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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
Qualification day on the P.I. Rifle Range at 300 yards, Rapid Fire.
Went down into position and fired the ten rounds from the M-1. The D.I. standing to my right started to scream, "you turd, you fired too fast, watch what happens when the target comes back up".
Target comes back up with the disc spinning, all in the black. He jumped and stood on my back and commenced to beat me profusely about the head and shoulders with his swagger stick saying "Why in the h&ll did you make a liar out of me".
Just part of becoming a Marine!
History in pictures
1st Sgt Jimmee Howard, 1967
Capt. Chesty Puller, 1935-36
GySgt Dan Daly. 1920's
Pictures submitted by GySgt Grady Rainbow, USMC, Ret.
Stoner Platoon, 1964
This story starts in April 1964 when as a young and eager 17 yr old. I departed Staten Island, NY for Parris Island SC. When we arrived at the receiving center we were greeted by the usual screams of, "Get off my f'n bus" and "Get on my yellow footprints" (receiving used to be up by the Iron Mike statue for those of you who came after we left), it is now down past 2nd btn. and the schools building. I digress...back to receiving, well we did all the forms and made our phone calls to whoever answered the phone at home. Then some of the group were picked up and went to their platoons, the rest of the group were sent back to the classroom in receiving where we waited 2 days for the rest of our platoon to be selected, as we later found out, to be members of the Stoner 63 Rifle/Weapon System Test Platoon.
We became platoon 236. That was when we met our loving caretakers and banes to our existence for the next 13 weeks. Our drill instructors S/Sgt. Edwards, Sgt Hall and Cpl. Later to become Sgt Wade. Well I don't need to elaborate on the thumps and other eccentricities these gentlemen performed on our young bodies. Locker box manual of arms was a favorite and moving house was another. Oh and when we got to the rifle range "get neckid and waller" in the steam room was a real treat. We started with 95 "Laddie Bucks" and graduated 62. As you know the most enjoyable sight in my entire time in the Corps was seeing that long causeway disappear out the back window of the bus leaving recruit training depot Parris Island.
Being that we were a "special" Test platoon after PI we stayed together through ITR and then went out into the division to A Company 1st Btn. 8th Marines to continue the testing of the Stoner system. We stayed together for a few months after PI and I think it was Sept of 64 when we finally finished our phase of the testing, broke up and went to our respective fields of endeavor throughout the Corps. I went to 10th Marines with a few of the other guys. We did the Santo Domingo thing in 65 I did a stint in Gitmo. When I got back from Cuba I found orders to WEST PAC, and wound up in Kilo 4/12 for my remaining time in the Corps.
Then about 10 years ago I told my wife that I would like to find as many of the guys I went thru P I with as I could, so we started to do some research and came up with 42 of them. We have had several reunions and great times since.
Last February we made plans to go to Titusville, Fla for a reunion and tour at Knight Armament Co., who now hold the rights to the Stoner system and were guided on our tour of Knights Museum by Reed Knight, designer of the Rail Systems for the M16 and Mrs. Barbara Stoner, wife of Eugene Stoner. About a month or 2 prior to the get together, the lovely Mrs. Bob tells me upon my arrival home from running some errands that I had a phone call from a Charlie Edwards. It seems that she had found our Sr DI and he was willing to talk to me. I said, "HOLY CRAP! What do I say to this guy," and Mrs. Bob, told me that I stood at attention through the whole conversation! Well it turned out he is a really nice guy and I thanked him for making me the man I am today. I invited him to our reunion and he said he and his wife didn't fly and since they were in California it didn't seem likely. I told him to expect many calls from the guys, to which he answered, "I doubt those guys will want to talk to me." Which proved to be wrong as Charlie soon found out.
We went to Florida and on the first night as Marines are wont to do were all standing around at the bar waiting to be seated for dinner telling all of the "how Bad we were stories" when in the back door comes this campaign hat tilted down in the front and this guy strutting his stuff like it was 40 years ago and we screwed up on the drill field. MAN You Want To See 15 60 year old plus guys sphincters tighten. Our wives and children tell us, "It was a pleasure to watch". My wife Flora, Barbara Chadwick (wife of MGYSGT Mike Chadwick USMC Ret. and Terry Edwards (wife of Capt. C. E. Edwards USMC Ret.) , co- conspirators, had it all planned to surprise us and man did it work. We had a great reunion nice to find out after all these years he didn't hate us after all.
Attached photos: Parris Island graduation, Feb 2009 reunion Knight Armament Museum, 1st meeting after 45 years at restaurant.
Marines of the '50s
Boot Camp Reunion being planned for late April/ early May 2010 at MCRD San Diego (location updated), for Marines of platoon 33 (Sept. 1950 MCRD San Diego), other Marines of this era and anyone else who is interested.
For more information please contact:
My New Tattoo
I served in the Marines from 1/10/69 to 15/11/71 and was in country in Vietnam in April 8, 1970. I was attached to guns squad with Echo 2/7 and was known as Rat. My name is Gus Guillen and live in Winston, Oregon since 1972. On September 26, 1970 Echo Co was patrolling above Dodge City I believe in the Que Son mountains when I stepped on a booby trap and lost both legs below the knees. I am looking for Melton M. Johnson from Baltimore and others from Echo, Fox, Golf, and Hotel Companies in 1970. I have attached a picture of myself and Melton at FSB Baldy. I need to let him and all of Echo Co. that I made it home and am still alive and proud of being a Marine. I need to show them my new tattoo.
Semper Fi Sgt Grit and welcome home.
Augustine R. Guillen, USMC Retired.
Vietnam (1967) G-3-11
Hill 55 . . . that's me on the far left.
III Marine Amphibious Force
I was 18 years-old in September, 1966 when our 3rd Marine Division MP unit was assigned to a POW compound the Seabees had built on the south flank of Hill 327 in DaNang, Vietnam. A North Korean PT boat had attacked a US Navy destroyer in the South China Sea. 19 survivors of the attack were turned over to our unit for protection and ostensibly for bargaining the release of downed American pilots in North Vietnam.
The photos show the camp built as a defense buffer on the southwest approach into the city. The entire camp was constructed according to the Geneva Convention. Individual bunkers (bunkers.jpg) on the outside perimeter of the camp housed each of the prisoners and contained a small sandbag bunker. There was a mess hall and a courtyard where they played volleyball and soccer. Three isolated interrogation booths (interrogation.jpg) were used by civilians whom I later surmised to be CIA operatives.
The POWs were treated humanely; indeed, many of us befriended them. I believe it was the Captain who taught me to play chess. We were often visited by the Red Cross and Swiss doctors.
I have no idea what became of them as our unit was transferred to Dong Ha the following month.
Six Days Later
I am a former Sgt USMC. I knew from the day I was born that I wanted to be a Marine and so off I went to boot camp arriving Oct 17, 1983, San diego, CA. I was assigned to Platoon 3105 Lima Co. Six days later 220 Marines were killed in Beirut. I so wanted to be assigned to the infantry and go over there and kill those cowards that did that. But I never got the chance. Every year I remember those Marines. In honor of them, I had my entire back tattooed. Here is a picture of it. It was the most painful 10 hours of my life. But those Marines I never met and the cowardly act that killed them helped me to endure the pain. I did it for them and only them.
If you would like a higher resolution or larger pic let me know.
Saving Our Butts
Just read the letter from Sgt. Hendrickson, Air Winger. Obviously, some of his critics have never been in close combat and received close air support. As a Korea combat vet, I can still remember the Corsairs overhead, strafing, bombing, dropping napalm in front of us. I am one of the "Chosin Few." We were surrounded and outnumbered about 10 to 1 by the Chinese. Nov.-Dec., 1950. The Marine Air Wing was a significant help in saving our butts.
So don't belittle the Air Wing if you haven't been there.
Aquila non capit muscas...An eagle does not catch flies...
Monte R. Norton
I Find that hard to believe! Every Marine knows every Marine doing his duty respects every other Marine, regardless of rank , MOS or location !
I can distinctly remember seeing and hearing those Close Air Support guys thundering down the valley laying down a wall of death in front of our position. Thank God for Fly Guys ! (And their support )
Fisher, Philip D
H, 3/5 1952-1955
Not sure who the Marines were that did not respect your MOS in Air Wing, but as a Vietnam veteran, I can assure you that "we kissed the ground that you walked on". For it not for the Air Support, we on the ground (0311s) would have never survived and won the war, (Regardless of what anybody says, we did win the war and you can ask any NVA about that). Every time that anyone introduces themselves (from any Branch) that they are or were from Air Support, I would give them a special thanks. Because I've been there, got the scares to prove it and I am still here. Tell all your Wing-wiper friends to not take any joking personal. We, that are on the front lines have a special respect for you (angels).
Cpl Efrain Villagomez aka - Go Go
I am a retired MSGT. of Marines(1958-1979) I served in the field and in the Air Wing, I started my time as a grunt and ended it as a GSE chief. Your experience with that MGYSGT (ret) is I believe the exception of how fellow Marines relate to their brothers and I question his credentials. I thank you for your service and keeping me in the Air for more operations then I care to remember, I owe my life to Marine's like you!
Sgt. Hendrickson, 3rd MAW, Grunts 'love' airwingers. Trust me. Delivering 'bullets and beans', medevacs, the smell of napalm in the tree line to the front. Your contribution isn't lost on them. Friendly banter is what you're encountering. As a pilot, I always told my 'grunt' buddies that a jet jock's idea of roughing it was 'when the ice melted in his martini'. That provoked some ----!
R.M. 'Zeb" Zobenica
Capt. USMC (Ret)
re DI's and their welcome to PI. SSgt Feemster introduced himself to a group of 17/18 yr olds with the following:"My name is SSgt Feemster, I am 3/4 Cherokee and 1/4 badasz, any f'ing questions?" Dead silence!
P D Rowe, summer `1956
I enlisted 30 May 1962. My serial number is 1939894. I note with interest that yours, 1957073, even though your service began in 1961. I suppose they had assigned blocks of serial numbers to certain areas or something.
Cpl. Darrell McCulley asked for a lower serial number than his. Mine was and will always be 1811944.
L/Cpl of Marines
In answer to Darrell McCulley. How about this number. 998113. GySgt Henry Tireman, 1944-1968 Retired. There are many more of us still around.
. hi sgt. Happy new year to you and your staff. in reply to darrel i was in parris island in july 1953 plt 255 in the old wooden barracks. my service no. is 1412861 i think most of grunts that were in Korea started with 12- 13 i guess they knew we were on our way and they end the war thank GOD.
God bless you
pfc ron dougherty
1412861 semper fi
This is in response to the statement from Darrell McCulley Corporal, 1961-1965 Serial Number 1957073....If you are not one of the original two battalions formed on November 10, 1775 then you and the rest of us are not the "Old Corps"...Semper Fi
Boot camp January-April 1956, DI Cpl Maynard platoon 27 4th Bn, favorite saying was I am going to unscrew the top of your head and sh!t in it.
Old Corps my serial # 1584581
MSGT Bill Dugan Retired
I was a combat engineer in the corps. Deal with demoliton, construction and land mine warfare its an awesome mos he should have fun C. Pugh
My step-Father, former Marine (07), just received the shield sword display that I bought him from your catalog. He was absolutely thrilled! Thank you so much for everything you do.
God bless the SeaBees of Marble Mountain in East Da Nang. I was in a CAP unit outside their base in 66-67. We worked hand and hand. We saw them as an extension of the Marine Corps.
Joe Hiers Jr CAP Golf-5
my daughter called me on Christmas day to tell me that my grandson is going into the Corps in april going to take his boot in diego same place i took mine in 1952 im very proud of him to.
cpl. karavites 2/1/1 sniper(Korea)
Sergeant Richard Molleo of New Bedford, MA left us today. Sarge, as he was known to all his many friends, served two tours in Vietnam. He was one of my best friends. Of all the accomplishments he had in life, his love of the Corps was right up there at the top. The next drink is on you, Sarge. Godspeed.
Corporal of Marines 69-71
I just wanted to thank you for posting the story and group photo of supply platoon, third tanks, I've gotten many replies from Marines that were in my platoon. This is the first time I've spoken to my fellow Marines in 44 years. Once again, thank you for making this old Marine happy.
Sgt. Joe Mastrangelo
I about fell out of my chair laughing at this video: A US Marine at a roadway checkpoint, bored to tears, talking to a Baghdad-bound Iraqi taxi driver. You have to understand Marine humor in combat-a little on the sick side, but very funny. This lad's sarcasm and cynicism is profound and hilarious.
That is a awesome picture of that F-86C in the latest newsletter. I bet that not to many recognize it to be the markings of the F-86 that Colonel John Glen flew as an exchange pilot with the USAF. He nailed 3 MiG-15s while there.
A beautiful picture.
Lloyd Cole, Capt, Inf, VDF
The thing I remember most about eating SOS! It was SALTY AS H&LL!
One old Jarhead
Boot Camp 1948 Style
The train from Los Angeles, carrying Navy/Marine recruits, pulled into San Diego at sundown on October 18, 1948, there were about 100 Navy recruits, myself and three other Marines.
A number of Officers and Chiefs were waiting for the Navy recruits. They mustered them, and told them they were going to the Navy Training Center for hot chow and bed time. We Marines were watching the show with interest when a deep voice behind us asked "you people Marines?", looking around, there stood a Marine Buck Sgt. Noting his skepticism, we assured him we were Marines, he then took the bus tokens given to us in Los Angeles and we caught a city bus to MCRD, gate five.
Upon entering gate five, the Sgt suddenly became very agitated, ( normal attitude for Buck Sgt's!) and began to loudly make uncomplimentary descriptions of our personages, and as we ran from gate five to the Receiving Barracks, he made other disparaging remarks, and even suggested we might be fly-larvae!
At the Receiving Barracks, we were welcomed by a trio of Marines who epitomized the theory of mans ascendancy from primates, (I think a couple were still "ascending") they quickly instilled in us the importance of "yes sir", and "no sir". I was very impressed with their vocabularies; it was incredible, to someone of my sensitive nature, how one four letter word could be used in so many descriptive ways! I was tempted to ask for a pencil and paper so I could write them down, but the sound of screaming, whimpering, and of bodies being slammed into walls, persuaded me otherwise.
There were no yellow footprints, but there may have been brown stains in some skivvies. There was no chow, hot or cold, and bed time was hours away.
The next morning we got our first introduction to Marine chow. They took a couple of pieces of burnt toast, covered it with a concoction of ground beef and gravy, and topped it off with a couple of fried eggs. I protested to the cook that the stuff looked like it had already been eaten! His comment "how do you think it got its name! Keep moving, Maggot!" (Marine cooks are very sensitive and uncouth, when their culinary capabilities are questioned) After you have dined on a plate of that stuff, you are definitely ready to kill! After 61 years, I still like SOS. SOS is sort of like zex, once you are introduced to it, you hate to give it up. (ALRIGHT! it is not sort of like zex)
After a week of new recruits slowly arriving, Platoon 101 started boot training.
Our Two Drill Instructors, Sgt's Hughes and Hern, never used profanity or raised their voices! They did not have to. They told us "act like men and you will be treated as men, and handle your own problems". If someone needed help, they got it. If someone needed to go home to Momma, they were sent. One thing our drill instructors did insist on was that the visor on your cover be so low that you could only see your feet. They happily adjusted the visor for you, if it was too high. More than a few members of platoon 101 had scabs on their noses. Sometimes the DI's would remove the old scabs and replace them with new ones. True compassion knows no bounds!
Our DI'S and all Boot Camp instructors were World War Two veterans. The Sgt that taught camouflage and concealment would throw rocks at you if he could see you! He was definitely no "Sandy Koufax". When he threw a rock, you could be 30 feet from his intended target and still get hit! You had to stay loose around those old China Marines that also served in World War Two. You never knew if they were going to say something profound, or slit your throat just to watch you bleed! However, they came in very handy when the Korean War started; they kept most of us snot noses alive!
We graduated in January 1949, and were assigned to our permanent duty stations. Mine was MCAS El Toro, where I enjoyed various assignments and deployments, and many servings (globs?) of SOS, some almost edible! I served for three years and eleven months, and was discharged one month before my twenty-first birthday.
Jim Reed, S/Sgt 1948-52 USMC, 54-55 Active USMCR
I would like to tell ya my short encounter with the BAR in my short time at ITR. As soon as we got there, I was assigned the BARMAN in my fire team. Great! Now I had 2 weapons to keep clean. And it was heavy!
I do remember firing it at the range. They were so old, and the rifling so warn, that the rounds would tumble into the targets! And tear m' up! I got lucky! After the first week. We got a 15 day leave for Christmas & New Years! When we came back, I was no longer the BARMAN! Didn't hurt my feelings one bit!
The old jarhead 57/60
An Hoa, Vietnam
In the first week of January, a C130 transport plane dumped me onto the red mud of An Hoa, Vietnam. The 2nd Battalion of the 5th Marine Regiment ran patrols and sweeps into "Indian Country" and rotated one infantry company each month to stand security on top of Nong Son Mountain, four miles away.
Excited and nervous, I stood at attention in front of the Battalion First Sergeant ready for assignment as a specialist in interrogation or intelligence. He shuffled through my file for a few seconds and handed it back to me.
"OK Private, go on over to Fox Company. They need riflemen." A grunt? A common rifleman? I didn't move.
He turned back to the tall stack of paper on his desk. Overworked and worn out, he stared up at me. "What are you waitin' for, Private?"
"First Sergeant, I don't know if you noticed but I attended Vietnamese language school."
He stood. "We don't need no f'in gok talkers. We need riflemen. Now get the f'k over there!"
As a new member of the 1st Platoon I kept my mouth shut and tried to learn from more experienced grunts how to survive. After a month of patrols, ambushes, sand bagging, operations, and sleep deprivation - Hugh Hefner intervened on my behalf.
Local Vietnamese militia officers invited our company commander to meet and discuss collaboration at a local village. A few days later, Fox Company encircled the selected site and as I walked by with my squad, the gunny pulled two of us out to stand guard duty in front of a grass hut.
Gunny Jones grumbled. "Keep your sh't together. The Colonel's comin over from An Hoa for the meeting inside. Don't f'k up!" Me and Rabbi shrugged and assumed what we thought to be intimidating foreign devil personas on each side of the door. Time passed so we started bullsh'tting and relaxed. Villagers noticed we had dissolved into human beings and curious, approached.
"Rabbi, watch this. I'll blow their minds."
I turned and faced the dozen or so villagers. "Chao Cac Ong. Manh gioi?" (Howdy everybody. How are you?)
The crowd laughed and moved closer. A foreign devil spoke Vietnamese, and with a terrible and comical accent.
Rabbi stiffened. "Jesus, Mac! What the f'k did you say?"
"Well, tell em to move back! What's that guy in the back pullin out?" Rabbi released the safety on his M16.
"Lai dei!" I called the man forward.
""It's a Playboy magazine, Rabbi."
The villager opened his magazine and showed me a full-page cartoon. "Cai nai la yi?" (What is this?)
It took five minutes to explain the cultural concept of pictorial humor. In an effort to win hearts and minds, I began a presentation of the Playboy jokes. Soon, thirty villagers gathered in front of us laughing and howling as I translated captions.
"What the h&ll is going on here?"
Rabbi and I snapped to attention. Our Colonel came around from behind the hut with his bodyguards.
"Uh, Sir. I was just translating these Playboy jokes for the folks here, Sir."
"How the h&ll do you speak Vietnamese, son?"
"Sir, I attended DLI in Monterey."
"What's your job with Foxtrot, Private?"
"Come with me."
We entered the darkened hut with six allied officers sitting on the ground.
The Colonel interrupted, "Captain Graham, did you know this Marine speaks Vietnamese and is assigned as a rifleman in your company? If you don't use him appropriately, I will take him back with me to Battalion."
"Colonel, I didn't know. We'll bring him into the CP as an interpreter."
"D*mn right you will. Now introduce me to our new friends here." He grabbed my arm. "Son, you sit next to me and make sure they don't bullsh't us."
As the source of his discomfort I tried not to look at Captain Graham. My life had just changed forever and thanks to the universal appeal of Playboy Magazine, I was to return home.
Cpl. Brent MacKinnon
Ice Cold Black Label
There was so much lead shot up into the sky that night, it's a wonder some of us were not killed by falling bullets. I was a LCpl back then in MOS 0141 as my day job, and flying as the starboard gunner with HMH-463 every other day, and twice on Sunday. But I digress. Cpl Swain picked me up from the DaNang reception center upon my arrival in the RVN. My orders read for further assignment to MCC 145. All I knew about that at the time that Monitor Command Code (MCC) 145 meant somewhere within the structure of the 1st MAW.
After Cpl Swain gathered me up with my seabag, we headed off to Marble Mountain. Once on the road, Cpl Swain reaches into the back of the jeep, and hands me an ice cold Black Label can of beer, and one for himself of course. I knew right then and there that I was going to like my tour in country. That night, after getting settled into my Sea Hut, and consuming untold cans of Black Label, there was a rocket attack.
The next thing I know, is being on the receiving end of a fireman's carry being unceremoniously thrown into a sandbag bunker next to the sea hut. My buddy LCpl Mike Martin and I when we weren't flying, were in charge of taking care of PM for the CO's jeep. On several occasions we told the Admin Chief we were off to the motor pool to take care of the required PM, but instead grabbed our M-16's and drove to the MACV compound for lunch at the White Elephant (steak and a couple beers), then back to Marble Mountain.
What a time we had! I remember that Marble Mountain has a very nice white sand beach, where I learned to surf the waves. In early '69 I developed a serious case of heat rash, the only real relief from which came from a cooling dip in the ocean. Mike and I took R&R together in Bangkok, but that's another story, and probably not suited for posting in this forum.
G. K. Hanson
MGySgt USMC (Ret)
Just got done reading the latest newsletter and am still laughing at the funny "Face Book" posting. Just wanted to add to that and share some funny things that my DI's said and or did.
I was in platoon 2063 at Parris Island under SSGT Krause and SGT's Ishmail and Mazenko (July to October 1981). Anyway, Mazenko was the youngest of the three and still in his early twenties, but was still one tough dude and great DI, but I know he had a sense of humor because there were many times when we did some really stupid things and he had to turn his head so that we would not see him laughing at us!
I have always had a very good sense of humor myself, but throughout most of my time at Parris Island I was too scared to ever crack a smile, but one day in the early stages of First Phase Mazenko was teaching us how to properly make our racks. He was going over each item of bed-linen and instructing us on the proper name or "nomenclature". When he got to the cotton sack that covers the mattress and called it a "Fart Sack", it was all I could do to keep from busting out laughing, but I did crack a huge smile and Mazenko saw me. He flew over to where I was sitting in the "school circle" and screamed, "You slimy f'king maggot, get on your feet_do I amuse you?" "Does the word fart sack amuse you?" "Sir, no sir", I replied. "Get on your f'king face and bang em out until I get tired, scumbag." As I was getting myself into the push-up position, I looked up and could see him strain to keep from cracking a smile himself as he walked back to the front of the school circle!
Another time during Third Phase, we were preparing for a field events day where the platoons in our series were going to compete against each other in several events. Anyway, Mazenko was looking for someone to run in one of the sprinting events and one of our "stockier" recruits volunteered. This guy was an athlete, but not one that you would look at and envision as a runner. The recruit volunteered and said, "Sir, the recruit ran the 100 in high school". And Mazenko quickly replied, "what?, on a f'king skateboard, sit down fat boy!"
God bless our troops and I thank you for your service to our great country!
Lima 3/8, Weapons Plt
Just Been Washed
The story of the F-4 driver at Chu Lai taxing out with the hydraulic leak because he determined that there was enough in the tank to make the mission pretty much sums up the attitude of most Marine pilots when it comes to mission completion. As an old A-6 pilot I can say that we all considered the visible signs of oil and hydraulic fluid on the outside meant that there was oil and hydraulic fluid on the inside. You really didn't like it much when you got assigned an aircraft that had just been washed.
Major Dale Giordano (Ret)
1971 - 1991
Informed That A DI Was
Just finished reading funny and interesting things that happened in boot camp. I enlisted in the Marine Corps,28 July 1966. Sent to MCRD San Diego where I joined Platoon 3078. As I read the postings my mind went back to that era as if it were yesterday.
Of course one of the first things you are told as a recruit is to let everyone back home know that they are to send nothing to you but a letter. Of course, for whatever reason, someone back home just did not get that message. Well, one kid received a cigar in a letter, the drill instructor felt the lump in the envelope and called the unfortunate recruit to where mail was being passed out in the squad bay. Upon opening the envelope and finding the cigar, the recruit was ordered to retrieve his bucket and wool blanket and return to the DI where he was ordered to light the cigar, put the bucket and blanket over his head and smoke that stogie. When the blanket and bucket was removed the kids face was very nearly the same color as his OD green blanket! As I recall, that recruit never received another cigar.
Then we had another recruit who, when we were on the back grinder facing where the Navy planes would take off, just could not help watching the planes take flight. As we were at attention at the time, this was noticed by the DI, who of course had no sense of humor when it came to standing at attention. The recruit was told that since he so enjoyed watching the planes take off and land, he could be just like them. He was ordered to spread his arms to represent wings and run around the grinder yelling, "I am an airplane, I am an airplane". This went on for a considerable amount of time as I remember. I'm fairly sure that the recruit paid little or no attention to the planes after that.
My first full day in boot camp, I erred by requesting to speak to the "DI". As soon as the words were out of my mouth I knew that I had screwed up. I received an invitation to meet with the drill instructor in the Quonset hut where I was promptly asked if I knew what a "DI" was. When I replied, "Sir, no Sir" I received a fist to the stomach. Then I was informed that a "DI" was a dmned idiot, where upon I was given another fist to the stomach. After being asked if I thought he looked like a dmned idiot and replying, "Sir, no Sir", I was promptly given another punctuation mark to the stomach and ordered back to the formation. Needless to say I never uttered the name "DI" again the whole time I was in boot camp.
It didn't take this 17 year old long to learn that lesson. Thank God, that was my only serious screw up in boot camp. During boot camp I really thought that the drill instructors were crazy and could not understand why they did some of the things they did. After arriving in Viet Nam and being assigned to 3rd Recon Bn in February of '67, I understood things a whole lot better as to why the training was the way it was. Thank GOD for drill instructors!
No Black Shoe Navy
I really got a kick out of Sgt Gerlings's story about Seabees in the PI. It is true! This Seabee hated to be called sailor, swabby, squid, whatever other derogatory names associated with the boat navy. In 70 - 71 MCB 71 was deployed to GITMO. We began construction on a new enlisted men's club along with many other projects. One of our Docs had the afternoon off and traveled to the old White Hat club and commenced to get his butt beat up by a bunch of boat sailors that had just pulled into port.
I served in Alpha Co as a CM and was visiting my buds in Charlie Company, our builders, when 3 deuce and a half's pulled up. A Senior Chief storms in the barracks and hollers out all hand on the trucks, the boat people just hurt our Doc. About 70 guys loaded onto the trucks and off we went. Well, when we arrived there was already about a platoon of Marines waiting for us. Seems they got the word a Doc was hurt by sailors and they volunteered their services. All I can say is that was quite an afternoon! Thanks my brothers!
No sir Sarge, we didn't like no boat people at all!
Jim Hartman CM3
MCB 71 68-74
Khe Sanh Christmas
I also wish you a very Merry Christmas.
I wanted to share a story with you about this beloved Holiday. In Nov. 1965 the 3rd Force Recon Co. was formed as part of the new built up 3rd Marine Division at Camp Geiger, alongside the housing of 2nd Force Recon. We trained for a little over 6 mons. for Nam and after all the Jump School, Scuba School, sub lockouts, beach recon and hard land Recon marches and patrols we departed for West Pac from our East coast in the LHP Boxer to travel through the Suez Canal to Nam. Below our decks unknown to us, were the CH-46's that were the squadron that is written about in the tremendous book 'Bonny Sue' and who later did the bulk of our insertions and extractions during our tour.
As the tour went on, two teams were sent to Khe Sanh to begin patrols over the Christmas of 1966-67. The former ARVN's and the Special Forces camp was in the process of being flattened [ trenches filled and structures leveled] so we were billeted in tents laying on the flat Red Clay with 2.5 ft long rats reconing us at night. There were 110 men around the 'perimeter' of the airfield and in grunt foxholes over that Christmas.
Two of us thought that, one of us remembering 'Willy and Joe' cartoons from WWII, we should do so individual creative solutions to the holiday problem and talked our Boss Sgt. Jim Capers [ later Retired Maj.] into going on patrol an gathering in a 'Christmas Tree'. He agreed and with all the appropriate call signs, equipment gathering and checks, perimeter pass words we went single file weapons ready to recon, find and recover a tree for the mission. We succeeded and I clearly remember carrying the tree in front of the 106 recoilless rifle tube backed by another M-60 aiming Marine for any followers after us and setting it up in our larger tent.
We cut the inside out of C rats cans and the inside of the Long Range Patrol rats bags for ornaments and of course a Cross for the top. We actually exchanged some small gifts from home [food items] and extra rations we had all squirreled away with each other and sang a couple of the worst carols ever that evening. I do finally remember someone handing me a tin cup with rum in it to begin my night hour long night watch that night.
I just wanted this story to be shared to illustrate that like the main difference between two buildings are the people, the main difference between two humans is still the people. If a small force of as isolated a group of humans as we Marines were, then it should be pointed out that the difference is the people who are Marines.
Richard C. Crepeau
A Different Kind of Christmas
In reference to the Christmas story submitted by "Sgt. Of Marines Bryan Carpenter 83-89" where his platoon enjoyed a day of "mail and care packages, games, and singing competition", my platoon, 3103, in 1982 (also at MCRD Diego) were treated to a morning of thrashing. By relays of course. If your relay wasn't in the "classroom" you were busy attending to your uniform and such. Followed by a whole whopping 15 minutes of noon chow, followed by a rain soaked afternoon of COD, followed by another whopping 15 minutes of evening chow.
The funniest part of the whole day is when the DI stopped the Platoon and called out some recruit who was sucking on some hard candy while we were doing COD. The guy had to spit it out, roll the candy in the mud and put it back into his mouth. This went on for about 4 times until he ended up doing pushups over his beloved hard candy. Like SGT. Carpenter, we really were hoping to have an "off" day and a nice relaxed Christmas meal. Didn't happen for us. Glad it happened to some though. Keep the stories coming. I need them!
CPL. J. P. Russell
Added To Hymn?
After watching the movie "Guadalcanal Diary" in 1944 I became determined to be a Marine. I eventually served from '54 to '58 attaining the rank of Sergeant. Recently I started attending the Marine Corps Birthday luncheon here in Oklahoma City. At the end of the luncheon the Hymn is sung by all in attendance. The first time I stumbled over the stanza "In the air, on land and sea". My question is when was the phrase "In the air" added to the hymn. Don't get me wrong. I'm proud it is there, but somehow I missed that along the way and felt somewhat stupid.
Concerning the article about "Scheit-on-a-shingle" in the 31 December news letter.
I lost an old friend two years ago, Marty Norman, who was a cook in our beloved Corps and served from 1939-the mid 1960's. He gave me a copy of the official USMC recipe for SOS a few years ago.
Carl "Moon" Mullen
MGySgt USMC (Ret.)
Suffered From Advanced
Time does warp those endorphins; I actually served 63/64 tour with 4th Marines.
My contribution to slang anachronism's for various items of Marine chow: hamburgers were 'hockey puck's'.
WWII anecdote: In Wellington, New Zealand, which was staging area for Marine assault troop's headed for island campaign's, competition was keen for lovely young lassies who were vastly outnumbered by amorous servicemen vying for their favors.
The competition soon figured an angle, which was to spread rumor that Marine's displaying the green Foragiere on their left shoulder (earned by 6th Marine's in WWI at Belleau Wood, France) meant that the wearer suffered from advanced gonorrhea. Nice guy's. All's fair in love and war !/?
L/cpl. A. Carson
My Christmas Gift
My Christmas gift to myself - 12/12/09 the day after my 70th birthday, Semper Fi Marines USMC 59-65 MCRD San Diego, Platoon 331
Cpl Howard Armer
Cubi Point, P.I. -1956
As a follow-up to the comments from Sgt. Sid Gerling in your 31 Dec 2009 Newsletter, I too was involved in this training operation. I was a Radio Telegrapher with MABS-12, Mag-12, 1stMAW. I recall the billeting with the SeaBees. We got along well. I also remember an aircraft carrier arriving. I think it was the Ticonderoga. That evening there was a real brawl at the slop-shoot when a PFC floored a sailor for insulting his Top Sergeant. These 2 Marines were members of the 2nd Anglico. This was early on in the training operation. I am not aware of any other problems during that time inasmuch as I left Cubi Pt. with a convoy driven by SeaBees to Sangley Point, near Manila. There we set up our communications center for the maneuvers.
Clyde Sauget, PH.D.
Sgt of Marines 1955-1961
An Additional Twelve Days
Sgt. Grit, I know all about that Motivation Platoon Smell. After arriving to my pick-up Platoon #103 (1975) One of the Drill Instructors ask me where I had been after seeing my underwear that was not white any longer. All of my underwear was brown.. I went thru that ditch about twelve times as I recall. I was sent to one day mote three times. That third trip landed me there for an additional twelve days. My problem was that I didn't want to go along with the program.. I guess it didn't hurt me. My last two years was spent with CINC-Pac in the Closed Mess. Camp H.M. Smith, Hi. The best years of my life.
Philip M. Mahoney
Sgt. (6 years)
P.S. Check out the USMC Food Service.org
Seniority On The Rock
I joined the Corps in January 1957 (Platoon 211 MCRD San Diego). While on Okinawa in early 1959, the enlisted rank structure increased from seven to nine pay grades. I was a Cpl E-3 at the time. I went from Corporal to Acting Corporal, then that May I became a Corporal E-4. They didn't have the new stripes then so I was given the old Buck Sergeant stripes to wear. That gave me a lot of privileges as you can imagine. Later that year, they received the new stripes on the Rock, and I put some of the new ones on a new khaki shirt. I made the mistake of wearing the shirt to the EM Club at Camp Hague. At the time, I had already been on the Rock over a year, but some jarheads who probably hadn't been on Okinawa as long as I had called me a "boot". I was really ticked off. As a REMF, I was not one to generally look for a fight, but my buds had to restrain me from going after those guys! In those days of replacement drafts where you were assigned on an individual basis, seniority on the Rock was important.
When I enlisted for three years then, I thought it was too long. At the end of that time, I thought it was enough. Good times. Definitely one of the best things I ever did for myself was to go Marine!
I sometimes wonder what ever happened to my DIs: SSgt F. L. Osborne, Sgt. R.D. Grube, and Sgt. J. L. Weeks.
James V. Merl
Left Handed Idiots
Left, change to right, change back to left...
It was back in March of 56 at Camp Mathews, California, and sitting on some cold bleachers with 224 other boots at the rifle range listening to 6 drill instructors and 4 or 5 range instructors tell us about an M-1 rifle. "All right you idiots", I think we were called, "all left handed boots stand up". So I remember about 15 or 20 southpaws stood up as ordered. Well the range instructors said, "the Marine Corps hereby declares you are all as of now right handed idiots - is that clear?"
One of the instructors hoisted an M-1 above his head and began, "this is a 30 caliber, gas operated, clip fed, semi automatic, right hand shoulder weapon". "Is that clear?" They then ordered the new right hand idiots to "sit", they all did except one. So here is one lefthander still standing and a really pissed off drill instructor runs up into the stands and grabs this lefty and hauls him down in front of the 3 platoons. Of course they called him everything they could think of and had him doing pushups and running in place and screaming in his face about disobeying a direct order----etc etc...
We were all terrified as to what would happen to private S---n and I know he was terrified. They pushed him around, yelling, ordering, and asking private S---n if he knew the punishment for disobeying a direct order.
Private S---n told the drill instructors and range instructors that Private S---ns had to be left handed because when he was little, a chicken pecked his r