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I call it An Bang week. June 8 to June 16, 1969 Haggue [not sure on spelling] died on the LP. From that night until the 16th we received enemy contact nightly. Which night it was I remember not. But during incoming 82s I jumped into a straddle trench. Needless to say after sunrise a bath patrol was called for by the 6. I will never forget the squad complaining about my odor or rather smell. Add this one to your story page.

I am HM3 John M. Dunning, the coward who wrote half of Lt. William H. Hardwicks Navy Cross citation which turned into his Silver Star. Captain Castignetti wrote the best half.

In This Issue
Afrika Corps (WWII) and San Miguel, now there is an interesting start. Chesty and Ribbon Creek, cold beer NOT, and some outstanding Woman Marine tattoos. More Woman Marine tats and another interesting beer cooling technique. Moores Marauders needs some help to recover bodies from Tarawa.

Did you know that we are "unsavory". I guess as Marines we should only talk about having tea at four. After all these years I am still amazed at some peoples impression of what Marines are all about. See more below.

What was your best DAY in the Corps? Let me hear from you. (

Facebook is still going stronger than ever. And I am getting the hang of the blog thing. Old dog new technology thing. The video and pictures from the two DI's coming to OKC brought many interesting comments.

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

Sgt Grit Blog  Sgt Grit Facebook

My father Was A Marine Torpedo Bomber (TBF)
Sgt. Grunt,

Aircrew VMTB-143 My father was a Marine Torpedo Bomber (TBF) aircrew in VMTB-143 on Guadalcanal in the October 1942 time period. He has been watching "The Pacific" with great enthusiasm and he related to me that, after watching what the line companies went through, he realized he had it pretty good after all. Of course he didn't realize it at the time, but his war was so much different from the line companies. Some of the things he related:

1 - The aircrew lived in tents with wooden floors (4 men to a tent)
2 - They had access to hot chow most days - he said they usually ate chow with the Seabees who took pretty good care of the flyboys
3 - They had access to sanitary facilities (latrines and showers)
4 - When they went on R&R to Australia, they few in a C-47 (or the Navy equivalent the R4D I think) and did not go via troopship
5 - In Australia they were put up in hotels, not the "Soccer Stadium"
6 - When they showed up in their flight suits they were really treated like kings
7 - When they flew they at least were able to cool off a bit - he said it was really HOT when they got into their planes that had been sitting in the sun

Now that's not to say they had an easy war. Almost one-fourth of his squadron didn't make it. The Japanese shelled Henderson Field most every night and he spent most nights in a slit-trench or a shelter covered with coconut logs. They also shelled the airfield when the planes were taxing out for a mission - he thinks they were mortars but he's not sure - they just went bang and made the ground shake. As far as he can remember they never hit a taxing plane. He remembers the flack and enemy fighters and he had some pretty hairy missions (54 of them to be exact). He was shot down twice (bailed out once and ditched once) but never received a scratch.

He's in his late 80's now and his memory of those days is still pretty clear. All of his friends are gone now and he is, as far as he knows, the last man alive in the attached picture (which he believes was taken in November 1942 - he is the third from the right - second row seated). They flew out of Henderson Field and bombed Rabaul and the Japanese troop barges bringing reinforcements to Guadalcanal among other missions. At one time he had a "vanity plate" on his car that said "Cactus" - which 99.9% of the people had no idea what that meant. It was a reference to the "Cactus Air Force" which is what they called the air power stationed at Henderson Field.

Anyway it really amazes me that after 68 years and a failing memory on just about everything else (he has trouble remembering his ATM number) he remembers so many details about his time on Guadalcanal. He has never really talked about it much, but he has told me more about his time there since "The Pacific" started then he has in the previous 62 years of my life. I am really grateful for that. I will be buying him the DVD set when it becomes available.

Mike Sticksel

Father's Day Shirt

Fire for Effect: Woman Marine Tattoos - Back to top

Woman Marine Tattoos
Cpl Kent's tattoo I posted my EGA tattoo to a few years ago but I saw a guy was asking so I thought I would send it again. I got my EGA when I turned 29 (March 06). I got it 3 years after I EAS'd. I am also attaching a pic of me and a couple of my fellow Women Marines partying on Bourbon Street while we were stationed in New Orleans. I am the red head on the right :D
Cpl Joani Kent

Cpl Kent and fellow Marines on Bourbon Street

What is it about a woman, who is a Marine, has a couple of awesome tats and carries an automatic weapon that is just so alluring?
I think only other Marines can answer that ;-) More pictures like Natasha V. please!

Love the news letter and Facebook site.
Allen D. Herring

Japanese influence USMC Sleeve tattoo My name is Michelle Madine. I was in Oct 2001-2005 stationed at Camp Schwab, Okinawa Japan from April 2002- Aug 2003 then to 43 Area Camp Pendleton, CA ...both were awesome duty stations (I wouldn't change a thing).
I got my USMC tattoo done here in Pittsburgh while on boot leave and the rest was done while I was in Japan. Now I'm shooting for a whole sleeve with a Japanese influence.

LCpl Michelle Madine

I would like to compliment MSGT Sandra Cook...
She has a really nice....

Name withheld by request

USMC IYAOYAS Tattoo Sgt. Grit,
I was an active duty Marine from 1995-1997 until I got injured and was honorably discharged. I was a member of the very proud Aviation Ordinance MOS. Attached is my tattoo on my leg that shows my Ordy and Marine Corps pride.

Melissa Bryant

Cpl Lazo tattoo Hello! I am replying to the question from SSgt Chris Savas about whether or not Women Marines have Marine Corps tattoos. Below are several pictures of my Marine Corps tattoos. I served in the Marine Corps from 1990-1994. You can see that my entire left forearm is tattooed for the Corps. I have USMC tattooed down my forearm with a black and grey American Flag in the background. I also have "Desert Storm '90-'94" above my elbow.

Cpl Lazo tattoo Cpl Lazo tattoo

The flag has rips around the edges to make it looks as if it is coming out of my skin. I got this tattoo a few years ago by Jason Brown from S.T. Tattoo in Venice, CA. There is a picture of jason tattooing it on my arm at a San Jose Tattoo Convention. I also have a Winnie the Pooh in a camouflage t-shirt on my thigh and below it is USMC colored in Camouflage.

Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of that one. I didn't want to get the typical Marine Corps tattoo, so I opted for something a little different. I didn't get these tattoos until after I left the Corps. I hope you enjoy!
Cpl Michelle (Lazo) Rouhier '90-'94

Hey Sgt Grit,
Yeah I know WM isn't the PC term but I was a WM and d*mned proud of it. As to the tattoo question, I have a tat and a lot of my friends got tats once we got to our MOS school. Women usually get small tattoos, but I've seen some large tats on women that were awesome. I've never had a pic taken of my tat, it's over 20 years old and faded from the sun. The scarlet and gold wings of my butterfly have completely faded and the writing is blurry now but it still means a lot to me.

Semper Fi,
Anna Grabill

A Large Puff
Reading about the use of fire extinguishers to cool beer reminded me of a fiasco while trying to do just that. We were in Chu Lai in May of '65 and had just received our first beer ration. The cans of Carling Black Label were about 110 degrees, we got two cans a day. We tried burying them as deep as possible but it only brought the temperature of the beer down to about 100 degrees, if you opened one, it would blow half the contents out and drinking the half that was left was hardly worth the effort.

One of the guys named Bob said we could cool the beer with a fire extinguisher and he knew where there was a parts trailer that had not only fire extinguishers but it was in a place where we could do it with no one watching. So he, Fred and I slipped up on the parts trailer and Bob got inside with six beers, Fred and I locked the door from the outside and nonchalantly went about our business (of trying not to look suspicious) and gave Bob about ten minutes to do the deed.

When Fred and I came back to the trailer and opened the door, a large puff of white smoke bloomed out of the door, the cans of beer were laying there with a coat of white on them that looked like frost. Hot d*mn, cold beer! Didn't notice Bob gasping for breath until I touched one of the cans and realized it was still at 110 degrees. It was then that Bob was able to speak the words "dry chemical"!

Funny later but not at the time. Took Bob several days to get over the effect of breathing in all the dry chemicals but he survived.

Not going to identify us culprits any further because we all went on to successful careers and are all three retired Staff NCO's. But if either of them are reading this, they will remember the incident, I guarantee it!

52 Years Platoon 117
Sgt. Grit,

52 years ago and seems like yesterday.

Semper Fi,
Bob G. 1804023

Unacceptable - Why?
Sgt Grit,
I wanted to reply to Al Brodbent's reply to the story about the DI spitting the half-eaten coach-roach into the recruits face. I don't understand why Al believes the DI's act was unacceptable.

If the DI had forced the recruit to eat the cock-roach himself, then I could understand Al's concern, but if Al thinks that spitting the cock-roach in the recruit's face was such a horrible thing, I wonder what he thinks of the millions of other "questionable" things DI's have done over the many years of our illustrious Corps history?

Our training is just a smidgeon of what sets us apart from other branches of the service, and sometimes the DI's resort to shock tactics to drive home a point. The recruit was not forced to march through Ribbon Creek by Sgt McKeon, and his being singled out by the DI was surely not the lone case of "harassment" by any DI in that platoon, but I would bet a dollar to a dozen doughnuts that there have been other things done to recruits that were far worse and never considered unacceptable by Marines.

I went through Parris Island in 1981, so it was probably not as tough then as when Al went through, but I will say this - I respect my DIs immensely to this day and credit them for the Marine they made me and the man they helped to make me and we were subjected to what some may consider "unacceptable" treatment at times by today's standards, but I would not have wanted my training any other way.

Mike Kunkel

Note: I agree. The DI's are making warriors not Boy Scouts. I do not take exception to anything my DI's did in 1968. Although at the time I was wondering what the fv^* is going on. Looking back it was all to help keep me alive in Vietnam.
Sgt Grit

Sgt Garcia's MARINES tattoo polaroid My Tattoo
Hey Sgt. Grit. Here's my tattoo I got in 2000. Semper Fi.

-Sgt. Garcia

Fire for Effect: Yellowlegs - Back to top

Crazy Yellowlegs
Sgt. Grit,

Regarding the "and I quote" in your newsletter for Thur. Apr. 29th about the Chinese order not to attack the Marines in Korea (the Chinese called them the Crazy Yellowlegs), was the interesting aftermath by the big brass in Japan. Instead of having the Army dawn leggings like any savvy leadership would do, they sent out a directive to have the Marines cease and desist wearing them. Makes one wonder about the intelligence level at the higher echelons of command. This decision reminds me of the words of wisdom I have on a paper attached to my filing cabinet which reads as follows:

"ADMINISPHERE - The rarified organizational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.

Stan Brangham Cpl of Marines

A little error in this post restated below.
The following attributes the saying "leave Marines alone, attack army" to a Chinese officer. It was a North Korean colonel during the Pusan battle with the First Prov. Marine Brigade, 8/7/50 to 9/6/50.
R.L. Walker A/1/5
And I Quote...
"Do not attack the Marines. They fight like devils. Leave the Marine yellowlegs alone. Strike the American Army." --[a captured Chinese Army Headquarters directive to Chinese troops in Korea, 1951]

As The Bent Rod
I also was in the 'Basilone' platoon when we all went to boot camp on July 24th 1962. However, I have a different recollection of a few things. We were initially issued M-1 Garands, which we did not have for very long, before we all got the cosmolined (sp) M-14's.

I have a vivid memory of 2 things that occurred, 1- an M1 thumb, and 2- getting the absolute crap beat out of me when I noticed the operating rod on the M1 looked bent, which I promptly fixed by 'straightening' it out using the but plate of the stock. This instantly rendered the rifle inoperable, as the bent rod was engineered that way, Sgt. Leone then 'straightened' me out. Don't know if it was you, or someone else had a question about when we went from brown leather to all black boots, shoes, etc, that was also in our boot camp.

SGT. D.T. Lang
1962 to 1966
Weapons Training battalion

Fire for Effect: Short Rounds - Back to top

Short Rounds
Hi Sgt Grit,
I just graduated boot camp from MCRD San Diego. Co C Plt1042 and just wanted to say that I am proud to be a part of the greatest brotherhood in the world.
M W Altom, PFC, USMC

Sgt. Grit,
Thanks for the great site. Even us "Doc's" like to keep up with the Corps.
Semper Fi
Frederick H. Giese, Hm1 (FMF) USN (Ret)
Echo Co. 2/3, RVN Oct.67-Nov.68

In Response to "MEDAL OF HONOR" last week's news letter. Thanks to all those involved The Members of Dog-7 and to Fred Frankville for being instrumental, recognizing and initiating the efforts of Hm3 Richard Dewert, "Navy Fleet Marine Force Combat Corpsman", He has not been forgotten To receive the highest award for his Valor and Efforts to Save his Fellow Marines "THE MEDAL OF HONOR" along with his name being "Honored and Memorialized" Dog -7 you have done well "Semper Fidelis"

Frank Morelli FMF Navy Combat Corpsman 3rd Mar Div '67- 68

Good series. Did notice the use of the "herringbones" for utilities (do they still call them that now?). And the old soft utility covers, and the leggings?? they did a good job on the recreation. The part 7 on Peleliu was almost too real, but no mention of "Bloody Nose Ridge". Good series, though.

Dick Fowler-not a WWII vet, but a proud retired former CO of 3/23-in California.

I don't know about everywhere but in Missouri it is a yearly thing where they select certain poolees from each RSS covered and put them on stage for everybody to see how it will be at basic.

The answer why no one used the bar on the pacific show, the weapon was to heavy, the web gear with four twenty rd. magazines, and bipods you're over twenty lbs. i can't recall what the bar weight was been too long.
Gil Gerrish 1856640 1959 to 1963

The Pacific
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I have been reading some of the posts former Marines have been posting concerning "The Pacific", and I'd like to put in my $.02 worth. My father was a former Marine Gunny of 26 yrs. who served in WW2, Korea, and Vietnam. He served in the 4th Mar. Div. and saw action at Tinian, Saipan, and Iwo Jima, of which he received 2 purple hearts, one from Saipan and one from Iwo.

From his tales and what photos he had, what they have been airing has been mostly accurate. Sgt. Hoffman had mentioned about the foul language and my father had among the most foul mouths you can imagine. When the movie "Patton" came out he mentioned about the speech at the beginning about how you would catch people's attention when you cussed at them.

Also, before WW2 you didn't have journalist with the units during the Spanish-American war and the things Marines did in the Philippines made them most feared and legendary to the locals that they remembered when we returned.

As far as the haircuts, my dad said they were more concerned with trying to survive then to worry how long their hair and mustaches. He told about one time on one of the islands a truck broke down near a enlisted bivouac site that was carrying beer to the Officers club, and within minutes the truck was emptied and no one could find where the beer went to. I have a photo of him with one huge one.

I do agree that they have not used the BAR in any of the battle scenes. As far as a comment concerning Clint Eastwood's "Flags Of Our Fathers", my father never saw it but from the ways he had described the horror he faced until he was wounded by a artillery shell, the movie was dead on. My father, GySgt. Charles E. Thompson passed away on Sept. 3 2007.

LCpl William Thompson '89 - '92 Desert Storm vet.

Tattoo In My Living Room
Hi, Took a long time to figure out what Marine tattoo I wanted. Had this done in my living room over a week-end. Took about 20 hours. Lindsay, my artist, is a great one to work with and is right here in Michigan. Buck.

Subject: Member has unsubscribed.

The following member has unsubscribed: xxxxxxxxxxx from all lists. They were logged for all lists.

IP: 72.xxxxxxx.66
Date: 4/29/2010
Reason: unsavory


Dictionary definition:
adjective 1 disagreeable to taste, smell, or look at. 2 objectionable; disreputable.

Well....hhhmmmm....well, I don't know if I'm to feel insulted or complimented. I mean we are Marines after all. So, I will comply with his request and consider it a compliment. OOOOO%#$@*RAH!
Sgt Grit

Chesty And Ribbon Creek
Back in the days of my "Old Corps" I was in Plt 76, 4th Bn at the range on Parris Island when recruits (from 71, I think) were marched into Ribbon Creek. SSgt McKoen their DI marched the little end into the creek first and 6 were drowned. The incident made all the newspapers and he was accused of drinking while on duty as well as a number of other infractions under Article 134, etc.

Both the Commandant (General Randolph McCall Pate and Retired Lt General Lewis B. (Chesty) Puller testified in stark contrast to each other in many ways. Commandant Pate forfeited his power to convene a court-martial after he foolishly made careless remarks to the press.

The commonly held opinion was that Pate was a "desk" general and Chesty was a field general which was proven by his combat record and testimony during the court-martial.

Allegedly during the testimony, McKoen's attorney (Emile Zola Berman) asked Chesty to state his name, and he replied that he would do so but it wasn't necessary since everyone there knew who he was. Chesty did not seek to justify McKoen's actions, only the failure of the high command to keep the Corps from being put on trial. McKoen's behavior would most certainly have been more severe (in many ways) had the Corps been allowed to punish him.

In those days Boot Camp was often excessively brutal, but the time frame must be considered. America had lost a lot of good Marines during WW II and the Korean "War." We were preparing to fight "the long war" against an often brutal enemy, and that required tough training, but not what resulted at Ribbon Creek.

The drowning of the six Marines created a national media feeding frenzy by exposing some routine slapping of recruits by their drill instructors and the uncondoned drinking by a very few of them while on duty.

After his appearance in court, General Puller had a few beers at the Slop Shoot (E-1 thru E-4) and the NCO Club (E-5 thru E-9), before departing for home. I was privileged to serve his Sergeant Major who recounted story-after-wonderful story about "Chesty" the Marines - Marine.

Michael I. Hirsch, MSgt Retd, (1956-1961)

Fire for Effect: Quicker Liquor - Back to top

Afrika Corps And San Miguel
I read Bob Doherty's story with special interest. I participated in the SEATO exercise Mindoro in 1961. I was with L/3/9. Still remember the sugar cane fields, rats and all that came with that.

Got a chance to get some real cold San Miguel. We heard of a Catholic Priest in the town of San Jose(off limits). A friend and I hitched a ride into town and visited the priest. He was interesting in that he had been drafted into the German Army during WWII while in the seminary. He served in the Afrika Corps, was captured by Americans and sent to POW camp in Texas.

While we were visiting with him, he gave us cold mangos and real cold San Miguel. While we were there, four or five Marine Officers arrived wanting to visit with the priest. They ordered us back to camp but did/could not report us, as they were off- limits also. Arriving back at camp, we received a good Marine asz-chewing by our platoon 'Sgt but not reported.

Good to hear from someone that served with me between 1960-1964. Would like to hear from whomever served same time especially air-wingers who supported us in Thailand during Laotian Crisis. Air cover provided by Marine F4 fighter pilots while doing jungle patrols was great.

Frank Briceno
1960-1964 USMC
1970-1976 USMCR

Red Mountain
Dear Sgt. Grit:
I never thought that I would see the words 'Red Mountain' in your newsletter. Seeing those 2 words together brought back memories of some severe hangovers. I was the barracks armor at Marine Barracks NAS North Island from 9/70 to 11/72. Red Mountain Pink Chablis was the final drink of choice for barracks personnel when money was tight which was always. If you could drink some of that Red Mountain and not puke it out right away, than a roach was the equivalent of a rib eye steak smothered in mushrooms and onions! Although the phrase Red Mountain brings back memories, it probably has caused the loss of a lot of memories!
Thanks for the great newsletters Sgt. Grit.
SF David Mendiola

$15 A Payday
I got a kick out of the letter from Jim Grimes. At $67.00 every two weeks ($134.00 a month) he still had to scrounge through his locker for beer money several days after payday. I rec'd $15.00 a payday and loaned money to boozers drawing almost 3 times that amount. However, I didn't booze it up, it was more fun watching those who did.

While stationed at Kaneohe Bay we were on the 3rd level of the barracks and I can remember watching the boozers come in crawling up 3 flights of stairs on their hands and knees; the funniest part of their effort was they didn't even stand up when they reached the top deck. They continued to crawl on their hands and knees to their rack.

Another thing that was a hoot was to listen to their stories about this "Marilyn Monroe" they picked up in town. Occasionally we would see them with their date in their "stupor state" and later show them the Marilyn Monroe they had picked up, then listen to their denials.

The Corps had to be one of the most memorable periods of my life. God Bless the Corps and all who served and is serving.

Stan Brangham
Cpl of Marines 53-55

Sometimes I Think
Re: tattoos. IN the Old Corps -- 55+ years ago, the guys in my platoon would go on liberty, drink too many beers, and get a tattoo. I couldn't drink. Fell asleep after the 1st one. Never got a tattoo.

Sometimes I think about why not and realize, I'm glad I didn't. HOWEVER, having said that, I'm active with the 1st Marine Division Southern California Chapter and think about a henna tattoo. NAH.

Pristine body when I go to the Med School as a corpse, they'd laugh. So, no tattoo, henna or real.

O Thompson
'53-59 Korea, Japan, and other foreign countries including Texas

Gravelly Voice
I await and read with much interest every email I receive from Sgt Grit. The Apr 22nd really piqued my interest when I read the one from Sgt Maj. Robert Lowe. I too was in Plt 248 2nd Bn. in the summer of '60. I checked my platoon book to see his picture, and there it was two pictures to the right of mine.

I remember also the mouthy E-4 drill instructor Cpl. Lee. Our senior D.I. was a very fair S/sgt Holiwski. His asst. was Sgt. Bodnar, a stern, but very fair Marine. I had the pleasure of meeting Sgt. Bodnar 2 years later at Courthouse Bay, when waiting in line for lunch I heard his gravelly voice say,"don't I know that name Lorrain" I was amazed that with all the Marines that he had seen graduate, that he could remember mine.

Cpl. James Lorrain 10th Eng. Co. Portland Maine 1959-1967

Fire for Effect: Tattoo Debate - Back to top

Denied re-enlistment
LOTS of women Marines have the EGA tattooed on them... not me personally, but have thought of doing so several times... Can't believe a Marine was denied reenlistment for the placement of his USMC... how bad for the Corps... if it was something grotesque, or anything BUT USMC, maybe I'd understand.. but COME ON!

I think they started gelding the Corps when they replaced the USMC/EGA on the pocket. The Tattoo matter is going over the top. Perhaps it is time to restore the China Fleet!?? Ship once and just not come BACK! :)) Best Doc Nottoli

tattoos are out of hand a different Corps there is a better way to show your pride.
s/sgt mark usmc disability retired 1951 1968 semper fi...mac i served with pride without painting my body

Sgt Grit,

The article about the former Marine who was denied reenlistment due to the placement of his tattoo is misleading, MCO 1040.31J (retention Manual for the Marine Corps) has no reenlistment requirement regarding tattoo's so for that Marine to say that is the reason he was denied is incorrect. While he might have made the decision to get the tattoo after the tattoo policy went into effect and received an NJP or negative Pg. 11 as the result of his poor choice to disobey an order even that alone would not be a sufficient reason for the Marine Corps to deny him reenlistment, which leads me to believe that this Marine obviously had other contributing factors that led to him being denied.

Semper Fi
SSgt. C

Wished I Would Have
I have sent you a letter before on this subject but it seems that some don't get the picture. I served from 1983 to 1988. My ex-wife didn't think too much of the Corps which I could care less. During that time I was married, I didn't think too much about the Corps. But now that I am a free man, I think about it all the time. There is no such thing as a "FORMER MARINE"!

I am very proud to be a part of the few and the proud. I wear a Marine Corps t-shirt practically every day. Didn't buy them from you, but wished I would have at the time. Just received your newsletter today (4-22-10) for the first time since the beginning of last year. I knew there was something missing when I check my email in the morning and it was your newsletter. Glad to be back on the list.

But these old or new Corps men and women need to stop the former crap. There is no such thing. Guess they forgot "ONCE MARINE, ALWAYS a MARINE." Just want to remind them.

Kendal Schacher

Did Not Have A Combat Patch
In the letter from J.D. Gwiazdon...I don't quite understand his saying where the patch should be worn.

I left Nam in '68 and left the Corps in ' 1980 I joined the Army, for reasons too lengthy to get into. The Batt. CO wanted me to wear an Army support patch on my right shoulder (Combat Shoulder) Left shoulder is for the unit you are currently in, but I refused because I was in the Corps in Nam; the Col. said the Marines did not have a combat patch.

In 1980, I may have been the only retread Marine in the Army stationed at Ft Bliss...but somehow I found the 1st MarDiv Guadalcanal Patch someplace and presented it to the CO and he accepted it, even tho it was not OD Green, I was allowed to wear in on my utilities.

A few days later he awarded me the Army Commendation Medal for having been in two branches of the military...but it never showed up on my DD 214.

Mark Gallant
USMC/VA-Nat-Guard/US Army Med ret

The Gunny Failed To Tell Me
When I graduated from high school in 1966, I knew I had to get away from Santa Cruz, California. The place was being overrun by hippies. I couldn't even enjoy the beautiful outdoors without the scent of pot in the air.

I was burned out going to school so college was out of the question. I didn't want to work with my dysfunctional family in construction. I needed to get away from them too.

The military would be a good option. I had a brother booted out of the Air Force. Didn't think I would like that. I had another brother that served in the Army (peacetime). He hated it. I hated bell bottom pants (reminded me of what the hippies wore)so the Navy was out of the question.

I had never known a Marine. I didn't even know what their uniform looked like, that is until I set foot into a Marine Recruiters office. Very sharp looking Gunnery Sergeant in a dress green uniform. The red gunnery sergeant chevrons and the colorful ribbons enhanced his appearance quite well.

The Gunnery Sergeant gave me a history lesson like none I had ever heard. He told me of battles won on land, sea and in the air. He told me of men like John Basilone, Pappy Boyington and Chesty Puller. Names I had never heard of. He told me of battles won, even when the odds were heavily against the Marines. He told me that those battles were won not only due to the training the Marines had but also because of the trust and love Marines had for one another. "Yes son." He said, "Marines fight amongst themselves. They have disagreements. throw a few punches, but on the battlefield, there is no one you would want by your side than that Marine that gave you a black eye the night before. The Marine Corps builds men."

I wasted no time signing on. I wanted to be a man. I wanted to be with men like Basilone and Boyington and Sgt Nat Holmes. (That's another story). The Gunnery Sergeant gave me the necessary papers I needed for my parents to sign since I was only 17.

What the Gunny failed to tell me was what boot camp was like. D*mn! Was I in for a rude awakening.

Life has been good ever since, including my experience in Vietnam as a grunt because I had good Marines at my side.

Semper Fi to all
GySgt John D. Foster
Echo 2/9 67 & 68

Moore's Marauders & Tarawa Marine Remains Recovery
I was contacted a few days ago by a fellow Marine here in Aiken (a serving FBI agent) who wanted to inform me about a rather unique organization. Moore's Marauders was formed by a man named Ron Moore to help JPAC (Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command) in their mission of recovering and identifying remains of MIA's and KIA's.

Briefly, there are about 88,000 unaccounted for servicemen from WW II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam and the Gulf War. The approximate numbers are 78,000 from WW II, 8,100 from Korea, 120 from the Cold War, 1,800 from Vietnam and 1 from the Gulf War. Although JPAC has identified some 1,300 remains so far and has a backlog of several thousand remains at their facility, the critical issues of timing apply. At the current rate, with available assets, it would be many decades before identification can be made and families will be few and far between. He has become a member and expects to travel to Tarawa in a very worthwhile project.

The Marauders website is and the board consists of many very recognizable individuals including Vice Admiral Joe Mobley, General William (Spider) Nyland, LtGen Earl Hallston, Vice Admiral Herb Brown, Colonel Jim Lucas, Colonel Bill Bauer, Colonel Len Fuchs, Dr. Kent Schneider, Carlton Sherwood, with many other regular members.

Their objective is to bring closure within three years, to 1,000 American MIA's families, bringing home the remains under the direction of their families, of those who, once located, can be forensically identified, within twelve months.

The goal is to raise about $2.2 million dollars over three years to accomplish the objective.

To the immediate point, it has now been confirmed that the remains of more than 200 Marines and sailors KIA on Tarawa and buried there just after the battle of Tarawa and Betio are still there despite assurances that all remains had been removed years ago by a contractor. A mission is being mounted to return to Tarawa in August of this year to effect the full recovery of these Marines and corpsmen. It is believed that one cemetery was 'overlooked' and the former cemetery thought to be empty is located at or near the end of the runway under a layer of compressed crushed coral.