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In 1973 I was a guard platoon commander at Marine Barracks, Yorktown, aboard the U.S. Naval Weapons Station there. A new modular barracks was erected to replace the old open squad bays. Chesty had passed away in 1970, and the new building was to be named Puller Hall in memoriam.
Our CO LtCol George Ryhanych inquired with Mrs. Puller whether we might borrow the general's five Navy Crosses to display for awhile when the new barracks was opened. Chesty was a not only a hero of the Corps, but also a local hero of considerable repute in Virginia and the Saluda area. Mrs. Puller, a Southern belle if ever there was one, agreed, but then forgot about our request.
Several polite reminder's from our XO Maj Ramsey Green finally led to Mrs. Puller's permission for our Adjutant Capt Bill Anderson to come by the house and help her locate them. Capt Anderson found the medals in a shoebox in a corner of the attic of the Puller home. This confirmed our suspicion that Chesty cared more about his Marines than his own legendary decorations. The five medals and their citations were displayed for a month or two, then returned to the Puller family.
Very respectfully, Tom Harleman, USMC 1970-1999.
In This Issue:
If you like variety, or should I use the word diversity, you got it this week. Just some of what's below. Ruptured duck, Dong Ha, camouflaged flaws, 1969, azz whipping, the 'Real' Walking Dead, down a trail at night, Spam and pineapple, two types of sailors, the future of the Corps, mysterious persona, Tony Curtis, and I will die a Marine. Read on and enjoy.
The Sgt Grit blog has had a lot of interesting posts recently: 1962 Initial clothing issue list and cost, Ted Williams, post office flag (abuse), Army of one motivation poster, just an average American girl video and much more.
We've created a Facebook fan page to accommodate our growing fan base. With more than 55,000 fans, we always have some action! Join us for trivia, Marine Corps history, games, giveaways, sneak peeks, discounts, sales, Facebook exclusives, and an all around good time! We've reunited lost friends, helped Marines and their families with all kinds of needs, and made some AMAZING friends! We'd love for you to join us at
Fair winds and following seas.
Vote for your favorite Marine!
GySgt (Manila) John Basilone
Maj. Gregory (Pappy) Boyington
BGen Smedley Butler
SgtMaj Daniel Daly
Gen. A.M. Gray
LtGen Victor H. Krulak
GySgt Carlos Hathcock
SgtMaj Brad Kasal
BGen John A. Lejeune
Gen James N. Mattis
LtGen Carol Mutter
LtGen Lewis B. (Chesty) Puller
Just read Sgt. Marion B. Stults story. I am also an 86 almost 87 year old WW2 veteran. I enlisted December 15, 1942 at Whitehall St. New York City. Arrived Parris Island January 9, 1943. Camp Lejeune (sp) middle of March '43... Camp Pendleton late April.
Overseas to Numea, New Caledonia, joined First Aviation Engineers Battalion, 1st Marine Division, in Manurewa, N Zed where they were R&R-ing after the battle of Guadalcanal. Returning to 'Canal that fall the Battalion changed its name to First Separate Engineers.
In January we were off again for about 60 days at sea then landed on Tinian with the CB's to put down air strips replacing the fields of sugar cane covering the island landscape. After about 4 months we left Tinian to join the 4th (?)Marine Division on Okinawa another fun-filled four months followed by some R&R, the Japanese surrender and WHAT! ...we were told that we had just "volunteered" for CHINA duty and off we went to Tang Ku and Tiensin for four months of Asiatic behavior.
Finally, we returned to the U.S.A. and on the 14th of February after finally earning my Corporal stripes, I mustered out at Baimbridge, MD. and with my rupture duck headed home to L.I., New York and the family I hadn't seen in three years.
I enjoyed viewing the photograph of the Marine Corps Birthday Cake taken in 1969 on Hill 88. The attached photograph was taken at the Marine Corps Combat Base of Khe Sanh, Headquarters Company, First Battalion, 13th Artillery Regiment on the Marine Corps Birthday in 1967, just a few short months before the start of that long and horrific Siege.
Craig W. Tourte
Khe Sanh, Vietnam
July 1967- April 1968
Sgt. Grit. 1stSgt Holman here. Picture is of my wife and I next to my bird up in Bridge Port, cold weather train base CA. Not bad when you go from a Grunt to the Air Wing, and get your wings and you and your wife are in the same squadron (HMH769) and you can fly together. Team work. Call signs Wonder Woman and Capt. America. 18 years of flying and got pulled back into the Grunts for Desert Storm. That's the Corps for ya! But you gotta love it and we do. All of our married life and few before we met.
(all in fun of course) Yo, Sgt Grit, I was checking out your e-mails. I came across one with a pic that was from MCRD San Diego 18 sept 62. Hay, I graduated 18 sept 62 at MCRD P.I. You will notice the one pic is pretty and in full color. That is not mine. Mine is the black and white one. So now you know why they call the other guys "Marines Hollywood". Joe M.
Note: OR the Corps wanted to show off what real Marines look like and used color for "Hollywood Marines" and black and white for Island Marines to camouflage the flaws. Semper Fi Sgt Grit
Instructions on How to Move Down a Trail at Night
INSTRUCTOR: Staff Sgt R.S. WINSTON
PLACE: Camp Upshur
Marine Corps Base
OCS / PLC
TIME: Summer 1966
Our platoon was being instructed in Individual Night Movement- Cover-Concealment etc...by the aforementioned S Sgt R.S. Winston (The most intimidating human being on the planet.) I will paraphrase his lecture from here:
"The standard procedure for moving down a trail at night-is to pick the best man in your platoon, put him on point. Proceed one half step forward. With an upturned palm, in a serpentine motion, from the ground up, feel for trip wires and booby traps. Proceed another half step forward and repeat the procedure. Are there any questions?"
Candidate so and so stands up- comes to attention and requests permission to speak to Sgt Instructor.
"What!...WhaleTurd?" (Or some other term of endearment).
"What is the procedure upon encountering a trip wire or booby trap?"
"That is a very good question Candidate...Sit!"
"The standard procedure upon encountering a trip wire or booby trap is to pick the second best man in your platoon. Put him on point. Proceed one half step forward. With an upturned palm, in a serpentine motion, feel from the ground up for trip wires and booby traps..."
That ended our instruction on How to Move Down a Trail at Night.
I joined the Marine Corps Reserve in 5/5/55. Before I went into boot camp July 3, 1956, I had two weeks of training in July of 1955. During the first week we were at Coronado Navy Base/UDT, which is the base that the SEAL's train today in California.
We trained for amphibious landings after lots of classes. We went down to the beach and loaded on to LCM's and went to the APA, attack transport, which was anchored several miles off shore. We climbed the cargo nets with all of our equipment. The next morning we climbed down the cargo net and headed for the beach. I was in the third wave of boats, LCVP's . The next day we assaulted two hills at Camp Elliott; the assaults went in to the night.
The second week we were at Camp Mathews which is the rifle range for boot camp. I was trained on the M1 Grand rifle and the .45 ACP pistol. I qualified. Also, I trained with the BAR, .30 cal air cooled machine gun. I did helicopter assault training and a helicopter assault. There is no information in my files about being aboard a ship or a helicopter. I have a picture of the helicopter with me standing next to it, USMC official photo. This picture shows proof that I was there. This took place between my junior and senior year of high school.
I also marched in a Veterans Day parade - November of 1955 in Long Beach, California with my unit - the 15th rifle Co. USMCR, U.S. Navy Ammunition & Net Depot Seal Beach, California. Our Sgt's and Officers were WWII and Korean War Vets. One Sgt was a China Marine.
By the time I got to boot camp I was already a Marine. Boot Camp was at SD MCRD, Platoon 3037 , T/Sgt H.L Keller was our senior DI. I was at 2nd ITR and etc. also July 1957 trained at Pickel Meadows
I am in the, Marine Corps League Mount St. Helens Detachment 889 Longview, Washington. We have one member that never went to Boot Camp, He got called up for the Korean war and was sent to Camp Pendleton and then to Korea.
Read more of this story
WM David Schooling
1526108 CPL USMCR
1955 - 1959
1908 Forged Birth Certificate
I am the second of three generations of Marines. My father, George Brooks, began the process when he enlisted at age 15 with a forged birth certificate sometime in 1908 or 1909 at Rochester, NY. He took his basic at Brooklyn Navy Yard and was shuffled off to the 1st Expeditionary Brigade after training as a Battalion baker. I know he went to Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, Mexico and Panama chasing various Banana Republic bad guys including Pancho Villa. He served under Major Smedley Butler, who he described at a 'real bast*rd'. He saw combat a number of times and was wounded at least once.
About once a year he would sit down with a scotch or two and tell stories of his time in the Corps. He often said what I needed was some 'time in the Marine Corps'; I was in the Corps about ten minutes before I knew what he meant. He got out as a PFC and his discharge papers referred to him as a competent Marine. It never left him and from my early childhood I knew I wanted to be a Marine.
I knelt at his bedside at the last minutes of his life and vowed before God and him that I would carry on the Marine Corps tradition. I went through Quantico in 1961 and was commissioned one year after my Dad died and served in a Rifle Company, C/1/8 , for my four years. My oldest son, named after his Grandfather, went to Parris Island after Norwich University and served as a machine gunner in an infantry battalion.
I have made three fundamental decisions which have shaped and validated my life. The first was to become a follower of Jesus Christ; the second to become a United States Marine and seek to walk in the principles the Corps teaches; and the third to marry the woman who would stand with me through it all. All of them make me what I am today.
I am seventy-two now, stove up with the aftermath of a stroke, disc problems and just 'old age', but every day I consciously thank God and every Marine who has ever lived or ever will live for allowing me the honor and privilege to be part of their outfit.
Blessings & Semper Fi!
Roger N. Brooks - 1st Lt C-1-8 1961 - 1965
In conjunction with this year's Marine Corps Engineers Association reunion -
We look forward to the reunion this year with the members the return 11th Engineer Marine team of Jan 89'.
In the return photo:
LtoR are: Marine Frankie Noe of Mass, Sgt. Billy Johnson of Conn, Gene Spanos of Ill [ Team Leader ] Mike "Doc" Wallace of Kansas and Nate Genna of Mass.
In the Nov 68' photo:
Gene Spanos on top of the truck w/rifle at the ready. Marine Frankie Noe with the blooper or M-79 grenade launcher.
This photo was taken right at the Ben Hia river where the old North Vietnam divided with the former South Vietnam. Located Just south was the area where a very large battle took place in Apr 68' the "Battle for Dong Ha Combat base". This involved the great 2nd Bn 4th Marines commanded by then Col. Wild Bill Weise. He will be one of our guest speakers this year at the Washington, D.C. reunion as well.
Then there's what was left of the former Dong Ha Bridge that was taken out by Col. John Ripley, USMC who recently passed away. Col. Ripley was a good friend of the 11th Engineers and remember us well.
Col. Ripley is buried at the Naval Academy's cemetery and we also plan to visit his grave site to pay our respects to one tough Marine.
Just a couple of years past we held a mini reunion here in the Chicago area. Over 15 couples flew in and we had a great time. Sadly, we must report the loss of one of our Marines - Sgt. Frank Dybes from Mass since then.
Additionally, some Marine Engineers splintered off to form up their own association. This year - we look forward to finally meeting these Marines in coming together as well.
Rest in peace to all of our brothers who didn't return and for those who have since been called up by our supreme Commandant.
Semper Fi Marines
Gene T. Spanos
Sgt. 66-71 U.S. Marines
Charlie Co. 2/68-2/69
11th Engr Bn
West Pack Ground Forces
More Reunion Stories:
3/11 San Diego & 40th Anniversary of Boot Camp
Just a couple of points, the spotting "rifle" ahem, on the 106 Recoilless, usually mounted on a Mule, for those that remember, was also used as sniper weapon in Nam. Not sure how accurate we were but sure scared the h&ll out of people. Also Hands on Training was commonly called adjusting a Pvts uniform, and bends and thrusts forever was a commonly used corrective action.
Why not buy the house as a corporation for use as a museum? I would proudly chip into a fund for the purchase of Chesty's house by Sgt Grit.
In a recent Short Rounds posting, someone asked about the guys on the Grinder with microphones. I didn't see them while in Plt. 159 in July of 1958 but a year or so later a 33 1/3 LP was released about the sounds of "Boot Camp."
One side was recorded at MCRD in 'Dago and the other at P.I. The reason I remember it is because our Sr. D.I., SSGT Guy "Shakey" DeWolf was in an interview on the recording.
Joey Ampostasays "two types of sailors Marines like to have around: corpsman and seabees. One makes the burning go away when you pee, and the other builds you a place to pee."
Cpl. Collins, there was an LP album published from those recordings. I have a copy. It's titled 'The Making of a Marine'. It was published in 1960. The crew went on to record the sounds at Camp Matthews and Pendleton. It chronicles the evolution of a Marine from Receiving Barracks to making an amphibious landing. Lots of good sounds. The variety of DI cadences, recruits being screamed at, the noise of more than 100 M-1 rifles on Rapid-fire to the sound of landing craft roaring in to the beach. GLORIOUS.
P. Santiago GySgt (Ret)
I went through Parris Island, June-September 1965 in Platoon 339, 3rd Battalion and we had doors on the crappers! Really. I s**t you not!
Brian Hipwell, PDD
National Vice President,
Royal Marine Association/USA Branch
Department of New Hampshire, MCL
Twin State Detachment #1010, MCL
Teufelhund Pound #321
Surprised when you were called dignified, wait until you are standing with your wife and the person in charge refers to you as an elderly couple.
Thanks for getting me teared up just reading the sample story. Durn it!
I was in the NAVY back in the '60's. My dad is a Marine, received 4 purple hearts from the Canal to Tinian. I have a "My Dad Is a Marine". Dad passed in '68.
Just read Dave Schooling's post in this month's issue. I joined the USMCR in 1957 and reported for boot camp in February 1959 at MCRDSD.
Myself and a lot of other Marines in my series were already PFC's.
The first day one of our DI's (SGT. Klunk) had the duty alone, he informed us he knew some of us were Private's and some were PFC's. He said he couldn't call us Private's or PFC's so he would just call all of us T--d's.
And so it was.
Cpl Collins inquired about seeing microphones among the recruits at MCRD (23 September newsletter)...I am almost positive that they were part of the "record" called, "The Making of a Marine"...sounds of boot camp...it was a 33rpm record that brought the sounds of boot camp into one's home...I used to have one and I am looking for one now! If you know how I can get my hands on one or even a facsimile (tape, CD, etc), please let me know...
Howard M. Hada
Platoon 151,from Parris Island, 1962 is having a reunion in Bluffton, SC, from Oct 21-Oct 23. As one of the Drill Instructors, I am honored to attend. I am driving from the San Diego area, stopping in Arizona to pick up two old Marines, Joe Markwell and Joe King. We will drive to PISC for the reunion. Markwell was a Drill Instruction in the same series and is eager to meet Ron Snoggles, another Drill Instructor. The family of Wilbur Murphy, Drill Instructor, will also attend. It promises to be a great week. If Joe Markwell and Joe King and I do not kill each other on this odyssey, I may report on our journey.
1stSgt, USMC, Ret.
Congratulations to Sgt Grit staff member Lindsay O'Hair on her physical prowess at the fair. Maxing out on the pull up bar is great. I am sure it was the Sgt Grit tutoring that you got from your fearless leader. I am positive that he can max that test and still do the sit up part also. Go ahead, show 'em Grit!
SSgt Daniel J. Huntsinger, 11th Marines, Comm, Radio
Sgt Grit, 11th Marines, Comm, Radio
3/11 Reunion San Diego
The old Marines landed at San Diego on Sept 17th, 18th and 19th for a 3rd Battalion, 11th Marines reunion. It started on Thursday night with a get together and reaquaintance period for those of us that hadn't seen each other in 40 plus years. Most of the vets were from the Viet Nam era, with two old timers from Korea.
Friday was a special treat, a large group of us boarded a bus and went to MCRD for the recruit graduation. What an impressive sight to see 566 recruits become new Marines. Oh did they stand tall and have very wide smiles when the ceremony was over. I was able to chat with a few of them about their feelings of being Marines. Everyone of them couldn't quit grinning and expressing a gratitude that boot camp was over.
All of the command staff present, Lt. Colonel, Sgt Major down were in fantastic shape and left a positive impression that the Corps is in better shape than when we were in. We were honored to have Cpl. Steiner for our guide around the base. Ladies and gentlemen our Corps is still in very good hands and will continue to do so with the fine young men and women enlisting today.
We were even allowed PX and store privileges, yes, it cost us all a lot of money. I noticed some very large bags being carried out of the store with various goodies, shirts and jackets seemed the most popular. After 6 hours we went back to the hotel with lighter wallets. The memories will stay forever and my wife even commented on what a great experience it was to see these young men in all their glory, marching tall and proud on the old parade deck.
Saturday night was great with a fine dinner and speeches by different people. Sgt Grit was one of the guest speakers and definitely left a lasting impression on all in attendance. We had about a 100 people for dinner. The stories were great with a lot of different versions of what happened at certain firebase or compound we all shared. There was a special toast for those that didn't come back from the war.
The evening went well with a little ribbing between enlisted and officers. Yes folks, we are getting older and it most fascinating to talk with these old vets, what and where they were at in life. They each walked a different course but displayed the old pride in their times as a Marine. One picture is the two oldest marines in attendance, Sgt Jim Foster (Dress Blues) Ser no 1082563 and Sgt John Daniels (winter greens) ser.no. 1117788, both from the Korean era.
I would like to thank Doug Miller, 3/11 reunion secretary, for all the countless hours he spends setting up and contacting all the men who served with this unit. This is the 5th reunion with one planned every year until we're all gone. Next year is planned for San Antonio, Texas, the year after in Washington D.C. I hope that any Marines who ever served with the 3/11th Marine Battalion will be able to attend one of the reunions.
The pictures are of the different batteries and one Marines wife who had the best sense of humor. Sorry, I'm not allowed to Identify her by name.
Proud old Marine/Semper Fidelis
P.S. Don, thank you again for your appearance and donations to the unit...
Even 40 Years Later
Hello, Sgt. Grit,
On 27 October 2009 (coming up on a year now), two of my Marine Corps brothers and I had a great reunion at MCRD. Inseparable during boot camp and ITR, we'd lost touch over the years, and "found" each other through the internet. We promptly decided a reunion was in order, and that the only place to have it was at MCRD where we met, and the only time to have it was from 26-28 October, since 27 October was to be the 40th anniversary of our first day of boot camp, to the day.
Chuck Roots, Larry McEntire, and I approached the main gate bright and early the morning of 26 October. Chuck is a retired O-6, and we were in his car, so getting on the base was no problem. We immediately went to the Chaplain's office. Some explanation is probably in order here. Chuck had risen to SSGT in the Corps, and gotten out to return to college, where he felt the call to the ministry, and got his Divinity degree. As a young pastor, he was approached by a Naval recruiter who asked him if he was interested in being a Chaplain. Chuck said he was, but only if he could minister to Marines (as you know, the Marine Corps doesn't have Chaplains, and the Navy provides them, as it does Corpsmen). He was assured that he could, and just like that, he became a Naval officer, and participated in every military action from Vietnam through Operation Iraqi Freedom, and retired as Command Chaplain for the 4th Marine Air Wing.
So back to my story: The Chaplain was glad to give us our own escort from his office, who took us all over the Depot. We wandered among the few remaining Quonset huts, all over the grinder, got a few pictures on the yellow footprints, and even got to go inside our old squad bay where we were quartered after moving out of the Quonset huts.
Our escort's cell phone rang, and after a brief conversation, he told us that we were to report to the Battalion CO's office immediately. He didn't say why, and we didn't ask. An order's an order, even 40 years later! Turns out the CO, a Lt. Col., had heard from the Chaplain that we were aboard, and wanted to meet these three "old relics" who used to be part of his command. He introduced us to the curator of the Marine Corps museum, who invited us to a breakfast that next day (27 October) with the Marine Corps Historical Society at one of the mess halls. We were only too glad to accept!
At breakfast, we met and spoke briefly with BGen Ron Bailey, the base commander, who made it a point during his speech to recognize us for making this "pilgrimage" in order to be here on the exact 40th anniversary of the day we started our journey towards becoming Marines. We were flabbergasted that anyone would consider that any big deal! We had never even considered doing it anywhere else or at any other time.
After breakfast, we were invited to a private tour of the new museum, and eagerly accepted. At that point, the real highlight of our trip occurred. One of the Historical Society members was himself an Iwo Jima survivor, and as you can imagine, most highly revered. This fine gentleman walked up (ramrod straight, despite his years) and actually asked us if we'd mind him joining us on the tour. Mind? Are you kidding me? We literally swal1owed lumps in our throats as we said "Sir, you have no idea what an honor we would consider that to be". It was too. We had a great tour, and he told us some truly outstanding stories, about Iwo Jima, and his career as a Marine, including tours of duty as a Drill Instructor. None of us will ever forget it.
We finished our reunion with a trip to Camp Pendleton and Edson Range, where we'd qualified with our M-14's so long ago. What a trip it had been. Every Marine we met went out of his or her way to make us feel welcome and to try and make our visit more enjoyable. As for the three of us, after 40 years, it was as though we'd never been apart, not a moment of awkwardness. We even resumed some arguments started back in 1969 (and still unsettled, of course, stubborn jarheads!). We're going to try and do it again next year, and this time, get as many of our old Platoon 2193 to join us as we can. I hope anyone who hasn't been to a reunion like this will give it some thought. I'm sure they'll enjoy it!
Several pictures on my Facebook page, by the way, and I've attached a few here. Feel free to drop in and take a look, if you're of a mind to. Thanks for reading!
Joe Harden (former Sgt, USMC)
What Humbled Me
This week I had the privilege to take my father to Camp Pendleton for the unveiling of the Chosin Memorial.
Growing up my father never talked about the war and what he had been through. But a few years ago he started to open up. He told me how he got wounded, of the freezing, bitter cold, so cold that many men were frozen in the position which they died, of the endless onslaught of Chinese and Korean soldiers, wave after wave of men who came at them.
He told me of the rubber boots which made their feet sweat and of the frostbite which ensued whenever they stopped (he has had problems with his toes and fingers due to frostbite for as long as I can remember). He told me of how many weapons froze and would not fire, of how he threw grenades and they just bounced on the ground because it was so cold that they wouldn't explode. He told me of the Corpsman who treated him, that he kept the vials of morphine in his mouth so they wouldn't freeze.
And so I brought my father to Camp Pendleton.
The morning of the dedication there was a display of Korea era weapons, K-Rations, uniforms and other items. My father found the type of weapon he carried and picked it up (heavier than I remember, he said). To commemorate the fact that Korea was the first time that the Marines used helicopters, four CH-46's flew overhead.
There were a couple of speakers but the one everyone waited for was the Commandant. He gave a well prepared speech but it was afterwards that most impressed everyone.
Although we were told that the Commandant had a very busy schedule he stayed and shook every one's hand and posed for pictures. You could see the respect that the veterans had for the Commandant but more importantly you could see the love, the respect and admiration that the Commandant had for these ancient warriors, these brave men.
What humbled me was that, according to them, there were no heroes there. They were all just Marines doing their jobs. To them the heroes were those men who did not come back, who gave the ultimate sacrifice. "I didn't do nothing special, I just did my job." That was the most repeated phrase that night.
A hero is an ordinary man who when faced with impossible odds finds the courage to do extraordinary things. That fit each and every men there. What also got me was the spirit that these men still had. Many had been asked that if given the opportunity to pick up a weapon and ship out to fight again would they?
To a man they all said yes. These men who did their duty, who spent their time in he1l still said that they would gladly pick up arms to defend this nation and to contribute to the good fight. And yet they say they are not heroes.
HM3 Luis M. DeLaCruz USN/FMF 75-78
3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion 1st Marine Division
Proud son of Cpl Frank Valtierra USMC (RET)
Fox Co. 7th Marine Regiment 1st Marine Davison
Dear Sgt Grit in case you did not know it, I read your article on Korea 1950. I had the honor of being at the Chosin with the 1st Div and serving under CHESTY then a Col. And I am glad to learn about the memorial.
There is another being done at CAMP PENELTON; Ca. on 9/16/10 on the 60 year memorial service at the base a beautiful granite stone next to the Iwo Jima memorial KOREA CHOSIN FEW was dedicated (See more photos). The Commandant, Gen Conway and several other brass was present, also guest speaker Ret. Capt Dale Dye USMC also producer of new film "CHOSIN" just being released. There were several members of the 1st Div that were present and I was so proud of them many of course my seniors being I was very young at the time.
The memorial is just passing the main gate to base on a hill overlooking the base and the pacific it was beautiful. I hope this gets to your members so if any former grunt wants to see it.
SEMPER-FI GySgt Norman 1948-1968
The Real Walking Dead
Sgt Grit. Here's one for you. Delta 1/9 3rd Marines. The real waling dead 1/9. Not the east coast 1/9. This was taken in 69. I lost contact with all but one, Cpl. Owen Eaton, second top left. I'm bottom right corner, Cpl. Mike Holman, at that time.
We stayed in contact and call each other Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. He's on the east coast and I'm on the west coast. Now I'm a 1stSgt. Not sure how many of us are still around?
I know when you're on base or just out and people hear 1/9 and you were a part of them, it gets everyone's attention and smiles. All of the shirts I've ever seen with the Walking Dead are of the east coast and not of the 3rd Marines. What's up with this? It's hard to find shirts of the 3rd Marines 1/9. Maybe you can come up with something and put things right for all of use Old Corps Marines. Keep up the great work and keeping the Corps in front of the rest.
Semper Fi Do or Di...
1StSgt. MIKE HOLMAN and CWO-4 HELEN HOLMAN.
And yes, my wife does out rank me...35 YEARS
An update on the future of the Corps
During the month of October, Robert Gates will meet with the Commandant of the Marine Corps to decide whether the next- general amphibious assault vehicle should go forward in production. Since SecNav Mabus believes the vehicle costs too much, and as we all know, Mabus is the Commandant's boss, it does not bode well for this much needed Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV).
The EFV has three times the water speed as current amphibious vehicles, and more importantly, twice the armor. The EFV once it hits land, can travel at speeds to keep up with the Abrams tank. This will improve the survivability of Marines on shore and sailors on ship. However, SecNav Mabus has elevated the price tag of the EFV over these benefits. There are a lot of politics that govern the decision whether to keep the EFV or not, too many in fact, to write here, but an excellent article on the subject matter is available at Forbes Blog: Politics of Killing Weapons Programs
But here is where the sh!+ hits the fan: Robert Gates, in his San Francisco speech back in August, clearly stated that he does not believe future wars will involve amphibious landings and that, well...the whole concept of amphibious assaults is archaic. Underlying this statement is his belief that not only are Marine Corps amphibious operations archaic, but so is the Marine Corps itself and we simply do not need the Corps. As I wrote earlier, this is reminiscent of politics post-WWII when there was an attempt to absorb the Marine Corps into the Army. One might also recall that high ranking officers in the Air Force believed there would be no need for jet fighters either, since all future air wars would be fought with bombers flying at 30,000+ feet carpet bombing. History has proven this error.
As MSgt Gene Hays said in today's AmericanCourage, the time is now to lay down a preemptive strike of letters to the editor, senate, congress, and Veteran's organizations. Let us hope there will be a group of officers with the backbone to resurrect the Chowder Society as well. Stay in tune, Marines.
SSgt - '78-87
Interesting Response To Blog Article
CPL Murray, Jonathan J. has left a new comment on your post "Marines fighting for their future?"
Being a former 1833 crewchief I feel that amphibious assaults will not become a thing of the past. With the development of better more effective reactive armor, faster and more maneuverable AAV's and better weapon systems. It may one day fall to this small group of Marines to be able to perform an amphibious assault and I think we should provide them the safest fastest killing machine that we can.
Granted I can't imagine them to much faster on land (my old tractor could sustain 60mph for quite a distance) slow as a pig in the water. Anyway while I'm here may as well apologize to all the 2ndMarDiv grunts I terrorized by slipping quarters in the ramp seals and telling them the bilge pumps weren't working sorry guys glad you could take a joke. SEMPER-FI and YATYAS to all those tankers out there.
CPL. Murray 2nd AA Battalion 88-92
Sea-Bees, Spam, Guadalcanal
I was going into a super market. Coming out with a basket of groceries was a thin weathered looking older gentleman, sporting a ball cap with a SEA -BEES patch on it.
I stopped him and asked, "Were you in the SEA - BEES?"
He gave me a who the h*ll are you look and said, "Yes."
I asked, "World War II?"
He said, "Yes."
"Where", I asked.
"The South Pacific", He answered.
"Guadalcanal?", I asked.
Again he said, "Yes".
I said, "You built Henderson Field, didn't you?"
He said, "Yea, I guess so."
I said, "Thank you for your service." Extended my hand and we shook.
At that point he started weeping and said, "Nobody ever thanked me before."
I told him, "I know a lot of people who would like to thank him - and thanks from them too."
We parted. What I didn't tell him was that my father, Pharmacist's Mate 1st Class "Pete" Cawthon was there too. My dad would rarely if ever talk about his war time experiences. Except, he did mention the SEA - BEES had good chow and they would share it.
Growing up, Spam and Pineapple were not allowed in our house. The smell of either made him physically ill. RIP Dad.
So thank em when you see em.
J P Cawthon
66 to 70 22714XX
Been out for awhile but still a Marine. I saw this design and really liked it.
Cpl. R. Brown
Drill Instructors Were Forgiven
Sgt DeWitt wrote he never saw a recruit hit during his time at boot camp. I joined Aug. 69 and as Sgt Grit said hands on training was not uncommon. After the first night at PI I made the decision to keep my mouth shut, do what was expected and to become invisible. I do remember quite a few punches and slaps on others that may have lasted into the minutes for some unmotivated personal. Yes I got mine too, after one extremely grueling day on the grinder, expecting the DI's to do their normal smoke break before entering the squad bay I made a mad dash for the scuttle butt just outside the DI's house. Yes I got caught and got the wind knocked out of me with a punch to the gut, it was deserved.
At the rifle range it became a different story, our PMI stated during the first two days of live fire he didn't care if we shot at birds but we'd better qualify on the third day. Needless to say with the exception of a small few those that didn't were lined up AH to bellybutton headed for the head. The PMI was waiting there and our sessions lasted into the minutes with one recruit ending up in the hospital. My Drill Instructors were forgiven long ago, they just wanted as many as possible to make it home. The PMI on the other hand had better hope we never meet because one of us will take a azs whipping!
Bumped Into A Drill Instructor
It was interesting to read in the last newsletter that a Marine did not believe the story of the hands on treatment in Boot Camp. I went through Boot Camp at MCRD San Diego, Platoon 1073, in 1967. I recall an incident at the Rifle Range.
We had just got back from the range and were headed for the barracks. A Pvt. in our platoon was entering the Head and he bumped into a Drill Instructor exiting at the same time. The Drill Instructor was from another platoon, he was a rather short man of Asian descent. The Drill Instructor grabbed the Pvt. by the neck with two fingers thereby shutting of his air supply, he didn't let go until the Pvt. sunk to the floor gasping for air. Needless to say, no other recruit ever bumped into that or any other Drill Instructor the rest of Boot Camp. That was only one of many hands on incidents during Boot Camp.
Cpl. David Hannah
C-1-12, RVN, 68-69
Believe it or Not
In response to Sgt Jon DeWitt's letter "A little heard to believe" There is a saying - I don't know if it still exists - but when I was in boot camp in January of 1952 we were told always remember that the Marine before you had it the toughest. That's why I always have respected Marines that have served before me.
From the time we were let out of the cattle trucks to the time we graduated, we were slapped, kicked, punched. Later on I heard all this had stopped after the drownings in the swamps of Camp LeJeune. The Marines were treated a little different.
I remember an incident where six D.I.'s were lined up face to face and this recruit had messed up real bad. He was ordered to make it from one end to the other while they punched and kicked him. I don't know if this made us tougher or gave us better discipline. I think it did both and later saved a lot of lives.
I have no complaints. Yes, there was a way out if you were a mom's boy and could not take it. Write to your congressman which didn't do any good or try to slice your wrist, but make sure you didn't go too deep and try to get a section "D".
One think I would like to say and if you don't know it by now, is to always remember that "The Marine before you had it tougher than you" and Semper Fi to all of you
Cpl. ERNIE GARCIA (BARNEY BEAR) 1368933
F/2/11 KOREA 1953/1956/
DI Favors Solar Plexus
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I went through Parris Island Recruit Depot in June of 1961. The D.I.'s still employed the use of a fist to get a point across (never in the face but in the solar plexus). I was hit 5 times in a row for not doing well on the rifle range on first day of live fire (I'm sure my D.I. pulled his punches somewhat but I did qualify as a sharpshooter the next day).
Some of my most vivid memories are of P.I. and the 13 weeks I spent there----no regrets only pride. I am now 67 years old and still fly the Marine Corps flag on a daily basis just beneath the Stars and Stripes.
In a previous newsletter former Sgt. DeWitt said it found it hard to believe that DIs slapped recruits. Sgt. DeWitt, believe me the physical aspects of discipline were very much practiced when I went through boot camp nearly 57 years ago. I don't recall getting slapped, but I do recall getting the crap knocked out of me by several DIs in the duty hut at MCRDSD. I wasn't slapped, but I was the recipient of a number of blows to my solar plexus. This in addition to being on the receiving end of butt strokes from time to time via my M-1. Sure got my attention!
Bob Rader #1405534
For A Fact
Sgt Grit - I read the entry by Sgt DeWitt in the Sept 23rd newsletter and can't help but wonder where he went thru boot camp ? I went thru Parris Island with Plt 3065 - S Co - 3rd R T Bn and I can tell you for FACT that "hands on" was not just common but was d*mn near an hourly occurrence that began when we were getting off the "cattle cars" in front of the 3rd Bn barracks!
It consisted of being kicked in the azs, smacked and punched while being verbally reminded that you was lower than snakesh-t and that the "BEST" part of YOU ran down your mama's leg ! We had different "games" we played when we screwed up, such as "Watching TV", "Jukebox" and a particularly nasty one called "Crucifixation" (involved the chinning bar at the end of the squad bay) .
We would also stand at attention with our M14 held by the bayonet lug & front sight resting on our forefingers while being held straight out from your body, parallel to the deck - this would also be done using our footlocker. Push-ups, jumping jacks and SQUAT THRUSTS (I HATED them the most) were done so much that it's a wonder we ever had time for anything else !
We had 2 hooks at the foot of the upper rack that were used to hang (VERY CAREFULLY) our M14's so they could rest at night. A "maggot" made the unforgivable mistake of NOT properly securing his M14 to the hook. When we were ordered to "mount" the rack for sleep, the M14 crashed down to the deck ! To say that the DI went totally BUGF--K would be putting it mildly ! We did SQUAT THRUSTS til I thought my legs would come flying off! The "wounded" M14 was put in the "maggots" rack to rest and recover while the "maggot" was hung on the end of the rack in place of the M14 (using his cartridge belt under his armpits) !
While at the rifle range, I had a problem with "jerking" the trigger. My D I "solved" this by having me lock the bolt to the rear, place my trigger finger over the chamber with the meat of the finger filling the chamber, then he simply let the bolt slam on my finger! From the 1st joint to the tip of the finger was "numb" (mashed was more the description) for the rest of the week and so I stopped "jerking" the trigger. The back of my forefinger still shows these marks to this day. I did indeed qualify, which was pretty amazing when you consider that I had never even seen a real rifle before getting to Boot Camp.
My point is that these things happened in ALL 3 platoons that made up my Series (3064-65 & 66) and I'm pretty sure they were fairly common in the mid 60's Boot Camp. The D I's told us that this treatment and these "games" would toughen us up and that if we were ever captured by the VC we be wishing for treatment this "KIND"!
I joined the Corps at 17, just out of High School and didn't even know who the VC were, why we were killing them, or where the h&ll Vietnam was on the world map! My reason for joining the Corps was SIMPLE, I had seen a Marine in his DRESS BLUES. Since I was 17, my thought process went like this: get that look - FEMALES will line up down the block for me to RAVISH! Of course the d-mn recruiter didn't say ANYTHING to burst or interfere with my DELUSION or mention anything about a WAR!
The D I's began to let up as we neared graduation and stopped completely a few days before graduation when we were told our M.O.S.'s. The depiction of mid 60's boot camp featured in the movie "Full Metal Jacket" was as close to reality as anything I've seen yet. EVERY night we "ALSO" recited the "Rifleman's Creed", said goodnight to Chesty Puller and sang the Marines Hymn! We also did the "THIS is MY RIFLE, This is My Gun, This is for KILLING, This is for FUN" when someone called the M14 a "gun" in the beginning of Boot Camp!
While all of this might sound IMPOSSIBLE and ABSURD today, this was Boot Camp then! It was 44 years ago this week that I graduated from Boot Camp (September 22, 1966). Attached is the graduation picture, I'm in the 5th row up, 3rd in from the right. I was and still am ALWAYS both Amazed & Honored that I had somehow been found worthy of the title of United States Marine. The pain has long ago passed but the PRIDE is forever ! As 1 of the bumper stickers says, " Everyone dies, I will die a MARINE"
Semper Fi, Jim Herbst Sgt 29 July 66 / 28 July 70 - RVN - 1st Mar Div 1 Sept 68 / 9 April 70
When I first moved into my home in 1992, in North East Philly, I did not know one person who lived there. I used to keep a ball cap on the rear deck by the rear windshield. On the Red cap it had Orange lettering "USMC".
A neighbor came out of his house as I was parking my car. He did the usual Marine greeting Semper Fi!. We get into a long conversation This Marine was in the 2nd Marine Division who took the island of Tarawa, he told me some Harrowing stories of the Marines fighting there. These Marines were truly legends of the Corps. Just as our DI's told us about them. My new found friend was very lucky to have survived, his Higgins boat got hung up on a reef, the Marines piled out, they waded ashore in neck deep water, being racked by Mach. Gun Fire, he was the only survivor of his boat, they all formed up from the other boats and made a formidable fighting force, That's a USMC trademark.
Hello Sgt. Grit...
I saw that the actor Tony Curtis died yesterday and I was reminded of my first and only encounter with Mr. Curtis.
It was around the 21st or 22nd of August 1960. I had arrived at MCRD in the evening of Friday August 18th and stayed at the receiving barracks for a number of days while waiting for more recruits to arrive to form a platoon.
There was something of a courtyard behind the receiving barracks where we often stood while waiting for someone to take us somewhere or give us work assignments.
During one wait, I was standing in formation in a place where I could see through the nearest door and which allowed me to look out the front door of the receiving barracks.
While there, I observed what appeared to be three drill instructors punishing a Marine in utilities. They had surrounded him, and began to make him duck walk back and forth. I had wondered what he had done to garner the wrath of these drill instructors.
Sometime later when going up to our sleeping quarters, I saw this same Marine, and it was the first time I had ever seen an American Indian with blue eyes. Only later did I recognize it was Tony Curtis and consequently realized he was making a movie.
The movie turned out to be "The Unforgiven" and he played the role of Ira Hayes.
We Discovered That Once
Grit: in re the M2 HB .50 cal Browning machine gun, today more commonly known as a "Ma Duce"....as a middlin' old dawg, I recall .50's that had a cam-lever operated telescopic sight mount on top of the receiver... and don't know if current production has that fixture, but from memory, it was there for sniping purposes (never did see one with a scope on it)... which was also the reason for the twist lock to hold the bolt release latch (thumb button in the middle of the 'butterfly' trigger) in the down position... with that latched, the weapon fires in automatic mode... with it released, the gunner is able to let the bolt go home with one in the chamber... and THEN sight in on his target. The bolt springs drive the bolt home with considerable authority, and would disturb any pre-existing sight picture.
Used to get Range Officer duty weekly or so, in H&S 1st Tanks outside DaNang, to take the FNG's processing into the Bn out to the range at Hoa Com (sp?) which was a range for the South Vietnamese RF/PF training camp (run by two Australian Warrant Officers...never try to drink beer with two Aussies....but I digress). We would fire every type of weapon in the Bn arsenal (but not the big ones that had tracks and turrets). The range was basically on the south side of the hill 423 complex, and not too far from the big ASP and the IIIMAF brig. The .50 cal would be set up on its tripod ground mount and sandbagged (and it would still move around a bit when fired)...we discovered that once the gun was really hot, that a pint can of PL Special (oil) poured liberally over the receiver would produce the most interesting spiral smoke trails behind the next few rounds down range. Learned later on, that we were lucky, and that this little stunt was one of those 'do not try this at home' items. According to the weapons engineer I related this to, we were creating chamber pressures well beyond the design limits...and were lucky the thing didn't rupture on us.
BTW... bought a couple of your .50 cal ball point pens at the 1MD reunion in San Antonio last month...we have three deer seasons here in TN (bow, black powder, etc.). and of course there is the usual weapons BS in the old guy's coffee at Worsham's country store bunch (known as the Loafers & Liars Club...I'm one of the loafers...) Sauntered in there, quietly retched in my pocket (Southern for 'reached") and set the pen down on the primer end...had their attention. (according to the head stamp, the brass was first loaded at Lake City Arsenal in 2008..)... Good fun... I recommend anybody who consorts with gun nuts ...and I suspect that's a high percentage of your readers...get a couple of those pens... (no charge for the 'plug')
The Next One
Col.Yarborough's story to his son brought back memories as I was one of the ones that took the Cosmoline off the .50's and sent them on lines. Must have been at the "Punch Bowl" that's where they were used the most. As I remember the spotter, with the binoculars, would say; "Target about 800 yards, one finger left of the big tree", then the gunner would (hopefully find the target) and shoot the Target. The telescope sights on the .50 caliber machine guns were about 4 power and took guys with good eyes. We used to shoot and then watch the NK troops push the camo net back over their digging using shovels, then watch and wait for the next one.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau Korea 1951
It Was The Women
I've noticed this over the years, but was recently refreshed the other day. Not tooting my own horn here, as I am just the average looking Joe. Nothing impressive to look at. No doubt we have the best looking Dress uniform, everyone I talk to tells me that. But there is an Overall Mysterious persona about Marines.
A few weeks ago a buddy and I were riding in Colorado and Wyoming. We made stops here and there to shop, get fuel and have a cold one. Everywhere people would look at the bikes, mine especially as it is done in Marine Crimson and gold, well at least close and has the Marine emblem on it and United States Marines across front.
But it was the women that were most curious, always saying thanks for your service giving me a hug, etc. Buddy was jealous. Told him It is a Marine thing. As He was wearing Air Force Badges.
Then yesterday I was at the Air Force Base clinic getting a physical for my new position out there. I had on my Eleanor Roosevelt shirt and my Marine hat. 8 or so women from 20 years old to about 40, stopped me to read the shirt, or took a double look.
One came over after I sat down and asked me to stand. She then gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Her husband came over and asked if she knew me and why she did that. She said, He's a Marine! And you know how my family and I feel about Marines! There were maybe 15 people in the room at the time and were kind of caught surprised.
Yep there is a mysterious persona about Marines!
Semper Fi All
PS. October 15, 2010 6:00pm at eagles lodge in Cheyenne is the annual Toys For Tots kickoff Chili feed. everyone is invited. door prizes, raffles, silent auction etc.
sgt of Marines (nla)
1968 - 1974
Concerning your story about Malachy Murphy being the Marine in the Time Life Magazine.
My Name is Bill Taylor.
I am the other Marine that they are talking about in your story in the Sgt Grits newsletter.
I am almost certain that that photo is of me.
I contacted Time Life Magazine about the photo and the photographer would not let me use the photo.
Time Life did give me permission to use the captions in the magazine in my story.
I don't know how to prove that the picture is me but I am about 90% certain that it is me and my two boys are certain too.
I guess if the negative of the picture was available for an expert to examine it could be determined.
The copyright for the picture still belongs to the Duncan Family I guess.
I will be 80 years old next month and would like to find out the truth myself.
I was sent to Korea in 1950. Any help in proving this would be greatly appreciated.
Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done!