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Sgt Grit Newsletter VS AmericanCourage Newsletter:
You receive both (alternating weeks)...so what's the difference?
In short...The AmericanCourage Newsletter has MORE family member stories, "support the Corps" stories from Marines, and patriotic quotes. It started after the events of Sept. 11, 2001 to give supporters of the Marine Corps and American patriots a voice.
The Sgt Grit Newsletter is HARD CORPS Marine! If you are interested in topics that delve into Marine Corps history, Corps Stories, Boot Camp and other things that "only a Marine might understand" - then be sure to read the Sgt Grit Newsletter (every other week) - More about the newsletter
This is a picture I took while serving as an Ordnance tech with Mike Battery 3/11 during the invasion of Iraq. The city in the background is Baghdad. This was taken right around the time we transitioned from providing fire support to a provisional rifle company.
Note: Yes, Yes, Yes I am partial to Artillery.
Hey Sgt. Grit... you tell K. Markham, the handsome Marines were sent to San Diego... and the ugly ones sent to PI call us... Hollywood Marines... LOL.
PS - I am a Hollywood Marine... LOL
Edition Notes from Sgt Grit
EOD has been in the news A LOT the last few years. How about some stories from you?
I have started a Facebook page and a Sgt Grit Blog page. The Facebook is growing nicely. The people there enjoy interacting. I have been including a few of their posts in the newsletters, as well as some of your postings there.
I post daily to the Blog. Some things that do not fit the newsletter format along with more of the popular quotes from founding fathers, famous Marines and others. So go to www.grunt.com near the top of the page and take a look at both.
This edition you will find many pictures from many eras. Ordnance near Bagdad to LZ Russell survivors at San Diego. Great story about chewing gum and hair in 1950 boot camp. An outstanding oldie but a goodie "Specifically To Fight" and some excellent Airwing stories.
Enjoy the outstanding stories you graciously share with each other. I can't tell you what honor it is to be part of this.
While The Rockpile
Sgt Grit, It is incomprehensible to me how any Marine could not understand the importance of the Air Wing, be it fixed wing or Helicopters. The attached photo is a typical resupply run to the hand full of us who have the privilege of being called B.O.T.'s (Been On Top) The Rockpile was manned by small 3-4 man Marine teams from Recon, Forward Observers and Radio Communications units.
While the Rockpile was the most photographed piece of real estate in Vietnam, there are very few of us who were B.O.T.'s, and without the Air Wing we could not have survived up there. Getting a CH-34 up there was a feat in itself in good weather, but these crews were there when we needed them, and put their lives and aircraft at risk every time they set one wheel down on our LZ. To us, they were our lifeline and our hero's, and we are here today because of their efforts to support us. Anyone who questions their role in any operation, must have sat behind a desk for the whole war.
S/Sgt. T.B. Dudley RVN 1963-1966-1967
My second Birthday Ball took place at the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan, 1969.
Embassy Duty in Kabul was considered a hardship post but at least I wasn't getting shot at back then.
In the attached photo you can see myself and MGySgt Len Maffioli welcoming Ambassador and Mrs. Robert Newman to the Ball. Many of your readers may remember a book published approximately 10 years ago titled "Grown Gray in War, The Len Maffioli Story."
While on Embassy Duty, Len was our NCOIC. and at the time, I had no clue as to his Marine Corps background. He served during 3 wars. He is an Iwo Jima veteran. During the Korean War, Len had the distinct honor of being the first American POW to orchestrate a successful escape from a Chinese communist POW camp. MGySgt Maffioli also served with the 1st Tank Battalion in Vietnam.
It's been awhile since I talked to Len and Donna. I need to stay true to my New Year's resolution and keep in touch with my old friends. I'll call them tonight.
GySgt John D. Foster
123 You Come With Me
I was drafted into the Army in 1966. At the induction center We were in line waiting to process in our skivvies when this guy comes along counting 123 You come with Me, 123 You come with Me. They were picking Every fourth guy for the Marines. Well here comes this guy and We are all trying to count to see where We land. I end up number 3 and the guy behind Me goes. Well I thought I had really dodged a bullet and I might live through this.
Went to basic at Fort Ord and reported directly to My new unit at Fort Sill Ok. from there. It was a brand new unit G Btry 29th Arty Searchlight. We jungle trained in the winter at Fort sill in the snow. We knew We were going to Nam and got orders about December to ship. A 3 week troop ship ride across the South China Sea and We end up in Da Nang. That was when they told us We were attached to the 11th Marines as an Army unit. They spread our Jeep mounted searchlights from Chu Lai to Camp Carroll and every LZ , Hill or bridge in between. We supported Marines all over I Corps. Our Guys were taken in by Marines everywhere and welcomed as one of their own. It is with great pride that I say I served with the 1ST Marine Division and consider Myself more Marine than Army.
I saw the post about the dogs and wanted to share a couple of pictures of My dog Tippy. One advantage We had being Army is nobody had any command over us. I was standing in the door of our bunker one day on I think LZ Baldy when this 2nd Lt in some nice clean utilities all starched up, looks like he just walked out of OCS yesterday and about 13 years old. He comes over to the door and wants to know who We are. I tell him who We are and We provide light for night operations and We are Army. He then proceeds to want to know what this white Shepherd dog is doing laying at My feet, and why do I have a non issue 38 hanging off My utility belt. He proceeded to tell Me He wanted My 38 and My dog had to go. We had words and I kept both the 38 and the dog so he could have light that night. Hope some of You Guys remember our Army guys on those lights that lived, and worked, and bled and died as Marines. I am proud to have spent My 14 mos in the Nam with Marines and hope You guys won't mind if I consider Myself more Marine than Army.
God bless those We lost as they will never be forgotten.
G Btry 29th Arty Searchlight
RVN 67/68 I Corps
Semper Fi Proud to be an adopted Marine
I just wanted everyone to me MY Hero, MY Son, MY Marine, Sgt Michael Gulley. These was the only MC Ball we got to attend together. MC Ball 2006, MOBCOM, KCMO. He picked up Sgt shortly after this ball.
Gunnery Sergeant Debra A. Fortune. USMC (Retired)
Whup, Whup, Whup
I was an Artillery F.O. out of the Rock Pile 1967-1968.. Medivaced twice by chopper to Dong Ha, and then to Cam Ron Bay Air Force hospital on the daily body bag run south.
The chopper pilots were some of the bravest and craziest Marines I ever saw ! They would take us in and pick us up with continuous enemy fire !
When we were pinned down the Huey gunships would come in, and the enemy would disappear one way or the other ! The enemy was even more scared of the Cobra ! We loved to hear the whup whup whup of chopper blades.
I will never forget the courage and guts of Marine Vietnam chopper pilots, and I know they are the same today. They will do whatever it takes to help, or save any who need them.
Sgt. U.S.M.C 1967-1970
Hauled Grunts All Over
I am a Winger 1967-1971, RVN 1969-1970 DaNang, VGR-152. We had a saying in-country, the next time you need a Flair mission, Air Drop, RE-Fuel mid-air don't call us we will call you! NOT!
The Grunts got the point fast, but all in fun, as we all were after each other to cut the stress. We hauled the Grunts all over I Corps mostly North from DaNang and we used to stand outside the ramp as it closed looking in at them looking at us and we would cross ourselves, and the look on their faces, Priceless!
The Dog handlers were something too, their dogs were badasz on the ground before they got on board, then all the strange noises and the bird turning up and the dogs went nuts putting their heads in their handlers laps and wetting all over the deck. Which we got to clean up later. I guess that was a payback for our picking at them.
But anytime those fast movers came in on target we were up there pumping gas as fast as we could. We had to over fill the wing tanks with a hose and nozzles so after all the fuel was give away our bird could get back on fumes for a refill. In one operation we empted our fuel farm 4 bladders more than 3 times. That is a lot of birds, when each bladder holds 45,000 lbs of fuel.
Simper Fi! Grunts
Sgt, Larry Dent
American Flag, B Co 1/23 Oct 2004 at Camp Habinyia or Manhattan pending on who you ask. Don't quote me on the spelling its funcking Iraq alright! Make shift flag pole a bit of 550 cord and old glory, now stop reading my crap and enjoy the f-cking picture.
Little Brother Got To Iraq
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I thought I'd share a story of how interesting the Marine Corps is sometimes. Growing up both myself and my brother had a neighbor across the street that was a Vietnam Marine. He made such an impression that right out of high school, he signed his papers and was off the MCRD San Diego. After graduation and School of Infantry he got stationed at Pendleton as a SMAW gunner with 1st Marines.
Being from Oklahoma, and being a typical Oklahoma country boy he liked to ride bulls. Right before 9/11 he got thrown off of one and broke his collar bone and then when he was on float 9/11 happened. He was very upset because he had to stay on ship while his unit commenced to kickin' Iraqi aszes while taking names. He got out in 2004. Then in 2004 as my brother was getting out I was going in. I took my turn signing the papers and went to MEPS and saw the same Master Gunnery Sergeant Blancet that my brother saw.
After boot camp, I went to MCT then Ft Knox for training as a tank mechanic. After all that I got stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC with 2nd FSSG. I ended up going to Iraq twice. The first time I was in Al Asad. One of the Motor-T guys that was there with us was stationed with my brother. When I was there the 2nd time my brother tried to get back into the Marine Corps, only to be rejected because of some injuries. So he tried the ARMY and they take anybody. Shortly thereafter, he was in Iraq. I always like to tease him because his little brother got to go to Iraq twice before he did, even though he was the first one to be a Marine.
2nd FSSG 2005-2008
CLB-2 Al Asad 2005-2006
CLB-6 Camp Fallujah 2007
GySgt James T. Clark USMC (Ret.), drill instructor for Platoon 145 in 1962 at MCRD San Diego, began a tour of duty calling cadence on that big grinder in the sky on January 17, 2010. Rest in peace Marine.
The Few. The Proud.
Look forward to your Newsletter! Really do enjoy it. Dec. 67 -March 68 Honor Platoon 1132. 24305677 Red Beach and Camp Tien Sha Dec. 68-Dec.69.
Cpl. Bob Modeen
Hi Marine ...Just a note to let you know there's a few of us "China Marines" still around...I was stationed at the French Arsenal 1946-47...1st MAW... ice skated on the frozen moat...standing guard duty in the cemetery...Long time ago...found you on Google while researching the French Arsenal...thanks for your web site...Semper Fidelis...
Paul H. Prestridge M/SGT USMC Ret. 1945-1967
Joined the Marines and landed at Parris Island in September 1957, along with my brother. My serial number is 1692114 and his is 1692113 and he always refers to me as a "boot". Amazing at this stage of my life where I tend to forget some details, the time served in my beloved Corps remains vivid to this day.
BOB LAKE LCPL 1957-1963
I was very proud to be the Military Coordinator for SSgt. Ingham's funeral in Altoona, PA. One never gets over these... May the Good Lord bless his almighty soul. He now guards Heavens' Scenes.
Lt. Col. Don Belsey (Ret.)
Dear Staff @ Sgt. Grit
I am very glad I found your site and very proud to be a Marine (78)-(84) and love what you do for every Marine keep up the good work....
John C. Salzman Sr.
At Christmas while picking up an international student from college to send her home for Christmas as I put her bag in my truck a young S.Korean student was helping me. He saw my hat USMC -Korea - and asked "were you there?" I answered Yes. He took my hand and shook it saying "thank you & my family thanks you for defending our country."
I am both proud and humbled to be an American and a US Marine.
Jerry McCandless Sgt '53-'56
I would first like to say I have enjoyed your articles on what is happening with are Marines in and out of the Corps.
Dress Code: If I can remember the code stated that No Beards, No long sideburns and Mustaches are to be No wider than the edge of the mouth and trimly cut also the hair should be trimly cut and close. If any Marine is to wear the Marine Uniform whether on Active duty or Reserve or Retired and a Marine who would like to wear the Uniform at Marine Ball should respect the Uniform and The Dress Code for Appearance. If one has a Beard, handle bars at the mustache etc He Should Not dress in our Uniform that we are so proud of. That destroys our image and we do not need any more Bad Images for our beloved Corps.
Bob Neira, LCpl
HQ BN Delta Co MCS Quantico, Va
Sgt. I didn't see the letter Sgt. Baptist referred to in the Jan.27 edition of your news letter.
The rapid fire course was 10 rounds sitting at 200yds and 10 rounds prone at the 300 yard position. This was accomplished by :
1. Put weapon on safe (lock)
2. Drop an empty clip into the magazine well.
3. Insert two 30-06 rounds in the clip and release the bolt.(load)
4. After the first two rounds were fired, the empty clip would be ejected and the Marine loads the weapon with a full "clip of eight"
Cpl. Myers Shore party red patcher 58-62
As a side note, My company was issued M-14 's the day I got out. We all turned in our Garand's, only they drew new M-14's
Just a note to clear up Sgt. P. Baaptiste wrong information on rapid fire with the m-1 Garand rifle it was AS FOLLOWS:
"With a clip and 2 loose rounds lock and load. After the 2 rounds were fired, you loaded a clip of eight rounds.
This was done to simulate rapid fire in combat
I can still remember the range at camp Mathews and firing the course of fire 100 yards 10 rounds standing 10 rounds prone rapid fire ,300 yards 10 rounds sitting and 10 rounds kneeling, 500 yard range 10 rounds slow fire prone, total of score of 250 . If I remember it was 190 to 210 for marksmen. 215 to 225 for sharpshooter and 225 to 250 for expert.
Sgt. D. Vitek
In response to Sgt. P. Baptiste letter 1/28/10. In 1959 at P.I. we fired 10 rounds at each position on the range. Loaded clip and two loose rounds, fired them and loaded full clip of 8 rounds. Fired from 200, 300 and 500 yards. Some slo fire and some rapid fire. Each segment was 10 rds
Charles (corky) Walters 1867040
Plt. 215 I Co. 2nd bat.
I went to P.I. in Dec 59.
Range quals were fired with the M-1 Garand using an 8-round en bloc clip. To fire the 10 round rapid fires you took one empty clip, dropped it in the receiver, inserted two rounds, and chambered the first round. You could also twist the first round slightly so that it would hold both rounds in the clip and make it quicker to load, but you ran a risk of jamming too.
After firing the first two rounds, the empty clip would eject and you would insert a full clip of 8 rounds, chamber the first one, then continue to fire.
Before the M-1, the M-1903 Springfield, or M-1917 Eddystone used a five round stripper clip. Since it was extremely difficult to load 5 rounds in an M-1 clip quickly, the 2 and 8 method was established.
Later with the M-14 we loaded 5 and 5 in two 20 round magazines to shoot the same course of fire.
In National Match Competitions, you loaded two rounds in one mag (in the M-14 or M-16), then 8 rounds in the next magazine.
SSgt Herbert E. Brown II (Ret)
Holder of the Distinguished Rifleman Badge and President's Hundred Badge.
Specifically To Fight
This is from a man who served with me in Vietnam. He spent 4-1/2 years in the USMC and 20 years in Special Forces (Army Green Beanies) and retired a Command Sgt Major but he considers himself a USMC Vietnam Tanker first and foremost.
Subject: The Corps
(Courtesy of Sergeant Major Dougherty)
The Marine Corps is the only branch of the U.S. Armed Forces that recruits people specifically to Fight.
The Army emphasizes personal development (an Army of One), the Navy promises fun (let the journey begin), the Air Force offers security (its a great way of life).
Missing from all the advertisements is the hard fact that a soldier's life is to suffer and perhaps to die for his people and take lives at the risk of his/her own.
Even the thematic music of the services reflects this evasion. The Army's Caisson Song describes a pleasant country outing. Over hill and dale, lacking only a picnic basket. Anchors Aweigh the Navy's celebration of the joys of sailing could have been penned by Jimmy Buffet.
The Air Force song is a lyric poem of blue skies and engine thrust. All is joyful, and invigorating, and safe. There are no land mines in the dales nor snipers behind the hills, no submarines or cruise missiles threaten the ocean jaunt, no bandits are lurking in the wild blue yonder.
The Marines' Hymn, by contrast, is all combat. "We fight our Country's battles", "First to fight for right and freedom", "We have fought in every clime and place where we could take a gun", "In many a strife we have fought for life and never lost our nerve".
The choice is made clear. You may join the Army to go to adventure training, or join the Navy to go to Bangkok, or join the Air Force to go to computer school. You join the Marine Corps to go to War! But the mere act of signing the enlistment contract confers no status in the Corps.
The Army recruit is told from his first minute in uniform that "you're in the Army now, soldier". The Navy and Air Force enlistees are sailors or airmen as soon as they get off the bus at the training center.
The new arrival at Marine Corps boot camp is called a recruit, or worse (a lot worse), but never a MARINE. Not yet, maybe never. He or she must earn the right to claim the title of UNITED STATES MARINE and failure returns you to civilian life without hesitation or ceremony.
Recruit Platoon 2210 at San Diego, California trained from October through December of 1968. In Viet Nam the Marines were taking two hundred casualties a week and the major rainy season and Operation Meade River had not even begun, yet Drill Instructors had no qualms about winnowing out almost a quarter of their 112 recruits, graduating 81. Note that this was post- enlistment attrition. Every one of those 31 who were dropped had been passed by the recruiters as fit for service. But they failed the test of Boot Camp! Not necessarily for physical reasons. At least two were outstanding high school athletes for whom the calisthenics and running were child's play. The cause of their failure was not in the biceps nor the legs, but in the spirit. They had lacked the will to endure the mental and emotional strain so they would not be Marines. Heavy commitments and high casualties notwithstanding, the Corps reserves the right to pick and choose.
History classes in boot camp? Stop a soldier on the street and ask him to name a battle of World War One. Pick a sailor at random and ask for a description of the epic fight of the Bon Homme Richard. Ask an airman who Major Thomas McGuire was and what is named after him. I am not carping and there is no sneer in this criticism. All of the services have glorious traditions, but no one teaches the young soldier, sailor or airman what his uniform means and why he should be proud of it.
But...ask a Marine about World War One and you will hear of the wheat field at Belleau Wood and the courage of the Fourth Marine Brigade comprised of the Fifth and Sixth Marines. Faced with an enemy of superior numbers entrenched in tangled forest undergrowth the Marines received an order to attack that even the charitable cannot call ill-advised. It was insane. Artillery support was absent and air support hadn't been invented yet. Even so the Brigade charged German machine guns with only bayonets, grenades, and an indomitable fighting spirit. A bandy-legged little barrel of a Gunnery Sergeant, Daniel J. Daly, rallied his company with a shout, "Come on you sons a b-tches, do you want to live forever?" He took out three machine guns himself.
French liaison-officers hardened though they were by four years of trench bound slaughter were shocked as the Marines charged across the open wheat field under a blazing sun directly into the teeth of enemy fire. Their action was so anachronistic on the twentieth-century field of battle that they might as well have been swinging cutlasses. But the enemy was only human. The Boche could not stand up to the onslaught. So the Marines took Belleau Wood. The Germans, those that survived, thereafter referred to the Marines as "Teufel Hunden" (Devil Dogs) and the French in tribute renamed the woods "Bois de la Brigade de Marine" (Woods of the Brigade of Marines).
Every Marine knows this story and dozens more. We are taught them in boot camp as a regular part of the curriculum. Every Marine will always be taught them! You can learn to don a gas mask anytime, even on the plane in route to the war zone, but before you can wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor and claim the title United States Marine you must first know about the Marines who made that emblem and title meaningful. So long as you can march and shoot and revere the legacy of the Corps you can take your place in line. And that line is as unified in spirit as in purpose.
A soldier wears branch service insignia on his collar, metal shoulder pins and cloth sleeve patches to identify his unit, and far too many look like they belong in a band.
Sailors wear a rating badge that identifies what they do for the Navy. Airmen have all kinds of badges and get medals for finishing schools and showing up for work.
Marines wear only the Eagle, Globe and Anchor together with personal ribbons and their CHERISHED marksmanship badges. They know why the uniforms are the colors they are and what each color means. There is nothing on a Marine's uniform to indicate what he or she does nor what unit the Marine belongs to. You cannot tell by looking at a Marine whether you are seeing a truck driver, a computer programmer or a machine gunner or a cook or a baker. The Marine is amorphous, even anonymous, by conscious design.
The Marine is a Marine. Every Marine is a rifleman first and foremost, a Marine first, last and Always! You may serve a four- year enlistment or even a twenty plus year career without seeing action, but if the word is given you'll charge across that Wheatfield! Whether a Marine has been schooled in automated supply or automotive mechanics or aviation electronics or whatever is immaterial. Those things are secondary - the Corps does them because it must. The modern battle requires the technical appliances and since the enemy has them so do we. But no Marine boasts mastery of them.
Our pride is in our marksmanship, our discipline, and our membership in a fraternity of courage and sacrifice. "For the honor of the fallen, for the glory of the dead", Edgar Guest wrote of Belleau Wood. "The living line of courage kept the faith and moved ahead." They are all gone now, those Marines who made a French farmer's little Wheatfield into one of the most enduring of Marine Corps legends. Many of them did not survive the day and eight long decades have claimed the rest. But their actions are immortal. The Corps remembers them and honors what they did and so they live forever. Dan Daly's shouted challenge takes on its true meaning - if you lie in the trenches you may survive for now, but someday you may die and no one will care. If you charge the guns you may die in the next two minutes, but you will be one of the immortals.
All Marines die in either the red flash of battle or the white cold of the nursing home. In the vigor of youth or the infirmity of age all will eventually die, but the Marine Corps lives on. Every Marine who ever lived is living still, in the Marines who claim the title today.
It is that sense of belonging to something that will outlive our own mortality, which gives people a light to live by, and a flame to mark their passing.
V.C. Hit Us One Night
I was in the air wing all the time I was in the Corps I went in April 27 1962 and I got out Aug 26 1966. Went to supply school in Millington Tenn Oct 1962 till March 1963 Was transferred to El Toro Calif. with MWHG-37 I was there for 18 months. I was sent to MAG-16 Futame, Okinawa.
March 1965 was transferred to DaNang Vietnam with Air Wing Supply. We were under attack several time, Had to defend the flight line to protect all the air craft.
Was moved to China Beach (we were the first company there) We were under attack two or three times while I was at China Beach. The V.C. hit us one night and blew up all the Helicopters that we had. I was with MAG-16. I left in December 1965. Went to Beaufort S.C and was Release from Active Duty August 1966
William N. Buckles Jr. Cpl E-4
Typical Marine Answer
Sgt Grit and Fellow Marines:
I was also an "Air Winger". I served from June 1977 to June 1981 and was stationed at Camp Pendleton, serving with HML-267. I originally wanted to be a grunt, but my Recruiter talked me out of it due to my ASVAB scores. He was a grunt and urged me to go into the Aviation branch of the Corps, so I did. My MOS was 7041, Aviation Operations Specialist.
Although I was originally supposed to be an Air Traffic Controller, there were no openings in that MOS after graduating boot camp so I was put in Air Ops. It wasn't what I had in mind since it was a job that consisted of paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork, which I hated. But I did learn so many things in the Corps, self discipline, physical fitness and self respect chief among them. Oh yeah, I also learned to type (which is coming in handy now).
I was like a lot of teenaged Marines and wasn't in love with getting up at the crack of dawn to go to work, so after my tour was up, I got out of the Corps. Surprisingly, (to me at least) I missed it. I thought I'd go back into military service and get training in what I wanted to do which was to be an Air Traffic Controller, so I talked to an Air Force Recruiter (my dad died on active duty during Vietnam with 26 years in the Air Force).
After taking more tests for the Air Force, I was accepted as an Air Traffic Controller. There was just one hitch: at that time they had a 6 month waiting list to go into the Air Force. I went next door and asked the Marine Recruiter how long it would take to get back into the Corps and I got a typical Marine answer. I'd be on the bus that night! So, I ended up re-enlisting in 1983 and was back as a 7041.
I served a total of 16 years before recurring back injuries forced my retirement. I experienced so many things that were great, some bad, some hilarious. A typical Marine Corps career. I never had the opportunity to serve in combat, but I did serve with many heroes. In my opinion, I served with some of the finest individuals on God's green earth. I wouldn't trade a day of it for anything. Semper Fi Marines!
James A. Howerton
SSgt USMC (Ret)
Rattlesnake In My Field Jacket
At Camp Pendleton for ICT while enroute to Westpac from Camp Lejeune in 1967 as a 1st Lt (Mustang). We were participating in a night exercise and had moved into an area to set up an ambush and all was quiet for a couple of hours.
I was making rounds of the positions and came upon a Marine with a look of absolute terror in his eyes. I asked him what was wrong and he replied "There's a Rattlesnake in my Field Jacket" !
After speaking with him quietly for several minutes to calm him down and asking him to do exactly what I said and nothing more, I alerted several other Marines and got them into position in a circle with their flashlights . I then reached down and unbuckled his cartridge belt and carefully unzipped his field jacket.
My plan was to grasp his wrist with a double grip and quickly pull him to his feet and away from his position thinking the snake would fall to the ground. I had misjudged his weight as when I pulled, he came flying off the ground and landed about six feet away. There was no Snake !
Underneath the spot he had been laying was a Rabbit Burrow. The rabbit had nudged him a couple of times wanting to get out and when he felt it his immediate thought was "RATTLER!"
We all had a good laugh but most everyone kept their flashlights on for some reason or another.
Capt. Joe England Retd.
I was in Plt 3013 June 68, while at Edson Range the rumor from the third toilet seat to the left was that we might get a phone call home, to strengthen the rumor we observed other Pvts using the bank of 6 phones while making a very needed PX call.
On Sunday after the most grueling week at the snapping in range and several trips duck walking up and down mount muther in the rain and fog. We had just been allowed to blouse our trousers and we were on the clouds. When Staff Sgt Trask called Platoon 3013 out on the road, and had ordered everyone to have a dime, we just knew we were going to get a phone call home.
Staff Sgt Trask ordered the platoon to open ranks, then he told us to face in the direction of our mothers home and call home. We put the dime into the collar of the Pvt in front of us, then dial the number on the make believe phone and talked to whoever answered. Then as if not enough satisfaction to brake our spirits he took us to the sand pit and make "rain."
Boot camp taught me how not to treat Marines, but of course I must remember that while in boot camp I was not a Marine, but after 21 years active duty and 21 years retired I am a Marine and will always be a Marine (Gunny) where ever I go. I love meeting other Marines Old Corps or young Corps, Marines are Marines.
A long time ago, in another galaxy, far, far away, I went through boot camp and, what was called back then, ITR. (infantry training regiment) This was in 1964. Guys like Sgt. Grit and Jerry D, who are from my era would remember this. My 4 fun filled weeks of ITR were spent at Camp Pendleton, specifically at San Onofre. One of the "events" during ITR was what was called the "1st bivouac."
Back then it sounded benign and I, like I'm sure everyone else in my company, had nooooooooo idea what we were in for. I think the 1st bivouac took place in the 1st week of ITR, but I'm not sure of that. We were marched out to the training area in company formation, in full gear. On the way out there we encountered another company coming from the opposite direction. As they passed by I, and I'm sure everyone else in the company, were a little more than disturbed by what we saw.
These guys, we would soon come to figure out, were coming back from where we were going. They looked like they had been drug through a knot hole, backwards, at about 150 miles an hour. They were covered in caked on dirt, from head to toe, and they looked like they had been through h&ll. One of the things I noticed, as they passed us, was that many of them had the elbows and knees of their utilities worn completely through, and many were bleeding from the elbows and knees. I have often wondered if the timing of this was intentional, to show the company going out to the training area what they were in for. I don't know if this was a common practice or not, but I know it was very, very effective. From that point on in the march I think every guy in my company became religious, if they weren't already.
When we got to the training area we all found out why so many guys were bloody around the elbows and knees. One of the first things we did to begin the 3 day and two night exercise was to learn to "low crawl." In groups we were made to crawl, using your elbows and knees, in a position as flat to the ground as you could get, on a hard packed dirt grinder, in a circular pattern, while troop handlers walked amongst us stepping on our backs to emphasize staying low. That dirt grinder was harder than rock and looked like it had been used for ever. I don't know how long we crawled in a circle, but I do know it was for a long time and it was agonizing. The sun was hot, the ground was hot, and you sweated like there was no tomorrow as you crawled and crawled and crawled. After a time your elbows and knees began to bruise and it became quite painful to crawl, and after a while longer some of us began to bleed as the bruises opened up. I remember glancing at the faces of guys around me, and like me, they were really suffering. The troop handlers just kept walking amongst us yelling at guys to stay low and keep crawling. Of the 16 weeks of boot camp and ITR this was maybe the toughest thing I went through. At one point I didn't care if I died on that dirt grinder. I can't say how everyone else around me felt, but that's how I felt.
I don't know that today's Marines have to do this same thing, but I suspect they do, or something just as diabolical and gruesome. I, like I think everyone else that experienced the "1st bivouac", found it to be a h&llish experience, non-stop tough training with very little sleep. When it was over I'm sure we had all figured out why those guys coming back, as we were marching out, looked like death warmed over. I know we looked the same as we came back. This is our Corps, this was, and is, how they make Marines.
For every one of you who has had to endure this training, and every Marine has, I am proud to be a part of the same family. Reading this news letter every week, brings back these memories and I thank Sgt. Grit for this. Whether you are in your 80's, 70's, 60's or even still in your teens, those of us who experienced this training should be proud of this and thankful to those guys who trained us. Sgt. Grit, Jerry D, all of you Marines out there.....Semper Fi.
John Vater, Vietnam vet.
Dear Sgt Grit,
I wanted to share a short story with you. From 1987-1990 I was stationed at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan. I was attached to H&HS OMD and what we did was maintain and fly the Search and Rescue CH-46's on the base. I think there is a time in everyone's career that they look back and say that a certain time or a certain duty station was the best in their career, and this was mine. Don't get me wrong, I have served with many outstanding units and Marines but some places just click, you know what I mean? We were mechanics, hydraulics, sheet metal, avionics, pilots and admin, but we were all OMD.
We had one Marine who was like the glue for the unit, MSgt Englert, and in 2007 he started gluing OMD back together for a 2008 reunion at Quantico, Va. Most were retired and some sadly couldn't make it for health reasons but we came from as far away as Washington, California, Indiana and Georgia. All to attend a picnic in the woods and tip a few beers with friends. The conversations picked up like they were left off eighteen years before, and if just for a few hours, we were again OMD. Those for me were the best of times.
Semper Fi. to my Marine Brothers and the "glue" that brought us back together. (FYI, the orange shirts were our softball teams colors which was coincidentally named "Good Times")
Martin V. Habecker III
A True Geek
During my 20+ years serving in the beloved Marine Corps. I was privileged enough to work on both sides of the Corps. and witness the duality of the two parts of the Corps.
In 1970 I was going through jungle survival school at 500 Man Camp Alongapo, PI. While there I was headed to town for an afternoon of partying and I and some of my classmates got on the liberty bus at the chow hall. There was a large contingent of wingers there doing one of their exercises and the bus stopped along the route and picked some of them up.
Now take into consideration the appearance of this individual was that of a true geek. His birth control glasses and Polo shirt made things humorous. As this guy gets on the bus and with the agility of a bull in a china shop, stumbles as he is getting on the bus and almost falls on his face. One of my class mates piped up and said, "what grace you dumbazz air wingers have." We all chuckled and as the laughter died down a GySgt in the every back of the buss sounded off and replied to my classmate. "Your right this guy doesn't appear to grace and agility of you grunts but he works on and runs equipment worth millions of dollars and because of his efforts grunt lives are save and resupplied every day. He does all of this while qualifying with the same weapons you use and learns as much as he can about grunts and their tactics so that he can better aide said grunts in accomplishing their duties and stay alive and come home."
Everyone on the bus never said another word all the way to town. We just sat and thought about how the two separate inanities depended on each other to work as a team. And I must say a team that has proved over time has again and again proved that this team is in it for the long haul and to win.
While we have not always accomplish our missions because D.C. stops us, the world still fears and loves us. We really are the few, the proud, the Marines. And I am proud to have served with the best.
Reunion: FMFPac Drum & Bugle Team (1953~1972)
Reunion to be held from June 7 to 12, 2010 in the Washington DC Area
Contact Bob "Rip" Arvidson for more details.
Email: BobArvidson @ gmail .com or Phone: 916.725.8703
I Was The Smallest Worm
My name is Green, Michael L. E5 1st MarRecon Viet Nam 1966-1970 attached 1st SOG DaNang. I was one lucky Marine back then I left with only a few pieces missing. I was the smallest worm in my platoon. No one thought I would make it through Basic. Well I did. My DI's were Sgt. Smith, Sgt Brown, Sgt. Holes and last but not least Sgt. Butts.
When we went to the rifle range at Edison, we got to make up our own guidon. It was the Marine Bull Dog Chesty and our platoon name Smith's Brown Butt Holes..Anyhoo, as it turned out, contrary to the beliefs of Ybarra, Williams, and the big black guy that picked me up and dropped me on my head at Edison cause I told him "when you get a DI cover and have stripes on your arm, I'll get down and give you twenty for talking in ranks.
Well I did finish Boot and ITR at Pendleton. I then volunteered for Recon. Of course I had to prove myself, when I got to PI being the smallest guy in the platoon. I did that by gettin' 3 out of 3 on the range. All dead center at 300 yds. with an M14 and they couldn't believe it so the sarge made me lock and load and do it again, which I did again. I got my expert badge. Which unknown to me at the time would entitle me to be sent to VN under the tutelage of Gunny Hathcock. But I digress. I would like to find a copy of the yearbook for Platoon 2026 Honor Platoon MCRD 1967. And to all our Marines in country OORAH keep up the good work. ONCE a MARINE ALWAYS a MARINE. And to all my drill instructors SIR OORAH SIR
Sgt W.L Early
I was reading your latest "Grit" and came across something by Sgt Early. Early is not a common sur name and was wondering if it was the same Sgt. Early that had to put up with me at MCRD/SD in 1964. Sgt Early was the 1st Sgt or Gunny in charge of Marines on mess duty and I had a slight run in with him. He was a fair but tough old Marine.
Some of us on mess duty had managed to get out of Electronics School and the penalty for doing that was 2 weeks on mess duty (much better time than electronics school). about 4 of us decided to go out one night to "Micky Finns" for some drinks. While there I asked the band to play "On Wisconsin." I guess there were a lot of customers in the audience that night because we had so much beer in front of us that we got just a bit tipsy. Kind of like skunks.
I bumped into Sgt. Early who worked as a bouncer there and got a "look" from him. Upon closing I pilfered the drum sticks and we headed back to MCRD drumming along the way. Needless to say, the police cornered us in the residential area as we were drumming on a mailbox. They came from 3 different sides which left me the 4th to take off by. The found me after a few minutes and we all went off to the "tank" for a few hours.
Upon returning to MCRD, Sgt. Early ordered me in and gave me a "R.A.C." (royal a-- chewing). I don't know what my penalty was but I never forgot Sgt. Early and have thought about him many times since. If it is him, I'm happy to see he's still with us. If it's not him, the memory was good.
Tom Miller - PFC (ret.)
I Still Wonder
Dear Sgt. Grit,
Greetings! On 21 Nov.2009 I placed an order with you consisting of a