Happy Birthday Marine!
It's the 236th birthday of our Corps. A day when Marines past and present can bask in the glory of the fiercest brotherhood on earth. Enjoy it!
Check out our Birthday section of stories. Be sure to post your pictures and tales from this year's birthday celebrations!
See also the many great photos from our past Birthday Ball photo contest.
We hope you have an OUTSTANDING day.
Thank God for Marines!
Sgt Grit and Staff
In This Issue
I just put a story in about a hitch hiker that got some special treatment in 1967. The key is 1967. Most veterans from that era can give you an earful for at least an hour of mistreatment, abuse etc... When I hear a story of kindness from that era it always strikes me. I have one. I took R&R in Sydney, Australia. I was in a restaurant eating alone one evening. A couple across from me stuck up a conversation. I ended up at their table, they paid for my dinner, took me to their nearby apartment. And told me to call my parents in the USA. Now in 1969 this was not a cheap or easy call from Australia. I was on the phone for some time in their bedroom and they never said one word about the time or cost. I said thank you and went on my way to the "Kings Cross" area.
Here we go: mother is just half a word, life support system, pass the bucket, move the rifle, the feeble engines, was I thinking, for nothin, fly that thumb, first two digits, coyote family, so much for eating, boots were grabbed, beans and wieners, to the duty hut, almost hit the deck, 1st SSgt's laughter, off the table, hallowed ground, 57 peas and hurry up, very good-looking female Corpsman, do not steal.
Our enlistment has a start and finish date. The "Oath' does not.
Happy Birthday Old Corps Style
With the Marine Corps birthday right around the corner, I was wondering how many of these packs of cigarettes are still around. While serving with the 2nd Force Recon Marines, stationed at Camp Geiger Camp Lejeune, on the Marine Corps birthday in 1958, all the Marines going to chow that day were given a pack of chesterfield cigarettes. On the back of every pack was a picture of the Marine emblem, and also "Marine Corps Birthday, NOV.10.1775, NOV.10.1958. Base Special Services Camp Lejeune, N.C."
I never smoked so I kept the pack of cigarettes. On Nov.10th, my pack of cigarettes will be 53 years old, still unopened and sealed, a great souvenir from serving with the greatest bunch of Marines in the best company ever, 2ND FORCE RECON. Just a little more info... After graduating from radio telegraph communications school at MCRD in 1956, I was sent to recon, but in 1956, force recon was called 2nd Amphibious Recon. In early 1957 the name was changed to 2nd Force Recon and at that time we were just a company of Marines who were trained in special covert operations. What a great outfit it was.
I would like to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all the Marines who are now serving our country,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all the Marines who served our country in the past, and
a SPECIAL HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all the Marines who gave their lives for our country, rest peacefully brothers.
Cpl. Raymond Reid USMC
Celebrating Kindergarten Style
Dear Sgt. Grit,
From 2001-2005, I served as Radio Operator in our beloved Corps. My enlistment included three combat tours in Iraq with Regimental Combat Team 7. Since my discharge, I have taken on another, totally opposite extreme challenge; teaching kindergarten in a diverse inner city school.
For the past three years, I have been teaching in northern Indiana. My teaching methods, classroom management style, and classroom decor all reflect my service to the Corps. Every morning, my students join me our Daily 7 exercise routine. My youngsters are always in lock-step when walking through the hallways and our school uniforms are kept in perfectly squared away condition. My kid-friendly Marine mentality has become popular with students, parents and colleagues alike. Our rising test scores and lack of discipline issues seem to suggest that I have mastered this new challenge.
Every November 10th, my students help me celebrate the Marine Corps Birthday in the classroom. I invite Marines from all generations to help with the celebration. The students and Marines participate in the cake cutting ceremony and each student is able to enjoy their treats while learning about this historical date. Even the Marines Hymn plays proudly over the PA during morning announcements.
I've included some pictures of my Marine Corps Kindergarten classroom.
Cpl. S. Weston Liggett, USMC
195th Birthday Menu
I saw the 195th Birthday Menu from Choo Choo in the 03-NOV newsletter and thought I'd add my contribution. This is the 193rd Birthday Menu from 1968.
Joseph R. Inganamort
CPL. RVN 1968 - 1969
Time To Quit
Remember standing up and down the stairs in receiving barracks for a day or two at MCRD SD, going on working parties, waiting for enough warm bodies to show up to make a platoon? When we finally got enough for Plt 119 in Jan. '67, our two junior DI's decided they needed to take up a collection of a dollar a piece from each of us to buy flashlights and cigarettes for the platoon. That amounted to probably about $70 or so.
The next day we got 3 new DI's and never did see those flashlights or cigarettes. They had a pretty good racket going. Then what cigarettes we did have were all loosely deposited into a galvanized bucket and when sitting on the company street in front of our Quonset huts, the bucket would be passed down one side of the street and up the other. All of us smokers would reach in a take out a cigarette without looking. You never knew what you would end up with; one with a filter, without, menthol, regular. Didn't matter though. It was still a smoke.
Sometimes the joke was on us. Our DI loved to say, "The smoking lamp is lit for one cigarette, and I'm going to smoke it." Then the bucket would go back up and down the lines and we'd all put our cigarettes back in. Didn't take long to realize that this might be a good time to try to quit. Lots of good memories about boot camp. Also, remember the emergency head calls? What a riot!
Cpl Keith Newton, 2811/2815
First Two Digits
Reaction to Sgt Grit quote: "Note: Comm guys are always the smartest in the unit."!
In 68, my first PDS was H&S MCRDSD data center. My first assignment, very highly technical, was logging in card decks from the Comm Ctr. After a while, one starts paying attention to the hole punches, noting that the message priority was a few cards columns at the end. One day, the CPL for normal message traffic brought in the usual 50+ decks. I inquired if he really wanted me to log in one with a "3" [world-wide yellow alert!]. Although a Marine, he retreated. He returned later with said deck, accompanied by an LT with side-arm, and with my LT... and we successfully logged in the high priority message deck. Seems we upset someone by bombing Cambodia, and getting caught at it.
I scored a beer outside the gate for saving his stripes. Computer MOS's = 40xx ... Comm MOS's = 25xx ... I'd suggest the first 2 digits have something to with "smartest", but never in front of an 03xx, they're often armed.
Ray Burrington CPL 2506945 68-70
Sgt. Grit, more about APA's. Here is a picture of my dad, Ben Watkins on the USS Chilton. Also the Christmas dinner menu and the ship herself.
Former Sergeant USMC
"When I say left, your left foot strikes the deck" 1st few days
"Eyes OFF the DECK"
"You privates are going to have to start . . . ."
"You privates are going to have to stop . . . . "
"Move the rifle around your head, NOT your head around the rifle"
And of course the one that let us know they really loved us . .
"I will pop your eyes out of your head and skull f--x you to death"
G. Cagle, Sgt 79-83
In response to DI's wisdom, back in 81 when I went through boot camp the norm in civilian culture was the "boom box" blasting out tunes whilst being carried on the shoulder. Remember our DI's making it clear if they ever saw one of us diddy hopping around town with a "life support system" on our shoulder they would shove it in a certain area of our anatomy!
Since then I have always referred to anything that plays music as a "life support system". All three of my daughters were raised with that term & never thought much of it. They clearly knew what I was talking about when they heard me call out to them they better lower the volume on their "life support systems" which always brought a chuckle from their friends. What's funny is that they are all adults now and they use the term! Good stuff.
S/Fi Dan Dalton (81-84 AD/ 85-89 Res)
Movements She Was Making
In 1989, I was stationed at MCSSS at Camp Johnson. I had received orders for Okinawa, so with a few of my classmates in the Fiscal Accounting Course, we headed to sickbay to get the second shots in the plague series since we were headed overseas. The person detailed to do this was a very good-looking female Corpsman with little experience. The plague shots have to go in the buttocks and I volunteered to be the first.
Since this Navy girl had little experience, she had to rely on her academic training. As I was laying over the bay bed with my trousers around my knees, she held up the needle at the extension of her arm and took aim down it. She then sighted in to my buttocks by drawing an imaginary four-square quadrant with the needle. She did this several times.
It turns out that she was bisecting the plane in order to avoid the vein in the area, as she had been taught. Had she stuck that, lots of blood. She was using her training to make up for her lack of experience to avoid this and was justifiably nervous. It didn't help that one of my friends there with me saw her making these movements with the syringe. Because of the movements she was making with the needle, he could not help but intone "Oh lord, bless these buns." I was on that bay bed for over half an hour as none of us could quit laughing. Every time she lifted the needle, he would intone "Oh lord..." and couldn't get farther than that due to the laughter.
LCpl Andrew, if you are still out there, I owe you a black eye for keeping me on that bed with my BD utilities around my ankles for half an hour. As amusing as it was, you still owe.
I recall our unit being called to formation for inspection, I believe this all happened while at Camp Pendleton, for ITR at San Onofre. In 1957....Once our platoon was in formation the inspecting officer began making his way through the ranks... When he stepped up in front of me I instantly presented my weapon...
As he stood there eyeing me up and down I remembered learning in boot camp how they wanted you to be quick and precise in your movements, and liked to grab the weapon out of the air without you still holding it... So early on I learned to watch the inspecting officer's eyes, they would always tell you when he was about to snatch your weapon out of your hands...
After giving me the once over his eyes returned to looking right into mine and I was ready... All of a sudden his eyes flared and expression changed and I turned loose of my rifle so quick it almost hit the deck before he grabbed it... He turned my rifle every which way checking for anything out of order, then returned it back to me...
I was sure I let go too soon and was about to get chewed out but good, but he looked at me at said Marine..."Who's fault was that..?" I said "yours Sir..." With a little smirk in the corner of his mouth he said... "That's right don't let it happen again" I said "YES SIR" with great relief...
Howard W. Kennedy... USMC 1956-62 K-4-12 Okinawa
Would Get Hot
I was a little dismayed last May when I visited MCB Kaneohe, Hawaii to find the old three story barracks I lived in had been torn down. I did however secure a large chunk of the concrete to serve as a paper weight.
For you new Marines who live in the luxurious accommodations the Marine Corps now provides you have no idea what an experience barracks life was like. The only privacy you had was maybe a row of wall lockers between the four bunks in your small cube and the next. Everyone got one wall locker and one foot locker. If you were lucky you might get an extra locker if the barracks was not full.
In addition to Marines coming in from duty at all hours of the nights you also had to put up with the drunks on the weekends, the loud poker games, and various other sundry noises. My worst nightmare was the music. When you put 40 Marines in one 30 x 100 foot room you are going to get at least 10 different kinds of music being played. The guy playing jazz is going to keep turning the volume up to drown out the Country or Rock music and vice versa. It was impossible to get any sleep at times even though lights out was at 2200 every evening.
I finally found a solution that left the 1st Sgt baffled until the day I departed to Pendleton for my discharge.
I took an old electrical extension cord and cut off the last two feet and wired the two ends together. Every evening at 2200 I would reach under my rack and plug it into an outlet and immediately trip the circuit breaker for the entire second floor. The cord would get hot but once the breakers were tripped there was no danger. The first few times I did it the Marines wanting to play their music and keep everyone awake would go the electrical panel and try to reset the breakers to no avail because as long as the cord was plugged into the wall outlet they stayed off.
They complained to the 1st Sgt and several times an electrician was brought into to look for the problem but since I removed the cord every morning the problem was gone until the noise got to loud and I implemented a complete lights out once again. I was promoted to Sergeant and moved to the smaller bay on the other side of the building with just two other Marines so my noise problem went away.
You can imagine the 1st Sgt's laughter when I presented the cord to him just before I caught the jeep taking me to the airport.
Sgt. Jim Grimes
This is a picture of myself (on Left) and Lt Stuart Berman standing in front of an ONTOS at 1st AT Bn CP outside DaNang in 1967. Stu had just been awarded the silver star. As I recall it was for rescuing the crew of a burning ONTOS after it had received enemy fire. Would like to hear from Stu or anyone that might know what happened to him.
I have been reading several humorous quips about sending unknowing Marines to Supply for a number of different "supplies".
As a Marine Cook, myself, and other fellow Cooks often sent new "messmen" running over to Supply to pick up "a pea splitter, for the split pea soup" which we would be making for noon chow that day.
I am sure there are other Cooks out there that can come up with other "fond memories" of things we pulled on our unsuspecting messmen.
Cpl. Patrick Verd
We used Otters a lot in 66 to resupply our companies in the bush. They could go on land and in the water. As I recall they had no armor plating of any kind . Really thin skinned. Any piece of ordanince could go right through them. Would like to see some pictures of them.
L/Cpl DePaoli, Lima Co. 3/26, 1966.
Here is my story of APA's, On 1-27-65 our company Alpha, 1/8, 2nd Marine Division left the states to do a Med-Cruse. Our ship was the Sandoval ( APA 194 ). I remember a plaque honoring the men lost in the Kamikaze hit's the ship took during WWII. It sure was not a cruise ship, stayed about 90 degrees in our living quarters but she was a tough old ship and went through a hurricane for three days and nights, coming back to the states in one piece. The Cambria (APA 36) also made this cruse.
Paul A McNally Cpl. Of Marines 3-65 to 3-69 - Nam - Dying Delta, 1/5, 1st MarDiv - 10-66 to 6-67.
Hey Sgt. Grit:
As an instructor at Schools Bn. (Amtracks) I and my merry band of fellow instructors had many missions to send our students on. Luckily, our Tool Room NCO (Cpl. Ike Flatt) was in on the joke. Many were the students that were sent for the "rubber ramming staff for the exhaust ports"; an "S.T.-One" (Ike kept a sign-out list and a bucket of rocks to "issue" them); a block of starboard-side track; a "track-strecher"; a T.R.-Double E; on and on...
Jeff "Lance Cool" Barnes ('64-'68)
How did the 'Pith Helmet' get its name?
From a Marine with a lisp!
Another oldie. "Smoking Lamp is lit for one. Guide light it and pass it around."
The Walking Dead
To the proud grandpa of Marines in Colorado.
The 1st Bn 9th Marines earned the title Walking Dead in Viet Nam. Whenever the s--t hit the fan they always seemed to be right under the fan. The rumor goes that they fought the NVA (north vietnamese army) three times in one day in or near the DMZ. This was 1967. I was not with 1/9, so I can't verify the rumor. I was with an Ontos plt at Con Thien when the battle happened. I could hear a big firefight so they p-ssed off someone.
God love them they were hard a-ses, but d-mn unlucky. Answer up any surviving DEAD!
Joe Boitnott USMC
To the proud grandfather in Colorado... The walking dead was a title given to 1/9 in Viet Nam because their casualties were so massive... something like 73% KIA or WIA... out of 4 years they only had one day they were not in combat... I was a radio operator (2533) with 5th comm bn and was attached to them regularly... there's more to their legend, so this is just the bare bones...
Bob Yount, Sgt, USMC
RVN 64, 65, 66
. Great ya got 4 Marine's! Your question on 1/9... they whined, cried, pouted to be called the Walking Dead. being 3/9 July 67- Feb 23 68, all 9th Marines got so tired of their belly-aching said go for it. We saw more action/loses on the DMZ then those grunts who wanted to be "famous"?!
God Bless Your Marines
What Was I Thinking
I did a big swoop only it was in an airliner instead of a car. I flew from San Diego to Chicago O'Hare on Easter Sunday weekend in 1975 to meet my bride of the past 36 years. I barely beat a blizzard that shut down O'Hare. Made it back just fine, but the blizzard made a believer out of me so the next time I got an out-of bounds pass signed by the C.O. Good thing I did that because we had engine trouble and had to touch down in Phoenix, AZ. All the military on board got letters from the airline to explain why we were late. Saved my a-s that time! San Diego to Chicago for a weekend. Geez, what was I thinking? Oh, that's right I wasn't - I was in love.
Before being introduced to our beloved drill instructors back in '85 (plt 3039) the company Gunny gave us a motivational speech ending with a story lesson about paying attention... and how there is a huge difference between an O and a zero referring to grid co-ordinance. The difference nearly cost him his life in Nam when a radioman excitedly misused one or the other and dropped an airstrike on his own position. The Gunny rolled up his sleeve to show us the scars. I have never forgot that piece of valuable info.
I had the honor of serving with 2/6 and 2/8 on Lejeune and in Okinawa, the Med, and a final couple month jaunt to Norway and Germany. woof what a time, wouldn't trade it for nothin.
Keep it locked and cocked
SEMPER FI Cpl Radtke T.A 85-89
Thanks for the outstanding newsletter Sgt Grit
Fly That Thumb
First off to you and all other Marines Semper Fi and have one heck of a great Marine Corps Birthday celebration on 11-10-11. Another great year for the Corps. I heard the General (Amos) I believe speaking to the press group and he said that today they avg. 10 % lifers in today's Corps. So 10% of the new Marines will go for 20 - 30 years. Wish I could have but there is no use crying over spilled milk.
As a D.I. we used many different ways to express what we wanted the ladies to do. When I went through boot my Senior D.I. saw me missing marching movements and I heard him yelling and smiled thinking some broke d___ is going to get. Then his voice kept getting closer and it ended up I was the one who was going to suffer. He told me to get over to the pit and do "bend and mothers until I changed the rotation of the earth."
The name for the recruits when I was on the field was anything and everything other than Marine of Men. It was Ladies, girls, maggots, s___ birds, buttheads, misfits and many others.
While practicing the manual of arms you could hear the D.I.'s saying you "fly that thumb again and I will have you slam the bolt home on it." Anyone knowing anything about the manual of arms will know what that means.
We also had the king rat and his house mouses to take care of the D.I. office. So when the D.I. need anything the call went out through the squad bay "King Rat report to the D.I.'s office" and at times it would be "King rat and all of the house mouses report to the D.I.'s office".
While having a D.I. meeting with the series LT, a recruit walked up to and into the D.I.'s office without saying a word or requesting permission to enter etc. The D.I.'s (including me) were standing digging our fingers into the counter top. The recruit then spoke saying I do not want to be here and I want to be discharged and go home. I am sick of this place. The LT said get out of this office now and wait outside the hatch.
The recruit did as the LT said and the D.I.'s are now foaming at the mouth and wanting to kill the recruit or least rip him a new Adam Henry. The LT looked at all of us and then said What the H___ are you waiting for? Then all of the series D.I.'s raced out the hatch and the recruit retreated to a place just outside the office hatch by the hatchway leading into the head. There the recruit was surrounded by the D.I.'s. No one touched him we all just kept yelling at him until he shrunk into a pile on the deck with the D.I.'s on top of each other in an organized pile still yelling at him.
The LT came out and told us all to stand down. LT told the recruit to never come into the office that way again or he would like the D.I.'s have their way with him. The recruit was sent to MCP and I never saw him again. This was in 1975 when I guess things were a little different.
We used to run most every day in boot camp and we would tell the recruits we were "going to run their d____ into the ground".
Well just some found memories from days long since passed. It is hard to believe that I was on the field 35-36 years ago. I guess I am just becoming one old Marine.
Joseph E. Whimple
Semper Fi and have a great Marine Corps Birthday but please be careful and be safe. Have a sober driver get you home.
Hi Sgt. Grit,
I'm a former Marine Reservist from the 90's, I was a proud DASCateer with MASS-6 out of Miramar. Never got deployed but I did get to Battle Griffin in Norway one year, that was the highlight of my time in the Corps.
Anyhow, after reading your latest newsletter and seeing the old photos of the Ontoses I decided to contribute in my own small way by restoring/retouching the two Ontos photos in the newsletter. I've retouched, as best as I could, the photo of the Ontos firing at night and the one of the wrecked Ontos; I hope that your readers, esp. the ones who submitted the original photos, will appreciate the restored photos.
I strongly suspect that somewhere in the vicinity, or perhaps within the boundary of, the Base Magazine at MCAGCC 29 Palms, there may be found six or eight concrete blocks of considerable weight (3,850 lbs, more or less, each). These will have fenestrations of spacing and size to accommodate the tines of a forklift, and the blocks date to the early 1970's.
Their provenance, and the historical use of these objects, I am sure is mostly lost to history, but if some current denizen of the drifting sands can confirm via Grit's newsletter, that they are still 'there', I will be happy to relate the tale of how they came to be, and what the intended purpose (at the time) of their construction was. They may be in use as road blocks, could possibly have since been used for targets... who knows?? The dimensions are roughly 3'X3'X3'... one cubic yard.
Oh, and please do not refer to the ammunition storage place as 'the ammo dump'... The Marines and/or civilians who work there may take offense at 'dump'... at one time, there was a grassy lawn, (fed by loads of HS from the base stables,) a few Chinese Elms for shade, and a buried fuse can that provided water for the coyote family that came by in the early mornings from their den in the point of land that overlooks the road to the original rifle range... entirely possible that the same den is today occupied by descendants... coyotes mate for life, and are creatures of habit... less is known about another desert dweller, the infamous 'stick lizard'... a creature of extreme fascination to first-time visitors to the high desert... you could learn about it here...
PS Looked the place up on Google Earth... Chinese elms still there, office building gone, road pattern has changed just a bit... grass not looking too good
Back Into The Pot
In the Oct. 27th Newsletter a Sgt McAdams wrote about when Papa co. was disbanded. I think he was off at least a year on the date. I dug out my photo of the company and the info board in front of the formation reads 4 November 1958.
When we formed up after getting off the cattle-cars from MCRD, half the company got 2 weeks of base maintenance and the other half mess duty. I got mess duty and assigned to the salad room and one day helped make potato salad. The Cpl. In charge brought out a gallon jar each of mustard and mayo and dumped a couple handfuls of each into the huge pot and proceeded to mix it all up (bare-handed). Of course all this stuck to the forearm hairs and later got wiped back into the pot...so much for eating that stuff again.
The only two of the troop handlers I remember are Sgt. Ruiz (who I think got me Pfc after graduation) and a huge Samoan guy Sgt Sousou. I can still hear his accent "Gid oud dem racks!!"
Yes, we were in Quonset huts and the Ontos' were still at Horno
Cpl. F. Warner G-3-11
I just read the story of Di Diing. It reminded me that sometimes Marines do dumb things. While stationed in Okinawa, Charlie tanks was part of a cruise and landed in Japan. We stayed at a training camp near the base of Mt. Fuji (can't remember the name of the camp). The BLT was restricted to the base in preparation for a training exercise, but being able to improvise, adapt and overcome, a hole in the fence was discovered.
A good time was being held by all who had discovered the hole in the town nearby. When someone blasted by shouting that the MPs were coming. Well boots were grabbed and windows were used quickly. Me and two friends were working our way through heavy foliage. Needless to say we were lost. As we traveled along a rice paddy, my friend Simon slipped and fell, then a dog started barking. Running through a farmers yard and a cemetery we finally across a road. Not know where it led to we took a chance.
Hearing voices finally we came upon two Marine sentries. They took one look at us, laugh and let us pass. We had luckily come into the camp by a back way. We were dog tired and Simon smelled to high heaven. Making it to our Quonset just in time for reveille and roll call. The gunny looked at us and stated to the formation that it seems that some of our men are being tempted, so to reduce that, these three will have guard duty for a week or until I feel they are redeemed. Believe me it was a very long day and we didn't even get the chance to taste the wine we had bought.
Semper Fi for the good days
Albert Dixon, GySgt, USMC, ret.
Beans and Wieners
After boot camp all of us boot Marines were shipped out to San Onofre in Camp Pendleton to join the 2nd ITR; basic infantryman, that's what we were. So off went trudging all over the hills of Camp Pendleton. Now, a lot of P.I. Marines think we are a bunch of Hollywood Marines. But I scoffed at the remark knowing they never went up and down the hills of Pendleton.
Anyway, every day before we merrily route stepped like a mile long snake on the brown hills of Pendleton, our squad leader would draw out C-rations for the twelve guys in the squad. C- rations in the field were pretty good, if you're eighteen years old and hungry from humping hills. Our squad leader would always pick the beans and wieners before he distributed the other eleven entree. I believe I've eaten every single one of the offering except beans and wieners.
That was back in the sixties. So this brings me back to the present when I was eyeballing around the Army/Navy surplus store looking for something interesting. But it's not like what it used to be when there were a lot of good stuff from the big war, WW 2. Now, it's just imitation stuff and such. But "lo and behold," says I. C-rations on the shelf! Remembering the times of hunger and misery humping hills without the benefit of having my lips touch the cans of beans and wieners, I eagerly search for the long ago missed entre. Aha, a box of beans and wieners! I grabbed it and ran straight to the cash register.
Eagerly I left the store and went straight home knowing that the wife will not be there to share this delicacy from my past. I found my John Wayne key and started that rhythmic practiced back and forth movement of opening the can containing Beans and Wieners. I took a good spoonful of the stuff, but alas, the foul tasting stuff belies an old sweaty sock. Now you may ask yourself, what does a sweaty sock taste like? I looked for the box that the can came from and read the dates, "1944."
Satisfied with my curiosity, I left the rest alone, went to Safeway, bought a can of pork and beans and hot dog, and gorge myself to cleanse old 1944.
Corporal of the Marines,
alias Luke the Go-k
My Rifle Butt
Hi Sgt Grit, Just read about your "swooped" to PA. I too, was station at Cherry Point. After my tour and no grunt cuts, they sent me to CP. I was the Education NCO. I was station there from March 71 to Aug 71. We would take off to Ohio on weekends. Great duty, spend 2-3 hour in the office (typing up early release forms for college), the rest of the time I played fast pitch softball.
Here is my little story about boot camp at MCRD. We were cleaning our rifles out on the "Road". One of the Pvts, was going over how much we owed the Drill Instructors (still can't call them DI's) for the cleaning gear they bought for us. I made a little remark to the Pvt next to me (I wonder what they would do if we didn't pay them). Then I notice some bloused boots in front of me! Knew I was in deep sh-t!
Well he hit me over the head with a rifle butt! Worst part, it was my rifle butt! After going to the Duty hut, he gave me a towel to hold on my head. Than he ask me what I was doing. Told him holding a towel on my head. He ask me what kind of first aid?? Direct pressure was my answer. They never miss a chance to teach. After I came up with a story, he sent me to sick bay to get 8 stitches put in.
The next week, I got call out to the duty hut. After knocking and requesting permission to enter. His reply was, come in Pvt with the hole in the head! That when I found out that I had qualified for OCS. Didn't take the Marine Corps up on the offer. Ended up being a two year O311. After grad. I ask the Drill Instructor about his comment about doing a good job on the test, you get a good job in the Marine Corps. He said you're an O3 aren't you? I said yes. His reply was, that is a good job in the Marine Corps!
Cpl KD Corwin O311
Dear Sgt. Grit,
As you know, "Once a Marine, Always a Marine" applies to the families as well. My dad was a 6'3" 200+ pound Marine that yelled reveille every morning and that was before he went to work. I always said he was a little sentimental because he never forgot my mom's birthday...he'd say, "How could I forget, it's 5 days before the Marine Corps Birthday". That was the biggest holiday in our family growing up!
My dad, Gy/Sgt Patrick J. Kelly retired after 30 years in the Corps. He proudly served in Korea, Okinawa and 3 tours in Nam. He was also a weapons instructor to the Royal Thai Marine Corps from 1960-61.
I was the first baby born in the new hospital at 29 Palms, My sister(s) Colleen was born at Camp Lejeune, Kathleen and Mary were born at Quantico, and finally, Patrick J. Kelly II was born in New York but conceived on base at 29 Palms. The family joke was, my dad would come home long enough to get my mom pregnant and then he'd ship out again.
I remember every base we lived on (except Hawaii) and I have amazing stories from my dad, about my dad and all revolved around the Marine Corps. When he retired in 1968 from Parris Island he was honored with a framed golden DI hat on red velvet with a plaque that says "To one of the most colorful Staff NCO's in the United States Marine Corps."
Above the plaque was a crossed sword and scabbard about 6". A few months ago the sword was somehow lost in a move. My mom is heartsick about it as it's always been hanging in a place of honor in our home. I've been trying to find a replacement for it and that's how I came across your website.
I have been reading the stories and comments from Marines and I have to tell you, it sure brings back so many memories. I remember praying every night that dad would not be killed in Viet Nam as so many of our friends and neighbors were. His third tour in Nam he was blown off a weapons carrier and they did surgery in a field hospital...dad's comment..."They stitched me up and I'm as good as new; they did their job, now I'll go finish mine".
My dad ran the Staff NCO club when at Quantico and a couple other bases. Sometimes he'd take me early and I'd get to set up shuffleboard, spit shine the bar stools (yup someone out there sat on one) and I'd get the place GI'd. Those were some happy memories! I remember Parris Island in the 60's watching recruits get their hair buzzed and some of them would actually cry (shouldn't have joined the Marines)...
Once we passed out old k-rations at Halloween, nothing goes to waste. I remember hearing, Sir, the smoking circle is formed; everyone called my dad Gunny and I remember terms like Jar Head, Grunt and I stand corrected. Being Irish, we'd often hear my dad pay tribute by saying, "Yea, though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for I am the meanest SOB in the valley" (it was years before I knew that wasn't the original verse)...and my all-time favorite "mother is just half a word". At night when it got a little rowdy in our quarters (as you'd expect with 5 kids) we'd hear LIGHTS OUT and knew it was time to knock it off!
After dad retired, and we settled in upstate New York, he'd get together with one of his best friends Colonel William Morgan (Uncle Bill); they would sit in the back yard for hours and "shoot the sh-t". I loved sitting there and listening to some of the stories. I was the oldest and got to listen because I was also the "beer runner"! The faster I ran the longer I stayed.
It wasn't until I was married and moved to California that I realized that my dad and his buddies weren't the only ones that served. My mom, Glad, was a true warrior in her own right. Mom was the stealth fighter in the background that kept everything together on the home front. Mom's idea of "getting out" would be to load up all five of us and go grocery shopping at the commissary and clothes shopping at the PX. I never heard her complain and never realized how worried she was when dad was overseas. She always kept us upbeat and happy. Two years ago, my husband spent 254 days out of the country on business; it was then I realized how lonely my mom was through the years.
Dad died in 1985; it seems like yesterday. We talk about him as if he were still here and as all things go, we can now reminisce and laugh at some of our own war stories being brought up in the Marine Corps. We do it because that's the way he'd want it. If anyone out there remembers Gy/Sgt Patrick J. Kelly, I'd love to hear from you. Attached pic has dad and mom on the left (Marine Corps Ball-Parris Island).
I didn't mean to rattle on like this but that lost sword (which I will replace for mom) brought me to your site and to so many wonderful memories growing up in the Marine Corps... different time in our country's history. Thank you for letting me share my little piece of Marine history.
To all the men and women serving here and around the world, may God Bless you, protect you and keep you and your families safe as you are doing for us at home.
God Bless America
God Bless our Troops
God Bless and thank our Vets
Michelle (Kelly) Lewandowski
I just wanted to question Lou Albert's note about the Amtrac and "Ontos" in the two pictures he sent in. If I'm not mistaken, the photo on the right is actually a Huskie, which accompanied 5th Marine battalions (out of An Hoa/Liberty Bridge) while working in the "Arizona Territory" including Gnoi Island. Obviously, there are no weapons on board this version of the Huskie and it is not flat bedded in order to support such weapons.
Fmr. Sgt., USMC 65-71
Enjoy and read every bit of the newsletters. Finally had to respond.
I went thru boot at San Diego. Plt 73 Feb '53.Staff Sgt Mayo, Snr DI.
I was issued 2 green flannel shirts in boot camp. I was also issued a pair of boots rather than boondockers. Was in 1st Batt. 4th Marines for about a month or so. Then transferred to ANGLICO FSCC, Sig Co Hdqtrs Bn 3rd Mar Div. Stationed at Camp Gifu, Japan. Had a Staff Sgt Santiago in the outfit. Am wondering if Gunny Santiago in a previous letter was in the same outfit.
There were several 2nd Anglico guys in the plt. Mostly Buck sgts. I was Snr Corporal in a NGT that went to Okinawa on a problem. Also made the commemorative landing on Iwo Jima. I have lots of pictures and could spend a lot of time riding around the desert on my 4 wheeler, drinking beer and rehashin' some of those good times.
When returning to the states got demoted to Fox Bat. 2nd Batt. 10th Marines as an FO. While there made a Med cruise. Had a ball while at Lejeune and made Buck before discharge. 3 stripes (no crossed rifles). Can't find any of those stripes.
Doran Cooper Sgt
Note: We've got those stipes...
Drop His Trousers
I thought that I'd share a few stories about my time in Nam. In the summer of 67' I was with 2nd. Provisional 155 Towed Howitzers, 3/12, 3rd. Marine Div. Tango Battery. We were at Camp Evans, north of Hue.
One evening 3 of us were sitting on our guns' powder bunker, Ned Pierce, Larry Bramell and myself, just talking. Ned finally said that he was going to write a letter home before it got dark. When he pushed off from the top of the bunker we heard a loud slapping noise. Ned was jumping around and rubbing his butt and when Larry and I jumped down, Ned looked at his hand and it was covered in blood. We had him drop his trousers and he had about a 5 inch cut on his a-- cheek. It was bleeding bad so we took him to our corpsman who was an older (we were 18) Navy Chief. Doc lit a Coleman lantern and got Ned on the table and told him that he had to have stitches. I can't remember how many stitches he put in, 9 or 10.
Larry and I were holding lights and laughing the whole time, especially when I asked Doc if I could put a couple in. Ned almost came off the table when I said that. For a couple of weeks after that Ned had to put up with everybody getting on him about "showing all the folks back home his war scars when he got home".
Later in November of 68' we were at C-2 by Con Thien when we took incoming rockets. My friend Ron Welsh caught a piece of shrapnel across both cheeks of his a-- . The wounds weren't that deep but everybody kept on him about going home and showing off his scars. Knowing Ron, he probably got off the plane and dropped his trousers and showed the world. Sadly Ron was in a motorcycle accident a few years after he got back from Nam. He wasn't wearing a helmet and suffered brain damage, he had no memory of Nam or those of us that spent almost 20 months with him. The last my friend Chuck Mullin heard from Ron's mother was that he was dying in a V.A. hospital.
When I went back to Nam in 69-70 I was with H.q. Battery 11th. Marines. I was the Sgt. in charge of the Security Platoon and part of our job was putting out defensive wire around the compound. One day we were stringing concertina wire. Most of you know the drill, you get a bundle of wire and start shaking in to get it stretched out. As it got stretched further apart, more men got in on it and everybody would be bouncing the wire and pulling it apart.
On one bundle, everything was going along good until one man started screaming to stop. I looked over and "Red" was standing there stiff-armed trying to stop the wire from moving. One of the barbs on the razor wire had gone through his trousers and embedded into the head of his d--k. when we found this out ,we were all cracking up and poor Red was moaning in pain. He wanted someone to remove it but no-one volunteered so he got it out himself after some moans and groans and a lot of M------F---ers. I sent him to the corpsman and when he got back he said that he was told to soak it in hot water for a half hour every day. Of course we all told him that he made that up just so he could have fun with himself. Red went through the normal razzing that you could expect from your fellow Marines in a situation like that.
It really helps to think about some of the funny things that happened over there and get your mind off of all the bad things.
Sgt. George Sheesley
Tango Battery 3/12 April 67'- Dec.68
Security Platoon H.Q. Battery 11th. Marines Sept.69 - July 70'
I was with 3rdBatallion/5thMarines/1stMarDiv. from March, 1969 through February, 1970, H&S Co., 106 Platoon at An Hoa Combat Base. I can tell you that we did not spent a bunch of time sitting on our butts, "skating", as Sgt. Greg Smith of H&S,2/5 (1969) puts it. Our company was tasked with ops in Arizona Territory, Antenna Valley, Pipestone Canyon and others, typically for 30 to 60 days at a time with at least one 90 day operation in the Arizona Territory in a search and destroy support role with the "grunt" companies. We also spent some time at Liberty Bridge and at what was referred to as the "Forward C.P./An Hoa", a small outpost west of An Hoa combat Base.
While our company did have some slackers, those that manufactured one malady or another to keep from going to the bush, by and large we were a combat tested platoon. As Sgt Smith suggests, the An Hoa Basin was very active, post 1968 Tet. Carnage best describes what we encountered during ops in our AO.B-52 Arc Light runs were a sight to behold at night, but the aftermath was where we witnessed devastation on a scale that defies description.
I never got to say good bye to a lot of Marine buddies from that place, but I will never forget them and that gives me solace. To me, An Hoa is hallowed ground, not because it was the site of the fiercest battles or most heroic victories, there are other, far more notable places in Vietnam that rightfully earned that distinction, but rather because that is where I fought alongside my Marine Brothers and where I left a piece of me that I will never get back, and came home with memories that I can never forget, nor do I want to.
Semper Fidelis, LCpl David "Bubba" McClellan,
Jacksonville, Florida, good 'ole USA.
Thoughts from the past.
Stationed at Cherry Point - working in the machine shop in the R&D squadron. Was good duty and some of the people knew what they were doing. Living in eight man wooden huts outside the regular barracks. Cherry Point was a little overcrowded. Built for 3000 and staffed by 38,000. Lines were fabulous. Not much better than the 12th Recruit Bn Quonset Huts at P.I. No "smoking Lamp" and no "field stripping" butts. Although, we did. I remember hearing about the treatment in J'vill of those at Lejeune and how the C.O. threatened to make J'vill "Off limits" if they didn't clean it up. I don't know if this was a rumor or not.
Strange things happened in 1945.
Korea. Was again assigned to machine shops and because of this had rolled-up sleeves always.(First rule of shop safety). Fell out for Inspection one Saturday morning. Later platoon leader - Gunner Tade - reminded me not to fall out with rolled sleeves again. Red Cross selling Beer (marked "Not to be sold") for a quarter a can, at the airstrip at Hoensong(?) on my way home.
Strange things happened in 1951.
Stationed in Lima Ohio Reserve Center. The summer training units were sent to a Chrysler Plant (in Lima) to work at repairing Ontos. Not sure how valuable this training was since it was a two week go. They did have Chrysler engines.
Strange things happened in 1960.
I get weird thoughts every now and again.
Edwin Tate GySgt USMC ret.
Proud Of My Town
On Friday, November 11, 2011 in downtown Amherst, Ohio in northern Ohio there will be a dedication of a mural depiction of the famous second flag raising on Mt. Suribachi. This is my hometown, the town I grew up in and the town I currently live. There has been an article on the Leatherneck magazine website and there will be more articles and hopefully some national news. I was not involved in any way with this, but, am taking the day off work to attend.
This mural is the only one like it in the United States. It's the day after our 236th Birthday. I am proud of my town of Amherst and I am proud of being a Marine and of the Corps.
Semper Fi. Bob Rudolph
Looking at all the stories regarding various uniform enhancements, such as berets, cravats etc. At Sangley Point in the Philippines we wore Pith Helmets on guard and gate duty.
The base, which no longer is a U.S. installation, had seaplanes and P3 Orions and was the Headquarters for ComNavPhil. The complement was about 5,000 Sailors and 98 Marines. This base was also the recruiting station for the Navy for Mess boys from the Philippines who wanted to serve. There were a lot of retired who lived in the Town. It was located adjacent to Cavite City across the bay from Manila. This was in 64.
I'm certain none of you Jarheads have ever had the experience I'm going to tell you about here and I'm also certain you'll enjoy it.
I was in Platoon 335 at PI during the summer of 1959. Hot, sweaty, salt tablets and all the rest. Sometime around the middle of the ordeal, my platoon had 2 weeks of mess duty. It was a relief to get away from the DI's for most of the day but it was even more degrading to be a messman. We even had to wear those ridiculous white paper p-ss-cutters.
I was assigned to pots and pans. Very large pots and pans. I had a big sink to work in but the only soap I had was soap chips. If you've ever had experience with soap chips, you know they don't work very well.
I fumbled my way through that assignment for a few days and somehow wound up with a bad cut on my left thumb. I reported it to the Mess Sergeant and he immediately replaced me with another recruit and assigned me as, you guessed it, a DI waiter.
If you've never been a DI waiter, you don't know what you've missed. Can you imagine being a 17-year-old recruit in an area with 2 or 3 dozen Drill Instructors? That's what I call a daunting experience. As soon as a DI came in and sat down, I had to be at his side to take his order. Some of them would order as follows: "Gimme some meat, potatoes and 57 peas and hurry the h-ll up".
On this particular day, we had spaghetti for lunch and as you can imagine, the sauce was quite watery. I took an order from a DI and as I was setting his plate on the table in front of him, I spilled some of the sauce on his immaculately pressed tropical trousers! I thought for sure that I would be dead in about 5 seconds.
I can still see the stain. It stood out quite nicely. It was about 5 inches long and in the shape of an elongated South America. He looked down at his trousers and then up at me. I could see the disbelief and hatred seething in his eyes.
He jumped up, grabbed me by the collar and slammed me up against the bulkhead with his knuckles pressed against my Adam's apple. Through clenched teeth and with his face about half an inch from mine, he growled, "What's your ******* name, Private?"
"Sir, Private Benfield, Sir!"
"What's your ******* platoon?"
"Sir, 335, Sir!"
"Get the **** out of my sight."
"Sir, yes, sir!"
Then he slung me around several feet by the collar and stalked out of the mess hall.
That evening, while the rest of my platoon was writing letters and cleaning rifles, I was outside touching my elbows to my knees for an hour. I've always had the feeling that the other Drill Instructors enjoyed that little episode and probably kidded him about it. But I'll never know.
Do Not Steal
Arrived at recruit training depot PI, SC. April 11, 1975 departed on July 7th 1975. My senior DI, S'SGT. Mitchel who just so happened to take the Platoon (240) to supply to receive our 782 gear told us just before leaving the barracks.*quote* Privates, Marines do not steal. Marine appropriate. but THEY DO NOT STEAL. So if any of you should have some extra gear fall into you pockets, I don't want to know about it until we get back to the barracks." Again my spelling is lacking I was a grunt not a poge.
To The Rear March
Hi Sgt Grit,
There have been several messages regarding Duck Walking, and also Kamikaze runs home on weekends. I thought I would add a bit to the subjects.
I was in Platoon 329 at MCRD SD in 1951. We lived in Quonset Huts right next to the airport, surrounded by nothing but sand (DI Grass). I had a dark heavy beard; so many times the DI showed displeasure at my 5 o'clock shadow. He was kind enough to allow me to duck walk a bit to sooth his nerves. This was done after PT in the morning. He also would allow other Maggots to join me due to some transgressions on their part. The others only occasionally joined the fun, but I got to go pretty often. I must have done the equivalent of completely around the grinder at MCRDSD. Anyone who has been there knows that is a considerable distance.
I failed to see the usefulness of this pursuit until we were at Camp Matthews. Besides 329 doing To The Rear March at the top and bottom of Big and Little Agony, a couple of times when the DI's nerves had been jangled at the range, the whole platoon was allowed to duck walk up Big Agony with our M1s held over our heads. The skills I had learned from the DIs earlier allowed me to be one of a very few who could actually make it to the top of the hill.
After completing Electronic Technician training at Treasure Island and MCRD, I was assigned to SOS 2 at Cherry Point North Carolina. At the time I was very much in love with my wife to be ( now of 57 years ) who lived west of Chicago, about 1200 miles from Cherry Point. There were 3 of us school trained MOS 26iis I think that's the right MOS; at any rate we carried permanent liberty passes, and on the weekends only one of us had to remain on duty. I could leave at 05:00 Friday afternoon and had to be back at 08:00 the following Monday. At the time I had a Super 88 Olds convertible capable of at least 100 miles per hour. By driving straight through I could get home to see her by Saturday afternoon. Then I would leave Sunday morning in time to get back Monday morning. Needless to say, I would appear to have been on a weekend bender. Luckily I was young then, and too stupid to know better. In 1952 there were no Interstate Highways. I never was stopped, maybe the cops couldn't catch that hot Olds.
William Thompson Sgt 1225080
Girls Dropped Me Off
For Christmas 1967, I was stationed at DLIWC, in Monterey, CA. taking a course in Vietnamese Language. A couple of sweet young ladies I had known in San Clemente, CA., had insisted I come down to be with their family for Christmas, threatening to 'come up there and get you!', if I did not come down, so I made plans to be there.
I had very little money, having taken an advance pay before 'going to Nam', so I borrowed and managed some presents for the family. Friday afternoon after class, I stuffed those presents, a couple of changes of underwear and my shaving gear into my ditty bag, put on my dress greens, hitchhiked down there and arrived early Saturday morning, the 23rd of December. I had a wonderful time, and was treated extra special by all concerned. Christmas was on Monday and I was scheduled to be in class early Tuesday morning.
The girls dropped me off just north of Los Angeles at about nine o'clock the evening of Christmas to hitchhike the 400 or so miles back up to Monterey CA. I hadn't told them of my deadline, of course. I caught a ride with a guy in a VW who took me about ten miles, and dropped me off in the middle of nowhere. I got on the on ramp just below the no hitchhiking sign, and stuck out my cardboard sign saying Monterey. After thirty minutes of not having even one car hit the onramp, I said f--k it, and went onto the main highway. Christmas night and 'no' traffic! I figured I was screwed and would be AWOL the next morning for sure.
About that time, an old Oldsmobile stopped, and I ran up to hear the driver ask where I was headed. I told him Monterey, and he said get in and I'll get you part way, at least. As we drove, he said he had just put his favorite nephew (a Marine.), on a plane for Nam at El Toro. I explained that I was going to school for Vietnamese Language prior to being shipped to Nam myself. We hit Oxnard CA, and he asked if I'd like some pie and coffee. I said I was flat broke, and he offered to buy, so we stopped at a coffee shop and had a snack. We got back in the Olds, and I fell asleep. I woke a long time later when we stopped to pick up another hitchhiker then gas up. We were in San Luis Obisbo, CA, about 150 miles short of my destination. At this time I got around to asking him where he was going, and he said that he lived in Oxnard, CA, where we had stopped for coffee earlier and had been on his way home when he picked me up. I was blown away! He then drove right to the gate of DLIWC, dropped me off, then took the other hiker on to San Francisco. We made arrangements, and the next evening he stopped by on his way back, and we had dinner in town on him, no less! He wished me a safe tour in Nam and then drove out of my life. This gentleman was a true blessing for me, saving me from office hours at the very least! I'll never forget him!
Sgt. Ron Perkins
65-74, Nam 3/68-4/70
MARINE CORPS ORDERS
No. 47 (Series 1921)
HEADQUARTERS U.S. MARINE CORPS
Washington, November 1, 1921
759. The following will be read to the command on the 10th of November, 1921, and hereafter on the 10th of November of every year. Should the order not be received by the 10th of November, 1921, it will be read upon receipt.
1. On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of Continental Congress. Since that date many thousand men have borne the name "Marine". In memory of them it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the birthday of our Corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.
2. The record of our Corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. During 90 of the 146 years of its existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the Nation's foes. From the Battle of Trenton to the Argonne, Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home, generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas, that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.
3. In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our Corps, Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term "Marine" has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.
4. This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the Corps. With it we have also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our Corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our Nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps.
JOHN A. LEJEUNE,
Major General Commandant
"Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
-- George Orwell
"[T]he flames kindled on the 4 of July 1776, have spread over too much of the globe to be extinguished by the feeble engines of despotism; on the contrary, they will consume these engines and all who work them."
We stole the stole the eagle from the Air Force, the anchor from the Navy, and the rope from the Army.
On the seventh day while God rested, we overran his perimeter, stole the globe and we've been running the whole show ever since.
"And when you have served among good people, fellow Marines, some of whom you came to love with the same intensity as you do your own family, there are few others you will meet in your lifetime who can ever gain that same level of trust and respect."
--Senator Jim Webb, "A Time to Fight."
"Socialism, in general, has a record of failure so blatant that only an intellectual could ignore or evade it."
--Thomas Sowell, USMC, Korea
You're Bouncin' Girls, You're Bouncin'