"Snake Man" we had a hilarious situation occur at the SNCO club at an old, old camp in Okinawa in 1956. Only, in this case it was to be a fight between the "Habu" (extremely venomous snake) and a CAT. When the guy dropped the cat in the glassed-in cage with the Habu, the old cat took one look and made about two trips around the cage and broke through one of the glass sides and streaked through the club.
Now picture this: a fast moving cat, the possibility of a very venomous snake being loose, brave SNCO's scrambling (including me), chairs and tables being upturned with a whole lot of &%*%%##@@ - the place was emptied in a matter of seconds. Best show the Club ever put on.
Sadly but proudly, I have to announce the passing of an old Marine buddy, Eddie Vice.
Another good Marine pal I also served with in the Marine Barracks at Atsugi NAS Japan in the mid sixties, Bob Griffin, chased him down and relayed the news from Eddie's son. Eddie succumbed to prostate cancer in 1969.
The three of us were stationed outside of Atsugi at a small and now defunct Naval Security Group Activity, which is a mouthful for 'VERY classified' in Kamiseya, about 30 km from Atsugi. The Marine Guard at Kamiseya had some legendary moments. On the 24th of Sept, 1965, building 25 burned to the ground and took the lives of 10 naval personnel and two Marines. Several of us were involved in pulling people out of that fire, and my close friend Paul Arcand labored unsuccessfully to save the life of a Marine SSgt (Paul C. Rodrigues). I managed to burn the celia out of my bronchial tubes and severely overheat my utes earning myself a reprimand and meritorious commendation all at once for leaving my post to go into that fire. (Two major fires have followed me in my life.) The story of this tragedy is detailed in the copy of the base paper, "The Kamiseyan" preserved for history online:
As something of a poet, I exchanged my work with the base Chaplain R.E. Jenkins, who chose to read one of them at the memorial service and it was published on the back of the Kamiseyan:
Read the published work
Eddie was always the life of the party, a profound humorist and pianist easily winning the base talent contest at the EM cracking us all up with his rendition of a popular Cajun humorist in his home state of Louisiana. Eddie was vital to our rescue efforts that dark September night and in this capture of his memory, I shall remember him.
Semper Fi !
Kent M. Yates
Fun on the range; My memories are a bit fuzzy on the location, I believe it was 29 Palms. We were doing a little practice before qualifying when a small grey fox ran the full length in front of the targets. Everyone was shooting at the poor thing, but it emerged at the other end unscathed. At another range, I believe at Subic Bay they where two men short to pull targets, so they sent two Marines down to the butts. The man in charge in the tall seat wasn't to happy about how fast they were moving, so he cranked off a couple rounds over their heads. Man I never seen two Marines move so fast. They covered that distance in record time! Keep up the good work Sgt Grit. I so enjoy reading the your news letter every week, It brings back many memories of good times.
Cpl A.Johnson 1957-1961
Parris Island 2nd Bn
I was a Hollywood Marine so this does not mean that much to me...but you PI Marines may feel a bit different.
I enlisted in The Corps in June 8th 1943 arriving at Parris Island by barge. No causeway then, The brig in those days was horrible place. There were no heads in the cells and prisoners were given slop buckets to relive themselves.
If you behaved yourself the buckets were emptied daily. But if you screwed up they may not be emptied for a couple of days. And the people who served chow to the prisoners could hardly get near the cells. The stench was so bad. Thus the Old Corps expression, "You'll be in the brig so long they will be feeding you beans with a slingshot." Thank God I played it high and tight and never made the brig. By the way I met the great Marine Lou Diamond there.
When we graduated (Platoon 440) as we departed we passed under a big sign reading, "Let No Boys Ghosts Say If They Had Only Done Their Job."
Is that sign still there?
A Proud 83 young Gunny Mazzie
This Is The Corpsman Speaking
I served eight years FMF....I did three tours in Vietnam as a Recon Corpsman but time in combat ended up taking their toll on me...seeing too much combat and too much death put me in a private H&ll that only other Combat Veterans, could ever understand... you learn what the word "Frightened" is all about.... you learn how to walk away from your brothers when they are laying there dead in a shelter half, waiting for the Chopper to come in and take them home. To survive, you know that you have to shut down all feelings and just do your job. A lot of veterans coming out of combat have already lost their ability to "restart" their emotions and live a normal life. They will carry the memories of combat for their entire life. The civilian Dr's have attached many names to our demons...from "survivor guilt" to the catch all "PTSD". But they will never truly know what we are feeling.
For over 40 years now, I have dreaded a journey that I knew that I someday had to take. It involved me going to Washington DC to see the Vietnam wall. I asked my daughter to go to the wall with me because she was as impacted by the war as I was....I lost my mind in Nam, and she lost her dad. My daughter flew from Kansas and I flew from Florida to DC.....we planned to go to the wall in the morning. I woke up early the next morning and prepared for the trip to the wall...I honestly didn't have the slightest idea of how I would react to being there. I put my service ribbons on my Jungle Utility shirt that said "Russell".... "U.S. Marine". and we left for the Memorial. The wall wasn't as cold and frightening as I had thought it would be. I walked slowly by each panel of names...reading them....wondering if I would see names that I knew....while all along hoping that I wouldn't. By the time I reached the end I was crying....The sight of all my combat brothers names on the Granite Wall as a lasting tribute to "Americas finest children" gave me a different view of Nam....the war is over...
Now this is the Corpsman speaking: If you are a Nam Vet and having trouble with PTSD....DOC says go to the wall....it won't cure you, but it makes you feel like you were also "One of Americas finest children" in answering your countries call, and doing your best...somehow you'll walk away knowing that your life mattered, and that you will always be a part of history,
My Daughter took this picture of me reflected in the Granite Wall...sort of "the ancient worrier visiting his fallen brothers".
Little Agony And 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
In response to Sgt.'s Frank Huff & Steve Krupa posts about a DI Sgt. Thornton at MCRD San Diego. There apparently was more than one DI named Thornton, as I was there June 23, 1973, Plt. 1070 and my Senior DI, was a SSgt. Johnny Thornton. While it's possible he was a Sgt. in 71, I don't know that, but here's a pic of him from my boot camp annual.
Sgt. USMC 1973-1976
No matter where you go, there you are! "Buckaroo Banzai"
Marines and Corpsmen,
I've heard and read many stories of the "yellow footprints", and tales of Marines earning "The Title", which cannot be bought at any price. I'd like to relate 2 bits about the Title of Marine from a Corpsman's perspective.
I was a broken hearted 17 year old the day a Gunny at the USMC recruiting office told me that if I wanted to be a Medical Corpsman in the Marines, I had to join the Navy. When he inquired why I wanted to do that job in the Marines, the answer was simple: "I want to be one of the best our Country has."
After being a Corpsman for 7 years, I got my wish. After a "disagreement" with my Commanding Officer, I was declared as in need of discipline, and my orders to a tender welded to the pier in Charleston were cancelled, dropped a stripe, and I was sent to the 2nd Marine Division. My CO called ahead to the division surgeon to make sure that my 26 year old out of shape behind went into a rifle company, which it did.
After a few weeks of treating my Marines, I morphed from the senior HM3 in the entire Navy into "DOC". My efforts were appreciated by my Marines and I began to feel accepted.
My first encounter with the title came several months later on a dark ridgeline in Korea. A branch snapped back into the face of one of my Machine Gunners, and he fell down the side of the ridge. It was so dark I couldn't see what happened, but I heard "CORPSMAN UP", and I came running. This Marine had the worst Corneal abrasion of the eye that I'd ever seen. I treated his eye and applied some pain killing drops, telling him that when it started to hurt again to come and get me. A few minutes later my patient dropped back to my place in the rear of the column, and walking beside me put his hand on my shoulder and said "Thanks Marine". I was REALLY glad there was no moon, he didn't see my tears. It was that night that I really felt a part of my Company.
Fast forward 23 years--
In October of 2006 I joined a forming Marine Corps League detachment. While on vacation, since I had said I would take the job if nobody else would, I was elected Charter Commandant, and held the position for 2 years. In January of 2007 I was appointed a district vice commandant for the Department of North Carolina.
I stayed busy with detachment and department work, and organized 2 new detachments in 2008.
At the 2009 Department Convention, at the end of the Banquet the Department Marine of the year Society presented their award. I was one of the Leaguers being considered. When the Society President said "FMF Corpsman" my jaw hit the floor, and while being escorted up front I thought I was going to faint. I was the first FMF Corpsman to be Department Marine of the Year in North Carolina. I'm still floored when I think about it.
I know what Marines go through to earn the Title, and the pride that a Marine gets when they earn their EGA is a powerful thing, even decades after that day it is never forgotten. I use that pride to recruit Marines to become Marine Corps Leaguers. A Corpsman can't earn the Title in the traditional manner, it can only be bestowed upon him by Marines. And the pride that comes with that word to a Doc is equally powerful.
To all the FMF Docs that read this message, if you've not yet joined the Marine Corps League, time to get the word, Mac! The League needs more Corpsmen--Seasoned Marines still need someone to push them to the Doctor!
Marines---remember Gunny Ermey as DI Hartman---From Today--- Until the Day You Die, Every Marine is your Brother. Joining the League will make you a functioning Marine again. And that's an awful good feeling!
Find a Detachment on this website http://www.mcleague.com/mdp/ or send an e-mail to kaczmarek [at] charter.net, I'll get ya straight.
Hank Kaczmarek HM3/USN
B CO 1/2 1983-1984
Past Commandant MCL Det# 1265
Corpsman of Marines
50 Years Earlier
First of all thanks for the newsletter..I look forward to it weekly
Just had an experience last Sunday the 5th I thought you would like to hear about. I live in San Diego and last Sunday July 5th was the 50th anniversary of placing my feet on the yellow foot prints at MCRD.
My wife and I were at the MCRD exchange on Wednesday the 1st of July, on the spur of the moment told my wife I wanted to stop and talk to the SgtMaj of 2nd recruit training battalion. I walked into his office, introduced myself, and ask him if it might be possible for me to talk to some of the recruits on that anniversary. Luckily, he thought it was a great idea and took my number and said he would be in touch.
Over the next few days I received calls from the Company 1st Sergeant, Company Gunny, and finally one of the drill instructors for the platoon. (nothing like following the chain of command) They arranged for me to be there at 1400 of the 5th
When I drove up at 1356 on the 5th, the platoon was standing outside the barracks. The DI walked up and introduced himself and ask if I wanted to talk to them inside or out. I told him inside since it was pretty windy, so he had them fall out and enter the barracks. When I walked in, I was introduced and then the DI went into his office and shut the door.
For the next hour and 45 minutes I had one of the greatest experiences I have ever had. We basically just shot the breeze. I told them about my boot camp 50 years earlier and how things had changed. They wanted to know about my career, if I had been in combat, what it was like, was I scared. We talked about all the MOS's I had held in 28 years. and what my favorite one was as well as my favorite duty station. They got a good laugh over the fact that I made 78$ a month my first 6 months and could not have a car on base or get married until you were a Corporal. We were not allowed to have civilian clothes in our lockers on base. I told them about shaking Chesty Pullers hand and what a thrill it was for me.
I could go on and on forever about the experience but will close with.. as far as I am concerned, they are still making Marines like they did 50 years ago and I was very proud to have been given the opportunity to spend time with these exceptional young men.
I also told them my wife and I will be in the reviewing stands when they graduate in September..
Carl "Moon" Mullen
U.S. Marine Corps (Ret)
No Yellow Footprints
I was a young 19 year old lad when I entered the gates of MCRD San Diego on 10 May 1974. I had heard all about those famous Yellow Foot Prints from a friend of mine, as he had just come home on leave in route to his next duty station. I waited in anticipation at the Airport just for the opportunity to stand on my own set of Yellow Foot Prints, that rite of passage so to speak in becoming a Marine. Well, needless to say, that ritual never happened for me.
I was due to leave Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, AZ. at 0900 and arrive in San Diego an hour later. Somehow, flight plans had been changed and I didn't leave out until 1630 that afternoon. I arrived in San Diego approximately one hour later and checked in at the desk. Myself and four other recruits waited at the Airport to be picked up, and waited, and waited, and, well you get the picture. It was about midnight when the Marine bus finally showed up and we were loaded on.
We were whisked in through the gate and then taken directly to the receiving barracks, where we were escorted to our comfy little racks for a couple hours of sleep. At O dark thirty we were rushed off to chow and then started our day with processing. To this day, I feel cheated out of the experience of standing on those famous Yellow Foot Prints.
Even so, I am still proud to be a Marine and be a part of a brotherhood that will last my entire life. Has this happened to anyone else?
If anyone out there was in Platoon 3049 from May through August 1974, I'd like to hear from you.
PFC B Co/7th Engr/1st MarDiv.
Listening To The Japs
I am a 3/9 VietNam vet, and proud of my combat history. However, my neighbor, a WW II Marine vet, who never talked much about his combat history, finally opened up and told me some of his experiences while island hopping.
Last week, while talking to him, he told me that he was in the 1st Battalion 8th Marines, which became the 2nd Marine Brigade forming the 2nd Division. He told me about fighting on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, and how his landing craft had run aground on the reef at Saipan, and how he spent three days in the water floating on his pack. At that point, my neighbor on the other side stopped to chat with us (He is a Staff Sgt. twice deployed to Iraq, and readying for deployment to Afghanistan).
I told him that Buford (The WW II Vet) was telling me about his Saipan experiences. The Staff Sgt. said he read a book about how 3 boats had run aground on the reef at Saipan 1,000 yards from the beachhead, and how only 3 Marines survived. I got chills living through his episode with him. I told the Staff Sgt. that he was talking to one of them right now.
Buford continued: He and two others were hiding under the pier, where they spent the night listening to the Japs on the pier above. In the morning, he decided to climb up on the pier and face whoever is up there. He said there was one lone sentry on the pier, who came charging toward him waving his sword in one hand and a pistol in the other.
He could see the Jap was a young man who was scared half to death. He stopped and just stared at Buford. I asked him what he did then. Explaining that he had no weapons, everything was lost when the landing craft wrecked, he said, I jumped back in the water to wait for more Marines to come and help.
He continued on to tell us how they moved on to Tinian where he was wounded five times and only received three Purple Hearts, because some wounds had occurred in the same battle. He showed scars where he was shot in the head (Through his helmet). But the most thrilling part of his story was when he said he briefly spoke with Col. Tibbits the day he left Tinian aboard the Enola Gay armed with an A-Bomb.
After About Two Weeks
Sgt. Grit. After reading Garry Coons response about Marines in uniform it reminded me of a conversation I had with my son who at the time was in "C" school in Pensacola Fla. He told me that all branches of service were in his classes and that every day before formation the Marines would go up and down the ranks and square away everyone's uniforms, He said that after about two weeks of this he could see the other branches getting a little resentful and they started taking pride in the way they wore their uniforms to formation. This is not the first time I have heard this and I can't help but wonder why the other branches do not demand the same attention to detail that our Marines do. I really do not mean to offend anyone and there are differences for example in how the sea going sailor and the land stationed sailor where their uniforms from what I have seen first-hand.
Gov. of Alaska made a speech when she announced she would resign. She said Gen. Douglas MacArthur said "We won't retreat. We will advance in another direction." Army S O P is retreat. At the Frozen Chosin in Korea in 1951 when 1st Marine Division was ordered to move south in a retrograde movement. Puller was asked are we going to retreat? His answer was "Retreat H&LL! We will attack in a different direction. She didn't have her facts straight
Need To Rant
This is written by a young man serving his third tour of duty in Iraq. Thought you might find his take on the Michael Jackson news interesting.
Okay, I need to rant.
I was just watching the news, and I caught part of a report on Michael Jackson. As we all know, Jackson died the other day. He was an Entertainer who performed for decades. He made millions, he spent millions, and he did a lot of things that make him a villain to many people. I understand that his death would affect a lot of people, and I respect those people who mourn his death, but that isn't the point of my rant.
Why is it that when ONE man dies, the whole of America loses their minds with grief. When a man dies whose only contribution to the Country was to ENTERTAIN people, the American people find the need to flock to a memorial in Hollywood, and even Congress sees the need to hold a "moment of silence" for his passing?
Am I missing something here? ONE man dies, and all of a sudden he's a freak!ng martyr because he entertained us for a few decades?
What about all those SOLDIERS who have died to give us freedom? All those soldiers who, knowing that they would be asked to fight in a war, still raised their hands and swore to defend the Constitution and the United States of America. Where is their moment of silence?
Where are the people flocking to their graves or memorials and mourning over them because they made the ultimate sacrifice? Why is it when a soldier dies, there are more people saying "good riddance," and "thank God for IEDs?" When did this country become so calloused to the sacrifice of GOOD MEN and WOMEN, that they can arbitrarily blow off their deaths, and instead, throw themselves into mourning for a "Pop Icon?"
I think that if they are going to hold a moment of silence IN CONGRESS for Michael Jackson, they need to hold a moment of silence for every service member killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They need to PUBLICLY recognize every life that has been lost so that the American people can live their callous little lives in the luxury and freedom that WE, those that are living and those that have gone on, have provided for them. But, wait, that would take too much time, because there have been so many willing to make that sacrifice. After all, we will never make millions of dollars. We will never star in movies, or write hit songs that the world will listen too. We only shed our blood, sweat and tears so that people can enjoy what they have.
Sorry if I have offended, but I needed to say it.
Remember these five words the next time you think of someone who is serving in the military;
"So that others may live..."
Jay R. Anderson
MSGT USMC Retired
parris island 1963
what is locked in my head is
sight alignment is:
when the tip of the front side blade is centered between the left and right sight aperture
trigger squeeze is:
a slow steady even pressure straight to the rear when the hammer falls without the shooters knowledge.
Taught Me Not To
On Friday July 3, 2009 I received the sad news that 1st. Sgt. ('Top') Jim Heine passed away earlier that day. I first met 'Top' at USMCRD San Diego on a very hot day in July of 1962 when I reported for Boot Camp. He was only an E-5 at that time and one of the four DI's we had in Platoon 353. Sgt. Heine was a 'Marine's Marine.' He taught our platoon what we needed to know in order to earn the title of 'United States Marine.' He also taught me not to smoke when you weren't allowed to do so! Thank God for Marines like him!
Many years later I ran across him. It was good to hear from him again! I found out that he lived in Louisville KY and that we were both Masons. 'Top' was born in 1935 and served in the Corps between 1952 and 1972.
I just wanted to let our fellow Marines know of 'Top' reporting for guard duty in Heaven and how much he will be missed by his loved-ones and those of us who he had made into Marines. May God Bless him and all of his family.
Sgt. Gilbert Snodgrass
Marines are nobody!
Nobody is perfect!
Therefore, Marines are perfect!
Sounds good to me.
SGT - USMC 1987 - 1994
sgt usaf (before I joined the military)
Proudly Served Korea Decal
Proudly Served Afghanistan Decal
Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done!
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