", the Corporal demanded, after calling out our last names preceded with the title "Recruit". We followed the two strutting Marines outside the terminal to an awaiting USMC vehicle parked nearby, and stumbled to a stop as the Sergeant ordered, "Detail.... halt! "Get on the truck, get rid of the gum, put your hands in your pockets, and do not talk unless you are spoken to by me....is that clear!" the Sergeant demanded. "Yes sir", we all replied, and we did.
The ride to MCRD was short and silent, as my two fellow recruits from Odessa, TX and I exchanged an occasional glance. We soon approached the base main gate and entered the hallowed grounds of MCRD, San Diego, as two very impressive looking Marine guards sharply waved us through, as only Marine sentries so well do. We pulled up at receiving barracks, jumped off the truck and quickly lined-up side to side as we were told. Another sharply uniformed Sergeant soon appeared and "marched" us over into receiving barracks to be assigned to a recruit platoon. Then the real fun began. Such was the very first day of my unforgettable and rewarding four year USMC active duty experience that shaped, developed, and transformed me into a better man, and a Marine forever. That was 51 years ago, and now at age 70 I still fondly remember the total USMC experience, and the challenges of earning the lifelong title "U.S. Marine". God bless the Marine Corps, and God bless the USA.
Mr. Inez Macias, Jr.; Cpl USMC 1958-1962
Sideways On His Head
I'm very surprised to read there was drumming of prisoners after 1958. We were told at this time there was to be no more drumming out of the Corps and the last time, the Commanding Officer was severed from active duty for doing the deed. No confirmation. While I was stationed at Kaneohe (1958-1960) we had a PFC. busted to private and sentenced to the brig. A company formation, chasers brought the prisoner, charges were read, verdict was read, then he was stripped of all insignia, buttons included, and turned his p!sscutter sideways on his head. Company was about faced and he was marched off to the brig. No drums. That was enough to let you know you better walk the line.
12 Cents A Day
The recent posts about witnessing ex-Marines being drummed out of the Corps tickled a memory of 54 years ago. Along with a Nesei Marine sergeant assigned to 3rdMarDiv PIO as a translator, I was assigned to cover the appeal of a rapist who had been tried and convicted in a Japanese court. He had been convicted of raping an old woman from a village near division headquarters at Nakacho (Camp Gifu) and was sentenced to seven years of hard labor. At that time, prisoners in Japanese prisons received care budgeted at about 12 cents a day.
We arrived in Nagoya, site of the appeals court, and waited until two Japanese security forces personnel brought the prisoner before the tribunal. The guards wore the familiar blue uniforms and grasped a very large diameter manila rope that was tied around the prisoner's mid-section. Thus secured he stood before the judges to hear the results of his appeal (the reason for the translator accompanying me).
I don't know if laws have changed, but, at that time at least, the prosecution also could appeal.
The upshot was that instead of seven years, the rapist was re- sentenced to 12.
Bob Rader 1405534
Evans Fordyce "Red" Carlson ("The Big Yankee"). He did not have red hair.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gung-ho is a phrase taken from the Chinese language. The original Mandarin Chinese phrase is GonghÃƒÂ© (??), a standard abbreviation for gongyÃƒÂ¨ hÃƒÂ©zuÃƒÂ²shÃƒÂ¨ (?????), meaning industrial worker's cooperative, in the Chinese Industrial Cooperatives (INDUSCO) established by Rewi Alley and his comrades and later spread to other parts of China during the World War II years.
The phrase entered the American vernacular when it was picked up by then-United States Marine Corps Major Evans Carlson, According to Carlson, it was used as a slogan by the World War II-era Communist Party of China's 8th Route Army, led by Zhu De. The phrase was originally coined by Rewi Alley, a New Zealander. Carlson traveled with the 8th and with Rewi Alley. Later he used gung ho during his (unconventional) command of the 2nd Marine Raider Battalion. From there it spread throughout the U.S. Marine Corps (hence the association between the two) and into American society as a whole when the phrase became the title of a 1943 war film, Gung Ho!, about the 2nd Raider Battalion's raid on Makin Island in 1942. It is now used to mean "excessively enthusiastic, overzealous".
Only When He Joined
Fm Cogard Fist To BT Unclas //N03840//
Subj: Fir - Swimmer in Lower Mississippi River Attracts Coast Guard, Law Enforcement, Media Attention at Vicksburg, Ms
1. Source/Reliability/Credibility: Coast Guard Member/Reliable/Confirmed.
2. Summary: An Object Originally Reported As A "Body In The Water" In The LMR Near Vicksburg, Ms Was Determined To Be A Live Person. A Towing Vessel Removed The Swimmer Who Claimed To Be An Active Duty Marine On A "Training Swim." It Has Been Confirmed That The Subject Is An Active Duty USMC Member.
6. Text: A. On The Captioned Date, Law Enforcement Received Reports Of A "Body In The Water" In The LMR Near The Vicksburg, Ms Waterfront. An Le Response Boat As Well As A Towing Vessel (UTV) Responded To The Scene At Mile Marker 435.8 (Geo-Cords: 32-18.53n/090-54.26w).
B. A Live Person Was Subsequently Encountered Who Claimed He Was Out For A Routine Swim In The River. It Is Noted That The Temperature Was Near Freezing And The Swimmer Was In The Main Channel Of The River.
C. The Subject Agreed To Come Aboard The UTV And Was Removed To The Terminal On The Vicksburg Waterfront. Sheriff's Deputies Responded To The Scene Along With The Port Security Specialist, Vicksburg.
D. Subject Was Identified As an Active Duty Us Marine Who Claimed He Planned A Swim in the River for Several Miles and Then Run Back To His Starting Point. It Appeared The Subject Was In Good Physical Condition, Suffered No Apparent Effects From The Cold Water And Was Wearing A Wet Suit For Protection.
E. It Is Noted That The Subject Was Actually Wearing Civilian Clothes Over The Wet Suit And Carried A Pack That He Claimed Contained Food And Survival Equipment.
F. The Swimmer Was Identified As: ..........., Wm, DOB: 1983, SSN Available. He Is A SSG (E-6) In The US Marine Corps According To His Military CAC Card.
G. In A Subsequent Interview In A Local Newspaper, Who Claimed To Be A Vicksburg Native Visiting His Family, Said He Walked Into The River From The River Front Park Earlier In The Morning. He Claimed He Planned To Swim To Letourneau In Southern Warren County And Then Jog Approximately Six Miles Back To His Parent's Residence.
H. Told A Reporter He Had Been Swimming In The River Since "He Was A Kid." He Said He Was Training For A Future Attempt To Swim Across The Mississippi River. Claimed That He Was In No Danger And Would Have Liked To Have Continued His Swim.
7. Comments: A. Was Positively Identified On The Scene. An Inquiry With The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Confirmed That He Was An Active-Duty Marine B. The Air Temperature Was Approximately 28 Degrees When Left The Water. Rescue Personnel on The Scene Doubted Ability To Survive The Swim Based On The Temperature, Currents, River Traffic and Debris In The Water. C. The County Sheriff's Department Did Contact Family And Asked If He Was Suffering From Any Mental Problems. His Father Reportedly Told The Sheriff, "Only When He Joined The Marine Corps."
Dec 1967 as OpChief, G-3-11; Hill 10 and Dec 70, and still OpChief, this time E-2-11 at FSB Ryder.
The picture from Ryder show some interesting people: BGen Simmons; Lt Houston who retired some 28 years later as Colonel, Gunny Aguilar, Capt Mulholland, the battery commander who spent 4 tours in the Nam, SSGT Lozada (Me) who retired a CWO-5 in the Field Artillery and after 34 years and 4 months and other FDC guys and an Army Liaison Team since army units were loose in the Que Son basin.
Happy New Year fellow FDC/Comm Marines.
Sgt. Grit, My name is Sgt Dove, KA 0311 71-78 (Rose Garden 72-73). I would have never thought all this being possible sitting up in my tower at the Bomb Dump some 36 years later. What America has done is just mind blowing, being able to connect with long lost brothers who were close friends at one time and now reunited again. I have had the pleasure of having 3 old buddies come into my life again via your page, the Nam Phong roster and one other web page.
Since being part of Sgt Grit's news letters, I have relived some of the fondest memories I can think of. Bob Hope, being scared shi*less, standing in monsoon rains where you can not see 10 feet ahead, and then breaking out the soap to do the body wash in a hurry. Dodging all kinds of vipers, which were plentiful. C-Rats, bush bunnies and you can name it.
Sgt Ken Dove
I'll Never Forget
In January 1969, I was flying standby to California. I was seated in dress greens when the pilot walked towards me and said "where are you going Marine?" I replied "California to attend staging, then off to Vietnam." (being in the Infantry and also with a two year enlistment, this was a fast track to Southeast Asia.) The pilot said "come with me." He placed me in first class and told the stewardess" I want this man given any thing he wants." After thanking this complete stranger I settled down to drinks (free), and watched "Sand Pebbles" with Steve McQueen. I'll never forget this act of kindness as long as I live. Ken Kruger USMC 09/13/68-03/27/70
Knocked Me Out Of
Sgt. Grit, I am four years older than my wife, whom I married a few weeks before graduating from The Basic School in Quantico in August of 1966. From TBS, I went to Ft. Sill for two months at Basic Artillery Officer School.
After a thirty-day leave, I found myself in Vietnam, where I spent about half of my tour serving as forward observer for Lima 3/7. On 27 December 1966, the day after I reported in at Hill 37, which was coincidentally the location for 3/7's battalion headquarters, I took a ride back into DaNang to square away my pay account. "Riding shotgun" in the mighty mite was a young Marine from H&S Company. To pass the time, I asked where he was from. His reply of "Mission, Texas, Sir," almost knocked me out of my seat.
"You're kidding! I'm from Mission! When did you graduate?"
"Class of '65, Sir."
"My wife was in that class. Did you know...(my wife's name)?"
"Oh, yes Sir. We had some classes together. In fact, she told me about you, and that you two were going to get married."
"What's your name, Marine?"
"Juan Hinojosa, Sir. They call me 'Chuy,' from my middle name, Jesus."
"You were quarterback for the Eagles, weren't you? I got to see a few of your games."
Fast forward a few years later, and Juan Jesus ("Chuy") Hinojosa had graduated from college, and was a lawyer working in the local branch of the Texas Attorney General's office as a consumer advocate. A few years later he was elected to the state legislature as a representative, where he was named one of the best by Texas Monthly Magazine. Currently, he is a state senator.
You meet some fine people in the most unexpected places.
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine.
1963-'76: PLC candidate summers of '63 and '65; active duty-- Basic School Class 4-66; Vietnam 4Dec66-18Dec67 ("I" Btry 3/11 & 3rd 8-Inch Howitzers); H&S Bn., Headquarters FMFLant, Norfolk, VA; Reserves--XO of "C" Co, CO of "D" Co, 4th Recon Bn, Corpus Christi, TX (both companies later combined and re-designated as "C" 1/23), and XO and CO of "C" 1/23
Check out that dip in his cover!
I can still remember "dry shaving" in formation because I didn't get it close enough for the platoon commander (gunny), and Those double edge razor blades!, but they all wore "smokies" Still brings back memories....all good!
Viet Nam Veteran
People Would Stare
Happy New Year to All at Sgt Grit!
I just wanted to drop you a note about that U.S Marine Corps Cowboy Hat available on your web site. I rarely leave the Ranch without wearing some sort of USMC attire from Sgt Grit. So on the occasion of my wife (Barbara) and I traveling to Las Vegas for our first trip ever to the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) a couple of weeks ago, I took along my Sgt Grit, U.S. Marine Corps Black Felt Cowboy Hat, with a couple of other traditional cowboy hats. Well, from the time we got to the Airport in Seattle to the time we checked into our hotel in Las Vegas, it became clear to me that the U.S. Marine Corps Cowboy hat was a lot more special than I thought.
Every where we went, people would stare and smile and nod their heads. Some would approach me and share their Marine Corps past or family memories, some would just say Semper Fi, others would just come up and Thank me for my service to our country and a few even asked to have their pictures taken with me. A real Marine Corps Cowboy photo op I guess. Unbelievable. On one particular occasion as we were walking through the New York - New York Casino, a young Marine came up to me, shook my hand, said Semper Fi and added you know what this means, thanked me for my service and moved quickly on, leaving in my hand a Once a Marine, Always a Marine Coin. I and my wife were very moved by that young man's gesture.
I was amazed at the reaction of so many people to that Hat. After the first day I was a bit embarrassed by all of the attention but my wife would NOT let me wear any other cowboy hat. We were best friends since we were 13 and married for the past 34 years of which 25 were in the Corps so she is just as proud of that hat as I am. Well, being at a Rodeo it is tough not to wear a cowboy hat, so wear it I did for the 5 days we were in Las Vegas for the NFR. I have attached a picture of the two of us at the MGM Grand.
I can not tell you the joy that hat brought to myself, my wife and those that were drawn to it. It was a special time that we will not forget.
Lieutenant Colonel of Marines, Retired
PS. Be looking for my coin order following this email:) An Old Dog just learned a new trick from a young Pup.
Marines Cowboy Hat (S-M) Marines Cowboy Hat (L-XL)
Tell Of Others Heroics
What about us thanking you.......you with our T-shirts, decals, golf balls, covers, ornaments, and bumper stickers...allow us to continue to tell the world that we are STILL MARINES.
You help us find friends, tell our war stories, tell of others heroics, remember the Good Ole Days......and thank the OLD and the NEW Warriors for their service. Because of you...we can remember the old songs, the times of humor during combat, the brotherhood that existed in the bush when turmoil existed back in the WORLD......10 cents for a beer.......25 cents for a pk of smokes...C-rats....HOT FUDGE SUNDAE at the USO in J'ville....BIRDLAND in J'ville...Herringbone Utes..making sure the mamasan put plenty of starch in the TOPS skivvies.
Thank You Sgt Grit..
Mark "RAMBO" Gallant....USMC...66-69...the Army Nickname given to me by 56 Members of the Marine Corps League
In July 1953, Marshal McGraw, John "Glenn" Cox and I joined a group from Indiana on our way to MCRD. We had our own car on the train and it was party time from Indianapolis to California. The first night at MCRD I was on fire watch and was supposed to wake up the DI. I slept through my first watch, not a good start.
We formed platoon 240 and S/SGT Abercrombie was out senior DI. We went through Camp Mathews and fired M1s the M1 Carbine, 45 pistol the BAR and the 30 cal Light Machine Gun.
From Camp Pendleton I had 2 weeks of cold weather training at Pickle Meadows before going to Korea. I landed in Korea on January 15th my birthday and just 6 months from going on active duty. I joined W-3-7 the day before the prisoner exchange and was assigned to a foreword out post for the 81 mortar Platoon. It was a great ride
CPL Larry Goettel/USMC
Due to My MOS
I was not one of the most loved in the Corps due to my MOS, (5811, Military Police). However, that start served me well as I went on to serve over 20 years with the U. S. Border Patrol, protecting my country on an entirely different front.
My dad dug this clipping up from somewhere. The photo was taken in June of 1973.