Cpl. Bob Love, who served as a reservist but "only" 183 days active for training may not consider himself a veteran, but I do.
He went to boot camp, he trained and was ready to kill the Republic's enemies and perhaps die, if need be. He is a Marine and a veteran. I once read a great quote from a Korean war Marine. He said something like, "The trouble with the Corps is they make you feel like you aren't a real Marine until you've been killed in combat." If you earned the eagle, globe and anchor, you are a veteran.
Former SSgt Robert A. Hall
In This Issue
The United States Marine Corps is a family like no other, and that sentiment is reinforced each week as I read the stories that you send in. This week's newsletter is full of stories of pride, duty, humor, and more that are guaranteed to make you shed a tear or laugh out loud.
Here we go: Thumper Strap, Outstanding Jeep, Bronze Star, April 1966, Code of Conduct, Name Tapes, Henderson Hall, You Stepped Forward, Gunner's Jock Strap, You Ran Forward, Don't Go Over, My Foot Locker, Mopping Up?, He Was Going To Write.
I posted a poem written by General George S. Patton on the blog. He might have been famous had he been a Marine.
Pride And Joy
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet Guenter (Gint) Reider of Ilion, NY and his "Devil Dog" 2007 Saturn Sky-Redline. Gint became a Marine in 1965, served in Vietnam 1966/67 and was honorably discharged in 1968. I'm not sure of the facts, but he said he lost (a street race?) to a girl in a Chevy Cobalt, and that second wasn't going to cut it. The idea for the car came with the purchase of a Devil Dog tee shirt, and the ball started rolling. Gint's Devil Dog has a number of Sgt. Grit accessories some seen in his pictures. He takes his pride and joy to several car shows each year and has won "Best In Show" twice and "People's Choice" once.
Sgt. David Acton, 0341 mortars
H&S 2/3/3 & Lima Co. 3/5/1
I smiled when I read the story submitted on 8-4-11 by P. Formaz concerning the wearing of the smoky by D.I.'s. In 1975 when I completed D.I. school at Diego I was assigned to the 1st Rt Trn Blt. I was issued the smoky. It was with a black strap that went around the cover, two small loops that the strap went through on the top of the brim and two small metal connectors to hook (what we called) the thumper strap. This would be set along the lower part of the back of your head to hold the cover on during times of wind or during times of correction while thumping with the brim. We always wore our cover with the brim just above or slightly touching the top of the eyebrows.
I graduated from boot camp at Diego in May 1970 2nd Rt Trn Blt Plt 2033. My senior D.I. ended up being my next door neighbor in on base housing at MCAS Yuma Az. I was a Sgt. when I moved in and he was a Gunny. I received my orders for D.I. school just after I was selected for SSgt. and was placed on the promotion list. The Gunny had a good laugh and said now I would understand more about what they had to do to train us. Out of boot I was a 0311 however, after I shipped I went air wing 3072 (supply).
SSgt. Joseph E. Whimple
I was made a lifer but as all plans go strange I was discharged long before because of an injury on the field. Oh but for an Achilles tendon injury I would have had the honor to retire a United States Marine. I served for 6 years 10 months and 22 days. 14 years short of my mark. Now my son has the desire to JOIN the Marines. The thought of him graduating from Diego makes me smile. Â Â Â
Hello, I just wanted to send you some pictures of our jeep that we have been decorating from things we purchased from you. We are planning on stopping in Oklahoma to check out your store in person on a trip to FL. For my husband's USMC Motor Transport Reunion.
Ret. Msgt. Charles Outman
In Maj. James Murphy's letter he made reference that only "03's were Gunners. I was appointed Marine Gunner in November 1964 (Mos 2502).Although I held 13 ranks in my twenty years, including six enlisted, four warrant, and three commissioned, I was most proud of my "bursting bomb" and the title Marine Gunner.
Semper Fi to all our brothers and sisters!
G. H. Brandt, Jr. 079189
Marine Corps Veterans Association, Long Island, NY
A group of Marine Corps Veterans, active duty Marines and Corpsmen who served with the Marines have formed a detachment of the Marine Corps Veterans Association here on Long Island, NY. This is a proud group of vets who provide firing details, color guards, and parade participation at the VA Cemetery at Calverton, the NY State Veteran's Home in Stonybrook, and the VA Hospital in Northport. We wear our undress blue uniforms, with ribbons and badges we earned on active duty,( much of this gear purchased from your catalogue). We support active duty Marines and wounded Marines by supporting Fisher House at Camp Lejeune, Blue Star Mothers, Wounded Warriors and local returnees with special circumstances. We will host a Birthday Ball in Nov. and other activities that promote the Marine Corps our members have served in peace and war in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. For more info we can be reached by calling Jerry @ 631-981-0308 or Kevin @ 631-864-6251. Semper Fi
These two responses are from a c-rat story on the Sgt Grit Blog:
The Tabasco company had a great little cook book on how to make Your C's edible. I called their Tabasco store a while back and asked if anyone had kept a copy of the book and the very nice Lady on the phone told me they still have it in print. I told her I would love to have one because my old one evaporated long ago. She told me she had one in her hand and there was nothing that would make her happier than to send me one. She said they had one for MREs also. She thanked me for my service, got my information, and wouldn't take a dime from me. Several days later. My cook books arrived and they are one of my prized possessions. I learned to use Tabasco Sauce in Viet Nam and it has been a staple of my kitchen since. The Tabasco Country Store is where I got the book. They have a lot of great Tabasco products.
the second most important thing to know about c rats is that one needed to be very active in the field or the weight would begin to accumulate. 3600 calories per day after only a short time will begin to show up. the most important thing to know about c rats is how to ration out the small bundle of toilet paper, so that one's ass may remain sanitary. i would be willing to describe it in detail, but i imagine there are enough folks out there that know the "hole" story and can tell it in person to those that don't know it.
Following is a narrative of the duty I performed prior to my 13 month tour in Vietnam with Charlie Co. 1st Recon Bn. For my first duty station, I was assigned to Philadelphia Marine Barracks for guard duty. I served as a gate guard and later as a brig guard. But during 1966, a burial escort section was formed out of personnel from Marine Barracks and I was chosen to be included in this newly needed detail.
Individual escorts were assigned the duty of traveling to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware and there receiving custody of the remains from the graves registration of a Marine who had been killed in action back to his family for burial. The protocol at the time specified that the rank of the individual to whom you were assigned would be of your rank or lesser. Being a private first class at the time, this meant that the rank and age of what turned out to be a total of seven Marines was the same as mine in both categories. Training for this was very brief due to the pressing need born out of the increasing numbers of KIA's occurring at this early stage of the Vietnam War. My experiences with death up this point had been limited to a few elderly relatives. Nonetheless it was an honor to be the Marine representative escorting these young men on their final to homes which included Las Vegas, Nevada - Niles, Michigan - Murfreesboro, Illinois - Erie, Pennsylvania - Orange, New Jersey- Levittown, Long Island- and Louisville, Kentucky.
The grief that I witnessed and became a part of in those Marine's homes and funeral parlors was terrible and had a profound effect on me then and haunts me to this day. One of these trips in particular stands out in my mind and was typical of what I went through. And although I cannot recall even one family's name which I am sure has been erased from my memory because of the traumatic circumstances involved, I will always remember faces of mothers, fathers, sisters brothers, and friends who I met while carrying out this duty. I arrived in Niles, Michigan in the middle of the night on a train which
carried the remains of my fellow Marine in the baggage car. One thing I always made sure of as I watched over the offloading take place at any destination was that baggage handlers treated "my Marine" with the utmost respect.
I insisted that the casket, enclosed in a pine box, be taken off first. An employee of the funeral home was there at the platform, waiting to load the casket and myself into the hearse and drive to the mortuary.
I was taken to a motel a short walk from the funeral parlor, where I could rest before having to return and meet the family when they arrived. I remember standing in the foyer looking out front door through sheer curtains which covered the glass. I heard the funeral director say, "here they come," as I watched a middle aged woman, her husband, and three children exit their car and proceed up the front walk. I always had the same feeling of dread as I anticipated meeting the families for the first time, knowing what lay ahead for them. When they walked through the door, the mother immediately looked around the back side of where I stood in my dress blue uniform. Without saying a word, she burst into tears, sobbing, and threw her arms around my neck and hugged me as hard as she could. I knew at that moment she was seeing her boy in me, and my sorrow for her was immense. I could only imagine what my own mother would feel like if put in this mother's position. Then, as I followed, they all walked slowly down the hallway to that viewing room on the left where their Marine was laid. As they entered the room they simultaneously fell onto the floor, wailing hysterically, crying, and pacing back and forth. And as this outpouring continued, I watched silently, helpless and numb.
These were good people. Much like the type of family I had come from. Hard working, God fearing, middle class individuals whose son had just paid the ultimate price for his country.
Now, it was my duty to stay at least until the burial service,( usually two or three days after arriving ), and sometimes a few days longer if the family requested, which was not unusual. During this time, I would spend a little time getting to know the family and hearing stories of the Marine they had lost. At the burial itself, one of the things which had to be performed was the presentation of the American flag, which had draped the casket, to the next of kin. Following a rifle volley and then taps , the head of the Marine detail assigned as honor guard , would hand me the folded flag, which I would ,in turn ,present to a grieving mother with the words, " This flag is offered to you in behalf of a grateful nation for the extreme sacrifice of your son :__ ." As I mentioned, I performed this duty seven times! But if that task was hard, what awaited me as I returned from my last trip to Philadelphia would affect me for the rest of my time in the Marine Corps. As I checked back into the company office after flying back from Kentucky, I was handed my orders (literally before I put down my garment bag) for my next duty station, Westpac, Vietnam. Given what I had just finished, the psychological impact was strong and affected my frame of mind throughout my entire tour of duty in Vietnam, where I served as a recon scout with Charlie Co. 1st. Recon Bn., for a thirteen month tour. I will add one example of this by telling you of one of our scouts, Jonathan P. Kmetyk.
Pete was in 1st platoon, and while on a long range recon patrol he was shot by a V.C. sniper on 14 November 1967, and was killed instantly. Members of the patrol, which numbered about nine men, carried his body for an entire day while trying to elude the enemy. It proved impossible to find a suitable extraction point and get his body out of the bush due to heavy automatic weapons fire. Even after subsequent attempts to retrieve his remains, none were ever found. This was devastating to our company, and I especially knew what his recovery would have meant to his loved ones.
My service as a burial escort, while having been an honor, has been among those things which have cost me the most mentally over the years.
It will until I die!
Wayne R. Parker
Charlie Co. 1st Recon Bn.
Vietnam March '67 / April '68
In response to Dan Buchanan who thought the Marines only awarded the Bronze star with a "V" for valor, not true, alas. The Army in Nam did give them out pretty readily to all ranks, but the Corps tended to give "good job" bronze stars to officers.
In 1968 at Camp Lejeune, we had an Executive Officer who was despised by the enlisted Marines. I've since learned not all his fellow officers thought that much of him either. Major C was a nitpicker, and very tough on the troops. If you had office hours in front of him, you were guilty, and got the maximum punishment he could give.
One day we had an awards formation. A sergeant was getting a medal for actions in Vietnam, as was Major C. They read the sergeant's citation first. It sounded like John Wayne. Did this and that under fire, etc., etc. And he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, with "V" for valor, about the lowest combat award.
Then they read Major C's citation. For doing a fine job, getting up in the morning, not wetting his pants, doing what he was paid to do, etc., etc, Major C was awarded the Bronze Star without the "V" for valor, of course. He gets a higher medal than the sergeant, for just doing his job? It was bad planning to present them together. The rank may deserve respect, but the individual has to earn respect.
The troops me included began to hiss. Senior NCOs glared at us and motioned us to shut up. But you can't tell who is hissing, so on it went. It grew in volume until the officers up front looked around in discomfort, and lasted until Major C marched off with his "medal." No doubt he still modestly tells folks about the Bronze Star he "won" in Vietnam.
Major C had been passed over for promotion, so we were told, and thus was leaving the Corps. The Bronze Star was sort of a farewell gift or consolation prize.
Marine enlisted men, who have clean records for three years receive the Good Conduct Medal. In the Reserves, you get the Organized Reserve Medal. I have both we used to say they were for three years of undetected crime.
After Vietnam, the troops started calling the Bronze Star the "Field Grade Good Conduct Medal," because it seemed that every officer of "field grade" (major through colonel) who didn't totally screw up received one. And the Marines are tough on medals the other services handed them out like candy, even to enlisted men. Still do.
I don't believe the same medal used to say, "Nice job" should be awarded for exceptional courage under fire, never mind the addition of the "V." I wonder if Major C ever looks at his medal without remembering what his troops thought of it. Robert Hall
"No man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he be vigilant in its preservation."
--General Douglas MacArthur
"No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass."
"An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens....There has never been a moment of my life in which I should have relinquished for it the enjoyments of my family, my farm, my friends &s books."
"The more corrupt the state, the more it legislates."
"I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection."
Hi The story about the DIs cover in August 4,2011 letter brought back some memories the person that wrote that story I believe was my Jr DI in 1963 with 3rd blt plt 358. If it is I would like to thank him and the rest of the DIs for making me a man in Paris Island, SC I still have my Graduation picture hanging in my office at the police academy. Again thanks
As explained to this 4 month in the Corps boot. With much more civility than I had previously experienced from anyone I was told "You will salute me as you would any officer and you will address me as Warrant Officer". The quiet force of a natural leader made a far greater impression than anything I had encountered to date. I remember this clearly 44 years later. I have always tried to emulate this method of leadership and it has worked well over the years.
Thanks Warrant Officer-Sir.
I Always get my dress shirts with heavy starch in the sleeves just to gear that sound. I thought I was the only one.
Call signs. In reference to Frank Everett's letter, the other squadron that had the call sign "Miss Muffet" was VMA 223. I remember manning the field phone in the duty tent answering Miss Muffet and then forwarding the call appropriately. I remember at the time thinking, what a way for a Marine Squadron to identify themselves.
Chu Lai 65-66
I think that a change in name tapes presently worn by Marines on the utility blouse should be made by the United States Marine Corps and ask support from Marines past and present. Do away with all those letters and have it read just USMC.
For years Marines painted or stenciled on the utility jacket the letters USMC on the left pocket. It provided instant recognition that the Marine was a member of the United States Marine Corps. It was distinctive and unique and truly our own.
The present name tape although clearly indicates branch of service, it is felt not to clearly indicate our distinction as a separate branch of service.
The style of the tape lends itself to correctness and hints of "jointness". For example:
The Army tapes do not state United States Soldiers;
The Navy tapes do not state United States Sailors;
The Air Force tape does not state United States Airmen.
Why then, United States Marines? We are the -United States Marine Corps. We should show that separation from the other services we are so proud of by wearing that which generations of Marines wore on the herringbone and sateen utilities with great pride and bring it back. An obvious indicator that the wearer is a member of the USMC. Replace the present name tag with just the four letters that are recognizable instantly as to who the wearer is representative of: USMC. Additionally, it should placate the bean counters as it only requires four letters. Hope there are many Marines, past and present, that feel as I do and support what I feel is a needed change and we can hear from them. Continued success to you and to our Corps. Semper Fi
Joseph E. Bock
SgtMaj USMC (Ret)
Code Of Conduct
Sgt. Joseph Alvino's post reopened some painful memories of tears when others were celebrating and prayer when others were protesting. The Paris peace accords were announced on the day of my oldest son's baptism, which caused two reasons for celebration for my family but left me devastated by the lack of any prisoner accounting. I quoted the Code of Conduct and realized that "I will keep faith with my country" did not mean that my country would keep faith with me - and the cost of that fact to our POWs and MIAs.
Later, when the ground assault started in Gulf I, I was in San Francisco on business and not then a member of the Memorial Club. An associate traveling with me, knowing my feelings, asked what I wanted to do that Sunday and I said only to go to that Club. I was met at the door and after showing my Geneva Convention Card, said that I wanted to be in the club. I was welcomed and offered the dining room with a beautiful view. That lunch was devoted to prayer - "If you have to spend lives, spend them but don't p-ss away young lives again" Bruce Cochener L/Cpl 3rdMarDiv 67-68
Regarding liberty cards,
I recall when I was at MSG school at Henderson Hall back in the fall of 1970 as a new Sgt. The building that we were billeted in was a U shaped building. The Watchstanders were billeted on the second deck. The Enlisted Club was on the other end of the building on the first deck. To go from the barracks to the Enlisted Club required that we get our liberty cards and undergo inspection. This was true even for all of the Sergeants in the course.
I went on Post in October 1970. Looking for anyone that attended MSG school with me during the August - October 1970 time period.
Gy Sgt USMC Retired
American Embassy Abidjan
American Embassy Tel Aviv
You Stepped Forward
This email is a reply to Bob Love's comment in your Update:
You stepped forward when so many others would not. You enlisted in the greatest fighting force in the world. You not only survived but conquered Boot Camp. You were ready to serve if called. You ARE a Marine. You ARE a Veteran. Nuff said.
Semper Fi to all Reservists past and present.
Jeffrey M. Howards
Gunner's Jock Strap
Sgt. Grit: Ref your News Letter "Breaking Starch" you included comments concerning WO's or CWO's and how to address them. CWO-4 J.K. Williams (Ret) made reference about talking to a class of Lt's at Quantico. Since I don't have Will's address I would like to respond in your news letter, and I hope that he will read this. Will, I did learn to read and write (it took years) and I did locate the marriage certificate of my parents after all, so that puts me up there equal with all those double bar CWO's. I think that during those 10 mins of ranting I told the Lt's that a Gunner's jock strap is a lot larger than those double bar CWO's and we didn't have to have an IQ waver to get in the Corps. Hopefully retirement is going well in Ohio (OH10). It was great to hear from Will and I have enjoyed reading all the Sgt. Grit Newsletters and the most recent comments about WO's and CWO's.
I enjoyed my nine years of enlisted time (1960 - 1969 made it to SSgt. during my second Vietnam tour) and the remaining 18 years as WO and CWO (Gunner type 1970-1988).
I was "mostly" referred to as Gunner; however, I am sure that there were some other unpublished titles that were used while out of hearing range. Most of us that attended the 10th WOBC came out of Vietnam. At the end of the screening course we were all promoted to the rank of WO. We then attended Basic School where those that were in certain MOS (in a combat or combat support field) were designated Marine Gunner. As I recall we had three Gunners, Carl Britton, Jess Giles, and myself.
I was first a Marine, second a CWO and thirdly a Gunner. Equal to but not better than all my fellow CWO's that I had the pleasure of serving with. While attempting to be as good a Marine Officer as I could be, I never nor will ever forget my enlisted days and the enlisted Marines that I was honored to serve with in and out of combat and during both enlisted and officer years. Those outstanding Marines would still teach me lessons even at the 28th year of my career. Hopefully I gave them as much as they gave me. I truly miss them and the Corps. Always remember to forget the things that made you sad But never forget to remember the things that made you glad Always remember to forget the friends that proved untrue But don't forget to remember those that have stuck by you.
Marine, CWO-4, Gunner (Ret.)
You Ran Forward
Hi Sarge - again
After reading the letters that you present - and thinking about some of the things that happened. I have some thoughts to put before you'un.
First. There were no House Mice (Mouses) at my time. We were told when the "smoking lamp" was lit, otherwise NO SMOKING.. Boot camp - at least in the 12th Recruit Bn. was eight weeks, with two weeks on the rifle range.
Four of us from the Bn. were transferred to Cherry Point for classification. Every school I tried to get into was full, but there was an opening in the R & A machine shop since I had served my apprenticeship as a toolmaker. I somehow feel this was a prelude to why the schools were full. I went to Korea as a machinist.
(We were enlisted as Reserves and as a result were not issued "Blues")
I remember being told that we were to have an inspection of the shop by Gen Cushman (his family owned Cushman Scooter). We spent three days cleaning, painting and polishing every piece of equipment in the shop. (in those days, we had a civilian supervisor who had to make points) On the day of the inspection, Gen Cushman walked in the door, looked around and said "Any shop this clean can't be doing a hell of a lot of work" and turned around and walked out.
In Korea we had a CW 4 as a section leader. To all of us he was "Gunner Tade".
We stood inspection every Saturday morning - as a machinist, I always rolled my sleeves (Rule no 1 when around machinery - no long sleeves - One Saturday out of habit, I put on clean dungarees and rolled the sleeves. After inspection Gunner Tade said, quietly, "rolled sleeves at in inspection is a no no". Never heard another word.
Learned that in a chow line and hearing an "Air Raid" siren, you ran forward, not to the side. Got chow sooner. Later in life, I was assigned to giving a course in "Map Reading". Dumb questions happened now and then - even from general officers. As I reminded them "You can't stop at a filling station and get a road map." Although I have heard that some of the troops landing in Normandie used Michelin road maps.
Gysgt Edwin Tate USMC ret'd
Don't Go Over
As a student of history I have read a LOT of books...and kept some of the outstanding quotes from them. Here are two for you.
From page 220 of "Iwo", by Richard Wheeler, (who fought there, by the way).
"When the time came for (Corporal Wilbur) Young to be evacuated, he found he had lost so much blood he was too weak to walk, and he had to wait for stretcher-bearers from the rear. A pair soon arrived."
"To our mutual surprise," Young explains, "they happened to be men I had helped to train as a Drill Instructor at San Diego." Tears began running down the bearers' faces, and one said "We hated your guts in boot camp, but we have given thanks many times on this island that you were tough and demanding."
A recommended read, also, is "Twenty-Five Yards of War", by Ronald Drez. (Drez served as a Marine Lt. (Captain ?) , I forget which...but worked as a researcher for Stephen Ambrose for 10 years. Drez' book explores the fortitude and mental state of men in desperate circumstances...including a small group of 12 who held up Joaquim Piper's Panzer assault long enough to effectively cause the whole assault to be influenced....and fail."
Ron Drez includes a prayer at the end of the Foreword...which I thought your readers would enjoy.
AND I QUOTE: "It is fitting then that to honor warriors facing overwhelming odds, a former comrade-in-arms should deliver an invocation. The words are those used by countless other warriors before countless other battles, but no one has ever captured the spirit better."
"O Lord, we are about to join battle with vastly superior numbers of enemy, and, Heavenly Father, we would like you to be on our side and help us; but if you can't do it, for Christ's sake don't go over to them; but lie low, and keep dark, and you'll see the d-mnest fight you ever saw in all your born days. Amen."
Col. Jack Hayes, Texas Rangers, Mexican War.
This is a GREAT BOOK! As I did, you may read the foreword repeatedly before going on.
Thank you Sgt.
My Foot Locker
I remember having to stand on my foot locker to put on my starched khaki trousers. I also remember the tropical uniform with the collar emblems. In boot camp I was issued the Ike jacket. I was in the fourth Battalion Platoon 27,the same Bn as Drill Instructor McKeon 1956.
To God, Country and Corps
MSgt Bill Dugan 1956-1977 Not as lean not as mean but still a United States Marine. You can take the Marine out of the Corps, but you can't the Corps out of the Marine.
I have heard and understand the animosity Vietnam Veterans have towards Jane Fonda, even up to this day. I work days part-time in the sporting goods department at Walmart in a small town in Texas. The store has Jane Fonda exercise videos for sale in my department and from the first day I noticed them I proceeded to turn the first video backwards to hide her face. My fellow night associates always turn them right side up however whenever I pass by during the day I always proceed to correct them again (face not showing). Of course I always ensure that I am not noticed by anyone.
I had an incident where a customer came in for a fishing license and he was wearing a Marine Corps hat, I acknowledged him as a Marine and he told me he was in the Nam in 1973 mopping up, however when I noticed his birth date on his driver's license ( required for fishing license ) I calculated that in 1973 he was 13 years old. So I told him " you were 13 when you were in Vietnam" and by the way Marines don't mop up - that's when he changed the subject. I went ahead and sold him the fishing license, however, before he left I told him that he was dishonoring the men that fought and died in that war. I have not seen him since.
Sgt Grit I served in the Corps in the early 70s when the war was winding down and I met you personally about six years ago along with my brother Msgt Juan Reyna during one of your Grit get-togethers.
Cpl Joe L. Reyna
MTM Co, 1st FSR
He Was Going To Write
"Wing Wiper Forever," Sgt. Bob Imm's "mental snapshots" from his time in the desert around Yuma (in the 11 August newsletter) reminded me of one day out at El Centro, CA, during the summer of '70. I had joined the nearest Reserve unit back in August of '69, after my release from active duty, and was attending my first ATD (Annual Training Duty) as XO of "Charlie" 4th Recon Bn. Our two weeks that summer were spent at Coronado Naval Amphib Base, undergoing a modified version of Recon School.
One day we took a C-130 out to El Centro to observe a live-fire demonstration, courtesy of the Air Wing. We took CH-46's out to a range and spent about an hour in the sun--long enough for the water in both of my canteens to be too hot to drink--while the Wing impressed the Reservists with how they could provide air support. I had already been "impressed" by the Wing from the five and a half months I had spent as artillery forward observer for Lima 3/7--from Dai Loc District, south of Da Nang, to Duc Pho District, south of Quang Ngai, for Operation Desoto (26Jan-9Apr67), and back to Dai Loc District.
When the "show" was over, we reloaded the -46's for the flight back to our C-130. An Air Wing major was our "host" for the little exercise, and he happened to be riding in the same chopper. The helicopter suddenly dropped like a rock, and I thought the pilot was probably trying to scare the Reservist, until I looked toward the rear, where the major was standing, holding on to some straps attached to the overhead. I saw the look of panic on his face and realized that this was something else. We dropped reportedly about 500 feet before the chopper leveled off.
When we got on the ground back at the air strip, I watched our Air Wing major escort the two pilots toward the Operations Building, and he was not a happy camper. I heard him say something like, "Listen, Slick,...!" as they walked away. The "word" I heard was that one had turned over the controls to the other, without informing the other that he was doing so.
And thinking about helicopter rides reminded me of one aboard another -46 during Desoto. The LZ we were going into was reported to be "hot." A news correspondent, whom I had seen just before we went aboard the aircraft, was going with us on another -46. He had a .45 on his hip and a little snub-nosed revolver in a holster in the middle of his back. Supposedly, he was going to write about our insertion.
When the birds landed and the Marines ran off the ramps and formed a perimeter around the LZ, I looked back at the choppers just in time to see our "heroic" correspondent run down the ramp of one -46 and back up the ramp of another, leaving the area as quickly as he could. I sometimes wonder what kind of story he wrote. Just another example of the news coverage of our war.
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine.
'63-'76 "for pay purposes--from PLC candidate to Reserve company CO"
In 1964 we were in Okinawa. Living in tents at the time there. I got a call to get a fire team and to go to the NCO club to clean it up. Well the Gunny was pretty please with the work we had done he asked if there was anything he could do for us. I replied we hadn't had any fresh eggs in a very long time and it would be great to have some instead of eggs from a can LOL. So the Gunny called down to the tent city mess hall and told them he was sending C.G. Morgan and his men down and to take care of him and his crew. When we arrived there cooks lined up with fresh eggs real plates and they were in dress uniforms instead of kahkies because they had mistaken the gunny thinking that I was a General because of the C.G. in my name. They had thought I was a Commanding General. I don't remember the Gunny's name but thanks Gunny.
Cpl. C. G. Morgan USMC
"I'll be out of the area all day"