These photos were taken atop Hill 88 on the birthday of the Corps in 1969. Our BN (Golf 2/26) CO Lt. Col. Bill Drumwright delivered it.

By the way there is no way that I can ID the Marines who were wearing what boots. This was also the first USMC Birthday Party that I attended.

Hope you enjoy the photos of a Birthday Cake from long ago.

Doc Lerp

In This Issue:
Interesting story about Chesty's house. The unique use of a 50 cal. Machine gun, a great company Gunny story (aren't all Gunny stories great), a search for Malachy Murphy. Story and pictures of 1953 Korea prisoner exchange. Also the shrinking defense recourses and the possible impact on the Corps.

I spent this past weekend in San Diego at the 3/11 Reunion. They have had 5 and are growing every year. Bob Neal introduced me and used the word dignified. I have been called a lot of things, but dignified is a first. Thank you Bob. They spanned from Korea to active duty. Mark Ciacchi invited me, thank you Mark. I had many great conversations about Korea, IOD's in Vietnam and how they brass did not believe how accurate they were at first. Didn't believe the body counts and came out personally to inspect. Many fine memories of LZ Ryder, Baldy, Hill 34 and others.

If you haven't yet attended your units reunion, DO IT! If your unit doesn't have a reunion, organize it, start the search for your buddies today. You won't regret it!

Fair winds and following seas. Sgt Grit

Chesty Puller's House
In late August I had the opportunity to visit the Chesty Puller house in Saluda, Virginia. Saluda is in 'real' Virginia as an old Virginian Marine Corps buddy used to say. It is in the midst of lush forests and farmland and the Chesapeake Bay is close. My brother in law, Tom Dingledine (from an old Virginia family) owns the house presently but it is for sale and some construction has been taking place. He has recently been restoring it from previous neglect and has strived to maintain the original style. He had hoped to get an offer from the Corps or a pertinent government agency to purchase the house and perhaps use it as a Marine Corps museum but to date has not.

Many Marines still visit the house though none of Chesty Puller's personal artifacts remain in the house. Saluda has a small museum containing some of Chesty Puller's memorabilia. A yearly marathon race organized by Fort A.P. Hill (Army) runs by the house. Placards with some of Chesty's most famous quotes cover the first floor walls. I immediately felt some sense of history when I stepped inside the solid but non ostentatious house in this small quiet southern Virginia town of Saluda, his wife's hometown.

Sharon, our private tour guide, who has been supervising the restoration work, actually lived in the house for the last four years. She provided a very personal and knowledgeable tour. Apparently, Chesty and his wife, especially, were wonderful hosts and enjoyed entertaining many Marines who had served with Chesty. He loved to become immersed in Marine Corps stories. He was never a rich man, almost to the contrary. His entire life was dedicated to the Corps. The American and the Marine Corps flags fly from the portico entrance. I was so proud to be able to sign the visitor's log book next to the other mostly active duty Marines that still visit the house.

If I had the money I would immediately buy the house. Marines, active and inactive, could make pilgrimages to this most famous of Marines shrine. We could reaffirm our Marine Corps heritage, purpose and honor in a hallowed place. The youngest enlisted man would have first position in line, as Chesty would have insisted. Marines from everywhere could display any of their own memorabilia at this shrine to Chesty Puller and therefore to the Marine Corps. H&ll, maybe it would even have a small 'slop chute' to make sure all of us Marines were comfortable...I guess Sailors and Army guys could visit with the proper appointment....

Garent Gunther 68-70 USMC

Raggedy A-s Marines
My father, Cpl. Leo Toine, USMC served as a BAR-man, B-1-5, 1st MarDiv made the landing on Guadalcanal, Aug 7, 1942. As he told me many times the Marines on 'The Canal' were cut off from supplies for three months receiving replacements, ammo and medical supplest when a ship could get through.

They ate captured fish heads and rice for many a meal. They received no dungarees (as the Corps called utilities back then) or boondockers (as the Corps called field footwear). Many grunts suffered jungle rot so bad that they tied rags around their feet because they couldn't get there rotted boondockers on.

When the 1st Div was relieved November 1942 after a hard fought successful campaign the new troops looked at this sorry sight and gave them the nick name 'The Raggedy A-s Marines'. That is the way my dad told the story. He went on the fight in three more campaigns before being rotated back home after serving 31 months in the South Pacific Theater.

Proudly submitted,
L/Cpl. Tim Toine, USMC
RVN '68-'69

Threw His Clipboard
Sgt Grit,

Another one, which is hands down my most memorable experience, occurred when I was a vehicle operator (van/truck driver) for the company Gunny. I had been assigned to a SSgt for a while, and got to know him pretty well. He was a Sgt when I first reported to the company. At that time he had 13, maybe 15 years in (CRS syndrome), had seen Cpl two or three times, and finally made SSgt a year before he would have been rejected for re-up. Turns out he didn't like officers much, I'm sure you know the type. While this SSgt would have done absolutely anything for his fellow Marines, he was the last guy you would want to p-ss off. Essentially, he was the Marine that every CO hates to have but every Gunny loves to have.

On one particular morning, he formed his platoon out in the grinder. After calling them to attention, 2 or 3 more privates came running from the barracks with such speed that you would've thought their feet never touched the deck. The SSgt stopped calling roll when he spotted the late ones and after they fell in, he proceeded to tear the entire platoon a collective new one. After a couple minutes of full-on tirade, he threw his clipboard in a backhanded sidearm fashion in the general direction of the platoon.

The grinder historically and perpetually had the most godawful wind. When the SSgt launched his clipboard, the wind caught it just right, and like a Frisbee it floated just over the heads of the formed Marines, caught a shear updraft about 10 feet from the barracks and flew up onto the roof.

The SSgt's response? Everyone expected him to become even more p-ssed off to the point of putting some private's life in jeopardy. But much to everyone's eternal surprise, he looked up toward the roof, put his hands on his hips, and calmly said, "Well...son of a b-tch." He then dismissed the platoon without any further comment.

Semper Fi,
A. T. Sexton

Mounted On A Tripod
Sgt Grit,

I subscribe to a weekly email from Military.com which includes links to interesting videos. One recent link was to a video called "One Mile Kill Shot" taken from History Channel. In it, the Marine Corps sniper uses a .50 cal single shot rifle to take out insurgents during an operation in Iraq

I forwarded this to my dad, retired Marine Colonel Barkley "BB" Yarborough (Enlisted as E1 1943, Retired as O6 1988). He enjoyed watching it and replied as follows:

Reminds me that in 1951 we used the older .50 cal machine gun, sandbagged with a scope sight, for a sniper weapon. It worked long range too!"

Well, that intrigued me and I asked him to elaborate a little and this is what he wrote:

"The gun was mounted on a tripod, with scope sight on top. Placed on ground and moved to get the sight set on the target spot. The target spot was one which had been observed with binoculars as a place where enemy soldiers were seen frequently. The sight could be changed every few days to pick a more likely traffic spot.

Once the sight was set on the spot, the tripod was anchored with sand bags to it would not move. Then a gunner would stand watch on the gun, and a second Marine would use binoculars and tell the gunner when a person had entered, or was about to enter the target spot. When the gunner had a target in the sight, he would squeeze off one round. Gotcha!

Our gun was set at the ridge line just over the left shoulder of the XO in this photo, taken in front of Charlie Co. CP.

You can read about the machine gun on Wikipedia.

I have attached the image my dad referred to above. I hope the readers enjoy the story.

Semper Fi,

Cris Yarborough
(USMC 1979-1983)

1953 Prisoner Exchange
Hi, I thought you might like to see a couple of old pictures I found. These were taken in 1953 of the prisoners exchange in Korea. I had some of our guys return but so far can't find them. I forgot I still had these. That old camera I had did a pretty good job. I think the exchange was 77,000 north Koreans for 3,597 of our guys.

Sgt. Bob Holmes USMC

I Always Wondered
I was with 3rd Bn 7th Marines weapons co 1st Marine Div. until I read the story of the May massacre I found out what bothered me for years. On a patrol in the punch bowl area may 1951, we came upon an army convoy that had been hit by napalm, here were still burning on trucks (all dead) several dead bodies in a small creek. I pulled out one of the bodies and his dog tags came into view. I don't remember the name on the tags, but he was from Ogden Ut. and me being from SLC Ut. caught my eye I always wondered what had happened? I to this day remember the smell of burning flesh and the napalm. I will never forget what I saw and that time. A few years back while doing a MRI the sound made me have a flashback and the sight and the smell was right there.

Sgt (chuby cheeks) Langford USMC l950 to 1954

60 years ago on September 15, 1950, my father, Casey T. Bazewick, Sr., now 92, participated in the Inchon Landing during the early stages of the Korean War. In the following days, he led frontline combat in the retaking of Seoul. The risky, massive amphibious operation -- brilliantly conceived and commanded by Gen. Douglas MacArthur -- surprised and overwhelmed the North Koreans. It changed the course of the "The Forgotten War" -- the first significant armed conflict of the Cold War. The majority of UN ground forces involved were the First Marine Division.

A bronze relief commemorates the Inchon Landing in Washington, D.C., the only one dedicated to Marines at the Navy Memorial:

Short Rounds
Sgt. Grit
Going down memory lane....When I was at MCRD in Oct '59 till graduation, we saw these guys with microphones walking along platoons on the grinder making recordings of the sounds of recruits. I often wondered what became of those recordings.
Semper Fi
E.L. Collins, Cpl. '59-63

Concerning Ka-Bar, the best definition I have heard of for awarding the Good Conduct Medal came from a career Navy enlisted at a reunion. He said that it represented four consecutive years of undiscovered criminal activity.

Nolan Nelson

The term Jack Wagon is the cleaned up version of JACK WAD when one Jacks O## he ends up with a WAD in his hand. I know because I (and WE) were called this and many other endearing names by our Loving D.I.'s (jack wad's been to the cleaners also)
Sgt D.H.(dick head) GREEN 64-73

I was in the checkout line at Lowe's a few days ago, and of course, I had my USMC cap on. An elderly gentleman behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said, "I was in the Marine Corps 77 years ago." I told him, "Wow! I wasn't even born back then. You were in the Old Corps." I'm 70. He said he joined in 1933, and is 96 years young. He looked in great health and I assumed he still drives because he was by himself. We said our "Semper Fi's" as I left the store.

Tom Kano
USMC 60-67 SSgt
USMCR 67-94 CWO-4

Another "Gunny" has reported for Gate duty. Retired Gunnery Sergeant Chris Backus (Dec. 74 - 95) passed at his home in Jackson MI. on 22 Aug. 10; Parris Island Plt. 113, M.P. Brig Guard - CLNC, Ft. Levenworth Kansas, 2 tours on Embassy Duty, Recruiting Duty. Fair Winds and Following Seas... brother. Semper Fidelis!

Ric Backus MSgt. 12/74 - 6/95

I am one of the WW2 Marines still kicking around. Entered the Corps September 4, 1942. Overseas February 1946. Had it easy for a while at Tahiti, Bora Bora, American Samoa & Pearl Harbor. Then it all caught up with me at Saipan, Tinian & Okinawa. Was sent to China September to December 1945. Finally made it home February 7, 1946.

SGT. Marion B. Stults, SN 450010

Sgt. Grit
I was 18 yrs. old and about to be drafted. If I had to go to Vietnam, I wanted to go with the best.
Cpl. for life, Donnie. H&S, 3/7, Comm. 69-70 8 - #HTTrike

My Trike
Submitted are pictures of my trike, before and after. Hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed putting it together (having it put together). It also has a stereo, alarm system, night lights all around and the horn plays the Marines Hymn (check your records you'll find I ordered it through you). Look close, the front fender is a chronological time line of my time in the Corps (Boot, Nam, Retired). Hope you can use them all, but use what you can. Great store, as you advertise, everything a Marine wants or needs. Semper Fi

Richard "AJ" Alajajian

See all the photos

Bike Picnic
Bike Picnic...Hastings Vets Home - Minnesota Sgt...check these out....enjoy

R. LePage

Hope It Was Just A Fluke
Hate to poop on a party and hope it was the first and last time it happens.
Went thru boot at P.I. in mid 40's. In 70's my oldest son went through Diego, so 54 years to the weekend I graduated from Parris Island. I had my son accompany me to where real Marines were made. I really had to apologize to my Son and as I said I hope it was just a fluke it had to happen that weekend.
Great show as usual, but when the graduates trooped and stomped out across the grinder to impress all the mothers and fathers I hid my head. First three ranks were in step and looking good - rest of the platoon, including the second platoon looked like little bunny rabbits trying to get into step. Had this happened earlier in the training, every man would have been set back. The entire training course, of course, has changed, but this portion was always one of pride, then and now. These young men have gone on, I presume, and are doing an excellent job, I am sure. But I hope when I return in the very near future for another graduation, I will see better marching and fighting. Are two totally different fields, but the Marine Corps has always excelled in both.
At 80 plus and still and active Marine.


A Little Hard To Believe
Just read the last news letter which I really enjoy reading. There was one story which I found a little hard to believe. It was the story by James Flynn where he was slapped across the face and beaten for 5 min. I find his story really hard to believe. Never saw a DI ever hit a recruit when I was in boot camp. I did do PT forever several times though.

Was the Corps tough at times you bet it was. Toughest time was during the Tet Offensive of 1968 at Khe Sanh. Saw a lot of good Marines killed and wounded there. After getting a meritorious combat promotion to Sgt I came back and served with the Commanding General of the 4th Marine Division at Camp Pendleton.

SGT Jon DeWitt

Note: In the 60's "hands on training" was not uncommon. Maybe not 5 minutes, but 5 seconds could seem like an eternity. We PT'd forever several times a day. Not several times during boot camp.
Sgt Grit

Only Their Weapons
4 Sept 1958, Parris Island, S.C., Plt. 298, I began my career in the Marine Corps under the tutelage of GySgt Dambeck, SSgt Cox, SSgt R. J. Merril, Sgt Wertz, and Cpl Moody. I was issued an M1 as my TO weapon, and it stayed with me until I turned it in for an M-14 in 1961. We were using 8 man squads drill then.

My DI's were very fond of a movie called "The D.I." starring Jack Webb and we were entertained by getting to watch at the outdoor theater on the grinder a couple of times. They were so fond of the scene where they buried a sand flea, we got to repeat it in real time. The M1 was a muzzle heavy old b!tch that demanded and got a lot of respect. If you didn't hold the butt into your shoulder tight, she would jump up and smack you alongside the head to remind you with a nice black eye. And, there was the infamous "M1 thumb" that any Old Corps Marine can tell you about. BUT, with good dope, she would put one in your ear at 500 yards and take the fight out anyone that got hit by her. Nothing short of a couple of inches of armor would protect you from her bite.

I turned out to be a lifer, and retired in 1978 after the Cuban Missile Crises, DomRep, and couple of tours in Vietnam. As a young PFC, I had a Company Gunny who gave a piece of advice. He said "In combat, the guy who lives the longest is the one with the deepest hole". Since he had been in the first wave at a place called Tarawa, I assumed he knew what he was talking about and followed his advice.

If you think this means I am very proud of my time in the Corps, you are correct. I still feel like a Marine, I remain interested in what happens in the Corps, and it is in my family. My father-in-law was one of Red Mike Edson's Raiders in WWII, I have a daughter who served a tour in the Corps, and a son-in-law who was a Cpl. in Somalia. But, remember! The New Corps aint like the Old Corps, and it never was. Marine don't change, only their weapons.

Joseph W. Frazier
SSgt USMC Ret.

"Been There, Done That"
A 34 Year Career
Anthony Miranda

It was the seventh of December 1941- My mother woke me up around 8:30AM to tell me the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. This was the day that changed my life forever.

Four months later in April I had my parents consent to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps- 17 years old. In May 1942 I was sworn in to the Marines Corps. I enlisted and my pay was $21.00 a month - less $.20 for hospitalization.

After my training at the recruit depot in San Diego, I boarded a troop transport in San Diego. We crossed the Pacific Ocean for the South Pacific. This was a big trip and the first time away from home for a 17 year old boy. The War was going on and now I was part of the War. Now we are settled in on Guadalcanal - Solomon Islands. The Marines have landed - History!

Later on my travels took me to Korea (1950). The cold winds and snow of winter and the hot days of summer - was the fragrance of the rice paddies. We traveled again to Taiwan and the uprising between Mainland China and the Republic of China - back to Japan and reorganizing.

Vietnam raised its ugly head once more "on the road again." This time the tours (I served two) were longer...thirteen and eighteen months..makes for a long tour.

A nice tour of duty followed the Island campaigns - my assignment sent me to Hawaii and duty with the Fleet Marine Force Headquarters. By now the 2 year old and 4 year old boys I left at home when I went to Korea are both grown men now - both Vietnam Veterans.

Like Frank Sinatra sings
"I Did It My Way"

I retired as a Marine Corps Captain - 34 years of service.

Malachy Murphy

I am trying to locate and/or get any available information about a Marine, Malachy Murphy, that I grew up with as a youngster, and later served briefly with when we were "young" Marines. I thought perhaps one (or more) of your Newsletter subscribers may have known or even served with Malachy. I am writing a story about Malachy and would really like to talk with anyone who may have known him in or out of the Corps. He may be deceased, as all efforts to locate him and his family (and I have written many letters) have not produced any results. You have no idea how many "Malachy Murphy's" there are out there, I have found many in my search efforts, including on Ancestsry.com and other similar sites. Some have written and given me a Malachy Murphy they thought was him; even though the date of birth was different, I checked that lead out and it was not him.

I have information from a reliable source that Malachy Murphy may not be just any Marine either, but may well be the Marine shown in the famous 1950's Life Magazine Photo taken by renowned Photographer David Duncan. This stirring photo, and a similar request from me, is shown on the Marine Corps Combat Correspondents web site. There is also additional information about Malachy and his family on this listing that I will not have to use additional space to repeat here.

I have been informed that there is at least one other Marine who claims he is the Marine in that photo, and he may well be. It is not my intention nor will I get into any "disputes" with anyone over this. My sole intent at this time is just to locate Malachy, any member of his family, or anyone else who may have known him.

Attached are a couple of pictures of young Malachy and me with fellow Marine Hugh McAvinue, who also grew up with us at St. Agnes, one of Malachy alone (wearing the old "Battle Jacket" referred to also as an "Ike Jacket,)" and another with an unknown Marine thought to be taken at Camp Delmar (dates unknown).

Many thanks in advance for your assistance with this.

Semper Fi,

Gerald F. (Jerry) Merna
1stLt USMC (Ret.).
Mustang (MGySgt)

Marine trainer
Marine Trainer

A Legend
I really enjoy all the stories and photos that are on the Sgt. Grit web-site. I joined the Marine Corps on March 22nd, 1962 and became a "MARINE" in July. During my 4 years 4 months & 10 days of active duty I came in contact with some Great and Outstanding fellow Marines. But I have never in all my 48 years as a Marine ever come upon such a "LEGEND" as the Retired Major "Gene" Duncan. Some almost thirty years active both in the enlisted and Officer ranks. He is an Outstanding Story teller & writer and proof if you have ever read some of his books or have heard him speak. I lived only a few miles from Major Duncan and so proud to call him a Friend and brother Marine. To be part of the circle of friends this man has made in all these years is such an Honor.

Major Duncan has the largest following of Brother Marines that I have ever seen or witnessed. He has them from the Lowest ranks of the enlisted to the Highest rank Of Generals. From all over the United States and foreign countries, both Active and Inactive. This man alone has truly put the mark on the saying, "Band Of Brothers"

To you Major I Salute and relish our friendship.

Cpl. Ernest (Ernie) Brindley

Platoon 3055
Sgt Grit,

Shopping for books at one of the local "junk" stores, I came across a Recruit Annual. It's from 1971 and is for Third Battalion

Platoon 3055. If there is one of your readers that was in boot camp with this platoon, I will gladly give this book to them.

Contact: Gary Crittenden
Home phone: 508-272-0088
Cell phone: 806-676-2487

Sgt. Gary Crittenden
April 1968 to June 1972
Viet Nam 1969-1970

Anything But A Surprise
In 1956 I was transferred from the USS Wisconsin to Downtown MP section in Jacksonville, outside Lejeune... Socrates my partner and i were walking patrol downtown, part of the 15 per section fighting the 3-4000 drunks on a regular basis...

We entered a particularly bad bar fight and he went in and i stayed outside (the fight) which was procedure..Outside man had the inside guys back..Anyway a particularly bad drunk hit Soc on the head and got his melon thumped..After we got it under control we put the bad drunk in the paddy wagon and took him to MP HQ, when asked for his ID and liberty card he said "I aint got one, I aint even in the service" "Things got very quiet so Soc and i grabbed and arm and marched him around the corner to the Jville police station..

As we walked in, the Desk Sgt said "Hi Luke or Larry or Zeb or whatever" I asked him if this guy was known and he said, oh h&ll yes he's the mayors drunk brother we get him three or 4 times a month...I asked what happened next an he said "Nothing"

If he remembers anything tomorrow we will tell him he was hallucinating" Being not real dumb we told the CO what had happened on Monday he cringed (was a CWO with very definite ideas) and said ok leave it alone and see what happens...His usual instructions, "Tell me anything unusual that happens, I can handle anything but a surprise"

Need I say the entire downtown group lived in fear for a couple of weeks but nothing ever happened..Another great escape.
Sgt Wackerly 53-56

Motorcycle Club
Hey Sgt Grit,

This is Sgt. Gravel. 1st MAW, Da Nang VN, class of 69 and 70. I'm interested in finding/joining a local Marine affiliated motorcycle club in the Morris County area of NJ. Been riding since I'm 16, now the young age of 62 LOL. I haven't bought anything yet on your fabulous web site, but that will soon change. Sold some old radio equipment over the weekend and now it's time for some good ol Marine sh-t.

Also, I've been wanting a tat on my left arm since joining the Corps when I was 17. Know of any tat places here in north Jersey that can do the real deal USMC tat???

Semper Fi my brother.

As we used to say in the day, "Eat the apple, f-ck the Corps". Of course we loved the Corps, but in Nam, we ached to be back in the "World", and the saying was one way of expressing it LOL. I should have stayed in and almost did, but the USMC had the early out program and I was 3 months shy of doing my 4 years and had just gotten back from Nam, so that's what happened to me.

Think the Corps would take me in the reserves??? LOL

Oooh Rah

Dave Gravel, Sgt, USMC Not retired

Training Aid
I do not have any great stories to tell. I was in the USMCR from 65-71 it was the thing to do on my South Philly street many years ago. Some Marines returned home to tell us civvies how bad boot camp was etc, some was believed some was not. I thought it would be a challenge. Boot Camp was a unbelievable challenge.

My Reserve unit was at The Phila. Naval Base,10th Motor Transport Bn., then we became part of the 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, and we were Marine Wing Motor Transport Sq.4,I started out a 3531,then through high test scores for Mech Aptitude took MCI course's & OJT. And was awarded 3516,I also started repairing heavy trucks at my civ. job.

Even in 1965 we had a lot of Vietnam vets in our unit, my section leader L/Cpl. Hasher was one such vet, he had been in the Corps. for about 4 years already. We were assigned on a weekend drill it was July 4th weekend 1966, one of the hottest weekends on record. To Dismantle & put a M-54 5ton 6x6 in the basement of the Marine Barracks Phila Naval Base Phila as a training Aid. There were 6 of us in the work section. L/Cpl. Hasher was real handy with a acetylene torch, the frame was cut just in front of the first set of rear wheels, all of the brakes were backed off we moved everything with ropes & come- alongs, the barracks had wide stairwells, Believe it or not the M-54 was in place by the end of the drill weekend, still disassembled, it stayed that way cleaned & painted. It made a great training aid.

Sgt. Rich Vettraino, USMCR

My State Of Mind
Here's a couple of flicks of some tattoos I have. EGA and things on right forearm has been a work in progress for numerous years. the " dinky dau " tat on underneath of right forearm kinda indicates my state of mind after making it home in 67 !

Semper Fi
Walt Short
Cpl. 66-69

Sgt. Grit,

While checking out the latest issue of your fine newsletter, I clicked on the link to your blog. There I found a link to the 3/11 (Vietnam) blog. One of the photos there was posted on the original 3/11 web site (which was later discontinued, with material transferred to a newer location). Of special interest to me is the photo of one of "Hotel" Battery's guns. It interests me because on the original web site, I posted a photo that I took of one of "India" Battery's guns, which was occupying the same firing position. And my photo was taken from almost the same perspective, but earlier--in December '66.

Shortly after I took that photo, I was sent from "India" Battery's "posit" (later occupied by "Hotel") in the Chu Lai TAOR, up north to the Dai Loc TAOR south of Da Nang to FO for "Lima" 3/7. On 26 January 1967, when Lima Company went down south to Duc Pho, to be "first in" on Operation Desoto, "India" Battery joined us there and provided fire support. When the operation ended about two months later, both 3/7 and I-3/11 went back up to the Dai Loc TAOR.

I've attached my photo of one of I-3-11's guns in the above-mentioned gun position, and one of the "junior officers' hootch".

Regarding the 3/11 web site and blog, I want to publicly thank Ms. Mary Ann Reitano (who, when I first heard from her in 2005, was a school teacher, as I am) for helping to get the men of 3/11 (Vietnam) together to form an organization. Although I have not yet been able to attend reunions of that organization, I want to recognize Mary Ann for her efforts. One of her relatives, Cpl Gregory Harris, a member of 3/11, was captured 12Jun66 in the Quang Ngai area, and has been MIA ever since.

Semper Fi, Mary Ann! (In case you're a subscriber.)

Tom Downey
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine

Back Seat
Sgt Grit:

Reading Chuck Brewers account of flying in the F4 Phantom triggered a memory for me.

It was the Summer of '67 and I was stationed at MCAS El Toro with VMFA 334. I had won an award and, as a reward, the CO told me that I could take a ride in the back seat of the new F4J version of the Phantom that had just been delivered to the Squadron. Before doing so however, I had to attend the same course Brewer did to learn about circuit breakers, ejection procedures and a trip through the decompression chamber to show what would happen if one removed the oxygen mask at high altitudes.

We were taken "up" to a simulated 40,000 feet and told to remove the masks. WOW! It is almost impossible to breathe. Your lungs only want to inhale as there is great pressure on them but to exhale you have to use every muscle in your chest and push as hard as possible but still nothing comes out.

After what seemed like several hours of this (in realty maybe only 30 seconds or so) I heard through my headset "there goes one on the end". I looked to my left and there was no one there. I was on the end. The next thing I remember was a SSgt slapping me across the face telling me to wake up.

It was worth it as I took a two hour ride that has to be one of the most thrilling things I've ever done. All of the pilots were lining up to take me but only one gave his promise that it would not be necessary for me to use the barf bag. It was close but he kept his word.

C. F. Larkin, Cpl

Beginning of the end?
Sgt Grit,

I do not know if you are aware of this or not, but there is a systematic attempt taking place by Defense Secretary Gates, supported by President Obama, to do away with the United States Marine Corps. I do not care what one's politics are; this is a serious threat to our national security. The position taken by Gates is dangerously naive. The time is now for all former Marines to get into the fray or there is a good chance our beloved Corps so many reminisce will be obsolete. Marines need to start pounding on the doors of their congress people and senators and raise this issue to the public in every forum possible. I seriously do not believe that any United States citizen wants to jeopardize our national security by eliminating the Marine Corps. I have been following this closely, and there have been a few articles on the subject matter. The Gates' idea is now on the front line. Below I paste three paragraphs from an article posted on the Center for Security Policy. After that I will post the link for the article.

"Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has repeatedly indicated that he believes the United States must focus its shrinking defense resources on fighting counter-insurgency operations like today's conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. (The latter, of course, continues, even though Mr. Obama has unilaterally declared an "end to combat operations" there - the triumph of a campaign promise over conditions-on-the- ground-based considerations or national interests). As a result, the Pentagon's capacity to project power around the world is being deemphasized, and in come cases seriously eroded. As a key element of the "pointy-end of the spear" for U.S. power-projection, such trends bode ill for the Corps.

"Worse yet, Secretary Gates has launched a major review of the Marines' mission. Although he conveyed in a speech in San Francisco last month an appreciation of the Corps and its unique "from the sea" warfighting capability, the Gates review seems intended to challenge the need for amphibious assault capability. Arguing that the proliferation of advanced anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles, mines and other sophisticated weapons into the hands even of Third World nations is making endangered species of the vessels that form the backbone of "over-the-beach" warfighting, Mr. Gates and his senior subordinates seem disposed - all other things being equal - to argue for scaling back, if not eliminating, such platforms.

"Already, the defense secretary has signaled that he is inclined to cancel the Marines' top ground force modernization program - the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV). Were Mr. Gates actually to do so, he would condemn the Corps to going to war from the sea for the foreseeable future with obsolescent amphibious vehicles, or not at all. As with the decisions he has already made to cancel the other services' top procurement priorities, such programmatic cuts condemn the military to the sort of "hollowing-out" last seen in the Clinton and Carter administrations. History tells us that such penny-foolish, pound-stupid decisions cost us dearly in the longer term, as adversaries perceive our weakness as an invitation to aggression."
"Send away the Marines?" article

Semper fidelis,
Greg Rasmussen
SSgt '78-87

Note: There are three article on the Sgt Grit Blog about this subject.
Sgt Grit

Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit