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Thanksgiving Shirts Sgt. Grit

I'd like to Echo CWO-3 Brawner's remarks about the caliber of the young men and women who today serve our Corps and continue its traditions and values. I have seen these Marines at their finest hour and at times of their greatest loss as well, always to be impressed with what I once thought of as just "kids".

The junior Marine of today entered our Corps while their nation has been at war. Active duty or Reserve they each enlisted with the full knowledge that they would deploy to foreign lands and fight during this "Long War". None were drafted (not that it makes a difference) and all were motivated by our Corps Values to make sound, timely, ethical decisions behind the trigger.

I never had the honor to serve with Marines of the WWII or Korean War era's so I take nothing away from these Marines but simply attest that to see the battlefield courage and tenacity of today's Marine is an inspiring sight. While it is always enjoyable to debate the "Old Corps vs. the New Corps" I encourage everyone to shake the hand and look into the eyes of today's Marines and you will see the true character that has always made our Corps the finest fighting organization in the

world. Semper Fidelis
GySgt John Kroll USMCR

Sgt. Grit;
Here is one from the MSG assignment in Quito, Ecuador. 1960-61.

I received an Invitation from the Ambassador to attend a function and it stated "Smoking".
This country boy Corporal thought, d*mn they are so horseshi!t here they tell you when you can smoke!

Cliff Jobes
Semper Fi to all of the brothers!

Chritmas Category

She Ignored His Pleas
RE: Eating letters. Pvt. James E. Gardner and I arrived together at Parris Island on 14 December 1962. Platoon 191, B Co., 1st battalion. He had just turned 17, had quit high school and did not have a clue about the real world. Gardner refused to believe that the Drill Instructors would hit us, so I bet him fifty cents. He was the first one in the platoon to be hit.

Gardner had a cute little girlfriend, who kept sending him letters with heavy perfume. The Drill Instructors gave him sufficient time to advise her to stop, and warned that after that date, he would eat he next perfumed letter. Sure enough, she ignored his pleas, and he ate the letter, perfume and all, standing at attention. Gardner continued to fail at everything, including being unable to climb the rope each morning, so he was sent to Motivation Platoon for a week.

When he returned, he scampered up the rope like a monkey. Gardner's Father died while he was at PI. The Drill Instructors outfitted him with a dress green uniform and sent him home for the funeral. He returned quickly, graduated and returned home to marry the letter writer.

Commiskey-Wheat Detachment
Marine Corps League
Hattiesburg, MS

The "Hammer"
After reading all the stories about DI's I had to relate my experience. I landed in San Diego in May 1969 and like all other recruits I was soon standing on the yellow foot prints in the receiving area at MCRD. After a night of pure h&ll we were turned over to our three DI's. as Plt. 1089. SSgt Frank Acosta was the senior drill instructor. SSgt Acosta had record of producing honor platoons and would take nothing but the best from everyone or he would kill you getting the best out of you. (At least we thought he would kill us.)

Our Jr. Drill Instructor was SSgt. Dennis West. SSgt West had a mean sadistic streak and employed it. We all had fear in our eyes when he was in charge. However, SSgt West was the finest instructor in drill that I had ever seen. He made us such a fine tuned machine that we had the highest drill score in more than four years on our final drill during boot camp. I remember the Sgt Major of our battalion coming out of his office to watch us as we marched by in the evening. He would have each squad going in different directions and bring us back together in perfect drill formation.

Wedding contest

The Drill Instructor I am writing about is SSgt. Jim Donner. We were SSgt Donners' first platoon. He had just graduated from Drill Instructor school after having been hospitalized for wounds he received taking a machine gun bunker and receiving a bronze star in Vietnam. SSgt. Donner was a Force Recon Marine and tough as nails. One afternoon having just eaten chow at the Mess Hall we had a class in a metal building on the 45 Caliber pistol. SSgt Donner was in charge of the Platoon that day.

Sitting in the hot class room I let my head nod for a fraction of a second. SSgt Donner came out of nowhere and whispered in my ear that he would see me in the duty hut that evening. Later as everything was winding down, I and another recruit were summoned to the duty hut. After knocking and announcing our selves we were given a dressing down about falling asleep in class.

Thinking that just getting our azzes chewed would be the worst thing that would happen, SSgt Donner told us that we were going to watch TV. Watching TV requires holding you body up by your elbows on the top of a wall locker. After a couple of minutes your arms are ready to fall off. After 15 minutes we were told to get on our heads. Getting on our heads is a push up position with your head on the floor, your legs spread and your rear end up in the air. For me this wasn't a problem because I had a flat spot on the top of my head. The other guy had a rounded head and he was in misery the whole time. Did I forget to say that the floor was concrete?

After 15 minutes of this exercise we were told to get in push up position. On our knuckles! I had bruised knuckles for more than a week. Another 15 minutes went by both of us in extreme agony all the while we are being instructed in the errors of our way by SSgt. Donner. Finally, we were instructed to stand at attention with our backs to the wall lockers. We were then introduced to the "hammer". The hammer is a black leather glove which fits over the DI's hand and gives love taps to the dog tag area of your chest while you are being instructed in the proper Marine Corps procedure of not nodding off in class. All of our DI's employed the hammer at one time or the other.

Fast forward a few months. I'm with 1/5 in Vietnam. We have been humping in Arizona for a couple of weeks. Every night we were on 50% alert after running patrols or sweeps during the day. It seemed like when it was my time to sleep we would get hit or go to 100% alert. One pitch black night during this time I was on watch and it was so dark I couldn't see anything in front of my bunker. I felt myself starting to get sleepy and immediately thought of SSgt. Donner and was wide awake instantly. Charlie made a mistake that night by trying to come through my position as I was the most wide awake Marine on the line. Charlie paid big time.

So thank you SSgt. Jim Donner were ever you are. Not only did you save my life with your lessons to a young recruit but you saved the lives of the other guys in my unit. You are one h&ll of a Marine.

Sgt Daniel J. Connolly
H&S 1/5
Vietnam 1969-70

Cool Pics
Halls of Montezuma Reunion participants Sgt Grit...
Just this past week-end, Sept 18-20, the website "Halls of Montezuma" held the first reunion in Branson, Missouri. The majority of those who attended would of course be Vietnam Veterans and you can't find any better company to be around....Of course, that is my opinion...OOOHRAH!

Halls of Montezuma Reunion participants Here are a few cool pics of the attendees in their "Halls of Montezuma" T-Shirts.

Grandle Starling Cpl E4

Tom (1649003),

In your email to Sgt Grit published Thur. 24 Sep you stated that you entered boot camp MCRD in 1956 and there were no yellow foot prints on the grinder. That is interesting to me because I arrived MCRD 23 Nov 1953 and the very first thing we did upon disembarking from the bus was to fall in on the yellow footprints with the same "warm!" greetings you mentioned.

That leads me to wonder if there was a period of time that the Marine Corps did away with the yellow footprints because when my brother arrived MCRD, about 1960, the yellow footprints were there.

By-the-way, Sat. Sep 26th my Grandson arrives back home from Iraq-another family Marine.

Stan Brangham
Cpl of Marines 1416656/5591
Now life member Marine Corps League ..... Sgt. Grit,
To answer your question regarding the yellow foot prints. They were in place in San Diego July 1959. Thanks for a great newsletter.
Jim Scott

To Be Cute
Why, when communicating issues relating to the Corps, have you found it necessary to add these stars (*) and related in lieu of writing the real words? I cannot think of any Marine who has not heard these words, so stop trying to be cute.

Note: I do this to get the newsletters past the various filters that are used by aol, Cox, and others. Otherwise a very small number of emails would get to you.
So don't give me any d*mn sh!t about being cute.

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

Boot Camp Honor Platoon
Sgt. Grit

First Battalion  co. B  platoon 1065 HONOR PLATOON Here is a group photo of our bootcamp platoon
MCRDSD started 26August 1968
graduated 24 October 1968
First Battalion co. B platoon 1065

Senior drill instructor Gysgt. R.J. Mederious
drill instructor Ssgt. B.L. Nious
drill instructor Cpl. H. E. Heater

Great Pleasure
Dear Sgt Grit,

Marines in the picture from left to right:  LCpl Chris Mondloch, Sgt David Jeffcoat, Tech Sgt Bob Mills, Sgt Kelly Duncan, LCpl Trevor Moore. This photo was taken at the Pee Dee Patriotic Parade in Florence SC on 12 September 2009. A few of us Marines from Intel Support BN, Charlie Co, All Source Fusion Platoon made the trip down from Quantico VA to participate in the parade and were honored to meet WWII Veteran Tech Sgt Bob Mills (center). He told us his stories from Pearl Harbor and Iwo Jima.

It was an extremely great pleasure to get to meet and listen to his stories! The camaraderie shared between him and us, despite all the years between his years of service and ours was something I'll never forget! It was truly an honor to meet such a Marine!

Semper Fi!
Sgt Jeffcoat

Marines in the picture from left to right: LCpl Chris Mondloch, Sgt David Jeffcoat, Tech Sgt Bob Mills, Sgt Kelly Duncan, LCpl Trevor Moore.

Line shack VMA-223 Chu Lai RVN 1969

Line Shack
I served from 09-1965 to 05-1969 from Memphis to Yuma and Iwakuni to Chu Lai and back to Cherry Point Jet engine mechanic but worked most of my time on flight line with TF-9J/A-4/TA-4F Line shack VMA-223 Chu Lai RVN 1969 Bill Arey

James E. Morrell
RE: All You "Salts" - James E. Morrell

I enjoyed reading about James in the 10 Sep 2009 Newsletter. I reviewed the Marine Corps Muster Records. They show that James enlisted on 10 Jul 1916 at Peoria, Illinois. He was sent to the Marine Barracks at Port Royal, South Carolina for training, where he qualified as a marksman on the Army Rifle Course. He was attached to the Marine Detachment aboard USS Wyoming on 10 Oct 1916, For a time, he had Special Duty aboard the Wyoming as a Gun Striker.

In August of 1917, he qualified as a sharpshooter at the Marine Corps Rifle Range at Winthrop, Maryland. On 24 Sep 1918, he was promoted to Corporal on a Temporary Warrant. The warrant was extended for the period of the war. On 14 Mar 1919, he qualified as a sharpshooter at the Marine Corps Rifle Range at Guantanamo, Cuba, and was awarded $20.00 prize money. So he not only remembered his rifle's serial number, he knew how to use it as well. He transferred off the Wyoming on 12 Jul 1919, and was discharged on 30 Oct 1919 from the Marine Barracks, Naval Experimental Station, New London, Conn.

For most of James' time aboard the Wyoming, Randolph Coyle commanded the Marine Detachment. Randolph also served in Cuba, the Philippine Islands, Haiti and the Marine Barracks at Washington DC.

Jerry Barrett
Sgt 1980-1984

Pronounce It "Luh-jern"
Gen. James Conway, Commandant of the Marine Corps, is leading by example on the proper pronunciation of Gen. John A. Lejeune's name.
He is encouraging all Marines to pronounce it "Luh-jern".

Recovering US Marine
Sgt Grit,
Much has been written about being a Ex or Former US Marine, but after doing 4.5 years in the Corps, I am neither an Ex or Former Marine.

For I go by the title of a: Recovering US Marine and I am still in Recovery.

Since I am in Recovery, with some sort of Recovery plan to deal with my Marine Corps ways, for my family and love ones ... every day is a struggle for these good kind people. But with hope, kindest, care, happy thoughts, love, feelings, and other happy words & kind thoughts ... I will get over being a US Marine, someday, maybe, if I try hard, I can kick it, I know that I can.

In the mean time I just tell people, when I am asked: are you an Ex-Marine, I say no, I am Recovery US Marine, I am still in Recovery. And some day, with time, hard work, doing some sort of recovery plan, that I will get over being a US Marine. Maybe, with time, it could take a while, I am working in that direction, I am trying, but someday I do hope, maybe with time to get out of recovery and no longer be a Recovering US Marine.

So in the time being; I still ring the ships bell for "all hands man your drinking stations, this is not a drill", think fat kids should do rifle PT or throw square bales on a farm, my rifle is still my piece, if you say K-Bar ... I giggle or grunt, I still like M543s, still have a house wife, a rubber lady, can rant and rave on command, I go to the Chow Hall Store, the head is a head, the shower is the rain room, still sweep and swab, and I can still find my sea bag, I think. For the sea bag, may have to field day below decks aka the basement but since winter is soon to be in MN that could happen.

Recovering Marine Special T-shirt So, make a Tee shirt out of that! Recovering US Marine. Maybe I should have copyrighted Recovering US Marine, before I told you. But h&ll, I am still in Recovery!

Take care, Semper Fi,
Pete Berg
Deerwood, MN
73 to 78

We took your advice.. Recovering Marine T-Shirt

Semper Fi Sgt Grit

Discarded Junk
Dear Sgt Grit,

I heartily agree with CWO-3 Brenner, the first article in the last newsletter. We ARE proud--not wimps, but leaders. It shows. In our PTSD group (yes all combat vets have it). This has grudgingly been noticed by the other services. One Corpsman continues to add and correct discussions with, "No we didn't have that weapon, or that supply, cold beer or support. Marines still use leftover discarded junk (Ontos, Mule...etc) and are run by the NAVY. We make the discards work and wear them out."

I noticed that former Marines I can't stand are still the outgoing, "Gung-Ho" people. They are just charging in the wrong direction.

I asked a retired Lifer why the Marines haven't been decommissioned, taken over by other services. He said, "Because the people want them." I don't blame them.

Cpl Larry E Tooley 'Nam Vet, USMC '67-'70
Just as Green, Just as Mean.

A Marine You Should Know
Sgt White during his DI days Sgt Chris White 1987-1997 MOS 0331 Machine Gunner. DI H Co 2nd RTBN

Sgt White posts on our Facebook site daily. He always keeps a DI spin on his comments and responses to other posts. All of our Facebook friends very much look forward to each of his posts. He keeps the Marine Corps atmosphere going. Sgt White current day photo I know that I have posted on Facebook before, and I misspelled a word, DI White caught this immediately and sent me to the quarterdeck for hard PT. He did accept my apologies and told me to carry on. Be sure to check out our Facebook and follow his daily comments. It will feel like being in boot camp again. But this time you might laugh. Just don't get caught.

Semper Fidelis
Kristy Fomin

Dad It Was Boring
Sgt Grit,

As the father of a 'new' Marine (9 months in the Corps) and a Marine himself (Sgt E5 1965-1969) I wanted to share this with you (just happened last week).

My son is home on RA (after finishing up basic electronics at 29 Palms) and has a month in MAT Platoon (Marines Awaiting Training) until his next class. As a motivated young Marine he applied for and received Recruiter Assistance (vs hanging around 29 Palms and enjoying the serenity of the 100+ deg days of the upper dessert and PT). Last Monday was his 1st day of RA at the Recruiters and as the Corps would have it, he gets to man the phones while the Recruiters are in San Antonio training.

The following is in his own words (or the best I can remember). Dad it was boring, the phones rang maybe 3 times, but on the 4th call I get this question from some guy who is deciding between the Marines and the Navy. He asks is there a difference between the Marines and the Navy. I tell him that I don't know what the Navy does, but the Marines are the Men's department of the Navy! He hears silence and then the caller says ok, thanks and hangs up.

A few minutes pass and the phone rings once again. Nic answers it in a crisp military manner and hears a very nasty voice. "This is Master Chief Soblonsky of the Naval Recruit Station in Austin, did you just get a call from someone asking the difference between the Marines and the Navy?" By now Nic has come off his chair and to parade rest, one hand behind his back and the other one holding the phone. He answers "yes sir I did". This 'Master Chief' asks Nic what his chain of command is and commences to chew him a new orifice. After a minute or two, the caller on the other line starts busting a gut and says to Nic, this is SSgt Spree (one of the Marine Corps recruiters in Austin) and you have just be 'punked'. By now the other recruiters on the other end are busting a gut and Nic is wiping the sweat off of his brow.

I asked Nic if he gets into that situation again I bet he knows how to answer? He says 'h&ll yea Dad, we are the Men's department of the Navy and the next time I'll probably get meritorious promotion to LCpl".

(the old Corps has nothing on the new)!

F. N. Lazzaro
(Sgt, USMC 1965-1969)

Have The Right
Sgt. Grit,

Two (2) comments.

In response to;

"Does a wounded FMF GRUNT corpsman (Vietnam era) have the right to call himself a MARINE?"

"DOC" Garnett
Decatur, Alabama

As far as I'm concerned you may not be a Marine by virtue of title but have most certainly earned the gratitude of all Marines that have ever need a "Doc" in the field and will always be thought of as a Honorary Marine. Semper Fi,

In response to;

"I have a nephew who went to Pendleton for basic he completed it and was awarded a set of dress blue's made the rank of LCpl. He was to be deployed but got a tattoo on his neck and was given a misconduct discharge. He's home now, but my question is, is he a Marine or is he a reject. I don't think he should be given the name Marine or anything else he doesn't deserve it in my opinion. What's your?"

Semper Fi
Cpl/Fata 2581235

Back in the day when the Corps wasn't so politically correct this would never had happened.
If he made the grade he will always and forever be a Marine.
Semper Fi,

Chesty and Others
Chesty and fellow Marines. Sgt. Grit,
Just a guess with no sure fact.
The Marine to Chesty's left
This looks like MajGen Alexander Vandegrift on Guadalcanal (he had a cleft chin) The rest could be the Generals staff at that time on the canal
The far right, 2nd from the end looks a lot like Lt.Col Randolph McC. Pate, logistics officer in another picture. See below

Semper Fi
Jeff Amerson Cpl.
USMC '68-72 2nd MAW

I found this picture on the internet with some of Vandergrift's staff and tried to compare faces

From left: Gen Vandegrift; LtCol Gerald C. Thomas, operations officer; LtCol Randolph McC. Pate, logistics officer; LtCol Frank G. Goettge, intelligence officer; and Col William Capers James, chief of staff MajGen Alexander A. Vandegrift, CG, 1st Marine Division, confers with his staff on board the transport USS McCawley (APA-4) enroute to Guadalcanal. From left: Gen Vandegrift; LtCol Gerald C. Thomas, operations officer; Lt.Col Randolph McC. Pate, logistics officer; Lt.Col Frank G. Goettge, intelligence officer; and Col William Capers James, chief of staff.

The picture was taken at Cape Gloucester, New Britain late December, 1943.

Semper Fi!

John Rodriguez
Viet Nam Vet

I think that photo must have been taken either on Guadalcanal or shortly afterward perhaps on Cape Gloucester.
It wasn't before Guadalcanal because of the helmets; before the 'Canal we had the old WWI "pie plates" .
It couldn't be too long after the 'Canal, as some of them are still wearing the old issue leggings that just sort of disappeared in the later campaigns.

Just a guess, but I think it's a good one.
Jerry McConnell
K-3-1 WWII

Looks like Guadalcanal and I think the second Marine from the right is the late Lt. Gen. Ray Davis, who won the Medal of Honor in Korea and rose to rank of Assistant Commandant. Wasn't as flamboyant as Chesty but every bit Chesty's equal in heroism. He was one of Chesty's boys.
Kent Mithell

Don't recog any of the other officers...appears poss taken during training on Pavavu prior to Peleliu landing... The foliage is not jungle...and camo helmet covers issued about that time or a little prior.
BILL Pierce

I think the picture is from Guadalcanal. I think they are left to right:
Merritt A. Edson, Lewis B. Puller, Gerald C. Thomas, William C. James, Evans F. Carlson, Alexander A. Vandergrift.
Nothing concrete, just a guess based on other photos around the same time.

Jerry Barrett
Sgt 1980-1984

Give Up The Prestige
Dear Doc Garnett,
I can't answer your question, no you were not a Marine but we all thought of our Doc's in that way. They all endured the same hardships received the same incoming and firefights as the Marines around them! Why would you want to give up the Prestige of being a FMF Doc, you all were our heroes?

I bring to point the last days of operation Dewey Canyon, the 1/9 companies were forming up for extraction, Bravo Co was carrying KIA'S WIA's when the point squad was hit with captured claymores. Our Doc's walked up and down the line taking care of the wounded, we had been without food and good water for days. All of us were nearing the point of total exhaustion but the Corpsman walked twice as far trying to save lives. I thank you and all the others that tended to our sniffles/sucking chest wounds, I thank you for the Marines alive today and those of you that paid the ultimate sacrifice trying to save your brothers!

Semper Fi !
William Whitley/ Cpl of Marines

SSgt. A.W. Breen Ambushed

I rise today in response to the accounts of SSGT BREEN and his valor during an ambush in Afghanistan where the father of this Marine laments that the SSGT was only awarded a Purple Heart.

As Marines, we hold high honor for those who spill their blood, especially in examples such as the firefight this father speaks to us of.

As Marines, such valor and determination are the stuff of more than legend, they are the essence of the high ideals the Corps stands for.

As Marines, we take note of this fathers loss and we bring he and his closer to our hearts, and set them aside in safety, as the next in line take up the front line position at the edge of freedoms shinning.

For now the Purple Heart will suffice to affirm what happened that day, no citation will ever be enough to give homage worthy of his memory, but rest firmly assured in the rank and file, of spit shined shoes, and scarred boots on the ground, ceremonial cannons, whose thunder echoes over the land, or direct fire from a turret in the field at this very hour by another Marine in peril, beyond the quiet of the ground SSGT BREEN lies in, the men and women of the United States Marine Corps, past present and future, do hereby confer upon him more, to those who see these presents greetings, he is ours, of The United States Marine Corps for ever more.

It is we after all who are the beneficiaries of SSGT BREENS action,, taking his rightful place among the pantheon of those who see their duty and do it, not a demi GOD after all striking fear and awe in the sight of such as he? Only a mortal, rising to the call and nothing more is the example he set?

Let the word go out, pass it all around, a noble heart has been stilled, and we recall.


RE: SSgt. A.W. Breen Ambushed,
Silver Star? That's Medal of Honor stuff. It's what valor and being a Marine are all about.
Carl Nord

The story of SSgt Breen was quite moving. This a story of valor in defense of freedom that is all too often unheard by the general public. With permission, this story should be passed on to the media and we should all demand that SSgt Breen be given strong consideration for a medal of valor - Who is the NCOIC of this detail?.

It begs the question, "Are heroes made or are they born?". My congratulations to the father of such a brave Marine - this outstanding Marine represents us, well.

Good night SSgt Breen, Chesty, and John Wayne.

~jerry wilson
USMC 1956-1959
3/1 India Co., MCAF El Toro, FFSR, Pendleton

Sgt Grit,

I'm not completely discounting the story of SSgt A W Breen, but I couldn't find anything online regarding a SSgt A W Breen. Other parts of the story (which I might consider "holes") include:

SSgt Breen firing an M-60. I have not heard about any Marine using an M-60 in 2007. I have heard of possible uses by Navy SEALS, Army SF, etc., using the M-60, but I served with a Marine Recon battalion in Iraq and there were no M-60's anywhere.

SSgt Breen grabbing "his SAW and started firing it" (emphasis added). A SAW is normally issued to PFC's and LCpl's who are the Automatic Riflemen of a fire team. A SSgt would have an M-4 and/or an M-9 issued to him. I know of NO SSgts who would lug a large and bulky SAW around.

SSgt Breen being hit with an armor piercing round. An "armor piercing" round is just that. The SAPI plates issued to Marines now MAY be able to stop a 7.62x39mm AP round, but any 7.62 round would still probably knock out anyone on the receiving end.

An Afghan troop having an H&K weapon. H&K is a very expensive brand, and I don't see regular Afghan troops having it issued to them. I would buy SSgt Breen picking up an Automatic Kalashnikov (AK) from an Afghan troop, but an H&K? Not so much.

SSgt Breen being a "combat EMT". I have never heard that term before.

-P Ramil
LCpl of Marines

The story about SSGT BREEN is awesome that is what our country was built on .When people say our country sucks and they would rather be somewhere else, read this story if this doesn't make you proud of who you are and what we stand for nothing will SEMPER FI

Mr. Breen,
The sacrifice of your son, and the pain that his (and your) family have to endure is shared by all Marines. The selfless act and heroism of your son will be remembered by those he saved, and by the shocked enemy fighters who couldn't take him down. It is a pity that no medals were conferred for his bravery and courage. They would be an excellent reminder to his family and sons. Please know that in our hearts, we understand your pain and pray for you. He is legacy to the history, pride, and legend that makes the Marine Corps what it is. I hope that you find comfort and know that he will live on forever in our hearts. I will proudly shake his hand when it's my turn to report to the Gates of Heaven for duty.
Cpl Joel Cooney

Thank you,
Joel Cooney

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
-- George Orwell

Sgt Grit,

I understand the father of SSGT Breen as being confused/upset to the fact that his son had not been recognized for his actions under fire. First I'd like to say this, the story of the Naval officer awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service does not demean his actions and being awarded the medal. My father during the Viet Nam war, in the Army, was awarded a Bronze Star too, for meritorious service. To my knowledge he was not involved in a fire fight or any other combat. This award is for both valor and meritorious service, as is a Navy Commendation or Achievement medal. During a time of war the Bronze Star can be awarded for service above and beyond not involving combat. The Silver Star, Navy Cross and Medal of Honor are strictly for valor.

From the description of SSGT Breen's actions he should have been, at the very least recommended for some type of award for valor. Someone in his command dropped the ball on this one. I'm quite sure he saw what he did as just doing his job, nothing more. That's what makes us Marines, Marines.

Semper Fi
Vern E. Hoke
SSGT USMC/USMCR '76-'92 ..... I served three years in the same combat company. Kilo Co. 3rd. Batt. 2nd. Marines 2nd. Marine Div. My CO. was a great guy. He made sure everyone got recognition for what they deserved. I am sorry that your son was treated as he was. But we know that he has now received his Honor!

LSU vs. Washington
Sgt. Grit,

Last month I traveled to Seattle to attend the LSU vs. Washington football game. But that was not the main reason I went. That game was used as a motivational excuse to have a reunion with 5 other buddies that I served with. I have been in contact with most of these guys in various ways off and on over the last 35 years, and we would casually mention getting together, but nothing would happen.

However being a big LSU fan, and having a few buddies living in the Seattle area got the ball rolling. I made a suggestion about going up there for the game to one buddy back in March, then we started mentioning different names, and it was on. Like I said, most of us haven't seen one another for 35 years. When we got together that first weekend in September, it was like that amount of time had not passed. Of course we all looked like it had.

Anyway, there was an immediate brotherhood that unless you are a Marine you cannot understand. It was one of the best weekends I have ever had in my life. I don't know when I ever laughed so much in a 5 day period. A few wives who were there, also said they had never laughed so hard, hearing some of our sea stories. It was so fantastic to be reunited with these men. We are planning on doing it again sometime in the future, and I can't wait. So my advice to all you DevilDogs out there, that if you are kicking this idea around to have a reunion, do it. It will be one of the most cherished moments in your life. I guarantee it.

Semper Fidelis!
John Belaire (Cpl) 2721680
USMC 1971 - 1975
LeBleu Settlement, LA.

Yea, yea, yea....reunions are great, buddies, laughs, good times, sea stories. I get it. Do it, call a buddy today. Get it moving etc....
BUT, who won the game?
Sgt Grit

I Told Him Yes
While working out at the gym the other day I was wearing my Sgt. Grit Marine tee shirt. An old gentleman, about my age, asked if I had served in the Marines. I told him yes that I had served from 1954 to 1958. He said he had been to Korea, and "Your Marines saved my a** at the Chosin Reservoir". He explained that he had been a member of a tank crew in the Army. He said if it hadn't been for the Marines he'd still be there. It's nice to be appreciated.

Edward Spence

Dugout Area
Sgt. Grit;

While doing a tour on Okinawa in 1957 I was assigned to Charlie Co 3rd Engr. Btln. Sometime during my tour our Company was sent to the Boonies to clear an area for the Marines that were leaving Japan . We were to build a tent city. While hacking away through the bamboo and underbrush one of the work party came across a shallow indent in the ground. Covered over by many years of falling vegetation.

As we began to snoop, we soon discovered a neat row of about 6 or 7 mortar shells lying just at the top of the dugout area. They were all rusted but still intact. When we reported this to our "Gunny" he immediately ordered us to clear out and mark our retreat so ordinance could locate the danger. A while later they were blown in place. We weren't near enough to see the explosion but certainly heard it. I still to this day think of those Marines that were manning that Mortar tube, Who they were. Did they survive the Battle. Are they still with us today.

On "OUR" Birthday I go to my Church and light a candle to them and say thanks for all you have done for our Country.

Once a Marine Always A Marine
Sgt Frank Rigiero USMC

One Of The Best Right Shoulder Arms Ever
Gentlemen I was reading in your news letter a few weeks back and I recall reading a Marine who had goofed up during Boot Camp and it brought back a memory Of my great goof in Boot Camp. I went through Boot Camp at Parris Island in 1979 the year Hurricane David hit. Our DI's actually allowed the Smoking lamp to be lit while all us smokers stood out in the stairwell smoking our Cigarettes in the middle of a hurricane.

Any way we were preparing for our final drill competition Yes back then we had Drill competitions in Boot Camp. Two of them My platoon won the first competition in first phase. We came in second for the second Competition. If any of you P.I. Marines remember the Chrome Domes they made us wear during this time in the Corps you remember the wind blowing and making it all but impossible to hear what the DI's commands were. Not to mention the fact that some of the DI's enunciations weren't the most coherent in the world even on a good day.

Anyway we were going through our drill on the parade deck near the big Iwo Jima Statue when Our DI SSGT Kliss called for a left shoulder Arms. Unfortunately Hurricane David was due to make land fall within a couple of days so to this day I still swear he called right shoulder arms which I performed with modest excellence. Which I was told by the DI was one of the best Right Shoulder Arms he had ever seen, (DI's do have one sick sense of humor at times.)

Anyway He ordered Sgt. Hart one of our Jr. DI's to PT my rear end until it fell off or I could learn the difference between right and left. This was in 3rd phase mind you. So I knew my right from my left by then. Anyway with the wind screaming under that chrome dome while the rest of the platoon watched Sgt Hart PT'd my rear end until I had pulled several groin muscles. And then asked me if I was ever going to make that mistake again. I still can't understand why the word that came out of my mouth did but I answered with a resounding YES SIR! I didn't understand the question I guess and Sgt. Hart felt I was being somewhat belligerent and continued to PT me until I could no longer move.

I had completely lost all that afternoon chow that day and the Platoon wound up carrying me back to the squad bay. But anyway somehow I became a hero in the platoon I always felt as if I was an idiot but with those Chrome Domes there was no way to hear anything that the DI's were saying so for the next three days I nursed pulled groin muscles and wouldn't go to the Sick Bay.

Please understand that while I admit I was no honor man back then I also was not a member of the 10% and there was no way I was a sickbay commando. I look back on that experience and now I still cringe when I think about how I stood up to the DI Sgt Hart came back to me after boot camp graduation and told me that was the proudest display of gung ho he could ever remember seeing during his time as a DI. Even then I didn't have the heart to tell him it was only a matter of me not being able to hear him with the sweat running into my ears and the wind blowing up under that d*mn chrome dome.

Anyway I graduated on time and went on to serve for the next 6 years. Made Sgt. before I got out. Thanks for bringing back some fond memories even if they do still hurt sometimes.

Sgt J.D. Walters FMR /USMC
Platoon 2049 F Company 2nd Recruit Battalion Parris Island SC June 1979- September 1979

Including Invitations
Sgt. Grit,

As the Sgt. of the Guard, on duty at the American Embassy in Paris, France, on a Friday night in May, 1967, a month before the Paris Air Show was to begin, I had a phone call from a Mr. Ed Simmons of the Dept. of State. ( It seems that Ed was in charge of the commercial side of the Air Show, vs. the military side). Ed was stuck at Orly Airport, with no transportation, no hotel, no anything. (A screw-up somewhere in the Embassy).

After a lengthy phone conversation, and the inability to reach my OIC, NCOIC, and Dept. of State Security officer, (after all, it was a week-end) I over-stepped my authority, and sent my Assistant SOG, with the Guard vehicle to Orly Airport to pick up Mr. Simmons, and bring him to the Embassy. I then directed my assistant to take Mr. Simmons to a hotel that I knew that catered to newly arrived State Dept. secretaries, and told him to report to the Embassy on Monday morning.

The out-come of my actions resulted in my receiving, (among other things), was Carte Blanche access to the Paris Air Show, including invitations to the chalets of Lockheed, Hughes Aircraft, TWA, American, etc. etc... My girl friend, (at the time, my wife now), and I, were able to see the Air Shows, the luncheons at the chalets, all of the displays, and more....

With the approval of my OIC & NCOIC, I was able to get other Marines, that were off duty at the times, to drive various VIPs to, and from Le Bourget Airport, (site of the Paris Air Show). Some of these VIPs turned out to become famous astronauts, Generals, etc. (But those are other stories).

We, then, had a reception at our Marine Quarters for participants in said Air Show.... some of the astronauts, The Blue Angels, Military and State Dept . Personnel.

To my knowledge, no other Marine Embassy Guard Detachment has ever been involved with the Paris Air Show, or any other air show.

Semper Fi,
Sgt Denny Krause

Short Rounds
This news letter is the greatest thing going. I appreciate every last word, and the Marines who are sending them. I am a second generation Marine and got my middle name from a Marine hero who was killed in a foxhole next to my father on Okinawa. I have some stories and will send them to you later. Keep up the good work and Semper Fi Marine.

Michael C. Smith SGT USMC 1971-75 And from a Purple heart recipient WWII Okinawa Cpl Robert E Smith USMC
85 years young and still kicking.

Hey Sgt Grit. In your newsletter, a Marine by the name of Woody wrote that he couldn't remember who he was attached to. Sinse I can barely remember myself, I dug out my DD214 and looked. Woody would of been attached w/2d8"HowBtry,2dFAGFT,FMFLant,Camp Lejeune. This was also the last outfit I served with in the Corps. Hope this helps, Woody. Former Sgt, still a Marine, A.J. Manos

I have a picture of Chesty, given to me by a reporter in Lancaster,Ca, while I was the sole Marine Corps recruiter in the area.
It's in the hallway of my home next to other valued photos. 1 of the best Marines to have walked the earth.
Wm. Rosenberger, SSgt- USMC.

"(Does a wounded FMF GRUNT corpsman (Vietnam era) have the right to call himself a MARINE?

"DOC" Garnett
Decatur, Alabama) "

Absolutely. For example we in the Marine Corps League welcome all FMF Corpsmen as member Marines. As a matter of fact, they do not wear anything on their MCL uniform that identifies them as anything other than Marines.

P. Santiago
GySgt (Ret)

As a former grunt I want to thank all the MARINES that are serving. God Bless and SEMPER FI. Thank you all.
Adam Warner 0311 E-4 Franklin, Pa

God Bless you all-- I love getting your emails and your articles-- Just One Marine-- Cpl. Heisey

Sgt. Grit,
The letter from Mr. Hogue in the American Courage #210 of 01 OCT 2009 may give some the impression that all Army and Air Force records were destroyed in the 1973 fire. While the loss was significant for those services, the link below will provide more information to your readers:

Archives: Fire

Rick Taylor

Sgt Grit,
The '03 Springfield was NOT a single shot bolt action, it was a fine, accurate, copy of the equally fine '98 Mauser repeating rifle. Many thought it was more accurate than the M1 Garand. The Marines were not under gunned against the Jap Arisaka.

Semper Fi!
W.F. Mitchell

ALL HAND'S on DECK ! RECRUIT PLATOON 150; Jul./Sep. 1962 MCRDPISC. Formulating a reunion to take place in April in New Orleans. Any concerned parties are urged to notify contacts they may have so that this endeavor has a ripple effect so as to reach as many individual's as possible. Click me at carsonfamily@planetc.com Thank you Service # 1973677

Hey Sgt Grit, just want to say I love your stuff and was wondering if I can do a little recruiting while I'm here? My name is Bob DiGaetano, I was in the USMCR 2/25 Wpns Co from 1984 - 1990. After being out a number of years I was able to reconnect with the camaraderie I had in the Marines with the Marines MC club. We are a national club who only ride American made bikes but I'm trying to recruit in the New York City area. If anyone is interested please contact me at Bobd@Indybrokers.net and check out our website Marinesmc.com. Semper Fi and keep up the good work Sgt Grit!

Gunner, Why are the Marines of today the smartest? Myself and millions of Marines that have gone before them were not stupid. ( although most swabbies said we were.) John Bruening, 1stSgt 1959-1986

Iraq Customizable Coin
Iraq Customizable Coin

Vietnam Customizable Coin
Vietnam Customizable Coin

Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

New Iraq Shirt

Welcom to Camp Fallujah Iraq T-Shirt

Welcom to Camp Fallujah Iraq T-Shirt


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