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Sgt Grit Newsletter VS AmericanCourage Newsletter:
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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
Sgt. Grit, and fellow Marines,
I served proudly in the USMC from Oct '79 until Jul '83. I spent my entire tour of duty in San Diego as a true "Hollywood Marine". Though promised fortune and fame serving in exotic ports by my recruiter, like most Marines, I did exactly what I was told.
Aptitude scores, a good education, and the ability to type, and talk bounced me from one side of the grinder to the other after graduation. Initially, I worked as a liaison with Naval Security Group executing background investigations on new Marines qualified for OCS. Though I never ducked a bullet during my career as a Marine, I did spend four years in the "spit and polish" of the boot environment. We trained daily with Drill Instructor School, NCO school, as well as other training programs attached to the base. Though I only handled a weapon to qualify, I never once fell below a perfect 300 on the PFT.
A training base post, though at times dull, is never idle. Along with being the NCOIC of the ceremonial detail on board the base for a period, modeling for recruiting posters, and bar tending at the OC, my last year I also sat behind the CO of the base in the bleachers as the MC announcing the weekly graduations. I was meritoriously promoted twice in rank in order to fill a billet, not because of anything special I did (other than passing a meritorious board), but more because the Corps needed the rank to fit the ticket at the time. I ended my career as the Discharge NCO for 2ndRTB papering training failures out of the Corps. While not a glamorous stint by any means, I could tell some heart breaking "stories" of those who should, and should not, have graduated.
I left the Corps in '83 a bit disappointed by the dog and pony show a peace time tour had become. This however, is my point: I learned more in that four year period about the discipline of being a man of reputation, honor, and integrity, no matter the circumstances, than any combined experience I've had since. It makes no difference what "job" we have, being a Marine is all about doing the very best that we can with the responsibility we're given. "Beans, bullets, and bad guys" means a lot of different hats are worn. I handed my life to my country on open palm, they did with it as they chose, I do not regret it. I'm thankful I survived the experience, and salute those who haven't. God bless every single American citizen who has ever served in the Armed Forces, but especially my Marines. Semper Fi
Sergeant of Marines, '79-'83
USMCRD San Diego, CA
In The Air
The words '..in the Air, on Land and Sea' were added in 1942. Not surprising that many are not aware. It took a long time for people to use it. It still is not commonly used. I was taught the Hymn in 1946 with the old verse.
GySgt. (Ret). 1946-1968
This is a picture of myself, LCpl Grover Hunt in I Battery 3/11 in 1967 in Viet Nam.
God's Own Lunatics
A very moving tribute sent to me by my friend who flew 46's out of DaNang...
God's Own Lunatics (YouTube video)
To Sgt. Hendrickson,
Having been a "Winger" for the 11 yrs.('56- '67) I was in the Corps, the only thing I can figure about the E-9 that more or less snubbed you - is, he never had to have his azs saved by a chopper or needed some close air support. You have nothing to be ashamed of for being in the Air Wing of the Corps.
Just ask Sgt. Grit, he'll tell you.
OK I will!
Anyone who has been picked-up, resupplied, or seen the air wing in action understands. To not respect, understand, appreciate what all MOS's do...well...well, you're just a dumb azs.
I got to see F-4 Phantoms do their thing a couple of times. That and 8" artillery were about the most awesome thing I saw in Vietnam.
On one occasion after their run the two pilots buzzed our hill very close a couple of times at eye level and waved. Something they are not supposed to do, but they knew how boring duty on the remote OP's could be.
USMC Straight Razors
The first USMC straight razors came out at the Spanish American War and had USMC stamped on the blade.
The second issue was during World War 1 and had USMC stamped on the reverse side on the tang.
These are worth between $60.00 and $100.00. The Spanish American War razors are fewer and father between and sell for between $225.00 and $250.00
They're a vanishing part of Marine Corps history!
Birthday Ball Photo Winner
I am in receipt of the Sgt Grit gift certificate. I am going to give it to the Wounded Marine Affairs team at Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) as the photo of the Ball is of those wounded there for treatment.
I was in the EM club on a Friday night and doing my thing at a Urinal in the head. Some Marine was complaining about the Marine Corps and I smarted off. I woke up on a linen closet shelf in the wrong barracks the next morning and had the duty! By the time I got to work I was about an hour late! Knowing that I would probably get Office Hours I asked where the Staff Sergeant in charge was? They said he was not coming in and that I was in charge! I learned two things. Never smart off when your back is turned and you are holding the wrong gun and that the Lord protects some of the dumbest.
Darrell "Gene" Cordes
Edson range 1969. In Platoon 3088 MCRD there were 5 of us from Arkansas. I was raised on Fourche Creek about 15 miles from the stomping grounds of the late Carlos Hathcock. He grew up in Geyer Springs. At the time I had never heard of Gunny Hathcock. But when we got to the rifle range, obviously our Sr. DI had heard of him and was very insistent that our platoon had a genuine snake man hillbilly from Arkansas. He then asked all 5 of us just exactly where we were from. When he heard that I was from one of the most snake infested lairs on the planet I was given the honor of shaking bushes and saying shoo-snake for the remainder of our stay at Edson Range.
When we got back to San Diego I thought my snake hunting days were over. One evening, just before taps I heard someone calling pvt. hillbilly. I bailed out of the top rack, raced to the duty hut, banged on the duty hut and announced the arrival of the snake man. After receiving permission to enter on hallow ground the Jr. DI asked me how I could be so stupid. Well he was certainly right about that because I didn't have a clue to what he was talking about. Then he said your name is no longer snake man your name is draft dodger. He said I was so stupid that instead of going north when the selective service sent me greetings that I had gone west. I had no idea that I had been drafted and those nice people only wanted to remind me.
Our memories are what make us ALWAYS MARINES
It was September 4, 1942. I wanted to be a sea-going Marine but never made it. I did see a lot of time at sea, but it was to get through the WW2 Pacific campaigns island hopping my way across the Pacific. Saw Tahiti, Bora Bora, American Samoa, Funafuti, Pearl Harbor, Big Island Hawaii, Saipan, Okinawa and North China. Some of the times I saw pleasant sights, but other times it was not so pleasant. When I finally got home February 7, 1946 I had been overseas for 35 months. Guess I didn't have enough so re- enlisted for 3 more years. Finally got out and used the GI Bill for engineering college.
Just met a young Marine this morning while I was doing my Mall walking routine for exercise. He's had two deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and must go for a 3rd deployment. He tried to tell me how much he appreciated me for my service, but I told him that I had it easy compared to what he is doing and has to do. I'm just another old WW2 phart who had it easy going. I commend all these new breed Marines for what they are doing for their Corps and country.
Sgt. Marion B. Stults, USMC SN 450010
Snake And Nape
I missed the story where someone chose to talk about the Wing. I joined the Corps in 1967 and did good enough on the tests to get my shot at the Wing. After ITR at Camp Gieger I went to NAS Millington Tennessee for jet engine school. I was in country from 11/Oct/69 to 15/Nov/1970 with VMF223 & VMF225 at Chu Lai and DaNang. We flew A4 Skyhawk's and one of our primary duties was close air support. We kept two birds loaded with "snake and nape", 250 lb anti-personnel bombs and two to four tanks of napalm. When our brothers in the bush needed help we could have both birds launched and going on station in 7 minutes. We took it very seriously. As Marines we all had keeping our brothers alive and well foremost in our minds.
Sgt. Gary A. Williams
Ed Had Me Drop
In May of last year, my wife Cheri, son Todd and I had the pleasure of visiting "Sgt" Ed Villanueva at his home in San Antonio, TX. Sgt. Villanueva was our Senior Drill Instructor for Plt. 354, MCRD San Diego in July, 1965.
We had a short visit at his home where he showed us pictures of his large and wonderful family. His grandson-in-law stopped by to return some things and he is currently in the San Antonio Police Academy. Good grief, my only granddaughter just turned 1 on May 4th.
We all knew that Ed was a very proud man and proud of the Marine Corps. As our senior DI, we had the best. Nothing has changed. He will never be lonely with the size of his family. Both his son and daughter have been in the Marine Corps.
Ed entertained us with some great stories of his Marine career and what he had been doing after he retired. What none of us knew at the time was that he was also with CID. (Criminal Investigation Division.)
As you can see by the attached pictures, not much has changed. Ha, Ha.
Ed had me drop and do 25 but I had enough just being there for the picture. I can still do 25 but that's it. I think my arms are just as strong, there is just a lot more weight for some reason.
Glen Griswold, Sgt 2168507 / 2532 '65 - '69
Here are some pictures from Traci Ross of her Marine from the Facebook:
Cpl Kirkwood saluting the flag in Iraq 2005! My very own personal Hero! I love him...we will soon be married and I too will soon be part of the Marine Family...can't wait! Semper Fi!
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Sgt Grit Blog
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"What would life be like without the Marine Corps?"
It was 28 years ago that I graduated from boot camp. Plt.2085 Parris Island, SC. The one thing that I can remember, and I don't why, is my foot locker combo.... 10-12-22. I also have my original razor that was issued to me. I don't know why I've kept that either.
Kelly R. Morgan
S.O.S. Gourmets: During my tour in "The Corps" '53-'56 I had S.O.S. both with ground beef and chipped beef, guess it depended on the particular base chefs. Has anyone had it made with pork sausage?? If you would like to try some "creamed chipped beef" see if your local supermarket carries Stouffer's Frozen Foods. Look for S.O.S.in their frozen food section under creamed chipped beef. Caution, taste before salting. Some things never change. Alan R. McCarthy Sgt. 1415896 "Semper Fi"
Three of us enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on 16 Feb 1948. Our serial no's were consecutive, one was 656574, mine was 656575, the other was 656576. We all went to MCRD Parris Island, Plt. 32, 2nd Battalion. Our entire platoon was promoted to PFC upon graduation from boot camp!
WILLARD F. ELLIS, JR.
hill 327 DaNang 1966 1967 ASP #1, any Marines that were there i would like to hear about ammo our german shepherd that our c.o. said we couldn't keep and what about the rat races at the dynamite bunkers? and the mad hatter.
Happy New Year Sgt Grit. While reading the latest, I came across a mistake L/Cpl. A Carson made in his WWII anecdote. In his statement about the green Fourragere or the "Pogey ropes", it was the 5th Marines that earned the Fourragere not the 6th Marines. The 5th Marines also earned the title of "Devil Dogs" from the Germans in the battle of Belleau Wood, WW1. Having served with the "Fighting 5th Marines" in Nam I just wanted to clear that up.
Paul A McNally Cpl. of Marines, Delta 1/5,1st Marine Div., 10-66 -6-67
Do believe that there is a typo in Cliff Jobes story of his qualification day rapid fire experience. The M1, I had back in 1962, held 8 rounds of 30 caliber, after I was issued the M14, every time I had rapid fire it was always 5 rounds. I think the 10 rounds he refers to should have been at the most 8.
Sgt P. Baptiste
Sgt Grit. Enjoyed reading about all those low serial no's. How about
369396 MCRD 1942. Platoon 177 Year 1942
Sgt. A.F . Dreves 1942---1946 1st Mar. Div.
Read your latest this morning. Noted some of those serial numbers, nice to see that the Youngster's are keeping in touch. M/Sgt. Howard Fuller, USMCR, 273744
Looking forward to my 89th. birthday.
March 1940 to 1946 Regular
1946 to 1960 Reserve
Can't believe any MARINE would insult another unit of the CORPS. We ALL went to PI or SD. WE jest: wing wipers, office poog's, weekend warriors 30 day wonder's BUT to insult another unit is wrong and UN-MARINE CORPS. my personal apology for the illiterate few / SARGE USMC VNVET 71-72 ED ANTHONY RAMONA CA
Rifle inspection in Field Medical Service School. A Mustang 1st Lt. eyed my M-14 gave it back and said "Clean Weapon", but dirty fingernails!
Lima 3/5 69
I was in DaNang 67/68. In 67 there were Marine units that worked with ARVNs called CAC. Combined Action Companies. They had to change the name to CAP, Combined Action Platoons. The reason being is because the Vietnamese word cac means, nicely put means penis. Wish I learned to speak Vietnamese well enough to understand the jokes that must have went around about CAC units. Thought I would share this because In newsletter someone asked about it.
Paul Carr 66/69
Funny how we never forget...after reading the newsletter it just popped into my head...2091611 April 16, 1964, PI, SC. Semper Fi
GySgt. Charles J. Glynn, USMC, (Ret)
it is with great honor that i report the reassignment of philip d. siscoe gysgt. ret.
he is now serving on heavens shores
nephew bill bohall l/cpl. 73-77
Thank you Sgt Grit for your "news letter", it does help an old retired Marine look back on the Corps. Semper-Fi to you, your family and all the old and present Marines, SgtMajor Brewster, Waco, Texas Retired 30 yrs 1Mar77.
I got all hung up in this stuff about old Corps and new Corps. I asked my neighbor what his service number was, knowing that I was a 241. I was sure I was old Corps. He rattled off a 13 number. I felt stupid
SSgt. DJ Huntsinger
I gotta tell ya that the Dogpatch picture in your recent issue was really a blast from the past. I was stationed by the MAG 16 strip in '68-'69. Thanks for keeping it real.
In boot camp early 1961, our DI'S told us that there was the Old Corps, New Corps and now this Sh-t , so like me if you joined after Feb 1st 1961 you are neither Old Corps or New Corps. You are part of This Sh!t. Has to be true cause Drill Instructors don't lie.
Sgt Doyle Clark
1930706, B-1-1 &2nd Cag, 67-68 rvn
Hey Sarge, As usual can get enough of the great newsletter you put together....many thanks for those memories too! Semper Fidelis
I graduated from Officers Candidate School in Quantico, VA in December 1962 and Officers Basic School in June 1963. Commanding the first platoon off the USS Guadalcanal during the Panama riots in February 1964 and a tour as an advisor in Vietnam in 1965 and 1966 were all memorable experiences, but perhaps not any more memorable than meeting General Puller during my invite to Bosses' Night at the Staff NCO Club at Camp Lejeune in 1963. The following is an subchapter of A Jarhead's Journal in final editing that I wrote for my children and their families:
Meeting a Legend
The last Friday night of the month was 'Bosses' Night' at the Staff NCO Club at Hadnot Point at Camp Lejeune. Sgt. Mac invited Sandy and me to join him for dinner. Since Sandy had accepted a babysitting job (this she did as often as possible to help pay for a few extra little things) she suggested we make it just a guy's night out thing.
I really didn't feel too comfortable about going to a place full of Marine Corps sergeants. After all, less than a year earlier, two of their colleagues were intimidating the daylights out of me, and threatening my professional career and lifestyle. Sandy said I should go, that I owed that to Sgt. Mac.
The uniform of the day was a civilian suit or sport jacket with tie, the appropriate attire required in the dining room after 6:00 PM and our meeting time was 1900 hours. I showed up in my dark sharkskin suit with a dark tie. I was nervous.
As I walked into the lobby I searched feverishly for Sgt. Mac and didn't see him anywhere in a maze of tough looking, weather beaten gentlemen who looked more like prizefighters than businessmen, although that was their attire for the evening.
As I stood half frozen in my tracks, searching for Sgt. Mac, a squat, wrinkled elderly gentleman reached out and shook my hand. It was like I was looking at a ghost. I had only seen that face on a movie screen and pictures on book covers.
"Good evening Lieutenant how are you?" asked retired General "Chesty" Puller. "I am on my way to the head to take a leak, would you care to join me?"
Fortunately I came out of my shock and my mouth started working. "I think that's an excellent idea, General, before I resume my search for Staff Sergeant Mac."
Thank goodness, as we walked out of the head, there stood Sgt. Mac, hard to recognize in civilian clothes. He seemed just as at ease in the company of General Puller as he was around the troops. He smiled and extended his hand to the General and said, "I served under your command when I drove an Ontos (an armored self-propelled carrier of six 106 recoilless rifle anti-tank weapons, Ontos being Greek for 'the thing') back in the 3rd Division before you returned to the states, Sir."
General Puller remembered Sgt. Mac and the strange new vehicle the Corps also used as an offensive enemy bunker buster as well as a defensive anti-tank weapon. He asked if we were with the group that had invited him to speak that evening.
"No, Sir," replied Sgt. Mac. "Lt. Lowe has been so instrumental in getting our company and battalion through training before deployment, I just wanted to take him out to dinner."
"Excellent, why don't you join our group, Lt. Lowe and Sgt. Mac."
So we did. We sat just off the end of the guest of honor table. It was a great dinner. Some funny war stories were told to the entire group. Some interesting stories about Sgt. Mac were related to me personally. It seemed like everybody knew Sgt. Mac and remembered how somewhere, some way he extricated them or one of their troops from some kind of trouble or problem.
Then General "Chesty" Puller was introduced as the speaker for the evening and delivered his famous "NCOs are the backbone of the Marine Corps" speech. The talk made local and national papers. It would be a summary chapter in that warrior's (in a class with George Patton and perhaps they had few other peers until you go back to Lee, Grant and John Paul Jones) biography.
I was there, he winked at me when he said the Marine Corps had good officers, but the NCOs were the backbone of the Corps. He saw Sgt. Mac and me interact. He knew that I knew what he knew and that some of my peers never would.
It was a great experience. I told Sandy all about it, but Sandy just thought I had a nice night out with the boys. Names like Puller, Patton, Macarthur, and Eisenhower ("Oh, he was President before Kennedy") didn't really impress Sandy that much. She was earning money by babysitting to buy herself a 'Grey Lady' uniform in order to do volunteer work at the base hospital. Even back then, Sandy had her head on much straighter than I.
Jim Lowe (086352 USMC)
From The Side Of The UH-1N
Hey Sarge, Tell Hendrickson and any other grunt on the ground who ever questioned whether or not us "wingers" were real Marines to go back to Parris Island. We are all basic riflemen, Marine riflemen. I had to qualify with the M-16 every year and I thought to myself "What a puny weapon". H&ll it was nothing like the M-60 I fired from the side of the UH-1N. Ignorance is all I can think of for his remarks. He never would have obtained his rank in today's Marine Corps 1973-1979
Too Many Colors Going On
For a time some years ago, I belonged to the Marine Corps League in Livonia, Michigan. In our detachment there were several WWII, Korean, and Viet Nam Marines. However, one of the members served in Nicaragua in 1926. That nearly blew my mind to think that he'd been in and out of Marine Corps many years before WWII started. I wish I would have talked to him more about how the Marines of that era lived, their uniforms, and the stateside bases. There was no Camp Lejeune or Camp Pendleton prior to WWII.
Fortunately, I never had to be a Lance Corporal since I was already a Corporal when they expanded the pay grades from seven to nine in 1959. I wish they would have consulted with me before they determined a name for that E-3 pay grade. I've always thought Lance Corporal soundly rather wimpy. My suggestion would be to reinstall the name Corporal to pay grade E-3 and make pay grade E-4 Master Corporal. I've noted the Canadian use that designation within their ranks.
Another one of my pet peeves is the number of colors in the dress blue uniform. I never was issued or owned a set of blues, and I know a lot of Marines are proud of them. I just think there are too many colors going on in that uniform to be taken seriously. There is navy blue, a light blue, red, yellow, and white. Maybe it is the yellow or gold hash marks that make the blouse gaudy, or it could be the white belt and hat. I don't know, but I think a slick sleeved private looks better in his blues than a senior master sergeant over twenty.
When I enlisted in January 1957, we were issued one green blouse, one green "Ike" jacket, and two pair of green trousers. I was also issued a green wool great coat which I never wore. Some of the guys in my platoon were issued rain coats. We were also issued on pair of combat boots and a pair of boon dockers, a just-above-the ankle boot. The Ike jacket was a convenient item of apparel when you had to wear your greens on base. Only Marines assigned to sea duty or embassy duty were issued blues.
I hope I haven't insulted any Lance Corporals or Dress Blues aficionados out there.
James V. Merl
Dear Sgt. Grit.
Attached is the platoon picture of Honor Platoon 141, MCRD, San Diego, March/June 1967. So far, eighteen of us, including our Junior DI have found each other. We would like to find more of for a possible platoon reunion in June/11. Please help us.
Jay F. Grams (jgrams1 @ aol .com)
Corporal of Marines
My Only Claim To Fame
Commandant U.S.M.C. 1971-1975 General Robert E. Cushman at A.F.S.C. in Norfolk Va... I'm the guy with the 1911.
I'm looking for anyone who may have pics or video of the Armed Forces Staff Collage in Norfolk Va. between 1973-1976.
Sgt R.T. Smith
A Photo Of A Photo
I make Plaques for fellow Marines, Past, present , and for families of those gone before us. "Guarding the streets of Heaven"
Recently I made SGT GRIT, a Plaque, and he in turn sent me a photo of it on his wall, I in turn took a photo of the photo and added a few SGT Grit things to it and it now Hangs on my Wall in my War Room, A photo, of a Photo, of a Photo
It gives me Pleasure to do these for my Brother Marines.
Honor Courage Commitment
My Serial Number is 1622999, did Boot (plt 1003) at MCRD San Diego, June 1956, it was my birthday present for turning 17. Came out of the Hills and timber of Kansas. DI at Boot was a Sgt Herbertson, could really hear the eyeballs click. Was a real Marines Marine. I credit a lot of my success in life to him. After ITR at Pendleton I was assigned to the DelMar section of Pendleton and the 1st Shore Party Bn, 1st MarDiv. Is there anyone out there that remembers that outfit and First Sgt Brown? We wore small red patches on our utilities to mark our outfit. It was disbanded in about late 57 or early 58 and replaced with the First Force Service Regiment. I was then transferred to the 11th Marines up near Mainside of Camp Pendleton. I received an early out when President Eisenhower determined that we had too many men in the military and decided that everyone who had a end of enlistment within 6 mos would be immediately discharged. It cut my tour short by 2 mos.
Art (Andy or Bud)Anderson
Her Sweet Soul
Graduation from MCRD boot camp my platoon 201 took every streamer in the div. and was awarded Honor platoon the best in the whole division and my sweet mother came out from Indiana and pinned my emblems on my collars. My best buddy Ivory Roberts had no one, but my mom knew him from my letters. Rest her sweet soul went to Ivory and pinned him too she hugged him and Tough old Marines couldn't hold back the tears...I won't go any farther. I will just tell you Ivory only made 2 weeks. Sarge that is all I can say about it.
Semper Fi until I die.
Sgt W.L Early
The current newsletter mentions "The Old Corps." I am reminded of a comment I once heard from a retired Lt. Colonel named Bill Corson whose Marine Corps service began in WWII, continued in Korea, and ended in Vietnam, where he commanded the CAP Program. A group of us had gathered for lunch in 1980 in D.C. Someone at the table said, "Not like the Old Corps, eh Colonel?" to which Corson replied, "There's no old Corps and there's no new Corps. There's just the Corps we've got right now." Makes sense when you consider what's happening in the world at the moment.
Sgt. Gary Harlan 0311
I graduated ITS training September 1982. I am a Grunt. I wanted to say thank you for the tribute. As I am aware that several of my friends had the misfortune of not coming home. I was lucky, after school I went to Barracks Duty.
I remember that day, on duty, awoken by an alarm, but we never fully responded to that alarm. It was some ones way of waking us to let us know what happened. The feeling of not fully responding sticks with me to this day. I think of that day often.
Your tattoo overwhelmed me a bit. It is good to know other Marines remember that day. Someday I will find the courage to go to the memorial.
I know my friends await me at final roll call. But it would have been good to have fully responded to that alarm.
ITS, Camp Geiger
22 September 1982
A Co. 3rd Squad 2nd Platoon
Semper Fi 'til I Die
Reunion Platoon 145
A reunion for Platoon 145 (1962 MCRD San Diego) is in the planning stages. Location is San Diego, CA, on September 15-19, 2010. If you are one of the 26 members of Platoon 145 who is UA, please contact Jerry Downen at jerryd6818 @ yahoo .com or by regular mail at 803 14th Street - Rockford, IL 61104. Hoping to see everyone there.
The Few. The Proud.
My Twin Brother
So very glad to hear from you. A little information of where I'm coming from. MY twin brother and I joined the CORPS, on the buddy plan. we graduated from hi school on JUNE 5th 1967 and were in BOOT CAMP at 7:00 pm the 6th of JUNE 1967. After BOOT CAMP we both went to BITS & AIT. We both received orders for NAM, and I volunteered to go first.
I went to SNIPER SCHOOL & my twin BROTHER WENT to RECON. I arrived in DANANG on the 27th of November & Extended to keep my brother from going over there. I was assigned to HQ Co 7th Marines SCOUT SNIPER PLATOON,
SSGT CARLOS HATCHOCH took over the platoon about the middle of MARCH 1969 I came back to the world (states) the 8th of august 1969. I don't want to boor you. HAVE a great day...
SGT. REYMUNDO GONZALES,
Hi Sarge, I just now noticed that you seem to have been at the same place at almost the same time. I saw the pic of Dog Patch and what appears to be the camp at Red Beach. I got there in April, '68 and left in May, '69. 11 Marines... you were the guys makin' all the noise with the 155's weren't you? I drove those big-azs Pettibone forklift monsters you may have seen loading materiel on various modes of transport. I was all over they had me at the Marine Transit area @ DaNang Airstrip. An ammo dump somewhere I can't recall where or what it was called.
I saw a lot of strange stuff too although it could have been much worse! I witnessed a nearby USS New Jersey 16 inch gun salvo , the bomb dump blowing up. The DaNang flare dump and jet fuel bladders blow up right in front of me the result of a 122MM rocket attack. They seemed to always start those shellings where I was. I hate to when it does that! Take care and God Bless now!
Semper Fi! Pete Costanzo in Vegas Service No. 2254580
Get Out Of Here
Hi Sgt Grit,
I went to San Diego as a young 17 year old in July 1980. I was one pound above the minimum weight of 118 pounds. Arriving at San Diego airport late at night, getting on the bus and the quick trip over to MCRD. Getting the sh*t scared out of us as we scrambled to get off the bus and get on the yellow footprints. Going through processing that night turning in our civilian clothes, getting our 6 second haircuts, and getting to sleep around 2am in the morning. We had a Gunny Sgt initially who took us around to all the processing stations for the first two weeks.
Then all h&ll breaks loose as we are introduced to our DI's. That night you could hear the muffled cries of scared young men away from home wondering what the heck they got themselves into. I had the mixed blessing of having the DI's taking a liking to me. Every time I turned around it seemed I was having to do pushups, side straddle hops, mountain climbers. After about the second day of this, I was standing at attention with a DI yelling in each ear. All of a sudden, I looked at one and then the other and said I have to get out of here. We were on the second floor of the "H" barracks. Out the double doors I went, down the stairs and was almost grabbed at the doors going outside. Keep in mind that I am in boots, camo trousers, white t-shirt and a white bald head. The DI's were in dress Charlies.
Down the street we run. I dart into what I think is an area between buildings and it is actually the opening to the next "H" barracks. I am almost grabbed again by the DI. I dart back out and we are running down the street past the confidence course. I hit the chain link/barbed wire fence and am up and over it without thinking. The DI is left there yelling and shouting. I am so out of breath as I am jogging past some small airplanes when I hear this yell. Some guy in a golf cart picks up the pursuit. Here he is chasing me and I am flat out running again when I go over another chain link/barbed wire fence.
I continue to jog not knowing where the h&ll I am going, just knowing I need to get my head straight. Somehow I cross over the freeway and am in Old Town. I see a gas station and am heading over to it to get a drink of water when I hear these brakes on a car lock up. I said to myself "now what?".
It is a DI on his day off yelling COME HERE RECRUIT. So off we run again, circled around a house, up over an embankment wall and am running up a hill when he tackles me. He hauls me back to MCRD and turns me over to the MP's. Total time gone...45 minutes. After 4 hours being locked up the MP's send me back to my platoon. I end up having to go Captain's Mast and get charged with going AWOL, $100 fine and a one week trip to the Correctional Custody Platoon.
Joining me for the walk over to the CCP is another recruit from my platoon that punched a DI who had spit in his face. Walking into the squadbay the other recruit put his seabag down, big mistake. After a thrashing for that, we are assigned the old olive drab uniforms and a metal helmet. All I can say is that we ran our arses off that week.
Going through the chow lines, we had to keep our eyes on the floor and could not look up. I come to realize that boot camp is not that bad, heck I had outrun a couple of the DI's. At the end of the week, we are assigned to a different platoon and series. It all worked out as this platoon ended up taking all the rewards in our series except for drill.
Other things that I remember. A recruit going AWOL from Camp Edison during rifle qual week because he was craving a pizza. A guy in our platoon that would always get the rest of us thrashed. One day in the squad bay after a series of punishments, this guy acts up again. One of the other recruits throws a Bic pin that ends up sticking in the guy's temple. The recruit goes to screaming. The DI came out yelling what the h&ll is going on. Takes one look at the guy bleeding and says "Blood, I love blood, now get down and give me 20 pushups."
The nice stroll up Mount MF'er. A recruit losing his rifle during the march because the sling was not attached properly. I lucked up during our week of Maint/KP and got assigned to the office answering the phone and taking temperature readings for the heat index while others in our platoon did KP. I remember when the MOS assignments were posted for those of us who signed up open contract. Everyone got assigned 0311 except for two of us. I was assigned as a Field Radio Operator. The other guy got assigned as a cook...his name was Baker. So someone had a sense of humor somewhere.
After a bit of time at home, I went to 29 Palms for Field Radio school checking in on the Marine Corps Birthday. Again I lucked up. While waiting for the class to fill up, we were asked if anyone could type. I raised my hand. I was sent to a British Warrant Officer to type his lesson plans while the rest of the platoon painted rocks for the week.
From the Stumps, I went to Okinawa in March 1981 to Camp Hansen with 9th Comm. In Oct 1981, I went to the Philippines for a week on my 19th birthday with the Colonel's driver. In Dec 1981, we went on the USS Frederick to Inchon, Korea. From there we drove to a ROK Marine base north of Seoul for a live fire exercise.
Me and three other guys are flown to a remote area on the mountain where we are suppose to block a roadway for the live fire exercise. We are told to stay out of the nearby village. After a couple of days of C-rats, we make a trip over to the village for a meal. Later that night, one of the guys gets very sick from what I assume to be food poisoning. Unable to get anyone to answer the radio (broken wire in the connector), I ended up walking down the mountain in the middle of the night to where the base camp was. This was when there was still a curfew from midnight to 4am. It was a bit tense when I went past a Korean military checkpoint and I could hear the bolts go home on their rifles. I finally make it to the base camp and am able to get someone to drive up and take the guy to sickbay. The Gunny was not too pleased with us for going into the village so when we got back to the base camp, me and the Marine who got sick had to pitch our shelter halves and sleep in it for the remainder of our time there instead of the warm 14 man GP tents. It was freezing cold and had snowed so it was not too pleasant.
We jokingly put up a sign outside the shelter halves that read Thomas and Akers Reality Company...choice two and fourteen man tents to choose from. I remember one night at 2am, the entire platoon having to gather around and give a p!ss sample for drug tests.
The night before we were suppose to drive back to Inchon, it was put out that the drivers were not to stand firewatch that night. Of course I was assigned firewatch. On that long slow drive back driving a jeep with a trailer without having a spare driver, I dozed off. My buddy said I passed him on the right side. He looked over wondering what the h&ll I was doing and saw that my head was on my shoulder. He blew the horn which woke me up but not before I went off the road and through a farmer's field. Luckily no damage to anything. I remember as we were fixing to leave the locks at Inchon, we picked up two sailors from the Belleau Woods who missed their ship. They took them straight to the brig.
In Jan 1982, we got to go to Diego Garcia for ten days. That was a nice but long plane ride. In March 1982, I am assigned to Comm Plt, HQ CO, 1st Mar Div at Camp Pendleton. In May, 1982 I am assigned to 1st SCAMP (Seimic Control and Management Platoon). I get to go to Fort Huachuca, AZ for Seismic Intrusion Specialist school. Pretty neat as we get to fly on helicopters to drop sensors out of them. In early 1983, I go back to Okinawa for the 4th maintenance cycle for the Near Term Pre-positioning ships at Naha port. All the RO/RO ships from Diego Garcia are brought in and unloaded. We go through all the equipment and do preventive maintenance on it, then we marry it up to the proper vehicles and reload the ships. Because it was done in record time, the 3rd FSSG group ended up getting a Navy Unit Commendation.
In July 1983, I finally end my active career. I did 4 months active Reserve but didn't like the way things were run at the local unit and asked to be put back on inactive status. In March 1984, I was asked if I wanted to go to Team Spirit 84. H&ll yes, a shopping trip at govt expense. I got to do it again in March 1986 for Team Spirit 86. My contract finally ends in July 1986. Typical Marine Corps, one week after I am discharged, I receive my promotion to Sgt.
I Wonder If
I was on Hill 327 in 66. we got hold of a German shepherd pup. the c.o. wanted us to get rid of it. That's the last I remember of the dog. Years later I heard from a Marine that was there a couple years later that there was a few more dogs on 327. I wonder if they are offspring of our dog (ammo was his name). I also remember catching rats and igniting them with lighter fluid and watching them run towards the dynamite bunker for fun. Also watching puff straff monkey mountain prior to us going in.
Note: Several times in my 18 months in country my Comm platoon tried to adopt a stray pup. Each attempt was vetoed. I didn't understand it at the time. But most likely health reasons for us and the dog were the CO's reason. We even tried not asking one time and took the pup in. Easier said than done, to keep a frisky pup a secret.
I was in Wal-Mart last week, and observed one very squared away Soldier, a staff Sergeant... I asked him if he was a prior svc Marine, and he replied "How did you know?" You would have to be blind not to see the Marine Corps shining thru his Army work uniform....He informed me he was in the USAR and 30 percent of his unit were prior service Marines.
Also in the same store I met a Iwo Jima Marine named Bell. He said he was on Iwo for 17 days when they sent him home to go to OCS @ Camp Lejeune, the only class of OCS to be held there...We talked for a long time, but I forgot to ask if he was an Officer or Grunt...He said that he thought he was born again when they pulled him out of Iwo, I am sure this Marine was in his 80s, but he moved like he just got out of Boot Camp...
A Marine from the 50s
I got theses 2 a few months ago. I always the M-60 somewhere but wanted it where it would be seen. It took me 39 years but it's there now. The artist came up with the combat action ribbon in the sling. I get lots of complements about the 60.
Just wanted to share my family's story. My Father enlisted in the Corps in 1913 he was at Belleau Woods. Served on the USS TEXAS. Was TAD as a lieut. in the Haitian Gendarme in the late 20" early 30's. In 1941 he, my mother and 2 sisters went to Peaking. He was the Sgt. Maj. of the embassy guard there.
ON 12/7/1941 China time they loaded all their weapons on board ship to go home. At 0700 on 12/8 China time (12/7 Pearl time) a j*p regiment showed up and demanded surrender. Col. Brown decided that 4, 45's wouldn't be enough and surrendered the Marines in Peking and Tientsin. In violation of the rules of war (since as embassy personnel they had immunity they were interred in POW camps in North China for all but the last 6 months of the war when they were sent to work in Japan.
My dad was the ranking NCO for this period. He came home in 1945 and I was born into the Corps in 1946 when he was 53.(this part of Corps history has just now begun to be recognized, they were required to waive any rights to sue or pursue the Japanese Govt. for this illegal internment. They now have a plaque in the Embassy Guard School in Quantico with their names. They also now have a display in the new Corps Museum.
I enlisted in 1965 and left active duty in 1968 as a Cpl. Spent some time attending the USNA as well. I also have an Uncle and Brother in law who are inactive Marines.
He was forced to retire in Jan 1954. But not after imparting his wisdom to me and many Marines including a young Korean war vet who had fought a 2 year battle with his wounds. My father was his company adj. in Lejeune . this young man went on to become the creator of the Marine Corps "Band of Brothers" creed. as well as CO of 8th and I CG of MCRD San Diego, and USMC CINCPAC were he retired with his 3 stars. He always credited my father with being the biggest influence on him. I mentioned this because the general sent a Platoon to attend at my fathers' funeral in 1981, providing the Honor of a Mi