There have been many comments about the Green Shirts in the last few newsletters. I thought you might like some pictures of same, taken at MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, either 1957 or 1958.
LCpl Phil Urquhart, 56-59
In This Issue
Let's do something fun. We have Black Friday, Cyber Monday etc... What other days might we coin between now and Christmas with a Marine theme.
Here we go: I've got one of you at home, a tradition failed, Plymouth Belvedere sedan, green shirts, 4.2MM, Pastor read the letter, Beatnik coffee house, became a Buddhist Zen Master, ironed in wrinkles and all.
Fair winds and following seas.
The last two newsletters have had a few articles about the How-6's and if they were used in Viet-Nam. I was in the first HOW-6 Platoon that was formed in November of 1965 and was part of 3rd Amtrac's outside of Danang and transferred to 1st Marine div in late 66. There is not much history of us being there because we were always attached to and in support of other outfits during Operations and river patrols. They were worn out by the time we were replaced by a company of How-6s in December of 1966 and that appears to be the start of the history of the HOW-6s in Viet Nam.
I was a field radio operator (2531). I don't remember many names but myself, Mike Lentini, who I still have contact with, and Don Brown, who was killed when the track he was on hit a land mine (DOW-11 nov 1966) arrived together and met Tim Gott (I believe He received 2 Purple Hearts) there. We were all from 2/8 at Camp Lejeune.
Sgt. Grimes (Nov. 24th Newsletter)
The yellow footprints are still on MCRD San Diego. They are now down at the new Receiving Barracks, a block south of the theatre at the east end of the Grinder, right across the street, north of the remaining Quonset Huts...
Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.
Dear Sgt. Grit,
It has been a long time since I have written you concerning a few items of history and each time you gave me full respect and posted my comments. Each time it was of Lt.Gen. Lewis B. Puller; as you and many Marines know as "Chesty". I wish to convey that on 13 November, 2011 a small Detachment of Marines held a ceremony at Christ Church in Saluda, Virginia because a tradition failed and a handful of "Puller Hall" Marines (2nd F.A.S.T.) of Yorktown, Virginia and Detachment 1317 of the Marine Corps League in the Middle Peninsula of Gloucester, Virginia stepped in to visit the General and pay respects.
In years past, a Detachment of Marines ran from Northern Virginia to Saluda, Virginia to celebrate 10 November at the "General's" grave. But for the first time, this was canceled this year. Detachment 1317 decided to hold a service on 13 November at Christ Church. I spoke of the General and his devotion to his Marines at his grave site. We shared a beer with the General.
I was asked to speak of my time with "Chesty" and his comments to me of many situations and life accomplishments of him in the Corps and his thoughts, actions and feelings of his Marines. I informed the group that I would use actual comments and words of the General... as he was a bit colorful in his thoughts, actions and deeds. I was not watching but a small crowd gathered at the brick wall surrounding the cemetery and I was being filmed.
An older woman spoke to me and she was the sister of Ms. Virginia Puller, "Chesty's" wife. We chatted for a while and she gave me a hug. She was most disappointed that for the first time there was no Marine Corps Ceremony honoring the General on 10 November and that she was most glad we had showed up to perform. The others whom gathered were children whose fathers served with the General.
Sgt. Grit. I have been with "Chesty" in both my home and his so many times. I am most proud of this Marine but last Sunday, I guess my pride of being a friend of this Marine took a blind side of getting a bit emotional and a few tears started rolling on my new Marine Corps League shirt. We had four Marines in Dress Blues, A Captain, a Sergeant, a LCPL and Private... after everything was over the three Enlisted each went to the foot of "Chesty's" grave, came to attention and saluted. Yet... not the Officer. Today I was at "Puller Hall". Met with the SgtMajor and 1stSgt. and starting next year we will return the tradition of Marines running in formation to visit "Chesty" on 10 November with the full support of the Marine Corps League, Detachment 1317 of Gloucester, Virginia.
You had an article on "Chesty's" house. Yes, it was bought and now is un-occupied but it is maintained very well. The owner keeps it in good shape. I pass it most often.
Sgt. Grit. Thank you. You show and demonstrate constantly your love of "Chesty" and your "Corps". When I address Marines in a "PME" and at "Chesty's" Grave, I ask them why they respect the General. Never get a good answer, so then I explain why they are taught to love, care and respect not just "Chesty" but their "Corps" you ought to see them stand most erect. Also Sgt Grit. you help connect me with a few of the remaining who served with "Chesty" and we stay in touch. Thank you Sir.
Belated Happy Birthday Sgt. Grit and to your Marines. Sir, keep advancing, America needs her Marines moving forward; all her Marines both young and old.
God Bless the "Corps"
Patted Me On The Shoulder
Saw the submittal from ddick about a prostrate biopsy a week or two back and wanted to share one of my experiences.
It was about 8 years ago and was my first biopsy so I really didn't know what to expect. One of the office nurses directed me towards the procedure room and once we were inside she began to take my vitals. When asked my weight I said 200 pounds. She looked at me like she didn't believe me and with an attitude said, "are you sure?" I told her that I don't lie and there was no reason to. I told her that I am a man of honor.
She asked, "what do you mean by that?" I then told her that I am a Marine. She looked at me and said, "I've got one of you at home" and walked out of the room. A few minutes later she returned with a gown and told me to undress, put the gown on and wait for the doctor to come in. Since it was winter time and the room was cold I asked if I could keep my socks on. She looked at me and said, "honey, what we're going to do to you has nothing to do with your feet so feel free to keep your socks on."
Minutes later she returned to tell me to lay down on my side assume the fetal position and face the wall. Just before the doctor came in the room she patted me on the shoulder and said, "now we're going to find out how tough of a Marine you really are." That made me laugh and made the procedure somewhat easier. I've had two others since but that one is the most vivid. Guess you always remember your first.
2484603, Cpl., 2531/8662
USMC. 9/6/ - 7/71
4.2 MM Mortars
In today's newsletter a Marine Sgt B. Pierce (Okinawa, 1955) asked if these weapons were in service. We had an encounter with a 4-duce battery in Vietnam in 1967, somewhere in the area of Que Son. Very successful. I've attached a story that has a paragraph or two about it if you scroll down to Pg 43. Use what you want and delete the rest. I've bought several K-Bars from you, inscribed for presentation to my kids buddies, both Marines and Soldiers (let them explain it). Keep up the good work. Thx
Cpl., USMC 1966-67
I Remember Commenting
I've contemplated writing you about this for several months after I had received some genealogy information from my cousin. I served in the Corps from 1976-1996, my first duty station was at 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. I was a Field Radio Operator 2531 with H&S Company then. I was assigned to Fox Company and Golf Company as their Battalion Radio Operator. I also worked in the Battalion S-3 for a short time after I picked up Corporal.
While I was working in the S-3 at that time myself and a fellow Marine were looking at pictures of our past Regimental Commanders. When I spied Col. Puller's picture. I remember commenting to my fellow Marine and said to him "Man Col. Puller is one ugly man, I would not want to be related to him". Something I learned after many years of service to now, be careful for what you say or wish it may come true. Man did it come true.
As I mentioned earlier my cousin sent me some information about our family genealogy. She has been researching our family history for several years. The girl is very thorough but she missed something that only a Marine would know. It turned out that I have several famous relatives and one of them turned out to be Lt. General Patton who is a distant cousin. I remembered looking up some information on Lt. General Puller and it was noted that he and Patton were cousins also. I mentioned that tidbit of information to my cousin I'm quite sure she will be researching to see how we're related but never the less as far as I'm concerned all Marines are related to Chesty. Some more than others.
SSgt USMC Ret.
I was at MCRD P.I. Plt 289 in 1975. We graduated on November 10th 1975. The 200th birthday of our beloved Corps. It was one of the proudest days of my life first to become a US Marine and then to graduate on its 200th birthday. To see the pride in the eyes and to feel it was breath taking.
There was so many Marines around in Dress Blues and all the Officers I remember walking around with what I thought was a permanent salute. To march to the parade deck as Drill Instructor Sgt Nothan calling cadence to the Marines Hymn made the stubble on the back of my neck stand up. I can still remember that day even though it was 36 yrs. ago and the hair still stands on end when I hear the Marines Hymn.
Sgt T.H. Courtney
The Marine Corps Mud Run in Columbia, SC honors Marines and their families, with generated funds going to the Marine Corps Foundation. This was my 3rd year doing the course, this year in a limited way due to recent knee surgery (no obstacles), but we were all committed to doing it in honor and memory of Navy SCPO Blake McLendon.
While we've done the course in Sgt. Grit purchased Marine Corps t-shirts, we ran it this year with shirts made to commemorate Blake. Next year we'll be back with your t-shirts!
An older, but not old, Marine
Finding Your Buddies
I would like to share the following story in regards to finding those we served with .
In 2001, I posted a Memorial on the VietnamVirtual Wall Website. I found various names of members from my Company Hotel 2/4 who had sacrificed their young lives unexpectedly on Mar.30,1967. I was not the first to do so. Another man A Cpl, had posted a Memorial, signed his name and left an e-mail contact. His address was south of where I lived and I had hopes of making contact someday.
A few months later I received a strange call and yes it was the Cpl he had tracked my phone number down. We talked in length which he indicated he knew me as I was a Corpsman and new In- Country at the time and assigned to H&S Company. Our conversation led to Mar.30 a subject I tried to avoid. After hanging up the phone tears flowed from my eyes.
A few minutes later I received another call. The new caller was a friend of the Cpl. They had remained in contact thru the years The Cpl called his buddy and gave him my number. He too had been a Cpl and then advised me that he lived within 10 miles of me. I suggested to meet for lunch.
Upon our first meeting we did not remember each other, but we both laughed at how much older we looked. After lunch we drove to his home. He had a "war room" with pictures, misc. items etc. I opened his scrapbook and thumbed through each page. Some places looked familiar, but I did not recognize any faces. Suddenly there was a picture I was familiar with, a young man dressed in jungle utes, sitting on a sandbagged bunker, cigarette dangling out of the corner of his mouth which had a slight cocky grin. He was holding a weapon, A Thompson Sub machine gun.
It was him, he said not recognizing him he exclaimed. He had retrieved the weapon. after an ambush the night before. I remembered this event distinctly as it was my first combat experience. I have the same exact picture I told him. sitting on the same bunker holding the weapon (although I looked like I had been in the field forever unshaven, shirtless and no grin).I couldn't wait to show him.
The Sunday after Veterans Day my friend invited me to attend his church as they were having a special Veterans Tribute prior to the regular service. He then stated the reason for the invite. He had given the young Pastor a letter he had wrote to his father the day after March 30. (note he and the Cpl had been in first platoon that day and were not only wounded but witnessed their fellow Marines in the squad, who lost their lives that day.) I had that morning changed platoons to be with a Corpsman in 3rd platoon which followed behind first platoon. A move that would save my life that day.
The Pastor read the letter as though it was sent from his son, strong, vibrant and with love .The written words described how he had been wounded but was okay and described in detail what happened from the beginning to the end. This was highly emotional and I trying with all I had, to hold back the tears and be there for my buddy. We both stood proudly as the Pastor after reading the last sentence introduced the member of the Congregation who had wrote the letter and then introduced his friend who sat to his right and was there with him on the 30 of March 1967."SEMPER FIDELIS"
FRANK MORELLI Corpsman FMF
Beatnik Coffee House
Seems like the most memorable portions of my tour in the Corps involve crazy things and slight troubles. While I was a Plane Captain in VMA-121 in Iwakuni I was sent to NCO Leadership School. We got a brief introduction to ABC Warfare and I fell in love with it. When I re-enlisted I requested another tour in Japan and to be trained in ABC Warfare. This request was honored and I obtained a 5711 mos.
After returning to the States I joined a squadron at MCAS El Toro and became the squadron training NCO. Part of the duties was to run the squadron through the gas chamber. I'm sure everyone remembers going in the chamber, removing your gas mask and singing the Marines Hymn before being allowed to exit. Naturally, my mask remained on since this was MY party.
In the corner of the chamber there was a small hot plate and I would enter with a large can of CS or CN tear gas pellets and place several on the hot plate and turn it on. An idea ran through my brain housing group... hey, I could have some real fun with these so I filled my pocket with capsules. It took very little heat to melt these capsules and convert them to gas.
At that time, there was a Beatnik coffee house on 1st and Main Street in Santa Ana, California. As far as the Marines were concerned, these people were far too weird for us so I formulated a plan to "share" some of my tear gas with them. I got hold of some of my buddies, issued a capsule to each of them, and instructed everyone to walk into the shop and take different seats in order to get good coverage. We would all light up a cigarette and, when I gave the sign, would press an indentation in their cigarettes, fill the indentation with gas crystals and place it in the ash tray then get up and leave. We then ran like h___ to the corner of the block and waited. The front door almost came off the hinges and a sea of bearded crying hippies came flowing out on the sidewalk.
To celebrate our "victory" we went to the 302 Bar which was on 3rd and Main. The bartender there was a retired Master Sgt from field music. As I proceeded to get "hammered" I must have told the bartender about our mission. A bit later, I had to make an urgent Head Call so I went to the back of the bar to take care of business. While in there I got the bright idea of getting rid of all the extra gas capsules that were in my pocket. I grabbed a handful of toilet paper, placed it in a urinal, put all the capsules in it and lit it.
Now I'm back sitting at the bar when a customer went in the Head. Seconds later we hear him yelling and bouncing off the walls. He later came out on his hands and knees with tears flowing like a river. When Sarge, the bartender, saw what happened he ran up to me, grabbed my neck and my belt and threw me out in the street. He said, "You dumb S.O.B. you just got through telling me about the hippies, you're 86'd out of here for life." He finally let me come back in after about 4 or 5 years later.
Sid Gerling 1406162
Sgt of Marines
In this week's newsletter, I read that Col Roberts was at one time the longest TIG L/Cpl.; that must have been a real long time... when I got out in Jan of '69... I had 26 months in grade as a L/Cpl... and got a Good Conduct Ribbon when I got out. Of course, at the time, rank as a cook was frozen... unless you were a draftee.
L/Cpl. Mark Gallant ... Chu Lai '68
D. Wright's "Ribbons Galore" brought back memories from the early 60's.
I was working with a British Royal Marine unit for a couple weeks for a "ceremonial" event. The salty BRM Colour sergeant flipped out over both the "were there" ribbons and the Purple Heart, which some of our NCOs had, as well as the shortness of our good conduct and enlistment periods.
Dave H, 1855647
Thankful for all Marines even the Brig Wardens...
. A few days before Thanksgiving Day in 1950 we had our Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings...a good hot meal... before jumping off to move north to the chosen reservoir with the fifth Marines.
bob hetherington, combat correspondent
A most wonderful Thanksgiving To you and yours! And SEMPER FI to all my Brothers and Sisters in the Glorious Marine Corps! Every meal is a feast, Every day is an adventure!
Cpl. "Chip" Morgan, 1968 Vietnam (still lost somewhere on the DMZ)
About the 4.2 (inch) Mortar, Golf Battery 3rd Batt. 11th Marines had the 4.2 until early 1958 when they turned them in for the 105s.
jim Harvey (57'-59)
GySgt C.A.Rea you are the one I look up to. Anyone on Iwo Jima is my Hero. My father Pfc Harley Jenkins(Retires as MSgt) at the time was wounded on that Island in March 1945. Semper Fi Brother
The Gunny Sandwich
I was thinking of this question earlier in the week, and then I saw the write up on Montford Point.
After boot camp, first part of 1974, I went to school at Montford Point for my MOS, Motor T mechanic.
At the e-club, they had a sandwich called "The Gunny" and I wish I could remember what was in the sandwich, but it was good. I think it was a hamburger, and I remember a fried egg, but that is all the farther my brain goes.
Maybe they still make the same sandwich at what is now Camp Johnson, the club, was on a street corner, just across from the outdoor movie screen.
What was in this sandwich?
Plymouth Belvedere Sedan
For Choo-Choo, re: the undocumented ambulatory transients motivating through Camp Pendleton... still happens.
Over on the other side, out past Fallbrook, is another Interstate Highway, mostly built over what used to be '395'. At the top of a grade, just south of what is now the booming city of Temecula, is a Border Patrol checkpoint.
In the late 70's, early 80's, it was not uncommon to have to run down to Pendleton from 29 Palms ('bout 125 miles or so, using the Winchester Road/Beaumont cut-off), and the usual mode of transport was a Plymouth Belvedere sedan from Base Motors... green, with a white top. Senior guy gets to pick the driver, and since I had started driving on an International H tractor at about 10 years of age, and figured that if I was going to get killed in a Marine Corps vehicle, it would be from something other than a Lance Corporal's mistake, the Major drove...
From time to time, also in the vehicle would be a couple of my Marines, and sometimes those would be of Hispanic extraction... as we would slow down to get into one of the northbound inspection lanes (eyeballs through the windshield at 5MPH), my instruction to the passengers would be "Let me do all the talking, and try to look Irish 'till we get through here"... it always worked...
Barry Corbin enlisted in 1961. Spent two years training South Vietnamese officers at Camp Pendleton. Finished his enlistment with reserve unit in Texas.
Don Cornelius, Soul Train. Enlisted in 1954, served in Korea.
Brian Dennehy, movies and TV. Enlisted, 1959-1963.
Bradford Dillman, movies and TV. 1951-1953 Korea.
David Eigenberg, Sex in the City. Marine reserves 1982-86, Lance Corporal.
Became a Buddhist Zen Master
Dear Sgt. Grit:
This 1958 era Marine Recruit became a Buddhist Zen Master, in an ancient Japanese art form: Karesansui gardening. Karesansui is the art of maintaining a dry sand garden. Some attentive Marine discovered Karesansui, during the post WW2 occupation of Japan. As a consequence, each evening, just before sunset, the whole Recruit Platoon, used buckets to "water the grass."
Now, there was no grass, within a mile of our Platoon's area. There was nothing but dry, brown, sandy soil, which enveloped our huts. Hence we had the perfect media for a Karesansui Garden. Right after we returned from morning chow, the Karesansui Masters, within our midst, would rake, the still damp "grass" and produce a masterpiece garden, which rivaled Ryoan- ji, in Kyoto, Japan, during the Muromachi period.
This picture is the '05 that Joe Featherstone mentioned in his piece that you published in the last two issues of your catalog. In response to Mr. Featherstones comment on wanting to put the 12th Marine Shield on the tube has ruffled my feathers a bit...
The honor if bestowed to any outfit should be the one of the guns owners and members of the crew that survived that day... As a member of the crew on that that fateful I let it go the first time but the second time you published it I felt it was almost insulting to the crew.
Myself, Thomas Keaton and our dear and beloved friend we just lost in 2009 the late Philip Mineer were wounded that day and in the photo not the "GUN" depicts the seriousness of the damage done but with the "Great Work" of our armor the gun was only out of action that day with tires repaired the armor at the bottom of the gun (Splash Guard) was replaced it absorbed most of the blast or I as the loader would have had both legs and the possibility of Tom and Phil also loosing one or both.
The Gun was from Battery "B" 1st Battalion, 13th Marines, 5ht Marine Division, 3rd MarDiv (Rein)... At the time we were attached to Battery "C" 13th Marines as replacements for one of the guns that was sent to the Hill's (881N or 881S). Further note yes the 5th Marine Division was represented in Viet Nam and spent most of the time in the Northern I corps... Battery "B" was also at Khe Sanh and Con Thien in spring of 67'. We were in Both battles that rate among the top 5in length of Marine Corps history.
"Semper Fi" It isn't a saying "It's a way of 'Life'"
Note: Battery "B" also had one or Two guns that were on Iwo Jima in WWII that were also at Khe Sanh
Cpl Allen Osborn
Don, if/when you have the time, please forward to M Christman, who wrote in the 11/24 edition about being a tank mechanic in Ontos at Horno... I can't put a face to the name, and he was most likely in H&S Company, working at Bn Maintenance (every vehicle came in there once a quarter, had the engine/tranny pulled for a "Quarterly Service"... pretty much just a LOF change, might've had plugs & timing checked, etc... nasty job for the owning crew to clean spilled oil, mud, etc. out while the power pack was out... engine compartment was white on the inside, and the job was done with sponges, mechanic's solvent, putty knives, bare hands, etc... (I got to be the C Co mech after going to school at Del Mar in '58)
He will likely remember MSGT "Archie" Brown, the Bn Maintenance Chief, who had been around forever, rumored to have been at the Boxer Rebellion, etc... at the time, it was possible to have laundry done for free at mainside... (boot repair, too)... if you had enough utilities to not need the ones you turned in to Company Supply... for a week... or more. These would come back in paper-wrapped bundles, with sufficient starch to deflect one of those sissy European 9mm 'Parabelum' rounds and pressed flat... with flat wrinkles, too... Archie would take a clean, smooshed flat utility cover out of the package, pry the headband apart enough to get it on his head, and wear it like that... usually with a jaunty flat side at an angle, ironed in wrinkles and all. (the wrinkles matched his face... his wrinkles had wrinkles) The Bn Maintenance Officer was a Gunner, known as "Gunner A to Z"... longish name, something like Anaschuweitz... began with an A, ended with a Z... feel free to send my e-mail to Christman, etc... ddick
"Jingle bells, mortar shells, VC in the grass...
Take this Merry Christmas and
Hang it in your asz!"
"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men."
--John F. Kennedy
"Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you"
"Do not attack the First Marine Division. Leave the yellowlegs alone. Strike the American Army."
--Orders given to Communist troops in the Korean War; shortly afterward, the Marines were ordered to not wear their khaki leggings.
"Teufelhunde!" (Devil Dogs)
--German Soldiers, WW1 at Belleau Wood
"Panic sweeps my men when they are facing the AMERICAN MARINES."
--Captured North Korean Major
"Your mistake is failing to recognize that the very measures you favor are a major source of the evils you deplore"
"It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors."
Leader of men, teller of tall tales, legend in his own mind, U.S. Marine extraordinaire, stream fordable, air droppable, beer fueled, water cooled, author, history maker, lecturer, traveler, freedom fighter, defender of the faith. Wars fought, tigers tamed, revolutions started, bars emptied, alligators castrated. Let me win your hearts and minds or I'll burn your d-mn hut down.
God Bless The Marine Corps