Just a note to say Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!
"Being a Marine is from boot camp to the grave, and the great beyond."
There have to Marines in heaven to guard the gates and keep the swabbies in line !
In This Issue
There are some outstanding Christmas stories below, as well as many other Marine stories. Great memories, extraordinary times.
Sgt Grit Photo Contest: Be Ready! Get pictures of you and family members opening up Sgt Grit items for a chance to win a $25 gift card! Contest starts next week...
Here we go: I volunteered, China Beach, too much Christmas, jack the car up, Tigre 33 crap, Luke the Go-ks, Stony's old Mercury, golfing DaNang, expression of affection, most excellent!, OMP, nor did we cut, "WRONG!, CC, Utah State Men's College,
December and Xmas '51
Yep, 60 short years ago this month, in a valley next to Luke the Go-ks castle, as it was known, in a foxhole, dusk to dawn, 16 hours a night, in what was said to be 20 to 30 below zero, course as you know, we didn't have any thermometers at that location. Foxhole covered w/ snow, and on top of that we put cardboard from C-rations boxes on it, then a blanket over it, then our sleeping bags over that, then another blanket over the bag, and even that wouldn't keep you warm. And we had wind protection, one strand of barbed-wire between us and the North pole. What a memorable way to spend Christmas.
Chesty's last regimental command
My son, Sgt. Anthony Noble, is home on leave before heading to Marine Security Guard training. I thought you might like to see the beautiful Christmas decoration he made for our home!
Proud Marine Mom
Blue Star Mom
1st Day Of Christmas
Thought I'd send the twelve days of Christmas that I learned while in the Corps.
On the 1st day of Christmas my DI gave to me, a haircut that wasn't worth a f--k
On the 2nd day of Christmas my DI gave to me, 2 pair of boots
On the 3rd day of Christmas my DI gave to me, 3 cammie covers
On the 4th day of Christmas my DI gave to me, 4 sets of cammies
On the 5th day of Christmas my DI gave to me, 5 mile run
On the 6th day of Christmas my DI gave to me, 6 skivie draws
On the 7th day of Christmas my DI gave to me, 7 skivie shirts
On the 8th day of Christmas my DI gave to me, 8 bends and thrusts
On the 9th day of Christmas my DI gave to me 9 side straddle hops
On the 10th day of Christmas my DI gave to me, 10 Marine Corps push-ups
On the 11th day of Christmas my DI gave to me, 11 mountain climbers
On the 12th day of Christmas my DI gave to me, 12 mile hump
Merry Christmas OO-Rah
Sgt. Ed DeVoe
An 'Island' Xmas Eve
An "Island" xmas eve
Our platoon formed in Nov 63 just a couple days before President Kennedy was assassinated and of course we didn't hear or see any stories except from the Jr D I.
On xmas eve our SR DI, SSGT Gregor gave us his xmas eve speech?
"none of you *$##@**&^ were invited to MY island and I don't want to see any tears or sad faces tonight or in the morning" he went on with other nonPC advice and at the end he ordered us to hang a sock at the end of our racks. knowing he was just busting I grabbed a dirty sock out of my laundry bag and hung it up. The next morning our socks had a few pieces of orange slices, the candy kind and other pieces I forget. He also had the junior DI on duty xmas to buy a Sunday paper, ONE, for us to pass around, no talking, and share for thirty minutes?
We also had one of the house mouse, and I was one also, who had received one of those cans of cookies, which we were not to receive. The DI', placed it in their hut and told the mouse he would get it on graduation day. He could see this can every day when he cleaned the hut and on graduation day he got it. The DI's had opened the bottom and it was EMPTY.
My next two xmas's were at K-Bay on Oahu.
Sgt Nov 63-67
Real Old Corps
My dad is a regular reader of your newsletter. He doesn't use the computer but I print him out a copy of the letter every time I get it.
I have to share something funny he said to me once that I still get a kick out of every time I think of it. After reading the letter one day, he says to me "These guys refer to 'the old Corps' after serving in the late 70's-early 80's... 'OLD CORPS!?!?'"
You see, he's been around awhile and those guys referring to 'the old Corps' are just wet nosed cherries in his eyes. At almost 90 yrs old, my dad still has that pizs and vinegar in his veins he did when he was part of 'the old Corps'... the REAL old Corps. He still drives (safely), gets around, does calisthenics every morning, has a mind sharp as a tack, and isn't afraid of telling you like it is. I think his long time in the Corps has something to do with his longevity.
Thanks for your newsletter! My dad really enjoys reading it.
Son of Gunny John Velgus
2500 Miles Round Trip
In the Fall of 1964, Bravo Battery 3rd LAAM Bn, stationed at MCAS Cherry Point, NC went to Spain on Operation Steel Pike, the largest amphibious operation since WWII. When the operation ended, we were supposed to pull liberty from our ship, the USNS General R.M. Blachford (AP-153), in Rota Spain but a storm came up and it was too rough to safely get the liberty boats alongside so we steamed down to the Canary Islands and took three days liberty there. We pulled back into Cherry Point on (I think) Tuesday before Thanksgiving and the entire Battery was given a 96, from Wednesday night liberty call until formation on Monday morning.
Wednesday liberty call and six of us loaded into L/Cpl Jerry Stonecipher's old '55 (maybe '56) Mercury headed northwest. We dropped one in West Virginia and two in Dayton Ohio on Thursday morning about breakfast time. My folks came down to the Indiana/Illinois border town where Stony lived and picked up me and a guy that was headed for Madison Wisconsin. Even though we were headed for Rockford Illinois, we drove the other guy all the way to Madison. It was very dark on Thanksgiving day evening when we finally hit the front door at home.
That weekend is kind of a blur and all I remember of my time at home was eating and sleeping before we headed back the other way. Stony's old Mercury had a bent driveshaft and on the way home, it wouldn't go over 65 mph without vibrating your teeth loose. He swapped out the driveshaft while at home but must not have tested it because it was worse than the one he took out. On the way back we couldn't get over 55 mph. Over 2500 miles round trip, but we made it back in time for formation. I often wondered if the trip was worth more than its value as a sea story.
Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.
Christmas 1966 Vietnam
I'm sitting here wondering when my Hot Turkey Dinner is going to arrive. So far it's 45 years late. Guess they missed our unit. Back then I was with Charlie Battery 1/13 attached to the 3/26. We were on Operation Chinook sitting in the rain in Co-Bi Thanh Tan Valley.
I'd like to know how many others missed their Hot Turkey Dinner as well.
I've been working on a book of our time over there for the last two years and this is what I wrote about Christmas 1966...
"We heard the news back home assuring the families that everyone of their boys would get a hot turkey dinner for Christmas. Guess they missed our unit. Just another lie from our government and it seems they are getting pretty good at it. I hear that the officers got a fifth of Jim Beam whiskey and although that sounds pretty good it in no way resembles a turkey dinner or dry clothes. Today I had one can of ham and lima beans and here I sit with a great dose of the sh-ts."
L/Cpl R. W. Hoffman
Top Of His Lungs
I was at MCRD San Diego from Nov. 5, 1996 - Feb. 4, 1997. 2nd BN Echo Co. PLT 2045. That was my first Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years away from home. If there ever was a worst time to go to bootcamp, that was it. On Christmas day one of our DI's, ordered the platoon to the quarterdeck. and began to write on the dry erase board "USMC" and then asked the platoon if we knew what those four letters stood for.
One motivated recruit raised his mud hook high in the sky and was chosen by the DI to explain to the platoon what those four letters stood for. The recruit popped up to the POA and with a loud and motivating voice yelled at the top of his lungs, "United States Marine Corps, Sir!". The DI then ordered the recruit to sit down. He looked around and said, "WRONG!, It stands for U Suckers Missed Christmas". As if we didn't feel like sh-t already.
Our DI told us that we should get used to missing these holidays. After graduation, MCT, and my MOS school I was lucky enough to be stationed 45 minutes from my home of record. I got orders to 1st MAR DIV HQBN MP CO, Camp Pendleton Ca. Needless to say, that was the only holidays I ever missed in my 5 yrs in the CORPS. By the way, like every other Marine out there I will never forget the names of all four DI's. SDI Sgt Smith, SSgt Chandler, Sgt Hladik, and Sgt Ramirez.
Semper Fidelis and Merry Christmas to all Marines... past, present, and future
Sgt Jesse Lopez
Semper Fi Till I Die
In reference to Bill Pakinkis' comment about the DaNang Golf Club, I'd like to confirm that the course is being constructed just a few clix south of Marble Mountain complex off the old beach highway on the way to Hoi An... I had a chance to play the first 18 holes of what will be a 36 hole course and resort, about a year and a half ago... But I have a preference for Montgomerie Links Golf Course, which is the other course just south of DGC, and is a better developed and more challenging golf course (see attached pix)... These are the only two courses in the DaNang are for the moment, but there is another one under construction out in the western mountains near BaNa (just north of the old Happy Valley)... BaNa was once a French mountain resort during the old French Indo-China days, and was part of one of my old unit's (2/3) TAOR (c. 65-66).
I spent several tours in-country between '65 and '70 from DaNang area, on up to Camp Carroll and Khe Sanh... I started out first with the 3rd Marine Regt., and then with Maint Bn - 1st FSR/FLC on my last tour... I also got to be part of the last group of Marines to leave SE Asia, when I was at the Rose Garden with Task Force Delta at Nam Phong, Thailand in 1972-73... So when I first returned to Vietnam five years ago, it was with a little hesitation, especially since we were landing at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi for our first stop... My friend had some business to take care of in Hanoi the first day, and then the next day we went out to King's Island GC, out about 35 clix west in Son Tay (does the Son Tay Raid ring any bells?) for some golf on a great 36 hole course... It's rumored that the golf resort is on the same site as the old POW camp...
We played Chi Linh GC the following day, down near Ha Long Bay/Haiphong Harbor on our third day, and then flew down to DaNang for a couple more days before we returned to Bangkok via Saigon (or HCMC as it's called nowadays)... Now, after having just returned from my ninth visit to Vietnam in the last five years, I've found that I look forward to a chance to go back and visit again... The changes and the progress are amazing to see and experience.
1964 - 1987
Hey Sgt. Grit,
I have been looking for a large decal of the Marine Corps Emblem to put on the back of my enclosed trailer, large enough to be seen more than 3 feet away. When I saw your ad for the ground cover, I looked at it and thought it would be perfect. So, I ordered the emblem and the large Semper Fi.
They arrived in just a few days. I placed them on a large piece of cardboard from a big box that I opened up, traced the outline and cut it out. I taped the cardboard on to my trailer where I wanted it , sprayed 3M adhesive inside the cutout, took the backing off the ground cover and put it in place. The results are most excellent! Now it can be seen at 100 yds. I have included several pictures (see all) of the trailer, my truck and my Ka-bar that i had in Nam.
Thanks for your excellent service and quality products.
M.H. Light, Sgt., USMC 2030095
July 29, 1964 P.I. S.C. Platoon 371
Korea 1951! Here's a photo of my brother Sgt. Ken Lonn, F-2-5, when he met up with our cousin Kay Lanky somewhere in the hills of Korea in 1951. I don't recall Kay's unit designation - sorry. Ken was 60mm squad leader.
Maybe there are some readers out there who served with these two Marines.
I'm proud of these two Marines!
Cut Our Hair
Wonder how many recall the oval dogtag attached here. My son had kept it and I'd forgotten what they looked like until he retrieved it from a box. As indicated, I graduated 12/48 from MCRD S.D. Platoon 96, SSGT Swenson, Cpl Henson and Cpl Ingersol. 1st duty station K-Bay, then PH.
We never heard OOHRAH, nor did we cut our hair high and tight, just normal close and neat.
The Marine referring to Semper Fi & Semper Fi Mac reminded me that Semper Fi Mac meant more like "I got mine; you get yours!" Usually at mess, one dessert left and one guy is late getting his and I grab it, at which point he squawks "Hey, I didn't get mine" to which I reply "Semper Fi Mac" as I bite into it.
I served under Puller at K-Bay & Pearl before Korea and went to Korea in A/1/5 in August of '50. Puller went back to Pendleton and organized the 1st Marines. I got hit 11/28/50 on Hill 1282, airlifted out to the USS Consolation in Hungnam harbor, then to the hospital at Yokosuka, (Yokuska) then to some hospital in Frisco area, Mare Knoll, something like that, then to the then naval hospital Santa Margarita aboard Pendleton, finally back to duty at Long Beach Terminal Island, and discharged end of '52.
My A/1/5 C/O, now LtCol John Stevens Ret'd lives in Frisco. We are still in contact. Wonder if anyone from platoon 96 is still around. I'm now in Franklin, TN and have been in this area since '61.
Ray L. Walker
Being that the weather is cold maybe this will warm up Marines.
Read where Ed Fulwidler was at a dedication for the China Marines, Ed I served in China in 1955 and received the China Service ribbon for our evacuation of the Tachen Islands. They were fighting the Commies then.
Sgt. PM Wojciechowski USMC 53/56.
I was in Plt. 396 MCRD San Diego from Nov.'61-Feb-62. Christmas Day we marched to the chow hall for noon Christmas meal. As we exited the mess hall we were given a small pkg. of peanuts and a small pkg. of hard candy. We were instructed not to open them. After marching back to our area, we were told to turn in the pkgs. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
J.D. Williams 1981762
From hearing some of the LCpl complaining about 30 months or so in grade. There are many ret gunnies who had 6 years in grade. We were promoted on the second time around in 1968 and never even had a shot at being promoted again. SEMPER FI
I lived just east of Broken Arrow in Wagoner County. As a teenager I was convinced that I never wanted to see Judge Simmons in his official capacity. After boot camp I was convinced that there was nobody that I would rather have on my side.
Cpl R. L. Ester
As of Dec.6 2011 Cpl. Larry Seibold has been reassigned to guard the gates of heaven. Larry was in the F.D.C. of Delta Battery 2/11th Marines from April 1970 to 1971 at Hill 65 and later at LZ Ross in the Que Son valley. Larry will be very missed by his friends Cpl. Jack Bell, Cpl. James [Big Lou] Wall and Cpl. Fast Eddie Mort. Rest well my brother. You were one of the best. Sgt. Grit, as a radio operator i know you appreciated the guys in FDC and the gun crews.
CPL. JACK BELL
I FOUND IT !
The artist is Oscar Brand, and the album was 'Tell it to the Marines' ! OH YEAH!
In response to Jerry D's comment about TIG as a Corporal...I think I have him beat. I reported to OCS, Quantico as a LCpl in September, 1972. On successful completion of OCS, after having been sworn in as a 2ndLt, I received an Honorable Discharge as a Sergeant (E-5). (Officer Candidates were paid at the E-5 pay grade.) I take that to mean I skipped Corporal altogether! Semper Fi... Bob Hunt
The one saying I remember was "Mac Marine says". You would hear "Mac Marine says if you play ball with us we'll shove the bat up you're a@@.
In 1972 I was a buck sergeant and was demoted to PFC (proud f--king civilian.) I have 50 year's time in grade.
Regarding these folks whining about their long times in grade, I believe I would hold a record for time in grade as a SSgt. I put it on 1 June 1984, and when I retired out on 1 Feb 1998, I was still a SSgt. That is over 13 1/2 years. Saved me a bunch of money in uniform maintenance and stripe changes though.
SSgt, USMC Ret.
The proper saying is: "You can eat the apple but you can't f''k the Corps."
Frank Real, Sergeant of Marines 1956-1959
New England Division, Marine Corps League, PAO,
U.S. Marines Corps Combat Correspondents Assoc.
Hi Sgt Grit. I was with W212 in 68/69 for 16 months. Know Bobby Hancoxs real well. Would like to see the guy who picked the base plate of a 4.2 up by himself. Must be a bad dude. Could carry tube by itself, but not the base plate. Needed 2 men. Happy Holidays Leather Necks MOOK
Here are two photos that I have in my computer. I think the grenade photo came from the Chosin web site. The MCRD was in with some postcards that was offered on e-bay. The MCRD is about the way I remembered it in Winter of1958. I didn't remember our Quonset hut being as far from the auditorium as it shows here. We were to the right from the auditorium. You can barely make out the Quonset huts in the photo. The fields right of the grinder was for grab azs.
2nd Lnd. Spt.
1st Serv. Bn.
I have my own story of Bob Hope!
He came to Lebanon in December 1983 for his Christmas Special. I was en route to the USS Guam to repair a generator, but we were redirected to one of the LST's because Bob Hope was performing on the 'Guam'. After about an hour, we were told to clear the landing deck area, I thought it was our 'copter coming to pick us up. But as it landed we were told that Bob Hope & company (Bob Hope, Debra Moffett - Miss America 1983, Ann Jillian, Kathy Lee Crosby, and Brooke Shields) were arriving.
As they headed to the mess deck, they passed the five of us Marines standing in the passageway and Bob Hope stopped to talk to us. Mr. Hope asked me where I was from, I said "I hailed from Valentine, Nebraska. And that my grandfather (US Navy) met him on Hawaii in '43 or '44, a great Uncle (US Army) met him on a hospital ship off the coast of Korea in '53 and my father (US Air Force) say a show of his in Alaska in '53 as well. An uncle (US Army) saw one of his shows in Vietnam and here I am (US Marine Corps) shaking your hand off the coast of Lebanon in '83" Mr. Hope said "Maybe I'll just stick around a few more years and meet some of your boys too!" Then he signed my helmet cover, later I also got Debra Moffet, Charlton Heston & Robert Conrad to sign it.
Brooke Shields didn't want anything to do with us Marines, course it could have had something to do with the lack of an actual shower or bath for the previous 3 days!
Robby J. Hookham
MCL #812 Chaplain
Thought I'd weigh in. From posts so far looks like 1964 will be earlier than Hope encounters mentioned so far. I've attached coverage from the Triad USMC 3rd Mar Div paper on the show too. And some of the photos I took.
(PS: I note with interest the paper's reference to the Marines as "Troops". I don't think it was in your newsletters but I think in a LinkedIn USMC group a Marine took umbrage at referring to Marines as troops, maintaining we don't call ourselves as "troops". Looks like we do.)
In December of 1964 I was sent from Iwakuna based 1st MAW to Okinawa for some language training (that's the source of a couple of other stories). The school was held in a small Army base (the name escapes me at the moment) and we were billeted there.
It so happens that I ran across a friend from our mutual unit, 2nd Amtracs in Lejeune and he showed me around a bit As luck would have it on Dec 20th 1964, Bob Hope made a stop in Okinawa and put on a show at Camp Courtney. There were a lot of Marines on Okinawa (the Rock) back in those days, and I think about all of them showed up. I think I was nearby as I don't recall any great trek to get there I got there early enough to get right up to the stage, but in the right hand corner so I didn't have a front view, but it still was pretty good.
I'm a keeper, and in my archive I found a copy of the 3rd MarDiv's newspaper (the Triad...Voice of the 3rd Marine Division) which covered the show. So rather than try and recreate the show from memory I'll share the Triad's article and photos. Also, I've included some photos of mine. The only thing to add is I remember Jill St John stopping in front of me leaning over and shaking my hand and thanking me for my service.
Hope arrival at HQ and moving on to the show
the Audience close up
Hope of course
introducing Jill St John
(see all photos)
It was interesting to see that there wasn't much ad lib, and there was an assistant timing the show, bit by bit.
I too saw Bob Hope at Freedom Hill, but in '69 or '70, can't remember now. But I do remember that I saw him only because I was considered "ambulatory" by then and got bussed down from 1st Med w/ some other guys. It was great to see an American legend in person. I also was lucky enough to meet Miss Tennessee, she was the former room-mate of a friend of mine at UK and had been given orders to find me while on tour w/ the show. How Fine Was That!
Now a response for 2 brothers:
Mike McConnell-Where is Devil Dog Rd? I might get to Arizona sometime.
Sgt. John Thompson
This is the best tribute to Bob Hope I've ever seen.
I asked my father if he had ever seen a Bob Hope USO show during WWII or Korea. He said he never went. He let his Marines go instead. He told me they had earned it through their hard work, keeping planes flying off Fighter Strip 2 (VMO/F-251) on Guadalcanal and around Pusan. He heard the way the Hope show made everybody feel good for an hour or two.
Dad moved all of us to Palm Springs in '61 and he retired (Maj.) in '63. He said 25 and a half years and two wars was enough. In the late '60's we watched Bob Hope's new house being built in PS. Like him, it is impressive. He took the high ground and he had a commanding view of the valley below him.
As you will hear in this video, "God bless Bob Hope" and, "if he isn't a saint, he should be." This is a great tribute to a great American. Bob Hope Tribute (Video)
I'm just getting around to reading your posting of 08 Dec. 2011. In the opening you mentioned having the chance to go to the Bob Hope Christmas Show at Danang in 1969.
That brought back memories of a story which was both interesting and INTERESTING. The Bob Hope Christmas Show (Danang) in 1969 was on Christmas Day and yes it was as you said at Freedom Hill - also known as Hill 327 (or was that a General Motors V-8?). On that date, I was about three miles away listening to the show on AFVN. Like you, our unit had two tickets to the show. There were about 225 people in our outfit (VMA (aw) 225) and there was one ticket for an enlisted member and one for an officer. We had a multitalented individual in the unit who was outgoing and had a way of being able to get where he wanted to be and communicate with people he wanted to communicate with. He had been with us when we were still at Cherry Point, but got separated before we left for Vietnam in January of 1969.
About six months later Willy showed up in Danang and was reassigned to VMA (aw) 225. One of Willy's talents was photography, and when the two ticket decision was being contemplated, a lot of us decided it would be a good idea if we supported Willy for the enlisted ticket, because we felt that if he got on Freedom Hill for the show, he would (charm / con) his way to the front of the crowd and be right down front for the show. Being a photographer, we expected he would return with about 500 pictures of the show. I don't know if it was our support or the fact that he was involved in taking pictures for our cruise book, but he got the ticket and sure enough, I think he sat on the ground between the stage and the first row of seats. Bingo, there were pictures.
Years went by, and I got started locating my Marine brothers from Vietnam. I was able to locate all seven of the Marines in my hooch as well as Willy. This was between 2005 and 2006. When I located Willy, I called him and found that he had subsequently decided to go by Bill, and he still lived in Virginia (near where he grew up).
As when I located the seven Marines from my Hooch, Bill and I spoke for a couple of hours or longer and I was surprised about things he remembered and how I remembered them a different way, but they were the same things.
When we rotated out of country in January, 1970, Willy / Bill was left behind. He had begun to compile his photographs (many of which were of the Bob Hope Christmas Show) and they became very popular. He even decided to extend his tour because his scrap books were so popular. The extension took him to the next Bob Hope Christmas visit, and Bill decided to go back to Freedom Hill and attempt to meet Mr. Hope.
Bill being Willy, he went up and hung out around the VIP tent, and as only Willy could do he met Mr. Hope in person. He told Bob about the previous Christmas show and presented him with a copy of his scrap book. And that my friend is the interesting part.
Fast forward to about 2007. I've just contacted Bill and he has told me this story of what happened to him after we "salts" left him in Danang. He said that over all those years he had always hoped that Bob Hope had used the scrap book for something useful and not simply tossed it in the scrap heap (you got to realize that Bob got a Loooooot of memorabilia). Well Bill was visiting the Smithsonian one day and in the Science and Industry Museum (I think), he came across a tribute to Bob Hope. It was enclosed in two or three large glass display cases. As if you haven't guessed by now, Bill's scrap book was in one of those display cases. He snapped a picture of it and sent it to me.
You're thinking that could have been anyone's scrap book. Well Bill (being a photographer) was the Person who took many of the pictures used in our Cruise Book. The most obvious picture in the picture of the scrap book in the Smithsonian was of a dark haired, very attractive young lady in a bikini. I recognized her immediately because the picture was the same one that was in my Cruise Book from 1969. And that my friends is the INTERESTING part.
Semper Fidelis to Sgt. Grit and Semper Fidelis to Bill and all my Marine Brothers.
S/Sgt Nick Hayes
reading your article about bob hope in rvn in late 69 brings back memories. I was in a huey squadron and we were selected to fly Mr. Hope to various outpost and bases. we were honored and painted the tail of his helo to read "Ho Ho Hope" we felt very honored.
Captain Kenneth W. Young
Marble Mountain 69 thru 70
PS. I am a mustang and was promoted to 13 different ranks. E-1 thru E7,W1 thru W4 and temporary O-l thru O3 finally retiring in 1977. Semper Fi
Here is a copy of our 1964 Christmas Menu. The U.S.S. Lenawee was off Vietnam at the time.
Speaking of Bob Hope.
On Christmas Eve, 1964, Bob Hope and his USO troupe were en route to the Brinks Hotel in Saigon, Vietnam. Cue card man Barney McNulty was late getting the cue cards off the plane. That delay ultimately saved all of their lives when a Viet Cong truck loaded with 300 pounds of TNT exploded at their hotel. Investigation revealed a Viet Cong document indicating that Bob Hope was the target of the attack.
I think it was summer or early fall in 1951 in Korea. Our outfit (Baker Co., 1st Batt., 1st Marines) had come off the line and went into reserve for a week and while back in the rear we got to see the Bob Hope Show. I still remember after all these years what a great treat it was to see him and all of his cast. A real showman and a great boost to morale for all of us.
One of the letters said that women recruits do not go through training at MCRD San Diego. I don't know about now but in 1950 there were two or three platoons of women recruits going through Boot Camp with female DI's.
China Beach Party
I was attached to a radio relay platoon 3/67 to 4/68 (hills 222? and 244) 10-15 miles east of hill 327 (The BIG PX) my mos was 3531 (Motor T) and before shipping out to Nam I was sent to 29 Palms (Jan-Feb of 67) for .50 cal school so I was also a 0331.
One day during X-mas of 67 (can't recall the xact date) we were in a convoy going to Da Nang air base and I remember going by hill 327 while the Bob Hope show was going on---man was it loud! I really wished we could have gone in
Couple of the guys I remember are Edwards from New Iberia, La- Meadimber? from Kalamazoo, Mich-Hobbs from Tx-Ryan from Wash state-Miller from ?
One of my best memories was a party we had at china beach being that we were Motor T we had lots of contacts and did lot of favors so for this party we cashed in a couple of favors and ended up with stacks (at least 10 feet tall) of frozen steaks and cases of beer (Bud)
What great memory at least for a while we felt like we were at a real beach party except for no persons of the opposite s-x! Semper Fi to all my Brothers and Sisters
Note: Bud... I have not had a Bud since 1969. They supplied us with rusted cans of beer. More than once. None of the others did. Black Label, Schlitz, etc...
I enlisted in the Marines in 1968 out of high school on a delayed entry program... arrived in San Diego in October... went through infantry training... set foot in Nam in April '69... assigned to Delta Co 1 / 4 3rd Marine Div in I Corp... after a few months our radio man rotated to the world... I volunteered to carry it... I did not know the life expectancy of a radioman was about 3 seconds... I was given a codebook, map, and compass... that was my training... having to negotiate the bush by compass and map greatly improved my hunting skills I now use in northern Wisconsin woods.
Article and photos from LZ Lambeau... "Welcome Home Wisconsin Vietnam Vets"... notice rocker / patches on camo shirt back / sleeve from Sgt Grit
Cpl. Bemetz here...
Want to thank the staff for helping with my search for an M.P. arm band for my uniform displayed in my Marine Corps car dedicated to those who served and have served...
Once again thanks for your help.
Too Much Christmas Music
This is a deployment Christmas story of sorts. Back in December of 1964 a Staff Sgt and I were sent to Okinawa from Iwakuni Japan for Vietnamese language training. Without some research on my part I can't remember the exact dates or name of the Army base where the classes were held.
It was a bit of a culture shock for me even in military terms as I'd been in the Corps for 3 years currently living in a Quonset Hut on what we lovingly referred to as the Animal side of the Iwakuni Naval Station which housed the 1st MAW.
The culture shock was that the army base struck me as a little America, with homes & neighborhoods, offices & such. That is, the soldiers had their families with them. I suppose there were some exceptions, but generally I don't recall any place where the Marine's had their dependents with them, including the Sr Offices. I worked in HQ 1st MAW and the General didn't have his with him.
I was billeted with a small # of other Marines in a small barracks overlooking a street and some admin offices.
The base must have been of a pretty good size & if I recall was generally open. I don't recall going through a gate, or gates but everywhere around me was the base. We Marines were just passing through so no one gave a hoot about the place, it's mission or who was there. It was just where the school was situated.
As I write this I think I spent Christmas Day there. If not, I don't where the heck I spent it. But before I arrived the other guys had scrounged up some runty little tree, something that resembled tinsel and they had it decorated with boobs they'd cut out from Playboys. Very sentimental.
In the evening a 6X roared up filled with high school kids who sang Christmas Carols a bit, then roared off to some other barracks, homes or human habitation to spread more joy.
To further set the season's mood a one story admin building across the street had a loud speaker mounted on the roof playing (loudly) Christmas music just about 24X7.
Makes you feel full the warm & fuzzy holiday spirit right? Wrong. The problem was that while I was single, had no girlfriend, and really wasn't missing much, a few of the other guys were married with kids. They were definitely not in an "up" mood, being surrounded by constant reminders that they weren't home with their families, in a base awash with families.
One Sgt in particular reeked of depression, just lying in his bunk sighing sighs. Further, Okinawa had slot machines & he quickly went through his pay using them and was too broke to even drown his sorrows.
The Christmas music was worst of it all. You couldn't escape it. The speaker was aimed such that the music came right into our billet like a laser beam, bouncing around the bulkheads. You were going to listen to the music whether you liked it or not. And no one liked it. And he particularly didn't appreciate it.
So he got up one evening stomped out, came back in royally pizsed. He'd found the # for the base Chaplain (I think the building was the Chaplain's) and politely asked him if he could turn down the volume and perhaps shut it off earlier. He didn't want to do that. The Sarge asked if he'd at least angle the speaker away from us, toward an admin building next door that wasn't occupied at night. The Chaplain dug in, and blew him off basically labeling him a Scrooge, lacking in Christmas cheer and he wasn't going to deny those in earshot (which from our perspective was all of Asia) their Christmas music.
After a good rant, the Sgt disappeared. Now, the rest of us are listening to this too, but I think most of us just acclimated ignoring or enjoying it. But it was making the married guys feel really bad. But you couldn't help noticing what came next.
The music was cranking away on some song such as Jingle Bells Jingle Bells etc etc then came Jingle All the....SILENCE!. Absolute blissful late evening silence. You could hear a pin drop. It was great!
Sarge returns, smiling with pleasure, dropping a few select references about the Chaplain & where he could stick his music. If the Chaplain wouldn't turn it down, ole Sarge turned it off... with his trusty newly acquired wire cutters. He'd gone over there and cut the wire to the speaker.
He then peacefully settled down on his bunk enjoying the peace and quiet. For a while...
About 1/2 hour later, back came the music...but much louder now! The Army Chaplain had thrown down his gauntlet. He would have his Christmas Carols and so would we, like it or lump it.
This was oil on Sarge's water. This was war! An officer once told me that these words were posted in Quantico. "Beware the enlisted men. Though illiterate, they are crafty and sly and bare watching at all times"
Sarge got up and rushed out. About 45 minutes later, once again we got something like Hark the Herald Ang... SILENCE!
About an hour later Sarge returned with another Marine. He said "I figured the Chaplain would have the MPs watching the place. So I had (don't recall his name. Let's say Max) Max work his way over to the wire acting very suspicious. Sure enough when he got there the MPs came after him, then he ran like H-ll with them on his heels. I told him to take them as far away as he could (they'd plotted the course). Every one of them was in on the chase. He said "Then I just walked over, climbed on the roof and this time I took out about 100 feet of wire. Let them fix that at midnight. It was quiet for the rest of the night, and if I recall the volume of the repaired system was more reasonable.
Jack The Car
All the talk about swooping and the circle at Lejeune, brought back fond memories. Back in the summer of 68 it was $8 a head from the circle to the bus terminal in Manhattan. Nine hours flat. Up on Friday afternoon back on Sunday night. Not always the same Marines but always a full car.
I had a 59 Pontiac Catalina convertible, at the time, with a newly pressed on rear axle bearing. On the way back one Sunday the bearing came un pressed and the whole axle would work its way out until the rear tire met the fender. We had to stop and jack the car up 3-4 times and kick the tire and axle back in place. It was touch and go, but we made it back just in time.
Sgt 65-68, 75-77
Phu Bai 1965... 3/4 established a perimeter around the small airstrip and a U.S. Army intelligence base. This was no ordinary outpost for the Army. They had their own defensive perimeter established with concrete bunkers at each corner and a mine field that extended out about 50 yds out.
But what really caught my eye... was... their air-conditioned trailers! I was so confused. ... wasn't this a active combat zone??? Who lives in air-conditioning... us grunts did/nt... we had our comfy shelter halves and air -ladies!
But a vivid memory for me is the night that while I was on perimeter guard... I heard this muffled sound from behind me that came from that mine field. Someone had tripped a mine. And the mines that the Army used were those nasty bast-rds that would blow a foot off. Requiring a comrade to come to your aid. It wasn't long until I heard a chopper arrive overhead. At about that time. A search light from one of the Army/s guard towers came on and illuminated the scene. The next thing I see is our C.O. walking thru the mine field to retrieve a Marine that had been on a work detail that day and had hid so that he could go to their EM Club and drink some cold American beer. Can/t blame that Marine though... It sure beat that Tigre 33 crap we had...
Expression Of Affection
I was issued two green shirts in boot camp. I was allowed to wear them any time or place where you wore a khaki or tropical shirt.
Time in grade: I had right at 36 months as a Cpl Not a lance corporal, just two stripes. '
'52 -'56 we also used " the crotch" as an expression of affection.
We used the Chinese expression "Gung Ho". I believe Semper Fi came into popular usage during Viet Nam when a general was talking to a wounded Marine. The wounded Marine responded with "Semper Fi Sir!".
Another maybe little known item. The Marine Corps also had Ike jackets. I had one that I bought from another guy in the outfit. I wore it almost exclusively even though I had my two issued blouses.
Oh ye! I have read that it was used in the old Corps before my time, but I had never heard the term "oohRah" until shortly before I started watching mail call.
Sgt USMC (inactive)
Sgt grit My name is skip buttke and I joined the Marine Corps in 1969 and I have a story to share. We were at the rifle range and our DI Gunny Kathy told everyone that the one who got the best score on the range (and remember we were shooting out to 600 meters open sights - I was raised on a farm so that was no problem) Any way the one who got the best score, he would buy them a cheese burger, fries and a chocolate shake.
Well I was the one who scored the highest so the day came we were all assembled for something I don't remember what but he called me out front and told me to sit in this chair facing every one and he handed me a bag and told me to eat and eat it all. The rest of the group had to stand at attention and watch me eat. I could hardly chew. Him and everyone was just staring at me. I don't remember how long it took but that was the worst cheese burger I have ever eaten
We were @ cax for our FinEx, as 3rd ply. kilo 3/5. This was our 3rd or 4th cax in two years because we got kick out of float rotation. Well the Warrior's Club was of limits and we had been there for 5 days and just finished range 400. Yeah we had ourselves a brand new hot pipen butter bar LT. We had one more night and we were piszed, no Warrior's Club and we could hear the pigs having a h-ll of a time. We had. arranged recon, made reconcile and isolated the Target and were about to move to our attack position when the boot Lt. flung open the hatch and set down (3) 30 packs and said good job today boys have fun, and he about faced and split. His name; Lt. John Allsup of Fort Payne, Al. The best G'd-mn Officer I had the privilege of serving under besides Major John Black, who is a mustang, enough said...Yut yut
David L McCracken
Out at the stumps in 83 a small group of pilots got drunk one night and stole a jeep and were driving up and down between the "A" frames singing away, narrowly missing several Marines who were walking to the head and back. Finally a Gunny shows up, got the officers out of the jeep and had them standing tall while he chewed them up one side and down the other like so many first phase recruits. We enlisted guys sure enjoyed the show
I recall one CAX at 29 Palms. Propane leak set the field Mess Hall into a ball of flames. I was one of the lucky ones that wasn't inside. Didn't bode well for some of Tank brothers!
I had one of the green shirts... Seems like we could wear it as "undress green" uniform, but not many of us got them.
Thought on last USMC Birthday Ball: As usual, I was "Oldest Marine Present" at age 77. (Incidentally, wife's birthday is 11/10!). When we did the cake cutting and served Youngest Marine Present, I told him to enjoy... as I'll probably ALWAYS be OMP, this was his only chance in a lifetime to be YMP, and he should remember and treasure it. He was a slick-sleeve very new Marine, but beautiful!
I served with, Tank Maintenance Platoon, H&S Company, 1st Tk Bn, 1953 - 56, Korea and Camp Pendleton.
Jay L. Graham (formerly PFC & Cpl, USMC)
I/3/12; First Marine Brigade, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. This picture was taken during a FFEX at Schofield Barracks, June 1961. The battery had 8 M101 105 mm Howitzers and 8 M30 4.2 " Mortars; cannoneers of those days were proficient on both weapons without the benefit of attending courses at Fort Sill, OK.
CWO-5 USMC (Retired)
Just a word on Bob hope and how long he did shows for service personnel. I was in Boot Camp at MCRD San Diego early 1942 when he put on a show on an outdoor stage near where the Base Theater now stands. That show was one of the two recreation breaks we got in boot.
By the way I have been reading a lot about who has been longest in grade as LCPL. I would like to put in to be least time in grade of PFC. I was in New Zealand in 1942 When I received word that I was promoted to PFC. one week later I received word that I had been bumped up to CPL.
Harold Robertson Cpl 1942/1946
Did Me More Good
Hey grit, for obvious reasons, please keep my name outa this e- mail. Does anyone remember the corrective custody area near mainside, Camp Pendleton? I was fortunate enough to spend 30 days there. Corrective custody was not the brig, so it didn't count as "bad time" and did not have to be made up like brig time did. Anyway, to make a short story long, I'm trying to find info, (location, is it still there? if not, when was it discontinued?) that sort of stuff. Anyone out there with memories of the place. gotta be someone remembering CC, I wasn't in there by myself. looking back, those 30 days did me more good than i realized at the time. I stayed an E-1 for 12 months because of it, but made E-5 14 months after making E-2. thanx for your help. Semper Fi.
One Filthy Recruit
MCRD San Diego - Marching on The Grinder next to the airport. When a big jet was taking off it was deafening. Sometimes the DI would command "Right Oblique!" and half of us would do that and half would do "Column Right!" Then off to the sand pit we would go!
I got in hot water a few times in my first platoon and got sent to something called GIT (Group Incentive Training), a day of PT in deep sand, upright rows with buckets of mud and all sorts of other indignities. I was one filthy recruit at the end of that day!
We got our yearbooks after graduation and there were these photos of recruits running in red drawers and sneakers! We ran in BOOTS! All the time!
The Green Weenie - As I was separating from active duty in 1978, a sergeant came in the room to tell us what the schedule for the day would be: Final Physical exam, VA Lecture about benefits, signing final paperwork, then "Lieutenant X_ (a very attractive WM supply officer at MCAS El Toro) will come in to remove the Green Weenie from yer kiesters!"
Under Sex-d Male Cowards
Utah State Men's College
Us Suckers Missed Christmas
Best Marine movie: Battle Cry 1955 (based on Leon Uris' first novel)
Worst Marine movie: To the Shores of Tripoli 1942 (kind of goofy)
Author Leon Uris - fought as a radioman in combat on Guadalcanal and Tarawa.
Comedian Jonathan Winters
LCpl John Nihen
Badge Of Honor
Speaking of time in grade... In February 1957, we had a Corporal (E-3) with two hash marks "greet" us at Receiving Barracks. (No yellow foot prints then.) And, it was not uncommon to see a Sergeant (E-4) with three hash marks. Before Vietnam, it was almost impossible to get past E-4 without shipping over after four years. Time in grade then was almost a badge of honor.
Oh yes..we said "Gung Ho," not OO-rah (as the Army does).
Plt. 123, MCRD, San Diego, Feb. 1957.
I went through Parris Island from June to September of 1960 after a 1 in the USMCR, 81st Special Infantry Company, Springfield, Illinois. That was the most veteran unit I ever served in as every NCO had seen service in Korea and all the Staff NCO's had service in Korea as well as WWII with a lot of valor ribbons to go with it. Anyway we had Quonset huts over in the 3rd Battalion area at PI as well as Neilson Huts which were smaller and had a vertical side that went up about 4 feet before starting the curve top like the Quonset huts. The Neilson Huts were smaller, I think they held either 8 or 12 racks in top and bottom bunks.
When a hurricane was due to hit we moved out of our then new brick barracks into the Neilson huts that sat at the end of our grinder opposite the mess hall and the WM's moved into our barracks. We also attended church in a large Quonset hut. It was hot inside and we sat on benches with no backs. If you fell asleep the DI's had long bamboo poles that had brass door knobs at the end with the gold Eagle, Globe and Anchor emblem of our Corps around the edges of the door knobs. I remember nodding off once only to be rapped by one of those door knobs. Later back in the barracks I looked and could still clearly see our Corps Emblem embedded into my forehead!
David B. Wright
"If you can't explain it simply, then you don't know it well enough."
"A squad leader who can keep his sense of humor and sense of calm is worth more than a thousand generals."
--Gen. James N. Mattis
"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they've made a difference.
The Marines don't have that problem." - President Ronald Reagan.
"none of you *$##@**&^ were invited to MY island and I don't want to see any tears or sad faces tonight or in the morning"
U Suckers Missed Christmas!