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I would like to tell you my experience with one in Korea. I was wounded in my upper left arm and a Corpsman was called. He treated the wound and called for a stretcher. I told him that I could walk. He asked me if I knew (name forgotten) and I said that I did and saw him walking back for treatment of his wounds. MOS Shirts

The Corpsman told me to get on the stretcher and I told him off and asked him if he thought that I was some sissy. The Corpsman told me that the Marine that walked back didn't make it because he went into shock on the way back. The Corpsman told me that I was not going to die on him and to get the **** on the stretcher. 58 years later I am still around and I still thank that Corpsman, who ever he is.

Jim Manning Korea 1951 to 1952

Snake Man
In 1972, while stationed with Mike 3/9 at Camp Schwab, Okinawa, I went to the NCO club for a few brewskies and some entertainment. The entertainment was a habu/mongoose fight. The habu is an extremely venomous snake indigenous to the Asian jungles and the mongoose is a big-a$s rodent that looks a little like a beaver.

The fight was on. As the mongoose maneuvered around the guarded snake, each was planning there strike. Out of the audience comes this Sgt that appears to be quite drunk. As he stumbles on the stage, the audience watches in silence. The Sgt picks up the poisonous snake and bites it in two. He walks back to his table and begins chewing on the snake and chasing it with a Budweiser. Even the mongoose is dumb-founded. The MP's are called. Someone yells for a corpsman. The drunk might have been bitten. The owner of the habu and mongoose is scratching his head in disbelief. Finally, the Sgt walks out of the NCO club. I never did know what happened to him.

Customer App Day A year later (1973) I am the Operations Chief with HQBn, 1stMarDiv at Camp Pendleton. One day I am hand delivering reports to the Division Ops Chief (S-3). When I got there I couldn't believe who the Ops Chief was. It's Snake Man! He introduced himself to me as SSgt Walker. "I'm SSgt Foster and I remember seeing you eat a snake in Okinawa." He was embarrassed that he met someone that witnessed his lack of judgment while inebriated. SSgt Walker told me that he remembers nothing about that night but has pictures taken by another Marine to prove his stupidity. It turns out that SSgt Walker was a pretty good man and a fine Marine.

Two years pass (1975) and I am now a highway patrolman for the state of Nevada and a GySgt with the Marine Corps Reserve. One day I was driving my patrol car through downtown Reno when dispatch tells me that a Sgt Walker wants to talk to me. I assumed that he must be with the PD or Sheriff's office and he wants to talk about a previous traffic accident. Dispatch gives me the phone number and I pull over and make the call on a pay phone. Low and behold, Its Snake Man. GySgt Walker spotted me driving by his recruiting office. I drove back to his office where we got reacquainted. On his desk was a picture of him biting the snake. He told me that he uses it as a recruiting tool.

Three more years pass (1978) and I am back in California and still a reservist with the Marine Corps Reserve unit in Sacramento. Tired of spending my 2 weeks of summer drill at 29 Palms, I managed to get temporary orders to the Finance Center in Kansas City. I also got orders cut for Sgt Nat Holmes to join me. It was a pretty boring 2 weeks. Nat and I found an old fish file which was used in those days to locate Marines. I didn't know how to work it but Nat did. I wanted to find out where GySgt Walker was. We found him at an I & I Staff in New Hampshire. I want to play a joke on him. I got the unit's phone number and called. The clerk on duty paged Gy Walker. "Gy Walker speaking." "Gy, this is Gy Foster from the Kansas City Finance Center. I hate to tell you this but you have been overpaid for the last three years and your current debt is $3500. We apologize for the error, however, we can assist you in the payback with an allotment that will be easy for you." Gy Walker is exploding with anger. "How in the h&ll can you f#+$ing people be so stupid?" He yelled into the phone, almost blowing out my eardrums. After about five minutes I couldn't hold it any longer. I busted out laughing. "John, is that you? You a& $ho@#!" After his blood pressure got back to normal, we got caught-up and had great conversation.

GySgt John Foster

J.R. Holding his prize possession Prized Possession
Sgt. Grit,

I just finished reading the story from Carl Baker about his experience on April 27, 1969 when the DaNang Ammo Dump exploded and I thought this picture might be of interest.

I was assigned to HQ. Bn. 3rd MAR. DIV. and we had a compound located on Freedom Hill right next to the main PX. The picture, taken the day after the ammo dump exploded, shows me holding my prized possession. I had just pulled the locker out of what was left of the hootch that we had built ourselves just weeks before the dump went up. The pile of rubble in the back round is the main PX on Freedom Hill. Luckily, I had stored the tape deck in the locker before we were evacuated and it survived the blast.

J.R. Inganamort
USMC / Cpl. / 0331

Univ of Bumper Stickers The Yellow Footprints
I will soon be celebrating an anniversary, somewhat of a milestone, this July. It will be a 50th anniversary, and not of my wife and I, as we have only been married for nearly 44 years. No, this will be an anniversary of another sort. On July 29th this year it will be 50 years ago that I placed my feet on the famed "yellow footprints" at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, CA (MCRD). Those who have earned the title of Marine and proudly worn the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor will know what I am talking about. For those who have not, but are interested enough to keep on reading, I will try to explain.

A new recruit entering boot camp in San Diego or Parris Island places both feet on painted yellow footprints on the ground as soon as getting off the bus at the intake facility. Thus the "yellow footprints." The Corps assumes you do not know your right foot from your left or your hand from your feet so this was a training aid. That was my first indoctrination of military discipline, which would be soon followed by a whole lot more. I was a mere 18 year old kid and did not realize how naive I was upon arriving in San Diego after a 12 hour plane trip on a large prop job (not many jets back then). I figured I would do a little sightseeing before reporting into the MCRD. I was wrong, so very wrong. A Marine Corporal met us upon exiting the aircraft and led us to a nearby awaiting odd colored bus. The Corporal said his name and that other Marines called him "The Beast." I thought that was an odd name but soon learned why, as he promptly told us on the bus to face forward, no talking, no smoking, and no chewing of gum. He seemed rather convincing and I thought 'not a very nice guy.'

That my friends was the beginning of my 12 weeks of Marine boot camp followed by 4 weeks of infantry training. I will never forget it, as I will assume others who have under gone the same will not. So much I wish I could remember and some, I am sure, I am glad I don't. I do recall, however, the names of all three of my Drill Instructors.

I must assume that my 4 year stint (1959-1963) in the Corps was rather uneventful and probably pretty common to others of that era. It was after Korea and before Vietnam and not a lot going on from a military standpoint. I would rate my most accomplished memory was a forced march in 1960. (I was assigned to H&S Co. 2/3/5). Our battalion motored from Camp Pendleton (5th Marines at Camp Margarita) to 29 Palms, CA for about 3 weeks of desert training. How did we get back, you ask? We, our entire battalion, walked the entire trek of 150 miles in 5 days. One day, about the third day of hiking on the return, we walked 37 miles with weapons, packs, and full field gear. Because you and I know that Marines tend to embellish their stories a little I still have a parchment certificate from the regimental commander attesting to this feat.

It takes a while for the Corps discipline, training, and leadership to set in. In fact I did not fully appreciate it until many years later. Now as a "senior" I can truly say that it helped me throughout my entire life. As I look back into some of my old photo albums and memorabilia I can come to the conclusion that I was truly blessed with some of the finest camaraderie any male adult could have been associated with. After I left the "band of brothers" I was very fortunate enough to joint the Cincinnati, OH fire department for a 28+ year career. What a great job.

Now it is time for me to give back. I have chosen to become very active in the Marine Corps League, which not only serves active Marines, but also just as important disabled Marines and former Marines. We also serve and work with other veterans, veteran's organizations, schools, and local community projects. I have found it rewarding to give back. It is my goal for at least some of the younger school children we talk to at schools to remember the meaning of our flag and the duty/service being performed by active military and veterans.

Dick Hauck In closing, it is not difficult to state in print the true meaning of "Semper Fidelis," "Always Faithful". But, "Once a Marine - Always a Marine" is tougher to explain. To those who have never experienced it, it may never be learned. However, once you hear from a perfect stranger call out "Semper Fi" you know that the messenger also once proudly wore the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, as well as had his feet on the "yellow footprints."

Editor's Note: The author is very active in the Marion County, FL, Marine Corps League currently holding the office of Sr. Vice Commandant. The Detachment supports Vets Helping Vets, Vets in the Classroom, and the annual Toys for Tots drive and has a Birthday Ball each year. In addition they support various community projects and special events including Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. For more information contact Dick Hauck at 352-680-1698 or 352-208-5070

Where Have All The Old Farts Gone
Where have all the old Farts gone? I look at the serial numbers and note that they are seven figures, mine was six. I went regular in March of 1940, took my Honorable Discharge in March of 1946, immediately into the Class 3b, held the permanent of rank of Master Sergeant and MOS of a Squadron Leading Chief. Never recalled, understand that 90% of the Master Sergeant's in Aviation Units were recalled for Korea. Took the advise of Major Paul (Pat) Moret USMC, who was killed in an airplane accident in 1942, never volunteer if they need you they will call you.

M/Sgt. Howard J. Fuller USMCR Ret.
Serial Number 273744

The Smoking Lamp I Lit
I went through MCRD San Diego Platoon 3159 in the lovely Quonset huts in 1970. We had a S/Sgt E.L. Blum then.
Almost has to be one in the same as your Gy/Sgt Blum.
Yes he did thump us a couple times but I never thought it was excessive or out of the ordinary. Just part of becoming a Marine.
One of the things I remember is S/Sgt Blum coming out of the duty hut while we stood at attention on the platoon street and he would say.
"The smoking lamp is lit"
At which time all the smokers would be anticipating getting out their smokes.
He would continue with.
"For one cigarette and one cigarette only"
You could almost see the smokers reaching for theirs now. And then he would drop the boom and say.
"AND I'M Smoking it"
At the start I was not a smoker. I was when I graduated but that's another story involving canteens, "Bends and Mother F*%(@#S" and S/Sgt Blum.

One of the proudest days of my life was when our SDI S/Sgt Proctor and our DI's S/Sgt Blum and Sgt Walker shook our hands and called us Marines for the first time. Feb. 09, 1971

McGough, Michael A.
S/Sgt USMC 1970-1977

I Will Just Leave It
Sgt. Grit;

This happened to me a couple of months ago. You see, I have been blessed to work with some true hero's at a VA Medical Center, generally from WW11, Korea and Vietnam era, and they all have stories. I would like to share this one with you.

I had been reading a book about the Marines fighting in Korea and the Gen. Chesty Puller days and I was having a conversation in the main lobby with a visitor and during the brief talk she had mentioned that her husband was a former Marine who fought in Korea, she provided me with his name and room number, I thanked her and went to visit the Marine. He is a very frail man lying in his bed barely able to talk, much less hold a conversation. I told him that I too am former Marine, he replied Semper Fi.

I became real excited with his response then he begin sharing his stories about Korea and the fight. I asked sir, Did you ever meet "Chesty"? With that, He opened his eyes and cleared his throat, and as plain spoken as ever he looked at me and said, Yes son, Chesty was my commander. Oh my God, I am talking with a hero about a hero.

He told me the story about when a General Officer came to their unit while fighting at the Chosin and asked to see Chesty Puller, that he was wanting to present him with a medal for valor. The company runner informed the General that he was fighting over the hill, Go get him for me, replied the General. The runner left and returned a short time later. The General asked, Where is your commander and what did he say? The runner said, He is still fighting, and that he doesn't have time for such bull---- and that if the General wanted to pin a medal that he would just have to come to me.

With that information the General said, I will just leave it here on the desk. The veteran asked if I would read the Leatherneck magazine, I told him yes. A couple of days had passed and his wife had dropped me off about 20 copies of the magazine to read and share with other veterans. Enclosed was a note from the veteran that read, I may be your elder but we are brothers just the same. Semper Fi, Devil Dog.

How Cool. Doyle E. Sappington, SSGT. Ret.

Here are two of my tattoos.

Ron's Brothers Forever memorial tattoo Ron's Semper Fi Flag Tattoo Ron's Semper Fi Flag Tattoo

Ron Havens
Corporal of Marines
Viet Nam Vet 1969-70

Sgt Grit,
Being somewhat shy of nature and the second smallest recruit of Platoon 313 at MCRD, which was then being herded about by one SSgt. Olmstead; I soon found myself bestowed with the honor of being the 'house-mouse'. Now SSgt Olmstead had this oversized coffee cup; grand it was...a real work of art. His name and rank with the ever present EGA, raised and embossed in gold on one side and a raised map of Southeast Asia on the reverse.

Now the drill went something like this...SSgt Olmstead would kick open the screen-door to the duty hut thereby creating a loud audible bang, pause for just a moment and then scream "MOUSE". He would then stand there giving a slow cadence count; one, two, three...sometimes four. At which point he would heave this coffee cup straight up into the air, then turn on his heel going back into the duty hut fully expecting a hot fresh cup of coffee to be delivered immediately and made to his exacting specifications.

Due to my stature and never having played football to any degree; I now, at the command of 'mouse', found myself being downfield in motion. So, for about the next two weeks; being terrified out of my wits of breaking this coffee cup, I found it within myself to make catches that would have made Lynn Swann proud. On the day in question, during 'free time' and finding myself at the wash racks, a loud bang and the command 'mouse' was heard. Racing at full speed up the platoon street, and with the cup in the air, I find the platoon guide and the first squad leader standing in the middle of the street...screaming 'make a hole' I continue my run. Whereby they turn their heads and give me a blank dead look as if to say....what? Nothing to do but straight arm the both of them: one left, the other right... thereby setting them on their rears in the grass. Diving for the cup I bobbled it on my finger tips back into the air. I almost had it a second time... but not quite. After one bounce on the street it ended up in a hundred pieces after issuing a loud crash indicating its sad demise. This was immediately, if not sooner; followed by the bang of the duty hut door issuing forth one Staff Sergeant who left no doubt in anyone's mind that he was not a happy camper.

Snapping to attention, I started to pray for the bowels of the under-world to open up and immediately swallow me on the spot; thus saving me from the forthcoming wrath. Passing me by, SSgt Olmstead gives his undivided attention to those who were now extricating themselves from 'his' grass. While they commence the standard eight-count push-up he instructs them in the error of their ways...such that when his Marine says 'make a hole' you deaf sob's had better create one. This activity continued for several more minutes as additional items were addressed in a most emphatic way.

I was thinking, as I stood there frozen while waiting my turn; did I hear him right, for in recent days I had been called many things... but never that! It was a slip of the tongue... he meant to say mouse. Passing me by the second time, he enters the duty hut and returns with a standard mess-hall coffee cup. Handing it to me he softly says 'Carry on, Marine.' That was the first time that anyone had called me that, and I have been ever proud that he was the first; such that to this day I have tried to conduct my affairs as to be not just a Marine... but his Marine.

Semper Fi
Sgt Steven Parmenter '65-'69

Little Agony, Big Agony

I just read the letter from L/CPL Harold Beasley in American Courage #203. His mention of the infamous "Little Agony and Big Agony" brought back flashbacks from my time at Camp Matthews in March 1964. These two hills were like camels humps, and caused much strain and, yes, agony. One particular Sunday evening comes to mind. Evidently, the DIs had some time to kill and took us for a run around Matthews. We ran up and down those two hills over and over until the formation resembled the proverbial "Chinese Fire Drill", with members of Platoon 218 meeting each other coming and going. What agony! And to make matters worse, Cpl Stelling and Cpl Wright ran up the hills backwards! What memories!

And thanks to S/Sgt. J. T. Bridges, Cpl. J. L. Stelling and Cpl. E. R. Wright, this "boot" became a United States Marine on 13 June 1964!

Once a Marine - Always a Marine!
Bob Lonn, USMCR, Sgt

He Took A Step Back
Sgt Grit.:

In early October, 1965, I was a boot at PISC for the past four or five weeks. We had been through a few of our DIs' torture sessions: we buried our M14s in a ditch, poured kerosene over them and dug them two days later. We did horizontal jumping jacks lying in a field and then had to lay at attention for two hours. We got the order for 'Seats!' at least two dozen times the day after getting our GG shots in our rumps, and had to limp around the base.

We had three DIs: and older, wizened, SSgt (Sh*****r); a young Cpl (Sp***s), a short black guy without an ounce of fat on his body; and a wiseass E-5 Sgt (Ga***n). The Sgt. had us out on a field holding a 'junk on the blanket' inspection of our '782 gear'. None of us knew all the details of this inspection, and several guys had their canteens full of water. Bad mistake. The Sgt was p!ssed, calling us all sorts of names, making threats and all that good stuff.

Then he started throwing canteens: some of them over his shoulder and others like a football. He had a good arm! One after another, they landed all around us, but some reached the street. One of them, full and with it's cap on, exploded when it hit the pavement. Nice splash. Bad move and worse timing for Sgt G.

A shiny, brand new, Ford Mustang had driven by at least tree times. We saw it, but Sgt. G. didn't. His back was toward the street. On the fourth pass, the car stopped and tooted its horn. Sgt. G, in his troops, jogged over to the car. He bent over to talk to the driver and then suddenly straightened up to attention and threw up a hand salute. He held the salute for what seemed forever. After a few minutes, he took a step back and did an about-face. He had been dismissed.

We never saw Sgt G. after that afternoon. Scuttlebutt was that the driver of the Mustang was the base commander or something -- a General, at least. Probably Major General James M. Masters. The next day, we had a new DI -- Cpl. McF*****n, who for the next five weeks never failed to remind us that we were the lowest form of life on earth.

Rich Meyer
Corinna, Maine
USMC '65-69

Did Not Exist
As with all Marines, the significance of the Marine Corps birthday was literally drilled into me the spring/summer of 1967 at MCRD boot camp. November 10! Christmas, Independence Day and New Years all rolled up into one! And of course, Veterans Day was simply a convenient day to recover on November 11.

As it turned out, however, I left the states heading for Oki/Vietnam on November 9, 1967, crossed the International Date Line and landed on November 11, 1967. For me, my first Marine Corps birthday did not exist!

Dennis Reynolds
former Sergeant
RVN 11/67 to 2/70

Toughest SOB
Sgt. Grit:
I was in Platoon 2094, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, MCRD San Diego, Sep to Dec 1973. While we were in training, one of our DI's was sent to Staff NCO School. He was replaced by SSgt Harrington, who had been a Motivation Platoon DI for a year before joining our little party.

To say that SSgt Harrington was not a tall man is to grossly understate the fact, and he couldn't possibly have weighed more than 100 pounds in full combat gear and soaking wet. But he was quite possibly the meanest, toughest SOB I have ever met! Also, he had a very gravelly speaking and/or yelling voice. I can still hear him growling at me, "You better get some PRIDE in your body, Private!" That was good advice then, and remains so to this day.

Semper Fi,
Robert Shirley
USMC, 1973-1979

An Office and Gentleman
We lost a Marine Brother when ED MCMAHON passed away. He was a Marine Fighter Pilot during WWII. He left the Corps then reenlisted for Korea. He was a Marine fighter pilot flight trainer then.

He flew more than 80 combat air missions.

His 'first one in, last to leave, always be prepared' work ethic is one I always followed.

Too bad most of local Louisville media has omitted this part of his history and the national news keeps referring to him as an 'ex-Marine'.

Rest In Peace Marine.


How many of you "crunchee's" remember "Hellcat Awakenings"? For some strange reason I always awoke just before Reveille. I would hear the JDI using his electric shaver and listening to his C/W radio station in the DI duty hut...

This one particular morning I heard a strange tapping; it turned out to be a drummer tapping cadence for the entire MCRDPISC drum and bugle corps.

When they blasted out the first 5 notes of Reveille: Dah Dah Dah Dah Dah; I saw guys flying out of their racks as if they'd been struck by lightning.

This was my youth; while others were scheming to outwit their country and the obligations of living in this beautiful America I was with a bunch of guys of my ilk who I thought of as brothers and after 30 years with a metropolitan police department, I never felt the Esprit de Corps that I felt with my comrades in arms. I've learned that my JDI'S were one KIA and one WIA in the Nam. Although they treated me less than kindly I love them as only a soldier can understand.

Pvt. Rapuano, A.M. Plt. 150

Marine Cadence CD I Can Run Again
I had bought this as a cassette some years and as a former Marine, it brings back the good old days, it is a well put together CD I lost the tape some time ago but now that I have the CD, I can run again (not that I ever stopped) great disk, once a Marine, always a Marine.

Another Day
Cpl. C.A. Rhodes 7th E.S.B. 1st F.S.S.G., Bravo Co. 11-29-93 to 11-29-97

The most memorable times of my life were spent in the Corps, but one that stands out is during boot camp (MCRD SAN DIEGO) 2nd phase. It was h&ll on earth almost every day, but at the end of each day when I would lay down and crawl inside my sleeping bag, it would be so dark and I would lay back and look up at the stars. I swear you could have counted every star in the sky, and the moon was so big it looked like you could have thrown a rock and hit it.

Laying there knowing that I had made it through another day of boot camp, seeing the stars like that was almost like my reward for making it through another day of boot camp.

Thanks for letting me share that.
Semper Fi.

Third Phase
I went thru boot camp in San Diego in 1970, Plt 1073. During third phase they let us see a movie. We were waiting outside with another Platoon when their D.I. brought out a recruit who did a perfect "Gomer Pyle" imitation. I wonder if anyone else remembers this.

When I was with Staging Bn in '71', there were three former D.I.s who used to talk together and didn't seem to mind a just turned 18 yr old PFC hanging around. They didn't mind answering questions and the chasm I expected between Staff Sgt and PFC was not there. I wish I could remember their names because they definitely had a positive impact on my life.

I find it interesting that the majority of NCOs that I admired and were positive influences were Drill Instructors.

Robert Popp
Cpl '70-73'

Worst Time Of Year
Sgt Grit,
Re- the story by Sgt Frank Huff 71-79. In his boot camp story he was wondering about his DI's The Sgt Thornton he mention is alive and well. Roger and I joined the Marine Corps on the buddy system, 4 yrs as grunts, boy that recruiter could of sold us the moon and we would of believed him. We went to PI for boot camp, at the worst time of the year, June 20th 1968.

We where later assigned to Charlie 1/7. After our tour, Roger went to San Diego as a DI, got busted to Cpl and got out of the Corps in June of 72. Not regretting a moment he returned home to Westfield Ma and now works for a local college in the area...

Semper Fi Sgt Steve Krupa

For No Reason
My name is Shawn, I got off active duty in Nov of 2008. During my time in the Corps I was deployed to Iraq twice and had some not so pleasant experiences of my own.

On June 15, 2009 I was spending time with my mother and two younger sisters running some errands in my home town of Manteca, CA. While driving down the road my sister noticed a middle aged man in a white truck looking at us and laughing. He yelled across to my mother asking her if her son is a Marine, he apparently saw her bumper sticker. She proudly said yes thinking he was going to respond like every other patriot in town.

Instead he laughed and told my mother "I hope he dies in Iraq for no reason". It took me a second to process what I had just heard. But after I realized he did just say that to my mother I as determined to cut his tongue out. It took my mother and one of my sisters to keep me from crawling out the passenger side window. He sped off and went in a direction we were not.

It gets me that someone would wish death to someone's son like that. I mean come on. If you don't agree with the politics of the war then fine. I know first hand that the troops don't always agree with the politics. But how dare someone tell a woman of their own country that they wish their son or daughter get killed in a combat zone while they are serving their country. I saw good Marines die over there and I know they did not die for that.

Proud to Be a Marine
It is with great pride and honor to earn the title US Marine. How is it earned, it is earned with the sweat and blood of boot camp.

From the Drill Instructor yelling to get off the bus and stand on the yellow foot prints. From the buzz shaved head to wearing the fatigues, forced marches, to passing the ultimate physical test, the crucible. It is earned on the range, hitting the mark, assembling your rifle while blindfolded, learning that your best friend is your rifle for it will save your life or the lives of your fellow Marines. It is earned on the parade grounds when you are awarded and recognized as a Marine, but more importantly it is earned in your actions as you serve your country and Corps. It is earned with the sweat and blood of the countless battles fought in and the humanitarian aid given in times of peace.

Ultimately, it is earned by the respect and recognition of fellow Marines, veterans, family, and in the eyes of strangers who nod there head, smile, and shake your hand for serving this country.

For those of us who have earned the title, it is proudly carried for the rest of our lives.

Andre Feliciano
(Veteran USMC Sgt)

DI Sayings
I am sure that everyone has heard it from time to time in The Corps but the most profound thing that I remember my SDI, GySgt Bruce E. Boltze saying to us was " The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war". Gunny Boltze was promoted to CWO# and was shot down in an OV-10 Bronco over the South China Sea in 1971...his 3rd tour. Researching his accomplishments and medals, he was a Marine's Marine. Proud to have known him, even for only 8 weeks in 1969.

Semper Fi
Jim Wolter

I enjoyed reading the DI stories in your last eblast. I noticed that they are mostly "old Corps" stories. The current and recent DI have some jokes and stories. For instance one of my Drill Instructors once asked a fellow recruit "how did you end up with that gut?" his response was "eating civilian food." The DI response was "yea right, that what you get for playing your Super NoFriendo (instead of Nintendo)." those kind of remarks remind us Marines of how funny boot camp was. just a suggestion

SGT Koropatnick

Plt283 2nd Bn Parris Island Sept - Dec 1957 Upon issuance of our MI rifles our DI stated one of many rules concerning the care and respect to be given to our weapon at all times. " if one of you s--t birds drop your rifle you better be laying under when it hits the deck"
Bob Lake

I do NOT EVER remember ANY foot prints in San Diego in the years '50-'52, when going through boot and coming home. Last year, I requested from the Historical Section, USMC, to see if they had the information of the creation of same. They did not.

Semper Fi !
Norman Callahan
C-1-1, Korea, 51-52.
Chesty's last regimental command.

Sgt Grit,
I remember a few newsletters back, you asking for sayings that you remember from boot camp. Here's mine: "You may not respect the individual, but you better D*MN well respect the rank, you will always in life have to say Yes Sir to someone". SDI SSgt Phillips Plt 2035 PISC Jan77 Apr77.

Semper Fi,
Gordon Willis
Sgt Jan77 Jan81

12th Defense/AAA Battalion, WWII
Dear Sgt. Grit,

Thank you for your effort in keeping the newsletters coming. It gives me a sense of pride to have been part of our great Corps and to know that the tradition will never die.

We, the surviving members of the 12th Defense/AAA Battalion from WWII, will hold our 56th consecutive annual reunion in San Diego August 13-16,2009. The 12th was formed July 1, 1942 at MCB San Diego and ceased to exist at the end of the War but the spirit lives on forever. We are all in our 80s plus and the numbers are dwindling fast but we are living proof that "once a Marine, always a Marine".

At full strength the battalion numbered some 1,500. Our mailing list is now under 200 but most are not able to travel so our attendance at the reunions is rather small but we do make up for it with sons, daughters and grandkids who are proud of the old folks.

Our real baptism of fire came at Peleliu, Palau Islands on September 15, 1944 with the 1st Marine Division where nearly 13,000 people (11,000 Japanese and 2,000 Marines) died in under 3 months time. This on an island measuring 2 miles wide and 7 miles long just 7 degrees north of the equator. The temperature was 115 when we hit the beach.

We are determined to keep up our brotherhood after all we've been through.

Semper Fidelis,

Hal Handley, PFC '43-'46 H&S Communications

Subject To Uniform And Appearance Regulations
To K. Jenkins concerning the Marine attending the wedding in dress blues, you are absolutely correct in your opinion. All Marines, on vacation or not, are subject to uniform and appearance regulations as well as the Uniform Code of Military Justice. As a retired Marine for over 23 years, the same applies to me should I choose to wear my uniform for authorized occasions. This young Marine who disgraced our uniform and our Corps should be reported to his unit Sergeant Major for appropriate disciplinary action, regardless of where he has served.

Gene Hays
MSgt, USMC, Retired
Chu Lai, RVN '67-'68

Major Ruffers
After reading Major Ruffers story I had to add a tid bit of my own. Major Ruffers and I basically started our careers together, he was in Plt 264 and I was in plt 164 in Aug 1959. I graduated on Nov 17th and went to ITR, after ITR we got leave to go home for Christmas.

CWO-5 Norman W. Honadle Jack and I hooked up when we were both assigned to B Co, 1st Bn, 7th Marines at Las Pulgas, he was in Weapons Plt and I was in 2nd Plt. We deployed to Okinawa on April 1st (April Fools) in 1960. We became friends (Buddies). After returning from overseas in May 1961 we were assigned to B Co, 1st Bn, 5th Marines at Camp Margarita, 33 Area. We remained close and would go on liberty together.

Since his Dad was in the Air Force and was at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino which wasn't too far from Camp Pen. My Dad and Mom were in Coronado, CA so I would go home when I could. I do not think we had cars at that time since base pay was low. My Dad was career Navy and after 30 years retired in Nov of 61. I had an Uncle who was in the Air Force also At Norton AFB, so we would go to San Berdo after my Dad retired and went back to Annapolis, MD since they owned a house there.

Hondale and Ruffers at Ruffer's wedding Jack meet a girl in San Berdo and one thing led to another. Before you know it they were getting married. The wedding was held in San Berdo he asked me to be his Best Man (the best man was getting married and I was his witness) see picture. I talked to him about Mexico but he did not go for it (I was glad he didn't) Pat was a great catch and an outstanding person. She was good for Jack. We both went back to Camp Pen. Later in 62 we both were transferred to Marine Barracks, he to Alameda and me to San Diego Naval Station at 32nd St.

I then went to Drill Instructors school in July of 1964. After graduation I was assigned to my 1st Recruit Plt, 164 the same number Platoon I was in as a recruit. I finally made Sgt with a cutting score of 165 in Jan of 1966 (spent 4 yrs as a Cpl). In 1966 I became a WSI and transferred to the Special Instructors section as a Drownproofing instructor at the MCRD pool. In 1967 I was so water logged I was assigned to teach Code of Conduct, some History and UCMJ.

In Oct 1967 I received orders to Vietnam. Arrived in DaNang in late Nov in time for Thanksgiving and my first in-country birthday #27. I was assigned to Hq Co 2nd Bn 5th Marines in An Hoa, about 25 miles So West of DaNang. The beginning of Jan 68 the Bn moved to Phu Bai. Well we had not been there long when the TET offensive began. I ended up being a replacement assigned to Capt Christmas Hotel Co for about 30 days and went into Hue City. Getting back to Major Ruffer, we had seen each other on the Drill field. He had been selected to the Meritorious NCO program. The next time we ran into each other was in Phu Bai or DaNang, he was a Capt and been awarded a Silver Star and Purple Heart in Operation Medina. (The Book is called The Lions of Medina by Doyle D. Glass) I recommend it to all.

We kept running into each other over the years. Jack retired as a Major, I got out when I got back from Nam and went on LAPD. My Dad and some LAPD officers who were Marine Reservist talked me into joining the Reserves which I did. Semper Fi Sgt Grit and keep up the Great Work.

LINK LINK LINK Norman W. Honadle
CWO-5 Retired
Las Vegas, NV

Attack In A Different Direction
Passing on this timely, brief article from a December 11, 1950 issue of the New York times, about the fighting withdrawal (attack in a different direction) of the 1st Marine Division consisting of 15,000 men, including attached units of the Army's 7th Infantry Division and a company of Royal Marine Commando against a Chinese Field Army of 120,000 men in twelve divisions, 8 to 1 odds.
Our commanding general, Major General Oliver P. Smith, summed it up in after thought..."The Chinese Army never did stand a chance!".

Semper Fidelis...Bob Talmadge


New York Times

December 11, 1950

Marine Return Full of Fight After a Nightmare of Death

With The U. S. MARINES, Korea, Dec. 10 - United States Marines walked out of almost a fortnight of freezing h&ll today (December 10, 1950), full of fight after a nightmare of death in Korea's icy mountains. The United States First Marine Division was rolling slowly into the northeastern Korea plains of Hamhung. The men's eyes and bearded faces, their tattered parkas and the strangely, careless way they carried their rifles showed the strain.

These thousands of Leathernecks did it on guts.

They turned their encirclement into one of the fightingest retreats in military history. It was the longest pullback in Marine records... the Marine struck right back. When orders were given to pull back, the Leathernecks responded with an offensive. For almost a week they matched guts and wits against Chinese mass tactics. Neither was enough to win. They had to pull out.

Five days after leaving Yudam-ni the Marines (5th & 7th Marine Regiments) reached Hagaru-ri, at the south end of the reservoir. There they joined another small group that was encircled by strong enemy forces. Elements of a third Marine regiment (1st Marines) were under attack at Koto-ri, ten road miles to the south. At daybreak, December 7th, the Hagaru-ri Marines started southward toward Koto-ri. For twenty-four hours they fought one of the bloodiest battles of the Korea War.

When they reach Koto-ri it was a gruesome sight - wounded men with their blood frozen to their skins, their clothes stiff with ice, grotesque dead men lying across trailers and stretchers, live men stumbling along, grimacing from frostbite, using their rifles as crutches. (Over 5,000 wounded were evacuated by air - added by Roy Cannon)

Four thousand wounded were evacuated by air from Hagaru-ri and Koto-ri up to two days ago. More have been flown out since. Most of these were Marines, the others were remnants of two battalions of the Army's Seventh Infantry Division, which was cut off and sliced up on the east side of the reservoir at the same time the Leathernecks were catching h&ll on the west. The count of the dead is high. Two days ago nearly 200 bodies were nosed into a single grave by the bulldozer. There was no time for more elaborate arrangements.

The United States First Marine Division, one of the country's finest, has suffered heavily. The Communist enemy knows this. The Leathernecks inflicted casualties on the enemy many times those they suffered. The weather also took a heavy toll of Chinese. Tension greeted the order for all the Marines to break from Koto-ri. One senior officer wept. A grizzled Marine blurted: "These kids are too d*mn good to have this happen to them."

Saturday at sunrise, patrols struck out from Koto-ri toward Hamhung. Intelligence reports had said the enemy was in this area in strength. There were fears that another bloodbath was in store similar to that on the Hagaru-ri/Koto-ri road earlier. But the patrols reached their objectives on schedule. One suffered moderate casualties; the other made it almost without incident.

Immediately after these groups had left, the vehicular columns began to move. Equipment considered more of a burden than its actual value was destroyed.

By noon the column was stretched about two miles south of Koto- ri. Dismal little Koto-ri lies on a plateau 3,300 feet above sea level. for two miles south, the narrow road if anything, goes up. Then it twists down a narrow gorge twelve miles to the valley. Saturday and today it was covered with ice. The temperature was 25 degrees below zero.

For four hours the column stood motionless. A bridge a few miles below the crest had been blown by the Reds. Before the Marine and Army engineers could work on it, a company of Marines had to drive off a pocket of Chinese guarding it. This was done. Fifteen Chinese were killed and fifty captured. Others fled. A new bridge was built. (Bridge was actually repaired, not rebuilt - added by Bob Talmadge).

Then the column started to roll, but road conditions made progress slow. By nightfall Saturday some 200 vehicles had moved across the new bridge. About 9 p.m. artillery dropped several rounds in the vicinity of the bridge. One shell hit a truck. As the enemy had not used artillery in this area before, and the fire apparently was coming from the bottom of a hill where a friendly battery was known to be in position, observers concluded it was friendly fire.

Throughout the night there was sniping from the hills overlooking the winding road. Shortly after midnight the column came to a halt. It did not move appreciably for four hours. Two miles south of the bridge, at a hairpin turn, two trucks had skidded and blocked the road. About 100 husky Marines shoved them out of the way.

The column, stretching bumper to bumper all the way up the road, moved in fits and starts. Just before daylight the mountain grade became less severe and the turns less harrowing. The troops were nearing the bottom.

One of the Marines on a truck had a Korean dog. It had been whining most of the night. As the full light of day appeared the dog got up, stretched a bit and wagged its tail. It was 7:30 A.M. The dog's cheerfulness appeared to have been caught from its Leatherneck companions, for whom nearly two weeks of concentrated h&ll had just ended. The Marines rubbed their sleepless red eyes and grinned.

The first contact between the Marines and a rescue force was by a Marine battalion led by Maj. Webb D. Sawyer of Toledo, Ohio (CO, 2nd Bn/7th Marines) and patrols of an Army task force led by Brig. Gen. Armistead D. Meade, (AsstDivCmdr,3rdDiv/USA) of Huntington, West VA.

There was no formal link-up with the Third (Army) Division forces that had thrust up from the south. The Marine column had proceeded in total darkness past individual members of the southern force without stopping.

After daylight, leading elements of the Marines continued southward from the juncture point in the vicinity of Chinhung- ni, too weary to care about any formalities.


(Minor spelling and other corrections have been made to this article by Marines Roy Cannon {Connecticut} and Bob Talmadge {Hawaii by way of Connecticut}. It must be remembered that this article was written up the day the Marine Division completed its epic withdrawal, and the Times reporter could not have known all of the complex details involved in the withdrawal. Hence the bridge being rebuilt, when it was in fact repaired with four two thousand- two hundred pound bridge sections that had to be delivered by parachute drop at Koto-ri - courtesy of the United States Air Force).

Colonel Kenneth L. Reusser, USMC (Ret)
It is my sad duty to report that Colonel Kenneth L. Reusser, USMC (Ret.) made his last takeoff on 20 June 2009. He is survived by his wife Trudy, sons, Richard and Ken II and sister Betty Vuylsteke.

Funeral services were held at the New Hope Community Church in Portland OR on Friday June 26th, 2009 at 11:00 AM, followed by graveside services at Willamette National Cemetery.

Ken Reusser enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve as a seaman recruit on August 23, 1941, and entered flight training. In April 1942, he completed flight training, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, and in May 1942 left for the Southwest Pacific. Upon arrival at Guadalcanal, was assigned to VMF-122, flying the F4F-3. On his first combat mission, he was credited with a probable kill of a Mitsubishi "Betty." In October of that year, he was injured during a ditching and spent 6 months in a hospital.

Ken returned to the Pacific in 1944 flying F4U's from USS Hollandia, (CVE 97) off Okinawa. He led a flight of Corsairs intending to shoot down a Japanese KI-45 "Nick" high-altitude photo reconnaissance airplane gathering information for the day's Kamikaze flights. With altitude frozen guns, the only weapon left was the Corsair itself. Ken and his wingman severely damaged the tail of the KI-45 with their propellers.

It entered a graveyard spiral, breaking up before hitting the water. Ken and his wingman shared the kill. Each was awarded the Navy Cross. In 1950, Ken found himself again in combat, flying F4U's from USS Sicily, (CVE 118). He was awarded a second Navy Cross for making two very low-level passes down a street to identify, through a building's windows, what was hidden inside. He then led a flight back, destroying the target. Exiting the area, with only 20mm guns remaining, he made a firing pass on a ship moored to a camouflaged pier. Loaded with fuel, the ship exploded, flipping the Corsair inverted. After righting the airplane, Ken returned to USS Sicily where the severely crippled F4U was pushed over the side for being too damaged to repair.

In combat for the third time, Ken was shot down and severely wounded while directing a rescue mission in Viet Nam. He retired from the Marine Corps in July 1968 due to his combat wounds.

Colonel Ken Reusser's distinguished combat record includes 363 combat missions, earning 2 Navy Crosses, 4 Purple Hearts, 5 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and 19 Air Medals.

We have lost another three-war hero. He will be missed. Sadly,

Harry Blot - Pilot

Red Footed Boobie Bird
Hello Sgt Grit.
This morning at 0 dark thirty while brushing my teeth and with out much thought, I was staring at my youthful figure, I have come to believe that every Marine with 2 gray hairs on his head has these thoughts. I was pondering my part of life that was dedicated to the Marines. Isn't it strange that with all the things that one attempts to forget sometimes things that were humorous are the occurrences that one remembers? Well any way here are two things that came to me this am.

The first involved the time that I was TAD to the range as a PMI with the 1st Marine Brigade at Kaneohe. At this range there is a nesting site for I believe the Red Footed Boobie bird. It is a strange site for this but any way. There was (is) an old amtract there that The Marines would use for mortar practice.

One on fine day, a round kind of goes where it was not supposed to. It landed near this nesting area. The range office upon hearing of this. Sends me and a SSgt to check out the incident. We recovered one bird. Which we immediately took to the office. There in said office were we, a Sgt a SSgt one Top and a CWO4. which will remain anonymous to protect the innocent. Being the junior man I stayed (as Usual) very far from the Top and Gunner. I seriously think that This Top and old Gunner (thinking back, he was a lot younger that I am today) were thinking of breaking some kind of Federal law and not reporting the death of one federally protected bird.

Any way said bird decided at this moment that he/she did not want to leave Hawaii just yet. It is amazing how big that bird was up close and personnel. Well me being a resourceful NCO I quickly departed the area. However, not before I saw three "In Country" hardened Marines looking for a dignified retreat through some obviously secret passage way within the walls of office. Needles to say, that afternoon at the beer garden said occurrence was repeated many times.

Another one of my recollections from the time which by the way was between 1978-79, was that our group of PMI's had the chance to qualify I am almost sure, the first group of Women Marines at Kaneohe. I was fortunate to have a Young WM a PFC if I recall correctly on one of my targets. She was a "City Girl" I state that only because on qualifying day she scored a very high Sharpshooter. She scored higher that a good group of my fellow Brigade Grunts. Of course I took all the credit for her remarkable shooting. And told anyone that would listen or not of my abilities with the M16.

The last thing I would like to say, Is to wish a hearty HELLO to a fine group of Marines I met at the Memorial Day ceremonies in San Juan Puerto Rico. It was a very pleasant afternoon spent talking to the young Marines. I was particularly impressed with a young MSgt(I can't help but catch myself on how many times I want to interject young in every thing. In one instance I remarked that at this ceremony we were out numbered 9 to 1 by Army Veterans to which he quickly and respectfully and with Marine resolve corrected me and said we are never out numbered. It was good to see our Corps in such good hands. Bye the way if you three hard charging Marines are still with use today and you know who you are. Aloha.

Respectfully Sgt "DEE" Camp Reasoner 1970

It's not over yet
To watch the news and read the papers you'd think the war is over. That our troops are not engaged. There are still Americans in harms way. Below is an example.
Sgt Grit

Afghan firefight shows challenge for US troops
By CHRIS BRUMMITT, Associated Press Writer Chris Brummitt
Sun Jun 21, 8:52 pm ET

NOW ZAD, Afghanistan - Missiles, machine guns and strafing runs from fighter jets destroyed much of a Taliban compound, but the insurgents had a final surprise for a pair of U.S. Marines who pushed into the smoldering building just before nightfall.

As the two men walked up an alley, the Taliban opened fire from less than 15 yards, sending bullets and tracer fire crackling inches past them. They fled under covering fire from their comrades, who hurled grenades at the enemy position before sprinting to their armored vehicles.

The assault capped a day of fighting Saturday in the poppy fields, orchards and walled compounds of southern Afghanistan between newly arrived U.S.

Marines and well dug-in Taliban fighters. It was a foretaste of what will likely be a bloody summer as Washington tries to turn around a bogged-down, eight-year-old war with a surge of 21,000 troops.

"This was the first time we pushed this far. I guess they don't like us coming into their back door," said Staff Sgt. Luke Medlin, who was sweeping the alley for booby traps as Marine Gunner John Daly covered him from behind when the Taliban struck.

"And now they know we will be back," said Medlin, from Indiana.

The fighting was on the outskirts of Now Zad, a town that in many ways symbolizes what went wrong in Afghanistan and the enormous challenges facing the United States. It is in Helmand province, a center of the insurgency and the opium poppy trade that helps fund it.

Like much of Afghanistan, Now Zad and the surrounding area were largely peaceful after the 2001 invasion. The United Nations and other Western-funded agencies sent staff to build wells and health clinics.

But in 2006 - with American attention focused on Iraq - the insurgency stepped up in the south. Almost all the city's 35,000 people