Sgt Grit Newsletter - 25 AUG 2011

In this issue:
• Drum and Bugle Corps
• No Extracurricular Activities
• Raised An Eyebrow

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Newsletter Archives

I would like to offer my comments about the Veteran meaning. When a young boy or girl joins the Corps and stands on the yellow footprints, they are all the same type of person but are addressed by many names.

Names like stupid SH--, dumb sh--, dip sh--, ignorant sh--, useless sh--, and so on. You get my meaning. After those boys and girls graduate from recruit training those young men and women are addressed by the term Marine. That title is indelible. Some may go and become 0311, 0811, 2533 (like me), 5831, or whatever. those jobs just give us something to do while we are not being what we all are, a basic rifleman. Some are called off to war or a police action, or the same thing called by a different name. Any Marine has an equal chance of getting hurt, maimed, or killed. Any Marine can be in combat within 48 hours. Any cook, cannon cocker, flight mechanic, or reservist can be called upon to do what he does best, BE A MARINE.

I am a Marine Veteran of seven years, Many gave more than I and I hold them in great reverence. Some gave less than me. I also hold them in high regard. We are Marines. We all have the duty to serve if called and we always serve. That's documented at places like Khe Sanh, Tarawa, Okinawa, Iwo Jima, Iraq, and on and on. If you served two years, four years, six years, twenty years or six months, you are a Marine Veteran. Take pride in that.

SSgt H.

In This Issue

I just got back from vacation in Colorado. The wife and I like to rent a jeep and go on the mountain trails. We were going to a new trail, didn't know the way, most are unmarked. Noticed three jeeps parked. I pulled up and notice a USMC ball cap and said Semper Fi, he responded. I asked about the trail and he said I was on the right path and I could join his group if I wanted. I declined, not wanting to intrude, and proceeded. Got up a way and there are three paths, all unmarked. I don't have a clue which one to take. I'm sitting there studying the map and the Marines convoy comes up. He stops and I ask if his offer is still good. He says yes, gets out of his jeep hands me a walkie-talkie and off we go. It turns out he is an expert jeeper and has been in the mountains for years. He proceeds to give an outstanding running commentary on the sites. He was in Nam in '65 with 2/4 as an FO. Best trail we took on our three days jeeping. Thank you sir.

the Sgt Grit Facebook the Sgt Grit Blog

Here we go: USS Sanctuary, At Its Finest, Battle Jackets, Pat On The Back, ‘Dirt’, GOT, My First Thought, It Eats Me, That’s a Genuine Gunner Boy, Reputation and Image, Sgt. Dakota Myers MH Award, Ontos, Regret, Flag Line, Gen. Gray, Raised and Eyebrow, Nose Down, Old Corps, ‘Extracurricular Activities', Drum and Bugle Corps.

Fair winds and following seas! Sgt Grit

Shooter Shirt

Pounded Into My Mind

SSgt Hall, first off I agree with you that Cpl Bob Love is a Marine and a veteran with all that you said about his service time and training especially. In my humble opinion and my few years in the Corps 27 to be exact! I have met, served and trained with reserve Marines. I have even had duty training reservists while stationed at 29 Palms, Camp Pendleton and Camp Lejeune. These reservists completed the same training that I received during my years in the Corps. Spent time in the desert day and night, in the swampy landscape of Lejeune the mountains rattle snakes and rain etc of Pendleton made landings on track vehicles and landing crafts. All of that makes them Marines in my eyes and in the eyes of the CORPS.

There is one thing that I disagree with is the quotation by the Korean Marine about and I quote, "The trouble with the Corps s they make you feel like you aren’t a real Marine until been killed I combat." From my time in the Corps I remember the first and foremost point that I was taught and was pounded into my mind was, as a Marine you were to stay alive because an alive Marine meant dead enemies and victory. Some Marines did die unfortunately but live Marines was what the Corps was striving for. This might not be very eloquent but it is true. My job as a Marine was to train my Marines to stay alive and get them home again.

Being brave and strong is what a Marine is but destroying the enemy is our purpose and betting home again alive is our ultimate goal, so we can train the future Marines as we were trained and served. My only regrets as a Marine was when I lost brave Marines in combat, I felt like I failed tem and the Corps. I have to live with that the rest of my life every day, but I will never forget them, their names and how wonderful Marines they were and because of their service to the Corps they made me a better Marine then and now. Thanks for listening to this old, old jarhead. Semper Fi....

MGYSTE Joe Blaile USMC (Forever)

Drum and Bugle Corps

Drum and Bugle Corps at the far end of the parade deck for SSgt Chaltry's retirement parade In the July 28, 2011 issue of the Sgt Grit newsletter (email) there was a letter from GySgt Retired Jim Ogilvie with picture of the 13 member D&B that he was in charge of.

That brought back a flood of memories from my days in the Corps. Being a 5591, Duty Field Music.

Attended Field Music School at MCRD, San Diego 1961/1962, transferred to 1st Marine Division D&B Corps Camp Pendleton 1962/1963, then transferred to Marine Barracks, Naval Ammunition Depot Hawthorne, Nevada for the remainder of my enlistment 1963/1964 While stationed at MB, NAD, Hawthorne, NV FirstSgt Lewis informed me to form a small D&B for a Retirement Parade for SSgt Paul Chaltry , February 29, 1964. SSgt Chaltry was in charge of the Mess hall.

Going to the two Guard Platoons I did manage to get a Drum and Bugle Corps of five together, three drummers and two bugles. I don't recall the names of the drummers but I do remember that Pvt Arthur J. Foss was the other "horn blower" he also was a 5591. The picture shows the D&B at the far end of the parade deck.

Semper Fidelis, JIM


The Miller twins reading the Sgt Grit Catalog Dear Sgt Grit and Staff,
I wanted to share this picture with you. My 2 year old twins found my husband’s copy of a Sgt Grit’s catalog on 4th of July this year. They had a blast flipping through the pages and I was able to take a few pictures. Here's the best one.

Jennifer Miller
Wife of LCpl Donald Miller

Foot In His Face

Sgt grit i was reading your letter as all way. the story by Sgt Joseph Alvino hit pretty hard when i return from nam we were told the same thing. anyway a few years had gone by and as all Marines was always were a hat are my jacket with the 4th Marines 2nd bn 3rd Marines div patch. I pick it up in nam and still were it any way one night we were in Las Vegas as i was stepping off the bus some ask if i was one of those baby killers as he turn and look up at me for some reason I put size 11 foot in his face and laid him out. some one call the police within a couple of min there were a couple of police officer there. as he was wiping the blood off his face and trying to remember his name I inform the officer what he had said. sgt johnson ask IF I was a Marine and i just said Semper Fi. he turned and cuffed the A hole and said have a good night Marine and as of this day I never got to say thanks to that police officer.

Sgt Moncebaiz H 2/4 VN 1969

Shooter Shirt

No Extracurricular Activities

In reading the latest newsletter, Top "Bill" Birge relayed a story called Unused Room of My Mind about a time he loaned a fellow Marine some money and was paid back years later by said named Marine’s son (also a Devil Dog).

Although my story is not nearly as thoughtful or emotional as Top Birge’s story, I thought I would share something similar in nature that happened to me.

In the late 80’s, I received a sweater that was knitted for me by the parents of a Marine I was with in Panama as a gift for some things that happened while we were there.

I loved this sweater. The Marine’s Mom must have thought I was 7 ft tall due to the image her son must have implanted in her mind.

When I received this sweater, it came all the way down to my knees!

During this time, I was attempting to make time with a very attractive young WM and one particular cold evening, she borrowed my sweater.

I was put on air alert shortly after this and actually deployed within a few weeks. I never saw the young lady again, and was quite disappointed at the loss of the sweater.

Fast forward 25 years and the young lady found me on Facebook. I was having a discussion with some Marine buddies of mine to see if I should ask about the sweater.

Before I got the chance, she emailed me and asked for my address as she wanted to send me something. I was very excited as I assumed I was going to get my sweater back.

As it turns out, I had loaned this young lady the sum of $300.00 (I really do not even remember loaning it to her, I am sure it was in my pursuit of extracurricular activities'). My wife intercepted her note and promptly cashed the check and went shopping with the money.

I learned that current wives have claim over any and all proceeds received, even when said proceeds are from activities prior to the Marriage enlistment.

So that leaves me with no sweater, no $300 and no extracurricular activities!

Semper Fi,
SGT 85-93

Old Corps

Hi Sarge,
I’d like to comment and agree with GySgt. Edwin Tate’s letter concerning the House Mouse. In our Boot Camp we had no House Mouse either and the only time we smoked was when the "smoking lamp is lit". Also we had to destroy the cigarette butts and spread the tobacco into the sand. We had two weeks at Camp Mathews, for rifle qualification, and our Platoon 609 had top qualification and marched into the chow hall first while the other platoons stood at attention.

Thanks, Sarge for all you do.
Sgt. Billy E. Fox

Custom Marine Corps Motorcycle FOR SALE

ALT GySgt Simon Guereca Jr is selling his USMC Custom Marine Corps motorcycle, The Gunny. The Gunny has a 107cu (1750cc) Super Sport Engine, a Suicide Shifter, and USMC NCO Sword as its shifter. No other USMC Custom bike in the world has this much detail!

Click here to learn more about the bike and see more photos.

A Quiet "Well Done"

Sgt. Grit: I just read the story from J. R. Robicheaux regarding smoking and the penalty for doing so when not authorized. I was raised is Utah and as any Good Mormon Boy (Latter-day Saint) I didn't smoke upon my entry into boot camp at MCRD San Diego. So while the rest of the platoon was taking a break when the smoking lamp was lit I was 'policing the area' for butts etc. After about two weeks of not smoking on smoke breaks I was renamed Private Zippo, and was given the assignment of making room in my pack for a coffee can partially filled with sand, the cigarettes for everyone in the platoon, and of course the famous Zippo Lighters that everyone owned plus a can of fuel for said lighter, Shortly after my name was changed to Private Butt-Kit and I remained with that name until graduation. The Senior D.I. told me that I could pass the assignment to another Private if I was to take up smoking, but I politely refused by a resounding "Sir No Sir", for which I received 50 squat thrusts in the pit and a quiet "well done" from the Series Commander.

I'm better for the experience, and still lean and just as mean all these 40 some years later.

Semper Fidelis
Sid Lawrence Sgt. 2475082
1st Btn. B Co. Platoon 190
6 May 1968 - 10 July 1968
6 May 1968 - 10 Oct. 1972

It Is The Same

Sgt. Grit I am a Viet Nam vet 65 years young and work in the Public Affairs section at Kennedy Space Center. I suffered a heart attack right before the last shuttle mission STS-135. When I was in the E.R. one of the nurses was an Air Force medic and the EKG tech was a Marine. Several of the nurses were former corpsmen. Even the civilian nurses  recognized my tattoo and asked about my time in the Marines. One of my friends at work came to visit me after the bypass surgery and brought me a large USMC flag with a note signed by everyone in the section. The care I received in the hospital was exceptional. and I'm sure that it is the same for every patient at the Hospital but the Respect I received from the nurses and techs proves the saying that once a Marine always a Marine. I also amazed them by getting up and walking the halls 2 days after the Surgery.   I am now almost recovered and looking back to getting back to work and getting those slackers back in line like any good NCO in charge.

Semper Fi
Jack Pfaller

These Youngsters

Sgt Grit, why do I always have to try and educate these youngsters? Tell Ron Morneault "Breaking starch" that Marines don't wear pants! Women and sailors wear pants; men and Marines wear trousers! Also, if Bob Hughes actually was at the Chosin in 1953-4 as he says ("...13 month tour of duty in the Frozen Chosin...") he was really in North Korea! I spent 13 months in Korea (1951-52) and it was cold! But I never got north of the 38th parallel. I always enjoy your newsletter, but from time to time have to straighten out these boots!

James Murphy (1951-1971) 1164618/060665/1302 (plus a lot of other MOSs)

Nose Down

I was with BLT 1/5, before we established Hill 54 we were assigned to set up a perimeter around the base at Chu Lai. No too bad....

However, I do remember one day watching as two heavily laden F-4's were taking off, the first one did great, the second one had a flame- out on both engines. We watched as both pilots ejected just as the aircraft started to nose down. One h-ll of a big bang when the plane hit.

What do you remember about personal 'call signs' of Grunts in the field? We all had call signs, some we could use over the net and some we couldn't cause brass at the top knew who we/they were.

Thanks to you & Sgt Grit & all Marines who served, both in peace & war.

Just remember Marines, we are The Few, The Proud 'and happiness is a belt fed weapon'

'the uglystck'
BLT1/5 RVN '65/'66
Corporal of Marines

Raised An Eyebrow

In the previous century, in the days of Quonset Huts and M-14's and Robert Strange McNamara's accursed sateen utilities, I was proudly wearing the black fair leather belt of the Platoon Commander, (also otherwise known as the Senior Drill Instructor) and was, so far I as I know, one of only two SGT Platoon Commanders on the entire Depot (San Diego) at the time....the other being one 'Frog' Martin, whose top ribbon read "continued on the other side"... broken time after Korea, etc.

We periodically were reminded that "there will be NO 'personal servitude' by any recruit"....which, at the time, in L Company, meant assigned house mouse's.....of course, every platoon in the series had two or three, with varying duties... changing linen on the duty DI's rack, running coffee, etc.

It was time for the 7th week inspection, to be held by the Company this case, Captain Powell....a Mustang. The house mice were two feather merchants who knew they had it made, and their positions were both at the small end of the first squad. The inspection went well, and as I proceeded the Captain down the line of fourteen scrubbed (brush and Fels-Naptha soap) faces, one of the questions he asked of each and every recruit in the front rank was "Who are the house mouse's in this platoon?".....and fourteen times, he heard 'Sir? house mouse, Sir? the Private doesn't understand the question, sir'... including from the two very maggots he was searching for.

As has been the custom since inspections were invented, the inspecting officer, his note-taker, and I circled the platoon, coming back to the front, where Capt Powell bade me have the platoon stand at ease while he gave me his impressions of the platoon, the things he liked, and the things he thought needed additional work... all very professional, in a slightly relaxed way... and when he was done, raising his voice just slightly, he said "Sgt Dickerson, I've got a couple of footlockers in the trunk of my car that need to be carried into the Company Office... I need the house mice out here."

KaPow!... two sets of heels came together, two rifles moved smartly to port arms, and... two hice mice stepped off smartly, left foot first...

Capt Powell just looked at me, raised an eyebrow, and said 'Ummm-hummm'... I never heard another word about it...


In November 1988 I had the occasion to have breakfast at the Commandants Residence with 9 other MCL members, I was introduced to Commandant Gray as RAMBO..the nickname given to me by 56 Marines in the MCL, when he shook my hand I thought he was going to break my knuckles. The ten of the General and his wife were eating sconces and drinking coffee...the 10 of us drank out of regular mess hall coffee cups, the design had not changed in 20 years, I know because I was a Marine Cook... the General and his wife... he referred to her as the "Boss" drank their coffee out of canteen cups... of course his had 4 Stars on it...a few months after that in Dallas the MCL National Convention, the General... came up and slapped me on the back and said something to the effect "How ya doin RAMBO"...with that, he brightened my whole year by remembering "lil ole me".

Mark "RAMBO" Gallant
chu lai ' 68

Flag Line

Marine Bulldogs Gunny Moose and PFC Bambi These are my 2 Marines Gunny Moose and PFC Bambi ready to stand in the flag line to welcome home some of the troops in New Hampshire.


Regret For Not

I read Cpl Wayne Parker's story, on his duty as burial escort. As I read his story, my eyeballs started to sweat. He is one fine Marine, and I salute him. Like a Navy Corpsman,---Cpl. Wayne Parker could never pay for a beer while in my company. His story really tugged at my heart.

Back in 65 I had just lost one of my closest Marine buddies, Cpl. Jim Vavruska.

For a few weeks, he had complained about tremendous headaches, and died shortly after, from a brain tumor. At his wake, he was in his casket wearing his dress greens, complete with large flesh colored skull bandage, from the failed brain operation.

My outfit, was then asking for volunteers for funeral Honor Guards.

I wanted to,---but I knew that emotionally I sure wasn't a good candidate.

I've always had regret for not stepping up, but I knew myself well enough, that I sure wasn't ready for that very somber duty..

I often recall that I wanted to, but I just couldn't do it. Today, in the winter of my life, I am the Chaplain for my Marine Corps League Detachment. In a small way I am trying to make up for not volunteering back then---when I was needed.

Of all the hurts in life, the ones that hurt the most, are deeds undone, and words unsaid, at gravesite.

Semper Fi
Cpl. Fred Stupp


In 1957, as a second lieutenant, my platoon received the first Ontos to join the Second Marine Division. We were proud of our vehicles, but also detected some limitations. I saw pictures of Ontos being used early on in Vietnam, but have not seen or heard of them since. I would appreciate information as to how Ontos performed in Vietnam. It seems to now be retired. Has it been replaced and why?

1st Lt. Martin Richard Asher

A Little Reminder

To All My Marine Brothers and Sisters; Just a little reminder of how much we are all Truly blessed to have been fortunate enough in this life to have been a part of the finest Military Brotherhood this Planet has ever known!

The United States Marine Corps This is something we will take with us to the great beyond! May Almighty God Bless you and keep you!


Cpl. Charles E. Morgan 2371997
3rd Marine Division, Northern I Corps, Republic of Vietnam 1968-69
(Still lost somewhere along the DMZ)


"I can never again see a UNITED STATES MARINE without experiencing a feeling of reverence."

"Without liberty, law loses its nature and its name, and becomes oppression."
--James Wilson

"I should consider the speeches of Livy, Sallust, and Tacitus, as preeminent specimens of logic, taste and that sententious brevity which, using not a word to spare, leaves not a moment for inattention to the hearer. Amplification is the vice of modern oratory."
--Thomas Jefferson

I came upon this "quote" by Benjamin Franklin years ago.

"There are only three things in life you can call a friend: an old wife, an old dog, and ready cash"

How true that is today!

submitted by:
Jack Strumpf (former Marine 1953-57)
Semper Fi

"Only the dead have seen the end of war."
Semper Fi, Jeff ..... "The more MARINES I have around the better I like it!"

Short Rounds

For the last time, Anyone who has served in the United States Military & received a Honorable Discharge no matter where the served or what the did or how long they served are considered a Military Veteran. As for benefits, all are entitled to some. Reservist do not have to be called to active duty. Your info is wrong.

L/Cpl 59-65

Enjoyed your comments about Gen Georgie Patton, he really wanted to be a Marine! When he was ordered to apologize to the troops for his lousy behavior in slapping a G.I. The troops were ordered NOT TO WEAR THEIR SIDEARMS. While they were in formation to hear his apology! Never would have happened in MY CORPS...Semper Fidelis.

John V

This email is in reply to CPL Wayne Parker's last letter from the 8/18 newsletter. Wayne, you are the epitome of a selfless Marine who exudes class, honor and respect. Your letter and actions are exactly what drew me to become a Marine when I enlisted. Job well done. I am sure I speak for all of us who read this newsletter, serve and have served - Your actions will never be forgotten by those families and your brother Marines. Though not much, I hope that soothes some of your pain. Semper Fi Brother.

CPL Matt Callaghan

Sgt. Grit, hope I'm not too late to get in on the Call Sign recognition. I was trained as an 0351 anti-tank assault man but carried a Prick 25 in Vietnam in first half of '71 in a Combined Action Platoon. 2nd CAG - CAP 246. Our call sign was Creditor 6 [Creditor being the call sign for our 4th CACO HQ {Company}].

Not exactly a very fierce and warrior-like call sign, but it got the job done. Thanks, Ed Thueme 70-72

Don't know if it is commonly known but one member of the family that produces Tabasco Sauce is a Marine Brig. General. Learned this when I visited my sons who were attending the Marine Academy in Harlingen, Texas and saw all of the Tabasco Sauce on the tables. Asked about that and was told that the family sent the sauce to the academy.

Cliff Jobes

I would echo Sgt Maj J. E. Bock’s sentiments this way, "USMC" on the name tape worked for all that came before us. It should work for all that serve now and in the future. "If it ain’t broke, DON’T FIX IT"

F F DeRoma
Sgt 66-69

The USS Sanctuary is on her way to the scrap pile. She is now under tow from Baltimore Maryland to Brownsville Texas. Efforts to find a new use for her failed and she will now be cut up for scrap.

Semper Fi
Bill Shirley

Found this to be interesting.

Officers in the Army are not Soldiers
Officers in the Navy are not Sailors
Officers in the Air Force are not Airmen
But- Officers in the Marine Corps are Marines

Cpl. Page & Sgt Drea, RVN, 65 /66

Reputation And Image

Here's an illustration of the reputation and image that Marines continue to hold with the American people. I originally enlisted in 1989, served four years in the infantry with Rifle Security Co. Leeward in GTMO, then Wpns. Co. 3/6. Took my discharge and spent the next decade doing my best to carve out my little piece of the American dream. Then 9/11. Then Iraq. I saw my fellow Marines in harm's way and although I was 35 by then, which is downright elderly in the infantry, I re-enlisted, this time with a Reserve grunt battalion. I was hardly alone. Before, during and after my deployment, I regularly ran into "mature" prior service members who heard the drum beat, realized they still had a little left in the tank and volunteered to serve once again. However, whenever I ran into civilians, they couldn't fathom my decision. After all, I had a wife, three kids and a steady job, why put all of that in jeopardy ? At first, I would try and give a detailed, nuanced explanation for my decision. Invariably they would shake their heads and keep pumping me with questions, still not comprehending my decision.

After a while, I got fed up with the interrogations. The next time someone asked me about my decision to volunteer to fight in what was by then an unpopular and "un-winnable" war, I looked at them right in the eye and stated, "Because that's what Marines do." Instantly the questions stopped and they nodded their heads in understanding. There might be a lot of American institutions that no longer resonate with the public, but your average citizen still has a very clear image of the Marines: We fight. Period. No equivocations, no excuses, no exceptions. We do the dirty work that no one else wants to do. I take no personal pride in this reputation, I merely consider myself one of many caretakers of a tradition that was started over 235 years ago.

P.S. Our battalion AO was Fallujah, and I can state that the elephant was alive and well in that city. Also, thanks to all the Nam vets who shook our hands and said "welcome home". You got shafted, but still kept the faith, brothers. I will never forget that. Semper Fi, former Sgt. Tony Winkler

Frozen Chosin

Platoon 181 - MCRD Parris Island, October 27th 1948 Yo Grit --
I'd like to send a shout-out to all the jar-heads in the photo.

If any of you are still alive and remember me, Arnie Hansen, in the fourth row on the extreme left, I wouldn't mind hearing from you.

Also, as a collage artist I'm working on piece about the Inchon landing and the Frozen Chosin, and I need any action photos. No posed stuff please. Thanks and Semper Fidelis!

Arnold (Arnie) Hansen 1088948 1948-52 S/Sgt

"A man is not dead until he's forgotten."

Sgt. Dakota Myers MH Award

Let me start with the punch line. In case you have not read the official description of the reason for Sgt. Dakota Myers CMH Award, please do here:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the repeated risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a member of Marine Embedded Training Team 2-8, Regional Corps Advisory Command 3-7, in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on 8 September 2009. When the forward element of his combat team began to be hit by intense fire from roughly 50 Taliban insurgents dug-in and concealed on the slopes above Ganjgal village, Corporal Meyer mounted a gun-truck, enlisted a fellow Marine to drive, and raced to attack the ambushers and aid the trapped Marines and Afghan soldiers.

During a six hour fire fight, Corporal Meyer single-handedly turned the tide of the battle, saved 36 Marines and soldiers and recovered the bodies of his fallen brothers. Four separate times he fought the kilometer up into the heart of a deadly U-shaped ambush. During the fight he killed at least eight Taliban, personally evacuated 12 friendly wounded, and provided cover for another 24 Marines and soldiers to escape likely death at the hands of a numerically superior and determined foe. On his first foray his lone vehicle drew machine gun, mortar, rocket grenade and small arms fire while he rescued five wounded soldiers.

His second attack disrupted the enemy’s ambush and he evacuated four more wounded Marines. Switching to another gun-truck because his was too damaged they again sped in for a third time, and as turret gunner killed several Taliban attackers at point blank range and suppressed enemy fire so 24 Marines and soldiers could break-out. Despite being wounded, he made a fourth attack with three others to search for missing team members. Nearly surrounded and under heavy fire he dismounted the vehicle and searched house to house to recover the bodies of his fallen team members. By his extraordinary heroism, presence of mind amidst chaos and death, and unselfish devotion to his comrades in the face of great danger, Corporal Meyer reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service."

Time and circumstances provide the opportunity for Marines to be heroes. We have far too many Marines in far too many conflicts who have paid the ultimate price for all of us to take justifiable pride in our history and culture and far too many who continue to suffer from the effects of surviving. Sgt. Dakota Myers honors all of our fallen and suffering. For me, whose "timing" permitted emerging unscathed, I find myself humbled, inspired, and once again honored to be a Marine. God Bless ALL Marines for being who you are.


Donald F. Cuniff, Ed.D.
SGT USMC 1959-1964

Made An Impression

Reading this week's edition I remembered to when I was stationed at Montford Point outside of Camp Lejeune in the spring of 1976. One day I saw an old leather faced Marine wearing khakis as they were still being phased out to be replaced by the tropical trousers...I noticed he was wearing a rank insignia that was not covered in my Red Monster or my Guidebook for Marines. It was a Warrant Officer Bar on one collar and a Master Gunny Chevron on the other. Next morning after Formation I told the Company Gunny about it and asked what was that rank and did he rate a hand salute?

He told me," That's a genuine Gunner Boy! You bet that man rates a hand salute!" He went on to explain Gunners to me from the Old Corps. Next time I saw the old Gunner I snapped to and saluted him. With a scowl on his face he returned my salute ad went on his merry way.

Soon my training there was finished and I returned to Main Side. That was the one and only time I saw a Gunner but it made an impression on me that lasts to this day.

Semper Fidelis
FJ Breck, Corporal ,1976-1980

It Eats Me

Sgt. Grit,

I'm sure every Marine short or Chesty Puller or Dan Daley question their right to be called Marine with the best of them. Maybe not, maybe I'm the only one or part of a few who feel we just didn't do enough to really be Marines. I spent 8 years on active duty during the lean times, I always did what was ask of me and usually more. It was 79 to 89, nothing much happened. Grenada, Panama and don't forget Beirut. My nephew was there, that made me feel real good. I always stepped up to the plate but never got sent into harm's way. I know I would have gone, without question but it wasn't meant to be. Since I left the Corps the world has been erupting like my gut after a bad plate of Mexican food. Should have stayed.

I started with 3118 in San Diego 28DEC79. Went on to NAS Memphis then to FMFPAC VMO-2 as a 6336.From there to the east coast, SOES, was a Marine Wet Crewman on CH-46A's flying SAR in Cherry Point, N.C. Left Dec. 83 and came back Oct. 85 to HMH-465 in SOCAL.

Avionics was always my trade but went on to be a CH-53E crew chief and door gunner.

I always did what was ask of me and so much more. Always rising to the challenges that came my way and then some. Never saw combat and feel that is the defining moment of my 8 years in the Corps. Marine SAR swimmer, air crew, CH-53E crew chief, door gunner. CDI, Sgt. etc, all for nothing.

Is it just me? Most of the time I feel empty, knowing I gave, but not quite enough. It eats me up like a cancer.

Semper Fi,
Remo Williams
Sgt of Marines

Nothing But Respect

Hey, Sgt. Grit,
From your latest newsletter:

‘In David Johnson's story he made mention of a fact that makes some of us mad. He said, and I quote; "Marines who did their duty through a Dark and Difficult time in Our Nation's History."’

Apparently, he took "dark and difficult time" to mean the entire Vietnam War. If you read my comments closely, you can see that I didn’t mean the Vietnam War, but our pullout from Vietnam. From my original words: "Marines who did their duty through a dark and difficult time in our Nation's history, Operation Frequent Wind." It seems that the last three words were missed. I certainly meant no disrespect for any Vietnam veterans – in fact, I think a reasonable person would say that I meant just the opposite. I can’t imagine any American’s morale was great during those last days in Vietnam and the situation was certainly chaotic, and yet Marines did their duty as assigned and as good Marines always do.

I’m sorry if Gunny Rousseau took offense at my words, but I believe he misread them. I have nothing but respect and admiration for every American who served honorably in Vietnam. However, I do think that our pullout from that war was indeed a "dark and difficult time in our Nation’s history", but the fault for that most certainly lies well outside anyone in the United States Marine Corps. I urge folks reading this to reread my words and not forget the original point, which was the kindness and professionalism of Marines in what was indeed a difficult time. Both sides of "No greater friend, no worse enemy" were demonstrated in that war.

Semper Fi,
David Johnson

If You Want to Be

I was recently reading "American Courage" #254 in which Mr. Robert Rainey had this to say about Navy Corpsman who wear the EGA ....."I know I am going to offend someone in my next comment but it really isn't my intention. I have the utmost respect for Navy Corpsman and Navy Combat Engineers but they are Navy. Life is all about choices and we live with the choices we make. I never once regretted being a Marine and I certainly would never have worn a service emblem from another branch. I am proud to wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor. If you want to be a Marine then, By God, do what it takes to become a Marine." My first thought is that this Marine has not served in an Infantry Company, because any Mariner that HAS sees day in and day out that Corpsman do EVERYTHING that the Marines do....Go on Patrols in Iraq and Afghanistan, get shot at, go days without sleep... but because they didn’t go to Parris Island for three months during peacetime they cannot wear the EGA???? Tell that to the family of a Corpsman who died on the battlefield, that their love one who died right next to a Marine while trying to patch him up after being wounded, tell them that he did not deserve to wear the EGA. I know that as Marines we take earning the title seriously, but let's not go too far with this......


Small World

Still serving proud in the civilian community.

I enlisted in the Marine Corps in October of 1980 and graduated from boot camp at Parris Island S.C. in January of 1981. After boot camp and a short tour at 2nd Tank Bn 2nd Marine Division Camp Lejeune, I spent a year tour in Okinawa Japan. In 1983, I was assigned to H&S Bn, 2d FSSG Camp Lejeune as a Motor Transport Operator. Within the first six months, I was assigned to guard duty in the French Creek area. I checked in and reported to the Assistant Guard Chief where I was given my post and time to be standing by to assume my duties. Nineteen years later I retired from the Marine Corps as a MSgt. I am now in the civilian community serving as the first Community Restitution Coordinator for the St. Charles, Il Police Dept. I supervise defendants assigned from the courts to perform service hours in the community.

As I was walking up and down the passageways at the Police Department, I was thinking about how I was going to get this new program off the ground. I was also trying to learn the faces of the officers from pictures hanging on the bulkheads. I walked by these pictures many times trying to put faces to names and vice versa. One picture in general gained my attention, as I have seen this person somewhere before. As time went by, the faces became more familiar to me except for that one. I could not put my finger on it.

Three months later I attended a police memorial at the Police Department. The OIC of the police detail was out in front of the platoon, doing his regular barking of orders, "attention, dress right dress and report". I was even more curious because the voice sounded familiar. I didn’t know anything about this officer, or if he ever even served in the Corps. I approached another officer, Sgt Steve Huffman who was also a former Marine. We started talking about the memorial and how well everything was put together and the professionalism of the officer in charge of the platoon. I recall asking him if this person ever had a brother or relative in the Corps because he sure looked familiar. He then told me that the OIC had served in the Corps as an MP and a Recruiter and had served for eight years.

Now I was even more anxious for the memorial to conclude because I could not wait to talk with the former Devil Dog. I walked up to him, congratulated him on a job well done and said "I understand you served in the Corps". He stated (with a whole lot of pride), " Yes I did and who the h-ll are you" Spoken like a true jar head. As I said before, we had never met. I told him my name as did he, and that I just retired from the Corps three years earlier. I told him that he looked familiar, but I just could not place him. I started asking him the usual questions; "how long were you in, were you officer or enlisted, where were you stationed?" just to mention a few. He answered all of the above questions and when he said that he was assigned to H&S Battalion 2d FSSG at CLNC in the 80’s it all started to click.

As it turns out, we were in the same Battalion together, however he was assigned to MP Co and I was assigned to H&S Co. I later learned in our conversation that he was actually the Assistant Guard Chief that I had checked in with when I was assigned to guard duty. His name is Jerry Gatlin.

Jerry got out of the Marine Corps in 1990 as a SSgt and is now a Sgt here at the Police Department. His current billet is the Sgt in charge of Criminal Investigations. We have all since talked on a regular basis about the Marine Corps and enjoy sharing our experiences and stories of Marines we have served with. We have a total of seven former Marines here at the PD, MSgt Mike Greisbaum (Retired), Sgt’s Steve Huffman and Jerry Schomer, and Corporals Scott Coryell and Dan Kuttner. Hardly a day goes by that somewhere along the line you don’t hear "DEVIL DOG" in the passageways. The stories are awesome Sgt Grit keep them coming.

Daniel C Orland
MSgt USMC Ret.



Having read all of the posts in your last letter about Warrant Officers, I was reminded (fondly) of one of the best officers that I ever served under. His name was Gary O. Thompson. And I served under him during one of my tours on Okinawa, and kept in touch for with him for some time after that. Note the initials G.O.T. He was a "Mustanger", having reached the rank of SSgt before going through the Warrant Officer training program.

When I first served under him, he was a warrant officer, and insisted that we, who worked directly for him, call him "WOGOT" (Warrant Officer Gary O Thompson). This was pronounced with a "long" first "O" and a short second "O". When he later made Lt, we then called him "LITGOT". And when he made Captain, we called him "CAPGOT".

This privilege, of course, was only for those who had served with him since he was a Warrant Officer. He was not only our OIC, but also a good friend who had us over to his house often for Barbeques, parties, etc.

This tradition had to end, of course, when he made Major. None of us would have EVER even THOUGHT ABOUT calling him "MAGOT"!

Phil "Akabu" Coffman Sgt '72 - '82


Sgt Grit,

I went thru boot camp in San Diego from September to December 1974. One particular day I had a serious lapse of "attention to detail". As a result, I was sent to "Dirt". I am not going to give a long/drawn out explanation of what this is however, I will say I was close to calling it quits. I didn’t and I think I am a better man for it. As I recall, this event lasted most of the day. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced before... or since. To give one an idea of this event, physically it was like the beach scenes in the movie G.I Jane.

I just wanted to find out if any of your other readers had ever had the displeasure of being sent there.

Many thanks for your service,

Pat On The Back

Sgt Grit,

I want to thank SSgt Robert Hall and Sgt Jeffrey Howards:

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your respectful comments.

I do want to feel we are brothers and your posts are a pat on the back that I guess we reservists need once in awhile. (speaking for myself of course).

Thanks again.
Semper Fi

Cpl Bob Love

"Hey Sly, Semper Fi"

Sgt Grit:

In a past news letter, I read how others responded to " Semper Fi ", when the salutation was addressed to them.

This happened to me while watching the St Patrick's Day parade last March. I was sitting along the parade route with two of my grand kids. I was wearing a bright red cover I purchased from Sgt Grit. In large gold letters was printed USMC.

This was at the time when the two remaining candidates were running for mayor of Kansas City Mo.

One of these guys, a well spoken attorney and former active duty Marine, was riding in the parade. His name is Sly James.

His convertible, with his family riding with him, stopped very near where I was sitting. I yelled to him " Hey Sly, Semper Fi".

When he saw my cover, he stood up in the convertible. He threw me a sharp salute.

In a voice that would have made any D.I. proud, he yelled back " Until the day I die "

I thought that was pretty cool coming from a politician.

He went on to win the election

Semper Fi

Sgt. Pat O’Connor 2531
Hdq. 2-11 1st Mar Div

Battle Jackets

My DI from PI is rolling over in his grave at all these comments about Marines wearing "Ike Jackets". Parris Island Plt 296 (Sep-Dec 1956) we were issued "Battle Jackets" that looked nothing like the "Ike Jackets" the Doggies wore. I have never hear them called anything else during the 24 years I served. Also in boot camp we hung our clothes on the line to dry using "tie-ties".

On the subject of addressing Warrant Officers, a common term used for most Warrant Officers was "Gunner" even through only a few were actually designated. I didn't object to being addressed by that term but I was very careful not to use it myself as I was not designated.

CWO-4 M.A. Oakes USMC retired

At Its Finest

To Cpl Wayne R. Parker (April 1966): Your account of service as a burial escort was one of the most profoundly touching stories I have ever read. Your actions required a different kind of courage that exemplifies the brotherhood of the Marine Corps at its finest. While it has obviously had a lasting effect on you, I hope it brings you some peace to know that your fellow Marines and the families you served are forever grateful for your service. God Bless you and Semper Fi.

John Nihen
LCpl 1975-1978

"Gimme a huss"

"Rise and shine, it's Grunt time".

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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