| || || Twas Night Before - Even in Muddy Korea|
A Korean Christmas Carol
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the tent was the odor of fuel oil (the stove pipe was bent.)The shoe packs were hung by the oil stove with care in the hopes that they'd issue each man a new pair. The weary GI's were sacked-out on their cots, And visions of sugar-babies danced through their heads. When up on the ridge line there rose such a clatter (A Chinese machine gun had started to chatter.) I rushed to my rifle and through back the bolt. The rest of my tent mates awoke with a jolt.
Outside we could hear platoon Sgt Kelly, a hardnosed man with little pot belly."Come Clancy, come Yancy, come Conners and Watson, up Miller, up Shiller, up Baker and Dotson! We tumbled outside in a swirl of confusion, so cold that each man could have used a transfusion. "Get up on that hilltop and silence that Red. And don't you come back till your sure that he's dead. Then putting his thumb in front of his nose Sgt. Kelly took leave of us Joes. But we all heard him say in a voice soft and light, "Merry Christmas to all---may you live through the night."
In This Issue
It's time for a bit of house cleaning and awareness. I try to leave each story as you write it. But I have to make certain changes. It is Corps with an 's', not Corp, Marine is ALWAYS capitalized. I don't care what Mr. Webster says or your high school English teach. The Corps can't be responsible if the rest of the world is wrong on capitalization. To get past the PC police, web filters and other Gestapo types I have to adjust some of the more colorful words Marines use. Examples: sh-tbird, d-amn, etc... This is a Marine newsletter, not the Little Sister of the Poor Convent Newsletter.
This is a good one. Read the whole Son of B-tch, do it now maggot. Our Drill Instructors taught us how to talk to each other. I will continue to do what I can to get around the effete elite PC filters.
Definition of EFFETE
1: no longer fertile
2a : having lost character, vitality, or strength
2b : marked by weakness or decadence
2c : soft or delicate from or as if from a pampered existence.
Not a problem we have as Marines.
Oh, I almost forgot, Parris Island has two r's. The boot camp rejects may go to Paris to sip tea with the elite artistic types. But Marines go to PaRRis Island.
Fair winds and following seas.
In June 1958, after a pleasant voyage aboard the glamorous cruise ship USS Breckenridge, I landed in Okinawa. I was part of a company of Marines that took over what had formerly been Weapons Company 3/9 and created Mike Company. Here 2 of my fellow (E-3) Corporal fire team leaders (1st Platoon), an unidentified private and myself standing in front of our barracks.
Reading from left to right are; myself, Cpl Pierce/Pearce, (unknown) and Cpl Farmer. It sure would be nice to hear from any of them, if possible.
1469143/099670 (I still remember them)
From The Sand Box
Hey Sgt Grit. my name is SSgt Ahlin. im with 1/11 B Btry. the boys just got back from the sand box. i read your info and saw you use to be a cannoncocker with 1/11. here are some pics i thought you might like of me and boys getting some. Semper Fi
Box Of Oreos
While not as rewarding as collecting money at the rifle range, my scam was enjoyed by at least 8 Boots at PI.
At the PISC rifle range in 1955 (Plt 108), I was called to the DI's hut to pick-up a mail package. Sitting on the floor, I was ordered to open my package for the DI's to review.
It was a large box that was obviously a marked stationary box. The DI said: "What the h&ll is that, stationary stuff?". As I lifted the end of the box nearest to me, I saw a box full of Oreo cookies, a boot's dream, for in those days, the only treats we had were mess hall food and cigarettes. I quickly answered "Yes sir" and closed the box.
The DI said to get the h&ll out of there and I quickly got up and ran back to my hut. We were in 8-man huts at the time and my fellow hut mates and I pigged out and ate all of the cookies that night. We were afraid to leave any cookies in the hut for the DI's to find.
Sgt. Earnie Aikens
Plt 108 PI
Skinny Sh-t Next To Him
Noticed the reference "Snookering your DI" and had to relate the following. It has only been recently that I even told this story because I doubted that DI's had a statue of limitations and I really didn't want S/Sgt Trebella tracking me down. (Always thought he should have been a Hollywood DI with his Errol Flynn mustache, but he was the SDI, PI Platoon 37, 1953.)
Standing in front of our racks and being told jokes, I and the poor soul at the next bunk made the mistake of smiling. We were ordered to pick up our locker boxes, which contained all our earthly possessions, hold them above our heads, and double time around the barracks. The co-smiley was around 6' 4", muscles in his hair (even though his was short) and had more weight in his arms than I had in my entire body. In a flash I realized that no one shared the other bunk where I was, THEREFORE, the locker box staring at me was empty.
I felt it was not up to me to try and explain the situation, but to follow the orders and "pick up those locker boxes and double time." It was not directed which locker box to pick up. We made about three runs around the squad bay and my co-smiley started to moan and one arm started to dip, so, I moaned even louder and both arms dipped. Three more passes around the bay and my co- smiley was running a little slower, moaning a little louder, dipping a little more, so I out did him in the slowing down, the moaning and the dipping, but kept up with him.
Finally were told to return to our bunks, where Sgt Trebella berated Mr. Muscles for not doing better than that skinny sh-t next to him. I prayed every night until graduation and getting out of there that Sgt. Trebella wouldn't pick up, or notice that box was empty. Since up to this point during my little visit to PI, I had been out cold three times (which I think they called it "getting your attention") I guess that made the score 3 to 1, which was better than most.
Maybe this is why I was out cold three times;
Another One For Himself
I would like to share a story I heard while on I&I duty. Sgt Fadden later WO Fadden was telling me about his trip home to Maine during a blizzard. He was at Camp Lejeune and decides to catch a ride hitch hiking. He had not gone very far from the main gate when he sees a station wagon coming over the frozen highway for all it would go. After the station wagon passes him completely he sees the brake light on one side light up. The rest of the car is wrecked from one end to the other. Sgt Fadden says the mystery car does about six loops and comes back for him.
Fadden says when he opened the door he sees a guy with mechanical legs and hands. Fadden is in his uniform and wool overcoat so the driver recognizes him as a Marine. Fadden says the car is equipped to allow the driver to operate the car. When he gets in the driver grabs a beer from the back seat and opens it by punching holes in the can with his mechanical hand. Gives one to Fadden and another one for himself. During the ride to Maine Sgt Fadden hears the story of the former Recon Marine who is taking him home. It appears he lost his arms and legs in Vietnam and just wanted to drive around the country. Sgt Fadden says he took him to his home and refused to let him help pay gas or expenses. The last thing he says to Fadden is... Semper Fidelis!
It doesn't matter when it started. It is a modification of Hoorah... As in hip hip hooray... The MAIN THING is... It is the Marine Corps BATTLE CRY... Not the Motto... A bark... A motivational yell... And most important of all... Is it is only understood by fellow MARINES ! ! !
So SEMPER FIDELIS... And F_ckin' A....And OORAH, URRAH .... And Goodnight CHESTY wherever you are ! ! !
See More Pictures with this Story
Thought Chesty Was Right
SGT GRIT - You mention Ribbon Creek as thought it was something special and out of line. First I knew a World War One Marine - who when told about it just laughed and said "H&ll He Went though the Creek in 1917 - he thought Chesty was Right they just wanted to hang someone because it was politically correct - Had a friend in that platoon & was in the water - Everything was just fine until two dipsticks "Panicked and started swimming out to sea"
What caused the Sgt the most trouble was he came back from shore leave after a few drinks - and because two d*mn Yeller Heads went the wrong way he got hung As I was told the Sgt started a rope line which saved many of those recruits - it was just his bad luck The Commandant was a capon - that was my feeling about it
Check the records - you'll probably find they did it before the Battle of Bull Run
great news letter - keep it coming
J E Hackett
US Marine- Class of 52
I've enjoyed reading all of your emails that you send out every week over the past few years and I also have enjoyed your company's wonderful service whenever I've ordered anything from you.
Today, I wish to comment a bit about the M-1 to M-14 issue. When I was sent to Marine Barracks Rodman Naval Station Panama Canal in January of 1970 I could not believe my eyes when I was put in the armory there. You see I was a school trained armorer, 2111. I was trained at Quantico, Va back in 1968. I understand that now the Army trains our armorers. Anyway, there before me was a room full of M-1 Garands. I thought wow have I stepped back in time?
Back in the states we were still issued the M-14 at that time. I believe that the M-16 was in use in Nam though along with the M-14. Well, I took over the armory and did an inventory and not only were there M-1s but there were a few BARs too, along with a 30cal mg too.
While there we went to the rifle range and of course I got the job of being range armorer. That was a lot of fun. Didn't have any problems at all with the weapons thankfully. I even got to sight in my own brand new M-1 that had been sent as part of a replacement shipment. It was a beautiful weapon. Just wish though that about September when the Barracks changed over the M-14 that I could have kept my M-1. However, I didn't know a civilian well enough to put a bid in for it for me.
So as far as I know it was cut up along with the others and dumped at sea. The high humidity down in Panama is very hard on weapons. They were for most part in pretty bad shape then. When we converted to the 14, I had to take several of them over to the Atlantic side of the canal in an open bed pickup truck with a 45 and 5 rounds(lol). It was a two hour drive over there and another two hours back and it was only 52 miles through the jungles of Panama. So, that is my story of converting over from the M-1 to the M-14. I must say that I enjoyed shooting both weapons very much. I loved to shoot the BAR too, that is one sweet weapon for sure.
Now here is my platoon pic from boot camp. It was taken during summer of 1968. I am in the first row right behind the Drill Instructor on the right side. My question about boot platoon pics is when did they stop taking them in greens and start taking them in fatigues instead? I've seen some of the ones you've posted where they are in full uniform and not in fatigues.
Plt 3014 June to September 1968
Sgt of Marines 2111
On His Arrival
Nile E White USMC veteran of both Korea and Vietnam almost fittingly passed away on Veteran's Day. Nile joined the Marines after watching his brother Warren White return home from WWII. He said when his brother walked up to him and handed him his cover he was hooked. As a young boy growing up, my uncle Nile was a combination of Paul Bunyan, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood all rolled into one bigger than life six foot four mans man and Marines Marine.
The Monday before he passed the local paper in Clarksburg, West Virginia interviewed Nile about the traditions of the Marine Corps birthday. As only he could do, Nile described the birthday and tradition as if he had actually been at the tavern on the first day of our Corps.
The most important line from the movie Saving Private Ryan is when Tom Hank's character says "make it matter" Nile E White made a difference in a lot of people's lives he made it matter. On his arrival for guard duty on heavens streets the Sergeant of the guard will surely say Nile E White "Mission Accomplished"
Thanks in advance for allowing me to share
USMC 1969 1972
Note: CWO2 Nile E White was a regular contributor to the Sgt Grit News. We, too, will miss his motivation and the difference "The Gunner" has made. Semper Fi!
Steel Pike I had nothing to do with Nam. It was a joint exercise with BLT 1/2 and the Spanish Marines in Spain on 26, October 1964. Someone mentioned Steal Pike I in one of your newsletters perhaps in 2009. I mistakenly deleted that newsletter. Anyhow, Many Thanks for your good help and the website.
According to the Marine Corps dictionary, the correct spelling for that special place where Marines in the old days got their beer is, "Slop Chute". Hope this clears things up.
Orlando La Rosa, USMC
2059984, Sept. '63 - Sept. '67
Nam '65 - '66
1371 - 2111
Last week I was shopping in Kohl's Dept Store in Cerritos Ca. I, of course, had on my USMC jacket. At the checkout, my wife asked the young clerk if there was a senior discount. She replied no, that is Wednesday but there is a Semper Fidelis discount and took 15% off the bill. A feel good situation,
Jim McCuen Dublin CA K-3-8 58-61
We were issued the paper sleeping bag while I was in 2nd Plt, E 2/28 while stationed at Camp Pendleton. Kept us warm but couldn't re-fold the d-mn things. Never saw them again. We had them for about three days on a field exercise.
Well you know that the USMC always was frugal about everything. I believe that the brown shoes issue ended when those sizes ran out....So some sizes still had stock. We had several brown (oxfords) issued but most were black!
Reference Sgt Wesley Marsh's comments about Quonset huts at SD...when I went through Boot Camp Aug-Nov 73, we were in three story barracks for most of the time, but moved into the Quonset huts alongside the grinder while on Mess Duty. Thought I was reincarnated into an early Gomer Pyle episode.
I Carried the M1 rifle issued in boot camp all three years of my service including training at Camp Lejeune. turned in when I completed my enlistment. qualified expert all three years, I won first silver medal at eastern division competition as member Parris Island rifle and pistol team, I lent it to others at weapons battalion when they had to re qualify. Because it was so accurate and it never shot less than expert, everyone wanted to use it. God bless weapons battalion. Hello to any one from platoon 415 at 75 - wonder how many are left from our boot Camp platoon. My typing skills are poor due to a past stroke.
In reference to the Sgt that said he got out in 68 and had to have Gabardine green uniforms before that I say BS to him. Enlisted, Sgt and below at least until 1992 when I retired were not allowed to have Gabardine greens. I was issued wool greens in 69, along with tropical worsted and khakis. The troops and khakis were phased out around 74-75 when I was on the drill field. We then had to buy the new all season green dress uniforms. The next big change was around 76 when cammies first came in.
I was At MCRD June 63 and the Corps October 64. In the rain the sleeping bag was not worth its weight.
"On Wednesday, April 28, 2010, Sgt Edward "LUMP" Powell, a Viet Nam veteran reported to his final duty station. He will be missed by all who knew him. God Bless and Semper Fi. Your friends always, Reggie & Patti Wegner."
Reply to Sgt Michael Tyron. Question about 'paper' sleeping bags. When I reported to Camp Geiger(sp), for Advance Infantry Training at the end of November 1964, some of us were issued 'paper' sleeping bags, the rest of us, including me were issued standard sleeping bags. The paper bags were issued with a warning! Not to wear your boots into the bags, which can cause tears. That was the only time paper bags were issued.
Sgt. Ota, F.J.
While the letters about the M-1 to M-14 transition and who was first resurrected a memory about the Stoner Rifle System. I got to PISC in June 1964 and was in Platoon 252 finishing recruit training in September 1964 the boot camp was about 13 weeks then. Anyways what I remember is that a couple of series before me were training with the Stoner Rifle System. They were to use it in boot camp and then on to ITR for an evaluation of it. The Marine Corps was seriously considering on buying it. McNamara's M-16 was bought. Maybe someone out there can provide more information or make the claim of qualifying with the Stoner. There is only a series that can claim it.
Richard P. Quirk
June 64 - Nov 91
I went through the PLC program at Quantico in the summer of '61. We were issued the M1 for the first six week session. At the start of the second six weeks, we were issued the M16. Later on ('62 or early '63) while with 3/8 at Lejeune we had problems at the range with the flash suppressor. It was off just a fraction but the round would just barely graze the front of the flash suppressor as it exited. We found a number of them with a tell tale mark in the same spot cause by the round nicking it.
Allan Geisler, 1st Lt.
Just received my Campaign hat--it brought back memories of the three months that changed my life forever---Semper-Fi---Parris Island, Class of 1950---HBC
Honoring our native Americans that fought with us in WW II Major Howard Connor, 5th Marine Division signal officer, declared, "Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima."
HEY SARGE - Just got your new catalog. Thought I'd write and say HELLO -- We were actually in Viet Nam at the same time. (For a few months anyway). I was there from May '68 to June '69. I was with 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, "Charlie" Co, 2nd Platoon, (The Death Dealers). Then I had a 13 year break in service and went back in '82. Went into 3rd ANGLICO ( Reserves) in San Pedro, CA. Got retrained as a Naval Gunfire Spotter and AIRBORNE ... OOH - RAH !. Wanted to go to Beirut in '83 but my wife said "NO". I had already had my war. Oh, well. Keep up the good work and SEMPER FI
The way I remember it was "side straddle hops forever" or "many millions of them". It really seemed like millions and forever.
Joseph Alvino, Sgt.
Cpl Mike Kunkel is wondering about frauds claiming to be Marines. I've run into several and quickly exposed them for what they are, but the best one was at the gym. I was wearing a Sgt. Grit shirt and this guy says that he was "an ex-Marine." Immediately I'm suspicious. When asked his MOS he got that blank look. I said, "You weren't in the Corps" and he replied (no one can top this) "Well, no, but I ran in the Quantico Relays one year."
Just to say "hi" to GySgt Robert K Otto 1807416, Hi I just want you to know that I served as part of your boot camp training series. I was a member of PLT 164 just down the hall from you guys. After active duty I was a member of 2nd INF BTN "Boston's Own Fighting Irish" out of the Fargo Building in South Boston. This outfit later became 1st Bn, Charlie Company, 4th Marine Division. I'm proud to say that my son served proudly (years later) in this outfit during the first Gulf War.
CPL William H Bruneau 1609486
OOOOOOOHHHHHRAH ....SEMPER FI ! Another great addition of your news letter. Thanks SGT. GRIT !
CPL. C. Morgan 1967-1969. 3rd Marine Division, Northern I Corps. Vietnam (still wandering somewhere along the DMZ) Stay above ground Brother!
Kickin Asz And Takin Names
Here is my boot camp picture of Plt 137, MCRD, Second row from top, 7th from the left, Aug 1964. D.I.'s were left to right, Cpl McClintock, S/SGT Valdez, Sgt Harmon. Mean sob's all. Last boot Plt at Camp Matthews, ITR Camp Pendleton, Artillery training, 1st 8" Howitzers, 29 Palms, boarded USS Breckenridge, San Diego (3,500 Marines, 250 sailors) in February 65, boarded LST's Okinawa March 1, 1965 and landed at Danang, 9th MEB, March 8, 1965.
Six tough years in Corps, May 64-June 1970, 32 months Vietnam, (two Purple Heart's) kickin asz and takin' names.
Sgt Lewis E Wood
Retired last year and always promised myself a tattoo when I did. So this is a custom tattoo I put together and got done over the thanksgiving holiday.
GySgt USMC ret.
Attached is picture of my tattoo that I got last May 2010. It is a Filipino Tribal tattoo with USMC Semper Fidelis incorporated in the tattoo.
USMC is the best and I am proud to have been a member of this elite organization.
Semper Fi, former Corporal Amando Javier, 1990-1994, Combat Engineer.
60th Anniversary, Korea
These pictures are of ceremonies in memory of the 60th anniversary of the invasion by the North Korean Army into the South.
These pictures are of "our group" which was a small part of the more than 40 former Marines who went on this trip. The first picture is of Mr. S. C. Kim, CEO and President of Sunbo Liquors who hosted 4 of us for more than the regular trip and sightseeing. The second is of two Generals and me with Mr. Kim. The third is ditto the second. The fourth is a group picture of me and to the far right is my good friend former Sgt Vince Mariscio, along with Jean White, LtCol, USMC ret'd and former Cpl H Cobb as well as a couple of generals -- I don't remember their names, but the one in the blue sweater, in picture 2 and 3, flew Corsair and later jets to cover Marine activities.
All in all, it was a great trip. We saw the tunnels the NKs have dug. Due to their lack of "proper" nutrition, the tunnels were only 5'4" tall and could not prove to be very dangerous to the SKs, but they were a threat, none the less. We saw Panmunjom and were suitably impressed with SK Marines there and thought the NKs were sloppy and underfed -- uniforms merely draped on their bodies.
The Punchbowl, a fierce fight was there, was impressive with the new fortifications. The SKs are ready. There was a thought expressed by several high ranking military figures in the south that the new regime in the north would have to do "Something" to show the NK army somehow the NK regime was prepared to make a strike somewhere. Else, the NK army would/could overthrow the regime as weak and unprepared for hostilities. The south is so widespread, the attack would likely have to be very limited and on a small scale since there were few unprepared SK units. These SKs are very strong and impressive. Especially the ROK Marines -- they train much like our force recon for every ROK Marine. They are "BAD TO THE BONE!" we all thought.
To follow up on the 1st Battalion Name at PI. I was in Platoon 1056 in September 1966 and it was known as "Bloods & Guts". We were on the second floor in the old 2-story barracks. I recall being told that if the maggot in front of you isn't fast enough, step on em -", while diving down the outside stairwell to form on the grinder ".
SSGT Matheny - Sr. DI, SSGT Clark, Asst DI, Sgt Baker & one more "hero" I can picture like yesterday buy can't recall his name as he came late in the training - might have been Morales.
Something must have changed the name to "Blood Alley" between November 9th 1966 and 1967. I do remember the 3rd Battalion being called "Disneyland", not sure about the 2nd being known as "Twilight Zone", but that was over 44 years ago and I have a hard time remembering what I had for lunch today.
Semper Fi my Brothers -
E. P. De Lise, Sgt of Marines 1966-'70
RVN - 1st Combat Engr BN (Rein) - Danang
I don't remember the exact dates, but I was at Camp Matthews for my first Marine Corps Birthday, and I certainly remember sleeping fully clothed in those paper sleeping bags, and it was still very cold. Little Agony and Big Agony I also remember all too well.
Also, after ITR, I joined the 7Th Engineer Bn. on Camp Pendleton. After Camp Matthews was closed, a small group of us were sent to Camp Matthews to dismantle the wood framed tents we lived in for the three weeks we spent at the range the previous November. We took the tents off of the frames and we actually took the frames apart so the wood could be saved. I assume the Corps kept the tents, but I don't know what became of the wood. Hopefully, the paper sleeping bags were destroyed.
Orlando La Rosa USMC
Sept. '63 - Sept. '67
Nam '65 - '66
1371 - 2111
Four Packs A Day
I was in Plt. 245 from July until Oct of 1961. S/Sgt Welch was our Senior Drill Instructor, S/Sgt Morris was 2nd "hat" and at that time Sgt E-5 Hanschumaker was the junior. This Marine must of smoked four packs of Salem cigarettes a day. He could still out run any of the boots in the platoon. I won't say he was a nutcase, but he was unique. We used to call him "the handy shoemaker", of course no one ever said it out loud. He would have PT'd us until graduation day non-stop. He was meaner then a two headed snake.
Might be the same Marine.
Hello Sgt Grit,
I'm sending this picture of my graduation Platoon 365, Company R, on 19 October 1965. My name is Phillip E. Taylor. I'm sending this graduation picture of our platoon. I'm fourth from the left in the last row in the picture. I would like to talk with you about experiences we had in boot camp and Vietnam .
Sgt Phillip E. Taylor
Sgt 2152895 USMC
1965 until 1974
Since everyone was submitting their boot camp pics, I thought I'd send mine.
Plt 1064, SDI SSGT Soleyjacks. I'd bet there was some hands on for mispronouncing that one!
Cpl Keith Grisham, 3534
More Hands On
If you want to know about real torture in the Corps, I can tell you what it was like in 1966 at MCRD.
After seven weeks of training, we were allowed to go to a movie. We all marched in and stood at attention till told to sit. As we sat there waiting for the movie to start, we got to see all the previews of coming attractions. They were great. Full color, wide screen, we really had our hopes up for a good movie. When the movie started, we got to see "Jessie James meets Frankenstein's Daughter". Now that was torture!
Viet Nam 1966-67-68
I went thru P.I. in Jan 4, 1945 and never did I see a D.I. hit or abuse a boot. I had the best D.I.in the Corps. Both were on the Canal. One wise guy back-talked to a D.I. but never again. I woe the D.I.s and the Corps a lot. I was an uneducated 17 year old and they made a man out of me.
Thanks to Sgt Donovan and Cpl Akins who won the Silver Star on the Canal. But to hit or abuse a recruit is Bull Sh--. I have never seen or talked to anyone I served with, but would like to.
Plt 398 Jul-Sep 1968 MCRDPI. Drill Instructors: GySgt Criss [the "Old Man"], Sgt Mayeux ["bad cop"], Sgt Fortner ["good cop"]. (While there - 1st or 2nd Plt was under investigation for incident involving bruised kidney and cracked ribs .. so we were watched).
Setting stage - I had resigned from AFROTC as Cadet Major, 2nd in command, in my 8th semester college for dispute over being commissioned without graduating; choose USMC vs. draft. So I arrived at PI a 23-yr old with 2 yrs of "officer training". My DI's created a position for me called "scribe" [e.g., all their paper work - not house mouse].
"Bad Cop" would request [scream] my presence into the office. Upon entering, he'd slam the door, and continue a stream of sweet nothings heard by the entire bay, and possibly the distant brig. Then "Good Cop", known for bench pressing recruits and other comedy shows, would pick me up under the armpits and slam me against the door, while Bad Cop continued to serenade me. The door had a 1/2 inch gap so it thundered loudly - kinda like punching a gym locker - all noise, no bruising. In no way did it hurt, in fact they had me stick my butt out so the impact was well cushioned. The 17 yr olds in the bay were well impressed!
This continued for about two thirds of our 8-wk vacation, until I blossomed from a 155 lb 6'1" string bean to 210 [the best EXTRA food came from sitting near the garbage tray conveyor, and scooping stuff from the 1st week "can't eat" recruits' trays]. Good cop couldn't really pick me up any longer. Unable to contain my grins very often over this "Psych 101 minus" operation, I earned a special vacation to a wonderful experience called "one day motivation platoon"- I think I had that black much in my ute's for the rest of basic, and a body part I won't mention.
Got PFC, almost earned blue's - and maintained "Plt Sgt" thru- out ITR @Geiger [once doing my own bench press of a Pvt from another Plt into a creek for screwing up my Plt's forced march .. the only time our Lt's ever smiled].
Ray Burrington Cpl 68-70 2506945
Plt. 210, MCRD, Parris Island, SC, March of 1961. My good DI was tough but fair. He taught us well. He was an exceptional man and an exemplary Marine.
The other DI was well decorated, sharp and squared away. But he showed himself to be anything but a Marine. The bad DI's true colors showed on about the 7th or eighth day that the recruit on the top rack to my right failed to wet his bed, thus stopping bad DI from cutting him loose from the platoon. The little screw-up Pvt. was from the mountains of West Virginia. He didn't know his right from his left. Couldn't do anything right. Whoever had recruited him should have been dropkicked out of The Corps.
At any rate, when the bad DI saw the Pvt.'s failure to irrigate his mattress this one last night, he ordered Pvt. Screw-Up to get his bayonet and come back to attention in front of his rack. The bad DI then ordered this poor little hillbilly to jab the bayonet into his own wrist. The kid up and did it. Blood came pouring out of his wrist. Bad DI turned many puky shades of pale. I immediately broke from attention and grabbed the kid's bleeding wrist to slow the bleeding. Bad DI froze there for nearly a minute, his whole career going up in smoke.
After the brainless little Pvt. was marched away, Bad DI summoned me to the DI House. "Pvt. Mensing..are you going to write your congressman? Are you going to tell anybody about this?" I told him I didn't know. I never did rat him out for reasons I cannot explain to this day. But despite my high Expert score, this bad DI kept me from shooting an extra week at the range for trophies, made me Sgt. of the Guard every night and ordered my troops to fall asleep, wander off their posts, anything to get me sent back or worse. I ran all over the Plt. area checking posts and threatening serious payback if anybody went along with this. Nobody ever did, thank God. Meanwhile we would see our former bed-wetting Pvt. marching with the unmistakable 10,000-yard stare of a member of P.O.U. (Psychiatric Observation Unit), his left forearm wrapped in gauze and tape. At graduation, our platoon had won just about every series competition and the bad DI was promoted to Gunny. Before I got on the bus for ITR, bad DI said: "You better hope I don't see you again." "Better hope I don't see you first, "I replied. And I meant it.
Moral of Story: Our Marine Corps isn't perfect. But there are enough outstanding Marines to offset the few chicken hearts that come along for the ride.
Andrew S. Mensing
Considered Himself Salty
I served from 1959-1963 and was a "Hollywood Marine" Plt 329. DI's were S/Sgt Standard, Sgt Cloyd and do not remember the short Hispanic (then Mexican American) but he was hard, rough, mean and called the "Thumper" as he would thump you if you screwed up.
We were issued M-1's. In 1961-62 I was at K-Bay, Oahu and went TDY as a marksmanship instructor to the rifle range. The M-14 had just been issued and as Sgt Goody explained in the Dec notes there was a great deal of problems with the M-14. I remember that the Corps pulled expert shooters from both the 4th Marines, supporting units and wing wipers from the air wing out to the range. These were shooters who could call their shots and be sure where they were on target.
With the M-14's this was not always the case. The problem was traced to ammo that was not consistently manufactured. This was a great experience and to this day I still have the campaign cover we were issued. When I checked out of the unit to go back to my rifle company, I told the supply Sgt. I sure would like to have that cover as a reminder. He looked up and said "Well corporal, looks like the records showed you handed that in"
As a side note, the 4th Marines at that time reactivated the 3rd Battalion and to fill the ranks they filled it up with a lot of boots just out of boot camp. As a newly minted Cpl E-4 who considered himself "salty" as compared to E-1's and E-2's from boot camp, I was made a squad leader of 3rd squad, 3rd Plt. Lima Co. It was a great honor and looking back I think they were certainly desperate to give a boot Cpl a squad. This was an interesting time in the Corps. Not only did the M-14 replace the M-1 but there also the new rank of Lance Corporal E-3. Thus there were E-3 corporals under the old rank, E-4 buck Sgts under the old rank and E-3 lance corporals and Cpl E-4s under the new rank.
I may be forgetting some of this or remembering it as I want too. So as they say "I stand corrected" if wrong. The Marine Corps greatly impacted my life in many positive ways. I think of the Corps as the greatest fraternity in the world. You meet another Marine from any time, any MOS, gentleman or bum and he is your fraternity brother. The expression that the Marine Corps is like the Mafia "once in, never out" is correct.
Jere Watkins - enlisted from Missouri - now in Knoxville, TN
Cpl E-4 0311 1874xxx
While I was in boot camp (17 Nov.1961 - 15 Feb. 1962) in San Diego, Major General Victor Krulak was the Commanding General of the Recruit Depot. One evening, following a major field day of our Quonset Huts, we were standing in formation at rest, having a smoke break, relaxing and talking with the DI when General Krulak's car drove up to see why we were out there. I still cannot believe how fast we moved to exhale, field strip the cigarette, and snap to attention. S/Sgt. Cunningham was not very tall (when I stood at attention I was looking at the emblem on his smokey bear hat), but he towered over General Krulak.
Following 2nd ITR I was stationed back at MCRD San Diego for radio/telegraph school. One weekend, I went to find S/Sgt Cunningham and Sgt Dent (two of my DIs). I found them and we talked for maybe 15 minutes. I learned that S/Sgt Cunningham was a CPA and Sgt. Dent was working on his masters degree. All of the DIs that taught Plt 390, "I" Co, 3rd Bn. had some college. After the visit they thanked me for coming to visit, but very professionally and politely made it known that I should not come back.
Following school, I was stationed with HQ-3-11 at Camp Pendleton. While on mess duty and the mess Sgt, not liking me very well, had me working late at night at the dirtiest jobs possible. One night as I was leaving, I saw him loading a large aluminum container full of steaks into the back of his pickup truck and covering them with a tarp. As he was about to get into the truck I yelled, "Good night, Sgt." He asked how long I had been standing there and I told him, "Long enough". The next day I was put in charge of the staff and officer's mess and given two privates to help me and told that if I needed more men all I had to do was ask. My job was to supervise and not to do any actual work.
So many stories, so little column space. Keep up the good work.
L/Cpl Jim Brower (1961 - 1964)
Big Hairy Creature
Old habits hard to break. While with the First Transplacement Bn. in Marine Corps modern history - 1st Bn 1st Marine Div. Charlie Company Weapons Platoon 1958 to 1961. We deployed to Okinawa. Our CO was CPT Ed Castania. We went to Borneo for Joint Operations with the British Black Watch.
While in Borneo my gun partner was PFC. Glen Shafer from Avenel, NJ. We were supposed to pitch a tent together, but he was ticked off at me and told me, in not so many pleasant terms, where to go. I in turn told him I put a hex on him and some big hairy creature was going to bite him before our Borneo excursion was over. Well it seemed like about five minutes later he came screaming out of his tent and started chasing me thru the tall grass yelling "I'll kill you S.O.B".
It seems that a giant fury centipede had crawled up into his crotch. Thus I became VoodooMan as he thought that being from Massachusetts, I practiced black magic. After fifty-one years, my best friend still sort of believes I have special powers. Glen was and still is a great Marine and my best friend.
SSG RICHARD J SOARES 1845705 RTD
I Never Did Hear
All of the discussion about Oohrah, or not; still leaves me wondering where I was during almost 21 years. All of my time with the Corps, I never did hear Oohrah.
From Pendleton, in 1950, MB, NS, SDiego, MCRDep, SDiego; TTU, NAB, Coronado; HqCo, HqBn, 3dMarDiv; MCRDep, SDiego; I-I, 35th RifleCo, Santa Rosa, CA; MCAF, Santa Ana, MACS4, 1stMAW, Iwakuni; MCAS, Yuma; HQMC; retiring January 1970; still no Oohrah.
Chesty was CG at TTU, NAB, Coronado, when transferred there in Oct, 53.
While at MCAS, Yuma, AZ, I was able to participate on the Station Rifle Team, using match-conditioned M1s; finally, this past March, I was able to purchase my own M1, from the CMP, Aniston, AL. The only other rifles ever issued to me were the M1 Carbine, and the M14; I still consider the M1 to be the best rifle ever.
Semper Fi and Gung Ho
James R. McMahon
GySgt of Marines (1949-1970)
Hendersonville, TN 37075
No One Knew Anything
Back in 1942 I was issued an 03 Springfield, snapped in for several weeks and then a week before record, they handed us an M1 Rifle. No one knew anything about the Rifle, including our Rifle Instructor. Lucky for our platoon, we had a fellow in our platoon who had worked in the Garand Factory before he joined the Marines. We sat up half of the nights, including the DI in our green lumber platoon shacks, and studied the Grand Rifle, dismantling and putting it back together until we got it right.
After shooting the 03 it was very difficult to shoot the M1 without getting hit under the right eye with the base of the rifle. Many of the guys, including me, ended up with a black right eye, shooting for record. I couldn't even hardly see the target. The rifle instructor credited me with "Marksman" rating. In my record book incidentally I still have that book that we kept our shooting record in.
Sgt Jim Smith Jr. Platoon 653, Iwo Survivor - 3rd. Div. - Tanker Mech.
Times Change, Rifles Improve
M-1 vs. M-14 vs. M-16
I currently own about 2 each of the above mentioned battle rifles. I was issued an M-14 in boot camp and then an M-1 for ITR training, and then an M14 again for service in Viet Nam 1966 Chu Lai. Later on when as a civilian I got interested in shooting again, I bought an M-1 Garand from the DCM (Dept. of Civilian Marksmanship) and had a lot of fun with it at local rifle matches using my own hand loaded ammunition. I found out fairly soon that it (the M-1) just wasn't competitive as the more accurate M-14. The M-14 style rifle has a piston that pushes a shorter, stiffer Operating Rod than does the M-1 and the Caliber is .308 Winchester as opposed to 30.06 cal. of the M-1 making it a little easier to fire as it has lower recoil. Lower recoil keeps the rifle "on target" better during rapid fire matches.
I wanted to be competitive in the shooting game and so I bought an M-14/M1A and competed with it at local matches and at the Nationals at Camp Perry, Ohio on our state Rifle Team. I earned 20 "Excellence in Competition" points towards my Distinguished Rifleman's Badge. That could not have happened using the older M-1 rifle. They were just not as accurate as the M-14 and few serious competitors used them by 1988.
About 1994 more shooters were using the M-16/AR-15 rifles in competition and it was becoming obvious that these rifles had by this time been developed to the point of being more accurate and again easier to shoot than the older "wood" guns. Better quality barrels, and heavier bullets made the AR-15 rifle a tack driver even out to 600 yds where most competitions are shot these days. Whereas the M-14 could be made by a good gun smith to shoot groups of about one minute of angle with hand loads, the M-16/AR-15 quite often came out of the box without any competition type gunsmithing might hold 5/8 MOA or better. With hand loads and a match grade barrel, these back guns were winning all the matches and if I wanted to earn the rest of my EIC points and get that coveted Gold Badge, I knew I would have to switch from my beloved M-14 to the new little gun. The Marine Corps and Army rifle teams were doing it and I would have to also.
After a long period of learning how to shoot the Black Gun, my scores went up 10 to 15 points in "Leg matches" and I finally "Legged Out" in 1996 and got the Distinguished Rifleman's Badge (#1256) that I had been working towards for 8 years, and I was invited to Quantico to join the Marine Corps Distinguished Shooters Association that next year. It was an honor for me to meet Marine Corps shooting legends, Walter Walsh, and Jim Land.
The Fact is that the M/16 is the most accurate of the three U.S. semi-automatic battle rifles used in the last 70 years. If it wasn't, serious shooters would not be using it for competition purposes today. The M-1 and the M-14 were great rifles in their day, but that day is over. I carried the M-14 in Nam but I shoot the M-16 today because it is more accurate out to Mid- range distances (600 yds).
Times change, rifles are improved, and the old days are not coming back. I like the old guns, (I have two M-1s), but if you want to win a Service rifle shooting contest, don't bring an M-1 or an M-14, someone with an M-16 will make you look bad.
My Record book for Qualification day July 16,1964 (500 yd line) Plt. 142, A Co., 1st Bat., M-14 Rifle #618040 relay #1, Target #78, Foxtrot range, Camp Mathews, Calif 500 yd zeros were - 28 clicks elevation, 1 click Right windage. see Attachment for picture
Jim Evenson 2087791
At MCRD, March 1962, Platoon 218, 2nd Battalion, Marine Recruit Regiment I was known to the Platoon and all the DIs as Private Cheer! because the DIs thought I was such a smart azs... I was ordered to tell the whole Platoon and all DIs a Joke every evening after chow, during the smoking lamp is lit... Do you guys realize how hard it is to get a new joke everyday for 13 weeks? And I almost had to pay my buddies to laugh..cuz if nobody laughed, I was in deep you know what. Still made PFC out of Boot Camp...guess I was funny. MORE for the CORPS!
John Dugan, 1989553/2511 USMC 62-68
3 Wars, 28 Years
On the Monday after the "date that will live in infamy" (12/7/41) I went to our Marine Corps Recruiting Station to join the greatest. I was 19 years old. After a fast training period at Parris Island, South Carolina I joined the newly established 1st Amphibian Tractor Battalion, 1st Marine Division.
In my LVT, along with troops and supplies, I was in the original landing on Guadalcanal. The date was August 7, 1942 and it was the first invasion against the Japanese Empire. The landing was a breeze as prior to our landing, the wonderful Navy bombed and strafed the place for hours.
On The Island (as it was called,) I was one of the first to be struck with Malaria. On a field hospital rough bed I replaced a fellow jarhead who had just passed on to the big CO in the sky. (No, no bedding was changed, or any to be changed!) There, I don't remember too much except that I just felt lousy, and vaguely that a priest stopped by my death bed where I cheated him out of his Last Rites ceremony. A Private at the time, carrying the old Springfield rifle, I was earning $21.00 a month - which you never saw all of as you had to pay for the bucket - and insurance. Thank God, the pay increased very quickly.
Back to the landing, we ate coconuts knocked to the ground by the bombing. It was very difficult getting to the meat. Here our bayonets and machetes came in handy. We first had to take off the thick skin, puncture holes of the shells from the eyes to drink the milk, then crack the shell on a big rock. Delicious! And it was great because we didn't have much more than that to eat for a long time since after 4 days the Navy took off, leaving us there to starve and die. Some of our meals was left behind J@p rice - with maggots. Oh yes, Hard Tack, which resembled a large size saltine, but no salt, and very hard. As for the maggots, some were dead. Picking them out of the rice was easy, but if you ate some by mistake, thankfully they had no taste.
We were given 2 meals a day for a long time. At this moment the J@ps were landing freely on the opposite side of the island wishing to take back the air field we had captured. Other than the landing J@ps, the enemy was now coming out of their hiding places - the caves, where none of our bombing even penetrated. Later, our Flame Throwers did the trick. God, that was horrible - watching the enemy running aflame out of a cave. We fired at them more out of pity, and to kill them quickly.
Now the island was ours and we went back to island hopping. Peleliu was next - a very bloody landing. Our AmTracs, and Army Ducks had a hard time getting even on the beach - and beyond. The problem was not only the enemy firing on us but also coral all over most of the beach. And sharp coral which cut up our inching vehicles. Our G-2 (Intelligence) really goofed here. How could they help not know of all that coral - or planning to land us just there? Some vehicles didn't make it - they were bellied on the coral. All of them were fully loaded with troops, ammunition and supplies - yes, sitting ducks - not unlike the flaming enemy I mentioned earlier. The enemy was using mortars on us stuck on the beach. It was murderous. It was my first introduction to mortars. Then and afterwards I always hated them.
After a few tries and with God's help, our driver found an opening. Let me say again, thank God! But being now on the beach, I was shot in the leg by a J@p (You should have seen the other guy!) and I was sent aboard a hospital ship, stitched-up, (nothing serious,) entered me for the Purple Heart (big deal!) and returned me to duty. A few other J@p islands I returned back to the U.S. in 1945.
My next combat tour was Korea in 1950. In 1953 I partook in a nuclear weapons test conducted at Desert Rock, Nevada by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. That was a thrill. I don't know how many troops were there - a lot. Also wish I knew how far away we were from ground zero. But we were in a very deep and long trench. We were instructed to on signal kneel or crouch down, arms crossed, eyes closed touching arms, right shoulder touching target side of the trench. It was a countdown of 10. On 10 it was amazing. Even though your eyes were protected by your crossed arms - and closed, you could still see the flash. And your body was jerked away from the wall - about 3 or 4 inches.
In 1954 and 1955 I was a Senior Drill Instructor (DI) at Parris Island. There I was awarded a Letter of Appreciation, and a Letter of Commendation when one of my platoons was judged a Depot Honor Platoon. In 1956 I was selected to join the U.S. State Department where I was the NCOIC of the Marine Security Guard at the American Consulate in Naples, Italy and the following year held the same position at the American Embassy, Rome, Italy. And also at the American Consulate, Munich, Germany. In 1960 I was the Guard Chief at the Marine Barracks, Naples, Italy. While in Rome, the then U.S. Vice President, Richard Nixon visited the Embassy and inspecting our guard. I have a picture of the event and one with the VP and I side by side.
In 1967-1969 I was back with the Marines at work in Vietnam. Late in 1969, back only a short time in the U.S. I received orders to return again to Vietnam. However it was also my time to retire. It didn't take long to decide - I had been in 3 wars, so I retired after serving honorably with near 28 honorable years. Single, never married, that is not legally, I lived in the Common Law way in a few states and in countries throughout the world. My military promotions took me from Pvt to 1stSgt and I held a Top Secret Intelligent position in many placements. I traveled through 20 foreign countries. My military awards include the Purple Heart and Marine Good Conduct - a total of 11 Medals and 5 rows of 16 ribbons.
I managed a few bars and restaurants, taught children to play chess, was a gofer for a very good friend who is an excellent carpenter and a few other positions. I now keep busy writing short stories, poems, articles and my never ending autobiography. I reside with a couple at 490 Sherwood Place, A-20, Stratford, CT. I may be reached at 203-296-9014, Email: email@example.com or visit my Website: hankriccio.com
It's strange how things keep coming back after 60 years. I wake up in the morning thinking about things that happened back then, It's not pds but just wondering!
I was a machine gunner with 3rds bat 7th, attached to I co I think. A Gunny Grider asked me if I would volunteer to set up my gun on the forward slope in the open space where I could view a hutch down next to a road, and I did.
Seems we were pinned down with mortar and artillery fire and he and others thought there were spotters in that hutch calling in the fire. So I was to start the hutch on fire with tracers and kill anyone leaving. I got the fire started and sighted in on the door, in a short time four g-oks started out, and I got all of them. I was bothered because they didn't look like military or the enemy, and one in the middle looked like a women with a baby on her back, I felt kind of bad. A day or two later Gunny Grider looked me up and told me that the g-oks that I shot were forward observers and that the women was carrying a radio, He said he was writing me up for a bronze star for setting my gun up in a open. I never heard any after that. I just wonder if he ever did or was that bs or was it denied?
Robert Langford 1126140 Korea Dec 50 to Dec. 51
Hq. Batt. 11th Marines
I took lots of photos while I was in Vietnam-even some when we were attacked at Hq. Batt. 11th Marines sometime around July 1969 resulting in us killing a few g-oks and dragging their bodies up by the LZ. Some of these photos contain people whose names I've long since forgotten. Do you happen to recognize any of these guys?
Just read your news letter, and the story of the Cold War. I thought I should pass on that as a Marine serving from 23 July 1980 to 12 Sept 1990, I was one of those Cold War Warriors. And through the Montgomery County, Ohio Veterans Service Commission, an application was filled out for the official Cold War Warriors Certificate, and I received it a year later, (nice to know that "hurry up and wait" is still in practice).
I also was in Beirut, Lebanon, serving with WPNS PLT, Bravo Co, BLT 1/8, 24MAU, May to Nov 1983. I lost many a good friend and fellow Marines and Corpsmen on 23 Oct 1983, when our HQ building was attacked by a suicide bomber. (strange how history has it recorded as a Marine Barracks). I remember that day as if it was yesterday, and will never forget it. Little is reported about the heavy ground combat that we had been engaged in, or the heavy shelling and small arms fire we endured under the ROE that was ridiculous for the situation.
I never served with a better group of men than I served with there, though we lost our entire HQ Co, our BAS and a good many of our officers, and Alpha Co sustained heavy casualties, we still stood our ground and never lost the faith. Our story is told in "The Root; the Marines in Beirut, August 1982 through February 1984", and it tells what many did not believe, for the actions weren't covered by the news media. I SALUTE all my brother Marines, and especially the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalion 8th Marines, 2nd Battalion 6th Marines, Charlie, Hotel and India Battery's 10th Marines, 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd LVT Battalion, HMM 164, 2nd FSSG, Marine and Army FASTAB Battery, Navy Seabees and SEALS, 2nd Force Recon Marines, Sailors of the 6th Amphib Fleet, and if I left anyone out, forgive me for I am getting old. SEMPER FI
Robert H. Brady Jr