What the heck is stuff about going to the movies during boot camp? In 1954 we "Hollywood Marines" never even heard a radio until after graduation!
Cpl. "Murch" 1484568
In This Issue
There is an outstanding account of what went on in Beirut, near the bottom. Also a great piece of history. A poem from Guadalcanal, also near the bottom.
The Sgt Grit Blog will still give you your daily dose of the Corps each morning at 0800. And our Facebook page is always fun and informative.
Below we have: Monkey Buddy, what a find, pulled out a coin, SWAK to SWAMS, Vietnam era short-timers calendar, one pretty lady, Horseshoe Ridge, hands in our armpits.
Let us not forget we have Marines in Afghanistan doing their job. We also now have Marines from Lejeune off the coast of Libya. As history may repeat itself per our hymn.
In your letter, someone asked for pictures of Am-Tracs. So... Here ya go!
This group of photos has the USS Austin, which is the ship used for launching these fools...
S/Sgt Ted Dudley
This photo was taken in 1958 while serving with Kilo Btry. 4th Bn. 12th Marines during Operation Strongback in the Philippines... This little Rhesus Monkey showed up at my tent one evening and stayed with me until I left for Okinawa... I called him Monkey Buddy...
He got to swiping anything he could carry from the other guys, he would steal Cigarettes, Zippos, Mess gear and bring it to me to my tent... The guys finally learned when something came up missing Monkey Buddy had paid them a visit... I never figured out if he was stealing for himself or for me...
He liked to sleep curled up beside me at night and would wake up screaming mad if someone got to close to me... He loved to pick through my hair like he was searching for bugs, and at that time he probably found some, but he kept my hair clean...
He came to be a good little Buddy and I hated to leave him behind when it came time to leave for Okinawa... I wanted to take him with me but it wasn't possible... I enjoyed his company what time he was with me and think about him often... He was a good little Marine... Semper Fi Little Buddy
A Pigeon Was Perched
SDI SSGT. Lashley
14 November 1969 7 January 1970
PI Platoon 2073
The Sir Drill Instructor had ordered the platoon out to formation for chow. So we formed up and dress right dress and stood at attention as he come out of the house and hung his toes over the curb, he had these big feet I know because I was the "Kiwi boy" looking us over it seemed when all of a sudden he looks up at the over head pipes, took his Smoky The Bear cover off and flings it across the lawn and orders us back on the barracks. Many of us NOT knowing what just happened we scurried back in taking our places in front of our racks.
Well come to find out, a pigeon that was perched up on the pips had dropped on his cover and he was flipped out, gone. Well that night we took up a collection to buy a pigeon in a cage so we could hang him front and center. OK so you ask yourself, how does a bunch of recruits get a bird let alone in a cage in boot camp. Well our guide took up the collection and had the "paper boy" that was always at the chow hall to get it for us.
Well that Saturday we looked for that "paper boy" and we looked for him every day from that day on. I would say that that was the easiest eighty bucks he ever made to this day... I would say. But anyway we ended up cutting out a picture of a turkey and hung him front and center.
Youth And The Sea
Dear Sgt Grit:
Last week, my wife and I travelled out to Everett Washington to watch my son's ship pull back into port. The USS Momsen, DDG 92, was returning from a six-month deployment in the Indian Ocean comprising mostly piracy interdiction, and training for smaller Indian Ocean nations' maritime forces such as the Maldives and the Seychelles.
According to the ship's captain, Cdr. Wylie, the ship stopped four acts of piracy, sank two pirate boats, and trained themselves and some of our friends in the area on how to deal with the piracy threat. I'm sure the ghosts of Prebble, Bainbridge, DeCatur, Eaton, and even Presley O'Bannon are beaming with pride at what our Naval Service is capable of accomplishing once we give them the go-ahead.
His official title is Strike Offices, but he recently became fully qualified to conn the ship, and I was quite surprised when Momsen docked, because it was my son on the starboard wing bridge conning the ship into port. He said he was Officer of the Deck through the St. Juan De Fuca Strait and on into Everett.
There were a couple of other older Marines on the dock watching for their children and grandchildren. One was 1st Recon, another was Khe Sanh Arty. We had a grand time talking about how proud we were of our progeny, and how these young men and women volunteered to take up where we left off a few years ago. God Bless 'em all.
After lunch, dinner, and a few nips of fine wine, my son talked about the unabashed temerity with which the pirates operated. We both hoped that our Navy's presence will cause many of the pirates to stay ashore and re-think their career choices.
Finally, my son said: "Dad, the only way we're going to put an end to that insanity is to put Marines across the beach."
The apple never falls far from the tree.
"Ah! The good old time--the good old time. Youth and the sea. Glamour and the sea! The good, strong sea, the salt, bitter sea, that could whisper to you and roar at you and knock your breath out of you."
Joseph Conrad, "Youth".
Riding And Respecting The Past
About 5 years ago you supported one of our club events that was held the resting place of LtGen Lewis (Chesty) Puller, Jr. in Saluda, VA. Though I can't remember the amount raised, I can tell you that every penny was handed over to Christ Church which LtGen Puller and his wife worshipped. The box of Marine Corps items that you donated contributed greatly to the success of that event and we will always be grateful. Though we have since changed our club colors from Leathernecks of Virginia to The Corps, we continue to make the ride down to Saluda every November to pay our respects to a true American hero.
I've included a photo of my Ultra Classic Harley Davidson because I am planning on putting on a plain white trunk lid and having folks we meet during the ride sign it. Once home, I will take it to the guy that paint my bike and have him clear coat it so that I can hang it on my wall. Semper Fi,
Mike Hillmann "Zookeeper"
What A Find!
My wife's friend is an avid garage sale scrounger. She ran across these rare collectable 33 rpm albums here in OKC. Got them for $1 apiece.
I get asked for these a lot. I will frame them and put them up in my display area. What a find!
Pulled Out A Coin
I was with 6th Marines at Guantanamo Bay in early 1967 before going to Vietnam. I witnessed an inspiring exchange between a 1st Sgt and a Brown Bar Lt. I was standing in front of the guard shack on Leeward Side, if you served in Gitmo in those days you know what that means.
Well the 1st Shirt was walking past the Brown Bar, age difference about 30 years, when the Lt. turns to the 1st Sgt and actually yells at him " Don't you salute a Superior Officer when you see one?"
The 1st 'Sgt put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a coin, back in those days maybe it was a dime and say's " here's a dime go call your mama and tell her you met a real Marine today", and walks quietly away.
Through my time in Vietnam and again through life I carried that impression with me.
There are those who do and those who just want the power of their rank or office.
Cpl. Brian M. Carroll USMC 1966 -1969
USMC Cartoon by freddie
I see a lot of print being used in "The Marine Times "over the issue in congress of allowing 18 year olds to drink on base. During my tour 55 to 59 it was allowed. When was it taken away?
John Malone 1528675
We don't always go for the throat... I was taught in basic to go a bit lower... and since then in civilian life, the way I was taught has always had excellent results... grabbing below the zipper took only one hand and got instant results... it basically makes another man freeze and forget what he is doing... and you still have a free hand with which to inflict damage...
Hey Sarge, Do you remember our contract??? - LOL - that's what I thought. 3rdMarDiv 2/12 67-68 Tet semper fi brother
Small world, I to was at Parris Island in 1957, 2nd. Bn., wood barracks. My plt. also was taken to see " The D.I. " at the outdoor movie. Not to clear on the dates any more, but maybe same plt. ?
W.T. FOLEY.USMC RETD.
1957-1976 NAM '67-70
We used to argue who'd been in the longest. One I'd use w/the new guys was "I've worn out more sea bags than you've worn out socks." My Service Number was a 209_. One of my buddies in tanks was a 19 something. We're still good friends and I never heard the end of, not even to this day. Sgt. Grit, keep up the good work.
L. G. Taylor
Cpl E4 - USMC 1964 - 1967, Vietnam - 1965 - 1966
Sgt Grit love your newsletters. Can't wait every Thursday to read it. Your ending in the last newsletter #249, "Liberty is sounded for NCO's and PFC's with hash marks", reminded me of a PFC I was stationed with while at Camp Lejeune, Court House Bay, B Co, 2nd AmTrac Bn from Jan 66 - Sept66 that had 2 hash marks. One h-ll of a Marine but just had this problem of somehow always getting in trouble and reduced in rank. At one time he had been a Cpl. I too love the Semper Fi salutation. Keep up the good work.
GySgt Larry Schafer
CAP-P Cam Lo 67
To Cpl Chip Morgan, "The Mail Guy",
Are you the one who ate the oatmeal cookies my mom sent me?
Cpl., 3rd Mar Div, Headquarters Battalion, Military Police, Dong Ha
Enjoyed every word...
A suggested correction to Capt. Van Tyle's term of peace-time Marine. I would make that Cold War Marine.
A Cold War Marine ('57-'63)
Outstanding Sgt Grit keep it coming. This old retired Gunny enjoys the h-ll out of your weekly News Letters.
While going through recruit training, we (most of my platoon 3083 were from Michigan) were allowed to watch the 1984 world series, if you remember it was between the Detroit Tigers and The San Diego Padres. Well unfortunately our Sr. Drill Instructor, SSGT. B. L. King was from San Diego, and when the Tigers won the game we were singing yo-ho yo-ho it's to the pit we go on our way out for some fun in the sun.
Corporal Steve Satmary
now Specialist Satmary
MI. National Guard.
Sgt Grit I was in boot camp Feb 1954 San Diego, And when we hit the rack our D.I.'s would make sure we yelled Gung Ho Gung Ho , they said that's what the Marines learned from the Chinese during the Boxer Rebellion (I think Smedley Butler received the medal of honor at that time) they also told us we were more screwed up than a Chinese fire drill, I served 3 years going to J.Ville for A&p school 8 weeks than Memphis for 14 weeks metal smith school then went to a Helo squadron at Tustin 3rd Marine air wing 26 months made sgt e4 and ran the metal shop,
Does anybody use that expression anymore?
Loyal D. Severson 6441, 1488017
I wanted to let you that that I had sent for 2 shirts written in Arabic. I sent one for my brother and kept one for myself. I am now visiting Beirut and proudly wearing that shirt. No better friend or no worse enemy. I had a few people tell me not to wear it here but I thought what the h-ll, I'm a Marine. LOLOL. I was stationed at HQMC in the 60's.
After reading the story of PFC. Schmuchatelli I was reminded of what a Jr DI told us in Plt 391 1967 Parris Island. He said to forget about our girl friends, called her Susie Rottencr0#$h, because Joe Smuchatelli was taking care of her! Thanks for your postings and for your store, Semper Fi, "JJ". John J. "JJ" Novotnak 67-71
"Git in da Pit!"
Sgt Grit -
I feel compelled to begin my message the same as most of those I read... Thank you for the service you provide to us through the newsletter as well as the sales. I look forward to reading the stories from all Marines, young and old. Hand salute to you!
I was a San Diego boot in '70. We, too, had an issue with young ladies writing on the outside of envelopes with the resulting play time in The Pit. During one mail call, the Drill Instructor called me to the front to receive my mail and as I clapped my hands together to snatch the mail from him, he jerked it back out of my reach. That was never a good sign.
Through various colorful language and hassles, I learned that one of my letters had SWAMS written on the back. The Drill Instructor wanted to know what it meant. Naturally, I was at a loss and informed him of such. He told me that until I knew I would spend the entire Mail Call in The Pit doing Bends and Mothers beginning RIGHT NOW! So, into the Pit I went.
At my first opportunity I wrote a letter to this particular young lady asking her to relate to me what it meant, and to do so post haste because I was suffering! And NOT to write anything on the envelope except ONLY what the USPS needed. The next evening at Mail Call the first thing he did was call me to the front and asked me if I knew what SWAMS meant. Again, I had no idea. He responded with, "Git in da Pit!"
This scene was played out every day for over a week. Finally!... I received a letter from her and it did indeed contain the information I desired. Of course, I didn't read it until we were secured from Mail Call and I was secured from The Pit. The next evening at Mail Call, our ritual continued as before, with me being called forward. It went something like this:
Drill Instructor: "Well, Miss Bliss, do you know what those letters mean?"
Pvt. Bliss: "Sir! YES, Sir!"
Drill Instructor: "Well, Scumbug, Enlighten me!"
Pvt. Bliss: "Sir! The letters stand for Sealed With All My Slobber, Sir!"
Drill Instructor: "%#$!*$$!&! Git in the %#$!*$$ PIT!"
Carry On Then
Thanks for your kind remarks about my entry last week about the "Boot Camp Maid". This time I have a note about life at Camp Lejeune during my time with E Company - 2nd Battalion - Sixth Marines.
After finishing ITR in mid December 1963, I was assigned to the Sixth Marine Regiment, Second Battalion, E Company, Weapons Platoon as a M-60 gunner with a MOS of 0331. After checking in, we new "Boots" were sent home for our Christmas/Boot leave. Returning in January 1964 to a line outfit which was now approximately one half new men meant a lot of work for the "old salts" who had been there for a year already as well as the true "old salts", our Senior NCO's and officers above the rank of Second Lieutenant.
Most of our senior leadership was made up of World War Two and Korean war vets. Our Battalion commander was a veteran of Inchon, and our gun section leader, as well as one of the company's Gunnery Sergeants, were veterans of Iwo Jima. We got very good, very fast with this type of leadership. We also had the honor of having an exchange officer from the British Royal Marines, Captain N.E. Henry. Our Corps had sent some Company Grade officers to The Royal Marines and they, in turn, had sent some of their officers to us. E Company was lucky to get Captain Henry.
Now comes the story. We were getting ready to go on a Med Cruise in May of 1964. We had been training like mad in the Carolina bush and the leadership decided we needed to have a "junk on the bunk" inspection. Remember those? I believe this delightful procedure is no longer done. It is a pity. Anyway, we had laid out our gear according to the correct procedure and were standing tall by our racks when Captain Henry and our Company Gunny along with the Battalion First Sergeant entered the squad bay.
After the required "attention on deck" had been bellowed out, the inspection began. Now understand, Captain Henry had a thick North Country British accent! Here he was in North Carolina trying to communicate with a group of predominantly 18-20 year old "heart breakers and life takers", who believed we were all John Wayne reincarnated.
Captain Henry stops in front of the rack of a young Private from deepest Florida and looks over his gear, with his swagger stick tucked under his left arm. After checking things over, he asked the young Private, "I say, is your kit complete?" The befuddled Private answered "Sir?", in a quizzically respectful manner. Once again the good Captain asked his question and received the same answer.
The Royal Marine was becoming impatient and the U.S. Marine was becoming fearful because the First Shirt was looking VERY perturbed. After the third query from the British Captain, and before the Floridian could stammer an answer, the First Sergeant explodes and blurts out, "He means do you have all your f-----g gear a--h--e!"
Now we were talking American English and the young Private answers loud and proud "Sir, yes Sir!" Our exchange officer gives a firm "Carry On Then!", and all was well in the Weapons Platoon squad bay. We managed to finish the rest of our training regimen and left the good old USA in May of '64 to return at the end of November of '64 feeling very salty after a cruise aboard the Navy's finest, the USS Monrovia .
Old Dog-- Sergeant-- 1963-1969
Marine Detachment USS Wasp CVS-18
Marine Detachment USS Wasp CVS-18, all years. The MarDet will be conducting a reunion in Boston Ma. June / 24 - 26 / 2011.
Reunion contacts are Dave Jeter at email@example.com or Joe Windsor at mar.det.cvs-18 @ cox .net (no spaces)
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One Petty Lady
I served in the Marine Corps from 82 till 89. I love reading all the stories about other Marines. So here is my story.
While in boot camp at MCRD San Diego my senior drill instructor was one squared away Marine. He never smiled and was a very serious Marine. He used to move us around in platoon formation by picking us up by our arms and moving us around in the squad.
Sometimes while out on the meatgrinder his wife would be sitting in her car at the end of the meat grinder opposite the church. He would march us by and do a eyes right so we could see her, and she was one pretty lady. He told us that if we took parade in 3rd phase that he would bring her to our squad bay and let us see her pus-y.
After many times on the meatgrinder and doing a eyes right that is all we thought about for weeks and especially at night. Well we took parade, prac and rifle range. We was called one night toward the end of 3rd phase into the classroom in the squadbay by our senior drill instructor and he informed us that he always keeps his word. We all sat there full of excitement and in walks his beautiful wife carry of all things a Calico cat.
We all just died and the senior drill instructor just busted a gut and so did we.
Kenny Evans Sgt (ret) 3/23 4th Marine Div.
"The Marine Who Was Two Hundred Years Old"
In today's newsletter (24Mar11), Jim Grimes asked about a movie he watched in bootcamp, starring Ward Bond. I went to www.IMDB.com -- the Internet Movie Data Base -- and searched for "Ward Bond." I found the following listing: "The Marine Who Was Two Hundred Years Old" (1955), as an episode of the "Cavalcade of America" TV Series 1952-1957. The episode about Lou Diamond aired on 4 January 1955, and is listed as #11 on Season 3 (28Sep54-21Jun55). However, I couldn't find a source for obtaining that video. Then I "googled" and found some information about the episode at http://www.tvrage.com/shows/id-383/episode_guide/3 Still no luck in locating a source for watching the episode. Maybe Jim Grimes will be able to take this little bit of info and get farther than I did.
Once a captain, USMCR: Always a Marine
She Looked Surprised
In the early spring of 75, as a young newbie Marine right out of boot and school (Arty Scout Observer) I was at the reception center at Camp Pendleton. While waiting for assignment to my first FMF Unit (C 1/11) I was wandering around Main Side when a beautiful young lady in a blue and white stripped skirt and blouse came up and asked for directions.
After letting her know I had just arrived and did not know anything about Pendleton we began to chat. After several minutes I finally glanced at her collar and saw she was a 2nd Lt. and of course the automatic response was to stutter, step back and salute. She looked surprise and said something like, Oh, yes, I'm suppose to do that now. Never have forgotten how pretty she was and dumb we both were.
Bill Hobbs CWO2 74 - 92
Note: This was from the Sgt Grit Blog
I can't say one way or another whether salt-peter was used in the food. I can say with absolute certainty that the DI's in 1960 did NOT eat at the mess hall that I did. They may have eaten the same chow but it was prepared in their own mess hall.
Myself and four other boots pulled one week of mess duty at the DI mess hall in PI. It was the best duty we ever pulled. Imagine all those DI's and not one saying anything negative. Even had a radio in the barracks. Turned out to be the shortest week I spent at PI.
USMCR 1959, USMC 1960-1963
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I've been waiting years to tell this true story, but it only makes sense to other Marines and it's not funny if you have to explain it.
Early in 1965 I was the Radio Chief for 1st Light Anti-Aircraft Missile Battalion. H&S Company was stationed in an old French compound in Danang. Around March or April we were told the air field "would be hit tonight." We asked, "Says who"? "Intelligence!" So we ignored that bum scoop.
That day, a new SSgt checked in. He was a technician, either missile or radar. As it was his first day in-country, he did what we all did to secure our weapons back in the states - he locked his .45 up in his seabag. That night, we woke around 0200 to explosions coming from the air field. We all grabbed our weapons and ran out to jump in the slit trenches outside the tents.
Here comes the new SSgt, dragging his seabag! "Well, my goodness" (or words to that effect) we said, "Why are you bringing that gosh darned (or words to that effect) seabag?"
Without missing a step, he replied, "You never can tell when you're going to have to stand a junk on the bunk."
Jim Mueller, MSgt retired (1953-1973)
Here's you Gunny Bruce The Moose at a welcome home with the Massachusetts PGR
I DID NOT SEE any replies to this question in the latest newsletter.
WELL IN January 1962 we did use them. WE washed our clothes on the wash racks then hung them up to dry with tie ties. They were a eight inch piece of string that we tied to the clothes then to the line. This took place in the 3rd bn known as Disney land or Disney world. These were the first brick barracks, hence the nickname. Someone else must remember them. Also I made cpl e-4 at I co 3rd bn 8th Marines and they were pinned on. My arms were sore for quite a while after.
Cpl Edward Libby 1992065
Recently Upgraded Tattoo
The original USMC letters were done in 1991. Last month I decided to revamp and add the rest.
"Once A Marine Always A Marine"
Lance "Buka" Vasquez
2D LAAM BN.
I just read a story in the current newsletter about a PI boot getting a letter from his girlfriend with SWAK on the back and having to eat the letter. The same thing happened to me in August, 1954. We had our first mail call and I was ordered to the front of the platoon by my DI. At that time I received 16 letters from my girlfriend that finally caught up with me. The DI handed me the letters and asked what is all of this junk on the back of this envelope (SWAK)? I told him what it meant and promptly said, this is never to happen again and to make sure it doesn't you are to chew the ink out of each and every envelope. That was a hard thing to do but following orders as usual I followed the order. Believe me this never happened again.
Sgt Perry S. Caldwell
7th Marines Scout-Sniper Reunion
I served in VIET-NAM from NOV. 1967 thru august 1969. I served with Head Quarters CO.7th Marines Scout-Sniper Platoon based on GILL 55.My partners & I worked all the Company's off 1/7,2/7,&3/7 at different locations, In my 23 months in NAM.
Our sniper Platoon are having a REUNION on AUGUST 29th thru SEPT. 4th in Branson Missouri.
If you served with 7th MARINES SNIPER PLATOON. Contact Ray (GUNNY) Gonzales from Corpus Christi, Texas. HOME # 361-853-6792 or CELL:361-429-0797.
Look forward to hearing from you & seeing you again.
E-MAIL snipermc63 @ yahoo .com (no spaces)
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It Was Just Yesterday
Our calendar says it was sixty years ago; however, it was just yesterday in my memory as I relive "Horseshoe Ridge" and numerous other Korea days from time gone by. Bill Crowe, like many others that we served with are not ever forgotten by those of us who were there. They were all real heroes and outstanding Marines.
Not quite 60 years ago!
I was with him when he was first wounded on the night of April 23/24, 1950, at a place we later called Horseshoe Ridge. Our Battalion was in reserve when the Chinese began their "Spring Offensive." They overrun the ROK 6th Division and we were rushed to the area to stop their attack. We moved onto Horseshoe Ridge during the afternoon of April 23rd and took up our positions.
If you took a regular horseshoe and raised up the front end, with the open part on the downside, that is the way the terrain was at Horseshoe Ridge. There were hills all around us but that was the area that the Chinese wanted to come down through.
Well, as we dug in, we could see hundreds of Chinese soldiers watching us from the crest of a nearby hill. They looked like the indians on a ridgeline of an old cowboy movie. There were way to many to try and count. We saw them and they were watching us. Some of the Marines started shooting at them but an officer told everyone to save their ammunition and said the Chinese would be coming over to see us shortly.
As the battalion was dug in, Charlie Company was located on the very top of our perimeter, Able Company down the right, Baker Company down the left side, and much of Weapons Company holding the gap across the bottom. I was dug in at the bottom part of the perimeter and Bill Crowe was about thirty feet away from where I was located.
The Chinese struck the Charlie Company positions right at eight o'clock in the evening. It was a very dark night, except when all of the firing was going on and then the whole top of the hill was lit up like a sports park. They fought very heavily up there all night long. It was around midnight that the Chinese sent an attacking force around the lower part of the hill where we were in defensive positions.
Bill was hit almost immediately when they opened their attack on us. I saw him jump up and pull back to another position just to my right and he hollered over to me that he had been shot in the leg. He seemed happy as could be as he kept telling me that he had a "million dollar" wound and that it was his ticket to going home.
In the morning, after it became daylight, we were ordered to withdraw from that position to another area about two miles south. The wounded, including Bill Crowe, were placed in the bed of a truck in preparation for evacuation. As we began to withdraw, it became very evident that the Chinese held strong positions on the hills along our route of withdrawal. As the truck he was in was moving on the road out, the Chinese poured heavy fire into the trucks and Bill was hit fatally in the head.
He was a fine Marine and a friend. He indeed, always carried a big smile on his face and showed that he really cared about other people. Another sad thing about his death was that he had semi-adopted a young Korean orphan boy, about ten years old, and had him sharing food and shelter in his supply tent. I don't remember how long he had the lad hanging around him but it had been over a period of time. I remember how bitter it was for Bill's close friends having to tell that young boy that Bill would not be around anymore. Bill was a good Marine and he will not be forgotten.
In response to Cpl "Chip" Morgan's story on how he personally delivered mail to all the grunts along what is Highway 9, from Dong Ha to Khe Sanh. It would be appropriate for me to ask what his MOS was. If he wasn't an 0161, designated Assistant Marine Corps Postal Clerk, then he was only a mail orderly. Where did the mail come from that he delivered? ALL mail was FIRST handled by 0161's and passed on to mail orderlies of the AOR's they served. Other duties of the 0161 were to issue Postal money orders in return for MPC (Military Payment Certificates) on payday and ONLY they were authorized to issue them and not mail orderlies. The 0161 also gathered casualty reports from unit diaries in their AOR and reported to the Casualty Coordinator in order to forward mail. If Cpl Morgan didn't perform any of these duties then he was a mail orderly as were many others from their respective units.
The 0161 is the Unsung Heroes of the Vietnam War. Just think, how would you send money home if not for them? Marines will fight on without food or ammo, but if they don't receive mail guess what happens to morale? You guessed it. I could go on and on, but I think all you Marines get the picture, especially those who served at Khe Sanh during the siege. You definitely have to remember the Post Office and that most friendly face of "the mailman", the 0161.
Sgt. Joe Alvino
No Fire Zones
Can't believe it's been 40 years ago that I was in the NAM! My MOS was 2531 (which no longer exist) was stationed on Hill 34. I can still recall the call signs
OPHawk, was freedom Hill, OP Crows Nest was Marble Mnt and we were OP Tiger. There was a tower on Hill 34 called Tiger Tower and we use to watch the war from there. Hill 55 was two clicks to our south. Da Nang air base was 5 miles North East. The messed up part was we were in a NO FIRE ZONE!
They could shoot at us but we couldn't return fire...unless permission was given from the FDC bunker, (which they never did). I was there from Jan-last of May 1971. My unit was 3rd 8 inch Howitzers(SP), were part of the 3rd Marine Amphibious Brigade. When we left the only Marines in the NAM was the Air Wing at Da Nang and Advisers to the ARVNS and the embassy guards in Saigon.
Semper Fi Bros.
Flares Around Khe Sanh
I was flying on a flare ship (a WWII DC3/R4D) over Khe Sanh while Sgt Quigley was on the ground. I flew until the end of the Tet Offensive in 1968. I also flew in several re-supply missions to the base during Tet on C-130s.
One night during Tet we were dropping flares around Khe Sanh. We had just dropped about ten flares and were starting our turn to start the pattern again. Much to our surprise, all h-ll broke loose down below. B-52s were dropping bombs on the perimeter in support of the base and didn't know we were flying below them. We flew out of their pattern just before the bombs passed our plane. It is amazing how close we come to death and never know it until it is too late to do anything about it. I was a radio operator out of MAG-11 and our radio group helped staff the flare planes in support of the ground troops.
I'm glad you made it out okay, Sgt Tom Quigley. I always felt guilty that I was relatively safe in my job while Marines like you were seriously in harm's way. Anyway, I hope our "light" helped you and the other Marines at Khe Sanh during Tet 1968.
Howard Mears (1966-1968)
Sgt, MAG-11, 1st MAW
Lucky Red Lion (363rd Loose Wing Bomber Squadron) Reunion
If you were a Lucky Red Lion (363rd Loose Wing Bomber Squadron) or know of one that was at MCAS(H) Tustin from the late 70's to the mid 80's, we will be having a GTG- Reunion at the MCAS Miramar Air Show, September 30, 2011.
Of course this GTG is open for anyone that was in this elite Heavy Hauler Squadron at anytime.
We had our first one in 2010, and there is no better place for wingers to meet than at an air show.
Contact Carson Gibson (GIB) at sargenlinda @ sbcglobal .net (no spaces) or Jam-N Jerry Moots at hmootsjr @ aol .com (no spaces)
or go the Miramar Air Show website for any questions.
We look forward to seeing you there.
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3rd 155/175mm gun btry (SP) Reunion
Greetings Sgt Grit, thanks for your effort! I look forward to reading your Newsletter. I would like to announce the first reunion of the 3rd 155/175mm gun btry (SP) will be held in Quantico Va. at the Comfort Inn in Dumfries VA, September, 22, 23, 24.
I have been in touch with over 160 former members of the battery and we hope to have a great turnout. Any former member interested can contact Ed Kirby, phone number 978-987-1920 or 978-663-7998 or e-mail me at ed-kirby @ comcast .net (no spaces) for info or a list of all former members. Hope to see you there.
L/Cpl Ed Kirby RVN 68-69
21 Broadleaf St.
Billerica Ma. 01821
Hands In Our Armpits
Sgt Grit: In Dec 1950 there was a big recruiting drive and we were enlisted in Jan 7,'51. When we got on the train in Trenton, it was filled with enlistees. The few Marines on the train were more than reluctant to engage in conversation with us. The train stopped in DC for the night. We were bedded in train bunks, Pullman ??.
About mid-afternoon we arrived in Yemasee, SC and the train stopped. I think our cars were disconnected. A staff NCO came aboard our car and in a congenial, but firm voice ordered cigarettes and gum out. Grab your gear and get off the train, lining up like three rows of corn. No yellow foot prints. He then ordered, get off the train in a loud voice. Casually, we picked up our gear and started to disembark. That was when we discovered that we were in for some fun. The NCO started yelling to MOVE, get out, and was at least pushing and shoving and maybe kicking out butts. We at some point got on a branch line train and were taken to Port Royal, SC. There again NCOs greeted us and put us on semi's with the trailers modified with board seats for the ride to PI. The rest was routine PI.
As for treats, there were none except what may be received from home in the mail. Mail call at about 2145 hrs- any goodies received had to be consumed or given away by 2200 hrs. PX call - one time about half way through, we were taken to the PX. Anyone with thoughts of treats in mind was disappointed. Purchases were limited to hygiene items only.
One night Sgt Brown, Plt 19, 2nd Bn, informed us after chow that we were going to the movies, maybe. We were to take a written test about the M1 rifle. If there were any more than 10 incorrect answers out of the 75 papers, no movie. Sgt Brown corrected the papers. Who knows how many incorrect answers there were, they could all have been 100 per cent, but we did not go to the movies.
Another item of anguish occurred one night in the chow line when we were close to graduation. Before leaving the barracks, we got into our greens as usual, sans emblems, and were told to put the emblems on our battle jacket and cover. Then after arriving at the mess hall while standing in line waiting to get in, another DI shouted at Sgt Brown advising him that since we were not yet Marines, why were we wearing emblems. We were then called to attention and told to remove them. A low blow.
One time however, Sgt Brown did show some compassion. We normally got up at 0415 hrs, and after PT, went to chow dressed only in utilities, no field jackets and there were frozen puddles in the sun all day that never melted. It was cold. We were called to attention and instructed to cross our arms and place our hands in our arm pits. So I guess that he did have a heart.
It was my impression, that boot was more of a mental challenge than physical. We did a lot of running, pushups and PT, but the mental harassment was much greater. In and out of the rack 5 or 10 times after lights out because some chowderhead was heard talking. Changing from utilities to greens and back to utilities again 4, 5, 7 or 8 times, before heading for the mess hall for supper. In any event, I would not trade it for anything at all and glad that I did my time. I just missed the draft, my notice came about a month after I enlisted.
Incidentally, I sure would like to hear from Hostetter ,Wpns Co, 3rd Bn, 2nd Marines 1951, and Brunell or Bunell company clerk, King Co, 2nd Trng Bn, Tent Camp II, Pendleton 1952, home town Jackson or Meridian, Miss., if they by any chance read this or if someone knows of them.
Jim Black Jan '51/Jan '54.
With all due respect, the proper salty liberty call aboard APA's/AKA's/LSD's carrying 3/3/3 Marines back to Japan after the 1st Suez Crisis in 1956 was:
"Now liberty goes----for NCO's---Hashmark Privates,---and Pfc's with over Two." I know because I personally sounded liberty in Karachi, Pakistan aboard the USS Telefair (APA 210), as a 2531 TAD to the ship's Radio gang.
It cost me 2 liberty ports but I still smile and can hear it echoing along Karachi's waterfront . . . .
Underwood, James S.
3/3/3 and 2/2 MarDiv
Note: With all due respect I imagine there is not just one correct version of this saying. I imagine every Gunny, First Sgt, Captain, etc...had their own version of it they passed on to be used.
Semper Fi or Semper Fidelis
Tell who ever that Idiot is about SEMPER FI to kiss my "GRITS"
SGT. BOBBY PIERCE GUNG HO :Yall"
I just read the newsletter about the "former Marine?"who objected to it. Someone said that they thought it originated in the 80's. I just wanted to add the correction that "Semper Fi" was an established part of Boot Camp in 1969. Formed up in the chow line, before we would start filing in, we would chant in unison, ""Semper Fi! Do or Die! Kill! Kill! Kill!," and we meant every word of it. If anyone should be offended by this my only suggestion is go see the Chaplain.
Semper Fi to all my brothers and sisters!
I need to read these articles more often. Been tied up with an online site, beirutmarines.com talking with my brothers. I may be wrong, but I do believe the term "Semper Fi" actually goes back to the China Mission back in the 1920"s and 30's. And I have also heard the term used in Several World War II era movies. This along with "pogey bait" had become popular around that time. It is, in no-way a sign of disrespect.
I went through the Island 30 years ago, and I served in Beirut with Bravo 1/8, 24MAU in 1983. The term Semper Fi and the bumper stickers were around a lot longer than the mid 80's. I had seen them around military bases we were visiting and some veterans cars, but you just didn't see them everywhere. The most I had seen them, and I can remember hearing "Semper Fi", was in the DC area, and when visiting with family at a variety of US Navy Bases.
My father's family were all Army, my mother's family was all Navy. So when I joined the Corps, I became "the a--hole that joined the Marines", jokingly of course. But when it was time to go, it ended with Semper Fi. So bumper stickers with the words "Semper Fi" were available in the 70's and 80's, it just wasn't something you seen every day or everywhere.
I was wearing the yellow Marine hoodie while walking through the Bogata Casino Poker Room in New Jersey recently. My thoughts were on going back to my hotel and going to sleep. As I passed a casino security guard I heard "Semper Fi'. I was a little tired so what I heard did not register immediately. As I took about two steps pass the guard it dawned on me that he was a fellow Marine and was acknowledging me as a fellow Marine. I turned around and gave him a fist bump in recognition of camaraderie.
I've been out of the Corps since Sept. 27, 1964 but still enjoy the fact that I was once an active member of one of the greatest military organizations ever formed.
If Sgt Ellison doesn't like our greeting "Semper Fi" maybe he should have joined the air force. SEMPER FI Former Grunt 1/5 67-68
To all concerned,
This should end the dust up about the term "Semper Fi". Pictured is the back of my headstone. No, I'm not dead yet, just preparing my final redoubt.
Semper Fi has been around for a long time as a salutation, a sign of comradeship, esprit de corps. Used only by and in reference to Marines and the Marine Corps.
So, there it is, "Written in stone". Hopefully it will be around for a long time to come even after our names have faded into history. Who would have thought two and a half thousand years ago, the words and deeds of a small group of men would still be remembered today? They were the Spartans at Thermopylae. It is my belief that the exploits of Marines and the Marine Corps will also be remembered for a long time and the term Semper Fi will carry on in history.
Chu Lai 66, DaNang 68
Note: Kinda the 'final' word on several levels.
Good morning Sgt. Grit,
Of all the greetings or parting comments, the phrase "Semper Fi Mac" ,, was explained to me in this way. First, at The University of Parris Island, 1959 and then by a China Marine in the same Detachment of MCL in 2000+/-.
At one time, (before stencils & name tags), all Marines were called "Mac". The first two words "Semper Fi" were not the actually translation from the Latin, but in fact, a two word phrase starting with "F and ending with "You". Of this comment you can be sure, it was only used amongst Marines.
Semper Fi (The Latin translation)
jim angelo 1866568 , 1959-1965
I generally do not get caught up in bickering that the Sgt started also I did not read his article. You know that all of us have been around the block a couple of times and many of us think we know it all and need to tell everyone else that they are incorrect.
I am just a normal every day Marine who served in the Corps for a couple of years with nothing special or harrowing happening to me. I grew up during the second world war in California, there were all branches of the military around where I lived and they were all great men and women. I for one liked the Marines better then all of them and naturally I felt the Marines were the best.
I remember seeing them at USOs all over Hollywood. They use to wear the old Brown Belt then with their winter uniform. It was fazed out sometime between the end of WWII and Korea, then Gen Walt the assistant commandant of the Corps instigated it during his years in DC. I was stationed at HQMC at that time and saw him on many occasions. I recall one night about 10:00pm (22oo hrs) I was leaving and he was also leaving and I held to door open for him and he said "thanks Top and Semper Fi". To me that was quite a complement since I was a MSGT at the time and he was a 4 star Gen.
I think we all go through stages where we dislike abbreviations for time honored words and names. But in my 27 years of service from 1953 until 1980. I know if you count the years they are more then 27, but since I got out for about a year then went back home to the Corps it will make 27 years. I have never heard any Marine or other military personnel be upset by the phrase "SEMPER FI" short for Semper Fidelis words that all Marines know what they mean. "ALWAYS FAITHFUL".
So the meaning of the words Semper Fi, Semper Fidelis should be meaningful enough to stop the bickering over the use of either phrase and we should remember we are Marines once always and forever.
MGySgt Joe Blaile USMC
Remember this quote" Not as mean, not as lean, BUT STILL A MARINE".
I served with 60mm Mortar Section, WPNS Plt, Bravo, BLT 1/8, 24th MAU in Beirut from May-Nov 1983. I have seen various programs on the bombing, including one on the Military Channel, an episode of Investigating History. Every time the bombing is mentioned, they call it the Marine Barracks in Beirut. That has always bothered me, and many of my brothers whom were there.
Often it is said that the Marines there were under equipped, lacking heavy firepower. The building, which we called the BLT, was actually our battalion HQ, and housed all of the "S" shops, our admin, kitchen/mess hall and BAS. It was also the highest point, other than the Control Tower in our AO. It was our rear area, a place that also served as an in country R&R spot.
The 24th MAU HQ was directly behind it, and on the other side of perimeter road, was Charlie Battery, 1/10. Then began the perimeter defenses, A rifle Company held the North section, with 1st Plt, Charlie, 2nd Tanks in the middle and another rifle Company at the South section. The 81mm Mortar Plt was positioned just behind the center, near the runway. The north company was responsible for holding CP76, which was beyond the perimeter and just past the Pepsi Cola factory.
Another rifle Company held the Lebanese University, with a platoon assigned to holding CP's 35 and 69. All three rifle companies rotated positions and had two Dragon anti-tank squads attached to them. The TOW Plt was also assigned to the BLT HQ building. Bravo Co started off at the North Perimeter defenses, Alpha Co held the South, and Charlie held the University and 35 and 69.
Early in our deployment, we did get stray fire from the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) and even had some confrontations with them, that were resolved without shooting, though a few times it came close. In early July, the Airport was shelled, effectively closing it down, and then we came under fire a few days later, 12.7mm fire was coming across our pos 2 feet off the deck. We rotated at the end of July to take over the University and CP's 35 and 69. Alpha moved into our old position and Charlie moved into the South positions.
The IDF started pulling out August 26th, and on August 28th, a Sunday, the sh-t hit the fan. We started taking heavy small arms fire everywhere along our defenses, then the shelling started, 122 Katushi rockets and 120 mm arty, at one point counted 200 in one hour in a 1000 meter grid. Alpha Co took casualties first, 4 KIA and 18 WIA, the land route to the University was cut, and CP's 35 and 69 were surrounded. 2nd Plt Bravo put up one h-ll of a fight, and were cut off for two weeks. During most of this time, request for fire support was denied, we had to get permission to call mortars and arty from Washington. Eventually Charlie Battery and the 81's were cleared to fire illumination rounds.
By the end of September, the LAF (Lebanese Armed Forces) reopened the land route, and we were ordered to abandon CP's 35 and 69. Bravo Co moved to the South end of the perimeter, Alpha moved to the University and Charlie took over the North positions. Enemy attacks cut the land route again, sniper, small arms and shelling became a daily routine everywhere. and we were taking casualties.
When the fighting broke out at the end of August, both the MAU and BLT Commanders requested permission to tighten security around the BLT HQ position, this was denied, because the people of Lebanon needed access to their airport, which was closed due to the fighting. On October 23, 1983, the suicide bomber struck our BLT HQ, effectively taking out our communications, command and control, and BAS.
By the end of October, Alpha Co had suffered so many casualties after repeated attacks at the University, it was withdrawn and the University abandoned. It was our last remaining high ground. Golf Co and elements of H&S Co 2/6 were flown in to reinforce us, Golf took up positions between Charlie and Bravo Co's 1/8. We were relieved November 19, 1983 by 22nd MAU and BLT 2/8, which came under attack on Dec 4th 1983. Of the 800 men of BLT 1/8, 250 were KIA, and another 200 WIA by the time we were relieved, we were no longer considered "Combat Effective" on paper, but ready to kick as and take names.
Prior to our deployment, everyone was issued OD Green towels and T-shirts, most of the .45's were replaced by Ithica Arms .45s, and most of those the barrels had cracks. My T&O weapon was a .45, dated back to WWII, and was in good shape, it wasn't replaced. Almost every M16A1 was replaced with new M16A1's, and our M19 60mm mortars, dated 1942, were replaced with new M224 60mm mortars.
Bravo Co Company Gunny, GySgt Matilda Hernandez, had been with the Marines that landed at Da Nang in March 1965, and said that our rules of engagement in Beirut, were the same ones they had back then. He was bumped up to H&S Co 1/8 in June, and was killed in the Bombing. I had many friends in H&S, and WPNS Co, knew many of the Staff NCO's and Officers.
We lost a lot of good men that day, but it was not a Marine Barracks like you find at any Navy Base, we were a Combat Unit, fighting a war with our hands tied by politics. The Corps hadn't re-instated a Ma Deuce Plt at Battalion level as of yet (they did when we got back), so only Truck Plt, Tanks, Traks and the Helo Squadron had .50 cals. We didn't have SAWs either, but we had our M60's, and knew how to use them. It always is made out that we were defenseless victims, under equipped, but we had the full compliment, including the new M198 155mm Howitzers, we just weren't allowed to utilize our full potential.
As one man said, "in Beirut, if we were there to keep the Peace, we had too few men, and if we were there to die, we had far too many".
"OUR FIGHTING MEN"
While going through my stack of old stuff I came upon this poem, I got this about 1944 and thought you might enjoy it. GySgt F.L. Rousseau
"OUR FIGHTING MEN" -- Guadalcanal Jan. 1943.
A Marine told his buddy, on Guadalcanal,
"The Army is coming, think of it, pal."
The corporal answered him, "All right then",
"Let's build a nice clubhouse for Our Fighting Men."
"They can have entertainment, and maybe a play,
Recreation advisors from the W.P.A.
U.S.O. Hostesses and movies galore,
For the Army gives morale a very high score."
"One thing," said the chow hound, "We'll eat better now,
Depend on the soldiers to drag in that chow.
They'll start post exchanges, have ice cream no end,
Life has to be pleasant for Our Fighting Men."
A Seabee rolled up and asked, "What's the score?
The cruisers and wagons all laying off shore,
While scads of destroyers are sweeping the bay
Is the Army finally landing today?"
They dashed up the beach when the boats hit the sand;
Steel helmets, fixed bayonets and rifles in hand.
Marines washing clothes asked, "You lads going far?
What the h-ll is your hurry, have you heard of a war?"
"Shut up !" said the Marine Sergeant, "Go limber your legs,
and swap this J-p helmet for a case of real eggs.
This barking at soldiers must come to an end..
You must be respectful toward Our Fighting Men."
"Their generals out rank ours, so they'll take command,
New rules and new orders will govern the land,
They'll have some M.P.'s to show us around,
When the Army takes over, it sure shakes the ground."
"We can take it." said the Raider, "It won't be long,
'til the Admiral bellers, and we'll shove on.
And a little while later we'll be landing again,
To make Bougainville safe, for Our Fighting Men."
"heart breakers and life takers", who believed we were all John Wayne reincarnated
Grit, I have been using that term for much of my adult life when I finish talking with my fellow Navy friends. It is meant as a gesture of good service. They always reply Semper Fi. I say, keep er coming until something else comes along.
Sgt. Dove, KA
All the navy terms are fine e.g. Fair Winds and Following seas and others. Our DI told us he loved the Navy, after all it was 80% of the Corps.
Actually, Grit, I always heard the saying as "Fair seas and following winds" which makes more sense.
R. Moen 2059141
Sgt Grit, I have no problem with your tagline of "Fair Winds and Following Seas". We as Marines are part of the naval service. It is our heritage. One of the things that I like about being a Marine is that we get to share both Naval and Army heritage and traditions. We are Soldiers of the Sea. I still have my guidebook for Marines from the early 80's. If you have one of those, you can open it up and one of the first pages shows a drawing of a dress blues cover, helmet and other gear sitting in a berthing area of an old time ship. The porthole shows that the ship is underway. That about sums it up to me. Keep on using it. If people don't like it, perhaps other naval slangs could be used as your tagline. Anchors Aweigh or my personal favorite, "Freeze the balls off a brass monkey"_
Shawn Kane, Sgt USMC
Today is a good day to Die!