Sgt Grit Newsletter - 24 NOV 2011

In this issue:
• Cross Country Chasers
• Requesting Permission
• The Major's Wife

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Newsletter Archives

Being posted back to MB G-Lakes in early March of 1969 right after my 1st tour in the mud was the best duty any Marine could have - then. Sgt Spanos receiving award

The cross country chasers of that time were the best!
We need more of them too...

Stay safe!
Mean Gene The Marine
Sgt. 66-71

In This Issue

Every week I get several emails from Marines who recognize a name or unit in a story. They want to contact the writer. And of course I match them up. We all have a desire to remember and to contact old friends and buddies. You have organizations as large as 1st MarDiv Association and Chosin Reservoir Association to my small group of radio operators from 11th Marines. When it comes to your buddies, size doesn't matter. What's important is that you find them and get together.

If you think it is too much trouble, you're wrong. If you think it will be impossible, you're wrong. If you think it will be too painful to revisit old memories, you're wrong. Finding your buddies WILL be one of the highlights or your life.

Marine Buddy Search I think finding your buddies is such a powerful moment. I now have a web page to help you be more proactive in finding your buddies. It is FREE. No sign up fee, no levels then a fee, nothing, nada, zilch... it's FREE. You do have to take a few moments and sign up. Once you find a buddy you will be thankful you took the few moments to sign up. DO IT NOW!

Continuing with "Now you may find this hard to believe, But..." from last week. I received this reply:

"There I was, knee deep in a monsoon water laden fox hole, surrounded by the 144th NVA mess kit repair battalion. My Ka-Bar rusted to my leg and unserviceable. I pulled myself together and grabbed a used heat tab and a john wayne and charged... to be continued"

Here we go: only part of the finger, I had just heard, amphibian fecal matter, Starbucks?, chasers, I'm an Aussie and a Marine, we volunteered, if we all chipped in, toughen him up, until he got tired, my country voluntarily, felt bad for them, Camden NJ, who made this coffee?, four holer, how cold it gets, he looked at me, ribbons galore, would it be logical.

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

Sands Of

Iwo Jima sand sculpture in Siesta Key Sgt. Grit,
A friend of mine was in Siesta Key from 11/11/11 thru 11/15/11. The Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce held their 2nd annual Crystal Classic Sand Sculpture competition. This is but one of the sculptures that was of the only interest to me that I thought was worth sharing on your web site/newsletter, especially since it was the Corps birthday week.

Semper Fi.
Sgt. E.E. Brown, U.S.M.C.
12/10/63 thru 06/13/68

TShirt Hat Combos

Requesting Permission

As a Drill Instructor, our platoon had returned to the barracks from chow and they suddenly started requesting permission to make a head call. Not knowing the situation, (someone at the mess hall had put dirty socks in the soup and the recruits got the sh-ts) I refused them. After they all started moaning I started to let them go but it was too late. They were sh-tting everywhere. They were in the back of their bunks using their wash buckets if they were lucky enough to make it in time. Most of them messed themselves. Needless to say, I felt bad for them afterwards, but now when I think of it, I can't help but laugh! Those poor bast-rd's must have really hated me then...

Photo of DI in 1967 enduring the same rain and bad conditions as his recruits Another time was when the recruits were downstairs at the "Wash Rack". It was on a Sunday, around the 2nd phase, and while they were washing their clothes, I would walk around quietly. I would always cut them slack on Sunday, so they were more relaxed. As I was behind one recruit, he whispered to another, "I hope we don't have "f--kin Ferland" for duty tonight". I made a soft moan and he turned around. When he saw that I was staring straight at him, he turned real pale... I didn't know if he was going to eat his skivvies or put them on backwards. I stood behind him awhile longer, letting him grasp this situation. He thought he'd caught h-ll, but I simply walked away, letting him wonder when and if it would come back to haunt him. I did let it slide... just watching his reaction was priceless to me!...

Sgt R.J. Ferland

NYC Vets Day Parade

Oldest and Youngest living Medal of Honor recipients Nicolas Oresko and Dakota Meyer This doesn't require many words. These are Medal of Honor recipients Nicolas Oresko and Dakota Meyer.

The oldest and the youngest living recipients of the medal, respectively.

Submitted by: John Wear

The Major's Wife

Whoo, boy... had forgotten about those, but they were Uniform of the Day at Marine Barracks, Naha Naval Air Facility (on an AF base) in the early 60's (was there for 18 months, standard tour for unaccompanied, non-FMF enlisted at the time, the rest, with 3rd MarDiv were on 13 month unaccompanied tours)... don't think it was year-round cover, but for hot weather, absolutely. These had a sort of cloth outer surface, which, when scrubbed carefully with a nail brush and hand soap, would take on a 'salty' whitish color... which meant being very, very careful about how one touched it... get it a little too salty, and it would fray at the rim... which meant drawing a new one, and starting over.

The Barracks was two Quonsets for the office and supply, another for the guard shack/classroom, one each for Port and Starboard Guard Sections, and one more out back that was the head and showers.

The CO at the time was a fatherly Major, who shall remain nameless, but a highly educated man with a very interesting list of previous duty stations (for one thing, he spoke fluent Russian, as well as a couple of other Euro languages)... There were, on the entire island of Okinawa at that time, exactly four married Marines who were on 'accompanied' tours (30 months)... those being our CO, the Guard Officer, the Guard Chief, and our 1st Sgt. The Major's wife was a very proper Southern lady, who would not have dreamed of going abroad in summer daylight without a large-brimmed hat, and elbow-length white gloves (you youngsters quit laughing... that's the way it was in 1960...)

Anyway, the Major would have monthly 'stockholder's meetings' as he called them, and all hands not on post would be assembled in the classroom... he would hold forth on topics he felt would be of use and interest to young enlisted men... topics like 'investing', 'Okinawan culture', interesting places to visit (like the glass factory that melted coke bottles and made fishing net floats)... on the most memorable of these occasions, he was propounding on 'the benefits of an organized life'.

I happened to be seated next to 'Red', a LCPL who stood Cpl of the Guard watches, and who usually had at least half a pouch of Red Man in one jaw or the other... As the Major droned on, I was astonished to hear, "for example, Mrs. (major's name) and I always reserve Thursday evenings for s-x"... just couldn't believe what I thought I had just heard!... then from Red, in a stage whisper "SH-T!... THAT'S why he's always smiling on Fridays!... (couldn't make this stuff up if I tried... and it's been 51 years... ) (and, at the time, it was said 'anybody who'd bring a round-eye out here would take a ham sandwich to a banquet... ")


Place The Privates Finger

Hey Sgt. Grit, well I never thought I would have so much to say about stuff. Thanks to Phil Hsueh for the rehab on the Otter picture; I see we're not all together on the name yet of that particular vehicle.

Cpl. F Werner mentioned an old familiar name Sgt. Sousou. Man what a trip he was. When our boot camp platoon went to the range at Camp Pendleton about April 1966 he was our PMI-platoon marksmanship instructor. Yes he was big and he was Samoan and he was forceful. One of his tricks during snapping in week was to let the bolt of the M-14 slam home on a recruit's trigger finger if the private was snapping the trigger. The fingertip which was the only part of the finger that was supposed to be touching the trigger would be more sensitive after that.

If that didn't work Sgt. Sousou would place the privates finger in his mouth and bite down hard to tenderize the finger tip. That was a sight to behold. The unfortunate private would be dancing and howling in pain with his finger in Sgt. Sousou's mouth and all the while Sgt. Sousou would be turning and walking about and demonstrating to the rest of the platoon the danger of snapping the trigger.

One of his favorite sayings in his accent was "if you foup on the little range then you foup on the big range"! He also carried a stick to help twist privates get into proper shooting positions if sitting on their back was not enough. That was 45 years ago but I still remember him when I pull that trigger.

On how 1/9 got its name. I always heard that Ho Chi Minh called them "The Walking Dead" in one of his radio broadcasts and the name stuck.

Hey God Bless and Semper Fi, Cpl. Ted Picado

Walking Dead

I remembered I had read a story in the Time-Life series on the Vietnam War. September and October, 1967, at Con Thien, 3/9 took over 1,200 incoming rounds daily, "leaving the survivors looking, in their own words, like '"the walking dead.'"

But I remember hearing and reading that 1/9 held that title. Company A and B, Operation Buffalo, July 2, 1967, walked into an ambush from two battalions of NVA. Bravo Co was lead and got cut off from Alpha Co. The NVA used flame throwers to drive the Marines into the open, then cut them down. Radio contact was lost.

Bravo Co was destroyed. Air support, using napalm and later, tanks saved the day. Only 27 out of 300 walked out of the ambush.

Semper Fi,
JJ Moss

Colors Approached

Hay sarge. I am now a 54 year old Marine although my wife tells me I sometimes behave like I am a 25 year old Marine especially when some young punk refers to me as old man. I wonder when that happened? (becoming an old man). On to my subject.

I had the Honor of taking my grandson (7 yrs) and my wife's best friends adopted son (8yr.) to the veterans day parade in ST. ALBANS WV. I explained to them at the same time as to why we salute the colors when they pass before us, and as to how and when they should do so. When the color guard passed by. Sarge I have never been more proud of not one but 2 American boy as I was of these to young fellows.

When the colors approached us I snapped a salute and the 2 boy snapped to attention with their hand over their hearts, and held that position until I dropped my salute. (even though the car in front of and behind the color guard were tossing candy out on the street and all the other kids there were getting it) They knew they could not move until I dropped my salute. After the parade was over I promised them a special treat at the D.Q... Instead they choose to go and talk to the Marines at the end of the parade route. The legion commander saw them holding their salute while the untrained and unschooled children were reaping the pogey bait. He gave them both all the bags of candy they had not tossed out the windows of the cars.


Montford Marines Plus

Good Evening Sgt. Grit:

Following personal information per your e-mail request, Sgt. Larry J Frisbee Service number 2036343, served 1963 to 1967, shipped out of San Diego California on the U.S.N.S BARRETT April 1st - this was one of the last troop ships used I was told.

I was with the 3rd Marine Division and after stopping in Hawaii and Japan we finally disembarked on Okinawa. We then formed up with other companies, I shipped to Vietnam on USS Tular from White Beach Okinawa on 15th of May and made our 1st amphibious landing May 19th 1965 at Chu Lai, second amphibious landing South of Chu Lai a few hundred miles 1966 for Phase 1 of Operation Double Eagle. I believe this area was called something like DuQuan, after about four or five weeks Search and destroy operations we then choppered back to North of Chu Lai to an area west of Tam-Ky for second phase of Double Eagle. Flew out of DaNang back to Civilization July 1966. Reported back to Camp Lejeune finished my enlistment as a Rifle range instructor re-qualifying officers.

I want to thank you for taking interest in these articles I sent you about the Montford Point Marines, as I stated earlier it sure was an eye opener to me, I never heard of these Marines or their training area until this past week. I was glad to see in this article that all new Marines will be educated about this part of our past history while going through boot camp. It sure has been a long time coming for these Marine brothers to get the recognition they so deserve.

Semper Fi, Sgt. Frizz:

Montford Point Marines Reportedly Awarded Nation's Highest Civilian Honor (article)

Ribbons Galore

Back in the late 50's and early 60's when only Korean and WWII veterans wore any ribbon other than the Good Conduct Medal and National Defense Service Medal on their chests you used to see nearly all the Sailors carrying a pack of Pall Mall cigarettes in their right breast pocket of their dress jumpers. It would stick up enough so you saw a band of red with a white stripe through it and it looked like a ribbon from a slight distance away! A well decorated Marine or Sailor might have 5 to 7 ribbons on their chests for Korea and WWII.

In the early 70's I had occasion to officially visit the Royal Marine Recruit Training Depot in Southern England. One evening while in the Sgt's Mess (bar) a Color Sergeant begin asking me about what each ribbon is for. I explained the Viet-Nam Service Ribbon was for having service over there. He replies, "Ya mean you get a ribbon just for bloody being there?" Then I had to explain the green ribbon for Viet-Nam and he replies, "Ya mean you gets a second ribbon just for being there?" He really loved the National Defense Medal. I learned from him that their good conduct medal was awarded after something like 18 years of good conduct!

Now it seems like more than ever before our flag officers display far more ribbons than Chesty Puller did. Unlike Chesty, who had a great many for personal valor, most of the ribbons I see on today's flag officers seem to be more of the "Ya Did a Good Job end of tour" awards! If you really want to see how ridiculous it has become check out on line the current US Military ribbons, especially all the ones for various staff duties. You could end up with 12 ribbons just for serving on staffs! Chesty must be turning over in his grave!

Semper Fi D. Wright GySgt 59-74

4.2 Mortar

Re the 'Howtar'... 4.2 (inch) mortar, adapted to a pack 75 (WWII... not sure about Korea) howitzer mount... think it was Whiskey battery in the Bns of 11th Marines that had those... recall a couple ops with 3/5 around Tam Ky, early part of '66 where they were co-located with us (Kilo)... flew in under CH-34's, with some gear in metal grid warehouse/shipping containers...

from memory, part of the set-up was a ring of stands, kinda like they use in the circus for elephants... wheels on the stands, 360 degree (6400mil for you cannon-cockers) rotation... think the idea was to provide adequate recoil space for higher charges at max elevation... do recall the word coming down to get down in our holes because the Howtars were going to register.

Recall that the battery with us was commanded by a Lt. Odle... familiar, because he had not long previously been a 'spy" (that's what we DI's called them... ) from the RTR S-2 section at MCRD SD... don't think the Howtars were kept in service long... may have gone back to the baseplate type four deuces...


Amphibian Fecal Matter

Footnote to William Thompson PhD Pfc USMC.
Re: Staying anonymous

OCS / PLC Summer of 1966 MCB Quantico Virginia - Camp Upshur (sic).
A candidate referred to the lower half of his "Utilities" as pants.
He was being told nose to nose in no uncertain terms by Staff Sergeant R S Winston (Remember him from the how to move down a trail at night lecture?) That "little cnuts (Sorry, that is the term he used) wore pants, that Marines wore trousers!"
Also, having been to college, and familiar with the Socratic method, this posed a question in my mind. Ergo, I came to attention & asked permission to speak.
After being referred to as amphibian fecal matter, I was allowed to ask my question.
Which was; "If we wear trousers, then why do we wear blouses?"
That cost me.
I cannot put into words how much that cost me.
Moral: Do your job - Stay low my brother.

J P Cawthon 2271XXX 65-72

Vincent Iavarone Tattoos

Red, White, and Blue USMC Back Tattoo
Red, White, and Blue USMC Back Tattoo

Bulldog Helmet Tattoo
Bulldog Helmet Tattoo

Eagle Globe and Anchor Tattoo

Eagle Globe and Anchor Tattoo

Short Rounds

Remember the invites to celebrities for the USMC Ball? Below is a follow up.

Both of these items came from England where apparently U.S. Marines are still well loved.
D. Ryan

Belle of the ball! Mila Kunis smoulders in stunning black gown at Marine Corps gala (article)

'I need to finish what he started': Fallen soldier's fiancee to join Marine Corps the same month they were due to marry (article)

Sgt. Grit; I wanted to let you know. My wife, 2 friends and myself went to Olive Garden for dinner. They had a special menu for veterans and it was free. We had a very good dinner. Our waitress was excellent and she said her brother was in the Marines as an artillery man. She thank me many times for serving and what a great group the Marines were. There were many veterans at this special night. I want to thank OLIVE GARDEN for what they did. We will remember them in future outings.

Howard Huston (Cpl)
11th Motors. Vietnam. Now in NJ.

Made a MedCruise with India Co., 3rdBn 2nd Marines in 1959 on USS Fremont, APA-44. Latter part of cruise the ship's captain was Captain G.L. Street, holder of the Medal Of Honor. I will never forget seeing him in his dress whites with the medal on the blue ribbon hanging around his neck.
Patrick Arata
Cpl of Marines Jun 1956 - Dec 1959

Sgt Grit, Hope it isn't too late to tell ya about my three corps Birthday's in the Corps. 57 as my first. My 10th Week in Boot Camp at P.I. our S. DI told us, "You people will watch the Sands of Iwo Jima tonight at the outdoor! That was the best order he bage us until "Get off my island!" My second Corps birthday was back at P.I. In the Drum Corps playing at all three Marine corps ceremonies. My third was at Great Lakes Naval Training Center. Where I finally got to go to the Marine Ball!

B. OTIS L/CPL. 57/60

I just wanted to say that I have been getting a lot of compliments on the fleece and jacket I received from you. One person even asked me where I got it. Sgt Grit of course. Thanks again.
Pat C.

Sgt. Grit :
Happy Birthday to the U.S. Marine Corps. Nat Berman's cartoon is great. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Thank you for your service to our country (Veterans' Day).
Semper Fi ! Kristine

Platoon 2023, Parris Island, 1967. While marching on the parade deck my D.I. SSgt. Cristavitch (not sure of the spelling) screamed at me -

"FINCH - your Dad must have jacked off in a flower pot to have a blooming idiot like you"

The S.O.B. hated me!

Mike Finch 1/11 Vietnam 68-69

Sgt. Grit,

I served in the USMC from 1940 to 1946. I served aboard Navy Light Cruiser CL41, in the Battle of the North Atlantic. Our detachment then landed with Operation Torch at Safi, Morocco, North Africa Nov. 8, 1942. I served as an instructor at the Marine Parachute School at Camp Lejeune and then with the C Co, 1st Bat, 27th Marines, 5th Marine Division on Iwo Jima.

I have enjoyed reading your posts and the stories and letters from all of the young and old Marines. Those young guys are tough!

Keep up the good work.
GySgt C. A. Rea 293623 USMC

Odd Was Starbucks

MCRD San Diego Sgt. Grit:

I was fortunate enough to be able to revisit MCRD San Diego last week while on business. Although things have changed they still remain the same. Keep in mind I was in boot camp in 1969-70. Except for a few in the old 2nd Battalion area all of the old Quonset huts are gone. About a third of the parade deck is a parking lot but you can still hear a drill instructors voice from the far end. Most of the new buildings were constructed in the old Spanish style. The new barracks fit in nicely with the old pre WWII palisade.

MCRD San Diego MCRD San Diego

The museum is nice but the old yellow footprints in the parking lot by the receiving barracks are gone. The planes still take off from Lindberg field and yes they still drown out the Di's.

MCRD San Diego's Starbucks MCRD San Diego - Plane taking off from Lindberg Field

The one thing that I did find odd was Starbucks. Starbucks on the recruit depot? Does Parris Island have a Starbucks? California Marines can truly be called "Hollywood Marines" now.

What ever happened to the old melt the spook black coffee the Di's used to drink?

Sgt. Jim Grimes

2002 Birthday Ball Speech

Marine Corps Birthday Ball Speech Given by Craig Roberts, Marine Vietnam vet and author, to the US Marine Reserve Anti-Tank Battalion, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Nov 9, 2002.

I want to thank you for inviting me to be your speaker on this 227th Birthday of our Beloved Corps. It is quite an honor, and one that I never even considered happening to me when I was a young hard- charging Marine in Vietnam in the mid nineteen sixties. I only wish my father, who was a World War II FMF Marine, Pvt. William F. Roberts, Jr., USMC, serial number 555502, and who passed on last year, could be present to hear his son talk about his Marine Corps.

I know that many of you are wondering why a lance corporal is your speaker. It may because I'm a combat vet, or because I'm known as a writer of military tales, or because I can tell some great war stories. But it might also be because the rank of lance corporal is the best rank to hold in the Marine Corps. At least it was when I was in.

A lance was too high a grade to do dirty details, but not high enough to take any responsibility. We supervised working parties of PFCs and Privates, but if anything went wrong, we blamed the Corporal who should have been there supervising, but was down at the slop chute or the gedunk instead, and left us in charge. Yes, lance corporal was a great rank, and a lofty one as well. At least in those days when it was not uncommon for a PFC to re- up after four years to make Lance. And the rank lasted a long time too... at one time I was senior lance corporal of the Marine Corps. I had more time in grade with a clean record than any other lance in the Corps. I was kind of like Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps... but for lance corporals.

Read the rest of the speech here

Devil Dog

well I'm very happy to see you finally got the 'Devil Dog' t- shirt... I couldn't send a pic of my tat til you did... I bought the t-shirt about 3yrs ago and swore the day I did that I would get that as a tattoo ... well May of last year ...on my birthday...

Sgt Zieroff II's tattoo that was covered up by his Devil Dog tattoo Sgt Zieroff II's Devil Dog tattoo in progress

I finally got started on it... n just about 2 1/2 weeks ago I got it finished... there is about 11 hrs of work into it... it's actually a cover up but my buddy Craig, at Crave Tattoo in Northwood, Ohio absolutely rocked it! you can make ur own decision ...

Sgt Zieroff II's Devil Dog tattoo colored Sgt Zieroff II's Devil Dog tattoo finished

As always.... Semper Fi
Sgt Zieroff II, Peter M. 1993-2001

Get the T-Shirt


Sgt Grit,

I'm an Aussie and a Marine.

CPL 'C'Co 1st Recon Bn 1975-77

The Aussie accent was h-ll on my low profile attempt from the minute I boarded the bus in Los Angeles for MCRD San Diego - back in those days Australia was even more unknown and the world stopped for all intents and purposes at the US border (or wherever the h-ll the DIs decided it stopped).

Three years ago at age 56 I enlisted as an officer in the Royal Australian Air Force - almost 30 years above the average intake age for the RAAF's OTS.

Even without the now necessary reading glasses I topped the rifle range - Semper Fi til I die.



In 1967 while with golf co. 2nd. Bn. 4th. Marines 3rd. Marine div. in the republic of viet nam, the Marine Corps sent us what was supposed to be a hot meal in the bush. It was warm, in those insulated vats the food arrived in. We got our mess kits out and they filled them up. I don't remember what we got but it was better than c rats. At the end of the line they had cartons of milk. The guy handing it out asked if i wanted white or chocolate. I said chocolate, he handed a carton to me and said don't drink it, it's spoiled. I said if it's spoiled why hand it out. He answered, it's orders from the white house to give every Marine a carton of milk. Our dinner on 11/10/67 Bill Tinor

Second Lesson Learned

These incidents probably happened to many unwary recruits. Just thought I would share.

At MCRD Parris Island in 1967, I was a naive recruit. Having planned on the enlistment for over a year I has taken up running to get in shape. On our first physical fitness test, I thought here we go I can show them I am ready. I was one of the top five runners on the time. My reward along with the other four, running at the rear to assist (in any way possible) the recruits, who wanted to drop out, to make it across the finish line on time. If we failed we ran again. First lesson learned.

Then came the confidence course. Coming from the country, I had done a lot of those obstacles as fun while growing up. After the platoon finished the course, our assistant DI, said we were done really early and had plenty of time for the drilling field (hated all that drilling and well known PT). He said, however that anyone that wanted to go through the confidence course the second time, could skip the drilling field (I thought a great way out).

Again being a naive recruit, along with nine other same thinking recruits, we volunteered to run it the second time. Let me tell you running the course the second time, within the time period, takes a lot out of you. The DI was all smiles, when eight of us made the course and said that with us doing such a great job, we could do it one more time. He was happy to drop the time requirement for us and said we would stay there until everyone of us completed the course.

By the time we returned to the barracks, it was a very short night. The last thing the DI said to us that night, before hitting the rack, "You recruits be sure to let me know when you want to volunteer for something again". I passed up on that option from then on. Second lesson learned.

Dale Scouten, Sgt. USMC
1967 - 1971
Semper Fi to all Marines past, present and those who have passed. Always a Marine.

Would Be Nice If

Sgt Grit
I went through boot camp in Feb 1957 MCRDSD and after ITR Tent camp 2 Las Pulgas I went to A Company 1st Tank Bn. I was asked to become a Tank repairman MOS1841 and went to 4 months of tracked vehicle repairman's school at camp Del Mar.
I was then assigned to 1st Anti- Tank Bn at camp Horno. The battalion had just been formed and it was made up with a bunch of 0351s.
As I remember I was the only one of three tank mechanics assigned..
I remember the old green wool long sleeve shirts and we were allowed to wear them on base. My wife of 48 years says I still have a couple somewhere.
The two photos Jim Grimes provided in this issue are two M50 Ontos and the other is a M42 SP Twin 40 mm AA Gun It was mounted on a M41 Walker Bulldog light tank chassis with a tub instead of the turret.
I remember working on those as well as the M8E2 primary mover which was a tracked vehicle used to tow a 155mm gun. Both the M41 M42 and M8E2 used the AO895 Continental six cylinder gasoline engine and a CD500 Allison cross drive transmission.
Ddick letter described a DI at MCRD spending some time at Camp Elliot.
My senior DI a Tech Sgt Underwood I learned later was found guilty with others of scamming the recruits at graduation time. I remember that they went around and told all the recruits that one of the other DIs was having financial problems and it would be nice if we all chipped in at graduation to help him out since he was such a big help during training.
I can't remember if it was 5 or 10 bucks. but I was one who donated.
I enjoy your newsletter.
M Christman
1957 1960

2nd Notebook

Sgt. Grit,

On Day 1 on the Island we "bought" small notebooks to fit in the upper left pocket of our utilities. Whenever waiting for chow or whatever, the DI would provide us gems of wisdom which we carefully recorded in the note books to be quizzed on them at some later time.

On the range I happened to notice one recruit had a second notebook which he often wrote in just before taps. One day on the wash racks I whispered and asked him what was in the second book. He looked around to make sure no one overheard and asked if I would keep a secret. Of course I said I would and he said he was an ordained minister and one of the six month Reservists in the platoon from Norfolk, VA.

I asked why if he were a minister he did not join the navy and become a chaplain. Pvt Chic replied that he joined the Marines because he wanted to work with inner city kids and knew he needed sometime to 'toughen him up'. Since Pvt Chic stood all of about 5'6" and weight about 115 lbs, I could see his point. I continued and again asked what was in the second note book.

He told me he was recording all the DI comments so he could memorize them for use when in future he was working with teen aged kids. He continued to recite a few of the gems - "Pvt, if brains were dynamite and yours exploded, it wouldn't be enough to blow your nose" and "Pvt., if brains were cotton, you wouldn't have enough to make a Kotex for a p!ss ant".

For years I have imagine Pvt., or Reverend, Chic on a basketball court in the inner city referring a game and in the midst of an argument with a 6'6" teen age thug, trotting out one of those little gems of light.

Kirk Kotula

With A Chair

When Plt. 2078 went to Edson Range at Camp Pendleton, CA to qual on the M-16, we apparently were not quick enough for our Drill Instructor when we were unloading the truck with all of our gear. He called formation and abruptly marched us across the way down into a sandy ravine he called Happy Valley. He then gave the command "Bends and Motherf-krz, Ready, Begin!"

We really knew we were in deep Sh-tz when he went into the squad bay and came back out with a chair and sat down. He then stated we could go all day or until he got tired. Our crisp starched utilities were ruined and spit shined boots looked like Hershey bars. I bet we were a sight from interstate 5 which ran along Camp Pendleton along the coast. Wouldn't you know I went to recruiters School with that same drill instructor. Boy, the behind-the-scene stories he told me!

Julian Etheridge

Most Significant Achievement

In 1967 the Hippies were taking over and the beer heads were losing ground. It was time to get out of the Steel Mill and make something of myself. I decided to join the Marine Corps. Couldn't find the Recruiting Office but found the Navy.

Boot Camp followed at Great Lakes and not San Diego as promised by my recruiter. Chief told everyone not to volunteer for Corpsman as we would be in Nam with the Marines. I obviously didn't listen. Corps School then FMF training at Lejune and an assignment to Philadelphia in Neurosurgery followed.

Nine Months later I landed in Da Nang. I was assigned to 1st Shore Party Battalion and subsequently supported the 5th Marine Regiment in An Hoa (Arizona Territory). Instead of being assigned to 1st Med Bn I was later assigned to 3rd Bn 1st Marines (Hill 55) and finished my tour with the 3Bn 5th Marines back in An Hoa.

I went into the service of my country voluntarily and cherish my time with the 1st Marine Division as the most significant achievement of my life. I can't say enough about the bravery of the Marines I served with who took a poorly prepared Corpsman into their fold and kept me alive. I'm a little sentimental in my old age and when I see a young Marine I go out of my way to thank him for his service to our Country. I stand a little taller and feel a lot prouder of my FMF insignia on my medal and my love for the Marine Corps.

Doc Howard
LTC USA Retired

You Guessed It

While stationed at the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown Va the northern limits for weekend liberty was Camden NJ. Therefore any one heading north of Camden signed out to that location. Funny no one ever questioned why of all places Camden NJ was such a "hot" liberty port, since all the guys hometowns were in North Jersey, New York, Conn and points north.

All went well until a major snow storm hit the north east over a weekend making it impossible to get back to the base by Monday morning duty call. The northern liberty hounds called the duty CQ in a panic claiming that they were stranded in, you guessed it, beautiful Camden NJ. There was so many stranded, we almost had to go on running guard status to man all our posts and patrols. Suffice to say it took quite a while for Camden to regain its liberty popularity, however Marines on a mission i.e. pursuit of hometown liberty found various ways to get home on the weekends. We never used the term "swooping" for these trips, my story took place during the winter of 58 or 59.

New subject regarding the carriage of guidon during boot training, as you can see from the above I in went to Parris Island in 1957, when we f--ed up one of the many ways to get our undivided attention was to have our platoon guidon carried upside down and from the rear of the platoon formation while drilling and going to the chow hall.

Bob Lake LCpl 1957 -1960

Pitch Black

I was in 81's, H&S 1/5, 1957 to 1960.

We went to 29 Palms for Desert Warfare training. I don't know what it is like there now but then, if you were there just for a short time you stayed in Tents. The head was outside some distance from the Tents. One night (it was pitch black when you were at the head) I went to relieve myself.

There were P-ss tubes stuck in the ground at an angle and, 4 holers to sit on. As I was standing there, I heard an odd sound. Peering through the darkness I saw a Marine (first time in field) trying to do his business buy sitting on a P-ss tube. I suggested he might want to use the 4 holer.

Robert Maskill

Sunny Southern California

I remember the dark green wool long sleeve button up shirt and the nylon(?) insert in the collar.
Some people just refuse to believe how cold it gets in sunny southern California in the winter time at night on guard duty at MCB Camp Pendleton!
I scrounged up a half dozen. This was in 1969. Wore out the last one in the late 1980's

Something I kinda forgot about till now. Was stationed at the Airfield there. We wore white painted helmet liners on guard duty. We had a Screech Owl that would dive bomb us at night, thus the liners, versus the utility covers.

Our patrol area also included the storage area for the welding shop. don't know how it happened, but one night an oxygen bottle got knocked over without the protective cap. As I recall it propelled itself through a cement wall. maybe someone remembers it better?

also Camp Pendleton was a favorite(?) passage way for the illegal immigrants back then. Kept crossing through at the end of the flight line, where it was really dark! We caught a few of them!

Semper Fi
Choo Choo
Sgt of Marines (nla)
Rvn 70-71

Looked At Me

My name is Cpl. Daniel Munoz. I have been medical retired from our beloved Corps since 1996. I have served as a Security Force Marine, Kings Bay-Georgia. I am a 0311 and also served as a 5811 at the MP Co. Camp Lejeune, NC. I have a son who is a Sergeant in the MARINES and another one who is an Aviation Tech, in the NAVY. The other day I met this Army Retired Major General here at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico and he made my day with his words. He was telling me some war stories like we always do and when I told him that I was in the MARINE CORPS... he looked at me and said: "You do look like a Marine"

...and from that moment I was the proudest Marine in history.

Semper Fi

Good Friends

This is a response to Bob Yount's letter about 1/9 and the casualties they incurred in VietNam. When I got there, a fellow Corpsman named Fitzgerald was assigning Corpsmen to the 3rd MarDiv units. I had known him in Corps school. He said, "You are married aren't you?" I said I was, so he assigned me to the 4th Marines. He told me that he was sending all unmarrieds to the 9th Marines because they were taking so many more casualties. I had several good friends in the 9th Marines, and every time I saw them, I gave a prayer of thanks that I was not with them. Our wasn't a cake walk, but theirs was just flat out tough.

Robert E. Hays HM2
D 1/4 3rd Mar Div.

PS - he saved AmTracs for his really good friends!

Tar Paper Barracks

Bernie Caldwell's mention of the tar paper barracks (read shacks) at Camp Gifu brought back many memories of same to me. I also was in HqCoHqBn3rdMarDiv but probably was there a bit before he was. I left in Feb or so of '55, transferring to the 1stMarDiv in Korea.

At Camp Gifu, I was in PIO, I had originally been sent to replace a Cpl at the Armed Forces Far Eastern Network in Nagoya, but he extended and then didn't know what to do with me as I had a basic 4300 MOS. So, OTJ, TSgt. Durno taught me to be a writer. (Thanks to him, he helped me into my civilian career.)

Back to Camp Gifu, The metropolis outside the main gate -- Nakacho -- was also home to second "wives" for a lot of us young jarheads. Japanese Civil Defense Force troops provided perimeter security and some oh dark thirties you could hear shotguns going off in the nearby paddies as guys snuck back for roll call, etc. (We had Cinderella liberty and Starboard and Port watches.)

The tar paper barracks weren't too bad, as long as no one flushed a toilet while you were in the shower. Camp Gifu was an army base, so it had all the comforts the army provides for its troops and then some.

One thing I vividly remember, the building housing our PIO facilities was across from the base bakery. The smell of freshly baked bread in the a.m. is still with me 57 years later.

Semper Fi,
Bob Rader Sgt '53-'56

91 Year Old Father

I had the pleasure of attending the 236 Marine Corps Birthday celebration with my 91 year old father Warren White WWII veteran of Okinawa, Guadalcanal, Guam and one of the first Americans to occupy Japan after the surrender. We were accompanied by fellow Marines Don James and Don Renwick. Along with 150 Marines a few members of the lesser branches of the military (just Kidding) we enjoyed the day with some touching ceremonies speeches a few lies and laughs at a celebration put on by James T Butler Tampa attorney and highly decorated helicopter pilot.

Oldest and youngest Marine during cake cutting ceremony Warren was once again honored to represent the old guard along with the youngest Marine in attendance in the cake cutting ceremony. My apologies to our youngest Marine I did not get his name. This is a high honor among Marines. Have a safe and healthy veterans day and thank you for those that did the heavy lifting when our country needed it the most. Special thoughts for those who have preceded us and safe harbor for those young men and women currently in harm's way.

Ken White
USMC 1969-1972
Semper fi

Would It Be Logical

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, in a land far, far away... there was a 'bootleg' Officer's Mess (slop chute) of about 22 members. The mess was where the Officers of this unit, and of a 'tenant' unit, took their daily meals when aboard the Bn HQ cantonment. The same building served beverages in the evening, had a Sony reel-reel tape deck behind the bar, and a TV set in a corner (don't recall it ever being turned on, but if it was, there was only the one AFRTS channel... for 'rabbit ears' (common term for the antenna in that century), there was a pair of inflatable legs clad in nylon stockings arranged in a V behind the set... I have photographic evidence))

With only 22 possible members, the Division Clubs System deemed this aggregation too small for the Clubs System to deal with... which meant we were on our own logistically, so far as any supply of beverages was concerned. (I think the official term was "SOL"). The solution to this was that all 'members' voluntarily (MOL) contributed their Ration Cards, which allowed the card owner to purchase X amount of liquor and Y cases of beer each month... if you could find a source, and, had a way to get there... and back. In our case, the source was on the Air Force side of DaNang air base... the 'package store' of the DOOM Club (Danang Officer's Open Mess... sign therein read "no smoking within 24 hours, no drinking within 50 feet of the plane")

The way there and back was the XO's MRC-125... that being a M151 with a radio and power supply mounted on the right rear fender, and an impressive whip antenna... only two in the outfit at the time, and technically not supposed to be put in service yet, but, the XO usually outranks the MTO. The XO's driver was a sharp young redhead LCPL who knew he had it knocked, and was very good at keeping his lip zipped. Periodically, the XO, jeep, and driver would appear outside the Bn Maintenance office tent, and I would be bade to get aboard... we would then motor off to the DOOM Club, pick out two ration cards that had not been used yet that month, and would depart with six jugs or so... from memory, rum was a favorite.

Then came the day... as we approached the 'package store', there on the inside of the door was a new sign... which caused me to say, "Well, Major... guess that's that?" meaning we were done, finished, kaput, DRT (Dead Right There), etc., as the sign read, in large professionally printed (I did mention this was the AF, right?) letters "NO wine, beer, or liquor will be sold to Officers or Men of the Third Marine Amphibious Force"... and it bore the signature of one Lt.Gen L. Walt. I pretty much figured that meant us...

As Flannery and I stood there, the Major instructed the pretty young Vietnamese clerk to 'please go get Club Officer most ricky-tick'... off she went, returning with an AF Lt, who saluted the Major, and asked how he might help?... the Major said," well, Lt., we'd like to buy some liquor"

The Lt. (who was a ROTC rat if ever I saw one) indicated the sign, and expressed his understanding and sympathy, but felt that his hands were tied in this matter. The Major, in his most patient and fatherly mode, said "Lieutenant... it's obvious to me that the Air Force Academy does not teach much about Marine organization" (this guy might have driven by Colorado Springs, but that was a close to the AF Academy as he'd ever been)... 'Well, No Sir, they didn't go into a lot of detail on that"... the Major "would it be logical to you, Lt., that the Third Marine Division, The Third Marine Air Wing, the Third Tank Battalion, and so on would be in the Third Marine Amphibious Force?"... 'Yessir... very logical"... the Major:... "and would it further follow that the 1st Marine Division, the First Marine Air Wing, the First Tank Battalion, and so on, would belong to I (eye) MAF?", and that sign wouldn't apply to I MAF?... "Yessir"... Major: "and what does it say here on my ration card?" Lt :"First... oh, I see sir... here... I will write you a note, and if you will just show it to An, here, when you come... that will take care of everything, and I apologize for the difficulty"... we got our six bottles, and got TFOD... several times after that, leaving the package store with booze, I just knew I was going to bump into a Marine Colonel Air Group Commander who had never heard of I MAF... never did... timing is everything.

I think the Major had been an enlisted radioman/gunner in a TBF squadron in WWII...and in armored amphibs in Korea... saw him some years later at 29 Palms when he came out from HQMC to initiate a large 'Mobile Mechanized' exercise...



In response to the article "Restoration" in your newsletter 17 NOV 2011

You are correct that the picture on the left is of two M50 ONTOS anti-tank vehicles. The picture on the right that you are unsure of is an M42 anti-aircraft tank. I believe they were referred to as the "Duster" and were produced in the late 1950s by GM.

My one and only experience with these was during a field exercise back in the late 1990s in the desert east of Yuma, just outside the town of Tacna on the Barry Goldwater Range. The aviation logistics unit (MALS-13) was practicing defensive operations in an old mock-up of a depot used to train for a mission as part of Operation Desert Storm. The mock-up had was just left there and there were a couple old rusted tanks on the perimeter including an M42. Somebody had the smart idea of using it as an OP, but sometime during the night had a run in with the current residents (not sure whether it was a scorpion or a black widow spider). Either way, the Marine had to be medevac'd.

Coincidentally, the MALS later adopted the moniker "Black Widows"

SSgt Hill, Brandon E.
Ground Safety Officer

Famous Marines

Don Adams, best known as Maxwell Smart, Agent 86. WWII, wounded on Guadalcanal, also a Drill Instructor.

Hugh Brannum, Mr. Greenjeans, Captain Kangaroo's sidekick. Served in the band during WWII.

Wilford Brimley, enlisted during the Korean War, served three years in the Aleutian Islands.

Drew Carey, 1980 enlisted in the reserves, achieved rank of Sgt.

Macdonald Carey, Days of Our Lives. Enlisted 1943 was selected for OCS. As a 2nd Lt he went to Bougainville and the Philippines with the Airwing.

I do not believe I have ever seen photos of Steve McQueen or Lee Marvin in uniform. Check out he attached photos. -Jim Grimes

Lee Marvin in Marine uniform Steve McQueen in Marine uniform


"In deciding whether or not to give power over to your most trusted friend, imagine that his authority might eventually be held by your worst enemy. Then act accordingly; for although the friend may never misuse it, there's no way of telling who might inherit it from him." --James M. Rogers

"it is for me a touchstone of the Marine Corps' fatal glamour that there is not ex-Marine of my acquaintance, regardless of what direction he may have taken spiritually and politically after those callow gung-ho days, who does not view the training as a crucible out of which he emerged in some way more resilient, simply braver and better for the wear."
--Marine and Pulitzer Prize winning author William Styron

"If you can't explain it simply, then you don't know it well enough."
--Albert Einstein

"A man wrapped up in himself is a very small bundle."
--Benjamin Franklin

"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

"If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws -- the first growing out of the last."
--Alexander Hamilton

"You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves."
--Abraham Lincoln

"Expect the unexpected"
Sgt Grit

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