Sgt Grit Newsletter - 21 APR 2011

In this issue:
• The SquidMobile
• Quonset Huts
• Downright Funny Marines

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Sgt Grit, just in case any of these Marines or their families come across this I wanted to share the pic attached... Marines from I Company, 3rd Bat/1st Mar/1stMarDiv, machine gunners, Guadalcanal mid October 1942. Back left to right Worrick, Griffin, Davis, King, Arthur, Hopkins, Gryzb... Front left to right Pollio, Davis, Walsh, Giffear, McCarthy, Brock, Hileinerich, Bubanas... deepest apologies if I spelled any name incorrectly as the back is hand written.

God Bless and thank you men, God rest those departed, you are what is great about our country, SEMPER FI!
(back of pic on bottom written "about 2 wks before tank battle on Matanikau River)
p.s. Thanks to Joseph Giffear for allowing me to marry your daughter Catherine S.

USMC 87'-94'

In This Issue

I really like the Old Corps WWII Pacific photos, just something about them. I mentioned last week that I had not once in all the years of this newsletter had I seen a pictures of a Woman Marine in uniform at her wedding. Can't say that anymore within hours I get one, see below.

Here we go, squidmobile, many old Quonset huts, three months living in the rain, caught some shrapnel, Crazy Horse, carry on, instant saltiness, and the always popular Bob Hope story.

"Semper Fi"
"Forever and one day"
Sgt Grit

Woman Marine In Uniform At Her Wedding

Sgt. Grit,

You asked for a picture of a woman at her wedding in uniform in the April 14th, #250 issue. Here are two that I have enclosed of my first husband and I married at the St. John's Lutheran Church in Kailua, Hawaii in 1967, well before your Sgt. Grit business days. We were both stationed at MCAS Kaneohe.

God's protection over all our brave men and women in the service of our great country.

Semper Fi,
Diane Mallory, 1stLt, 63-67, USMC

The Squidmobile

After the memorable "junk on the bunk" encounter with our Royal Marine exchange Captain as recounted in the last issue, we continued our field training in preparation of leaving on a Med Cruise in May of '64. We did not know at the time that we wouldn't see the friendly landscape of Camp Lejeune until late November of '64.

We left the shores of the U. S. A. on May 20,1964, headed to the Mediterranean Sea. Our official name was LFM 2-64 or Landing Force Mediterranean 2-64. The Naval group was Amphibious Squadron Eight, the Marine force was Battalion Landing Team 2-6.

Our Marine Lt.Col. was Lt.Col. C. B. Redmond, the Squids leader was Capt. D. S. Bill. Whenever we had liberty, and one of the brass would leave the ship, the Bosun's pipe would sound, and the announcement would say "BLT 2-6", or "Phibron-8", according to whichever brass hat was going ashore.

Sometimes the two went ashore at the same time. On those occasions, the Squid officer would have his official vehicle loaded into a Peter boat so they could go in style wherever it was that officers went. It was always an interesting operation the watch the auto being loaded, since it involved what seemed to us lowly Marines a work party of 6 Chiefs and 10 squids, as well as a huge platform which was attached to a cargo boom. The Squidmobile was secured to the platform and then it was lowered into the waiting craft at the side of the ship.

As it happened, we were anchored off Rhodes, Greece for some well deserved liberty. Phibron-8 and BLT 2-6 decided to go ashore, so the squids "heaved to" as they say and began the process of off loading the Squidmobile, which was a 1963 Nash painted Navy gray. Everything was going as smooth as silk until, as luck would have it, the boom operator sort of hitched the boom arm a bit and things started swinging and swaying!

The load was suspended out over the side of the ship, which made attempts at stabilizing it difficult. Up to that moment, I thought that our Gunnys could swear better than anyone else I had ever been around. As the '63 Nash pendulum oscillated more and more, the vocabulary coming from the six chiefs made our Gunnys' language sound like Sunday School! No matter what the squids tried, the load got more hazardous until, you guessed it, the lashings broke and the Squidmobile hit the drink. Squids were running all over the place, but the Nash was done for.

Somewhere off the coast of Rhodes, Greece, to this day, rests a 1963 Nash with the stencil Phibron - 8 on the doors! For the rest of the cruise, the brass hats had to walk when on liberty, just like us regular troops. I do recall seeing the same 10 hapless Seamen chipping an awful lot of paint for the rest of the cruise! Of course the 6 Chiefs skated. No one knows what happened to the boom operator!

Carmen Caputo

Pickle Palms

From my Platoon Commander (Senior Drill Instructor): "Stay outta my pickle palms" (MCRD San Diego Ice plant - Pleasure Island Marines wouldn't understand.)

The stuff grew around all the Quonset Huts back in the day. Along with painted rocks, it was the Marine Corps idea of landscaping or as they call it these days, "curb appeal".

Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.
Jerry D.

Flipping Over The Table

I was just reading the Air Force guy's experience with Marines and how he liked them. I commend him for his words, but I have a tale to tell about an incident at the Da Nang Air Base in 1968.

Our Platoon had come out of the bush after several days and some of us were allowed to go to Freedom Hill PX if we could catch a ride from the Ca Ha Combat Base. We got as far as the air base and decided to get some lunch. We found a Air Force "Dining Facility" and went in. We got our food, sat down at real tables and started to eat. An Air Force person walked up and asked what we were doing, I don't know what his rank was, but like most A.F. enlisted he had dozens of stripes on his arm (probably an E-4) lol.

We advised him that we were eating chow and he said we couldn't eat there as we smelled to bad and was filthy. We had not cleaned up before going to Da Nang. I explained to him that WE were the ones in the bush keeping the go-ks off his airfield. He said it didn't matter to get out. We left in a hurry (after flipping over the table and pushing him out of the way.) The cheeseburgers at Freedom Hill tasted better anyway.

Changed A Lot

Dear Sgt Grit

3 members of Plt. 328 met for the first time together in 45 years at M.C.R.D. San Diego. We were there for the graduation of A Co. which we viewed as guests of Major General R. L. Bailey Commanding Officer of M.C.R.D. After graduation, we viewed the Command Museum, Director Barbara McCurtis supplied us a very knowledgeable Guide, the Viet Nam display was interesting, and the History of the Corps was well represented.

After Lunch we picked up our new Guide; Capt Mcanany he took us through Recruit Training Regiment, which has changed a lot in 45 years! but still there where Quonset huts in the old 3rd Bat. aria that our Plt. stayed in! This is a picture of us standing in front of one of them; Left to Right; Cpl. Enfield (4th squad leader), Ret. Capt. Steffan (Sr. Drill Instructor), Ret. Sgt. Maj. Richards (honor man)

I wish to thank you for the "care package" and doing the T shirts for me. And especially for posting our reunion in your News Letter.

Semper Fi
Terry Enfield.

None In Yours

Sgt. Grit,

Back in 1963 Platoon 105 at MCRD San Diego had a Drill Instructor named Sgt. Rine. Although not the SDI, he was, of course, still a force to be reckoned with. Although shorter than most of the recruits in the platoon, he commanded and received instantaneous attention and respect at all times. One of his favorite expressions was "No doubt in my mind, Private. Should be none in yours!" I especially remember him saying that when we were at Camp Matthews, on the range.

He motivated us and prodded us through the days, always using colorful language at the exact right time to have us achieve more than we thought possible. I will always remember his swagger when using that expression - the power of positive thinking and belief personified in Sgt. Rine.

Mike Beehler, 1963-67, Sgt. (Vietnam 1965, 1966-67)

Old MCRD San Diego

There must be at least 125 Quonset Huts.

I was asked to speak at a Mess Night a few years back at San Diego. They were kind enough to give me a Cpl to show me around. I kept asking to see the Quonset Huts. He kept looking at me like I was crazy and did not really understand what I was asking.

He later took me to the museum where there was a large panoramic picture similar to this. I pointed to the Quonset Huts. I think his opinion of my old Corps senility changed a bit.

I went back there after boot camp for radio school. I got to see and live on the "other half" of MCRD SD. Much different experience.

Sgt Grit

First Platoon of Puerto Rican Draftees

First platoon of Puerto Rican Draftees at Parris Island, S.C.
July 1951/October 1951 during the Korean War.

Of The Mail

To Cpl. Jack Stanfill,
No my Brother. I defended your mail with my life! I would never steal from a fellow Marine. Some Navy guy probably got your cookies! A lot of the mail never made it to my base of operations. My bunker was at L Z Stud, which later became Combat Base Vandergrift. The Post Office "Unit # 2" was in one side of the bunker and S4 was in the other side. I didn't get to see the bunker much, I was traveling to all the other L Z's on the DMZ to deliver the mail. You know "neither rain nor sleet or incoming will stop the mail"
Cpl. Chip Morgan

Bowling Alley

Movies? I went to boot camp in San Diego in 1974 and the only time I saw the inside of the base theatre was for Sunday services. No movies. Our Drill Instructors did take us bowling the first day. They marched us to the sandy lot where the bowling alley once stood and we did PT for an hour making it "rain."

At MCRD there were still a few Quonset huts at the edge of the grinder and we were in there for most of our 1st and second phase, moving into the hotels for phase 3. I liked the Quonset huts better. I was sad to see them gone when I returned to MCRD in 1981 for Recruiters School. My Drill Instructor SSgt McCauley from PLT 2078 went through Recruiters School with me. He was a GySgt when we went through school together. If he reads this I wish he'd contact Sgt Grit to get contact information. See you all at the Grit-together in June!

Semper Fi
Julian Etheridge
SSgt '74 - '85 0331/7051/8411

Come to the 2011 GriTogether! We'd love to see you there!

Like The Rest Of Us

We were PLT 356 June to Sept 1957. M C R D SAN DIEGO. Some time Before Rifle Range about our third week we marched to the theater and saw Satch Mo

Louie Armstrong play his trumpet. Anybody else remember? I do not remember the yellow foot prints. They could have been there but I was too scared to look at anything but straight ahead. I was in the reserves and already had all my clothes in a sea bag with me so that made me a stand out target. When we got to 2nd ITR we had a man that had 4 hash marks no stripes. He had been in the army for 18 years. He got out and tired of non military life so joined the Marines and had to go to boot camp and 2nd ITR just like the rest of us.

R D Hartley 1607484 PLT 356
T/SGT Joe Curley Senior DI SGT T J Hayek Jr DI.

Short Rounds

When did the Corps go from dungarees and boon Dockers to utilities and boots?
Martin C.

Just read about the movies in 1954 at Diego. We went to movies, plus "Battle cry" was filmed in part in my radio class. One other item, when we were promoted there was NO celebration just a notice we passed the test and sew them on. Peter Wojciechowski, 2533 1430847.

"Semper Fidelis March" is official parade music for U.S.M.C.. Written by John Phillips Sousa in 1889. Some say it is second only to the "Stars and Stripes Forever". I vote it first. We have all marched to it at Parade. Stirs my heart and reminds us of all our brothers throughout our history! SEMPER FI! Joe Woltman Cpl. U.S.M.C., 1967-1971

In the 60's, we did not use the term "Semper Fi". I was with 3/5, 3/9 and 1/5. We used "Gung Ho". Started in boot camp at MCRD San Diego. In the 70's while in the Reserves, "Semper Fi" was used. When someone would say "Semper Fi", the response was "Do or die". We were also given the explanation of Gung Ho as coming from the Boxer Revolution.
Frank Briceno
USMC 1960-1964
USMCR 1970-1976

when i was at mcrd san diego in 1956 we never saw movies neither but our quonset hut was right next to the duty hut and whether intentional or not we could hear the radio coming through the small window on the side of the hut in the evening... it would be real quiet in our hut so we could listen to the music... on sundays at catholic mass the chaplain would read baseball scores after the sermon. we got up early every Sunday to go to mass even though that meant missing the extra hour of sleep we had on Sunday! semper fi to all my brothers and sisters out there!

My husband, Joe Higgins, was a Marine thru and thru. I lost my Marine August, 2010. We married young and made the Military our lives. He was a Vietnam vet and was a very patriotic man. There will never be another like him.

This note is for Cpl. Mark Smith who wrote about meeting up with LtGen. Lew Walt on a trail at An Hoa in late 1967. I absolutely believe that is exactly the way it happened, but not at that time. LtGen. Robt. Cushman replaced LtGen. Walt on 1 June 1967 as CG, IIIMAF.
Gary Nash
0302, RVN '67-'69

Want to recommend to my fellow Marines out there a couple of books I just finished reading. One is "I'm Staying With My Boys", the heroic life of Sgt. John Basilone, USMC, the other is "Loon" A Marine Story, by Jack McLean.

I have no doubt that when we get to heaven we will find the streets of gold as talked about in the Word. I am equally certain those streets will be lined with dress blues clad United States Marines. I will be honored to join Pvt. Parsons and the rest of the brotherhood.

M. J. Patrick

This Hogan fellow from NH, never in the military, never a Marine, son of a Navy guy gets an EGA tattoo on his arm (his entire upper arm even) and he gets his story posted on the Sgt Grit web-newsletter? I seriously doubt there is some Gunny out there that "approved" this move. Myself, along with just about every Marine I served with would never go for this.

-Proud USMC Vet, OIF 1

Thanks, Cuz..
Always love reading these...warms my heart!

I love your news letter. Great stuff and reminds me who us Marine are.

Blaine F. Keith

Drinking Age

I was in 1957-60. In answer to John Malone's query, being stationed at Camp Pendleton from 1957 to mid 1958, we could not drink on base. However, when I was at Camp Lejeune for TAD schooling, we could drink there. When I got to Okinawa in September '58, it was open season on drinking except at the 21 rooms at the Marine EM clubs.

I like the term "Cold War" Marine applied to those of us who served during that period. It is a crying shame that Congress won't change the dates of eligibility to let us join the American Legion.

James V. Merl

Sgt. Grit,
I read in the last issue about 18-year-old Marines being allowed to drink on base. I am not sure what the rules were on paper, but I sure drank on base at Camp Pen. You had to be 21 to drink in the E-club, but the beer garden was fair game. We were told, very specifically, as long as we were in the beer garden, in the barracks, or along the straight line between the two we were fine. We all listened, except for the PFC-turned-private who p-ssed on the door of the guard shack. We lost the garden for a little bit for that, but it came back with our next libo. It must have been a non-rate thing, as I do not recall any NCOs ever partaking. I do not recall a beer garden on Lejeune or KBay.
Cpl. Dunkle
1996 - 2004

Yemassee Train Depot Reunion

The dates have been set for the 9th Yemassee Train Depot Reunion for the 14th & 15th Oct 2011.
Contact Roy Hughes 843-589-3385

See more upcoming reunions

Most Likely

I, Drill Instructor Sgt. Thomas J. Williams, San Diego 1969, '70, '71. My uncle was a lifer in the Corps. He used to take me to the Marine Corps Museums as a young boy. In 9th grade I started wrestling at 103 lbs. My two coaches were Marines and by then I knew I was going to be a Marine. In 10th grade I started the process. I signed up in May of 1967, graduated in June, was in boot camp Aug 27th and in the Nam for TET, turned 19 Feb 21st 1968.

I became an E-5 in 18 Months, and was sent to DI school in Parris Island, then sent west. I lost many friends in the Nam, but have always questioned myself about did I lose any of my recruits in the Nam. The first 7 platoons, 99% went right overseas. I had 7 honor platoons out of 9.

I am a 100% disabled vet now, and have never found the respect in the civilian world as I did as a Drill Instructor. I realized through a lot of therapy that I did my best and most likely saved many lives by being the best Drill Instructor I could be. My primary MOS was Am-Tracs and spent time on the USS Austin, it was also a great time in my life as a Marine. I love going on base, and fell out of place not saluting. I am a Marine forever, and would go back in a min. if they would allow me.

So to all, be proud of your Marines and Semper Fi to all. Sgt. TJ Williams USMC

1/13, 1966

Back on Jul 22, 1966 I became part of Charlie Battery 1/13 at Camp Horno, Pendleton, CA. We were a new unit attached to the 3/26, part of the 5th Marine Division. After training our unit headed to Vietnam aboard ship.

Once there our first operation was called Chinook. We were told to pack light because we were planning to only be there for two weeks. As it turned out we were there for three months. Right during the monsoon season. Three months living in the rain out in the field.

The thing is during that time we became brothers. We laughed together, we cried together, and we bonded together. Since then 45 years have passed and I still miss those guys. I've managed to stay in contact with a few of them but would sure like to reconnect with more of the brothers I had back then. If any of you happen to read this or if anyone knows of anyone who was with Charlie Battery 1/13 and served with us between July 1966 and Nov 1967, please contact me.

Ron Hoffman
ronwhoffman @ new.rr .com (no spaces)

SGT.Major Richard R."Big Red" Ebert

Semper Fi Sgt. Grit... This story is about one of the finest Marines I ever had the honor of serving with... and would like to hear from anyone who might have served with him also...

His name was SGT.Major Richard R."Big Red" Ebert... I arrived on Okinawa in April of 1957 and was assigned to Hdqrs Bn under Sgt.Ebert... before being assigned to Kilo Btry. 4thBn. 12th Marines heavy artillery... Before enlisting I had seen all the Marine Corps movies with the John Wayne's, Major Huxleys and all the Hollywood Marines, but none ever came close to Sgt. Major Ebert...

I had just turned 17 yrs. old and thought this man was the epitome of what a Marine should be, and what I wanted to be... He was a big man standing around 6'3 or 6'4 and weighed around 270lbs with red hair... When he spoke he sounded like a foghorn and always had the respect of everyone... I remember every morning he would personally step out of his quarters and blow Reveille with his own bugle... He'd get us on the road for PT and start us out with 100 pushups along with everything else...

Every Monday night he lead us on a 20 mile hike and I mean lead us... even though he walked with a limp... Young guys were falling out behind him but he never looked back or slowed down the pace... He had seen combat in WW11, Korea, and was tough as shoe leather... The rumor was he had seen action on Guadalcanal, but no one ever dared to ask... One evening after our 20 mile hike he came into the shower bay I was in and when he dropped his towel I noticed the ugliest scar I had ever seen on his leg, it had turned purple from the long hike but he didn't let it slow him down... And even though I knew better than to ask I couldn't resist... I said Gunny what happened to your leg ? Without even looking up he said... "caught some shrapnel" I didn't dare push my luck by asking more questions... He wasn't the kind of man to carry on idle conversation... All business and all Marine...

From the research I've done I found He had a small part in the movie Battle Cry... His line was "Hey fellows strike up the band, Huxleys Hookers finally got here"... I've been able to find a lot of accounts of the kind of Marine he was... He was a Legend at that time to anyone who knew him... I am very proud to have served under him and to have known such a fine Marine...

I just found out a while back that he passed away in Feb. 2002 at the age of 84 in the Clear water Fl. Area... He had come from the Wilkes Berre/ Scranton Pa. area and was of strong Irish heritage... If anyone out there remembers this great Marine I'd enjoy hearing the great stories you might also have to tell... I'm sure when he passed away and got to the gates of Heaven, a Marine Honor Guard was standing there waiting to escort him in...

My name is Howard W. Kennedy
h.Kennedy @ comcast .net (no spaces)

It's A Good Day To Die

In response to the article that states that, "It's a good day to die" is accredited to Crazy Horse, the statement is partially true. When Lakota (Western Sioux) went into battle as they charged they screamed "Hoka-Hay" which is translated as "A good day to die." The belief is that it is better to die in combat as a young man that to die as an old man with all the ailments and not being able to fight in war. Crazy Horse was one of many of the great warriors of the Oglala people and was known as a defender of his people, and the Oglala are one of seven tribes of the Lakota. Hope this helps.

E.L. Dodd
author of "The Vision" and former Jar Head 1st Lt.

Downright Funny

In response to Cpt. R. M. (Zeb) Zobenica USMC (ret),

You comment that "good" NCO's bring junior officers along without breaching good order and the story of the 1st Sgt. Flipping the brown bar a dime to call his mama didn't jive with your Marine Corps. I say, bull stuff.

The Marine Corps I was familiar with included a number of Marines that were exceptional at passive aggressiveness when it came to boot officers. For a time, I was one of them. I recall being at Camp Johnson around 1990 and myself and two or three other Marines were walking past a butter bar, as we knew them then. We all saluted left handed. Perfect, mirror image, parade ground salutes. The butter bar in question saluted with his right hand, walked about 10 yards then looked down at his right hand then his left hand then he looked back at us. We just kept walking away casually.

To deny the existence of jokers and Shiite birds in the Corps you knew is disingenuous. Those were the best times of my life and downright funny.

Semper Fi,
Mike Lewis, Cpl 1988 to 1994

Carry On

Some Boot Lt's are just hard to please.

One day, I'm a PFC, and I am walking out the door of the hanger with my best buddy, PFC Gary Alton, and I spy this Boot Lou-ie approaching us from the parking lot. Now, against the Marine Corps Dress Code, this Lt does not have his cover on his shiny pointed little head.

I tell my buddy, Gary, Don't salute this guy, and just follow my lead. I mean how many times do you get to pull a fast one on a brand new Lt. and get away with it?

So, this Lt approaches, and passes us, and we do not salute. We get about five paces past this guy and we hear, "HALT MARINES!" We execute a perfect, instep halt, and we freeze. This way, he had to walk back to us.

So, he walks around us, we are at attention, and he lets into us, "Don't you salute officers anymore Marines?" I say, "But sir, you are not covered!" He lets fly with a lesson in proper Marine LAW! "You don't salute my cover! You salute my RANK!"

We both answer back with a, "YESSIR!" He says, Carry on, and we take off. Yep! We still did not salute him.

Not proper, maybe. But it sure was fun to get one over on a brand new Second Lieutenant. Ah, but those REALLY WERE the DAYS!

Chuck Brewer, STILL a Veteran Sergeant of Marines, 1967-1973, Vietnam 1969-1970

Brown Bar

Sgt. Grit,

I have to agree with Capt. R.M. "Zeb" Zobenica, USMC (Ret) in his response to the story about the 'brown bar' demanding a hand salute from the 1st Sgt and the Senior NCO's reported disrespectful response to the situation. It just doesn't square with my experience in the Marine Corps, either. The original writer must have been watching a rerun of Robin Williams in "Good Morning Vietnam" or something like that.

To be a Top Sergeant or above in my day, you pretty well had to have your act together. When I went in, all of the Senior Staff NCO's that I encountered for the first few years were Korean vets, so maybe that made a difference.

NCO's that couldn't cut it didn't last too long and they were gone. Either busted in rank or not asked to re-enlist. I'd like to think that holds true today.

Wes Kent
Staff Sergeant 1964 - 1973

M48A3, 52 Ton Monster

Dear Sgt. Grit,
I was in Vietnam in 68-69 with Bravo Company, 5th Tank Bn. 27th Marines 1st MAR DIV. We made the beach landing in Mar. 68. I was first in my class in Amtrak repairman school in Del Mar. We were put on full alert (Feb. 68) and sent to a tank company, (27th Marines) Camp Pendleton. We spent 21 days on an LSD, with the whole 27th regimental landing team sailing to Vietnam, with one 6 hour stop in Guam.

When we arrived in Vietnam we drove our tanks from the LSD onto 'U' boats and landed on a beach around Da Nang. In that 21 day period all the Amtrak repairmen were trained to load, drive, fire and operate all the functions of the M48A3, 52 ton monster. I was the gunner on 'B14", just a month in country when our tank hit a 100 lb box mine, our tank commander was wounded and was placed on a Huey and sent back to Da Nang hospital.

I then became (as I was told) the first L/Cpl to become a tank commander and light section leader. I had been in the Corps just 10 months. My crew and I were a team that had to be dealt with. In May 68 I received a meritorious combat promotion to E-4 corporal with just 11 months in the Corps. We came thru the ordeal together and returned home safely. I wish I could hear from some of my Marine brothers, to see if they are on earth or in Marine heaven.

Thanks for the work you are doing; you are a special Marine Sgt.

Semper Fi
Frank Dufur Cpl 2345018
5 TH Tanks 68/69 RVN

Bluejacket's Manual

Don... got to checking, found my Bluejacket's manual (to the Navy, what the Guidebook for Marines is to Marines)... dunno how you'd get more nautical than that, short of reading Bowditch or Alfred Thayer Mahan... this particular copy is a bit salty, being the edition of 1940... interesting read, to be sure. The term 'tie-tie' is not used, but the act of securing clothing to a line is 'stopping'... I quote from page 15, chapter 2: "Stopping Clothes on Line" ... "Clothes should be secured on the clothesline by stops made fast to the eyelet holes in each piece of clothing. The stops may be bought from the supply officer or may be made of cod line, neatly wrapped, or of fine canvas threads neatly twisted, waxed, and whipped"

Those little loops of rope that were supposed to be on the five grommets on the bottom of the shelter half? "foot stops" anybody remember shelter halves???? snap? or button?... whichever you had, good chance your tent mate had the other...

The Bluejacket's Manual was given to me by a civilian career co-worker... who had served in a plywood minesweeper at Iwo and other landings. Good guy, and a great source for ammunition and clips for my M1... he had M1's by three of the manufacturers (there were four)... and kept trying to buy mine... the one mfr he didn't have. (would you believe International Harvester???)

Also realized that I had neglected to mention the other function of the tie-ties sewn on the waistband of the issue 50's-60's skivvies... size adjustment... if'n yer drawers were saggin, wadding up in the crotch, or worse, you could make the waistband tighter by taking up on the tie-ties... the things only came in small, medium and larger...

Hard To Believe

Sgt Grit,

Out of five of these guys, four are Vietnam Vets. I know that it is hard to believe but when these five guys were on Embassy Duty, all five were 6' 2", 150 pounds, blond, and blue-eyed.

They served at our embassies in saucy diverse places as: Ankara, Bulgaria, Calcutta, Hamburg, and Paris.

Respectfully submitted,

Instant Saltiness

Having been watching the on-going discussions about various subjects, and how things were, I'll add my two cents. I went through PI in Jan-April 1959, 3rd Bn. Plt. 304. DI's were SSgt Bunting, Sgts. Henderson and Campbell, later Sgt. McCollum. We lived in Quonset huts.

Regarding tie-tie's. They were part of our original issue, came in a package, don't remember how many to a pack. They were individual pieces of string, and the ends were treated with something like on a shoe-lace. We used them mainly for laundry, but anything else where they would work. A common response to the question "What is the uniform of the day" was "jockstrap and tie-ties". Or it might have been "dress blues, shower shoes, and a light coat of oil".

Regarding serial numbers. Most of the guys who joined when I did had #'s beginning with 183 or 184. Due to the fact that I joined overseas, at a Navy base where my father was stationed as a Naval officer, my number was 1631xxx. No idea why that # was given to me. It caused some confusion to older Marines when they saw my #, and they assumed I had been in a lot longer than I had. I used this "instant saltiness" to my advantage every chance I got.

Regarding Okinawa as it was in 1960-1961, and what the various camps were. I was in 12th Marines, a radio man 2533, at Camp Hague, which was almost exclusively 12th Marines artillery. In 1961 some air wing Marines came to Hague. The little village outside the main gate was Napunja, and Camp Hague Marines were known as Napunja Boysans in all the bars in New Koza, the main liberty ville for Hague. Right across the street from Hague was Camp Kinser, Division schools. Camp Butler was the brig. Camps McTourious and Courtney were various elements of Division HQ. Camp Koza, right in BC, was Pioneer Bn and Shore Party. Camp Hansen was Tank Bn. Way up north was Camp Schwab, where the grunts were, Recon and whichever infantry bn. was in rotation at the time. Sukiran was 9th Marines, and army.

The first Army Special Forces on Okinawa came during my time there, to Sukiran. Kadena was USAF. White Beach was Navy, and all troop ships came there from the States. There were some helicopter Marines, but I don't remember where they were stationed, probably Kadena. 12th Marines went to Japan to Camp Fuji for live-fire exercises. I went there twice in 1960. That's my recollection of Okinawa at the time, although I'm sure other guys will have their differing memories of how it was.

If anyone reading this was at Hague, they will remember the Habu Trail. It was a trail through the jungle from BC to New Koza. If you didn't have the 25 cents for a sukochi cab from BC to Hague, you took the trail at your own risk, because guys would sit on the tombs and drink and smoke weed, and they would beat up and rob lone guys on the trail. You always wanted to take the trail in a group. Also during my time at Hague, we saw one guy drummed out of the Corps. We held Bn. formation, the prisoner was led in and the charges read. Then the order "about face" was given, and the Bn. turned their backs on the offender as he was led away to wherever they took him, probably Leavenworth or Portsmouth. There was no insignia to rip off him, since he was already a Pvt. with a big white P on his back.

Paul Lindner, Cpl. 1959-1963

VA Visits

Richard Graham Ret Sgt USMC
Wants you to know how much Cherea made his day when they came to the VA hospital. He said that it was nice to see someone who gave a d-mn about them.
There he was having a really bad day and Cherea just cheered him up and he just really appreciated and cannot thank you enough.

It should have been my idea, but it wasn't. A few years ago my staff came up with the idea of visiting the OKC VA hospital to cheer up Marines. We contacted the VA and they would not let us visit just Marines. So we decided to go anyway, %^&$ bureaucrats... oh well. The staff organizes this on their own and goes on their own.
As the greedy capitalist I do pay them for their time while away from the office. They take cookies and few goodies. They are not giving back; they didn't take anything they didn't deserve. They go out of their own good will and love for Marines. I have outstanding people working for me. Just like the Corps we weed out the 10% your DI, Gunny, First Sgt, Capt, etc... always warned you about.
Humbly submitted and in appreciation for a great staff.
Sgt Grit

Tossed Me A Coin

Sgt Grit,
I'm a Former Marine, now a Utility Locator. I stopped into Wendy's for a quick lunch. Saw a gentleman wearing a really cool USMC leather jacket. The back of the jacket was actually branded with the EGA. I commented on it, showed him my Marine Corps tattoo, and hat pin. We talked for a few minutes, and he tossed me a Sgt Grit coin. He said "Check these guys out, I think you'll like em. Semper Fi."
I've used to drive a big truck in OKC, and have passed by your shop several times, a website never crossed my mind until he handed me that coin.
Carl Burney

9th Engineer Bn Reunion

Sgt. Grit,

Following is info on our upcoming reunion:

9th Engineer Bn. Association Reunion, June 12th to June 16th, 2011, Holiday Inn Riverview, Charleston, South Carolina, Contact Herb Shaw, 752 Harper St., Jesup, GA 31546, 912-424-9084

See more upcoming reunions

Last Marine Combat Unit

In Eric Heisler's submission "No Fire Zones" he said:

"I was there from Jan-last of May 1971. My unit was 3rd 8 inch Howitzers(SP), were part of the 3rd Marine Amphibious Brigade. When we left the only Marines in the NAM was the Air Wing at Da Nang and Advisers to the ARVNS and the embassy guards in Saigon".

The last Marine Combat unit to leave Viet Nam is Sub Unit ONE, First Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company(SU1,!stAnglico) and The Marine Advisory Unit "Covans", in January, 1973.


U.S. Marines in Vietnam, the war that would not end 1971-1973 by Maj. C. D. Melson, USMC and Lt. Col. C. G. Arnold, USMC. History and Museums Division Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps 1991

Semper Fi

Stephen Logan
MSgt USMC(ret)

No Recall

Sgt, Just finished reading this week's letter and have been doing it for about 10 years. I am trying to get some patches for my shadow box and have come up with a problem. I have no recall as of the actual description of 2 duty station and the local recruiters do not now so if anybody knows/remembers I would be grateful for the info...{1}.

Camp Pendleton, 22 area, DPI # 3,{data processing installation} {2}Nas Alameda, Marine Corps Barracks, was an MP the last year and a half back in 71. I do not have any letters and my medical records do not have accurate locations but I am guessing 1st mar,2nd battalion,1st Marines, golf company, Thanks and SEMPER FI and hope it p!sses somebody off by me using abbreviations .KMA

#2 For My First Two Weeks

I arrived at P.I. in 2001 and quickly realized that I was very far away from home. Amongst many other changes in life I was experiencing, one was that I was unable to make a #2 for my first two weeks on the island. Not for lack of effort, I would sneak into the head after lights out and make an attempt, however I simply did not feel that nature had called for these two weeks.

I had managed to go for the most unnoticed these first couple of weeks and was afraid that if I should bring this problem up to the SDI then I risked embarrassment, a scolding, and a world of pain. As we were conducting weapons maintenance one evening I am thinking about whether or not I should approach my SDI on this matter and I am thinking to myself "This is not normal" "there could be something seriously wrong with me" "why is this happening". "Am I the only one going thru this??"

As I am contemplating bringing this embarrassing issue up to the SDI I see another recruit head up to the SDI hatch, bang 3 times, and request permission to speak with the SDI. The recruit was in the SDI house for about 8 seconds when I heard "GO AWAY! AIY Sir Good Evening SIR!". Just then the SDI walks out of his house and says "LOOK AT ME now... IF ONE MORE recruit comes to me and tells me that he is having problems sh-tting then we are going to start playing some f--king games!"

Well at that moment I was assured that I was not the only one dealing with this issue and that it was most likely my body adapting to its new environment and schedule. That being said I think I actually went about 3 weeks before nature did finally call. I am sure some of your readers had this same issue. Sorry if I grossed anyone out with my story, but it was part of my experience.

P.S. Now that we are on the subject of sitting head calls... does toilet paper not exist on P.I.? Finding T.P. was like finding gold... That's a whole other story.


Boot Camp Stories from 1963, Lessons for Life #6 of 10

William N. Thompson, Honorable Discharge, USMC, Pfc (E-2), Ph.D., Retired

Sometimes You Just Gotta

In my introduction, I indicated that I would rather spend another eleven weeks at Parris Island boot camp as a raw recruit than spend another single week in law school. If I had one caveat to add to that unlikely scenario, it would be this. I would hope that Parris Island would relax its rules on letting privates "relieve" themselves when they absolutely had to do so. Boot camp training did result in more than one recruit not being able "to wait." Several times I thought I just might be that recruit. Close.

Once after one morning's PT session we were marched directly to the mess hall for lunch. In an overwhelming condition of thirst, I grabbed two half-quart containers of cold milk, and when we were seated, I quickly consumed them. Our usual routine found us being given a "head call" right after finishing lunch. But not this time. Instead we were gathered in a formation and marched off to another training exercise. My bladde4r was calling loudly to me. It needed relief--now. But instead I was marching. In the course of the march, I lost my step count, and I sensed that I caused several around me to get grossly out of step.

We were marching past the base headquarters with several high ranking officers observing our platoon. We must have looked awful, and our drill instructors were visibly "p-ssed off." They looked us over and they discovered the culprit-me. With my leg almost ready to feel an onslaught of hot liquid, I had to endure a face in my face screaming obscenities and threats. We reached our destination, and we received a head call-just in time. I had survived. For some reason, my only punishment had been the screaming attack, and believe me, while that occurred it was truly the least of my worries.

I remember another occasion when I felt the same urge growing as well. This time I was not the only one, and the feeling was not quite as urgent for me as it was for a fellow recruit. This recruit was marching next to me. He started mouthing words quietly to the effect that he "really had to go." "Oh God," he said. "I really, really have to go. Oh it has never been this worse." His moaning discomfort seemed to go on for several minutes. I almost forgot my own urge in sympathy for his plight.

We were in the later stages of training, perhaps at the seven or eight week mark. We had "won" the privilege of being allowed to have a cigarette one or two times a day-when given permission. At our destination at the end of the march, the drill instructor yelled out, "head call." Relieved, I contemplated my march to the latrine. Then the drill instructor yelled that for those not wanting a "head call," that "the smoking lamp was lit." Ergo, we could have a cigarette. When he yelled, "carry on," I immediately double-timed to the latrine. As I was doing so, I noticed in front of me to the left, that the smoking circle had formed, and a number of recruits began to enjoy their addiction. Included in the circle, was my fellow recruit--the one marching beside me-the one with the groaning moaning urge "to go."

Twenty years after boot camp I began to study gambling as my central academic pursuit. I was living in the gambling mecca of Las Vegas, and teaching at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. I have studied laws of gambling and regulations, the economics of gambling, and gambling behaviors. I have interviewed hundreds and hundreds of people associated with gambling and the gambling industry-government regulators, casino managers, and players-including compulsive gamblers. I have read hundreds of books, and I have written books and indeed hundreds of articles on gambling subjects. From my research endeavors, I have learned that the addiction to gambling encompasses an urge greater than any other addictive compulsion or other urge. (Indeed, among urges, it is said that "s-x" comes in a distant second place to gambling for the addict).

My lessons from Parris Island do make me reflect a bit. While I honor the knowledge I have gathered in my academic studies, I do carry a strong doubt about that conclusion. Whenever I think about my fellow recruit, I think that perhaps the urge to smoke could rank right up there with gambling.

Stopped A Drill Instructor In His Tracks

Hi Sarg,

Want to thank you for all the great products, and another great newsletter.

It prompted me to write up a little incident that happened to me during boot camp at MCRD San Diego in 1959, Plt. 233. As most of you guys know, trying to get oneself perfectly clean during the two minutes of shower time is next to impossible. A result for me, was to get a cyst on my scrotum. Initially, not an issue. Over time, and continued marching, and no medicine, it became bad enough that I was sent to sick bay. The Corpsman lanced and drained the cyst, put a band aid there, and sent me back to my platoon. My mode of walk was not what you would call, in a military manner. Sort of a bowlegged, jerky, duck walk thing.

As I came around the corner and headed down my company street to my Quonset hut, there was a Drill Instructor headed right for me. I had never seen him before, so obviously we did not know each other. But, Drill Instructors being who they are, will seek any moment to get in the face of a recruit. And he did. My thought was that I was about to spend an hour or so doing some select PT. Yelling and screaming, as they are wont to do, with his Smokey Bear cover banging my forehead, even though he was several inches shorter that I at 6-1, he finally got around to yelling, "What the h-ll is wrong with you private?"

Trying to be as precise and as accurate as I could be, I screamed back at him, "Sir!, they cut the privates b-lls open, Sir!" At that, he jerked his head back, his jaw dropped, there was this 'deer in the headlights' look on his face, he stepped back. He said, "Oh... um... as you were private!" and flashed right past me to where ever he was going. Pure self preservation kept me from laughing right out loud, and I walked on down the street with the absolute biggest grin you could possible imagine. There was not one other person who saw or heard this exchange. The thought of this incident still causes me to smile.

When I got to my platoon, I never told a sole, who would believe me anyway. I laughed, and still smile, not because I stopped a Drill Instructor in his tracks and want to sound my horn. I have far too much respect for all of those men then and now, to ever bring that to mind. But, that dumfounded, yet comical, look on his face was just hysterical. I don't think any actor on earth could possible reconstruct that look. Just me and that DI, and I smile.

As far as your salutations are concerned. They are yours. You say what you feel like saying. Who's to say you are wrong? Nobody.
See Ya!
Former Cpl. K.L. "Rip" Stephens

Bob Hope

One evening in the summer of 1952 Cpl. Elkins had us boots fall out and we marched over to the grinder in front of the theatre at MCRD San Diego. There he put us through our paces with marching drills including a couple of his own unofficial designs. We really showed off. There were a number of folks, Marines and wives, etc. waiting to get in but not nearly enough to fill the theatre. Finally we were allowed in as well.

Bob Hope was preparing to take a USO show to Korea and he brought the show to MCRD for kind of a dress rehearsal. I suspect we were there for their sake in a way, but it sure was great for us. The greatest show I ever saw, and it was live. And one evening at Camp Mathews we were taken to an outdoor open air theatre thing. Can't remember what the movie was. Being outdoors it was late and cut into our sack time. The next day I would just as soon not have gone.

Stewart, Terrance W. Sgt. (E3) USMC 1318421, Sir!

Took Off My Blouse

Hey Devil Dogs! Gosh I love the Corps! I was reading one of the news letters from a few weeks ago and was glad to see some Marines of my era finally writing in. I read some of the sections on "Promotions" and started to reminisce about my days from 89 to 93, especially when it came to getting rank "pinned on".

Now the conversation seem to be mainly about ceremony with rank. I always remember there being a formation and people received their rank. Now "pinning on" was supposedly forbidden, but it still happened. Now my experience was after boot camp; I finally picked up PFC. We were in Security Force school when it was still right in Virginia Beach - those were good days. I got promoted and then went through 4 platoons of PFC's, LCpl's, Cpl's and Sgt's! One slug for each arm one way, and one for the other arm the other way. By the time we got to the Sgt's they looked at us in our misery and pain and just tapped us and shook their heads. By the time we got to our first duty station aboard the USS America in the middle of the Med, we had bruises from neck to elbow that were black, blue, green, yellow and red. They looked bad and lasted about a month.

Now ship board I watched Cpls get promoted; get slugged in each arm, and then kneed in each leg for the blood my experience from the first rank was interesting to say the least. I decided from then on I wasn't going to get "pinned on" any longer. When I picked up LCpl I had some try, but for the most part I was left alone.

I picked up Cpl in less than a year and a half in, and stated the same, "No one is pinning it on me, no shoulder slugs or knees". I was left alone again. I was summoned to the NCO quarters one afternoon to see Sgt Allen. When I walked in, I heard the door slam behind me and lock! "Ooooooh, so this is how it's gonna be!" So I took off my blouse and said " let's do this"! A good old fashion beat down. I was adamant about not getting punched. They sent two at a time at me; two couldn't handle it, so they sent three. Needless to say I stood my ground, and fought them all off. The only scars I got were scuffed spit shine boots, not bad for a beat down!

Oohrah and God Bless the Marine Corps
We appreciate all that you do and have done Sgt Grit.
Bryan Butas
Cpl 89-93

Let No Boys Ghost

I guess I qualify as member of "The Old Corps." I was sworn into the Corps on June 9th 1943. Shipped to PI two days later. There was no causeway then. We were put in barges on sent to PI.

Unfortunately I was the tallest recruit in my platoon 440, so I was the recruit The DI's chose to teach hand to hand combat, Biddle system bayonet training and other combat training instruction. I spent many hours flat on my back on the sand of the training field.

We were standing at attention one morning when a giant green head fly landed on my face and started chewing away. I couldn't brush it off. My DI saw me dilemma and shouted "Did you have your breakfast Mazzie? Let the Fly have his." I guess the DI's felt sorry for me as they gave me one stripe when I graduated in Aug. 1943

I will always remember the sign hanging over the area before we left "Let no boys ghost say if they had only done their job." A tribute to our DIs

I have so many stories to tell as I approach my 85th birthday this month. And I'm still on the right side of the grass.
Gunny Mazzie
USMC 539252

"Expect the unexpected"
"Fall Out"
Sgt Grit

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