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AmericanCourage #234     02 SEP 2010
View with Pictures | ONLINE STORE

A customer came into the store and told of a story when his son was stationed in Norfolk. He had gone there to visit his son and they were invited to a BBQ at a friend's house. The friend called his dog out and said "watch this!"

He sat food down and the dog started to walk over and eat the food, then the Marine says "that's Army food" and the dog slowly backs up. Then the Marine says "just kidding, that's Marine food" and the dog walks forward and begins to eat. What a smart dog.

Semper Fidelis
Kristy Fomin

In This Issue
Decompression time, what do you think? Story below.

How close yet far we can be from people, a click apart. 5'8", 150lbs and $50, what you see is not always what you think. Son not joining, a prayer, agent orange resources, broken heart, a joke and caught in the rain.

Many great quotes and the active and fun Facebook and the always informative Sgt Grit Blog. Have a great Labor Day Weekend.

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

Sgt. Grit,

Since I last sent you a picture of Ka-Bar she has been promoted to PFC twice and busted to private twice for pooping on the sidewalk. I am glad to say that as of today she has progressed from private to PFC, and finally to lance corporal. Her MOS is 9999 (useless dog with a bad attitude). The question of a good conduct medal is still up in the air. Ka-Bar's greatest ambition in the Corps is to be eventually assigned as sergeant of the guard at a dog food factory.

Galactic Central (this old Marine's long-suffering wife) takes a slightly less tolerant attitude toward Ka-Bar, but she's coming around as Ka-Bar gets older (four this December) and ever so slightly better behaved.

Best regards and Semper Fi.

Cpl. Allan Bilder
Hammonton, New Jersey

From the Sgt Grit Facebook

This was drawn by my 7 year old grandson, Lorenzo Doreen Holmes, RI

And I Quote...

"People unfit for freedom -- who cannot do much with it -- are hungry for power. The desire for freedom is an attribute of a 'have' type of self. It says: leave me alone and I shall grow, learn, and realize my capacities. The desire for power is basically an attribute of a 'have not' type of self."
--American writer and philosopher Eric Hoffer (1902-1983)

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first subsidize."
--George Roche

I noticed this in the local newspaper the other day. We miss and remember the all. God Bless them all.

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

I have attached a picture of my grandson, PFC Jordan Dwight Vicars, Jordan graduated from MCRD in May of 2010. He was assigned to one weeks duty to the Recruiting station, in his home town in Oregon City, Oregon.

This picture was taken at the Clackamas County Fair, where he met many of his previous school mates. They were impressed to see the change of what six months in the Marines can do for a young man in today's world. This duty assignment was Jordan's attempt to locate other young men to join him in his Marine Corps.

Jordan's grandfather First Sgt. Dwight E. Vicars retired in 1969, and he passed away in 2001. Therefore I feel as a Marine widow, I must stand in his place to carry on with the pride our family all have in his fine young man.

Thank You,
Mrs. Marilyn Vicars
Gresham, Oregon

Earlier in the month we held our annual, sometimes semi, reunion of 11th Marines Comm platoon. You all know how that is, a bunch of old guys with white hair telling stories about how we won the conflict with just a broken mess kit fork and a pop flare. I noticed that we were still using the same nicknames for each other even after 42 years.

There Was Gugliotta. We always called him "Goog". Now in our 60's it seems that Goog just flows off the tongue so much easier that Gugliotta. That's why we gave him the nickname Goog, we were too lazy to say the entire name.

Then there is Fuller. He has always been Fuller. Even his wife calls him Fuller. He is just a Fuller type of guy.

I had "Hunts". I guess it was the same reason as Goog's. We were just too lazy to say Huntsinger. So Hunts stuck. I am sure it was not because of me acting like one of the Bowery Boys, Hunts Hall.

Then there is "Grit", Nothing like John Wayne. In Nam I remember he was lucky, He only had to shave both hairs just below his chin once a week. Quiet, nice, kind, and always sharing. We could not call him "Okie" so we always called him "Grit".

It's nice to see the guys. Nothing has changes over the four decades. We are who we are, best friends and "buds" forever.
Semper Fi

Austin Fowler, son of Cpl. Trampis Fowler, comes in the store a couple of times a month. The whole office loves this kid. While I was out of the office at my 11th Marines Comm Plt reunion he took control of my office.

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit


Today my father died. He won the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of two soldiers who were liberating the concentration camps of Germany, so no more innocent people would have to suffer at the hands of tyranny. He gave his life for freedom, and asked for nothing in return but respect. He was a veteran.

Today my mother died. During the Korean war she was a nurse. She was awarded many medals but all she wanted to do was help ease the wounded's pain. You see, they were there so you could have the honor telling everybody about your rights as a free American. All she wanted in return was respect. She was a veteran.

Today my son died. He served proudly in Vietnam. He was wounded twice. He was awarded the Navy Cross. He served there so you could joke about how stupid it is to join the military as you burn the American flag. All he wanted in return was respect. He was a veteran.

Today my uncle died. He was fighting terrorists in the Middle East. He died alone and suffered for hours at the hands of his captors. As they beat him to death they laughed and told him how great their god was. Pray for him the next time you worship in the church of your choice. You see the blood he shed gave you that right. All he wanted in return was respect. He was a veteran.

Today my Grandfather died. He died alone in a nursing home. He could not speak because his voice box was destroyed by poison gas in World War One. As he tried to speak they called him an old senile man, He wanted to pass on his purple heart to someone who cared. Think about him the next time you boast about your right to free speech. All he wanted in return was respect. He was a veteran.

Today is Veterans Day. When you think about who gave you all these rights, walk into the veterans home and see what the veterans gave. Take a stroll in the cemetery, But walk softly because they are resting and they are in Gods gentle hands. Close your eyes and listen to how free you are and then ask yourself, "What have I given to the Veterans?''

James Flynn

Note; If you like poetry and thoughtful verse there is more on our poems pages

And I Quote...

"Public works are not accomplished by the miraculous power of a magic wand. They are paid for by funds taken away from the citizens."
--Ludwig von Mises

"[A] wise and frugal government ... shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
--Thomas Jefferson

My how we are just a click apart. Let's see I was at Parris Island in January 1965. Platoon 221, Second Bat. It is now as a distant memory. That voice, deep, a natural loudness that wasn't forced. First thing I can remember is introduction, and the following statement, You will forget your mother's name before you will mine. He was right, I have to think of my mother's name, his comes with no thought. Now time moves on, completion of my military obligation, moved to Miami and assumed the civilian life.

Time, 2008, Sergeant Grit newsletter. Party in Miami, This Marine has a party at his home for Marines that are in his area. The Marine that had attended said arrival , everyone was having a good time and there was a former DI in the back calling cadence. Sandmeyer was his name... BINGO... How many Sandmeyers could there be and a DI...

I contacted the Marine through Sgt Grit and asked if Sandmeyer would be interested in meeting one of his former recruits? Meeting was set, What a pleasant surprise. Voice still there, but physical appearances had changed (on both sides).

What could I say, but to thank him for the training that saved my life. He has been here in Miami over 26 years, I have been here since 1969.

1. He has worked across the street from my wife for several years
2. He is personal friends of people that I associate with in the Shrine
3. He was judging a apprentice contest for mechanics and I was judging the same contest for AC on the other side of the wall. 4. I have been Scuba diving for years, By best friend and dive buddy, his son in law worked for him .

Always just one click apart. Never met until the communication came about through Sgt. Grit in 2008. We have become friends , and associate with regularity. Had the pleasure of attending the DI reunion at Parris Island with him and his wife... I had never seen the island. My wife couldn't understand how I had never seen the island, well all I can recall is the back of some one's head.

Let me say that the island is beautiful. Of course every thing has changed since I was there. Wooden barracks gone, Grinder has changed. A tour was offered during the reunion, which to me was like a first time experience of the island. The Sgt. that was giving the tour was excellent in pointing out past and present locations of training activities on the island. I would recommend attending the DI reunion, for it is open to all Marines.

I can't say enough on the pleasure of returning back to where it all started. Again it was Sandmeyer that offered the opportunity for me and my family to enjoy the island. He was nicer this time around. I always tell everyone, don't let that old grandfatherly appearance fool you. He was /is /can be one mean S.O.B.

You're one click apart. Marine do you know where your Senior DI is ??

Carl Waters Cpl. 1965--1969

I just submitted my petition in support of Marine Ron Zaleski's attempt to force some change in the military treatment on discharge. I wish us all well. Truth to tell, however, this problem has been with us far too long.

I spoke to my Congressman during the 'Nam years about the need for a decompression period - a period of reorientation between leaving the S..t and arriving in the World. I have revived that again, especially with the return of my son-in-law from his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I suggested that the direct flights cease, that all troops being relieved by taken to Diego Garcia, or some other out of the way place, and allowed to spend a week of total decompression. If they want to swim, to sleep, to get drunk, that should be allowed them.

Only then, only after that time to shed the constant worry of being aware and alert, of lack of trust in all but your buddies in your unit, only then ought they to be allowed to board that flight home.

I do believe this period of decompression will do more to save marriages, sanity and possibly lives than any other thing I have heard about. Talking is fine, relaxation and having the time - with your friends about you - to get your mind together is something else.

So there, I have it off my chest, Sgt Grit. Thank you for this forum and Semper Fi Marine.

Bill McManigal, too d-mned salty and kicking the door down on 70.

In 1984, I was fresh out of boot camp (Parris Island) and home on leave from Infantry School (Camp Geiger). It was the holiday season, and a good friend (and a Navy Corpsman) took me to a party in his neighborhood. While there, drinking a few Christmas beers and playing some cards, some loud mouth started barking about how he was joining the Marine Corps, and how easy it would be for him, as he was "big and tough and in great physical shape"...

I just listened and laughed to myself. He kept it up until I couldn't stand it anymore. I am only 5' 8", and weighed about 150 pounds. After listening to this guy for a bit, I decided it was time to have some fun.

I approached him and said, "I bet you I could make it through USMC boot camp. If you think you can do it, I'm sure I could".

The guy instantly got all ticked off. He called me a puny little runt, and said that "the Marines don't take guys my size". I saw my opportunity...

I continued on and said, "I'll bet you fifty bucks I could make it through USMC boot camp." He laughed in my face and said it was a stupid bet, and I could never prove it.

I said, "Put your money where you big mouth is", and offered my hand to seal the bet. He took the bait, and shook my hand. He scoffed at me and said, "Whatever, you'll never collect, because you'd never make it through."

I reached into my wallet, pulled out my Active Duty USMC ID Card, and pulled my dog tags out of my shirt. He looked shocked, as I said, "Pay up"...His friend roared with laughter, and I got paid my 50 dollars.

Moral of the story - Never judge a book by its cover, especially a United States Marine!

LCpl Bud Redding, USMC

And I Quote...

"A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague."
-- Marcus Cicero (thousands of years ago)

"Man is not free unless government is government expands, liberty contracts."
--Ronald Reagan

Subject: Member has unsubscribed.

The following member has unsubscribed: xxxxxxxxx from all lists.

Date: 8/16/2010
Reason: son not joining the Marines. Decided to be a bum instead.
First Name: Elizabeth

Note: She has the heart and the makings of a Marine Mom.
Sgt Grit

This is the prayer I used during my tour in the Nam. It is a prayer that I rewrote from a sportsmanship prayer I had received while in high school.


Grant we beseech Thee O Lord God that we may always rejoice in continual health of mind & body. Grant us clean thoughts & a right spirit. Inspire us with high ideals; truth on our lips, strength in our limbs & purity in our hearts. Keep us always vigilant and aware of our surroundings and that we prevail over thy enemies, and to do our part in this conflict to the best of our abilities...AMEN

Don Sanchez

I served in the Marines but didn't get out to the fleet because during Infantry Training School, we had a premature, in bore explosion of our 81mm mortar round. It almost amputated my right leg at the knee, killed my 2 best friends, and injured 4 others behind us. That was almost 24 years ago. It may not sound like much time in but I miss what I could have done and enjoyed it more than you would imagine. I just want to thank you for the catalog and the newsletters.

You are appreciated more than you may know. So thank you.

Lance Corporal
Robert Mitchell

Sgt. Grit,
Attached are two photos of a vehicle I photographed while in North Tonawanda, New York.

It would be interesting to find out who designed the bus and to what purpose it is used for.
I'm hoping someone from NT can shed some light on this.
D. Suter (LCpl 1960 - 1964)
West Richland, WA.

And I Quote...

"The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage."

"Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual -- or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country."
--Samuel Adams

Agent Orange: Resources and Materials - Office of Public Health and Environmental Hazards

Subject: Member has unsubscribed.

The following member has unsubscribed: from all lists.

Date: 8/19/2010
Reason: My husband RJ Huntsman pass away in May 2010. Over the past years He order quite a bit of Marine Corps items. He was always looking through the catalog of Stg. Grit. Thanks for your service and Semper Fi.....Rita Huntsman

Hello Sgt Grit, had to tell you a neat story about your catalogs. I was digging in the back of my Ford crossover for some stuff and while doing so a guy passed by and noticed some of the Sgt Grit Catalogs I had left. He stopped and said do you sell those magazines? I said no I give them away. He said what are they and I told him they were Marine Corps gear catalogs from tee shirts to bumper stickers and much more.

He said I was in the Corps for several years why haven't I seen one of those? I said you had been around for many years and that you were in the Marines in Vietnam as I was. We talked more as I showed him the inside and watched his eyes light up. I think he would have loved to dove into there and shopped for hours. It was kind of comical his reaction as he looked through it.

What made him jump with joy is when I gave one to him actually I gave him two as he has another Marine buddy he wanted to give one to. I invited him to join my Marine breakfast the I put on every second Friday of each month. There is about 20 to 26 of us when we meet and we enjoy great Marine camaraderie.

I had ask everyone a while back if we should stop meeting and I thought they would kill me right there. What a wonderful bunch of Marines they all are. Oh yes, the wives are always invited to attend with their Marine husbands. Most of these Marines will attend the Birthday dinner I will put on this year. I will send you some photos if you would like. The cake maker this year is a real Cake Boss and this cake will be something else (I will send you a photo of it for the News Letter). This will be my last dinner on November 10, as my health is not so good so I need to slow down and take some time to enjoy what is around me.

In closing, it seems no matter where I go Marines love to get a catalog; I hope your getting orders from here in Roseburg from them. a Marine I know Troy Windsor bought his mud flaps from you and boy do they look great on his Red Dodge Ram Truck. I now take at least one catalog with me when I go into a store just in case I run into a Marine in there. Just wanted you to know some of the stories and stuff I do with the catalogs, very enjoyable to me as an old geezer Marine.

Thanks for supporting our troops and all the Marines and thanks so much for your help last year. I do plan to order some Birthday stuff from you when it comes in as I am getting everything done early so there is less stress on me when November rolls around. I am watching your web site for the new supplies coming in with anticipation.

Oh yah, I have another neat surprise coming your way (Marine Thing),..I'm sure you will love this one too.

Hey, Semper Fi (Don), Sgt Grit
Don Yoder

In 1963 I joined K-Bay's sport parachuting club. Club officers were Sgt.Maj. K. McPhail; Sgt. Peacock and Cpl. Goff. We'd jump from Army L-5's out of Wheeler or S-55 Navy rescue helo's from Kaneohe. We'd answer phone by saying:"You call, we fall, no D-Z too small".

Our altitude was generally about 2600 ft. U.S. Airborne jumps at 600 ft. After a morning of jumping and field rigging chutes as many times as possible to squeeze in more jumps we'd head to slopchute for many pitchers of beer.

We used T-10 military chutes with back panels removed for forward propulsion and toggle lines at risers to control downward speed. This was before the tandem jumps you see now that looks like a monkey f-cking a football. We were all by our lonesome. At the time a nurse lost her life on her first jump; she must've panicked as I heard her main failed and witnesses said she was pulling at wrong end of her reserve. She was not in our club.

Epilogue: When I was released from active duty and signed in at nearest reserve unit in Garden City N.Y. I met Sgt.Maj. McPhail and he remembered me. He still had that gleaming chrome dome and handlebar moustache. I felt privileged to have known him.

D.G.S.G.A.S. serv.# 1973677 "Rap"
Semper Fi 'til I die.

And I Quote...

"We must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt."
--Thomas Jefferson

"It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. Certainly no such universal power was meant to be given them."
--Thomas Jefferson

Today I was at the Iowa State Fair. It was Veteran's day at the fair. I am very proud to be an x-Marine. but today it broke my heart. They had two Marines at a booth having people sign up to do pull ups and giving away t-shirts and such. I was there with my sons and grand-children. I went up and wanted to talk to the two young men but if I did not want to do pull-ups they had no time to talk to an old man. I was so embarrassed I almost cried. Whatever happened to respect for your elders and fellow Marines. As of today I find it hard to explain to my grand-children why I was treated with such disrespect.
Sincerely an old guy from 1st bn 9th Marines aka the walking dead.

A Joke

Back in 1947 the government was experimenting with a Marine's ability to complete his mission after suffering a serious head injury.

They took a well trained, physically-fit, hard-charging Cpl. and told him to row a canoe up a river. The Cpl. jumped in the canoe, started rowing up stream with ease and began singing, "From the Halls of Montezuma, To the Shores of Tripoli."

The next day a team of surgeons performed a frontal lobotomy on the Marine. Again, they took him to the river and said' "row."

Again the Cpl. jumped in, took a second to find his seat, started rowing with a little difficulty and began singing. It took a little more effort this time, "From Da Haalls of Montayuma, Two Da Stores in Tripoli." But he made it up river and completed the task.

The next day the surgeons removed the majority of the Marines brain and took him to the river.

The Cpl. jumped in, fell out, and began swimming upstream, singing "For Da Hails of Monte puma, to 'e hall inn monopoly." But again, he made it up river and completed his task.

The next day the surgeons removed the remainder of the Marines brain. He had no brain what-so-ever and no way to think logically. They took him to the river. He fell out of the car and began singing, "Off we go, Into the wild blue yonder...."

Mark Sasak

It is going to be difficult to put last night into I will do my best. To say the evening was outstanding would not at all express the actual event. It was beyond anything I could have imagined...

The 1/9 Marine who came to pick me up was the same who delivered the wonderful 1/9 Network donation for $1000 last summer. He also brought me home after the evening ended. More than generous of him to do this.

We arrived and I was introduced to one of the 'brothers' who was so interesting to talk to...lives in Hawaii...they came from everywhere...over 350 people of their largest reunions and they have one every two years...though the numbers of 1/9ers is dwindling, as you can imagine. Everyone I met was so gracious and warm. Met so many great Marines, family members...of the Nam Marines.

Dinner was more than dinner. First there was the Marching on and Posting of Colors, the National Anthem and the Marine's Hymn. ...then the recognition of the four guests, and the most important was Gen Peter Pace, whose brother Sim was with 1/9 years ago...and he was also the guest speaker. Each guest was introduced, stood, and applauded. I was the fourth.

There was a moment to Remember their Fallen Comrades. Then dinner was served...but there was a lot of table hopping and photo ops going on before everyone was seated. I had the great pleasure of meeting the Lt.Col who was there in place of Gen Conway, who was in Afghanistan. I met and chatted with Gen Pace, his wife, and many other high ranking Marines. (I have to say that many of those Vietnam heroes were still able to fit into their dress blues! But the air of 'brotherhood' was intense and the love was all around.) I also managed to have a couple of photos taken with Gen Pace.

After dinner there was Recognition of those Decorated...with each of the medals called, those Marines stood...and the applause was deafening. There was one Medal of Honor Marine, and several of each of the medals...and when they asked all Marines with Purple Hearts to stand...there were So many...and they asked the Corpsmen who were with 1/9 to stand...and that was incredible. The Marine who invited me, Casey Piatt, was telling me that at each reunion there is always at least one instance when a Marine will walk up to another Marine he recognizes and tell him that he was the Marine who saved his life...!

After this, Gen. Pace spoke...and I can honestly say I have never heard a speaker such as Gen Pace in my life. You could hear a pin drop...he spoke softly, directly, slowly, and intensely, and personally to those Marines...he walked back and forth across the floor, facing them...speaking of their service and their sacrifice...and I will never forget one comment he made...that should strangers walk into that room they would see a party of middle aged men, but each of those men is a hero...I was everyone was...we hung on his words... breathless...literally holding our breath as he spoke and paced and addressed those 1/9 Marines. When he was finished everyone was speechless but the applause was endless...and I told him I have never heard anyone speak in such a 'from the heart' and so directly to those warriors.

Never will I forget that evening...and I later told him that if he sees the September issue of Leatherneck he would find my little letter...he was really quite charming, and his wife was just lovely...Lynne.

I spent some time afterward meeting some of the other Marines of 1/9, and then it was time to go...which was very sad for me... Meeting Casey after nearly two years, knowing that his health is not good...from Vietnam...agent orange...he says this was his last reunion...he has been their webmaster for many many years...and was working to find someone to take over that job...he has been on the board for years as well...he is a great guy...and I will always be grateful for the angry email he initially sent me...because it was part of God's plan to bring us to last night.

So, there you are...and in no way does this convey the emotion of the evening...that will be in my heart forever.

Semper Fidelis,

Attention To Orders:

PERMANENT Change of Station.
Gunnery Sgt Max P. Malachowski, USMC ret. On 22 AUG 2010, received from Headquarters his final PSC.
As Directed, He has reported to St. Peter for Assignment- Guarding Heaven's scenes.

Max was a two war Marine. Korea and Vietnam. Serving from 1950 to 1972 before retiring. While assigned to Eighth & I, he also worked for the National Geographic Society as a film processor. After the Marines Max worked for Kodak until his second retirement. He had a lifelong love of knowledge and education and the sharing of both. He held multiple degrees including Horticulture and Bee keeping. He was a member of the VFW and the Houseman-Tanner Post 1603, of the American Legion. Max is survived by his wife, four children, four grand children and four great-grand children. He will be missed. Semper FI my friend.

Steve (Doc) Goodrich
Commander Post 1603

Hey everyone. My buddy at work brought in his copy of the catalog. And was showing everyone the cover telling them that one of the guys in the pic looked like me.

When I finally looked at it. It was me and saw that there actually was two of our photos on the cover. Myself and the other Marines in those photos think that was really cool. 3/8 Scout Sniper Platoon is famous two pictures on Sgt Grits Magazine. Thousands of Marines get it.

Thanks I know it made my day to see that and also a few of my Marines as well.

Thanks again,
Chad Casey. Cpl USMC 01-05.

Can you please help spread the word about DoD's Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay benefit? A claim must be submitted by 10/21/10 in order to receive it. I was only made aware of it through USAA, the absolute best bank for military members!

Please help spread the word so eligible veteran's like myself can claim their money. Here is a link to DoD's site,

Thank you.

Semper Fi,
Sgt. Kinnick
OIF/OIE, '03; Wpns. Co. 1/24, '97-'03

And I Quote...

"After all, the chief business of the American people is business."
--Calvin Coolidge

I'm doing my part. But it is very, very hard in this environment we live in now.
Sgt Grit

Regarding the statement that was made by the chap that you met at breakfast, that he was an associate with the MCL, was probably an accurate statement.

The Marine Corps League has an associate membership program for persons that wish to be part of the League, but are not qualified by military service to do so. The program is usually utilized by spouses, siblings and children of Marines, but is open to anyone regardless of relation. The following applies to associate membership in the Marine Corps League.

Just thought that you would like to know that he was not totally blowing smoke up your azz.
Ron Morse (Sgt 69-75 #2568687)

11th Engineers Reunion

On behalf of the Illinois Marines and those who served with the 11th Engineers while assigned to West Pac Ground forces from 1966-1969, we look forward to seeing you at this year's 2010 reunion.

Date: October 20th -25th
Hotel Site: Crown Plaza located in Alexandria, Va

Thank you.
Gene Spanos - Sgt USMC 66-71
MCEA - Charlie Co. 11th Engr Bn 2/68-2/69 Park Ridge, IL 60068 847.692.9119

I just finished reading Battle Ready by Tom Clancy and Gen. Tony Zinni. I wanted to share a great quote by Gen. Zinni.

"Forty years as a Marine taught me that the only place to be is in the center of the arena. You get knocked down out there and you make mistakes. But you also realize that it sure beats sitting in the grandstands criticizing those who have the guts to be out there. And every once in a while you can make a difference."

The book was a good read. Gen. Zinni had a very interesting career.

Cpl. Rupprecht USMC '90-'95.

Sgt. Grit,

When I was attached to H&MS-17, MWSG-17 in Iwakuni, Japan in 1971-1972, two very popular songs played in the various bars in town were The Marines Ballad & Make A Marine by SSgt. Bob lay.

I have never forgotten the songs and have tried unsuccessfully over the years to get copies of them. Today, I found an old newsletter of yours #187 which has a letter from 1st. Sgt. Bob Lay regarding the songs.

Does anyone know how I could contact 1st. Sgt. Lay? Or, does anyone know where I could get MP3s of both songs? Another possibility would be a record of both songs if anyone knows where I might find such an item.

They were great songs and part of MY USMC history that I would like to renew.

If anyone can help find the songs or put me in touch with 1st. Sgt. Lay, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.


Semper Fi

You ask "Can I at least use the title "Veteran"...I may only be a Marine Corps BRAT (Born Raised And Trained) all 47 years of me, but I was born into the Corps with the belief that the following is true:

"What is a Veteran? A 'Veteran' - whether active duty, honorably discharged, retired, or reserve - is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America,' for an amount 'up to, and including his life.' " - Author Unknown

I have many in my family who have proudly and honorably served our Country, a few including my Hero (my Father) in the Corps, during Conflict and not who are by verse this considered Veterans and you kind sir are in my opinion one of them.

My hat (nursing cap) is off to you.

Lynnette Shimmin, RN

Chuck Wagon In The Early 1800's...

Quote 1:
"Sgt. Grit, I was in the Marines from 1957-60. I have been seeing the Geico Insurance ad with Drill Instructor Ermey. I never heard his punch line "Jack Wagon". Is that part of the language of the Marines now. I think I know what it means, but I would like for you to confirm it. Thanks. Donald"

Dear Sgt. Grit,
This is a link to one possible answer: Here's my take: The above link says that a "Jack Wagon" most likely refers to a cooks helper aboard an American chuck wagon in the early 1800's. It was a nasty, worthless job, and using that name on someone implies that they are equally nasty and worthless. While it is possible that Gy. Ermey knows of the original term and context, I personally think he improvised it.

Do a little research, and you'll find that R. Lee Ermey (Gy. Sgt., USMC Ret.) improvised the bulk of his introductory speech as SDI Gy. Sgt. Hartman to his recruit platoon in the movie "Full Metal Jacket."

In the Geico commercial, I think he was on the edge of calling that whining puke of a patient something more like "Jack A-s," but caught himself before cursing on national television.

Quote 2:
"I just recently retired, and one of my retirement gifts was a 23ft flagpole. I was telling my wife and daughter about a term I heard in boot camp. If I remember right, the DI remarked as we were on the parade deck when they raised the colors. He said we were caught in the rain. Has anyone else heard that expression? If it a real expression, there must be some story line behind it.
Semper Fi Cpl William Pippin 1966-1969"

Dear Cpl. Pippin,
Think back to your time in service. In garrison, outside of any shelter and in uniform, when "Colors" sounded, you were required to snap to attention, face the flag if you could see it, or the source of the music if you couldn't, and render a salute. You held that salute until the music stopped, and were released when "Carry On" was played. In civies, you just stood at attention until the Colors ceremony completed.

I can't count how many times I heard the bugle call "Attention" (immediately before Colors), and saw Marines scrambling for shelter like roaches when you turn on a light. They didn't want to lose time standing for the ceremony.

Personally, I never minded. I was motivated by the bugle calls and respect rendered to our National Ensign. But then, I was a pretty serious Gung-Pup back then. Not the best way to gain popularity in an Air-Wing unit...

So here's the idea: when you're caught outside in the rain, there is no escape except to find shelter. When Colors sounds, there is no escape except to find shelter.

That day on the parade deck, you were "caught in the rain."

Daniel J Reddy

And I Quote...

"All right, they're on our left, they're on our right, they're in front of us, they're behind us...they can't get away this time"
-- Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC

God Bless America!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit