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As a boy growing up during WWII, the Marines were my hero's. So, like most of us, when I grew up I also became a Marine so that I would be able to follow in the wake of these men. At my Marine Corps League Detachment meetings, I am proud to say that there are still some of the "old Corps" left and when speaking to them I listen and learn as history rolls off of their tongues.
I got to know one Marine in particular and I guess he took a liking to me because lately he has given me some old stuff that he knows that I will forever treasure and keep in my family even after my death. All of these gifts have little or no monetary value but have immense historical value to me.
I sent this pix of a straight razor that was issued to the Marines after the battle of Saipan because, as he said, they were all filthy. This Marine also served on Tinian and Iwo Jima as well.
Maybe there are other "Old Corps Marines" out there that have no one to pass on their treasures to, or maybe they feel they have little value to anybody, but rest assured there are many Marines out there who would treasure these souvenirs of the Marines of WWII. My Heroes.
In This Issue
More snookering of DI's. One Marine goes fast and furious from the excitement of his unit patch to barbarian in 15 seconds.
Boot camp cooking recipe: Grandma, bayonet, fruitcake and warm water. Another goes from Quantico guard duty, a SgtMaj, Chosin, and a faraway look.
Feeble efforts shows just how creative and diabolical DI's can be.
The joys of guard duty and the Sgt of the Guard, get on your stomach. Silent night is a touching Christmas story of overcoming, adapting and improvising.
Fair winds and following seas.
My Personal Hero
I wanted to share a picture of my own personal hero, LCpl Daniel Weber during Operation Khanjar in the push into Southern Helmand in the summer of 2009. He is holding an American flag on the 4th of July 2009.
Golf Company was hit hard during that deployment and prepares to return very soon. One picture is of some men in his squad in between firefights that first week of the push, and the other is toward the end of the deployment, just back from patrol. The last is the memorial for our 2/8 Angels.
Semper Fi and thank you for what you do for our Marines,
Didn't Even Blink
Snookering the DI made me recall when one of my platoons was about to make the march from MCRD to Camp Matthews. I was a JDI, 58-59 with F/2nd. Busy with paperwork, etc, I told the Right Guide to grab my pack and have it ready to go when we got the word to move out. When we began to go, I picked up the pack and someone had filled it with sand. I didn't even blink, put it on, and told them we were going to have some extra special fun at Matthews with Little Agony and Big Agony. Little did they know what that payback was going to be like. It was a good platoon and the guide was pretty squared away. I think his name was Mahon from Texas.
Now I am working in GS with the Air Force and what they say about country club is correct!
Semper Fi and Merry Christmas to all of you
Fire for Effect: USMC Tattoos - Back to top
I wanted a way to honor my service in the Marine Corps. My daughter urged me on to have this tattoo done. So after almost 34 year out and much thought on this I finally came up with this design. Semper Fi to all my brothers.
Worth The Wait
During my Marine Corps career, I saw many very well done "Marine Corps" tattoos. I made the decision that I would not get one until after I left the Marine Corps. In 2008, I retired from the Marine Corps after over 22 years of service. It took me almost two years post retirement to have my tattoo done by the world famous tattoo artist, Mike Ledger (Honolulu, HI). It was certainly worth the wait!
Grant V. Frey
1986 - 2008
We Were Good
A couple of years ago I was perusing the military history section of my local Barnes & Nobel. Picking up the book, Vietnam Marine Patches and looking for the patch from my last unit, 0-1 Detachment, H&MS-16, I found both the 0-1 Charlie patch and the 0-1 patch. As a very small unit, 46 officers and enlisted personnel, I had not expected to find the patches in the book.
I must have been smiling when a middle aged woman with a employee badge came up and asked if I found something I liked. I said yes, the patches of the last unit I served with in RVN. She then asked what did that unit do? I looked at her and said, "We killed people, we killed lots of people, f-ck we were good!". She looked at me as though suddenly I had snakes growing out of my head and said, I don't know how to respond to that. My response was, you f-cking A twittie.
She wandered away muttering Barbarian.
Pacey, Van C., CPL USMC
Just wanted to say thank you for the outstanding job on my custom shirt request! I made a 'welcome home' troops thing on Christmas Eve morning wearing it... lots of good comments and 'where can I get ones'... thanks again.
Mike Flynn, Marine, class of 1960 (San Diego)-forever
The picture is a picture of 'old' lol*
I read in a recent news later that Capt. Kidd (is this for real?) went to Okinawa on the big gray cruise ship, USS Breckenridge. My family and I returned to the States from Okinawa, courtesy of the same cruise line - 1965.
There were about 600 Marines on the lower decks. I was on the upper decks with my family... there's where the fun was: Lots of chow, dances, queen of the voyage contests, in-door and out- door movies, pinochle tournaments, and just generally lazing on the decks, for 25 days. With overnight stays in the Philippines, Hawaii, and San Diego -- then on to Oakland where we disembarked.
The only other ships I was ever aboard was an APA, the USS Pickaway [my first Mar-Lex (sp?) exercise], Jan. 1957. The other APA I was on, slips my memory. Aah, the good 'ole days... climbing down the landing net at 4:00 AM, and stepping down 12' into a plywood boat, out in the Pacific Ocean. And people think they have fun at six flags. I'm just shackled-titless that no one was shooting at us.
J.W. Wilson, cpl. USMC -- 1956 -1959
ssgt USA -- 1959 - 1965
Fire for Effect: Short Rounds - Back to top
Dear Sgt. Grit
Re: Ribbon Creek
I don't want to get anybody in trouble, so I won't say what plt., but we were still doing it in Oct. 1958. I still can't understand how anybody drowned because THE DAMMED THING is ONLY WAIST DEEP!
Had to be real sh-t birds.
SSgt j.w. frazier
Hey Sgt Grit,
Sgt Tryon ask who remembers paper sleeping bags and I can sure say I do. Going through ITR training at Camp Pendleton in March 1963. We were out on a overnight training exercise and was issued those paper bags more like an oversized envelope and it was cold very very cold. I must say that brought back memories always good. Semper Fi and Merry Christmas to all.
SSgt. J.C. Scott
I believe Lt. Geisler had either a memory lapse or made a typo. The M-14 replaced the M-1 and was the weapon of choice for the Army and Marine Corps from 1959-1970. The M-16 was the replacement for the M-14 in the 1966-1967 time frame and wasn't issued for training until sometime in 1970. The M-14 was supposed to replace the M-1, M-1 Carbine, M3 "Grease Gun", and M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle as a individual machinegun type weapon.
In regard to the article above this on the Stoner. One of the designers of the M-16 was Eugene Stoner.
In '57 when I got assigned to 2nd Amphib Recon right out of PI boot... at Camp Geiger, my M-1 was turned into the armory. My MOS is "scout-swimmer." Our TA weapon in that outfit was the K- Bar or a Bowie knife. Our jump platoon carried "grease guns" or 45 cal. machine guns... We wore cammies, soft covers and govt. issue sneaks when coming ashore in our twelve man LCNs...Lots of fun and excitement for an 18 yr. old kid... I was a Sgt. E4 when discharged and became a Corporal (again) E4 when I joined the Marine Corps Reserves in '61.
Dick Vara Cpl
I was at Cherry Point when the war ended and was assigned as station armorer. My job was to put M1's in crates supervising civilian workers who did the actual work. I don't know how many thousand we packed. but it was a lot.
J. Hill, Sgt 42-46
In August 2010 Marine George Bosko left to patrol the streets in heaven. God watch over you, George. It will not be long before your buddy, Marine Sam Fusaro, will relieve you. We WW2 buddies are being called at a fast pace.
GOD BLESS the MARINE CORPS. Sam Fusaro, USMC
Sgt Grit: I was on guard duty at Camp Geiger in Oct,!957 with Pfc Lunay. We were assigned to the Pvt/Pfc "Slop Chute" populated with newly minted young Marines who could not handle the "light" beer. Jim was about 6'4" and I was the smaller guy. He could intimidate the ITR drunks by size alone. A question: Sympathy is found in the dictionary between ---??? and Tough S- it. Can't remember the start of that line.
Semper Fi Cpl Rowe
It wasn't until my second tour in the Green Machine that I learned that "Oorah" is Turkish for "Kill!"
Former Sgt, USMC
How well I remember Xmas of 1952 in a tent on Cho Do Island. In this case it was planes trying to bomb us off the island. In addition, our tents had a lot of holes in it as the boys building a bunker next to the tent used explosives to blast out the rock.
Great Christmas Carol! Most of my DIs and infantry instructors were Korean and WWII veterans. (Platoon 174 MCRD San Diego), A Co. ITR. Every winter I read and listen to March to Glory, Breakout, and other Korean War memoirs so I never forget what they did there. The stateside winters never seem so cold after that.
David Hann, former Cpl, USMC, 1963-1966, Vietnam, 1966.
3rd FSR, DaNang, Phu Bai.
This particular Operation in Spain, was supposed to be one of the biggest since D-Day. There were many Marine Units from Lejeune, along with several NATO Nations. At the time, I was in B-1-6.
If I'm correct, 28 Marines died in a Chopper crash. A real tragedy. The Sec of the Navy said," This is the price you pay, to be prepared for a war.
Sgt. D.E. Davidson
Ed McGaa left out some of his accomplishments in the last newsletter, flying 5 missions in a 24 hr period to help save two helicopter loads of Marines trapped on a hill in Vietnam, and writing 7 books. I met Major McGaa in Cody WY. when I was purchasing one of his books. A real Marine hero.
Bob Sullivan Veteran Sgt. USMC
That was very interesting in your 22 Dec issue of Sgt. Grit, the "Ahruuuga", that Cpl Dale Peterson used from the old Marine Raiders before Recon got hold of it.
Sgt. Max Sarazin
20 December 2010
37 years ago today I received the title "Marine" which I proudly carry to this day. Nothing before prepared me for the boot camp experience and nothing since has been its equal. Thank you Sgt.'s Williams, Larson, Prahl and Clarkson for re-making me. Also thank you to Gunny Reaves who made me promise to never leave boot camp... I lied.
Keith T Wenda, Sgt., USMC 1973-1977
MCRD San Diego, Plt 3093, 20 December 1973
Yo Sgt Grit !
As we all know (or should know), there are no ex - Marines other than those s--tbirds who got discharged in conditions other than honorable.
I served from July '56 to June '61. (extended for a year to go to Japan). Recently I was asked what my MOS was. I don't remember.
After Parris Island & Camp Geiger, I went to Item Co, 3rd Bn, 6th Marines. My MOS was Infantry but I sure can't recall the number. From there I did Guard duty & motor pool at Gtmo. And from there it was back to Lejeune for a short while at motor pool, and finally off to MAG 12, in Iwakuni where I drove re- fuel tankers.
During all this, did my MOS change? Don't know. I think it was 3531 (motor vehicle operator) at the end of my last tour of duty. Anyway, it was a great trip and I'd do it all over again.
Can't blame Gary Nash for being suspicious when he got the blank look. The clown he was asking would have at least known what MOS means!
D. Roth 1629181, '56-'61
In reference to 1st Sgts. Jones comments about Sgt. Wood's email and the switch over from the forest green winter service uniform, he is wrong and Sgt. Wood is correct. Marine Corps Order 10120.35 of 1 July 1963 authorized the issue and sale of a new 15 ounce green wool gabardine serge service uniform.
The phase-out of the old kersey (heavy wool) green winter service uniform was to be completed by 1 July 1967. Thus by 1967 the use of the heavy kersey wool that had been used in the manufacture of the enlisted man's green service uniform since 1914 had come to an end.
A few members of my boot camp platoon (including myself) in early 1966 were issued the old stock heavy kersey green uniform, while the rest got the new light weight gabardine serge uniform. Sgt. Wood is correct in asserting that he had to have a regulation gabardine uniform in 1968.
Per Sgt. Wood's request, the official order mandating the switch from brown uniform accessories (shoes, service cap frames, etc) to black was MCO 1020.37 of 4 June 1963.
Jones is also wrong on the "cammies" being first issued in 1976, they were standard issue by 1969. Sorry I can't quote a MCO on this, but you can check out the book "U.S. Marines in Vietnam, 1969" by History and Museums Division, Headquarters, USMC...or any other book showing Marines in 1969 to see the camouflaged utility uniform being worn.
Daniel Schafer L/Cpl Ret
I'm very proud to have served this great country of ours in the Corps. I joined the Corps in 1965. I did not know of Viet Nam at the time nor did I know of its existence. I joined to be in an infantry unit, but ended up in motor transport all thru the 4 yrs that I enlisted. I did go to the Nam in 1966 with MTM Maint Bat Mabs 13.
Anyway after that I went back to the States went to Camp Lejeune. Did not like it there went to Okinawa 3rd FSR then volunteered to go to Nam. I had about ten months to go I was sent to Trk Co 1st FSR drove a wrecker went on convoys. Missed Tet, stayed about 8 months sent home and out of the Corps. The grunts should get all recognition of the battles that they were in but those who were in the rear like me and others believe it or not went on convoys patrols and other duties should be recognized still proud of all Marines.
Fire for Effect: Real Motivation - Back to top
This was written by my Drill Instructor of 1962 Dale Landon
12 November 2002
MILINET: A Sea Story
By: MSgt Al Loreth, USMC (Ret.)
In 1962, while serving as a Drill Instructor, I had the occasion to witness another Drill Instructors recruit motivating techniques.
As any former Marines will remember, when a recruit's Drill Instructor required that the recruit enter the DI hut/office, the recruit had to loudly knock three times and scream out, "SIR, PRIVATE DOE requests permission to enter the Drill Instructors hut; SIR!
The knocking and screaming never seemed to be loud enough. The DI would usually scream, "I CAN'T HEAR you Maggot!" or charming words to that effect, and would require the hapless recruit to repeat his effort.
Now read what that DI did to motivate his recruits.
From another platoon that was about to graduate, he would borrow two squared away recruits that were armed with M-14s, and one borrowed recruit wearing new utilities who joined the new recruits and pretended to be one of them. The two, armed recruits stood at attention on each side of the hut door. The new recruits then received their how to enter a drill instructors hut instructions.
Naturally, all recruits failed in their feeble efforts. The DI would then leave the hut, address the recruits, and tell them that he was tired of those feeble efforts and the penalty for the next recruit who doesn't measure up would be most severe.
Enter the borrowed recruit who looked just like all the other new recruits. This actor would be next in line to attempt to placate the DI by knocking and screaming loud enough. The actor approached the door to the hut and made a noble, but unsuccessful effort to be admitted.
The DI would then rush out of the hut, grab the frightened actor and stand him against a nearby hut. The DI would then tell the recruits if they didn't measure up, he could kill them and no one would know. When they heard that, most recruits in line had a look of incongruity on their faces. The DI then asked, How many of you maggots have already been issued ID cards? Of course, no one had. Then he asked if anyone had been issued dog tags. Again, there was no response. The DI asked them if they had any contact with their families since they arrived. No one had. In that case, said the DI, your relatives don't even know if you've arrived, so if I kill you and dispose of the body no one will be the wiser. Some of the recruits started to look a little worried.
At this point, the DI called to the armed actors, Kill him. The actors brought their rifles up, aimed at the cowering, actor and fired one blank cartridge at the weeping recruit. That individual clutched his chest with hands that concealed partially opened packets of ketchup, and fell to the ground, an apparent bloody mess. The two riflemen smartly grounded their weapons. Picked up the Dead actor and carried him to a Demster Dumpster that was located at the end of that same street. The door was open, so the riflemen unceremoniously tossed the Dead recruit inside, where he landed on a pre-positioned mattress.
For at least one week, all of the new recruits were as obedient and as attentive as they could be. Of course during the act, the other drill instructors in the audience were perfect in being able to keep a straight face.
Back In The Parking Lot
Just finished reading Sgt. Aikens story about the "box of Oreos". I arrived at MCRD San Diego on Thanksgiving day of 1954. The Corps flew me from Portland, Oregon on a Western Airlines "champagne flight". When I told the stewardess that I was heading for Marine Corps boot camp she started pouring me glass after glass of champagne. By the time we landed at Lindburg Field I was well "in the bag".
I staggered to a pay phone and called the Motor Pool for a ride to MCRD. I was told to wait in the parking lot for my ride. Pretty soon a PFC pulled up in a pick-up and told me to get in. I opened the passenger door and slid in and he immediately put his foot in my a__ and shoved me back in the parking lot and said, "Who the h-ll do you think you are ? Get your a__ in the back". I started to get sober really fast.
Several weeks later I was summoned to the DI's room. He had a package for me from my grandmother. She knew that I loved her fruitcakes so I figured that was what was inside. The DI asked me if I wanted the package and I immediately said "NO". He smacked the crap out of me and chewed me out for disrespecting my grandmother whereby I then said that I would accept the package. I had to open it in front of him and he said that he, in the spirit of Christmas, would allow me to have the fruitcake but first I had to get my bayonet and a canteen of warm water. He made me eat the entire cake in between swigs of warm water.
By the time I was done eating I was also sick as h-ll. On the way out of his room I puked on a bush outside of his door and caught holy h-ll for that too. I immediately wrote all my relatives and begged them to NOT send me any care packages. I remember that whenever any of the guys got a letter from their girlfriends that had "SWAK" written on them or kiss marks on them, the DI would make them eat the envelope. The same fate came to those who received a letter with a stick of gum inside.
Some people would say that this was cruel and inhumane punishment but it did serve a purpose and possibly saved a life or two. Thank God there was no ACLU at that time or else we would have been able to eat all the candy we wanted while lounging around in our pink "jammies".
S. C. Gerling Sgt of Marines
There was mention of Gomer Pyle and the Quonset huts at MCRD. This is from Al Loreth.
In 1963 while assigned as a D.I. in San Diego, I had the occasion to visit the dispensary on the base. While walking down a passageway, I was brought up short by a recruit addressing a Captain Stremic, the OIC of the special instruction section. The recruit said, "Howdy Captain". The Captain stunned at the temerity of the recruit in addressing an officer in that manner, screamed at the hapless recruit and demanded to know if the recruit had lost his mind.
The recruit was in sickbay because he injured his arm while on the obstacle course, and was at that time, wearing a sling. The recruit responded, "Captain, don't you remember me? I'm Jim Nabors, ya know, Gomer Pyle, we're filming Gomer Pyle, USMC. We met earlier today." The recruit's response had the Captain in hysterics.
Neither of us had recognized Jim as anyone other than a recruit. I suppose I should add that Jim Nabors had to lean on a nearby bulkhead and laughed for at least ten minutes.
In the summer of 1969 I found myself and some 70 other young men side-stepping through the Chow Hall in San Diego CA. That in itself was not that unusual but what later happened has flashed through my mind occasionally off and on for the last 40 years. As we were learning to sit down and stand up properly the private next to me decides it is now time to stand up while the rest of us were still eating.
To this day I vividly remember our JDI Sgt Garcia jump on top of the table where he was sitting (clearly 40 yards away) plant himself firmly on the table and launched his milk carton across the chow hall and hit the recruit right square in the forehead. The milk carton explodes all over everybody! I doubt even an NFL quarterback could have made that shot with more precision.
Our memories are what make us ALLWAYS US Marines.
Dear Sgt Grit,
Just read the story of the Oreo cookies and it brought back a time in the summer of '56 my platoon 1006 was at Camp Mathews rifle range and my mother (bless her heart) send me a box of 24 Milky Ways. Of course I had to open it in front of my DI who upon seeing all that pogey-bait took me and the box into his tent where I knelt while he fed me bar after bar. I had to chew and swallow fast so as not to choke. Finally as the last bar was being chewed, he gave me a canteen cup of warm water to wash it down. Of course I could keep it down and up the Milky Ways came all over his dress shoes. To this day I cannot eat Milky Ways and of course I wrote to all my relatives not to send any packages what so ever. By the way I learned that day how to really spit-shine dress shoes.
GySgt, USMC, Ret.
DI's Would Translate
Just a few words (?) at this time.
First of all, the "Slop Chute" was a great place to get a beer - 15 cents a can.
Boot camp in 1944. The 12th Recruit Bn at Parris Island was housed in Quonset Huts totally. There were two story barracks but not in my Bn. We were issued M1 rifles. Mine was serial no.1617788. I wonder what happened to it. The DI's would "translate" the news from the local newspaper each morning. It was written in "Southern".
Korea. The M1 carbines were worth about !. Most NCO's were issued them in place of 45's. The M1 rifle was the thing. Never build a fire under a water trailer to thaw it out - kept us warm for about an hour. Got back to Pusan - the temperature was in the twenties - D-mn near froze. No one had ever mentioned the -40's that we had been thru. Just as well.
Incidentally, my serial no. was 969628.
Edwin H. Tate, GySgt (Ret'd)
Stole The Gunny's Hat
Dear Sgt Grit,
Please find enclosed a photo of my platoon 151, regimental honor platoon, Sand Diego July -Oct 1961. Acting Gunny EJ Beauchane was senior DI, SSgt Monroe, who left to lead his own platoon, Sgt Marvin, SSgt Vaughn, and SSgt Jewel. All fine leaders. They made me into the person I am today.
During range maintenance at Camp Matthews, the Pvts got visitors. The Gunny advised them to be back by 1600 and not to eat any candy or drink cokes. They did anyway.
The people returned at 1700 hrs, and Gunny Beauchane called 151 on the road with seabags. We fell out, he gave us the order of right face. Right shoulder seabags, people began to snicker. The command was given, forward march. He marched us to agony hill, gave us the command to port arms and ran us down agony hill to the bottom, we then went to the rear, and he ran us for forty five minutes. The Pvts who had pogey bait threw up and the Gunny was kicking them in the a-s. He finally had us halt and we could not stop our legs were jerking badly. He told us to walk around and get rid of the cramps.
The march back from the rifle range we slept in shelter halves that night. People from another plt. stole the Gunny's hat and ate all the sweet rolls for breakfast the next morning. We got back to MCRD that afternoon and hit the rack early. The next morning SSgt Jewel had us in formation and General Krulak walked up and began chewing on my DI. We had to cod the entire Saturday instead of watching the depot football game. They threatened to keep us from graduating and they never found out who ate the sweet rolls.
On graduation morning we marched over for our final haircuts and when we went to the base theater, Sgt Marvin gave the command to halt. He told us to look on top of regimental headquarters and there flying from the flag pole was Platoon 151's guide on. Everyone got a lump in our throats. Our platoon started with 88 people with 80 reservists and 8 regular Marine recruits. They told us we had scored the most points ever at MCRD San Diego.
Dear Sgt. Grit;
I just read the Dec 1, 2010 Newsletter. In it a ret'd Gunny (GYSGT Windle (Pat, Tiny) Townley) claimed S/Sgt Handshumacher was a psycho. He was one of my own Drill Instructors in Plt.200 between 10JAN62 thru 4APR62. He was one scary-looking guy... but isn't that what most Drill Instructors were supposed to be? I do not remember any of them being psycho's, although they sure scared the s--t out of me!
Gee, he made us do push-ups and sit-ups and pull-ups and lots more PT... and he even yelled at us. Golly gee-whiz! lol Perhaps Gunny Townley needs to remember the truth of Boot Camp "horrors". Boot Camp was the forging place for all of us who had aspirations of becoming hard-charging Marines. The Drill Instructors scared, taunted, yelled-at, and, sometimes, gave us a kick in the butt. I don't think anyone can deny that. At all times, those men were our lifeline to the Corps. My observations of then Sgt. Handshumacher were that he was a professional, and that he held my attention! Man, I wouldn't want him on my tail for failing to pay attention. I would, however, like to have him in my outfit should the sh-t hit the fan though!
If I Was Successful
Reading comments about DI's reminds me of what one of our Boot Platoon guys later told our DI after graduation during WW2. He stated to the DI: "wasn't you a little rough on us boots?" He got this reply: "When I first saw you as a raw-aszed boot you weren't worth a crap. My job was to mold you into a Marine. If I was successful, you now should be able to do the same to those slanty-eyed J-ps." I thought that reply was about as good as it can get.
Sgt. Marion B. Stults, USMC, SN 450010
Fire for Effect: Surprises on Guard Duty - Back to top
Don't Know His Name
I was in Casual Co. at Quantico in November 1968, after attending a Process Photography course at Ft. Belvoir, Va. Being stationed at an Army base was awful and I was happy to be back with my fellow Marines. I was a brand new PFC and, being low on seniority, was assigned to walk firewatch. Around midnight, shivering and shaking from the cold, I ducked into a dark building to "make sure it was alpha sierra," but really to warm up.
I thought I was alone in the shadowy vestibule and I was sta