I picked up my Granddaughter at Dance Camp. I was a few minutes late, so just hit my Sgt. Grit Marine Hymn horn. A few girls peeked out the window, but she didn't come out, so I went in. "Didn't you hear my horn?" I asked. "That was you? We thought it was the ice cream truck!" she said.
I still have work to do.
Robert A. Hall
In This Issue
The Sgt Grit photo contest was a great success. We will have more themed photo contests to come. Take a look at the 80+ submissions. Two of my favorites are below.
Here we go: Jamaican Regiment, black sheep, weep and pity, STUMP, wet and miserable, toy car, feet elevated, never look up, your stupidity, phu ken wingers, near the grinder, WM First Sergeant, cast iron pots, dreams were made of.
"Rough seas, headwinds and a bunk in the bilge."
Broom Stick, Dog Chain
One of the best highlights in my career was a tour of duty in 1976 while serving my 3rd tour in Gitmo, Cuba. LtCol Joe Cody, C.O. of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines forward deployed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba called on for volunteers from the battalion to form a Drum & Bugle Corps. I was a Plt Sgt in Fox Company when I answered his call. I was giving an audition to be the Drum Major and he wanted to see if I knew anything about bugles & drums. He threw me a set of shelter half poles and said give me a drum beat ! Then a bugle mouth piece and said buzz me a couple bugle calls. Since I did graduate Field Music School in 1962 - I passed and was hired on as Drum Major/ Director.
I was giving the pick of the Battalion to form a 13 man corps, (six buglers, two side drums, two tenor drums, and a scotch base drum). The Battalion Adjutant was dispatched to the School of Music in Little Creek, VA to get donated drums & bugles, and I started to work on a Drum Major's Baldric (white cross over shoulder strap with the Bn. Honors upon it), and a Mace. The Colonel gave me a silver sugar pot, broom stick, and silver dog chain which turned out to be quite elegant when put together with a Marine Emblem in the pot for the Mace.
The D&B Corps was carried on the roster as the Flame Section of H&S Company (which no longer existed), but we were the Colonel's body guard in the field when on alerts.
LtCol Cody sent the Bn. Sgt's Maj, Matt Hardiman and myself TAD to the Jamaican Regiment so that I could learn the mace movements of quick & slow time marching. When all elements were acquired we did a month of drilling/ playing / and learning all sequences for Battalion parades & reviews/ mess nights/ guard mounts/ morning colors/ football games/ and hellcat reveilles. Our uniforms consisted of "sea-going blues for formal occasions, and utilities with white pith helmets for daily colors/ guard mounts. etc.
The Colonel held monthly parade reviews, and mess nights. We played at the Gitmo Officers Club, the Navy dependent school game half times, and often for Brown & Root construction sites at Gitmo.
The most memorable event happened when the Battalion was ordered back home to Camp Lejeune after several years on station. The day of departure Col Cody formed the Battalion at Camp Buckley, Battalion Colors up front, the Battalion Staff, followed by the Drum & Bugle Corps, and Company's H&S, F/ G/ and H in trace marching to the ship's docks at main side Guantanamo. The drums beating, Colors flying and the Marines with fixed bayonets made an unforgettable sight to all the naval personnel, dependents, and Cuban/ Jamaican workers on the base. When our ship arrived at Moorhead City, we were trucked to Camp Geiger, (Lejeune), and reformed outside the gate of the camp. The 8th Marine Regiment had the 1st & 3rd Battalions aligned along the road into camp as we marched in colors flying and drums beating. We had a final review and on the "Sound Off" the Drum & Bugle Corps honored our Colonel with the slow march "Globe & Laurel" and quick march to the Marine's Hymn. The D& B was disbanded, and the drums & bugles with all the accouterments of the Drum Major were retired to the 8th Marine Regimental Headquarters display case.
GySgt USMC Ret
On June 24th, my brother, Lt. Col. Patrick Waugh, assumed command of MALS 13 "Black Widows" in Yuma, AZ. I was honored to attend his change of command ceremony where he assumed command from Lt. Col. Gregory Clarke. My brother is six years younger than me and I recall how displeased he was when I entered the Marine Corps in 1978. He was just 13 at the time. I still look back and laugh at how he wouldn't even say good bye to me the morning I left for Parris Island, because HE wanted to be the next Marine in the family.
Our Dad is a veteran seagoing Marine who served from 1950-53. Needless to say, we were "brainwashed" regarding the Corps from an early age.
Patrick eventually enlisted in the Corps after high school, achieved the rank of Corporal, got out, went to college and upon graduation, returned to the Corps as an officer. Even though he is the "black sheep" of the family for becoming an officer, we are still very proud of him.
I have attached two pictures. The first is of Patrick and me when we were enlisted and the second is of three Waugh Marines today. From left to right is former Corporal Robert Waugh, Lt. Col. Patrick Waugh and me.
Former S/SGT USMC (1978-88)
Weep And Pity
I'm starting to like this news letter of yours. It's a whole lot better than some of the "weep and pity" ones that I have seen. You have caused me to start looking for things that I haven't seen in 20 to 40 years.
My whole family has been in the Corps, Dad was a China Marine, he served under General Puller (he was a Major then) re- stationed to Pearl Harbor in October 1940 as a member of the Marine Detachment on the U.S.S. Oklahoma. Then Guadalcanal, Tarawa and Peleliu ended his hopes for a Marine career.
My grandfather was a Marine during WW I and my great, great grandfather was (some say the outlaw) a confederate Marine. I'm the only one that made it a career. Tell you some stories sometime...
I'm sure that many an AO, FO, Army and Marine Infantry who needed long range and accurate fire support will remember The call sign "BEECHNUT" and "BEECHNUT ALFA" .... 8" and 155 self propelled Howitzers. From Chu Lai to Ann Hoa in the good old days of 66 and 67.
Capt. T. L. Johnson, Jr.
United States Marine Corps Ret.
Like Father Like Daughter
Cpl. Jessica R Gonzalez/Ibarra and Dad
Right Here Colonel
As an aviator it's with some interest that I have been reading the stories that have been submitted concerning call signs. I thought that I would relate the time that aviators gave a Captain 08 Cannoncocker his own personal call sign.
Aviators have a tradition of having individual call signs, some based on their name, my favorite was a squid pilot named Morris Ford and his call sign was MO FO. Others may be due to your physical appearance; one pilot who had a very distinctive birth mark on his face had a call sign of SPOT. However, most call signs are a result of actions, good or bad, while flying or possibly due to a gross social error.
In the fall of 1982 I was sent TAD to Twenty-nine Palms to participate in two CAX exercises as a member of the Regimental Air Staff. At 1900 each evening the Regimental Chief of Staff was briefed on the days actions. This took place in the GP Command tent with the Intel starting the brief followed by Infantry, Artillery, Aviation, etc. The Artillery staff Officer was a young Captain who never seemed to have his sh** together. He would be on the field radio getting information from the gun battery right up to the last minute as he would be introduced to give his portion of the brief. His brief always started with "Today in the world of Artillery 4 tubes shot X number of HE rounds, X number of WP rounds, etc." He would end each brief with this sentence without a break or pause. "Are there any questions if there are no further questions I will be followed by Major : of the Aviation cell."
This went on night after night until one evening as he was saying "I will be followed by" he stopped in mid sentence and asked the Colonel, who was sitting in his directors chair within 2 feet of the Captain, if the Colonel would like to see on the map where the artillery tubes were firing from that day. I doubt if the Colonel cared but said "Sure Captain where were they firing from?" The Captain took a long time going through his notes to find the grid coordinates and evening longer time looking at the map to locate the position. Finally using his pointer said "Right here Colonel, the tubes were here!" The Colonel took off his glasses and leaned forward to get a good look at where the Captain was pointing on the map, then sat back in his chair and asked "Captain are you telling me that the tubes were firing from the PX parking lot today?"
The expression on the Captains face changed from the grin of the cat that ate the canary to one of sheer panic. In a high pitched voice while closely looking back at the map he said "No sir, give me a minute and I'll get the right position!" The Colonel said "You can show me later lets continue with the next brief." After witnessing the Captain figuratively blowing off his foot in front of the Colonel and the rest of the Regimental staff those of us in the Aviation cell decided that he earned the call sign of STUMP! For the remaining month that we were there he was always referred to as STUMP.
71 - 91
Young Lady Asked
The recent letters about the Marine "Strut" reminded me of an incident that happened about 10 years ago. I am a former Marine and at that time was 10 years into my 20 year career as a Texas Peace Officer when I took my boy Kurt and a friend of his to the Houston, Texas "Renaissance Festival" in November. It was getting cold during the day and even colder at night. We had arrived earlier and set up our tents and were settled down for the night when a cold, light rain started to fall.
A young man and his young lady arrived after dark and it became obvious they knew nothing about erecting their exo-skeleton tent. I could see the young lady looking up repeatedly and soon they were both frustrated, wet and miserable. I stepped out and offered my help. I began directing the young man to "do this" and "hold that" and it was no time at all before their shelter was ready for them.
With no introductions yet made, the young lady asked, "Marine or cop?" She went on to explain that the way I was "carrying myself" and my "take charge" attitude reminded her of her Marine uncle and cop dad. We all enjoyed a laugh when I responded, "both!"
Former Marine and Texas Peace Officer Kevin Kjornes.
Tickle Your Feet
A couple of days ago a friend of mine, (another former Marine) and I were talking and he reminded me of something in Boot Camp that I had forgotten, I was wondering if anyone else out there remembered this:
Every night just before we hit the rack we lay there on the top of our blankets with our feet elevated and recited the Chain of Command and the Code of Conduct. As the Drill Instructor came by your rack if you were not joining in, he would "tickle" your feet with the broom handle, at least that what he called it.
Thanks and keep up the great work
R. Buzz Powers
1st Sgt Retired
Never Look Up
We were making a practice landing at Del Mar, Camp Pendleton in the early 60's, going down the nets.
One of the platoon sergeants (SSgt E-5) lost his footing and his leg went thru the net and he fell backwards but held on by his knee. (Fortunately he was armed with a pistol in a holster, if he had been strapped with an M-1, all nine and a half pounds would surely have fallen on someone in the waiting LCM.)
A Navy Boatswain (CWO) on deck hollered down "what the he** are you doing down there?" The SSgt looked up and said "I'm riding my bicycle, what does it look like you dumb son of a bi-%h!.
The boatswain went ballistic screaming "I want that man's name!" The SSgt regained his grip on the side ropes and continued on down into the LCM. From above, all hundred plus brown-side out helmet covers looked alike and try as he might, the boatswain couldn't find "his man". No one in the boat violated the rule for descending a net, "never look up".
2 x 2
In 1958-1960 I was assigned to the 2nd Tank Bn, Bravo Company. During this time, for 14 months, I was Platoon Leader of 1st Platoon. We were deployed for all but about two months total. Finally, I was reassigned and was XO of Bravo Company. A new 2nd Lt was given my old Platoon, and I was curious how he was doing in the field. I tuned to his frequency to see what was happening.
I heard the new Lt call, "Bravo 15, this is Bravo 1 how do you read?" He was answered by my old Platoon Sergeant, Gunny John Harrington, "Bravo 1, this is 15, read you 5x5." Then in a very few minutes I heard the same transmission and response. Then came a third one in about 5 minutes. This time I could tell the Gunny was getting tired of all the chatter. About another five minutes went by in silence when I heard, "Bravo 15, Bravo 1 how do you read?" Immediately I heard Bravo15 answer, "Read you 2x2!" Back came the puzzled voice, "2x2, what do you mean?" Then the Gunny responded, "2 loud and 2 god d-mn often, out!" After that the radio became very quiet and the new Lt had learned a valuable training lesson.
It was only a few days later the same Lt came in and informed the Skipper and myself that he wanted to put FirstSgt Kirkland on report. (The FirstSgt had been a Major in WWII and then after the war there were too many officers so he became a GySgt. He had been in three invasions and was a tanker in the old M4s.) The Skipper raised up and demanded, "Lt, why in h-ll do you even think about putting the FirstSgt on report? Are you crazy?"
The Lt turned a little red in the face was he explained, "I went into the FirstSgt's office and while we were talking, I sat on the corner of his desk. He immediately told me to get my azs off his desk. This is total disrespect." The Skipper sat back down and then said, "Lt. even I nor the XO would even think about sitting on his desk. Get out of here and go and apologize to the FirstSgt for your stupidity." It was another learning lesson for the young Lt.
1953-1961, USMC Forever
Memories of Danang, Vietnam 1963
I am enclosing some photos 1-11 while in Danang, Vietnam, May & June 1963. Maybe you would recognize some of these buildings, many changes after that. The old and new base.
1st enlistment was A/C Mechanic on F8U's Crusaders at 3RD MAG-33- VMF-334 , El Toro, Cal. 1958-July1960;. On a Recall Oct.1961 sent to Cherry Point, NC. 2ND MWSG-27-VMGR 252 Plus 6 months Top Secret Base At Bogue Field. Assigned to head Military Police at Bogue Field during construction of short range take off for C-130 AC and President John.F. Kennedy's personal MP at Command Center Trailer during 3 days of Top Military Operations at Bogue Field.. December 1962 shipped Oversees and Stationed in Iwakuni, Japan, 1ST MAW VMGR 152. Was sent to 3 Schools plus C-130 Flight Engineer School in Tokyo, Japan. 16 months 1962- Dec.1963, Flew to: Okinawa, Hong Kong, Korea, Philippines, Danang, Viet Nam. Dec.1963-1964 back to Cherry Point, NC. 2ND MWSG-27-VMGR 252, Additional School, 365 hours of C-130 Flight Engineer School in San Diego, Cal. than back to Cherry Point.
Enclosed are some of the photos, Ps. was there a USO show there on the base? it may be when I went to in Okinawa. The Cockpit photo 2 was flying into Danang, and the photo 7 of C-130 on the tarmac. I picked up a Crossbow and a Ham-it rolled up in a ball made of twine, when I was there. There was a 7:00 p.m. Curfew when I was there. PS. Also do you remember what the drinking water was like or the Kool-Aid :[ the beer was great in the town of Danang :]
Bob Glawe C-130 Flight Engineer USMC Semper Fi
July 1957- July 1960 &
Aug. 1961 - Aug. 1964
Phu Ken Good Time
i was one of the phu ken wingers at phu bai in 69. i flew with the hueys, the 46's, the 53's and even as far back as the 34's that were there. even remember the time the arvn's flew in to refuel and sent everybody scattering. no radios on board. they tried to kill everybody. as best i remember they got to close to each other and blades started slapping together and slinging chunks everywhere, one spun sideways and the tail rotor climbed the revetment wall. it was a phu ken good time.
had my own jeep. got a hold of an old junker and traded a bunch of jungle boots to the seabees for the parts to rebuild it. the seabees couldn't get jungle boots and i had a friend in supply that i did favors for all the time and he got me the jungle boots to trade for the parts. i had way too many games going on. i used to drive into hue and visit a vietnamese family that i knew. they lived in a school. probably were the upper crust of vietnamese society. would like to go back and see it all, but life is too complicated to spend that kind of time on myself.
USMC 1st Radio Battalion Cruise
Hey Sgt Grit,
Photos from our 2011 USMC 1st Radio Battalion Cruise... May 15-20... Miami, Nassau, Coco Cay, Key West
Please put some pictures on your website.
We'll be in Santa Fe, NM, in May 2012
Former SSgt R. J. Zike
"Though the boys throw stones at the frogs in jest, the frogs do not die in jest - but in earnest."
--Greek/Roman Plutarch (1st Century)
"The value of liberty was thus enhanced in our estimation by the difficulty of its attainment, and the worth of characters appreciated by the trial of adversity."
The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!
--Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, 1945
By the Grace of God, and a Few Marines
DARWINN B. RUTZ
San Diego 1957.
It was a very proud day for me on July 8, 2011 when my son (Pvt Timothy J Benson Jr.) graduated PI to become a 3RD generation Marine.
Timothy J Benson Sr.
Thought, maybe: ObiWahn ain't no "Oh Wahn!"
In my day, took a lot of "ribbing" being a Reminington Raider.
Some years ago when I was behind the sales counter of a national tire company a customer came up to the counter. I noticed his gray ID card and being the curious fellow that I am said "I see by your card you are retired military, were you a Sgt.Maj. or perhaps a MSgt?" He looked down his nose and replied in a haughty voice "No I retired as a Capt." My reply was " Harrump, I'd rather be a Sgt. of Marines than just another officer." Musta yanked his chain too hard. If you can't stand the heat don't light the fire.
In regards to the question as to how to address a Warrant Officer, we had two WO's in our outfit and they expected to be addressed as "Mr.", or "Gunner", i.e. "Good morning, Mr. Sullivan" or "Good morning, Gunner Sullivan". This was back in the early '50s and I believe was proper in those days.
BuckSgt '53 -'59
Call signs for 3rd Recon at Dong Ha Prominence
Call for 3rd Force New Britain at Dong Ha
I was a 2531 voice radio in H&S Company comm section for both units.
Clamped On Your Thigh
Just adding my 2 cents about radio call signs we remember. I was a 2533 radioman. Our call sign in 2nd Pioneer Bn, Lejeune in 1959 was Providence. In 4-12 on Okinawa in 1960-1961 it was Zookeeper. When I made E-4 and was battery radio chief, I had my own call sign, Zookeeper 28. The Comm. officer was Zookeeper 10. 12th Regt. HQ was Rosemont. We called fire missions to Zookeeper Kilo, Lima, Mike batteries.
All the cannon-cockers will remember Time-on-Target, Serenade, and Geronimo fire missions. "On the way, Splash, etc." In the field, we always sent CW with a knee-key, which clamped on your thigh with a metal spring-clamp. Whenever we went on board ship for any length of time, they usually detailed the CW operators to assist the ships company in the radio shack. The Navy operators used a speed key, and we all wanted to try it, but they usually gave us menial jobs like working the flag bag on the bridge. This was harder than it sounds because you had to know all the different signal flags, and hoist them quickly so that when the flagship unfurled theirs, all ships in the group had to do theirs too so all ships executed the command simultaneously. Sometimes we were put on the blinker lights, talking between ships. I never mastered semaphore.
Another thing we were used for was "routing the board". Whenever a message came in, it was put on a clipboard and you carried it around to all the officers concerned, including the ship's Captain. You had to look sharp when you knocked on the Skippers stateroom door. If you had a secret clearance, they might put you on the "Penelope", which was a device used to decode messages that came in encoded. It was boring, but it beat the usual working parties or mess duty that the grunts had to do on board ship.
Also, in the field, we used air panels to communicate with aircraft flying over. I can't remember any call signs from HQ Bn, 2nd Division, but I made two Vieques cruises and the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the radio chatter was continuous. I hope this brings back memories to any radiomen out there.
Paul Lindner Cpl. 1959-1963
My Door Is Open
BGen Krulak had been given the job as CG MCRD. I remember it well as a JDI in 2nd Bn F Co. On his first meeting with the troops at the depot theatre, as he strutted on stage and Attention was called, He walked up to the podium, introduced himself and said, "Marines, my door is open anytime but don't try to bullsh-t me." and he left the stage.
Sometime later, he was on his early stroll through the recruit training area and it happened to be down thru 2nd Bn adjacent to the parade field (grinder). The bn exec who was well known as a real prikk came out of HQ and saw the Generals car parked with his driver. He walked to the car and asked where the General was. The driver said he was walking down through the Bn area.
So, this prikk Major jumps in the car and says, "Take me to him". The driver is kind of in a hard place but the Major pulls rank and they drive slowly down the road while Maj Prikk looks for Krulak. He spots the General going around a far corner around the Quonsets near the grinder, tells the driver to stop, jumps out and starts walking to intercept Krulak. As they approach, Major Prikk salutes and says "Good Morning General. I was out inspecting the battalion area. Would the General like me to accompany him?"
This was relayed to me by a fellow DI who happened to be looking out the door of the duty hut...
BGen Krulak returns the salute and asks the Major if he was doing the inspection of the battalion area in HIS car?" I can't help but wonder what the fitness report read like after the fact.
Krulak was respected by the troops and feared by the incompetent ones. Got several stories about him and my 6 month exposure to him before I left the grinder in late '59.
Really Aggravated Some
More on call signs... from reading this week's news, it is obvious that call signs get recycled over the years... two in particular were cited that I recall having been from other organizations... 'Dixie Diner' was the AAA-AW (Anti-Aircraft Artillery-Automatic Weapons) Bn call sign about 1959... don't recall the Bn number, but being West Coast, (actually, 29 Palms... great sandy beach, but a long way to the surf line), it was probably the 1st AAA-AW Bn... twin 40MM in an open turret, on the same tracked chassis as a Walker Bulldog light tank... think the Tank was an M-41, the AA version was an M-42... may have also had M-8's in the Bn... basically a tracked truck... the Walker Bulldogs were only Army, I believe.
I recall "Diner' vividly, as during a PHIBEX (Division-size amphib op) at Pendleton in early 1959, we heard radio traffic about an accident involving one of the AA tracks sliding off a road, with injuries, at night... think they were up in the Case (usually pronounced 'Casey; Springs area... we (1st AT Bn, 'Caldonia" had been up in that area with our Ontos... with the mission of watching for aggressor parachutists... (6) 106MM recoilless being just the thing for anti-airborne operations... Anybody else remember the incident?
The other familiar call sign mentioned for a unit was 'Bearmat'... that was range control at 29 Palms for many years. Then there was the call sign for TEECG, or the Tactical Exercise Control Group that ran CAX's... 'SnowWhite'... really aggravated some of the Coyotes (pretty much the same as the Controllers)... so one Wayne Brandon, Lt.Col USMC (ret) got it changed... he later went on to fame as the mayor of Clifton, TN...
Some VN-era readers may recall seeing Army 'Dusters', which were the M42's, as convoy security... the guns would depress to horizontal, and especially when firing tracers at night, were impressive... saw them working on the Hai Van pass north of DaNang a couple of times...
Sea Snakes And Jelly Fish
It sure is a pleasure to receive your email news letter with all the great articles, letters and pictures. I too, was at Camp Schwab when that shark was caught. I used to swim and snorkel there at the beach, but between sea snakes and jelly fish, they were enough to enjoy the China Sea Coast a whole lot more! Then when I saw the picture of that shark, I was glad I wasn't in the water then!
That was also the time era when a helicopter went down at sea with about 15 or more on board; an internal drive shaft to the rear blade snapped and everyone was killed. There were also two 3rd Marine Recon members that drowned off the coast of Camp Schwab. I was with 1st Tracks Supply from October 1983 to December 1984, then 1/4 HQ's Supply until October 1985.
I am now a heart transplant recipient of 6 years through the VA at Madison, WI and still proud that my entire family were U.S. Marines; nine of us from WWII to Desert Storm!
Keep up the good work to all of you at Sgt Grit!
Ron Wilson, Hillsboro, Wisconsin
Royal Buttocks Chewing
In 1984 I was stationed at MCAS (H) Tustin California as driver and bodyguard for Colonel Robert Mitchell. The Colonel Mitchell that flew President LBJ and the same Colonel that received numerous medals for his heroics during Viet Nam. Well the Station Sgt Major, Sgt Major Banta had been around the Corps as long as the Colonel. At that time it was 33 years. The Sgt Major told me a story of when he was a PFC and an MP standing at the gate on one of the bases. Well here comes a Boot Lt. and he salutes the Lt. with his left hand. The Lt. returns his salute and continues on for a few yards and jams on the brakes and backs up. YES SIR was his reply. Marine, do you realize you saluted me with your left hand, YES SIR, I'm left handed. Oh well then carry on Marine. AYE AYE SIR.
I guess that was better than when myself, the Colonel, his wife and the WM Lt. Provost Marshall came through the gate late, (EARLY MORNING) one night and the young Marine looked at the large tag on the front of the sedan with the BIRD and large letters C.O. MCAS (H) TUSTIN and simply waved us through never rendering a salute. He did wave though. Well a few hours later when I went to PMO, planned it right at the time this kid got off the gate, he was standing tall in her office getting a royal buttocks chewing. If I recall he was out on police call of the air station not long after that.
WM First Sergeant
While serving with the MP Company at Camp Pendleton in 1957 we formed along with other Companies for parade at main side to be inspected by the Secretary Of The Navy. There was one WM Company on base. We, of course, called them BAM's, but not in their presence or we would be in a world of hurt.
As it happened we formed next to the WM Company. As we prepared for inspection the WM First Sergeant stood in front of the WM Company and announced loudly, "When I call you to attention I want to hear those P****** snap. We laughed of course, but none of the WM's so much as smiled. Thinking back that First Sergeant could whip us all with one hand tied behind her back.
In Jim O'Brien's (Sgt. USMC 1969-1972) he mentioned that the Platoon Sergeant was wearing only one chevron showing his rank. During those days there was a shortage of everything, from money to getting shipments from factory's. Even Recruiting Sergeants wore only one chevron at one time.
Another little item of note, after the war the U. S. Government developed a School for Packaging and shipping because over 50% of materials sent overseas and elsewhere was damaged or lost due to ships sunk, poor packaging, supplies blown up on land and from (believe it or not) striking Longshoremen, that walked off their jobs during World War II. The packaging you see today is the result of that school.
Then we had to take our weapons into the shower (after we wiped as much cosmoline off as we could, and scrub it with hot soapy water. At all Marine Bases were large cast iron pots, about 4 foot in diameter and 3 foot deep where weapons were scrubbed with hot water and soap. Imagine my surprise when I arrived at Marine Barracks, Bermuda to find one of those pots half buried next to the Rec Hall. In Korea 60 M-2 .50 Caliber Machine-guns and 30 M1919A4 .30 Caliber machine guns were needed yesterday.
We violated all rules of safety and using 50 gallon drums filled with gasoline, soaked the guns to free as much cosmoline as we could before cleaning them and sending them to the range for firing before we shipped then to the lines. I was happy to make a M2 .50 Caliber machine-gun into a sniper rifle using the almost useless 4 power scope designed for it, but it worked and lots of the enemy across the "Punch Bowl" in Korea suffered because of it. Today's rifles are "ready" right out of the package.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Ret.
Thank You Ladies
I too was a recruit in 1965 (PLT 185). I was told to walk Guard around the WM barracks. Let me explain to those who haven't been where we were, when we were, just old enough, without those we needed most. There was things hanging outside by the wash rack, stuff that dreams were made of, there were persons of a strange and exciting persuasions nearby doing familiar things. I walked that post with my rifle at present arms and I know that salt peter was not added to my ration! Thank you Ladies for the memories.
Bill Carey Cpl of Marines
Members of D Company, 1st Raiders
Dear Sgt. Grit,
This picture appeared in two papers; the first is the "The Marine Sentry, Quantico, VA, Friday, October 1, 1943" on page 9 with the following caption:
"Leathernecks around the campfire" - Among the first photographs of Marine Raiders who occupied Enogai Inlet, New Georgia, is this scene around a jungle campfire. Note the crude shelter with camouflaged covering, Picture, left to right are Robert A. Deforges, Ware, Mass; Ernest Carson, St. Paul, Minn; Edward M. Voytovich, Greensburg, PA; Wilfred A. Hunt, Brooklyn NY; John J. Koehler, Rockville Center, NY; Fred J Borseso, Jersey City, NJ; George F. Lemester, Syracuse, NY; and Arthur J Schmitz, Clarksburg, W. VA (official U.S. Marine Corps Photo.)
Second, it appeared in the "Brooklyn Eagle, Monday, Sept. 27, 1943" with the following caption: "Chow time in the Solomons" - Any resemblance to a picnic is purely coincidental. The Marines at this jungle campfire on New Georgia Island were returning to there base after raiding a Jap post when the picture was taken. Fourth from the left is Wilfred A. Hunt of 451 Court St. and next to him is John J. Koehler of Rockville Centre. Hunt won the Navy Cross for rushing an enemy machine-gun position on Tulagi and wiping it out with hand grenades, Aug 7.
The two Marines directly behind the campfire are Wilfred A. Hunt and John J. Koehler. My father had written "Larson" with an arrow pointing to the Marine second from the left I assume that was his name instead of Carson. As you can see there are 9 Marines in the picture but only 8 names. I believe the Marine in the back on the left is the one without a name. The only ones I know for sure are my father and John Koehler whom I have met.
This picture actually predates the raiders. My father was with 1/5 before the war and this is dated Sept 1941. He was in "C" Company then. Notice the WW1 helmets and the Springfield rifles.
Kevin F Hunt
For those of you who I have shared my friendship with Gordon Ward, Iwo survivor, here are the final photos... his funeral took place Monday at Arlington. As usual, the formal tradition of the Marine Corps ceremony was beautiful and so memorable. It was a perfect ceremony with family and a few friends. I miss Gordon, and I miss my Dad. Visiting each of them was so much a part of my life... and now there are two empty spaces in my heart.
To My Surprise
Just a note about my father who served on the USS Maryland, Marine Detachment during WWII. Every day that I remember he was always a Sea School Marine always squared away even in civilian life. The Marines meant so much to him all of his life until he passed away in 2007. My sister worked at a local hotel and always billeting Marines, asked if they could do a funeral for our dad. They got permission and did such an outstanding job, I wrote the Commandant a thank you e mail, thinking some form- letter would show up if at all. I also served in the Marines in DaNang and 29 stumps.
To my surprise I received an email from the Commandant in reply to my thank you letter for the services of detachment.
"Thanks for the note, good to hear that you were satisfied with the honors rendered your father. Don't need to tell you, I'm sure, that our Marines take tremendous pride in helping a family lay their Marine to rest -- with the certainty that when their time comes other Marines will be there for them. Just one more way in which we "take care of our own". I'll make sure the members of the detail learn of your note. S/Fi C."
Just wanted to share a wonderful story about our Corps.
Beirut Bob's OUTSTANDING Truck
Long-time customer Beirut Bob (LCpl Bob Colyer, Weapons Company Dragon's Platoon 1979-1983) stopped by in his outstanding truck.
Reader Response to Sgt Tate
In answer to Sgt. Tate's letter, he is mistaken. Every man and woman who has worn the uniform of the United States and honorably discharged is a Veteran, regardless of where they served or what they did, including all reservists. Sgt. Tate is eligible to join the AmVets of America if he served during the Vietnam era he is eligible to join the American Legion. He needs to go to the local VA and find the Service Officer's office. With his DD 214 they will get him registered with the VA and explain to him what benefits he has coming. He will also get a VA identification card. If he has no service related injuries he will be able to have a primary doctor assigned to him and will also be able to get his medication and get his blood work done. He will have to fill out financial forms. If he is working and making money then it will be harder for him to get the benefits, but he will receive his VA ID card because he is a Veteran.
Regarding Mr. Tates letter in the 7-21-11 Sgt. Grit News email: he is way off base about the VA and their benefits to him. He is a vet. You don't have to be active duty to be a vet. I was in the reserves along with many others I know who are on the disability rolls of the VA. I am considered 90% disabled and receive monthly payments for that. I also get complete hospital inpatient and outpatient care. Someone has lied to him if they said he isn't eligible for some types of VA benefits. If he's not disabled, then he would get 0 percent disability. But, there are other benefits he would get through the VA. He really needs to get the right information. Now, if he has a dishonorable discharge, he won't get any. Otherwise, he is wrong about what he said. Hopefully someone will set him straight.
I read with interest the item entitled "What Irritates Me" in the latest news letter (21 July) because I am in the same category. I am a Marine who arrived at the Marine Corps recruit depot in Parris Island, S C in April of 1961. Upon release from my six months (179 days) of active duty, I was assigned to a 105 artillery battalion in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and we fired our guns until I completed my enlistment, being honorably discharged in January of 1967. During this time, I had signed the blank check (my life on the line), the concept never came closer than when we were assembled on the parade field at Camp Pendleton to hear President Johnson's speech citing his options relating to the Tonkin Bay incident. The organization was saying that he was planning to call the reserves to reinforce his position in Vietnam. He announced, however, his decision that he was going to increase the draft and train more people; and that the reserves would not be called. I guess that if he had chosen option 1, I would have been a "veteran".
I don't know how many times that I have asked myself or had others asked if I am a veteran. I have never applied for or care about government benefits but feel like I should be able to be in the count when someone says, "All veterans please stand up".
I, to this day, adorn my office with USMC paraphernalia, own a 1951 M38 jeep and am still proud to be called "Marine"
Army Bronze Stars
I may have an answer to the question about all the Army WWII plates with a Bronze Star.
Once the war was over men were sent home from Europe on a point system. As my late father described it you received so many points for the number of months you were in, how many months you were overseas, how many campaigns you had fought in and for personal decorations.
Many men who had been in the Army since before Pearl Harbor and who had been with his unit the 3rd Armored Division since it landed in Normandy were just a few points short of what was required to go home. A lot of guys like my dad had been drafted in early 1941, been overseas since late 1943, landed at Normandy, and fought in five campaigns including the Battle of the Bulge and were ready to go home. He was about 3 points short.
The Division solved the problem by awarding Bronze Stars worth 5 points to men like my father who had more than done his share so they could go home. I can only surmise that other divisions did the same thing.
Had A Chill
If possible, how about one more round of call signs? Working with lots of choppers on a daily basis, I talked to a lot of pilots. I can recall some of the call signs and the mascots painted on the birds. There were CH-46's ( Purple Foxes) that I remember as Swift. Another group was Chatterbox and had a squirrel on the nose of the aircraft. For the life of me, I cannot recall the name nor mascot of the CH-53's that I had contact with. ( although I can plainly see in my mind that 53 with the big white "finger" painted on the ramp)
A couple of years ago, I went to the Popasmoke website and listened to some recordings of chopper pilots in combat situations. I had a chill when I heard the call sign Scarface. Man, I had forgotten all about the Cobra drivers.
SF and thanks,
2531 L/Cpl of PRC-25's
As a young Pvt. at Camp Lejeune in 1965, I was required to carry a Liberty Card signed out to me by the Duty NCO when liberty was authorized. When I returned from liberty, I gave it back to the Duty NCO. However, at some point, I believe after my return from "Nam" Liberty Cards were ended. The one card that I do have is a Chow Pass from the USS Iwo Jima (LPH 2) from 1965 and the Carib. Cruise, Santa Domingo crisis. The other is also from the same ship, but a few years later - circa - 1972 I believe.
GySgt Burd, USMC (Ret)
Sgt. Grit. 1stSgt. Holman here. This is how home depot in Sacramento, CA. and Sacramento's Finest worked together to celebrate the fourth of July 2011 and give back to the people in the area.
It was a great day for all of us. We had Marines from WW2 - Korea - Nam - Desert Storm - Freedom and Present show up.
I set it up along with my wife CWO-4 Helen Holman USMCR and Cpl John Rhodes and Sgt. Vincent from the Sacramento Marine Base. My close friend and brother in arms SSgt. Dennis Finch showed up with his grandson. We've known each other since Nam and have served a long time together along with my wife. He was also in the movie, Wind and the Lion. It was truly a great day for all.
I was at missile guidance school at MCRD, San Diego, while "Brute" Krulak was CG. He drove around the base in a small sports car and the Sgt. who was marching us to school didn't salute him as he passed our formation one day. A M/Sgt. walking along the sidewalk started yelling at us (the whole formation) to stop and told the Sgt. (I don't remember his name but I saw him a couple of times at 29 Palms in the next couple of years) "That was the General! Don't you salute Generals?"
The Sgt. said something to the effect of, "A general? In a toy car?"
"heart breakers and life takers", who believed we were all John Wayne reincarnated