Sgt Grit Newsletter - 20 OCT 2011

In this issue:
• 2X POW
• Wounded Warriors
• More Ontos and Amtrac Pictures

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1st Lt Dodd, Maintenance Officer, 3rdAT and Gunny Sgt Vince Vega.

The Gunny had been one of the defenders of Wake Island when it fell in 1942. He was a POW both in WWII and then again in Korea.

In This Issue

Holy Moses, who'da thought Ontos' would get as much attention as it has the last few weeks. Strange weapon, almost everything about it is unorthodox in appearance and use. Interesting stuff, thank you all for your contributions.

Here we go: Marine Berets (yes you read the right), stomach wounds, he should surrender, good memories, first time a unit, knew it was purple, I don't know the outcome, did any know my first name, overboard/baptismal events, Trooper, 4 holer, POW X2, I never minced words, can guess the rest, that was awkward,

God Bless the Marine Corps!
Sgt Grit

Beirut Payback

Sgt. Grit; I am L/Cpl W. George Thompson. I was in Beirut Lebanon on October 23, 1983. I was with 1st Battalion 8th Marines 2nd Marine Div. My company was hit by a terrorist which was supported by Iran. A tractor trailer truck loaded with T-N-T drove into the building in which we were using as our barracks (we called it "The Beirut Hilton"). 241 were killed. I was one of the lucky ones.

When I came to, I found myself buried in the rubble of the building and laying next to a good friend who was turned towards me. He was dead and I had to look at him for hours. I lost many (most of my company) fellow Marines and "brothers" that day. A day doesn't go by that I don't think about them.

My wife and I go to the memorial service every year at Camp Lejeune. We will be there this year as well. I will be forever injured from that attack. My injuries that are most troubling are the injuries of my fallen brothers.

I am writing you to let you and the Corps know that "It is my duty to remember and I will never forget!" Semper Fi to my brothers!

P.S. If for some reason we (the present day Marines) have to pay a visit to Iran, Payback would be greatly appreciated.;)

Semper Fi
W. George Thompson

Marine Berets

In 1951, while stationed at the Marine Corps Clothing Factory, 100 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA, the clothing board was experimenting with the possible use of berets for the Marine Corps. They had tan, green, white and blue berets. Some senior officer had come up with this Army idea for Marines to start wearing berets.

This is a photograph of my SSGT self and four other Marines. I've long since forgotten the names of most, but the lieutenant on the left, next to me, I believe, is now Colonel (Ret.) Robert Parrot. He had also been at the Chosin Reservoir. I believe he was the adjutant here.

Few Marines today know that the Corps once had its own clothing factory. Six floors. with all the sewing machines, cutting machines, shrinking machines, etc, needed to make the uniforms. They were manned by civilian workers.

My job was to process for payment, invoices for a million or a million and a half yards of kersey green cloth, herring bone twill (utilities) and blue cloth. etc. The Marine on the right is wearing the herring bone twill utility uniform.

After the Korean War, the Corps had grown so in numbers, that the clothing factory could not keep up with the demand, and it went out of business, I believe, sometime in the 1960s.

Delighted to say that the bombshell beret idea died in its infancy.

Aloha and Semper Fidelis... Bob Talmadge

105mm Mounted


I have just read your latest newsletter with one of the captions about the amtrack with a 105 mm. mounted on top. While waiting our turn to use a trail in Vietnam back in 1966, I took pictures of amtracks leaving the trail from my tank that have 150's mounted on them.

Bob Haller, B. Co, 1st Plt, Third tanks - 65 - 66


Ontos 1958 taken at Kaneohe Bay Here is a Ontos 1958 taken at Kaneohe Bay Hawaii 1st Marine Brigade. Not me in Pic

Cpl James E White Jr
Semper Fi

As Well As Outgoing

Sgt Grit,

Great to see the Sgt Walker's photo of the AmTrac near Cua Viet. To supplement his I have attached a couple of photos of amtracs with the 105 Howitzer, which were part of the 1st Armored Amphibian Company, 11th Mar/1st Mar Div. One tractor is set up along the perimeter of our base camp just southwest of Danang. (On the other side of the mountain in the background is Freedom Hill.) We also had a platoon near the Cua Viet, another in Hoi An, and a couple of tractors on Hill 47.

The other photo is of a tractor crew (plus me on the left: company corpsman) taken (spring 69') within our base camp. Note the 105 tube is covered by a canvass tarp. The crew chief (second from left) was killed May 69'.

To answer the question: were amtracs involved in combat? I can confirm that our company certainly was... incoming as well as outgoing... During Tet '69, a few amtracs were firing so many rounds that there was concern that the tube would get so hot as to cause a "cook-off".

As a Navy Corpsman, it was my privilege to serve with a team of skilled and dedicated Marines. And thanks for covering me...

Doc Herb Eschbach
1st ALVT, 68-69

Nor Will Ever Be

GySgt. J. C. Strauss wrote of his experience in what we called an APA (Amphibious Personnel, Assault) or an AP (Amphibious Personnel) in World War II. They carried more than 1200 troopers and if I remember right the Mess Halls were open all the time. One of the great meals the Navy had on Wednesdays and Sunday Breakfast was "BEANS".

The decks were covered with Landing craft and the side were covered with rafts in case the ship was sunk. Prior to an Invasion, the Landing Craft was lowered and booms dropped to hold the Landing craft, the First Wave Troops had Breakfast of Steak and eggs (the Navy Medical Department eventually stopped the Steak and eggs meal because of stomach wounds).

Marine Troops supplied Watch on the ships. The 40MM Anti- Aircraft gun tubs had to be washed out every morning because of Sea Sick Marines. During the day if you were sick and lined the rail to get empty your stomach, there was always an old Salt or two (either Marine or Sailor) telling you to stop wasting food and many sickening ideas on how to stop wasting the food.

No showers except Salt Water showers and Brine water (half the salt removed) I found at this time Lava Soap lathered up in the brine water, I've had Lava soap since. The Head were troughs running down both sides of the bulkheads in the bow with running water carrying out the waste, every so often there were two boards placed where one could sit to relieve himself. When they closed the heads for cleaning a Bosun would sometimes put a wad of newspaper set it afire and let it go on either or both sides. With a fire coming down and potentially burning your all, there were not many slackers.

I had Mess Duty, Chipped Paint, Stood Watch, and loaded into landing Craft and watched men get sea sick while we circled the area until the flag dropped and we headed ashore always a couple miles or more from the ship. I always admired the Coxswain (of the Peter Boats as we called them) he suffered through troops vomiting on his boat, then running his boat through mortar and cannon fire, with Machine gun fire as he got closer to shore. He would drop his ramp and let us run off, if the Beach Master told him to wait, he waited until they loaded his boat with the Wounded, and then return to his ship and pick up more troops to carry ashore and run the gauntlet again and again till his boat was sunk or he was wounded or killed.

The Peter Boats are gone, so are the Coxswains but we Marines have learned New Ways of going ashore and none of them are safer nor will ever be!

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

Recon Marine and Patriot Rider

This pic is of a Recon Marine, that lost both legs and one arm, in Afghanistan. His Name is Todd Love from Dallas, Ga.

This is a picture of my Marine inspired bike. The bikes name is the Patriot Raider. It has 24 rounds and 8 M16 rounds and 2 grenades mounted thru out the bike and barbed wire as well.

MGySgt, Eugene Wooldridge (Retired)
Marietta, Ga


Aug 1970: Got to Nam, immediately assigned to 1st Recon, two weeks recon training at Monkey Mountain, then assigned to a team.

On day one I could tell the jarheads were leery of this new, untested doc in their midst and were warily checking me out. On day two I walk into our hootch and my team leader is standing there with a couple minor cuts on his abdomen and a seriously deep cut on his forearm.

"What the h-ll did you do", says I incredulously. "Had a knife fight", says he. "Why?" "For the fun of it" he blithely replied. This confirmed all my suspicions about Marines. I could only shake my head and mutter, "They're all nuts!"

Knowing he could be busted in rank for this stupidity, and I wasn't about to rat him out, I snuck some suture material out of the BAS. Eight deep stitches later, I had gained a lot of respect and the team's demeanor towards me took a large turn. Incidentally, he took the sutures without benefit of anesthetic, which further cemented my suspicions.

I still do not understand Marines, but Lordy I love them. We had our share of "interesting" patrols, but they got me home safe and sound. However, I still wonder if any of them knew my first name - it was always Doc, Squidley, Anchor Clanker, P-ker Checker, et cetera - but never...

Larry Grimm
"If pain is good, why do I carry morphine?"

Couldn't Understand

My memory of ITR was in Camp Pendleton in 1962, and though I remember that we went through boot with M-14s, we were given M-1 Garands in ITR. Also trained with both the BAR and the 1919 Browning as well as the M-60. I couldn't understand the 1919 training til I got to Marine Barracks in Atsugi, Japan a few years later after I shipped. We had four of them in the armory! I know that ITR camp was near San Clemente, but I can't remember the name of it for the life of me. I guess memory IS the first to go !

Kent M. Yates
Made Sgt. once ... Made Cpl. twice !

Leatherneck Tribute

Leatherneck Tribute Tattoo
To all Marines that came before me!
Shawn Corey

Short Rounds

To: "I was naughty": Conduct un-becoming a former Marine! If I could go back to P.I. Aug. 1952 I would kiss my two Junior DI's with a 2x4 to their heads, the sadistic bast-rds.

After reading the article on the China Marines I would like to add that my Father in Law T/Sgt Adam Fleck joined our beloved Corps in 1934 at the ripe old age of sixteen and in July 1937 as a Pvt along with the Six Marines left on the USS Chaumont AP-5 for Shanghai China because of some kind of uprising. Landed and stayed till Feb 1938. So I think that entitles him to the title of a China Marine. Does anybody know if I am right about that?

L/Cpl Richard Jenkins
F/2/4 1960-1962
USMC 1959-1965

For cpl w w mcfarlland about the m42's at 29 palms. I was in d battery, 2nd aaa aw bn from oct 1957 until oct 1959. Before going to roosevelt roads, p r. Then back to 29 palms. Sometimes in 1960 or 1962 they got rid of the 42's and got the hawk missile. I was in them for the next 2 years in b battery 3rd laam bn. I was a pvt pfc and an Old Corps cpl while on the m42's in 57, 58, and 59.

Hey sgt grit, i was a PROUD MEMBER of 3rdAsslt. Amphib. Bn. 1st.Mar Div. 21 area Camp Pendleton in the early 80's. I remember sending boots around for 6inch ground guides to back the tractors off the ramp. what a fun time. LCpl Ron Gilbert

For 3 years I was the ButtNCOIC on "Bravo" Range. We use to send recruits to the target shed looking for a case of "shot holes". The best part of this is that the target shed was were the DI'S hid out at while rounds were coming down range. Most of the time the DI'S were sleeping in the target shed. I am sure the readers can guess the rest...

Semper Fi
Sgt Russell Rice

All this talk about duck walking made me think of a cadence my drill instructor used on good old rainy days. Went something like this at 120 steps a minute: Rainy weather cadence count.

Recruits: puddle jump, puddle jump, puddle jump, quack, quack quack

J.K. Williams
CWO4 USMC (ret)

Her Majesty's Marines

Dear Sgt Grit,

My wife and I went to Paris and London last year for an off season vacation. While touring the Tower of London I noticed the USMC window sticker on a door to the residence of the Master Beefeater (Tower Guards). I asked our guide about it. He stated that it was his residence and his Grandson decided to become a United States Marine rather than one of Her Majesty's Marines. He was not a happy camper over the choice. When his Grandson came home for the first time on leave he saw a change that obviously filled him with pride and now he brags about the Corps.

Mike V.

Never Give In (but he should surrender)

Sgt. Grit

I'm responding to a letter in this week's newsletter concerning duck walking at Camp Matthews a Cpl. "Murch" was asking about... Yes Cpl. I remember very well learning the fine art of duck walking while at Camp Matthews Rifle Range...
As you no doubt remember we lived in tents and in the evenings we had to sprinkle water around on the ground and then rake it nice and smooth...

I was there in Nov.1956... While there somehow I twisted my ankle and could hardly get around on it...
Every evening when we had finished qualifying we headed back to our tents in a column...

Once we reached the bottom of that steep hill...
Which I don't know if it had a name or not...
But it was steep...
We were told to get into the duck walk position with our rifles up over our heads, and we duck walked all the way to the top... It was rough but for me at that time my foot was swollen so big I could hardly get it in my boot, and in that position it was extremely painful trying to make it to the top...

When we got back to our tents and it was time to rake the grass I didn't go out...
Malingering? Failure to report
The day before I had swiped a salt shaker full of salt and took it with me... Theft of government property/ messhall gear in barracks
I filled my bucket with hot water and poured in that salt, while the others were raking I was soaking my foot... Impersonating a corpsman & practicing medicine w/o a license.

God Bless the Marine Corps and the fine art of duck walking... My name is Howard W. Kennedy... Oh ! I was on the 155 Howitzer and when a replacement came in our thing was to send him down to headquarters for a can of Muzzle blast...


My name is Howard W. Kennedy...
Pvt Kennedy you disgusting little maggot!
You have disgraced yourself & the Marine Corps with your actions & public confession.
Now "DUCK WALK" yourself back to Camp Matthews & surrender
yourself to the appropriate authorities.
May Chesty have mercy upon your soul.

Good Memories


Reading the bits about the missions newbies were sent made me recall when I was with the weapons platoon attached to E-2-6 back in 63 through 65. Part of the kit for the M-60 machine gun was an extra barrel and an asbestos mitten to wear when changing out a hot barrel. S O P for new boots attached to the gun section was to send them to either supply or the armory to get the rest of the asbestos suit because we were scheduled for field training with the guys from the flame section and did not want anyone burned. The guys in the 3.5 rocket squads always sent their boots out for the usual bucket of back blast as well as the required tube stretcher. Good memories from long ago!

Semper Fi!
Old Dog Sgt. 0331 63-69


My only contact with ONTOS was when I was with Flames 2/7 in 1960. We went to the field for a live fire practice, we were setting up our tents and we noticed the ONTOS in a field close by. We didn't think much about that until just after dark when we all in the sack when we hear whoomp, mortar firing, strange. Parachute flares light up the night and then the ONTOS starting firing spotting rounds and then the 106's let go. It was past midnight before they quite firing.

E.L. Collins
Cpl. 1959-63
2/7 - VMGR-352

First Time A Unit

In your newsletter 13 Oct 2011 there was an article AMTRAC and 105 wondering if they were ever used in combat.

The first Unit after MOS school was actually this type unit.

In August 1966 after MOS school, I was sent to Camp Pendleton, Ca. and assigned to my first unit which was a new unit that was forming up to go to Viet Nam, the name was 1st Armored Amphibian Co (Rein) which consisted of 6 LVTH6's (Amtrac's with the 105 turret mounted Howitzers) and 6 P5 Amtrac's (like the picture in your article).

This was the first time a unit like this was used since WWII. When I joined the unit there were only about 10 personnel, we began gathering all the all equipment for the unit, by Oct 1966 we were fully staffed with Personnel and Equipment. During this time we were in training and by the middle of Oct all equipment and personnel were loaded on Navy LST ships and sailed for Da Nang. Viet Nam.

This journey took approximately 46 days, we disembarked at Da Nang and moved to an area just north of Hill 327 with 1st Tanks. This Company consisted of 3 Gun Platoons, and Headquarters Plt. One platoon was sent to Phu Bi, one to Marble Mountain, and the other remained at our original location with Hdq Plt. Each Plt provided close ground support and general artillery support to the Infantry Battalions on patrol's and sweeps of the area. The LVTH6's were very accurate with artillery support and very mobile since most of the area's were rice paddies and wet marsh lands where Tanks and other equipment could not operate. After about 6 months replacement personnel began coming in and the original personnel were assigned to other units for the remainder of our 13 month tour.

I was assigned to 4th Bn 11th Marines (M109 self propelled 155mm Howitzers) for the rest of my tour I rotated back to the states 31 Oct 67. I will never forget the Armored Amtrac's, every time I see one of them it really brings back lots of memories (good and bad). Not sure how long this Unit was in operation during the conflict but I'm sure they made the Corps Proud.

GySgt C W Cleland
USMC Retired
Semper Fi

He Wanted A Medal

This is a pic of myself and Lorton Berry. Lorton lives in Lutts, TN. He is 88 10-13. Met him last New Year's. He was in the Navy, WWII. Attached to 1st MarDiv, and maybe other units. Communications. From Guadalcanal to Okinawa. He told me stories about Guadalcanal, Tinian and Peleliu.

When I first met him, I told him that his generation were heroes to Marines of my generation. He looked me in the eye and said "the heroes are still there." His daughter said, she had never heard the stories he told me. She told me he wanted a medal he didn't have. All she knew it was purple.

I got in touch with Marsha Blackburn, Rep from TN. Took a while, but her office is helping. Records were lost.

Can't remember which island, but said when Chesty was hit, he told Corpsman to attend to others.

Anybody know how we could get him on that list to go see the WWII memorial?


MATCA reunion here at Sgt Grit

The Marine Air Traffic Controllers Association Reunion was held in Oklahoma City and we had the wonderful opportunity to meet these men and women.

Below is the MATC of the year. Sgt Leonard Martinez and the Founder of the MATCA Joseph Medico, Sr.


This one from the old school. platoon 3008 MCRD June 1956. Even after 55 years I can still hear Sgt Aldridge. He was one of the best. My Marine Corps years have governed my whole life. More than likely any Marine will say the same thing.
Semper Fi
Jimmy Fisher
Sgt 1585873

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Date: 10/6/2011

Reason: I had this site to order stuff for my husband. He passed away this past May from Stage 4 Lung Cancer. I can tell you he totally loved your letters and your merchandise. Thank you for all the years of service to your country as a Marine and to your customers.
Mrs. Cheryl A Eastep

Want an Ontos, Just Dream!

To PFC Jay Bicknell

Your right as to heavily armed but not armored was the problem. The crew sat on top of 6-106mm rounds (lower ammo well) then shared the crew compartment with 6 more and tubes loaded another 6 for a combat load of 18. Booby traps (IED's) before the name change, were a big problem for a tired driver. Four drivers were killed that I knew. We never went on back road without minesweepers. Premature and hang fires were dealt with by the crews and once corrected gave us no more problems.

Memorabilia is hard to find on the Ontos M50A1. I can't find mention of 2nd AT BN, 2nd MAR DIV but know it was there as I was. There are patches for 1st & 3rd AT BN'S and a lapel pin for the 1st that I've found to date. These are available in the Sgt. Grit catalog. On a side point the crews MOS were 0353.

I actually came across 2 Ontos at a military vehicle grave yard in Utah, St. George I think and they were for sale but missing many hard to get parts and NO guns. I would own them if I lived in the lower 48. The guns went to Avalanche Control for Forest Service use and distribution. Our Ski Patrol and state maintenance in Juneau, AK as well as many other mountain states used many over the years and the supply finally dried up not to mention barrel rifling. It was calculated that 100 rounds could be fired before survey. As mentioned in a past letter track was problematic and were good for 200 miles or so on asphalt or concrete roads. Salt water was another nightmare when it came to track maintenance.

My suggestion, a plastic model!! They take up little space and don't leak fluids all over the wife's carpet. You can send the grand kids out for a BUCKET OF "BACKBLAST" There is one I'm aware of made by Renwal. It does have the .30 cal shield or backsplash (if they got behind you) and I never saw one so equipped. The model is very true in most details.

1st 2nd 3rd AT Bn's


Sgt Grit,
I took this photo of a passing Ontos during monsoon season, 1967 near Dong Ha.

Cpl. Jack Stanfill

These Animals From Lejeune

From 1958 - 1960 I was stationed at Lejeune with the 2nd Tank Bn. During this time it was common knowledge that the J'ville police were giving traffic tickets for any small offense that they could, if the car had a Camp Lejeune sticker, especially enlisted. It was then a duty of the man's officer to go to court with him and we had to take at least $300.00 in cash for the fine.

This all came to a head when two PFCs were on liberty and were approached by a young man who was propositioning them. They told him to get lost. A little later, after a few more beers, he again approached them. This time they went with him to a cemetery and proceeded to 'work him over.' He was battered and bruised, but nothing permanent. The J'ville police arrested the two PFCs and they were charged with Assault & Battery with a deadly weapon, since they were Marines and had used their fists. Then they added Attempted Murder charge. The Corps brought in the top JAG defenders, but there was little they could do. The opening remarks by the Judge was, "That it is time that we give these animals from Lejeune a lesson." Needed to say they were found guilty and sentenced to 20 years apiece.

The Base Commander and the 2nd Division CG immediately placed J'ville Off Limits and anyone caught doing any business there would suffer Courts Martial. Liberty buses ran 65 miles away. If you lived in Off-Base housing, like I did, you could go to and from home, but that is all.

The men's cases were being appealed when I was transferred to the 3rd Division so I don't know the outcome.

E.L. Dodd, former 1st Lt. USMC

Baptismal Events

Don, there is that famous subparagraph in the Marine Corps Records-keeping manual... quoted here from memory: " The judicious use of a waste receptacle will solve many filing problems"

Anyway... The kindly souls running PCP at San Diego back in the mid-60's sometimes used Wednesday afternoons to alleviate boredom amongst the inmates, and would substitute rowing for other upper-body exercises. This involved moving the herd to the west side of the Depot, where there is an inlet of San Diego Bay that separates MCRD from what was at the time NTC... where squidlets were trained. There was a dock on the Navy side of the inlet, and a number of whaleboats, all alike, and seating 8 or 10 oars persons. In the summertime, PCP would be so large that other DI's from Special Training Branch would go along, so there would be one DI for each whaleboat. Getting there was exercise enough, as it involved side-stepping across slimy rocks while facing and holding onto, a chain link fence.

Rolf Iverson, (then a Sgt, today most likely Commander of the Guard, Port Section, topside) always had a bet going with all the DI's who served as coxswains (Stroke!, Stroke! D-mmit! Stroke!) for the whaleboat cruises (races) down the inlet to Harbor Drive and back. Rolf would let us pick our boats, pick our crew, etc., with only one stipulation, that being that he got first choice of boats. He never, ever lost. We learned much later that the Chief in charge of the boat dock was in cahoots with Rolf, and that every boat on that dock, except one, had a bucket tied on at the stern... which none of us ever noticed. It is amazing how much drag resistance one lil 'ol 3 gallon Government Issue bucket can generate...

Since Captains of craft have all sorts of powers....weddings, baptisms, etc... there were the occasional man overboard/baptismal events... must've been voluntary, because there were no foot lockers aboard to be fallen over... Wondered for years why the safety nannies didn't ban footlockers, since they always seemed to be involved with those showing up at sick bay with bruises, loose teeth, closed eyes, etc...



Sgt Grit

Since our 236th Birthday is coming up, I would like to send you a menu of our 195th in Republic of Vietnam. I hope that our troops over in harm's way get a good one too. Menu attached.

Endre O Farkas

Troops or Troopers

Sgt Grit,

In reference to the use of Troops or Troopers when referring to Marines (or Marine Recruits). When I went through MCRD-SD and during my time in the Corps, I never heard the terms used. HOWEVER, as a kid I recall my Dad refer to his Marines fondly as his Troops or his Troopers. Dad was a Platoon Leader and later CO of Bravo Co., 1st Recon Bn ('61-'63). Later ('66-'67) he returned to 1st Recon in Viet Nam as the Bn Operations Officer and then as XO. Later in his career he was CO of 3rd Recon at Ona Point, Okinawa ('73-'74).

He retired as a LtCol and returned to Wyoming where he enjoyed his remaining years and watched two of his grandsons also become Marines. He rarely used the "Trooper" terminology later in life and I NEVER heard a platoon or any "unit" referred to as a Troop. We lost him a couple of years ago and I miss him terribly. I don't know where he picked up the terms, perhaps from his Dad. Granddad was a WW-I Marine in France. He sailed both to and from France on the USS Henderson, which was referred to as a "Troop Transport Ship".

Semper Fi,
W. Johnston,
Former Cpl of Marines
1341/8531 ('74-'76)
Proud Dad of 2 Marines

Visit The Crapper

To add to/clarify what Ddick said about the Ontos. Early in 1967 I was on Hill 55 near Da Nang. About half way through my time in that area a story went around about an Ontos. It was traveling North a few miles South of Hill 55 when one of the 106's went off. The round hit a water buffalo in the rear end and detonated. Story was that the lady that was leading the buffalo was left standing, covered with blood and only the head of the Buffalo left on the lead.

While on Guam in 1972 I was Operations Officer at the Marine Barracks with Col "Jinx" McCain as C. O. He was mentioned in a previous comment concerning the Ontos. He confirmed the story about the Ontos and the buffalo, though he said nothing about the person leading the animal. That was one of the incidents that led to the complained about rule. Jinx said it was discovered to be an electrical problem.

Late in 1967 I was stationed at Gio Lihn approx 1 Km South of the border between North and South Vietnam. The position received incoming artillery rounds from North Vietnam daily. When first there I was touring around the position getting acquainted with the lay out.

I suddenly got the urge to visit the crapper. There at the North West end of the position was a nice looking 4 holer. I got myself into it and settled down to do my duty. It was the best built one I had seen and the normal stink wasn't there. The front of it was screened in so you could look out at the position and the view beyond.

Then I noticed that right in front of me was an Ontos in a hull defilade position and I was staring right down the muzzles of 6 106 recoilless rifles. Then I began to notice that the screen in front of me didn't all have square holes, some were round. Then I noticed needle sized holes all over the plywood front of me and behind me. I didn't stick around long.

The story I was told was that a 85mm gun round had impacted on the breech of one the rifles setting off the round in it. For perimeter defense all the Ontos we had (I remember 3) were loaded with Bee Hive rounds.

Only the NewBees to Gio Lihn visited that crapper and usually only once.

Ray Hoogendoorn (Hoogie) 1960-80 Retired Capt/GySgt

Wounded Warrior Golf Tournament

Sgt Grit

This was taken on the 1st Tee (Las Colinas Country Club, Irving, Texas) at the first annual Wounded Warrior Golf Tournament. Along with President Bush and myself is Army Sgt. Peter Richert.

I had the very distinct honor and privilege of being Pete's caddy for the 3 day event. Pete lost his right leg and has 160 pieces of shrapnel in his body from an IED explosion while serving in Iraq.

This is without a doubt one on the most inspirational experiences of my life. I will treasure the experience and Pete's friendship forever. The event was organized by Former President George W. Bush (43) to honor and bring awareness of our fighting men and women who have been wounded in combat.

Semper Fi

Carl "Snake" Fite
Sgt. of the Marines
2266963 66-69
RTO Pappa Battery 3/12 3rd Mar. Div.


Sgt Grit,

Keep up the good work. Way back in the early '60's there was Ken Nolan from San Clemente, CA. Anyone remember him? Being an old cannoncocker I remember the How 6, a 105mm Howitzer mounted in an amtrac. In '68-'69 had a plt pull into I-3-11 on hill 65. The battery Co of the How 6 battery at the time was a Major Harms. I knew of him from when I was in F-2-11 '63 or '64 at Camp Pendleton.

On Court St there was "Jazzland" and the "Bandbox". On opposite corners as I remember. How many of you get Peeved at pressure salesmen ? I do ever since That first tour at Camp Lejeune. See J'ville taught us a lesson.

Also BC St. and Gate 2 St. and of course the alley. Let's not forget "Tomaho" outside North Camp at Mt. Fuji JP. How about the "Gut" in Catania Sicily and Messina and those great ports in the Med.

That's what I love about this "newsletter" somebody mentions one thing and the memories just flood to the forefront. Don't you just love the way it ticks off the wife and Civies how we can remember things from 30,40 50 years ago and can't remember that the wife told you don't forget to take the trash out last week. Semper Fi to all.

Jim Leonard
SSgt Ret.

Not Totally Navy


I know that for the most part Marines celebrate Nov 10 as the Marine Corps birthday but we Corpsmen celebrate two birthdays. So to all my fellow Doc's out there Happy Birthday US Navy! I know that every FMF Corpsman is proud of his service with the Marines but many of us have also saw service aboard ship (USS Long Beach) and have served at Hospitals (NRMC San Diego) and other duty stations and are justifiably proud of that service as well.
Not totally Navy, not totally Marine but a little of both, we are FMF Corpsmen.

YatYas - Semper Fi

HM3 Luis De La Cruz USN/FMF '75-81
3rd Tracs

Now Do It. Now

I'd like to respond to "Kept Clean and Ready" by Betty Collette.

I took care of Marines in Viet Nam and now I want to do it again by echoing what she said about funeral prearrangement. I was in the funeral business for five years a little while ago, and men (and ladies) let me tell you what - you may have been Marines, and you may be as tough a bunch as ever existed as a group, but one day you're gonna die. Pure and simple. It is the one event you can count on with absolute certainty. And IF your loved ones really are loved, you will go to a funeral home today, make sure that their prearrangement is a guaranteed insurance product, and get yourself taken care of.

I never minced words too much dealing with Marines, and this is no exception. Now do it. Now.

Robert E. (Doc) Hays
Delta, 1/4, 3rd MarDiv
RVN, '68-'69.

That Was Awkward

Sgt. Grit,
When in Ordnance School at Quantico in '66-67 we were sent to the tool room carrying a wheel bearing from one of the artillery pieces and told to get a "bearing stretcher". The corporal in the tool room gave us what looked like a 6 inch long replica of the stretchers we would later see in the hospital in Nam. He put the bearing on the stretcher and placed two aspirins (APC's?) in the middle of the bearing. He told us to give the bearing the aspirins and to call him in the morning. We were also instructed to carry the stretcher appropriately, which meant one Marine on each end of the stretcher -- that was awkward to say the least. He also gave us a hundred yards of "scrimmage line" (a big bundle of the rope the folks at home used to hang their clothes on) to "straighten it out." I got to be on the other end of that prank as I was assigned to the school after graduation and worked in the tool room until my orders for Nam came through.

Ray Eckles USMC '66-69, RVN '67-68 Canal Winchester, OH


"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." --Thomas Jefferson

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." --Unknown

"No morn ever dawned more favorable than ours did; and no day was every more clouded than the present! Wisdom, and good examples are necessary at this time to rescue the political machine from the impending storm."
--George Washington

"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."
--Abraham Lincoln

"My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure."
--Abraham Lincoln

"They (Marines) have given us our only real fight."
--Commanding Officer of the British, War 0f 1812

"The American Marines are terribly reckless fellows... they would make very good storm troopers."
--Unidentified German officer at Belleau Wood

"It's a funny thing, but, as years go by, I think you appreciate more and more what a great thing it was to be a United States Marine... People will tell me what a shame it was I had to go back into the service a second time, but I'm kinda glad I did.. Besides, I am a U.S. Marine and I'll be one till I die."
--Ted Williams

We're only six clicks from our destination!
Gung Ho
Sgt Grit

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