Reading the latest newsletter where Sgt. Peggy Blum took offense at the term BAM I couldn't help but remember an incident on Camp Pendleton in 1970, prior to shipping out to Vietnam. A bunch of "newly" minted Marines, myself included, were on a bus heading out for weekend liberty. There were other "seasoned" Marines on board, along with a couple of Women Marines.
This one sergeant was feeling his oats and started using the BAM reference toward this nice, respectable female sergeant. As we were exiting the bus the female sergeant steps in behind the Marine who was directing the inappropriate language and reference. Just as he was about to step off the bus she says "Hey Marine." When he turns around she nailed him right between the eyes with a punch that landed so hard he fell out of the bus and onto the ground. It was most outstanding!
And she had 15 fellow Marines, newly minted or not, standing around her ready to go the distance with the seasoned guys if need be. She had hit him so hard that he couldn't focus and just walked away with his buddies. I learned a valuable lesson that night. Don't judge a Marine by their gender. They are as tough as you are.
Cpl Tom Gillespie
5 Years of GriTogethers - See our photo montage
View a collection of photos from the previous GriTogethers! 6th Annual GriTogether - May 16th! (NOTE: This date is a correction from what was send to your inbox)
Be there for the best USMC party around!
A Face No Marine Forgets
This shot taken at P.I. and worth thousands of words, appeared in a Look Magazine story called "THE MARINE MACHINE" published on August 12, 1969.
Plt. 3137 "Eye" Co. 3rd Battalion RTR San Diego 7-24-69 to 9-30-69.
How many Of Us
In response to Roger Wares' letter in your 22 APR 09 newsletter:
Doc Ware, Marines never forget either. Every day I am reminded of the Corpsmen that went out with us and brought most of us back in one piece. Remember this Doc, you didn't give life to the Marines that died in your care, you can't take credit for taking it away. When it is a Marines' time to die, we die, period. No modern medical miracle will keep us from that last formation. Don't forget us but don't feel guilty that is was our time to die.
How many Marines did Corpsmen save over the years? How many of those Marines went on to lead productive lives that have an impact on the lives of those around them? How many of us, Doc, owe our lives to the skill and bravery of the Corpsman among us? ...how many grains of sand...?
Thanks Doc Ware.
Cpl. Mark Lanz, USMC Ret.
RSVN Graduate '69
If You Wanted To Be
Ladies and Gentleman,
About the terms BAM and HAM and all the other names that were called (this also goes for PI vs SD). First let me say that there is no great love than Marines for Marines. We've always had pet names for each other like wing wiper, cannon cocker, Remington raider, Hollywood Marine, Swamp Marine, etc. I'm a grunt and d*mn proud of it but do you know what grunt means. Well I was told that it the lowest form of Marine life that crawled from the sea. I'm sure that some people use term to be derogatory but most of don't mean it that way. I'm proud to be called any of the Marine nicknames because it means that someone, usually another Marine has recognized me as a Marine and there is no greater honor. If you wanted to be Politically Correct you should have joined the Air Force.
God Bless All that Serve our Great Nation,
Former CPL Bob. Lenz SN - 2207174 PI - PLT 1054 back in 1966
Cognac And Wine Kept Coming
Looking through this newsletter every month, I look for names and events I can identify with. I have never met Cpl Bill Finkel, and it may appear our paths have crossed. I was intrigued by his "landing" somewhere in Greece but never understood what went on.
It reminded me of a landing I participated in on the Med coast of Spain in 1964 as part of an operation with the Spanish Marines (operation Steel Pike, I think). I was with a Naval gunfire and forward air control spotting team from 2nd ANGLICO. The sea was rough, and the Spanish apparently had little experience in net handling.
My Marine aviator partner, Rex Reilly, and I, fearing for our lives and those of our men, sent down our Marines to handle the nets. Our unit was to land with a Spanish platoon on the right flank, which we did. We landed on a beach populated by cracker box summer resort homes, all connected by concrete block back yard fences on the beach side. We were met by the residents who were lined up on the beach, watching us with amusement.
Fortunately one of the residents was a Paiute Indian and retired AF Master Sgt from Arizona. During consultation with him, he suggested that it was ok to go into the back yards, into the homes, and out the front doors. We did that and continued on with our landing exercise. We managed to climb uphill in 6 inch deep sand and determine where we should really be, and continued with the training.
Working with the Spanish Marines was a trip. About 6pm all the canteens were collected and were later given back with cognac for the evening. One evening a flamenco guitarist showed up and entertained us. After the exercise was over we all convened back on the beach, and it was probably two days before we were picked up. Meanwhile the cognac and wine kept coming, and the party continued. When we were picked up, we bid a fond farewell to our Spanish friends for a fun exercise and a good time, and headed back to the States.
Cpl Finkel stated he was ready to go into Cuba for some missile business, and at that time I was a young 2nd Lt with the 2nd 155 mm self propelled gun battery. During this time I began to have more of an appreciation of what the Marine Corps was all about. I was amazed at how fast and efficiently got all that heavy equipment, ammo, food, personnel records an other supplies to the loading dock and were on our way to join our fellow Marines in this mission. It was with some disappointment and relief when we learned a landing would not take place, for we were ready and willing to do our duty. Coincidentally, our ship went into Charleston harbor to refuel and I went to the PX there to make some purchases.
Later in life I learned that a present friend, a fellow Lion and a Cuban refugee, was a Navy yeoman on the staff at the PX at that time.
I miss my friends from the Corps, and those days will be forever in my memory
Dick Thompson, Captain, USMCR, former E-3 US Naval Reserve.
You Will Wear Mine
Reading Jon Rodger's article about Sgt. Schultz's photo watching them that they don't pass out - Sgt. Schultz was my Junior DI in platoon 3236. Our feet landed on the yellow footprints on Dec. 31st 1969 and we graduated in March of 70. Does any know what came of Sgt. Schultz? He was tough as nails but 150% Marine. Getting ready for graduation I was selected platoon honor man and Dress Blues recipient. When it became unclear if my blues would be ready by graduation I ask Sgt. Schultz if I should wear my greens like everyone else. He simply said, "if they are not here by graduation day I will have my dress blues altered and you will wear mine. Pretty outstanding.
What a view! Just wanted to share this old photo I found of myself (October / November 1991 time frame) on top of "Old Smokey".
"Smokey" was a pretty cool guy once you got to know him. HA! HA! Anyone else have any feelings towards this guy?
3rd Bn 11th Marines Reunion
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I would be very grateful if you would post our reunion in your news letter and web site. Thank you very much.
3rd Bn 11th Marines, Sept 10-13, Kansas City, MO. Contact Doug Miller, 609 Miami, Hiawatha, KS 66434, cell (402) 540-9431, DWMiller48 @ gmail .com, or Marc Ciacchi, (216) 938-9217, 13201 Cooley Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44111, jarhead311 @ hotmail .com
Liking To Me Right Away
I can still remember my first week at P.I. I thought "What the H&ll did I do" I was 17 and just arrived off the train at Yemasee, my recruiter gave me sage advice, wear jeans and a T- shirt in Sept. as you will sweat your butt off.
I don't know what some guys were told because some were wearing suits and ties. Well we had to wait for the bus to take us to the island, meanwhile, this Gunny comes over and tells us all to get into this ditch with about 6in of water and start digging. I still cannot figure out why we were digging a ditch in Yemasee except I guess it was the chain gangs day off.
Finally, we get to P.I. and meet our D.I.s, Master Sgt. Davis and Staff Sgt. Ribauko, we then saw our barracks, Quonset huts, with screen doors and rack blankets printed U.S.C.G. Davis explained we're poor, but we're d*mn proud.
Sgt. Davis was a man I would have followed into h&ll, he told us he was a China Marine, went through WWII and Korea, never said too much about it but said he had been in the Corps 35 years, this was in 1957.
Davis took a liking to me right away because I was the first person he decked. These were the days of the still "old" Marine Corps. In fact it was two weeks after a group of boots were drowned in a night march. I'm near 70 now and my mind does not recall the name of the creek or D.I. Anyway after all this time I can still recall every incident and would not trade the memories for anything.
While some Female Marines have felt degraded by the term BAM or even WAM (Wide A...d Marine). I remind these people that they are Marines first. They earned the Title Marine. They take pride in that fact. They should take pride in the fact that they are fewer and should be prouder!
Like the Female Warrant Office at Camp Lejeune 89 and 90. Her personalized plate said, WAM WO!
Now that's pride!
SSgt Jerry Johnson
I, too remember the "Desert To The Sea", 150 mile hike from 29 Palms to Camp Pendleton I was your Mess Sergeant who fed you breakfast and supper and dropped off your C-Rations for dinner.
On the last day I hiked onto Camp Pendleton with the Battalion. We started out at 29 Palms with Breakfast and had C-Rations for Lunch and were fed hot chow for supper, then I would go back to 29 Palms and pick up supplies for the next day, when we would feed you Hot Chow for Breakfast and drop off C-Rations for Dinner then feed you Hot Chow for Supper and did this until we got half way then I would go to Camp Pendleton and pick up supplies.
I still have my Certificate, Signed by Col. Smoak, and I look at it every once in a while and it brings back a lot of memories both good and bad.
John W. Grindel
H&S Co. 5th Mar.
now GySgt, USMC/Ret
I was fresh out of boot camp in 1956 when the Suez Crisis hit. We were loading out, at Moorhead City, aboard the USS Thubin (KA-19) and I was in the hold parking trucks.
When the Bosun announced:
Now Hear This:
1st Division muster on the fantail.
2nd Division muster mid ships.
3rd Division muster on the bow.
Having been instruct at P.I. of the size of a Marine Division, my first thought was,
How big is this d*mn ship?
Always got a chuckle with this:
Semper Fi Brothers
16 Weeks In "Parrisdise"
In '59, while still in Nissen Huts, we were evacuated from 3rd Bat area during a hurricane and sent to "live" on the second floor of 2nd Bat. barracks. When we arrive the 2nd Bat their DIs referred to us, from the 3rd Bat, as the fugitives from "Crudville".
This was 2 weeks into our training and, as our reward for working the clean-up in Columbia, SC and other towns, they started our boot training over. The result 16 weeks in "Parrisdise".
Dom Antinoro (LCPL)
Plt 359 (Sept. 1959)
When through MCRD San Diego, literally thirty years after you did, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred & ninety - one.
To the best of my knowledge there were no Battalion nick names. However, it was widely known that each respective Battalion had its own training emphasis. 1st Bn was all about the Physical Training. Unfortunately, I don't recall the exact match up for 2nd Bn & 3rd Bn, but the remaining two emphases were, Prac & Drill. This is not to say the each of the three Battalions were not fully saturated in the other two emphasis they were not known for.
Now, many of the Training Company's had their nick names such as:
1st Bn Devastating - Delta
2nd Bn Goofy - Golf
2nd Bn Hump'n (?) - Hotel
3rd Bn Killer - Kilo
3rd Bn Lethal - Lima
Were these around in your day?
Advice About Life
To Jon Rodgers,
I was in Platoon 3140 in 1969 August 8 to September 30 (day after my 23rd birthday). I remember S Sgt. Noakes. He was certifiably crazy as my own Drill Instructor SSgt. Poteet testified. But he was funny too. I was the secretary for 3140 and when I was in the duty hut doing chores, he would give me advice about life. Mostly about slop chutes and women, his idea of the best $#^&%#. It was difficult not to laugh.
Thanks for sending the pictures, not that I don't think about those days a lot anyway.
Sgt. 2430138 1969 to present
I went to P.I. in Sept 1961 and the 3rd Bn barracks were Quonset huts. All the D.I.'s kept telling us was that we were going to be the first to move into "Disneyland". When we did move into the new brick buildings, we were "lucky" enough to be on the second floor.
This just opened up a new way for the D.I.'s to scare the s..t out of us. Errant "boots" were placed in garbage cans and threatened to be thrown out the window. "Disneyland" was no Mickey Mouse assignment.
1st Bn, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Brigade Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii 1962-1964
Sgt. Grit, In 1959 I had the pleasure of serving as a Rifle Marksmanship Instructor 8531 at Weapons Training Bn., Camp Matthews, San Diego. I was a Rifle Coach to recruits and reservists. We also instructed with the .22 and .45 caliber pistols and hand grenades. I did my boot camp here at San Diego, Plt. 357 in 1958 and also duck-walked up and down 'little' and 'big' agony under the keen tutelage of Tech. Sgt. Baker, Sgt. Wilson and Sgt. Lopez. We sang Marine Corps songs as we double- timed out to the range, pulled butts, licked em' and sticked em' and made targets.
On my first yearly re-qualification with the M1 while pulling duty as an 0351 Flamethrowers, H&S Co., 3/5, I shot a 235 out of a possible 250 and they sent me off to coaches school at Matthews. This was a great duty station to serve at. Liberty at the beach in La Jolla, checkin' out the nightlife down the beach into San Diego and feelin' great about being a Marine Corps Instructor. Well you know all good things must come to an end so eventually I was sent back to 2/5 Flame's and on to Okinawa.
I would like to hear from anyone who served at Camp Matthews during that time and who has photos of this great historical Marine Corps base taken around the camp and ranges. Sgt. Grit, all of us out here, young and old Marines appreciate you and what you are doing to perpetuate the United States Marine Corps and its heritage. Thank you and God bless you.
GUNG HO! Tony Austin, 1833649
I was in the Marine Corps in 1958 to 1961 and I was lucky enough to be a Jockstrapper, for those who do not know what that is I played football, and baseball for the 1st Marine Div. One day we were called upon to participate in a field exercise and being my mos was 0331 we were climbing one the monsters that was just off shore from main side. I being in top physical shape I grabbed the light machine gun and threw if over my shoulder and proceeded to pass everyone going up this hill.
Well we had a gunny sgt name Gunny Barbosa and when we reached the top he came over to me and Conners don't be a smart a$s and I have to admit I was being a little cocky but that stuck with me in life and I learned to a great lesson from what Gunny said, my actions were uncalled for and never did it again...at least as long as gunny was around.
Gunny Barbosa is a docent at MCRD and has earned one of the highest honors giving and that is the Navy Cross. Gunny if you read this God Bless you and thank you and God Bless the Marine Corps.
Conners1 @ sbcglobal .net
MCRD PLT. 305 Jan. 1958
Politely Informed Him
Worked at the Armory, Courtney, Okinawa 1987. Every month we would inventory the entire Armory to account for all the weapons and ammo. Somehow we screwed up and issued a weapon to a Marine which we recorded the wrong serial number. That Marine was all the way down in Thailand and had to come back and turn in his rifle for the correct one. The Company CO came down pretty hard on us lance corporals and the new (old) rules were that no weapons would be issued without ID and weapons card left on file (if they are just taking it outside for cleaning).
One day the ole Mustang Lt Col came to get his pistol, I the lance corporal politely informed him to give up his ID and weapons card. He asked me if I knew who he was. "Yes sir, the battalion executive officer", I confidently told him. We went back and forth for a couple of minutes, and I even tried to get the manual to back up my authority, but my sergeant looked at me with crazy eyes and told me it was OK to give him his weapon.
Company CO called us to his desk the next day all of a sudden the rules didn't apply for the XO--classic!
XO came back the following week and dutifully gave up his ID and card, told me I was doing an outstanding job and appreciated that I would "go by the book".
My next Armory story will be when we got a new Sergeant and during the monthly inventory did not want to keep the nearly 20 year secret about the 9 50 caliber barrels that had been hidden and unaccounted for since the Vietnam War in the Armory.
Just a small sea story about BAMS. Remember the recruiting poster of the beautiful red headed WM back in the 60's? Well my drunken buddy Terry Chance and I got to meet her. We were young Marines on liberty in Waikiki at Ft Derusy and up walks this gloriously beautiful creature in all of her blue regalia. Terry just had to run off at the mouth and say "Wow, look at that BAM". After looking at him like something the dog left on the floor replied in a voice that dripped venom, "Boy, you better mean Beautiful American Marine or I am gonna whip your A**"! Terry was instantly stone cold sober and replied in this little wimpy voice "Yes Mamam"
I guess the moral to this little story is that most of us are sorta proud of our nicknames be it grunt, doc, cookie, zoomy, cannon cocker or what ever. BAM is the only nickname that depicts a Marine as beautiful.
Heat Moved The Bullets
Sgt Grit; When I was TAD to Subic Bay in May of 1959, I was on guard duty early in the morning when they towed a plane out of a hanger. They had 10 or so guards around it and a van followed it out to the runway. The pilot decked out in a space suit and carrying an air condition unit and was helped into the cockpit. They started it up and he took off in about 150 feet. He was gone all day and returned latter that evening.
This was a year before a U-2 was shot down over the Soviet Union. Word was that if it came in on fire that our crash crew was not to approach. Oh ya the rifle range down there was hard to qualify on. The heat moved the bulls eye around so you had to split the difference. It was like shooting through a mirage! No one remembered the oil pots used to blacken the front sights.
Thank you Sgt Grit for giving us old Marines a place to remember. I look forward each week to reading about my brothers and sisters and there experiences in our Corps
Cpl A D Johnson Plt 284
Me at Parris Island SC, in 1955.
Second picture is me in a parade in 2006.
Semper Fi Barbara E. Gove
It Did Not
I went through PI in '64. Somehow I got a EGA that I wore on my Garrison Cover while I was in that did NOT have a fouled anchor. For you uninformed types; that means it did NOT have a rope on the anchor.
Does anyone out there have any information on this device? I still have it and wear it on my suit lapel. It was originally brown, but in '64 most of the stuff we had was brown, including our boots. We had to dye, paint, or polish everything brown to black.
PI Jun to Aug '64
USMC '64 to '68
Gunny Suddenly Appearing
I eagerly await each and every arrival of the newsletter...
I especially enjoy reading about all my Brothers (past and present!) In essence, it makes me young again.
Yes, I can easily remember the chilly hills in Korea, the bugles in the morning mist, straining my class 1 eyeballs towards the valley in front of me for that first movement...
Or the pipes wailing from the British unit to our west...
Or the Gunny suddenly appearing beside me..."anything??"
Long ago...but only yesterday ! 56 years ago??...No Way Jose!...
And now? The uniforms have changed, the rank structure has changed, its desert and heat as opposed to hills and cold but, as always, those "kids" are taking and holding the high ground. Why not? They are Marines, doing what Marines do best !
Fisher, Philip D
How Co/ 3rd Bn/ 5th Marines
As an old Parris Island D.I.,(B Co 1st Bn, 1967-1968) I will give a short dissertation on the life cycle of the renowned "Drill Instructor pets" of Parris Island. In early spring the eggs hatch. And as everyone knows, babies have to be fed. (recruits blood) Early summer finds them as teenagers. And teenagers can't be filled up. (recruits blood) Late summer and they are looking for mates. The best place to find another is a nice place to eat. (recruits) Early fall and the adults and all their children are having fun at family picnics.(recruits blood) Late fall and they are stocking up food for the winter. (recruits blood) And the next spring, the cycle begins again.
I was at Camp Elmore from Jan 1979 to Oct 1979, Security & Classification. We were housed in the two story brick buildings that looked like a hotel; 3-man rooms. I was released from active duty Oct. 79 at Camp Elmore, then went back to college.
I was wondering if anyone was stationed at Camp McTureous on Okinawa in 1978? I was with G-3 Operations, which ran Team Spirit '78 in Korea. 1978 was the year the island switched over their driving lanes...traffic was interesting to be in. We went to Korea on the USS Blueridge, LPH (Landing Platform Helo). With the shape of the deck, if you looked from the front of the ship it appeared as if it would just fall over in the water.
Anyway, as we were headed out, one night this huge storm comes up and we are pitching and rolling all over the place! As the bow of the ship crested each wave, the wind would hit under the overhanging deck and roll the thing, so we were going up and down in a circle...I never saw so many guys hugging toilets and sinks that night. It's crazy...I never got seasick until years later when my wife and I went on a cruise! Bad timing...
The Marines taught me everything I have needed to get through life...perseverance, endurance, resourcefulness, and of course, improvise, adapt, and overcome. I would recommend it to anyone. I can say this with honesty, as my daughter is now a Lieutenant in the Marines, and both of my sons want to go in!
God Bless the Corps!
Cpl. Ken Copes 76-79
It Would Be Safer
It is with great sorrow that I have to announce the passing of LT. Commander Peter S. Marra (133rd NCB) 4th Marine Division (Iwo-Jima) at age 90. Peter was the Heart and Soul of the Presidential Unit Citation issue for the 133rd N.C.B. at Iwo Jima - He singlehandedly pursued this for years in deteriorating health, and deserves a medal alone for his 'Herculean' efforts. He will be sorely missed.
Peter S. Marra 6/15/18 - 4/27/09
Peter was in charge of the Security unit and was hit by shrapnel in the shin but never sought out any aid.
Headquarters Company of the 133rd NCB was assigned to provide a perimeter defense against a counterattack from the sea. The security unit consisted of two 30-man infantry platoons and two 4-man light machine gun sections. The Japanese did not attempt any counterattacks either from the sea or on the front lines in our area. Credit for the fact that security unit had only one man killed in action goes to the special training provided by a Gunnery Sergeant named Hickman of the 23rd Marines.
When I realized that we were going to be involved in serious combat and that any advice from a combat veteran would be helpful, I asked my company commander to secure the services of a Marine to help train my security units. Sergeant Hickman held forth every afternoon from 13:00 to 16:00 for three weeks. After we landed, he emphasized, we should get away from the water's edge as quickly as possible and avoid seeking shelter in any shell holes or depressions because enemy gunners would no doubt be zeroed in on them already. It would be safer to lie on the open ground, he told us. This meant going beyond the first two terraces, inland about 250 yards from the beach. Unfortunately, one of my men in the machine-gun crew jumped into a 16-inch shell hole with other men, and all were killed by a mortar shell. I will always appreciate the help we received from Sergeant Hickman, the pride of Mississippi. (Peter Marra).
Before We Shipped To Iwo
here is a platoon picture of my platoon made just before we shipped out to Iwo. sign says 1944, and I am in next to top row, 6th from the left. (see name). I went with 4th division, 24th Marines, Regimental communications.
24th Marines - 4th Marine Div & FMF, Pac
Iwo Jima survivor WW2
Today On That Spot
Dear Sgt Grit,
Also a little late, I too would like to answer Earl McDowell's question about Camp Elmore in Norfolk, Virginia. I also was stationed there, arrived 7 Oct 74 and reported to the PIIU/G-2. Our office was upstairs in the building that had the Post Office in it. Around late "75" the base was starting to shut down. A new facility was built next to the Camp Allen School and the Marines moved into new housing and Office space. Just to let Earl know, it took me 3 hours of driving around to find Camp Elmore when I came to Norfolk. The local police, even the Marines on the gate at the Naval Station knew where it was. Today on that spot sits the Elmore Marine Corps Exchange.
Wayne J. Sarapata, Sgt of Marines
Any Semblance Of A Smile
Dear Sgt Grit,
My wife and I recently returned from San Diego, CA where we watched our grandson graduate from Recruit Training at MCRD. It was a tremendously impressive and moving ceremony with 504 new Marines preparing to uphold the reputation of our beloved Corps.
It was also a very nostalgic day for me as I had graduated from MCRD, San Diego some 58 years ago and commenced my Marine Corps career as a newly minted PFC. As we sat in the stands on the south side of the Parade Deck (we called it "The Grinder" in my day), I gazed across at my old barracks on the north side. The new multi-level barracks were behind us in the area that once held the Hand Grenade Training Range of the WWII era. I recalled making a few midnight "Instructional Marches", with full pack and rifle, over the grenade created pot-hole terrain.
I'm sure all have memorable Boot Camp stories but this one related to me by my grandson is one of the best I've ever heard. It seems he was being given some additional instruction one day by his Junior DI, which consisted of several minutes of the "mountain climber" exercise. After he felt he had reached the limit he could endure, he snapped up to attention. His DI said, "What's going on, Tunget?" My grandson said, "Sir, the recruit has climbed to the top of the mountain, Sir!" Apparently trying to hide any semblance of a smile, the DI said, "Is that a fact? Well, now you can just turn around and climb down the mountain!" The moral of this story is that a Drill Instructor can outwit a recruit any day of the week.
LtCol Everett Tunget
971 Corpsmen Died
This is in response to Doc Ware's letter in the 23 Apr newsletter. Those of us FMF corpsmen who served in Viet Nam-- and you would be surprised how few of us are actually left-- remember every one of our casualties as well as we remember our own names.
At age 21, we were expected to be doctor, priest, friend, mother, father, brother, and confidant. That was a lot to ask of someone so young. We were expected to respond to the screams of agony and somehow, make it better. Sometimes we couldn't. But the knowledge that despite our limited training we were able to save most of them sustains us now as we are reaching into our 60's and our generation begins the inexorable fade into obscurity.
971 corpsmen died in Viet Nam, and countless thousands of others were wounded, some dying later, some living with physical and emotional reminders of our service. We carry those wounds with pride, knowing that we lived up to the honor bestowed upon us when we exchanged our Navy Blues for the Green of the Marine Corps.
Doc Ware, I promise you that not one of those Marines you were unable to save blames you, because they know you tried your best. There's just so much you can do with 16 weeks of medical school and a Unit 1. Sometimes the most you could give was to just be there so they didn't have to die alone.
The agony you felt at losing a friend should by now be replaced with pride at having saved all the ones who could be saved. Your service was honorable and if you are ever around any Marines today and let them know you were a Corpsman, you'll find out what it means to be part of a brotherhood. The screams don't wake me up any more. They are at peace, and so am I.
Doc Thompkins, HMC
It has been almost 12 years since I left active duty and recently decided to give myself a tattoo for my birthday.
LSSS, HqSvcBN, 1st FSSG
We Done Good
Doc Ware, you are SO right! I was an FMF Corpsman for 11 years, starting with Khe Sanh during Tet 1968. The Corps is very special to me, as are the men. I am sorry to say that I too lost a few, but if I lost them, I doubt even a trauma team could have saved them. All you have to know to yourself is that You Did Your Best! Sometimes, that just isn't good enough, however, and it was their time to check out.
As the Grit's bumper sticker says... "Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway..." I was there and even got the T-Shirt. Just remember my Brother, We Done Good!
Addison "Tex" Miller
HMC(FMF), USN, Ret.
Lotta letters written, and I'm sure a lot more coming. My journey to beautiful Paradise Island began in Dec, 1957, at the age of 16, in Raleigh, NC. My birthday passed at the end of Nov, while we were stuck there trying to solve/clear up the "moral dilemma" of a fellow applicant I don't remember yellow foot prints either? I vividly recall standing in a line nude, except for the towel held around my lower torso, a large man in some kinda uniform (which I will never forget), wearing some sort of Smokey The Bear Hat (which, again, I will never forget), approaching me slowly, holding "thump call" on every recruit 'til he got to me. He began to scream like some crazy person, some mad man, a woman in labor. Every so often I caught a word that sounded like "Gunny", or something like that. Now folks, this man was BIG. He took one look at my scrawny body, and told the SSgt to take "it" over and weight it, and if it weights 100 lbs or less, send it back. 101, now sports fans, that's providence. Suffice it to say, I hated MCRD PISC!
In 1965, I went back to good Ole MCRD PISC for Recruiters' School when it was still located there. Captain (later General Godfrey) was the Director of the School, and he over rode a couple of his instructors, and allowed me to go out to the field as a canvasser (the recruiting motto of the Marine Corps at that time was "The Marine Corps Builds Men In Body, Mind And Spirit, & there I am with my smaller than average body) Regardless, I had a good tour. But, I still hated MCRD PISC!
We ease forward to 1977. Now, after filling First Sergeant billets, in various units, on both coasts, for varying amounts of time, they send me to 1stSgt's Formal Scol, for which I am grateful. However, would anyone care to guess were it was located back then? Yep! And, I still hate MCRD PISC!
One of the Kids from Church (he's now a MAN and a MARINE) graduated on 7 Nov, 2008. (three more days would have been really nice). The wife and I drove down to see the ceremony; hadn't seen one since mine, and you know why. The day could not have been nicer! Put us up in a two bedroom suite, the works; and, yet, I STILL hate MCRD PISC
SgtMaj Jack Leake
Marine Fishing Machine
I have something here that some of your retired Marines might like, if they like to fish. It's a Kiwi Kayak named the "Angler". I got it three years ago and fixed it up to be my "Marine Fishing Machine". My Explorer, being my transporter, also plays the "Marines Hymn" at my command. It only weights 65# - being 73 years of age - I can handle it by myself with no problems. The trolling motor give you 40# of thrust on a fully charged battery. I really recommend this to all Marines Active and Retired.
Gy/Sgt. Lew Souder, USMC/Ret.
To Donovan Scruggs, soon-to-be-a-Marine: You will find, throughout your life as a Marine, that few, if any, non-Marines have any clue as to what it really means to be a Marine. So, the short version is this: when you become a Marine, why give a d*mn what anyone else may think or say? Unless they, too, are a Marine, (as we Fossils from Southeast Asia used to say), "Stick 'em all except six, and we'll kill them after they do pallbearer duty."
SGT - USMC - RVN - '66 - '68
Thanks. Now all the ghosts and skeletons start coming out... In spite of the war, this was the most excellent adventure of my life. Ah, to be a 21 year old again.
In 1972 I joined the Corps but my enlistment was delayed till June 16 of 1973? Upon my arrival to PI.SC We were giving a warm welcome? Marine Corps style. One of the new recruits decided to stay in the bus it took 4 of us to get him out. and still of the yellow foot prints.
Would like to inform you of an awesome site.... www.vmb443.com This site is the bombing squadron that my father, TSgt D.W. Harry was a member of. There are also links to take you to the other WWII bombing squadrons that flew over the South Pacific. A special "THANK YOU" to retired Major Robert Yanack who has developed these sites....
daughter of TSgt D.W. Harry mother of Sgt J.R. Wood
Lt. Bernie Cooper;
Yeah, there's more than 7 of you left, I remember that little excursion well!
Dennis R. Smith, Cpl.
3rd Plt. A Co. 1st Bn. 3rdMar.5th Mar. Regt. Our Plt. Ldr. was Lt. Thomas Swift Taylor, Plt. Sgt. Gy.Sgt. L.L. Lazan
Before Gung ho the China Marines used "Ling Hau" as there battle-cry. I'm not sure of the spelling.
CWO4 Ken Cadwell ret.
Rick Cunningham: Hey Don, I would just like to thank you for all you have done over the years for us old Marines veterans. I have received many birthday, Fathers day, Christmas gifts from my wife and girls from your store, I wear them all with pride.
Yesterday our cardiology practice was visited by two Marines. He was a retired E8 with 23 years and his wife, is as she said, a BAM, a Beautiful American Marine. He was 87 and she was 83, with their attitudes, they could have graduated PI just yesterday. Once a Marine, always a Marine.
RSVN Graduate '69
When I went through P.I. in 1987, the only nickname that I can remember is for 3rd Bn (The Thumping Third).
For Roger Ware, thank you for your service and dedication as a corpsman.
It is the corpsman like you that deserve the nickname "Doc."
I went through 3rd BN at Parris Island 1 Jan to 3 Mar 1962. It was called disneyland. I always thought it was because it was the first to be made of brick. This is the first I have heard nicknames for 1st or 2nd BN - Edward Libby CPL E-4 1992065
I want to reply to Roger Ware who served with 2/5, 66-67, in Viet Nam. I served with another regiment 67-68, then with the 5th Marines 69-70. All I can say, Doc, is thank you. Like any Grunt you may ask, we loved our Corpsmen like the brothers they were. I know saying don't let the losses affect you means nothing, 'cause it does for all of us. Just know that every Marine out there, who served in a rifle company, respects and appreciates the Corpsmen who served with us.
0311 Sgt., USMC 65-71
Yes women Marines are indeed MARINES...I was at Camp Pendleton in 1968, just returning from my second tour in Viet Nam. A Woman Marine, Lt Col. type, walked by me. I snapped one of my best salutes ever with a good morning "SIR". This WM used words that only a DI would understand to explain HER gender. I was an E5 at the time but she made me feel like a recruit...SGT Y.D. Hodge ...proud to be an old Corps MARINE...
You were right Sgt., Makin Island fallen brothers return did bring a lot of tears to my eyes...thanks for sharing!
John Velar PFC..USMC..WW11
Sgt. Grit, you are still doing a great job and, I love it. Especially all the sea stories from former Marines...My heart is still with all of them...loved the Corps from the beginning, 1945, and, still have it in my blood, same as all the other Jarheads...Semper Fidelis...John Velar.
I think your Sgt. Grit Newsletter is a great read.
1st & 8th Marines
Cpl. Dave Eady, 1953647, here ! I was stationed on the USS Boxer in the Marine Detachment from when I got out of P. I., SC, ITR, NC and Sea School in Portsmouth, VA in 1961.. Did the tour letting the Marine Helicopter take the Troops ashore.. I never thought anyone ever heard of the USS Boxer LPH-4..
Cpl. Dave Eady
Large Corporal Rank Decal
Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done!
It's not just at Christmas time that Marines need us to show our support... Adopt a deployed Marine today and we'll send them the package of your choice...