Dear Sgt. Grit.
The attached photo (the B&W) was taken by an official Marine photographer About March 6, 1945. My brother (on the right) was with Headquarters 5th Amphibious Corps and for the Iwo operation was attached to the Fourth MarDiv as a communication liaison between Division and Corps Headquarters. I (on the left) was in Signal Company, Headquarters Bn. Fifth Marine Division. That's a radio jeep we are standing next to on Iwo Jima. Obviously, we were both on Iwo, and we both survived.
We met again on Occupation duty in Sasebo, Japan. The restored and colorized version was done by my nephew, Rich Setterberg, son of (then) Captain Ed Setterberg, who was headed for Okinawa. He too met my brother and I in Japan on occupation duty. All three of us came back to the states on the same ship, arriving in San Diego on Christmas Eve, 1945. Not only did my brother Al survive the operation, he also survived being swept out to sea in an undertow. I was standing outside our communications tent and saw an Army Dukw heading out off shore, not knowing that they were going out to pick up my brother. He said the last thing he could see was Mt. Suribachi. But, thankfully, they saved him and the rest is the history above.
Thanks for the opportunity to bring back memories.
Cpl. 5th Signal Company. WWII
DaNang Ammo Dump April 27 1969
I had just arrived in Vietnam that day and was waiting for my assignment at the airport, there was a tremendous explosion that nearly knocked me down, I heard a thump and saw a intact mortar round land on a tin roof of a sh-tter a few feet away, being a really new FNG I turned to a seasoned grunt and he started running in the opposite direction with the comforting words "move it azzhole", with no rifle, in new starched utilities and absolute mass confusion, I was finally directed to a bus with screens on the windows for a harrowing ride thru bomb concussion waves to china beach. I thought that if this is my first day then the next 300 plus days in the nam were going to be worse and I was not disappointed
Bayoneted On Saipan
When I sit and have breakfast once a week with a group of 30 old men, I start to wonder where these men came from and what have they done in their lives. The majority of the group were veterans of all our military branches. Of the group, five were Marine Corps veterans. When I questioned them further about their experiences in the Corps, I began to realize that this was a very diversified group of men. The oldest was a WWII vet who was bayoneted on Saipan at 16 years old. The second oldest was with the 1st Marine Div at the Chosen Frozen, Korea and walked out with Chesty Puller's group of tough Marines. The third oldest spent two years in Viet Nam from 1965-1967, with three different units, A 1/4, M 3/26, and Third Force Recon. The fourth was Bob Jakucs, who spent 24 years in the Corps Regular and Reserve, obtained the rank of Colonel and went thru three wars, Viet Nam, Desert Storm and Iraq. I was the youngest and yes, proud of it. You might wonder why all these crusty old veterans were having breakfast together? They went on to serve the citizens of Los Angelos for 30 plus years as street cops, detectives and Sergeants. Our past president, "Ronald Reagan", said it best "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem. I feel this group of men are truly the image of what this great and beautiful country is all about.
Fritz (MAC) McDowell, Sgt, # 2349865
Older but still ready to fight.
Viet Nam, 1968-1970
Single photo, Maruice Rainey, WWII, # 548890 2nd Marine Div
Group photo; L/R- Bob Kosier, Korea, # 1034894, 1st Amphiban Tractor Bn., 1st Marine Div., Bob Jakucs, #0116954, Colonel, 3 Wars, Fritz McDowell, Joe Getherall # 2092339.
Honoring A Marine
Marines from Korea to the present honoring a Marine from Clearview, Ok on Memorial Day 2009, named Anthony Grundy, killed in Vietnam, 1968.
Lost Our Corpsman
Sgt. Grit; I just finished reading the latest newsletter, and wanted to respond to the remarks of the 2/5 corpsman who was in the Nam 67-68. I served with India company 3/5 during that time, or most of it as I was medi-vaced after Operation Swift in September of 67. I believe that I speak for the majority (if not all) of the grunts in combat that our corpsmen will never be forgotten or spoken ill of. When the stuff hit the fan, and the call corpsman up came I watched as they ran into the middle of the fields of fire to fulfill their calling. Having quickly lost our corpsmen in the last firefight in which I was involved, I tried to do my best in patching up the wounded which we falling around me, and feel that I did a horrible job. I would have given anything for the aid of a corpsman so that I could better direct those who were still functional within my squad! Just to say it again the Corpsmen were held in highest esteem by the grunts they cared for, and who they often drank under the table on liberty when we were states-side.
John Hulsizer 2098971 Cpl of Marines 64-68 India 3/5 RVN
In Oct. 1966 I arrived on Hill 327 DaNang Viet Nam. When November 10 came around, it turned out I was the youngest Marine in our outfit. First Marine Air Wing, Hawk Missile Battery. Included is a picture of me receiving the second piece if cake. Now I go to Cookies Bar in South Philly every Nov 10 to salute the US Marine Corps. I especially salute the 68 Marines I took home on their final journey while stationed at the Philly Navy Yard.
Marines Go Where they are Needed. No questioned asked...
Matthew P. Wojciechowski
The chrome dome massacre of '63
It was September of 1963, Parris Island S.C., we arrived late, close to midnight I believe. It was still very hot even at that hour. We were ordered off the bus and a Sgt. yelled a little and got us in line. We were told to put all of our belongings in our suitcases and bags. Then we were marched (more of a 'gaggle' than a march) to a location where we were given our utilities and skivvies and told to change. (we left our personal items there i think) after that we went to supply for the rest of our gear and standing in front of bins were told to find and hold up each item called out by a corporal and then "seabag it" we dutifully did so.
After that we went for boots and a pair of "boondockers" (we were a reserve outfit...so we didn't get two pairs of boots. I later went on voluntary active duty and served over 2 years including a Westpac that included Okinawa and a skosh time "in country")...
If memory serves me, we then went for haircuts to "get a trim"... after being shaved bald we were herded into a classroom and told to face straight ahead, no talking! While we sat at attention we were "served" sandwiches and a small carton of milk. I was so scared that I couldn't eat even though up until this time we had only been yelled at and talked to in a gruff manner, but I knew something bad was about to happen.
The guy behind me saw that I was not eating and asked if he could have my sandwich. (i wondered at the time how he could think of food when we may be about to die!) But I gladly and surreptitiously gave him my sandwich. I heard a motion at the back of the room and from my peripheral vision saw a tall lanky man with a "smokey bear" cover and a shorter stocky man wearing the same "DI" gear "cover and duty belt" walking to the front of the class.
We were instructed to keep our eyes forward and never, ever, look at them....(I didn't know what my DI's looked like for three days or more)...we were told that they were now the only thing in the universe that counted, they were our mothers, fathers, family and that we would not even wipe our noses without their permission.
We were back sitting at attention. We were then told that our names would be called in alphabetical order and upon hearing our name would pick up our gear and run though the door to our (civilian) left. Well, the first name was called and the fellow whose last name started with an "a" got called. He grabbed his seabag and headed though the door...."ambush"....all of a sudden when he went through the door he came flying back into the classroom followed by some shrieking, profanity laced scream of another DI, immediately followed by what we eventually learned were "chrome domes" (helmet liners painted silver to reflect the sun while on the grinder) flung full force in his direction. He was immediately set upon by the other DI's to get his filthy civilian a** back out that door, he went "once gain into the breach" (I was in horror and was sure we were going to die !)
And after that names were being called in rapid succession and as we hit the door (hatch) were immediately met with the same articulated chaotic screams of profanity and imminent death, followed by a "chrome dome" hurled in our direction at light speed, and set upon "literally" by DI's telling us to pick it up and get into formation ! I remember trying to pick my "dome" up and in my haste I kept kicking it further away. How I retrieved it I will never know !
Once all of us were in formation we were force marched with full seabags in the very hot, humid air to our barracks with DI's literally on our backs, screaming in our ears and banging our newly acquired "chrome domes" once we hit the barracks we were told to grab a "rack" put down our gear strip to our "new" skivvies and "hit the rack" (I think it was about 0300 or more by then) I remember the lights going out and looking at the 'exit' sign over the 'hatchway' and thinking that as long as it was dark, I was "in the rack" and could look at the sign I was "safe" until morning...(foolish me !)...I quickly fell into an exhausted slumber to be awakened a few hours later by the melody of g.i cans, and covers being melodiously played to the sounds of that same shrill, screaming profanity of such a short few hours prior.
So was the beginning of the h&ll week only Marines know ! I was sure that our DI's were Russian spies out to destroy us ! I now look back on all of it and can laugh out loud and revel in my youthful naivete, but thankful to the corps for making a skinny little wimp into a confident man, and more over a United States Marine ! The lessons learned are still with me today 46 years later! Semper-fi..
Sgt. Raymond L. Mirabile, USMC, 2067671
Plt 377, P.I.S.C. 1963
Call for Tattoos
If you'd like to participate in the below, send your tattoos to us: (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we'll see that you are put in contact with the History Channel...note the deadline....
The new History Channel Series, MARKED is seeking still photographs of your military related tattoos.
We are also interested in photographs of tattoos being applied. We want to see the following; USMC, Bulldogs, memorial tattoos, twin towers, north star, anchors, Neptune, turtles, SS Sniper, chicken and pigs on feet, logos and any other military tattoos you have that you would like to share.
Photographs must be high resolution (preferably 300 dpi). Thank you in advance from the History Channel team, we look forward to seeing what you have! The deadline is 1pm Friday June 19th, so get in quick!
Send to email@example.com
Ahh, That Sweet Smell of Days Gone By
It is the middle of the North African summer, 1965, 1st Guard Company, Sidi Yahia, Marine Barracks, Detached, Kenitra, Morocco. The temperature is 112 degrees in the shade. Standing at attention in full Dress Blues, with your M-14.The polish on the brim of your cover is dripping off. You can move your shoes and see where the polish has melted. You are a Marine and SgtMaj Williams says, "The first M*****F***** that drops....I'm havin' him for breakfast!". Marine Barracks, Morocco is no longer. Yet the memories remain forever fresh in my Brain Housing Group of my six years in the Corps. Only the Marines of Morocco will remember One-eyed Jackie from the Fleet Club, those fabulous potato chips on sale at the Liberty bus station, Benemalik (sp) Wine, the beaches of Mohammadia, getting arrested by the Mo Police for sleeping on the beach, taking pictures of Russian warships in Tangiers and having the Soviet Marines getting out drunk by U.S. Marines with Vodka (NOT), getting thrown off the Tangiers to Casablanca train for pulling the Emergency Cord for no particular reason, and the relay to the Naval Shore Patrol in Rabat with the Moroccan National Police in tow just because you stiffed the motorbike rental guy! Wow! 18 and your first duty station. Those lucky SOBs stationed at Sidi Bouknedel had the luxury of being on the seacoast while we unlucky b******* were sweating it out 60 miles in the Sahara at Sidi Yahia!..
Brian L. Hipwell, Cpl, 2148602
Purple Heart w/1 Gold Star
Life Member MCL, PDD
Judge Advocate, Department of NH
Adjutant, Twin State Detachment
Dog Robber, Teufelhund Pound, MODD, Pack of NH
Vice President, Royal Marine Association, USA
It Was A Good Kind
August 1971, entered basic at MCRD San Diego, platoon 3094, Quonset hut city for 3rd battalion, in a strange set of circumstances 2 of my drill instructors had also been my now brother-in-laws 11 months previous to my arrival in sunny San Diego. During our mess and maintenance week our DI's were relieved of duty because some recycled pick-up's we had acquired had complained they had been thumped, what disappointed me even more was that the squad leaders and some others that were supposed to be the leaders, dropped dimes as well. I wont deny that maybe the DI's got a little carried away but not to bad, it was what I had been led to believe was part of the Marine Corps boot camp. I had been told by my recruiter that they were not supposed to thump you, but to me it was an acceptable part of the rite to become a Marine.
I have often wondered what happened to Gy/Sgt Blum and Sgt Thorton, though I had heard he was reduced in rank which was to bad, he may have been a little crazy but It was a good kind in my estimation, during our final pft my buddy and I were doing our run, I was just gasping for air wondering if I was going to make the run in time, we came across Gy/Sgt Blum doing his pt. I never forgot the fact he actually talked to us as if we were human and encouraged us to step it up, we did and I completed my run with plenty of time to spare.
To those to guys I say thanks
Sgt Frank Huff 1971-1979
Short Of Funds
The article from Dale Peterson brings much memories to me having taken that route to two different tours to WestPac. My first one was in Dec'67 after I was home on leave from Nam after I extended my tour & was given 30 day leave home. Though I had all transportation paid. I found myself lost between LAX & Norton AFB, until I ran into a Col (ret) at LAX to direct me to where I had to get transportation. At that time you could take a chopper flight from LAX to San Bernadino, I was short of funds & that officer bought me a ticket for flight. I got his name & told him I would pay him back. When I got back to my unit in Nam, I lost track of all. Today I still remember this man that guided & helped me return to my unit, little did I know h&ll had broken loose. It sure made me a better man & every chance I have I help others. Is this not what our beloved Corps taught us, in short "no man is an island", we will get you out at whatever cost it is!
Memorable DI Sayings
I still remember this today, over 40 years ago, "I can't make you do anything, but I can make you wish you had".
Earl McDowell 04 March 66 to 03 Mar 69.
To this day I still remember what one of my Drill Instructors told our platoon #207 in PI in January 1964; "No matter how tough it gets, it won't last forever. You can wait it out." During many tough times since then I have often thought of that phrase. The DI was right. No tough time goes on forever. You will get through it.
Dennis V. Nix
HMM-265, Vietnam 1966-67
I am Keith Coffey, a former Cpl in the Marine Corps. I graduated with Platoon 1070, 1st BN, A Co, MCRD Parris Island, SC. One thing I remember Drill Instructor Sgt. McCormick tell us in the summer of '87 was " 'Ey '70, there ain't no trophies for 2nd place." He said that to us almost everyday, from the time he became our DI about half way through 1st phase, until we graduated. I'll also never forget our Senior telling us "no one put a .45 up to your head and made you sign the dotted line", and that even if we don't become career Marines we should fulfill our first commitment honorably.
One of my favorite lines was coined by my SDI, SSgt Ringer, with Plt 281 at PISC back in May 69.
It was "You've got Five minutes ladies, and four of them are already gone". I would use that line with my kids when they were little, and it was so funny to hear them complete it, before I Could get all the words out of my mouth.
R. Morse (Sgt USMC 69-75)
June 12 1957 Pete Lorenz and I left for MCRD SAN DIEGO. Our Senior DI was S/Sgt Joe Curley. He was a CHOSIN Reservoir survivor. He told us when he got to Korea to survive He hid under his helmet. After a while though he could stand side ways and you couldn't see him.
Dale Hartley 1607484
At the very end of his "welcome to my recruit platoon" speech, Senior Drill Instructor SSgt Fair paused for about 10 seconds and said:
"Even if you do what you're told and keep your mouth shut, you are going to find life hard here. You will think your Drill Instructors are being brutal and sadistic for no reason or because we enjoy it. When you think that, remember why your Drill Instructors are here -- why you're here. Your Drill Instructors are here to prepare you for war. War is brutal. Compared to war, boot camp is pleasant. Your Drill Instructors will make it unpleasant enough to turn you into Marines, so you will excel in war -- which is what Marines have been doing for nearly 200 years. Which is why you're here."
The scuttlebutt was that SSgt Fair had done multiple tours in Vietnam with Force Recon. Regardless, every time we practiced or took the PFT he would max the 18 year old version -- to show us how it was done.
Anthony B. Winter
Former Sergeant of Infantry, USMC
Staff Sergeant Stewart was my SDI, Platoon 190 - Parris Island summer of 69. He always use the term "No half-stepping" or "your half-stepping". I'll carried that phase with me the rest of my life. It has helped me in decision I have made. Not only doing my service in the Corps, but also during my career as a Police officer in civilian life. I instilled that phase in the raising of my daughter. She is now grown, married and has a life of her own. She still will hear say, now and again, "quit half- stepping."
Sgt. J. B. Watson
USMC 1969 to 1973
Here are MOTO memories from Parris Island.
During the hot summer of 94 our platoon (1169 Alpha Co.) won the first drill competition on the parade deck for our training company. Our SDI Sgt. Stewart was proud of his mounted boot trophy and he chose to reward us with delivered pizza and canned sodas. Our platoon was ecstatic to say the least. That all ended abruptly when our other DIs brought "Rolling Thunder" through the squad bay early the next morning. As the trash cans tumbled to the end of the room pizza boxes and soda cans were thrown everywhere! They appeared to be shocked at what they found (as if they didn't know). For the rest of Boot Camp when we pushed on the deck, any deck, UP was "PIZZA!" and DOWN was "SODA!"
Another fond memory was about how tired we were. It seemed we had a problem sitting up straight in our classrooms. Our youngest DI decided his new order to sit up would be, "GROW!" and our response, sitting up immediately and sounding off, "LIKE a BIG F-ING Oak Tree, SIR!" It brought smiles to everyone until the Co. Commander came by on a visit with the Chaplain. Sgt. Shue has probably never been that red since...
God I love those memories...
JD Flack, fmr PFC
My brother, Raymond R. Fox and I enlisted together in July, 1942. Billy E. Fox is my name. About four weeks into Boot Camp, we were marching along in columns and I thought Sgt. Guidry was way up front with the long legged boots. Raymond and I were back with the feather merchants. I was goofing off and all of a sudden everyone hears "B.E.Fox, for Christ sake, Lad, get in step". I'll never forget that if I live to be a hundred and I'm eighty six already. Raymond was a Reserve and I was a Regular (every other recruit was a reserve) we stayed together overseas 35 months until he got out right after the war ended and I served the rest of my four years plus 4 months at Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Illinois.
Billy E. Fox USMC, Sgt., 1942-1946
Dear Sgt Grit -
Plt 129, MCRD San Diego, 1968, had two junior DI's who functioned a lot like bad cop, and ... well, not so bad cop. We were in Q huts and one guy in an upper bunk could peek out onto the company "street". One evening, right before lights out, someone asked him to see if he could spot which DI had duty that night. After he a minute or so he turned and muttered "We're in a world of sh-t." Nuff said.
Dear Sgt. Grit. You asked for motivational sayings that our DI's said to us that helped motivate us, and maybe still do. So here is mine.
I'm a "Hollywood Marine" having gone through boot camp at MCRD RTR San Diego CA. My Senior Drill Instructor was SSGT Mendenhall a tall and tough Harrier Mechanic turned DI. On more than one occasion he had me pushing to the oldies because I was a real smart a$$, and I still love him for showing me how tough I would have to be to earn the Eagle Globe and Anchor.
My story is from our second phase hike on Camp Pendleton where we had to climb "The Reaper". Throughout our training our DI's had informed us that they were "not freak'n allowed to freak'n curse at us 'cause someone told their mommy and she freak'n cried to the powers that be" So on the morning of the reaper hike our Senior DI gave us some special instructions, a lesson in phonetic spelling, the gender names for dogs (male and female), and a lesson involving the names of several places in Vietnam. The special instructions were that every time he said a certain phrase during the hike we would sound off with the name of the place in Vietnam, followed by the name for a female dog, that he would liked to have seen fighting in the trenches of Vietnam.
So there we were several miles into the hike and well away from the camp and (any females) All of us recruits feeling tired, sweating, and slowly starting to dread going any farther when we reached the base of "The Reaper". Once we started to ascend the little mountain our SDI started running up and down the mountain telling us to "MOVE our NASTY BODIES" Then he said the key phrase "Jane Fonda Buns of steel ladies! BUNS OF STEEL!" To that 80 tired recruits replied "Phuc that B;cth sir! Phuc that b;tch! Ugh" Every time we said our part he would yell "BUNS OF STEEL!" and we would start yelling our part again. That really got us motivated. I still get an adrenaline rush just thinking about it. And every time I go on a hike, climb a mountain, or feel like quitting on a run I think to myself "BUNS OF STEEL!"
Marines never forget and in the case of Jane Fonda we will never forgive.
If anyone knows where SSGT Mendenhall is today please let me know I sure would love to say something I am sure I never did, Thank you sir.
SGT David Gray 0351/0365 1995-2001
Three D.I.'s, Senior D.I. Gunny Starrett, assistant's S/Sgt Dennison and Buck Sgt. Centers. Platoon 227, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion 1958.
Sgt. Centers had a red birth mark on one side of his face, looked like a war wound. First day in old wooden barracks, platoon is standing in front of racks in squad bay; he walked up to first recruit and asked him if he liked his (Center') face. Recruit says "yes", Centers punches him in gut and advises "are you queer boy?" He proceeds to second recruit and asks him if he likes his (Center's) face. Duh, second recruit says no Sir! Thump in the gut saying "my mommy wouldn't like that!" Now he proceeds to third recruit and asks same question, what the h&ll are you supposed to say. This went on for full complement of recruits with a gut thump no matter what the answer. This of course led us all to question our sanity for joining the Corps.
Some of the remarks from the D.I.'s to recruits were, "Are there any more at home like you?" "Did any of your mother's kids live?" First weekend as a boot, orders to recruits were, I want all my Catholics out back in formation for march to confession at base church. When we get back, order is for us to fall out. If we went to confession we must have done something wrong. P.T. ensued, and I mean ensued.
Last day on P.I. we got base liberty, passed Sgt. Centers near the base PX, we had planned to thump him if we met him. We did meet him, we shook his hand and thanked him for caring for us and teaching us how to become Marines. We had the best D.I.'s possible and finally realized it. Greatest lesson learned from my D.I.'s was that we were a team and we all suffered or celebrated together, as one. This took time for us to realize and appreciate but thank God for the quality of U.S. Marine Corps Drill Instructors. God bless 'em all! Oops now I have to do my P.T.
Leo Sullivan, USMC Ret.
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.
I remember a good lesson that DI Corporal Brunetti taught me at MCRD San Diego.
I was in Platoon 62, latter part of July 1940, and he had us marching along the boondock side of the Parade Ground, and gave the command Right Flank, March!
It was immediately followed by the Command, Platoon Halt!
He then said, "I intended to give you a Left Flank."
I thought then that the next command would be About Face, and when he gave the command Left Face, I did an about face, and almost immediately got a good whack across my rear end from his swagger stick. That was a good lesson to not anticipate a command.
I wonder if there are any from the old Platoon 62 out there. I was discharged in July of 1946, and got married in Oct '47. In September '48, I wanted back into the Corps, and tried to reenlist, but was told that since I was only an E-4 and married I could not reenlist, but if I got a divorce, I could. I did not want to do that, so I enlisted in the Army for 14 years.
I wore my Marine Corps belt buckle the whole of those 14 years, and retired in Oct '62.
USMC 1940 - 1946
Aug 1962- Sgt A.J. Kahrer saying to my buddy, who had red hair; "Red on the head, like a dick on a dog".
It came to mind, instantly, when you asked for memorable phrases.
MSgt USMC Retired
Duty Log Book - Seeing the entry "All Quiet on the Western Front." This started in boot camp and carried over into the FMF.
Entering the Chow Hall - "4, 2, 1, 3 attack the chow hall!" "4, 2, 1, 3 attack the chow hall aye sir!" "Attack!" "Kill sir!" Then the platoon was graduated to...
"Kill formation!" "Kill formation aye sir!" " Attack!" " Kill sir!" "Move together, step together, integrate!"
Chow Hall Lingo - "White cow & Brown cow are dead deck recruit!" "Cover that grenade!" "Target deck recruit!"
Waking the DI - Duty Log Book reads "Wake Drill Instructor Sgt Meeks at 0500." Pound! Pound! Pound! "Sir! The time on deck is 0500 sir!"
Sixty seconds later.
Pound! Pound! Pound! "Sir! The time on deck is 0501 sir!"
This process is repeated for a good five minutes - every sixty seconds until the Drill Instructor responds.
"Shut the FREAK UP there you! Wake me again in fifteen minutes!" "Aye sir!" The process is repeated again in fifteen minutes. This is the giving side.
On the receiving side....You are rudely awaken before you are supposed to be, then during the lull. Yes. You start to slip back off only the rudely awaken again.
"Get the FREAK out of you racks & get on line!" (This line was quite often accompanied by the sh-t-can being kicked or thrown down the "DI Highway"). And the training day begins...
Discipline - "The instant willing obedience to orders. Respect for authority, and self reliance. It's a way of life sir!"
The PT Field - I always found it very motivating going out to the PT field and seeing it packed with the other platoons. Just seeing all that was going, all that activity, both good and bad, was AWESOME!
The Parade Deck - Standing at the position of attention, or performing the manual of arms, for hours on end on that d*mn Parade Deck with the sun beating down & sweat dripping off my azz. (This was in San Diego - I could only imagine what Parris Island was like....Hot!Hot!Hot!)
Recruit Training - It does not get better. You get used to it, thus creating the false illusion that things are getting better.
Quote Gy/Sgt. Farrell: Haun, you are a "Good Turd", you will go far in this man's Marine Corps...
This statement, at Parris Island Graduation of Platoon 1037 on 4 Nov 1969 has meant more to me than anything I have heard since. It helped get me through Combat in Viet Nam '70-'71 with D/1/1 and later assignment with A Co. 2nd Recon Bn. It provided the extra push at Ranger, Airborne and Pathfinder Schools to show my Army counterparts what a Marine is made of.
I briefly crossed paths with Gy/Sgt. Farrell in Nam as my patrol was heading out and his was moving in. Mid 1970, forget exact date, but not the same involuntary pucker factor, that tends to make you stand taller in spite of conditions or burden.
Here's to you Gy/Sgt Farrell, be it known you did an outstanding job.
S/Sgt Harry Haun, USMC '69-'79
Daniel Island S.C.
Sgt Grit I was at P.I. in 1956 3rd Battalion Platoon 67. We lived in Quonset huts. That time we were not allowed to receive food packages. One day a package of chocolate chip arrived from my girlfriend. The D.I. called me out and told me to eat every one, two dozen. I was not eating them fast enough so he started cramming them in mouth. When he could not get another one in he said now sing the Marines Hymn. I could not breath never sing. I have not eating a chocolate chip since.
Sgt Perry 56-59
I went to Boot Camp in SD in '82 (2nd RTB). From then, through active duty, my college days, and to now as a police officer, I will never forget this outstanding motivational expression (and I constantly quote) from DI Sgt Fisher (very scary dude!) - "Pain is Good...Extreme Pain is Extremely Good!"
Oorah and Semper Fi!
(Cpl) John Beekman
Always a Marine
At This Point
Happy Birthday to the finest men and women of My Beloved Marine Corps!
17 Jun 2009 is the 111th birthday of My Hospital Corps! From that day forward my brothers and sisters have been there with the Marines, from Belleau Wood to Iwo Jima (Never forget, There were 5 Marines and 1 Corpsman)
From the Chosin Reservoir to the triple canopied h&ll of Viet Nam. From Desert Shield/Desert Storm to Fallujah and Afghanistan We have been by your side. Through hail of bullets, smoke, artillery shells and hand to hand. We've patched what we could and held on to those we couldn't save, so they wouldn't die alone. But it wasn't all combat, I've been there for births of children, Who says Marines don't cry?
I've been there when life's end was coming and helped family members ease their sorrow. I remember one young recruit brought to my ward, He had collapsed in basic. 19 is too young to get liver cancer. He was from Chicago and his father (against policy) made sure we never had to pay for our meals, We were helping his Son. One time he lashed out at my Lt. (Nurse Corps). It was out of frustration I know but I didn't cut him any slack on this. I told him what he was dealing with s&cked but he was a Marine and should behave like one. He said he wasn't one yet, he had not graduated yet and we both knew at this point he wasn't going to. I said it was still no excuse.
Later he apologized to the Nurse and I mentioned this story to my charge nurse ( God Bless you LCDR D K Sanford wherever you may be) It seems she passed on our conversation. A short time later he was stable enough to go home. But not before a visit which stunned him and his family, The Commandant and Sgt Maj of the Marine Corps paid a visit.The recruit was formally graduated from Basic Training and promoted to LCpl with orders to go home and get better so he could rejoin the fleet.
Two days later on a medical flight to Chicago that young Marine died peacefully in his sleep. Back in Bethesda we were all stunned even though we knew he did not have long it was still too short a time. I may not have been on that flight but I was there. I have far too many memories from my time in service, many like the one above many more happier and a lot of now very funny ones I can't talk about in polite conversation!
Marines (to paraphrase Mrs Roosevelt) Are some of the most Stupifiying, Hard headed, Hard charging, Trash Talking, Bullet Stopping go getters I have been blessed to ever know or work with. They say that the Title of Marine is earned not given, well from my view I know of one too the title Doc.. It is very much earned and I remember the day I went from Hm3 to Doc as I'm sure many of My brothers and sisters do as well. It made me stand a little taller... So for know Happy Birthday to my friends and family
Sleep well Marines, Doc's got your back.... Semper Fi
Doc Steve Goodrich
HM2 (FMF) USN
What A War
As a member of a fire team in Korea in 1951, my outfit, Dog Co. 7th Marines/1st Div. was dug in on a ridge in or near Inje, North Korea. Besides the 30 Cal. machine guns mounted in the bunkers, I had one of the two BARs left in operating condition.
In my war there was limited automatic weapons. The rule used to be: Sergeants on patrol had a Riesing Sub Mach. gun, or a Thompson. Sometimes a Carbine. Everyone else had an M-1 rifle. Only officers had a side arm and/or automatic weapon. Out of the 14 men in my squad we had one buck Sergeant, one Corporal and the rest of us were PFC's.
I wound up being the BAR man by chance. The original BAR man was hit during a fire exchange and me being next to him, he handed me the BAR. Loved that fire power. This weapon was so prized at that time in Korea, that when we could get some shut eye I would have to tie the BAR to my leggings to keep some light fingered jarhead from relieving me of the BAR. A few times I was wakened by a tugging on my leg. Eventually I was wounded in a fire fight and handed the BAR to the Corpsman who gave it to a PFC from Union City, New Jersey.
Jeeez! What a war. No body armor, just dungarees and 782 gear.
LCpl. D.J. MacKinnon Ret.
This is a story of a Marine who never forgets his fellow Marines. This tattoo is a way for him to remember them all. Jan.26, 2004 36 Marine and Navy men died. CPT Ron Potter 1/3 Charlie remembers them all. His best friend CPT Tim Gibson was among the ones lost. This is a Marine getting ready to enter Fallujah his fallen Marines footprints are behind him
Semper FI Father of CPT Potter
To Mark Gallant - Chu Lai 68 re "Firewatch...":
The hurricane that hit CARIB 3-66 was INEZ and it also flattened much of Haiti in addition to the Baherona Peninsula at the west end of the Dominican Republic. Because of the hurricane situation, BOXER was required to be within 24 hours steaming time of Guantanamo so we arrived fairly quickly on the south side of Hispaniola. I was BLT 3/2 S-4 and commander of the Logistics Support Unit, which, in disaster relief situations, added the CH-34 helo squadron to the mix of transport assigned (trucks, amtracs, boat group, etc).
We only sent medical teams with some Grunt support (unarmed) into DomRep but we also put ashore tons of food at Jacmel, Haiti, that was helilifted into the mountains where trucks couldn't go. We couldn't get trucks ashore easily so we also left some of those stocks for Haitian forces to distribute in the lowlands. Actually we were ordered by the American Ambassador to 'turn over' the foodstuffs to local political leaders designated to us by the Ton Ton Macoutes, the dictator's 'secret police', which meant that many who should have gotten the food didn't. The HMM did a great job getting everyone in and out, as well as reaching some tough spots up in the Haitian mountains.
What got me later, when I got to 'Nam, was how much the rough local soccer field LZ surrounded by banana plants and hooches were like 'Nam. That was some hurricane! Semper Fi,
I Saw A Huge SAW
Sgt. Grit, I'd like to send out a thank you to all of the Marines who were working at Marine Corps Week in Chicago, May 11th - 17th, 2009 at Arlington Park Racetrack and Navy Pier. At Arlington Park, I got a little emotional when my hand found the grip and trigger of an M16 on display, just a little feeling overcoming me of great nostalgia and a little sadness, but it went away fairly soon. The rest of the time, I talked with some 03 Marines, great guys, sharing our stories, ribbing each other, laughing our tails off, etc. I was asking all the questions about how things have changed, and they had all the questions about how the Corps was 20 years ago. One Marine, a new Private First Class, was BORN a couple months before I went to Boot camp! I'm 37 years of age. That's when I realized that you don't have to be old to be old.
So I couldn't believe the changes in the Corps since my day. They don't iron their cammies anymore, because they have wrinkle-free fabric! Only one issue of Combat Boot, which is the tan suede, so there is no more spit shining boots! No more black combat boots, no more green jungle boots!
This was funny. For those readers who were never or are not yet Marines, an M249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon) is a small machine gun. I saw a huge SAW, and I asked them what that big SAW on steroids was, and they said it's the M240 medium machine gun. So I said, well then where's your M60 medium machine gun, and they all looked around at each other, then busted up laughing, and I mean REALLY laughing hard. There is no more M60 in the Corps, they explained! The M240 replaced it. Hasn't been an M60 for many years. I said, 'Darn, I'm old.'
NOW READ THIS. So this really built, fit young Marine complains of his back hurting. I said 'What did you do, injure it?' He says no, it just from Iraq. All of these infantry Marines were involved in the initial wave into Baghdad. I didn't understand what he meant by 'just from Iraq', though. So he grabs the E- SAPI (Enhanced Small Arms Protection Insert) combat vests, and I put it on. It's about 30 pounds without the S-SAPI plates inserted that protect your sides! So the group starts telling me everything they carried around every day all day. You and I put on our clothes to go to work today, but these guys were wearing between 80 and 130 pounds of gear at all times, depending on their particular job and mission! THEY ALL had CHRONIC BACK and NECK PAIN. They went around the group, each telling what ailment they've been diagnosed with, and it was three lumbar disc herniations here, degenerative disk disease there, etc.! All of them! Now get this next part!
According to every Marine I spoke with that weekend, Arlington or Navy Pier, the Corps measured and recorded EVERY Marine's height prior to deploying for Iraq, then re-measured and recorded upon return. They found an AVERAGE of 3/4 of an inch shrinkage across the board, from all that additional weight compressing the disks for 14-16 hours a day for months at a time! It most likely also exaggerated the lordotic curves of the lumbar and cervical spine AND the kephotic curves of the thoracic spine and possibly even sacrum. One very young Lance Corporal was measured at 6'1" deploying, and 5'11" upon return. He said 6 months of physical therapy helped him gain an inch of that back. I couldn't believe it. One squared-away young Marine just factually said, 'Every (bleep) one of us is young and strong, so we live with it -- but when we get older, we're all in trouble." That's not even including the terrorist or combat environment -- it's just going to work every day! Gotta say, that really bothered me. It still is bothering me. Wow. I'm telling everyone I know that story.
So I went to Navy Pier the next day. One of the large displays there was a Nuclear Biological Chemical Defense display. I used to teach that stuff in Okinawa as a 5711, so I walked up and just about hit the floor. I did not recognize a single piece of equipment. Absolutely everything from my time has been replaced, in some cases two or three times! These guys didn't even go to the same military base as I did for NBC school. My base Ft. McClellan, AL, was closed in 1999, so these guys went to Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri. Our old MOPP gear used to be like a super thick (2" thick?) snowsuit, with powdered charcoal as the barrier/filter that turned you all black when you took it off. The new standard stuff is like a front-zip sweatshirt thickness. Unbelievable. The FOX NBC recon vehicle that was brand spanking new in my day is being retired now. The protective field gas mask that I used and taught with (M17A2) has been replaced now three times already, with the addition of the new M50 Mask! And every change is for the better, of course, but it still stung a little. Some of the staples from my Marine Corps are long gone. As they say, you can never go home again.
A great few days overall. I learned a great deal that I didn't know about the changes in the Corps, and it was really first- hand research for the book I'm working on about my first nine or so months in the Corps. I'd like to thank those Marines for bringing the Marine Corps to Chicago, for the companionship and the laughs. Semper Fi, Marines!
Patrick D. Clifford
LCpl / Medically Retired (that's a story for another issue - maybe)
Me wearing the new M50 Mask.
See Some Action
I and a bunch of others, in July, '42, were transferred out of the 1st Marine Div. and shipped up to Efate Island as replacements in the 4th Defense Battalion.
A buddy of mine, Bruce Dunthorne, was aching to see some action and after a couple of months on Efate, decided to go over the hill to get back into the 1st Marine Div.
Mobile Hospital #2 was also located on Efate Is. and healed wounded were flown back to the Solomons.
Bruce just stood in line at the airport and boarded the plane. After about 25 or so days another buddy, Busby, came to Efate, wounded by a sniper, and we told the Sarg. about Dunthorne being up in the Solomon's.
Dunthorne was taken off of the list of being A.W.O.L.
The 1st. div. went on to Cape Glouster for a landing and Bruce Dunthorne was killed by a sniper.
This is to give credit to a couple of Marines by the names of Macina and LaBarber who, after the war, visited the Dunthorne family in Nutly, N.J. to inform the parents as to how Bruce Dunthorne was killed.
Arlington W. Kirk
There was a letter posted in the news letter on 20 May 09, by a Brad and /Linda Hutchenrider asking information about Troop Ships carrying military (Marines) from San Diego, Ca. to Vietnam. My 1st tour to Nam was Aug 1965, we boarded the USNS Sultan. It took us a month to get there with stops in Hawaii, Japan, Okinawa and in to the Port of Da Nang. On the way back they flew us to Okinawa, and from there we boarded the USN Walker MSTS, that was Aug 1966. I don't know how other ships were use to transport troops to Vietnam and back to San Diego? Wish I could be of more help, but maybe this will help you jog your memory. I wish you luck, in finding your answer.
GySgt. C. Rodriguez
Recently picked up a group of past Platoon group photos and this one from 1972 was in the mix. Any former members of this Platoon might find it interesting as they all signed the back of the copy that I have.
Proud Father of PO3 "Doc Hagins" 1st Marine Division
Stick Our Grape
Last newsletter you were asking about DI stories. Recently one of my co-worker's son went to MCRD San Diego for boot camp. He was asking me what his son was probably going through during his first few hours there. It brought to mind a Drill Instructor story, which I shared with everyone in the office. They all got a big laugh. I was in Platoon 1021, A Company, 1st RTBN February 1986 to May 1986. My SDI, SSgt Duhon, told one of his junior Drill Instructors one evening about two weeks before graduation to let his privates call home tonight since they had done such a good job shining shoes that day or something. The Sgt. said Aye Aye and SSgt. Duhon left the squad bay. A few minutes later, we were ordered to go to the porthole, open it, stick our grape out and call home. So there we were, all of us disappointed but amused, while we yelled "home, home, home" out the porthole. I am not sure if SSgt. Duhon was in on the calling home or if the junior Drill Instructor (Sgt. Welock or Sgt. Zajch) thought that up on his own, but it was pretty humorous nonetheless.
Thanks to all who came before me and all who will come after. I am and will always remain,
Cpl. Mark Harris
Major Jack Ruffer
I today's Courage Newsletter #202. Re; A letter from Jack Ruffer. If you want to know more about Major Jack Ruffer, one of the "Lions of Medina", I can wholeheartedly recommend reading "Lions of Medina" by Doyle Glass. One of the best books about VietNam and specifically about C co. 1/1 during Operation Medina.
Jack Ruffer exemplifies the meaning of the title MARINE. He set high standards for all those Marine's that followed. To know what he did to earn that Silver Star (should have been the Navy Cross, IMHO) you must read the book. One of my hero's...
Dave DeVries HM2
C& D co. 1/1 '68-'69 RVN
My Point Is
Recently I have been doing landscaping around my house and needed some mulch to "pretty" it up. I drove to a local supplier in the town I live and asked the older gentleman running the backhoe how much for a yard and so on and so on. I picked a color that he said was not going to sell much of because it was an "off red" and not many people were buying it, so I chose it. As I was leaving the site, I just so happened to notice that he had a Marine Corps sticker on the rear window of his backhoe.
Later in the week I needed more and coincidentally I was wearing one of my many Marine Corps tee-shirts that I have purchased from Sgt. Grit. When I went to pay him the same money for the 2nd load that I paid for the 1st he knocked $6.00 dollars off the price and gave me a "Marine Corps" discount. As I said earlier he was an older gentleman we exchanged a few stories, mine were not quite as interesting as his due my tour in the Corps was spent at Quantico between 93'-97'. We said our goodbyes and shook hands and I left.
Two weeks later I needed more mulch to finish the back yard up and went back and he still had 2 truck loads of the "off red" that no one wanted but me so I offered to buy the rest of it so he could make room for more product. Again, he gave me the same discount but only wanted half for the last load.
My point is that as Marines we have all committed ourselves to a standard and not just for the time we served but for a life time despite the years of service we commit to. I had never met this man before but because he knew I was a Marine he gave me a discount. As Marines we don't anticipate anything in return for general acts of kindness no matter how big or small. I work for a distribution company and in return for his generosity I gave him an additional $20.00 dollars (for the last load) and a few pounds of Dunkin Donuts coffee and feel that I made a friend for life. The brotherhood reaches out to all generations and ranks and this was a clear example of that. This was an experience that I will never forget as simple as it may be. Semper Fi
Jeff in Uxbridge, MA
Anti / Tank Co. 5th Marines ( Korea ) will be having their reunion at Quantico, Virginia Marine Base
Sept 17-18-19-check out Sunday 20, 2009.
Contack person--Chuck Batherson 734-721-0764
Reunion 2/5 Vietnam
Igor of the 2/5, 1st Mar. Div. here again.
Thanks so much for all the great letters. They sure do bring back the memories. Som