Sgt Grit Newsletter - 27 JAN 2011

In this issue:
• Old Corps Photos
• More on Gomer Pyle
• Support for Gen. Gray

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Old Parris Island, 1924... I purchased this at an antique mall in Iowa a few months back. Note the two story wooden barracks.

Jim Grimes former Sgt 2621392

In This Issue

The picture above from 1924 shows that the more things change the more they stay the same. Marines outside their living quarters taking a group picture. It's a shame there is not a group picture of the first recruits at Tun Tavern. Sgt Conrad eloquently discusses the unavoidable use of "substandard substances".

Whoda thought we'd get this much traction outa Gomer Pyle, more below. Several Airwing stories, keep them coming. More support for General Gray. I saw a 60 Minute segment on him over 20 years ago and have been a fan ever since. And some interesting answers to the service number question from last week. How about some Amtrak stories and pictures.

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

Substandard Substance

Semper Fi, Recruit. Greetings from the Old Corps.

A couple grins for your perusal. and hopefully, dissemination.

I have a tattoo, acquired illegally in Hong Kong, circa 1962. My squad mates and I were on liberty and accidentally ingested some sort of poisonous liquid, which affected our judgment and coordination. While thus diseased, we wound up in a Chinese tattoo parlor, whose owner took advantage of our drunken condition and sold us on the glory of nice new tattoos. I purchased one that was magnificent. Also large. It was an eagle that covered my whole chest. Wings stretched from one shoulder to the other. Lovely colors. Good details.
Pride of my young life.

Alas, the Chinese are sometimes tricky, and substandard ink users. Dadgum thing faded and faded. It has now faded to such an extent that all one can see of it anymore is ( here I lift up my shirt, exposing my elderly, pogey bait distended navel) the eagles but-hole.
Not everyone laughs

Another long weekend, again somewhat fogged over by substandard beverages, I awakened in the base infirmary, thoroughly bandaged, casted, and tubed up. We were at peace at the time, and I could not for the life of me figure out how I got there. My memory was fuzzy. I remember we went to town, but not much else.

Later in the day, two of my squad leaders showed up, and I asked them what the ----heck happened to me.

Sawicki said "Don't you remember betting those guys from first platoon that you could fly out the third story window, fly around the building and fly back in?

"No------So how come you guys didn't stop me?"

"Stop you! H-ll, Sgt., we bet'em 100 bucks you could do it."

You have my permission to use these obviously true tales, for the future edification of other young Marines, lest they also go astray.

Shoot straight
Shoot often
Don't flinch

Conrad, J. S. , Sgt
1953979 1961-1972

P.S. The twenty ninth of this month is the 50th anniversary of my arrival on the yellow footprints at San Diego MCRD Platoon 210. Guest of the ever pleasant Sgt's Roe, Tedders and Price. My thanks to those three fine warriors.

Today in Marine Corps History

Jan. 27, 1837: U.S. soldiers and Marines under the command of Col. Archibald Henderson - a serving Marine Corps commandant - defeat a force of Seminole Indians in the running battle of Hatchee-Lustee Creek (Florida). For his actions, Henderson will receive a brevet promotion to brigadier general, becoming the Corps' first general officer.

Known to every Marine since as "the grand old man of the Marine Corps," Henderson was the longest-serving commandant in Marine Corps history (becoming commandant in 1820 when he was a lieutenant colonel and serving for the next 38 years). Prior to departing Headquarters Marine Corps for the journey south, Henderson purportedly tacked a note to his door which read: "Gone to Florida to fight the Indians. Will be back when the war is over."

Over The Arm

Sgt. Grit, last month my brother-in-law, retired Navy CPO Don DiRienzo, passed away. Before he passed, he mentioned that his father was a Marine back in the 20's and 30's, and had fought in the Banana Wars in Nicaragua and elsewhere. After his discharge he became very active in the Marine Corps League. The enclosed picture of his MCL detachment, the Theodore Roosevelt Detachment in Boston, taken in the 1930's, shows some Old-Old Corps Marines. Sgt. Michael DiRienzo is second from left, front row.

Note the man on his left wears the Fourragere over the arm, signifying that he was actually at Belleau Wood when the French awarded it. The rule is, over the arm, you were there. Under the arm, you are authorized to wear it, but were not there. I have been trying to research Sgt. DiRienzo, but have been unsuccessful. I was informed that the detachment does not exist anymore. Anyone knowing anything about him or the detachment is asked to contact me here, through Sgt. Grit.

Semper Fi Paul Lindner Cpl. 1959-1963

Two Digit Midget

This is one of my buds and me who got to Hill 327 when I was a two digit midget! And John was also with the Comm. Unit. I look a little different now but only 2 inches more on the waist line.

Semper Fi

One Of A Kind

Sgt. Grit,

Just wanted to submit this pic of my latest creation.

I purchased this Tie Tac in the PX at Parris Island in 1967. My mother passed away and she gave me her diamond Ring that she wore for years. I got the idea of using the Diamond for a better purpose. I drilled out the Globe of our Beloved Emblem and glued in the diamond.

It sure turns some heads as it glows like it's on fire. The picture doesn't do it justice. I am really proud of it. Everyone wants to buy one and my reply is that, This is one of a kind just like the Corps. Civilians don't get it and they never will.

"Semper Fidelis"
MSgt. Dicik Bowers, USMC Ret'd.

Tail Sticking Out

I read the story in the Jan. 13 issue about the UH34D resupply of the Rock Pile in Oct. of 1966. The number on the tail looks like number 6. I was flight crew on the number 6 during Oct. of 1966 with HMM161 based at Hue Phu Bai. That might be me in the door of the plane since there were only two us who flew with the number 6 and we were both on the plane.

I can remember several times resupplying the Rock Pile. We could only get one wheel on a small platform with our tail sticking over the side of the mountain, and the wind blowing over the top made it difficult to stay there very long. Here is a picture of the number 6 on the flight line at Phu Bai.

Thanks, T L Smith

Line Shack

I served from 09-1965 to 05-1969 from Memphis to Yuma and Iwakuni to Chu Lai and back to Cherry Point Jet engine mechanic but worked most of my time on flight line with TF-9J/A-4/TA-4F Line shack VMA-223 Chu Lai RVN 1969

Short Rounds

Sgt. Grit,
Please inform Jack T. Jackson, that only the President of the United States may order the Flag of the United States to be flown at half mast. A Governor of any State or Mayor of a City, may also issue such an order but, only on the passing of an elected official.
G. D. Gajewski USMC 1527153 Sgt.

Sgt Grit
Just a word on the flag flown at Kwajalein, the flag is never flown at half mast it is flown at half staff, nor is the line that is used to raise and lower the flag a rope as I had pointed out to me very forcefully by an Officer of the day one time in 1942.
Harold Robertson Cpl 341585

My name is Sgt. Bobby Pierce I was with the 3rd Bat. 5th MARINE REG. WPNS CO. Made the far East tour Japan, Okinawa, Korea, Philippines. I was in 1955 till 1958 Mos. was 0341 4.2 Heavy Mortars. Went thru MCRD San Diego came out with the HONAR PLATOON SSGT. Washington was my D.I. I replaced the Returning Korea Vets.

I love All My MARINES wish I could be with them now. I feel that all my training was wasted. I did not get the chance to take out any "G--S" or "CHARLIES" or "J-PS" My brother and cousins all earned battle STARS. Anyway GOD BLESS all of OUR TROOPS.


I'll take Gen. Amos' edict one step further, I am a Marine authorized to wear civies 24/7!
Ron Morse (Sgt. 0311 USMC 69-74)

"The price of Freedom is the willingness to sudden battle; Anywhere, Anytime, and with utter recklessness."
--Robert A. Heinlein

I have carried this around in my head and my heart for over 40 years. It fits with the 'one mind, any weapon' Marine attitude.

Semper Fi
Cpl "D"
RVM 67-68

I can remember a drumming out of the Marine Corps at Marine Barracks Norfolk Naval Base during 1962. I was the driver for Radm MFD Flaherty COMCRULANT. I'm a retired GySgt.
Semper Fi
James L. Mraz

Good Afternoon SGT Grit was reading again the Treasures from MARINES past the one who called himself Cpl Van C Pasey bragging about killing people while in Vietnam sounds like someone who never was there [go to Barnes and Nobel's to buy books for one of my nieces will try to find out which store it was

Ruben B Scott Echo 2nd BN 9th MARINES Sep 67 --Oct 68
8Apr69 WIA 23Apr69 MediVaced out of country

Dear Sgt Grit,
In response to SSgt. J W Fraizer comment about Ribbon Creek only being "waist deep". I was at PI in Oct.1958 (Plt 315) and when we were there it was chin deep with a nasty current. With all respect to rank, it seems to me that he should have a better grasp of tides. The DI who marched his Plt with full packs (in the dark) under those conditions was a "sh-t bird", and I'm sure that fact will be with him to the grave.
Once a Marine always a Marine,
71 year old, Cpl. W W McFarland

In Memory

In Memory of Sgt. William W. Blackwell, received a call from his daughter this morning. Sunday Jan.16,2011 he passed away.

Bill and I served together in 3rd Bn., 6th Marines as Battalion Scouts. We haven't seen each other in 44 years, were getting together this spring. My prayers to you and your family.

Semper Fi
Jim Wood

Pyle, Pyle, Pyle

Sgt Grit,

Comments recently made by others about Gomer Pyle started the old brain housing group into motion. During the first week at MCRDSD in 1968, we were standing in one of the many endless lines. Don't recall why we were in line, but believe it may have been for shots. While standing next to a grey wood planked building that we were to enter, a few remarks that other recruits had written on that wall got my attention.

I was trying my best to be inconspicuous and read them out of the corner of my eye. Still don't know how others got away with writing some of the comments. They were the typical "Sal, Brooklyn, 68" comments and sayings, but one caught my attention and I started laughing out loud. Of course, anyone that has stood on the yellow footprints understands, you don't laugh in boot camp. At least not by yourself.

My laughter got the attention of Staff Sgt Bengen. After a number of crude expletives and a couple of shots to the mid section it was over. To this day it was worth the punishment. I still chuckle to myself when I think of it, I just don't laugh out loud. The comment simply said, "Gomer says Hey."

Ken VanHooser
Platoon 3088
9/68 - 12/68

I graduated from the 1st Recruit Bn. at Parris Island in Summer, '64. Our wooden barracks were next to the swamp, a symbol of the isolation we felt, when we had the time.

In 1965, I was a student at the Electronics School Battalion when it was at MCRD, San Diego. The town occupies the hillside that overlooks the base. I can believe our MCRD-SD brothers, that seeing the lights in the windows at night would also be a poignant reminder of separation from society.

One sunny day, trying to cross the San Diego "grinder", we were redirected around the end near the base HQ. The rest of the grinder was closed off and we could see a platoon of soon-to- graduate "boots" marching away from us. They were a long way off, but the sound carried across the flat asphalt and echoed off the colonnaded sidewalks, so we could hear the D.I.'s cadence and the boot steps clearly.

We could also hear one D.I. harassing a recruit who (unthinkably) wasn't in step. Strangely, the D.I. was short and there was a truck with equipment on it shadowing the platoon. Later, we learned they were reshooting the "Gomer Pyle, USMC" opening scene for broadcast in living color.

Seeing that scene on TV, years later and when someone was around, I would point out the base theater, in the far distance, but the camera and marchers were only in the middle of that immense "grinder".

The Electronics Bn. Quonset huts and classrooms were at the end of the runway for San Diego's International Airport, Lindbergh Field. The roar and vibration of jets taking-off, and landing, like clockwork, all day, every day became a fact of life. Conversations and meals were momentarily interrupted, then continued, as if nothing happened. We learned to ignore them. Just as we learned to ignore PI's bugs, heat and humidity. Both were good preparation for later.

Keep up the good work with the newsletter. It's giving the brothers a voice. They are opinionated, a right they earned. I enjoy my items from the catalog too.

Semper Fi,
Ralph Dumovic, 2/5

Retired Major (LDO) Dick Dickerson. The 1st part of your story about Jim Nabors and the Gomer Pyle show I cannot dispute but I will say as fact that the next time you are in your "mommy's basement..." see if she has any of the many 33 1/3 records recorded by Jim Nabors. If she doesn't I'm sure they are available on several web sites. You might start with the Jim Nabor's site. I'm not qualified to say his voice was of "opera" quality but he had a baritone voice that could hold its own with most anyone. FYI

Rick Leach
CWO-3 Retired.


I can commiserate with SSG Mike England about his attempts to visit K-Bay last November. I was assigned to the Station Operations and Maintenance Squadron (SOMS) from 74-77 and finally made it back to Hawaii and K-Bay while on a business trip in 2008. I retired in '93 so I was able to show my ID and gain access to the Base. The Base has changed so much - new streets built, old street gone - that I literally got lost trying to find our old buildings, which by the way, once located were now a pile of rubble. New streets, new barracks, all new housing, gorgeous PX and Commissary complex (Hey Mike, remember the old Quonset hut Commissary that was down near the airfield? It's history now). Of course, all my beloved F-4 Phantoms were long gone, replaced by rows of parked Navy P3s left over from when NAS Barbers Point closed. Sorry Mike, you shoulda clicked your heels together earlier. There's no place like home, there's no place like home.

Here's a couple of "wuz" and "is" shots of K-Bay for you from an old "Winger".

Jeff Howards

Twidgets, Raggies, Gomen Asai, Mickey Mouse Ears

Hey Sgt. Grit;

Just a few remembrances and thoughts about Marine aviation. I was a 6511, aviation ordnance man and we were sometimes referred to as "ordies" or "BB Stackers". Because much of our work involved manual lifting of bombs and other ordnance, we referred to ourselves as "The heavy end of the heavy haulers". Big biceps were a trademark. We worked with "Sidewinder" and "Shrike" and "Bullpup" missiles, "Mark 76 practice bombs, Mark 81, 82, 83 and 84 aircraft bombs with "Snake Eye" fins and "Daisy Cutter Fuses". Always most respectful when working around "Nape" as napalm was called. We loaded "twenty mike-mike" in our guns and "ZUNI" rockets on the wings.

Marine aviation of course was a part of Naval aviation so anything that went bad was just "the breaks of Naval Air". We encouraged each other with the Japanese words "Gomen Asai" which translates to "Sorry About That", or "That's a big Gomen"

Other MOS terms were, Aviation Electronics also known as Avionics were referred to as "Twidgets" and the guys on the flight line, plane captains etc. were called "raggies" due to their often disheveled and dirty utility uniforms. The "feather merchants", men of small stature and size, of all aviation skills were often called upon for intake inspection and work in the "h-ll hole" which were the tight, hot, confining spaces in the engine compartments of the aircraft. We were all classified as "wingwipers" and looked down upon by the "ground pounders" except when they needed "Close Air Support". Then, "On Time, On Target" was appreciated.

Ours was a world of engine noise, so "Mickey Mouse ears" were usually required for hearing protection. Our utility trousers were worn unbloused, because sometimes air wing guys were issued low quarter shoes instead of boots. We walked on Martson matting laid on the sand for quickly erected airfields, "Short Airfields for Tactical Support" or "SATS". We were always concerned with "Foreign Object Damage" and daily performed clean sweep walkdowns of the flight line area to police up "FOD" objects or trash which could be sucked into an aircraft engine. Anything trivial or worthless was considered "FOD". We picked up "anything that wasn't growing or painted Marine Corps Green".

Semper Fidelis,

Frank Everett

Expectation Of Getting

I graduated from Parris Island in October 1960, During that time I never witnessed a D.I. striking a maggot. (Note: the word, "recruit" was never used.

When speaking in the third person it was " SIR, private XXXXX requests permission to speak to the drill instructor, SIR"). All other times we were either maggots or some other endearing expression.

Anyway, back to the torture. There were a lot of physical challenges, PT, Drills on the grinder, rifle exercises,( my favorite: holding the M!, with arms extended, by the stacking swivel.). And there were mental challenges; Reporting to the DI's of neighboring platoons at the rifle range and requesting a "roll of firing line, or a "bucket of headspace". Then that DI telling you to go back and tell your DI that he is stupid. This could go on for an hour or more.

Oh, another one of my favorites during "inspect arms". If the rifle was found to be dirty, the DI would request that you place your thumb in the breach and then he would release the slide.

The closest thing I can recall that was torture or at the least un-fair was the day, sometime in my ninth week, that I received two boxes of fudge. One from my girlfriend and one from my Mother. I was requested to "center the hatch". After requesting permission to speak I was told to "enter". At that time I was presented with two boxes of fudge and told to count the pieces and divide by the number of days I had left on the Island. The count was six pieces. He then picked six of the largest pieces and told me to eat them, all six at one time. I was barely able to control the gag reflex. The DI told me I was to report back each evening for the six pieces of fudge. I reported back the next evening and there was no more fudge. The three DI's had eaten it all. The expectation of getting the fudge and finding out it was gone was really not fair. LOL

All in all I actually enjoyed my time in boot camp and nothing that I encountered would I consider as torture. The DI's have a job to do, and how they do it may save your life. So if you think your DI is too hard on you, he probably is, and for a good reason. So, suck it up and get with the program At that time in my life the "Corps" was the best and the most humbling experience that ever happened to me.

Sam Goody

No Uncertain Terms

I must be getting old, for the life of me I cannot understand why I did not post this when I came home from California in October 2010.

After many years my wife decided we were going to visit my sister and her husband in Anaheim, California. I had not been to California since I got back from Nam in 1966 on my way to Quantico, VA. She also planned all the spots we were going to visit and asked me if there was one place I wanted to see. I told her in no uncertain terms if we were going to Southern California we had go a little further south to San Diego and visit MCRD and watch a Recruit Graduation. The only one I ever saw, I was in and did not get to see much as I, along with all the other recruits were a little busy that day.

The Quonset Huts that I remember in 1963 were for the most part gone and new shiny two story barracks were there. The Grinder was newly prepared for this graduation and was as spotless as I can remember. Other than that all of the area around that area has not changed in 47 years. Told the "BOSS" (wife) we will be going back in 2013 for my 50th anniversary of graduation from Basic Training.

I realized that I was old when I saw the Drill Instructors, (Sgt.'s, Staff Sgt.'s & Gunnery Sgt.'s ) looking so young, Even the Sgt. Majors I saw had to be in their mid to late 30's and looked so young.

I did get to talk to a couple of Drill Instructors and really do not remember them to be that friendly. LOL

Attached are a few photos of MCRD

"Semper Fi"

Because You Went

These kinds of comments, when made, and particularly made, by commandants, still frost me. " You will always be a Marine because you went to Parris Island, San Diego, or the hills of Quantico." Kind of leaves out the 8,000 or so Marines that didn't go to boot camp, but were trained, accepted, paid, wounded and killed, and stood alongside other Marines in the mess lines, combat outfits and wartime situations. Even the high ranking make mistakes, but should be more careful about making sure they include everyone that wore the uniform and served ...

Chuck Tucker S/Sgt. USMCR., 1109343

My Son

Sgt. Grit,
I love receiving your newsletter each month. My son graduated from boot camp in September, and is now at school in Pensacola, while he was home over the holidays we got some tattoos together, thought I would share what the artist (Loni Troupe in Phoenix AZ) came up with. Thanks for all the great stories/memories that you provide each month.

Proud USMC Father of
PFC Nick Shikany
6/2010 -

Things A Pilot Can't Use

Sgt Grit,

Let me start with the fact that I am a Naval Aviator and the references will usually be nautical in nature. Many analogies in life are based on "old sayings" and that applies to aviation sayings as well. For example, you might want to make a point about useless things or superfluous occurrences, hence; "Three things a pilot can't use are (1) fuel he has burned, (2) runway that is behind him, and (3) sky above him when his engine quits." There are many more, but I think you can follow my drift.

Semper Fi,
Bill McCollough

General Gray

My name is MSgt DeTuncq (ret). I served with the General when I was SSgt on Oki and a MSgt at Div Hq, Camp Lejeune NC. A finer officer I have never met, and I have known some very fine Officers.

On Oki he established SNCO duty watch in the ville outside of Camp Hansen because of the unrest and he was the first in town on duty every night I was there. He was unrelenting in his concern for the individual Marine. There was a lot of the good the bad and ugly there and he thought a SNCO at every intersection in the heart of town would be a calming influence. It was!

At 2nd MarDiv Hq he was the CG and I was the Div CommChief at the time when the 8th Mar tragedy in Lebanon took place. He asked for volunteers from the individual states of the KIA's to visit their families, and express the condolences of the Marines and Sailors of the 2nd MARDIV. It was a heart breaking duty to do. I believe it was well received by most of the families. I went on more than one inspection tour with the General of the Marine Regt's at Lejeune. He always treated the individual Marine with dignity. He had a persona for the Marines and one for the public and never confused them.

You know the troops loved him, it showed in their attitude and on their faces when he was around, forever stopping and shooting the sh-t with SNCO's he knew and talking the grunts.

I don't know about the Omar Bradley thing but I would still pack up today and get in line if he asked.

MSgt DeTuncq (ret) 1959-1985

Service Numbers

Ahoy SGT Grit another very outstanding SGT Grit News in response to Mr Wayne Mailhiot's question about serial numbers. From what I have read about them is the MARINE CORPS did not issue them until 1920 and the first number was 20000.

When I was stationed with 1st Guard Co. at NOB Rodman CZ in 1951 we had a MSGT whose SN# just had 5 digits. He was a MARINE who had served in the Banana Wars. Also there was no such thing as the MARINES using a dead MARINE'S serial number to be recycled. That story was going around when I was with EASY Co. 9th MARINES in 1956 a SSGT accused me of having a dead MARINE'S number because mine was a lot smaller than his

R B Scott

Sgt. Grit:

In response to a question posed by a Wayne Mailhoit, in the News Letter of Jan. 19, 2011 he expressed interest in the assignment of service numbers to members of the Corps. This information can be found at the following URL :

The site does provide info for both Officer and Enlisted service numbers and their assignment during the various time frames (I.E. Years) I do believe that numbers were assigned in various bracket series to the respective District Headquarter Recruiting Services (DHRS). There are other interesting Data on this same site regarding the Marine Corps. Hopefully this will satisfy Mr. Mailhoit's question and possibly others.

Respectfully Submitted
Lou Simeon former Sgt. USMC
1948-1952 660565 DHRS Chicago IL.

Service numbers are a conundrum. In the 20Jan issue of American Courage, Mr. Wayne Mailhiot talks about the disparity in service number assignments during mid 1961 and makes the comment, "I can imagine that each recruiting district was issued blocks of numbers".

Blocks of service numbers, assigned to recruiting districts, is the explanation I heard and years accepted as fact. However, after checking the service numbers of my platoon, who all enlisted just one year later (June of 1962), I'm having second thoughts about that theory.

The service numbers in my boot camp platoon (MCRD San Diego - Platoon 145 - 28June to 18Sept 1962) ranged from Olson, Maurice D. 1964xxx to Potter, David E. 2026xxx, a span of 62,548 numbers. I think we can rule out sequential assignment since the chances of 62,548 new recruits joining the Corps in one month of 1962 are laughable.

23 members of my platoon had the coveted 19xxxxx service numbers.
55 members of my platoon had the boot 20xxxxx service numbers.

Jim Brauch tells me, he, Ashlock, Canonica and Sadler were on the same plane and under the same orders to MCRD. Their service numbers are almost totally sequential. 201xx02 - 201xx03 - 201xx04 and 201xx08. All four came from Washington State. However, Archie Curtis and Larry Hanson also came from Washington State and their services numbers are 199xx54 and 199xx56 which leads me to believe the numbers may have been assigned by recruiting office and not recruiting district. I have several other examples from my platoon that support this theory but I won't bore you by going into detail.

I hope someone comes up with a definitive answer for this question because it comes up frequently.

Wishing you a happy and profitable New Year.

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

Here is an example of the issuance of serial numbers at the time I enlisted.

In May 1964 I called a recruiter from Kansas City to see if he would travel to my home in North East Missouri. At the time my best friend and I had decided to join together on the buddy system for two or three years which ever was available to us. We ended up going in for the three year term.

Now, relating to issuance of serial numbers keeping in mind we signed on the dotted line within a minute of each other. My serial number began 2101 and his was a 20---. We had a lot of fun or I should say he had a lot of fun calling me boot because of having a lower serial number than me. I have always wondered myself how these numbers were divvied out.

We were together all the way until we reached Viet Nam. He went to either G Co or H Co and I to Fox 2/9. After his discharged, within a year or so he was killed under questionable circumstances.

Liam Jones B Co. 1/9 DI BO CHET

Pertaining to the use of Marine serial numbers. This link is one of several found after a search.
(If this link is not live, cut & paste to your browser.)

Sam Goody


Sgt. ref. American Courage #244 (Jennifer/Very Proud Mom of Two) The incident on the Delta flight does not reflect what the air carrier (Delta) does here at this airport. I am the Airport Security Coordinator (ASC) and a retired Marine (28 years). One of my many duties is to coordinate the return of KIA's. The I&I Marines "and Delta" have done nothing short of an outstanding job during these tough times. KIA's from overseas now come in on a charter aircraft at one of our GA areas; however all others are flown in on commercial air.

New Subject: I was a young Sgt. in 1965 and on my first tour in Vietnam with the 12th Marines ( C 1/12 supporting 3/3). Then Maj. Al Gray was with Regt. Hq. 12 Marines and was the Regt. Comm Officer (along with other duties).

I was selected for the WO program during my second tour in county with K 4/13 (An Hoa) and B 1/13, supporting 2/26 (68-69). I left Vietnam after a completed tour and attended the 10th WOBC class at Quantico. I pinned the WO bar on along with the bursting bomb (Gunner). Years later and during another tour at Quantico (Comm School/Education Center) I was called into Gen. PX Kelly's office (Director of the Ed Center). He had a letter from another Gen. from 29 stumps that stated that the Gunner designation had gone away and that the Marine Corps would soon lose all their Gunners. Gen Kelly was ask to give his opinion on bringing back the Gunner designation. Gen Kelly ask me to provide comments, which I did (I still have copies). The comments were sent to Hq. Marine Corps and from there they must have went into a dark hole. No action was taken until years later.

Zooming forward, and years later I had the occasion to be a Hq. Marine Corps during the time Gen, Gray was running the show. I had ran into him in one of the many passageways and we exchanged short comments. He addressed me as Gunner and made a comment about the bursting bomb. I told him that (at that time) we had only a few Gunners remaining and that they were making no more. I also told him about the comments that were provided to Gen Kelly. Gen. Gray told one of the officers with him to look into it and try to locate the information. From there the Gunner designation was again restored but only to the 03 MOS.

During my short 28 years in the Corps and having served with both Gen. Kelly and Gen. Gray I found both to be outstanding Marines and was proud to have served with them. Time went past much too fast and I miss the Corps every minute of every day (but time goes on). I am very proud to see the fine young Marines fly in and out of this airport. It's an outstanding new crew that we now have. Semper Fi

Gunner Carter

Combat Action Ribbon

In reference to S/Sgt. Charles R. Tucker, USMCR, 1109343 letter in your recent issue
I joined the Corps in 1945 and shipped to Korea in January 1951. What justifies the combat action ribbon?

I served in Korea in 1951 for nine months as a scout Sgt forward observer with D/2/11 attached to the Seventh Marines and the Korean Marine Corps. I served under Seven FO officers all either wounded or rotated out.

We rotated joining infantry patrols and participated in numerous fire fights with mortar attacks. None of this was reflected in my service records and the only indication that I was in this capacity is my mos 0846 on my discharge.

Why would I be denied this ribbon because someone failed to report these events?

The Corps should establish an ombudsman to represent the interest of former active Marines to better resolve this type of problem.

Sgt Lacy Altizer 553491

Dear Sgt Grit,
I could not resist not responding to S/Sgt Charles R Tucker quest for a Combat Action Ribbon. It is sort of a joke in my own quest to receive such.

I am (well was) a Navy Corpsman FMF served with the 3rd Marine Division Hotel 2/4 before ending my tour at 3rd Med Phu Bai. Feb of 68.

I enrolled in the VA Health Care in 2006 seeking assistance thru a County Service Officer. When the service officer read my DD214 form he looked up at me and said I have issues. He also mentioned I did not have a Combat Action Ribbon. The beginning of a new experience.

The Service Officer initiated my claim to include assistance from the VA and copied the American Legion to assist in procuring amongst other things the Combat Action Ribbon. Six months later I contacted The American Legion Service Officer who stated I needed to contact the Marines. To make a long story short I finally retrieved my records showing the OPS listed and e-mailed my Congressman.

In five days I had a DD215 corrected form to include a Combat Action Ribbon. all new Ribbons and Medals. The time frame involved almost two years I have also corrected various personnel at the VA that I was not a non-combatant. I wore a Marine Uniform. while assigned to a Marine Unit.

In addition no offense to The Navy which I am proud to have served. I Am not a Blue Water, or Brown Water Sailor nor a Squid. I am and was a Hospital Corpsman FMF never on a Navy ship. The issues?

Frank Morelli USN FMF VietNam '67/68
Anchors Away Semper Fidelis

Walking Eagle

Sniper Company? Tunnel Rat? "Redbird Ops, Sectors 9,10,11,12,&13? (GMAFB!)... the guy who is flogging his book, or attempting to, in this weeks' American Courage, really ought to change his title to "Walking Eagle" If the 'pullout' he refers to means the 1975 fall of Saigon... he's only off a few years... 2/7 left VN in October of '70... I think at the time ('70) 7th Marines were either mostly at LZ Baldy and/or LZ Ross... 5th Marines were at An Hoa when I left there in August of '70... and lessee... if he was shot three times, plus mortared (at least once in 'death valley', aaaaaand, was 'blown out of a Huey'... that'd be more Purple Hearts in less time than John Kerry... ROFLMAO!

(The "walking Eagle" being part of a punch line to a joke about politician being honored on a Reservation... he was given the honorary title because he was obviously too full of sh-t to fly)... I also suspect that there are at least two other ethnic classifications, the members of which would take issue with his claim of Native Americans providing the most enlistees


Sgt. Grit

I was an 0846 Field Artillery Scout Observer (FO) with Hotel 3/11 from July 69 to July 70. Although attached to Hotel 2/7 in the Que Son and Hiep Duc valleys as the FO actual, then to Army Advisory Team 16 at Duy Xuyen as Marine Liaison for ops in the Marine TAOR, I was through LZ Baldy enough to choke on the same dust you did there. Welcome Home!

I truly appreciated the new Commandant's statement that "We are not former Marines, but Marines wearing a different uniform". For years now, when people have introduced me as an ex or former Marine I have responded with an anonymous quote I read years ago that "Being a Marine is what you carry on the inside. I am a Marine masquerading as a civilian". Enough said!

Semper Fi
Sgt. Cleve Seamon 68-74

Dixie Cups

I started my career at MCRD PI, went to "A" school at Millington TN. While there I came across a term I'd never heard of. "Test Tube Corporal." Meaning, around the late 70's, the Marine Corps had to give up a lot to enlist avionics guys. I was a skunk rolling PVT engine mechanic with nothing more than east coast if available. These test tubes got a bonus, choice of duty station and guaranteed Cpl, since they had to go to school for almost 2 years, hence the name "Test Tube Corporal. Kinda made us of different MOS' pis-ed. So we took it out on the squids. They had to wear uniforms on liberty, Marines didn't. You weren't worth your salt if you didn't have a collection of "dixie cups" after a night of drinking and fighting.

Welcome Home Marine, Job Well Done!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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