Sgt Grit Newsletter - 05 APR 2012

In this issue:
• Fitness Center NCOIC
• Tractor Rats
• Missing Weapons

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In early 1966 I was the NCOIC of the Fitness Center at Main Side at Camp Pendleton. General Robert Cushman, later to command the Marines in Vietnam, was the base commander and came into the fitness center to work out. He never wore his rank and he let me know he didn't like for me to hang around making sure he got what he needed to work out. He liked to work out on the speed bag and one day I noticed this Pfc. that kept looking towards this older civilian type using the bag and I just knew he was going to say something to him.

Pretty soon he walked over to the General and said, "Are you about through with that buddy." I ran over and grabbed the Pfc. and dragged him out the door and told him who he was talking to. He disappeared in a hurry and never came back. The General was real decent about it and told me not to worry about it. He was always friendly with me when he came in to work out but I aged each time he came in.

Don Alexander
Sgt. Retired
VN 1966

In This Issue

Friends, family, and patriots - Keep those AmericanCourage stories coming! Check out the special deal for newsletter readers this week in the left column. And mark your calenders for the 9th Annual GriTogether

Here we go: no one would ever believe, muzzle first into the sand, whole wheat and rye bread, 106 recoilless "rifle" sandbagged, tractor rats, I never reminded him, They're still in use! , 97 year old Marine, sweat was running freely, could not shoot, could not drill, "plant" me wearing it, Marine- recruit-maggot-sh-tbird-numbnuts, shooter errors were legion.

"I have more flight time jumping out of the back of six-bys, than you have in the Marine Corps."

Marines show their pride. We were in the Marine Corps, not "the service." Sgt Grit

Tractor Rats

To Randy Talbot, 3rd Amtracs

Saw the pictures of A Company with Liberty Bridge in the background and a lot of old memories came flooding back. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and all the other "tractor rats" with 3rd LVT who took me in as a young 0433 and taught the skills I needed to stay alive. Major Operations, search & destroy, ambushes, blocking force, patrols we did it all. We also knew that every VC and NVA with a RPG was gunning for our tractors every time they went out. I also witnessed the three Marines drown on November 23, 1967 off Marble Mountain when one of the P5s sank.

Attached are pictures I took in 67 & 68. Also wanted to thank Sgt John Adams aka Adams Family.

Semper fi,
Jim Donegan
H&S Company
RVN 67-68

Came Over Screaming

Sgt. Grit:

In response to "All I'm Saying back in 1956"

I joined the Marines in January 1964, 1st Battalion, Plt. 112.. Feb. 3, 1964 - April 14, 1964, Plt. Commander Sgt. M. A. McKay, Jr. D.I. J. S. Llewellyn and Jr. D.I. Sgt. W. W. Bray.

You talked about being made to eat a freshly put out cigarette butt. A different series Gy./Sgt. From another platoon, known as the Silver Fox due to the color of his hair, came over and was talking with our J.D.I., Sgt. Bray.

We were coming out and lining up as fast as we could, and I happened to wind up in the front row facing the D.I.'s, standing at attention. I was a tough, hefty Marine, not fat. I never fell out on any runs or marches, and was the top Number 3 or 4 in P.T., in our platoon.

The Silver Fox didn't like my looks and started calling me all kinds of names, as you can imagine. He flicked his cigarette butt at me. We were at attention; he's not my D.I., and we were taught not to talk to anyone except our D.I.'s. He came over screaming at me and our J.D.I. Sgt. Bray also came over and started screaming at me to not answer him.

The Silver Fox tells me to pick up the butt and eat it! Then Sgt. Bray goes along with him screaming at me to obey him.

Long story short - I did it! Me being a non-smoker, picked up the cigarette butt, chewed and swallowed that warm, freshly put out butt then they started screaming at me to not puke on their deck. I didn't, but to this day I still hate those two SOB D.I.s. I also said that if I ever was in combat (which I was, Vietnam '65-'66), I would shoot either one or both of them if I had the chance. I didn't.

I never, ever told anyone else about that, because no one would ever believe a story like that. Now I can tell the world that it also happened to me. It didn't make me a better Marine. It made me a tougher, harder, meaner, badder Marine.

W. E. Hobbs, USMC 2073***
Vietnam B 1/4 65 - D 1/3 66
Sgt., L/Cpl., Sgt., Cpl.
Jan. '64 - Jan. '68
Once a Marine, still a proud Marine



I have attached a photo that I have of the first Women Marines taking their oath. At the time, they were designated "Marinettes".

On the back of the picture is their names and the Captains name performing the ceremony typed in red ink. Dated 1919. Are there any readers that has ever seen this particular picture?

It was placed in the sunlight and I copied with my camera.

H. McKinley, MSgt Retired 62-82

Directing The Choir

Few months ago someone wrote that there were no stories about the women in the Marines. As you said you can't print what you do not have. Well I have news, the Women Marines lost one of their great ladies. Col. Leontone Meyer. she was from St. Louis, Mo. She was in the Corps from 1943-1973 she was retired. She taught music and Southwest High School for many years. She will be a huge lost for all the students at Southwest and I am sure a big loss for the Corps as well. May she rest in peace. I am sure she is directing the choir already.

Col Meyer Obituary Semper fi Col. Meyer (Miss Meyer) you will never be forgotten.

I was student and she was the reason I went into the Corps.
K Sullivan Amenn LCPL Here is a photo of the sign at Chu Lai mentioned in your recent newsletter. I was a RIO, 192 times, in the F-4s of VMFA-122. In September, 1970 I was reassigned to VMFA-314 to help ferry their aircraft to El Toro MCAS. I finished out my four years, assigned to MABS-33 at El Toro.

1/Lt. David L. Dunn, USMCR, Chu Lai, 1969-1970
Semper Fi

My Heart SANK

Sgt. Grit-
In the newsletter the last couple of weeks there were stories about Marines who had misplaced their weapons for a certain amount of time. There is nothing like your heart sinking into your stomach after you realize that you may have misplaced your weapon, or serialized gear. As a parent, the last time I had experienced this feeling was when I looked at my son and he appeared to be choking on his food.

Here is my story about the first time (and last) that I (sort of) misplaced my weapon at Parris Island in 2001. Our Drill Instructors had always stressed to us that you never place your weapon beyond "one arms distance" from your body at any time. They also took advantage of snatching weapons from Recruits who strayed from these teachings and made them pay with blood, sweat, and tears to get the weapon back.

Our platoon was at Grass Week on the "Starlight" range at Weapons Battalion. We were in the process of making DOPE adjustments on our M16A2's I had just come off of the firing line. I had my 8x12 paper target in hand as I sat in front of the PMI ready to have him evaluate my shot grouping and recommend a DOPE setting to apply to my weapon. I leaned the weapon up against the wall of the classroom in which we were in which was about 4 feet away from me (over 1 arms distance).

After taking the advice from the PMI I reached for my weapon to apply these new settings... but the weapon seemed to have grown legs as it was not where I had left it. My heart SANK into my stomach. Any Marine who has been in the same situation knows this feeling and will never forget the fear that ensues. It occurs to me that I now have to go find my Drill Instructor (Sgt. Bosley) and tell him that this Recruit has misplaced his weapon. Lucky for me, he happened to be standing with ALL of the other DI's from various platoons.

I stand up and approach the SGT at attention. After requesting permission to speak to the Drill instructor several times he finally grants me permission to address him. I tell him that I have misplaced my weapon... His response, "FIIIIIIIIIND IIIIIIIIITTT!".

Now what???! Where the h-ll could it be?? Obviously the DI's had it in their possession. So I now have to run around "looking for it". I begin to just run laps around the classroom "looking for it". Of course I was not successful. As I turn the corner of what would be my last lap around the classroom, I see my weapon. It was in the sandpit, with 8-10 DI's standing around it, arms folded, with a look on their face that I will never forget. They had been nice enough to stick my weapon muzzle first into the sand, so deep that it stood up on its own.

I ran over to them to retrieve the weapon and spent probably an hour in the Pit with those 8-10 DI's. I can't remember EVER misplacing my weapon again, or moving it outside of "one arms distance" from my body.

I would be interested to hear more stories from Marines about misplaced serialized gear. I'm sure there are some good ones out there!


3/4 Ton Trucks

They're still in use!
Here's a photo I recently took in Savannah. As in Vietnam, the truck is being used as a general carry-all.

Tony Mastriani
RVN 4-68~12-69
Semper Fidelis

Take All You Want

Sgt. Grit,

Was reading your 22 Mar 2012 newsletter and thoroughly enjoying it, as I do all your newsletters, when I came upon the story entitled "Food" submitted by Sgt Don Wackerly 53-56.

In the 4th paragraph of the story the statement "Take All You want... Eat All You Take" jumped off the page and hit me right between the eyes.

In the summer of 1944, I was a 9 year old kid who was traveling with my mother to visit her brother (my uncle) at Camp Lejeune. He was working at the Legal Office on the base and had been trying desperately to be sent overseas to fight in the war. But because of his experience as a legal stenographer working for his father, a judge in upstate New York before joining the Marine Corps, he was assigned to the Legal Office and there was not a chance that he was going to be transferred overseas.

To make a long story short, one day while there, my uncle (Sgt. Stanton S. Brown) told me to go on ahead to the chow hall and get some lunch and he would join me later. I walked over to the chow hall and the very first thing I saw was this big sign over the door that said, "Take All You Want...Eat All You Take".

I went inside, loaded up my tray (my uncle had called ahead to let them know I was coming) and sat down to eat. My eyes were way too big for my stomach and I didn't finish everything on the tray. When I got up to leave, a Sergeant stopped me and told me I couldn't leave until I had eaten all the food I had left on my tray. My uncle arrives and sees me sitting there trying to finish. When I told him I couldn't eat anymore he told me that if it took all afternoon, I wasn't going to leave the chow hall until my tray was clean. I don't know how long it took but I did finish.

When we left the chow hall my uncle turned me around and had me read the sign over the door again. I am 77 years old and to this day I have never forgotten that sign.

On the trip home my mother asked me if I had had fun visiting my uncle. I said that I had and that when I grew up I was going to join the Marine Corps.

When I joined I remember calling my uncle and asking him for any advice he might give me when I got to boot camp at Parris Island. He told me just two things. One: "Do exactly what you are told to do" and Two: The first and last words out of your mouth are "Sir".

Richard A. Barr 1646556
Staff Sergeant of Marines

As In Right Now

Sgt. Grit,

I have been an avid reader of your newsletter for some time now, I felt I should add my two cents worth on the 'VA and espirit de Corps'. First, I am a 100% disabled Nam vet. I go to the VA monthly for treatment and counseling. I also married for the second time late in life and have a young daughter.

A couple years ago I had an appointment at the VA in Milwaukee Wisconsin. It was shortly before Christmas and as always the VA was humming with activity. We live in the sticks as compared to Milwaukee and my daughter was taking this all in as a wide eyed 5 year old who wasn't too sure as to why daddy had to come here all the time.

As we normally do when going to the VA we stopped at their little store on our way out to see if they had anything new and interesting. Like most stores, especially around the holidays they had a bin of stuffed animals right by the hatch so you had no options but to go by them coming and going. About this time I had a very tired 5 year old who immediately zeroed in on these stuffed toys and like all 5 year olds wanted one... now, as in right now.

The wife and I explained to her that Santa was coming soon and we were sure he would remember which animal she had latched onto and to put it back, etc. etc. After a short discussion with her, she put the stuffed animal back and we walked out with a cloud of doom and gloom trailing the 5 year old.

We hadn't gone very far when a voice from behind us said "hey wait up". We turned around to see a fellow vet (I believe a Corpsman) hand my daughter the stuffed animal she had put back. "Here you go little lady... Merry Christmas" he said. My wife and I looked at him dumb founded and I said " I don't know what to say "? He said " you don't have to say anything. If we don't take care of our own, who will?"

I tried to say something but could only get out 'thank you' because I suddenly got something in my eye and it was watering profusely. I looked to my wife for some help here and she too just got something in her eye. The look on my 5 year olds face must have been all that was needed because this gentleman offered "Merry Christmas" and walked off into the crowd.

Espirit de Corps dead at the VA... your azs!

Ed Heyward, Sgt. of Marines
Viet Nam 68-69-70

The FLIGHT LINE - In Memorium

Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)

I'd like to submit this Issue of the Flight Line to Sgt. Grit in remembrance of those 19 MARINES that lost their lives in a crash of the new (at the time) MARINE CORPS V-22 tilt rotor aircraft at Manana Regional Airport, in Marana Arizona. during a training exercise in early April, 2000.

Read the full FLIGHT LINE article

Short Rounds

Back in 67 at PI Platoon 263 we didn't have wash racks. We were forced marched to the river and beat our utilities on rocks with our issued scrub brush. That's right boot! Old Corps!
Cpl Z. RVN 68-69 Semper Fi

Sgt. Grit:

Served with GySgt Plato, China Marine and WWII vet. Finest Marine I ever met. He always said in his gravelly voice (bayoneted in the throat on the Canal) "Maximum effective range of the Colt 45 is the length of your arm."

Cpl. (no crossed rifles) Mumford, USMCR 1552091, 1955-63

Sgt Grit,

I had a Company Gunny who always said " I was in this Gun Club when Captain Crunch was a Lieutenant" so don't F_ _ _ k with me!

GySgt S. Soto
USMC 1983-2004

Uniform stamping.. I still have my stamp, haven't used it lately.

Back as far as 1945, you deserve a pass on not remembering your platoon number or your Drill Instructor's name. But, if I was a member of your family, I would definitely spend some time and find out for you. The message or statement was pointed at those that don't "Talk the Talk" and can't "Walk the Walk"...My cover is off to you SSGT Leech....

Semper Fidelis
Cpl Grandle Starling 59/63

I was a bit late reading the newsletter from 3/14 so I just got to see the "Old Dog Sgts." tattoo. The scarlet and gold sergeant's chevron tattooed on his arm, complete with crossed rifles and MOS has to be the best USMC tattoo that I have ever seen. Before I get hammered for putting it ahead of all the EGAs out there, cut me a break, guys. This one has originality written all over it! By the way, I was in the barracks next door with H&S, 2/6 at the same time ('65-'67) and only regret that I did not get to see it in person.

M.F. Weaver
CWO4 (Ret.)

The best one I remember was 1st LAAM Bn. at Da Nang the summer of 1966.I was with B Btty and we would go to chow there. The mess Sgt was the BEST ever! That man could make spam taste like fresh ham! Then the 1st Division CO came thru our mess hall and "appropriated" the mess Sgt for his mess. Food went to crap after that...
Dave Lindsay Sgt 1962-1966

Sgt. Grit,

There is a reference in the 3/21/12 and the 3/28/12 newsletter regarding the 21 gun salute to be performed by the River Valley Rifle Detachment to be performed by the River Valley Rifle Detachment at the 9th annual Grit Together.

2012 GriTogether! Be there!

All The Grace

Hi Sgt Grit... I was wondering if you or any other Marine knew or remember this man... He was M/Sgt. Albert Gordon and I knew him at El Toro Marine base... he served in WW1 and came back into the Marines during the depression " I can get something to eat..."

He was a big no nonsense man... but when chowing down he had all the grace as if he was eating at the Ritz...Well when we shipped out in WW11 he got all ready to go but then the officers said he was too old and wouldn't let him ship out with us... so he went down to San Diego to watch us boarding the ship, shook hands with as many as he could ... then went back to El Toro...walked into the Officer of the Days office and handed the officer on duty a file and told him he could mark the file "deceased"...

The OD asked "Oh, did we lose another flyer?" Then the OD saw it was Gordon's file and laughed, "Saying Oh, this is a joke... this is your file... you aren't dead." Gordon said , "Yes I am" and took a .45 from behind his back and blew his brains all over the office. They said the officer went screaming out of the office... I was just wondering if anyone is still a round besides me who remembers him...

S/Sgt Oscar A Pearson

A Start

In reply to this Grandle Starling in regard to remembering Boot Camp, numbers and names. Boot Camp is a Start, a Kindergarten of Service. There has to be other times in a four year hitch that at least equaled the time in Boot Camp. Like Remembering the sands of the Pacific Islands, or the hills of Korea or, the jungles of Vietnam, the Landing on Grenada, of Iraq, or so many of the places we Marines go. There must have been some one as intelligent as the DI during the balance of the four years. There must have been a time of joy or dismay during that time, In many cases there are marriages and children, do you forget your children to remember someone that pushed and shoved through childhood into manhood?

Remembering chasing Charlie through the jungle, or being chased by him. Meeting or seeing a Marine General or Marine hero, a Medal of Honor winner, now that's worth remembering, not some guy that pushed a bunch of children into a remarkable bunch, BUT he was only the Start, you aren't really a full Marine upon graduation from Boot Camp, it's the duty you do after, the training you get after, the service you've carried on your shoulders and unflinchingly did your duty regardless of how hard or how dangerous.

I remember those that made an impact on my life, they came first and impressed upon me what I was expected to do as a Marine. Then I had to go out there and be a Marine. When I landed on a beach I didn't think of what the DI taught me to do but the Gunnery Sergeant or Platoon Sergeant that kicked me off the boat and said: "Follow Me". When you look out over the battlefield, your battlefield, you don't look up to the sky and ask what would my DI do or want me to do. He was just a cog in the Wheel of learning to be a Marine and when you left him, you met another and another cog in the wheel, whether it was Electronics school, Motor T, or Infantry Training at Camp Pen or Camp Lejeune and the one who was showing you how to creep and crawl, how to shoot at targets that jumped up while you walked the Combat Patrol line.

Sorry I lived a life beyond Boot Camp and pulled in as much info, as much Courage and as much Marine as I could, I left the DI back on the Drill Field where he belonged, not alongside me where the Company Gunny was or my buddy who gave me his last cigarette or "C" ration. Life is too sweet to leave it to Kindergarten teachers.

GySgt. F.L. Rousseau USMC Retired

132 lbs. Soaking Wet

Dear Sgt Grit,

Back in the day; in 1967, after boot camp and ITR, I was Stationed at Camp Pendleton because I was too young to be sent to Vietnam yet(17). While I went through training I was housed in a billet next door to the area Mess Hall. It was run entirely by WM's. I remember it was all you could eat. As long as you held your plate out, they kept loading food on it.

I used to get up early and go there for Breakfast in the wee hours of the morning. I would usually get about 6 eggs, fried, a half a pound of bacon, and maybe 4 or 5 slices of toast! Had 2 or 3 glasses of fresh milk with coffee to wash it all down. Long story short. When I got there I was 132 lbs. soaking wet. After my 18th Birthday when I shipped out to Vietnam, I was 186 lbs. of muscle and ready for anything!

Good thing I was... upon arrival in Da Nang in 68, they promptly blew the right wing off our plane as we touched down!... WELCOME TO VIETNAM!

To Be Continued... Carry On !

Cpl Charles (Chip) Morgan, 3rd Mar. Div., TAD to 4th Marines,
Sub Unit #2 Post Office, CaLu, RVN
(Still lost somewhere along the DMZ)


In answer to "Cut To The Chase", ddick
Proud to say I'm a San Diego Grad.
Proud of it as every Marine should be, be it SD or PI. Marine. I used the term "SUGGESTED" as a light hearted statement as I'm sure many of my fellow Marines understood it.
Stop to think about it, while going through boot camp naturally the DI's didn't suggest anything. If the word "SUGGESTED" offended ddick, so be it.
Semper Fidelis, Jim Schneider
PS: Lighten up a bit!

Ready To Admit

I've read every issue of Sgt Grit for the past years and was ready to admit I would never read about anyone that I know. The email from Thomas Shanahan, Plt. 339, Sep54 about his return to Camp Geiger, really hit home. I also was in Plt. 339 and never thought I would hear from anyone from that Plt. I also returned to Parris Island to watch my Grandson graduate from boot camp on 6Jan12. Even though he had graduated from 2ndBn and I was a Drill Instructor for 1stBn in 59-61, my heart was still with him. I was really a proud Grandfather. He had made PFC out of boot camp and fired expert with the rifle.

I also received a phone call from my Platoon Sgt. In Vietnam, (67-68) Mike-3-4 after 45 years ago. This past year has been great with going back in time to boot camp, Vietnam, and talking with old friends. This would have never happened had I not kept up with Sgt. Grit. Thank you so much!

Jim Kight
Captain, USMC Ret. Parris Island Plt 339 1954.
DI PISC 59-61 M/3/4 67
NAO Call Sign Wolfman 13 1968 1971

Hot Dogs And Sheep

The best chow I had in a mess hall actually occurred while in recruit training. I applied for the MARCAD program (flight training) and was sent, while in boot camp, to Miramar NAS for my flight physical; one whole day out of MCRD. The mess hall was a large, cafeteria; extremely good chow. Myself and one other recruit even chowed down on some candy bars while at Miramar. Under the circumstances it was heaven, good food, candy, freedom of movement, and no Drill Instructors.

While not the best I had, I have to comment on the cooks and bakers at FLSG-B in Chu Lai, 1966-67. The cooks did a good job with what they had. Even after we were put on Army rations shortly after the 196th Light Infantry Brigade moved into the Chu Lai area (April 1967, I think). Those cooks did the best they could with hot dogs and sheep (also known as lamb); we saw very little beef after the rations change. Have to say there were times when C-rations were preferable. It certainly was not the fault of the cooks.

The bakers were superb. Their bread and pastries were as good as any I have had anywhere. About once a month they made whole wheat and rye bread. Almost every morning someone from headquarters platoon, Maintenance Company, made a run to the bakery and brought hot loaves of bread back; sometimes with bags of scrambled eggs for sandwiches. Once some silly E-8 made the mess hall remove all the pastries because there were too many bugs in them (we viewed the bugs in the flour as additional protein). When we heard about that, a couple of guys headed to the mess hall and returned with two large grocery bags full of the pastries. That was all we ate for a couple of days. Very good eating.

Joe A. Bell
Retired Economics Professor
Once a Sgt., Always a Marine

Nearly Got My Head Blown

Sgt. Grit:
Just a thank-you to S/Sgt Talbott for his great flash-back pics of the Amtracs (not amtracKs!) at Liberty Bridge. I, too, was a "tractor-rat" with 3rd 'Tracs in DaNang from '65 to '66. I have fond(?) memories of every inch of those "floating coffins". There's nothing like breaking track in a rice paddy filled with knee-deep sh-t water, just as the sun starts going down.

I was "blown-up" by a command-controlled I.E.D.(land mine) in a 'trac filled to the top with boxes of Claymore mines. A close one there! An ambush followed and a splendid time was had by all. Thankfully, the Claymores never went off. We pulled the two torsion arms/road-wheels off, buttoned-up the track and limped back to An Hoa. Those two pics show the 'tracs in their full glory; dirty as pigs and still rolling.

I remember trying out all sorts of configurations thought up by HQ. At one point we had a 106 recoilless "rifle" sandbagged on the top of my tractor. Not a very practical idea, there. I nearly got my head blown off when I raised my driver's seat as they were about to fire. Thanks, from one "stickin' mother-fu-- er" to another.

J. Barnes (1833)/USMC '64-'68/RVN '65-'66.

P.S. Sgt. Grit: Another expression heard frequently: "Don't get pi-sed; re-enlist!

The "Deuce"

My cousin and I enlisted in 1966 in L.A. after seeing a 6' tall poster of a Marine aviator, helmet cradled in his arm, looking skyward at a formation F-4 Phantoms in the distant sky. That was for us! Signed up that day, left about 4 weeks later for San Diego.

To be sure, boot camp was a wake-up call for both of us. Even though we signed up on the buddy system, for some reason "cuz" was assigned to a different platoon. I never saw him again close up except at church on Sunday (hey it's easy to get religion at MCRD, especially when you can try and grab a quick nap for 10 seconds every now and then).

After graduation, we were shipped off to Camp Pendleton for a brief stint at ITR before moving on to school in Florida. We were assigned to the same Quonset hut and, in the off hours, began the unending, hysterical story telling about each other's boot camp experiences.

This one story of his topped all the others I have ever heard about boot camp. If you are squeamish, move on to the next story. Or at least, wait on chow before reading the following.

One day on the grinder, "cuz's" platoon was granted a one-minute head call and they beat h-ll to get to the head. One of the kids in his squad chose that time to "sit", if you get my drift.

After about 30 seconds, he was having trouble eliminating the "deuce" he was working on (probably due to the grand cuisine offered in the mess). While the other recruits were satisfied with a quick No. 1 elimination and ran out to fall in formation, this recruit was still sitting on the sh---er when the DI walked in and started yelling for him to get up and get out! The recruit replied, "Sir, I can't, sir".

DI yells "Why not?". Recruits replies "Sir, because it's half- way out, sir". DI says, "well pinch it off and get moving!" Recruit, after hesitating, does as instructed, cleans up as best he can, pulls up his skivvies and trou and begins to move out. DI yells "Where the h*ll you goin'?" Recruit asks "Sir?" DI "politely" instructs the recruit to pick up the floater. "Sir?" the recruits asks sheepishly. Ultimately, the recruit picks up the half-deuce and runs out to formation clutching his "prize".

DI starts in, "Since Pvt so-and-so decided to hold up this formation by relaxing in the head just now, you are all going to share in fruits of his labor. Pass it down, private". So the next recruit in the squad gets the "gift", who then passes it to the next recruit, and so on and so on until every man had his turn. Initially, the item was somewhat solid as it was passed along. But by the time it got to the last recruit, it was "handed off" in a manner much like you do when you have too much peanut butter on the knife and you drag it across the top of the jar to return the excess for another day.

After I got done with stomach cramps from laughing so hard, I called "bullbleep". I ran to the next Quonset hut where other members of cuz's former boot camp platoon were housed. They confirmed every detail.

Man I love the Corps!

Robert Imm
SGT '66-'70
RVN H&MS 13 '69-'70

Purple Heart

The attached photo shows my son-in-law's grandfather, Samuel Waldroup, receiving the Purple Heart in Korea. His information indicates that is that this is Brigadier General Puller. Can anyone confirm this?

I thought the photo was interesting enough to put out in the newsletter to see

(a) if anyone recognizes the nurse
(b) if anyone knew Pvt. Waldroup (we actually don't know his rank at the time; he retired as a Gunny; he has passed on) and
(c) to see if anyone can explain why, while the man's legs are underneath the blankets of the bed, a pair of trousers has been strategically draped over the blanket to give the impression to the casual glance that he's wearing them? (Mystery solved. It's a bath robe, not trousers.)

D. Campbell
68-72, Cpl.

Can't Tell Them Much

Sgt. Grit,

Regarding MSgt George M. Button's mother-in-laws favorite expression: "You can always tell a Marine, but you can't tell them much."

It also has been one of my favorites, but as used by her, it is incomplete. The proper (IMHO) expression is: "You can always tell a Marine, but you can't tell them much, because we already know everything worth knowing!"

GySgt R. James Martin (USMC Vet, 1964 - 1980)
2097678 - 6x71, 72, 74/4631
MCRDSD Plt. 255, The "San Diego City in Motion Platoon" - 1964
RVN: 10 Mar 1966 - 15 Aug 1968

VA Visits

Hi Sgt, grit, I want to comment about active troops visiting VA vets. I'm in Marine league #1137 from Lakeozarks, MO. Every two to three months we go to the va hospital in Columbia, MO. and set up a bingo game for all the vets who are there. We bring them eats and a small prize of a dollar a game, and they really enjoy our visit. Our bingo caller is a 97 year old Marine, Howard Carlson, He's always the oldest one there. We share the trips to the VA with other Marine leagues. It would be nice for active troops to go for visits also. but the vets are not forgotten there semper-fi...
Sgt Bob Holmes

He Speaks

Sgt Grit,

Recent comments regarding mess halls and food brought back related memories.

My first day as a "Junior PLC" officer candidate at old Camp Upshur aboard MCB Quantico, in July of '63, we have just exited the vehicle (a cattle car) and are in formation in front the messhall. In charge, is a very tall, very stern, very loud gunnery sergeant (our platoon staff has not taken over, yet).

He speaks: "It is now time for chow. This is a knife [I have seen many of those utensils before], this a fork [used that often, maybe too often], and this is a spoon. It is a big spoon. The Marine Corps ain't got no little spoons [not in the budge?]. When you go through the line, you will take what you want, but you will eat what you take. Marines do not eat to enjoy a meal, they eat to feed their skuzzy bodies. You will eat your meal and get back out here in formation in fifteen minutes."

[Note: the mess hall was a large "tin" building with ceiling fans far above the tables--no air conditioning. I have attached a photo of a portion of Camp Upshur found on some internet site--can't remember where. It doesn't show the mess hall, which was in the area of the parking lot in the lower right-hand corner, but that building was similar to, although larger than, the class rooms in the upper right-hand side of the photo. My squadbay was just out of the picture in the upper left-hand corner. Our "grinder" was that open area above the Quonset huts in the upper left.]

On some days during our stay, the temperature/humidity level reached "black flag" conditions--no physical activities. On one day early in our stay there, sweat was running freely down faces. I looked at the sweet roll that I had chosen, and my stomach rebelled against accepting it. As I attempted to deposit it in the proper receptacle, I heard, "You will eat that, Candidate! You may gag; you may puke; but you WILL eat that!" Somehow I managed.

I can agree that the food in the Marine mess halls where I ate was always better than what I found aboard Fort Sill--my only experience with Army food. While serving with the Reserves for six years, aboard NAS Corpus Christi (C & D Cos., 4th Recon Bn, combined and re-designated as "C" Co.,1/23 in 1972), after my three years active service, I ate at the BOQ. On one visit there, I found that someone had "modified" a Marine recruiting poster: it had the word "men" crossed out, and now proclaimed: "The Marine Corps builds--robots." Prompted by jealousy, I guess.

Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine
Tom Downey
July '63-July'76 "for pay purposes"
Vietnam: 4Dec66-18Dec67 [11th Marines: "I" 3/11, for about 8 months (FO for "L" 3/7 for 5 1/2 months, then FDO) and HQ Btry, 3rd 8-Inch Howitzers for 4 1/2 months (FDO/MTO)]

Each Take An Arm

Whoever the turd is who was chortling about his practical jokes on his drill instructor does not deserve the name Marine. We support one another, we bleed for one another, we kill for one another, we die for one another. We do not gloat at the misfortunes of one another.

At PI in 64 we had a man who could not shoot, could not drill, and had two left feet. We worked together as a platoon, no doubt with the knowledge of the Drill Instructors, to help that man graduate with us. When we had people falling out on a particularly trying all equipment run, two of us would each take an arm to get him through. We are Marines. We are not a singular idiot who enjoys screwing one of our own.
Joe Tucker

Worn Proudly

I want to personally thank Sgt Grit and Misty in customer service for rushing the shorts because they are custom order and getting them to me before the March of Dimes, March for Babies walk. They were worn proudly as you can see by my daughter and wife. Semper Fi!
Brandon Berk

Hissed When Provoked

While serving on Okinawa in the 3rd engineer btln we were sent to the Philippines for forward echelon for 3rd Marine maneuvers. While there we discovered many creepy crawlers. These consisted of Spitting Cobras, Long Centipedes. Bugs that had a Claw like beak and hissed when provoked. Ugly spiders, etc. Needless to say, we were instructed to slam our boondockers on the deck and shake them out, prior to slipping the foot into them. When I'm at my Hunting camp, every morning before Donning my Boots' I still do the same thing. It's funny how this simple training sticks with you forever. Old habits never die. My Army Buddies never figured out why I did that till I mentioned it. They now do the same thing.
Keep up the good work Sgt Grit
Frank Rigiero, Sgt 56-59

Cover Wounded Marines

Hi, my name is Edward Little. I served with "C" Company 1/3 from September 1967 to September 1968. For the majority of my time with Charlie Company, I was squad leader of 1st platoon, 1st squad. I have seen Corpsman open their flack- jackets and cover wounded Marines with their own bodies. They were absolutely fearless. It didn't matter whether the wounded was the victim of a sniper round or in a hot LZ. And I have never been to a bar frequented by Marines and Corpsmen where the Docs have ever paid for a drink.

I'm writing this small missive because the 3rd Marine Division is holding its annual convention this year in San Diego, CA, just a couple of hours from L.A. I hope to see the guys I served with in Charlie Company 1/3.

Semper Fi
Cpl. Little

Called To The Chaplin's Office


Regarding the letter to you published on 3-21-12 DI Shined my shoes. I had a similar experience in Jan 1962 . I also was from Portland Or but was sent to PI for Boot Camp. Plt 197. I was summoned to the Chaplin's office & there was told my Father had terminal cancer. When I returned to the barracks the Sr DI G/ Sgt R L Craig called me to his office and asked why I had been called to the Chaplin's office. I told him the reason. This was shortly before Evening chow.

We formed outside the barracks as usually before going to the mess hall. While in formation he called me out & said that he had forgotten something in his hutch and ordered me to go get it for him. Since I was the house mouse this was not totally unusual. Anyway when we got back from chow the DI's left the squadbay and at that time a number of the recruits came up to me and said I have $10, $5. Etc.. that they would give me if I wanted to take a leave to Oregon. I chose to finish training. I have always remembered the fellowship of these Marines. If any of them are reading this I would like to hear from them.

Semper Fi
O L Klump, USMCR 1961 -1967


Ralph Mussehl has been back to Vietnam several times. He took the picture of the boot print in 2007. Said it was eerie after all these years. He collected the dirt from various areas while visiting. Makes a great display for the entry way in my office.

I gave Cassandra, who does our shadow boxes, the dirt and the pictures and asked her to do something nice. I think she did an outstanding job. She also included a note to me.

As we march through this life, we collect memories that are sometimes joyful and sometimes unpleasant, but none the less precious for their lessons. We can only hope that we have left a mark on the lives around us that is rich in wisdom and good will. Please enjoy this shadow box- may it provide many stories and much wisdom.

Marines... I have an outstanding staff, a great job and wonderful customers.
God Bless the Marine Corps!
Sgt Grit

Cruising Altitude


A couple of years ago I purchased a dress blue ball cap with the EGA on it. I wear that cover everywhere and have now noticed something great. I have had more comments than I can count.

Two years ago I flew from Seattle to Reno to visit my youngest daughter and her husband. As I stood in that zig zag line waiting to get through the first security point I kept hearing people saying, "Semper Fi", "Oohrah", or "Thank you for your service". Now I got to the second inspection point which was for a pat down. The young inspector looked at my cover and said, "My dad has one of those, were you in the Corps too ?". I said D-mn Straight and he replied, "Carry on Sir" and I didn't get the pat down.

Now I'm on the plane and we just reached cruising altitude and a stewardess stopped by my seat and said, "Thank you for your service Marine. I was in the Army but I wished I had chosen the Marine Corps." By now I am ready for a bloody mary, which cost $8.00 as I wasn't in 1st class. When she delivered my drink I handed her a $10 bill and she said, "No, this one is on me." A bit later she came by again and asked if I could handle a second round. I said "sure" and she brought another one which she also paid for. I'm thinking "I'm 73 years old, where the h-ll were you when I was in my 20's "

I have just joined the local detachment of the Marine Corps League and have mentioned this story to the other guys and we all agree that You seldom, if ever, hear people shouting out "Go Navy", "Anchors Away", "Go Army", "Yea Air Force", or other such salutations. The recognition and comments I get wearing that great cover astound me ... I think they will "plant" me wearing it.

Semper Fi
Sid Gerling
Sgt. of Marines

Feet Out In Front

Dear Sgt. Grit,

Have you ever been knocked on your back side for not paying attention to your DI. I was but good. Our DI told us on our first day at PI not to sneak up on him for he was jumpy and would react fast, I forgot!

I was number one road guard and running back to the formation when I ran past him. He hit me in the chest so fast it was like a split second. I remember running, then I saw my feet out in front of me. Next thing I know he was standing over me yelling what the F--K do you think you're doing!

Later that evening I was called to the DI shack and asked if I wanted to see the COL. to have charges placed on the DI. I said Sir no Sir, it was the privates own fault for not listening! I think I got new respect after that and learned a good lesson.

I laugh to myself every time I think about it. Sometimes you have to be knock on your azs just to keep you to do the right thing!

Cpl. Moore 1977-1981

Everybody Is Happy

All of my family have been service members since arriving in America from Europe. starting with my Great Great Grandfather, who was in the Army and trenches of WWI he retired as a Major. His son was an Army Corps of Engineer and served under Gen Patton, in the battle of the Bulge. He retired as a Bird Col, after serving in WWII, Korea and Nam.

His son, My Father, was a LtCol USAF flight Engineer for the B1 and B2 flight testing out at Edwards AFB. His last duty assignment was Brooks AFB. However what follows was years before I joined the Corps, When I was an Air Force Brat.

After Temp housing on Brooks, we moved to a large house just outside the gates of Randolph AFB, after about 8 months of living there we discovered a small door in the carport behind the water heater. When we opened it we found an old foot locker full of heavy large 9x13" steel tins that contained marble pound cake. So we opened one and tried to eat it, unsuccessfully. It was So dry and hard you had to use a sharp knife to try and cut it out of the tin it was in. G-D it was Dry ! So we all cut off smaller pieces and let them soak in a bowl of milk. it was STILL dry and not too edible.

We had three dozen of the d-mn things and no idea what to do with them. So my Father had a good idea to take it to the base rifle range for target practice. Dad taught me weapons safety and basic marksmanship, My Father was awarded the USAF small arms expert marksmanship ribbon, with bronze star. We took a 12G. shotgun, an M1 and a really cool USAF pilots survival rifle that was a .22 .

Well we started taking turns with the 22 and it seemed that we hit it DCM but there was not any exit holes on the sealed pound cake can. The d-mn thing stopped them cold. We moved up to the shotgun with double 'ought buck, same thing, stops the rounds cold. When we moved up to the M1s we finally started having some effect on the d-mn thing. Good grouping and left nice large holes.

Years pass and the tinned cakes become a dim memory. Fast forward to Dec 22nd 1996, my birthday and first duty station at GITMO. Dad sends me a MARS asking what I wanted for my Birthday/Christmas gift. I asked for something that reminded me of home. Like a Colin Street Bakery fruitcake or something like that. I had been telling my squad-mates that I was gonna get some good food from back home and I would share it with them.

My 1st Lt. brought me the care package from home, hand delivered it and had me open it in front of the entire Plt. My Father, who has a dry humor, sent me 2 of the d-mn canned Marble pound cakes and a large deluxe fruitcake. After I read the enclosed letter, My Lt. says "Hand it over" so I did. He slices the fruitcake very very thin and everybody is happy. So I get a bright idea and stand and say, "Sir, I would like to offer one of my marble pound cakes to you, for sharing with the other Officers, Sir." And He is all like "Good to Go, LCpl, I will share it with coffee at the next Officers briefing." I have NO idea what happened at that briefing, but I hope everyone got a laugh or enjoyed the bulletproof cake. The only fallout from the entire thing was the Sgt.Maj asked me if I had another one of those things, so I gave it to him. I am clueless as to what the Sgt.Maj did with it.

Semper Fi
LCpl. Elder 0351/0352 '95 to 2000.


Hi Sgt. Grit,
Fulfilling a childhood dream, I enlisted in the Corps in March of 1958 at age 16, turning 17 the second day after arriving at MCRDPI. After those initial weeks training to become Marines it was time for our platoon 281 (Co. I, 2nd Bat.) to go to the rifle range and begin those weeks of "snapping-in" and then the live-firing for qualification.

On one of those very hot, sunny, sand-flea infested afternoons I finished a round of live fire with my M1 and afterward I went to the range coach to tell him about my rear sight (typical problem with some M1's where the peep sight could be easily pushed all the way down from full elevation with minimal thumb pressure). The busy coach quickly rattled off some instructions and so I set off immediately. Assuming an erect posture and at port arms I did an about face, quick-stepped it down the rear slope of the range berm then double-timed it away from the range, across an open field toward a far off direction where I thought the armory building should be (I observed its approximate location, from my sneaky peripheral vision the day we marched there to get our M1's).

Well, there I went, one lone "boot maggot" running almost at an "attention-port arms" way across an open field, eventually crossing a paved road and entering a small building complex trying to find the Armory. Nervous with anticipation and high- velocity-pumping-blood-pressure I frantically looked around and only by sh-t luck I found the "Armory". But when I tried the doorknob I was shocked to find the door was locked and no lights on inside the building; the armory was closed!

Now confused and in real panic with absolutely no one else around, not anybody, anywhere, my thought was that I was in serious trouble. By this time of course I'm soaked with sweat and smelling of same and with no other choice I somehow mustered up enough composure to realize I needed to get the h-ll back to the range PFQ. So again at port arms I about faced and "triple- time" sprinted it in the reverse direction to the range. On this return trip I kept worrying that something was seriously wrong and I asked myself: what the h-ll was I doing all alone this far away from the range in basically unfamiliar territory and did the range coach really tell me to go to "the Armory" or did I screw-up royally?

Approaching the range but about 25 yards out from the berm, I slowed down to an almost normal pace so I wouldn't be too conspicuous and it also allowed me to settle down and catch my breath a bit. When I reached the berm I looked up and saw two other recruits with their M1's standing in front of a work bench located only feet behind the firing line and manned by a staff Marine person (the armorer). At that point I recalled our DI's saying there'd be real Marines at the range called armorers whose job it is to fix weapons. Feeling pretty stupid, my teenage sh-tbird-maggot-recruit-numbnuts-brain kicked in and I realized that it was "go to the armorer" that the range coach said and not to the *&^$%^%#$% armory, idiot!

To this day I shake my head in disbelief at what I had done and despite the serious consequences that my actions could have reaped I can't help but chuckle a bit when I think back to my boot-maggot rifle range screw-up and can't believe it happened. Recapping it all: I "recruit-stupid" misheard the range coach and left the rifle range without anyone's knowledge (never mind "permission"); I double-timed it at port arms across an open field a significant distance from rifle range; I crossed an MCRD paved road (luckily no vehicles); I entered an MCRD building area (luckily no one around) and found the closed armory; I reversed direction and dashed back to the rifle range traversing the same landscape; I got back to the range sweating profusely, stinky and out of breath with no one paying much attention to my obvious condition; I stood nervous and full of anxiety at port arms in front of the armorer's bench, requested service on my rear sight and I handed the armorer my M1 (which he fixed in seconds); I (very happily) ran off to find the rest of my platoon where with much activity going on no one seemed to notice my long absence, my sweat drenched utility jacket, wet limp cover, pulsing jugular veins and fire-bucket-red complexion. Relieved that I was safely back at the range I privately thanked God for letting me get through that gut- wrenching ordeal unnoticed and unscathed from the wrath of my DI's (SDI TSgt. Brown, and JDI Sgt. Reeves and JDI Sgt. Carver). It took me a while to recover from my foolishness and self- embarrassment at what I had done so I kept the secret to myself (hopefully, it's safe enough now to reveal without fear of post- event-prosecution via delayed Court-Martial or the least, Captain's Mast).

Looking back, I must have covered about 1000 yards round trip and I was absent from the range maybe a 1/2 hour (the trip back to the range took the least amount of time). If it wasn't for that sh-t luck component I'd probably still be at MCRDPI today (54 years later at age 70) if not in the brig then in perpetual punishment doing push-ups or those dreaded squat-thrusts and pull-ups had anyone discovered what I did. What luck this Marine-recruit-maggot-sh-tbird-numbnuts had that day!

Semper Fidelis! (or Semper Fi!) to all my Leatherneck brothers and sisters, living, dead, past, present and future.

Lionel I. S. Caldeira 58'-62' (former 0311/0331 grunt, Cpl-E4:
D-3-1-1, D-1-9-1, D-1-9-3, D-1-3-3, H-HS-MCAS Beaufort
"Once a Marine, Always a Marine"
God bless our old and awesome Corps!

Sent MP's Out

I have two stories from boot camp at Parris Island. The house mouse was also my bunkie. He made out the guard duty rosters for the platoon. He always put us together and gave us what he thought were good posts. Our first assignment was the bridge near the main gate. Supposed to be a four hour post beginning at 4am. All started well, no one was around so we sneaked a few smokes before daylight. As traffic picked up we stood our posts well, saluting all officers as required. Time came to be relieved but no one showed up. About 10am our DIs realized we were missing and sent MPs out to get us. We missed breakfast and had to suffer through to lunch.

Next post was at the WM battalion early evening Marine Corps Ball night.

We hadn't had much contact with the ladies being we were in third phase so it was an enjoyable evening watching the WM's all hottie'd up heading out for the Ball. Seems the girls that didn't have dates for the Ball were having a good party in one of their rooms. Each pass we made around the barracks they tried harder and harder to get us to join them. How tempting, but we managed to resist. I think if we had joined them we'd still be doing squat thrusts in the Rose Garden.

Sgt. Zimmer 76-80

Projo Stuck In It

By 1969-1970, there were two kinds of 155MM Howitzers in Viet Nam... towed, commonly known as 'split trails' (sort of a play on another term , 'split tails'... even more popular than howitzers, when available)... and 'SP' for "Self-Propelled"... the towed type were M114 models, and the SP type were M109 ('A', whatever, depending on how many and which modifications had been applied... I think they were up to M109A5 when they went out of the inventory... some Desert Storm vet can let us know, please). Mox NIx which, as far as ammo went... for those as hasn't been up close and personal with 'the service of the piece', artillery, above the 105MM size, was what was known as 'separate, (or 'bag) loading'... meaning that to make the thing go bang, big time, you needed separate components... the projo came with a ring plug that screwed into the nose, and under that was a 'sup charge', or supplemental charge, this being essentially a small tin can containing C-4... it 'supplemented' the initiating explosion from the fuse... point detonating, or time delay... if it was a 'prox' or proximity fuse, the little can was pulled out via the tape loop on it, and added to the 'cut charge' pits, because the prox fuse was quite a bit longer than the other types... more on that later. Besides the projectile, (with fuse installed) it took a bag, or bags, of propellant powder. These were shipped in water-tight metal cans, said cans, which when welded together, made excellent utility poles, etc. The capper was the primer, something like a brass.410 shell, which went into the firing lock... that had the lanyard attached to it, so when the lanyard was yanked, the lock... well, you get the idea...

On the day of the procedure in question, a crew of gun bunnies hopping around a M114 on one of the hills SW of DaNang (maybe hill 55? it's been a looong time..) had rammed a round, then got a 'check fire' and the command to 'down-load' (as in" 'get the big bullet and stuff outta there, we ain't gonna shoot it right now)... OK, fine... no problemo... took the primer out of the lock, opened the breech, removed the powder bags, and took the rammer staff and the 'bell' to get the projo out. (the 'bell' is a hollow device, screws onto the end of a rammer staff, shaped to go over the fuse and put pressure on the shoulders of the projo, so it can be pushed out. Problem was, the projo was well and truly rammed... and the rammer staff/bell combo, with all hands pushing, wasn't about to move it... they even may have broken a staff section or two (those were wooden) trying...

So here we have a 155 MM howitzer... with a projo stuck in it... that can't be got out with conventional means, and of questionable safety to go on and fire... so it is time for the EOD guys to earn their big bucks (hazardous duty and all that plus a bag of chips, pay)... and they were called. Presently they show up from up around DaNang way, in a PC (vehicle of recent discussion in this forum... M-37, 4X4, Personnel Carrier... used a lot like a good ol' boy pick'em up truck). They take a look at the problem, get the history on what has been tried to this point, then ordered up: a mattress (probably came from Officer's country or the Sgt Major's hooch), a ladder, couple cans of water, and some glycerin soap from the mess hall (good stuff, that last item... clear, syrupy fluid, slippery, would cut grease really well, etc.)...

EOD had the crew elevate the barrel to max elevation, open the breech, and put the mattress in what might have been considered 'the Kotex position" (between the opened trails of the gun). They then propped the ladder against the barrel, climbed up, filled the barrel with a mixture of soap and water, taped that off with fording tape (same-o same-o duct tape, different color), cut a slit in the tape, stuck a #8 electric blasting cap in there, taped that off, backed off, cleared the area, gave the 'fire in the hole, cubed' holler, and fired the cap... which pooped the round out of the breech onto the mattress. EOD picked up the round, casually tossed it into their PC, said "if you have any more problems, just give us a call", and motored off back toward DaNang... (liquids, e.g. water, are pretty much non-compressible... so whatever energy that wasn't lost out the muzzle was pushing on that projo... sharply)

Common... and really dumb... practice with the sup charges was to whack them with an E-tool, so that there would be a cut or hole in the metal, ensuring that the explosive would burn along with the superfluous powder... have explained many times to cannon-cockers why they really ought not do that... or, for that matter, drop 8" HE projectiles off the back of a six-by... little matter of fractured 'cast explosives', crumbs between hard surfaces, and 'low-order' detonations... hence a previous comment about speaking both loudly... and slowly... to artillerymen. (I'm kidding, guys... mostly... )


Against The Hatch

I was finishing up my ITR tour at Camp Geiger [February 1958] and was told by the company gunny that I would be in charge of a traveling party of Marines destined for our new duty station Marine Barracks US Naval Mine Depot, later renamed US Naval Weapons Station, Yorktown Va. Therefore, I was ordered to turn in my 782 gear and M-1 rifle immediately. This was great news since I would not have to stand the final rifle and personnel inspection the following day.

I grabbed my gear and hitched a ride over to the supply and armory area. The armory was closed for noon chow, but supply was open, so dumb a-- boot that I was, I left my M-1 leaning against the hatch of the armory and proceeded to the supply shed to survey my 782 gear. When I returned the armory was open but my rifle was gone. HOLY SH-T I thought I was finished with being scared sh-tless on PI but here I go again.

I went into the armory and there was the rifle behind the counter after an unmerciful a-s chewing by a few armorers they let me check out my weapon and tossed my sorry butt out of the armory. Suffice to say, for my entire enlistment, I never left my rifle unattended or not secured in a proper rack or locker.

BOB LAKE 1957-1960

There Are 5 Ranges

TO: R.W. Hoffman - "Charlie Battery 1/13
Post from the March 28, 2012 Newsletter.

I read your item about the pistol Qual. at PI in the 66' time frame.

Thank you! for thanking me to teach you how to shoot, but it is more likely it would have been someone else who was your instructor.

There are 5 ranges at PI, A-Line which is long course (1000 yds.) and only for members of the PI Rifle Team, competition shooters or regular duty personnel. Ranges B - C - D which are for recruit practice firing and qualification and the pistol range. BCD ranges all had 50 shooters positions. But 'cause I'm old now my memory fails me, I think that would have been 25 targets on each side of the range 'tower'. This would have facilitated 2 platoons on each line (total of 6 at any one time) Qualification day was always Friday.

Sounds as though you were a recruit at that time. Recruits did not fire for a recordable score with the pistol. Their firing exercises were for purpose of basic familiarization only. In other words basic firearm safety, and firing positions and procedures, nomenclature etc. Hence, no scores. When you were assigned a regular duty station, and your assigned MOS required a side arm, you would have been issued one, more intensely trained and then would have to qualify with that weapon.

Since every recruit platoon had its own PMI, and at all the firing ranges there was 1 'coach' for every 2 shooters, when firing. So, out of about 50 PMI's available at any one period of time the actual chances that I might have been your PMI would have been about a 1 in 50 chance. Don't forget that would include all the PMI's that had platoons not in the actual firing 'Que' yet.

If you didn't accidentally shoot yourself, a coach or PMI, and were able to hit the target without shooting somebodies car, a hapless bird, or something else, I'll be glad to take the credit. If not, it must have been somebody else.

Professional note: of all the recruit accidents that occur at PI, many were related to events at the pistol range. All regular duty personnel hated that duty, it was as dangerous as it can get. Some of the pistols were so old and worn out, that I saw them go full auto and the last position the private was holding was one where his hands were behind his head with his weapon pointed at you! I saw many times the fear of the pistol would cause them to drop it when it fired. Or get a thumb ripped up because he rested his thumb on slide just before firing. (the position one would use when firing a revolver) The shooter errors were legion, laughable now but as serious as can be imagined back then. Those stories are for another time, but I would love to hear some of them coming from other PMI's and compare notes.

Glad you survived that ordeal. I also hope that if you ever had to use it, you were good at it by then.

65' - 66'

Memory Lapses

Numerous articles lately about the inability to remember certain facts about boot camp... but after 54 years since boot camp I guess I am lucky sometimes to remember my own name!

Went to PI in early July '58, and remember SDI (SSgt T. M. Truax), but had to look at "yearbook" to find out platoon number, etc. Now it all is fresh and clear - platoon 309, JDIs were SSGT H. S. Durham and Sgt R. J. Kimball, series officer 1stLt R. S. Terrell, company officer Capt. C. T. Deal... But I sure remember all the other daily details!

Tony Ward, GySgt/Captain ('58 -'71), Marine forever!

Aboard the Repose

I remember having to leave the bush of the DMZ to get some new glasses. I was amazed at how some people didn't appreciate the good thing they had. Here is a small example of such

I arrived at the Naval Hospital Ship Repose at Cam Ranh Bay and was assigned to a bunk for the time I was to be there. I got to take a hot shower, got a set of clean clothes, new boots and a hot meal. That night I was able to sleep the whole night without having to stand a watch. And the bunk had clean, white starched sheets. AHHHH, heaven!

When I got up the next morning, I! went to the galley for some breakfast. I couldn't believe all the food choices they had ready. There were eggs of every kind. Fried, scrambled, poached, you name it, they had it. All kinds of potatoes, pancakes, waffles, milk, coffee, orange juice, this was heaven. What really got to me was hearing a sailor complain that they had the same d-mn thing for breakfast again. He just didn't know how lucky he was. Maybe he should have gone out in the field with me for a while.

Richard D Constable E4
RVN 1966-67-68
Semper FI


I would like to take a moment to say thank you, and send my sincere gratitude to anyone out there that has helped a lost weary traveler, that does not know anything about the city they are in.

I have had many encounters with the kindness of strangers in Parris Island SC, Fort Knox KY and Twenty Nine Palms CA. They took the time to give us perfect directions to our destinations, even a shortcut or two. The feeling of being in a unfamiliar town, and being on a time schedule is very nerve wracking.

Every time we stopped a stranger to ask for directions these people were amazing. They took time to ensure we would get there... I don't know if it was you, or your family member, or your friend, that led us in the right direction, I just want to let you know you were lifesavers.

You all know the bus leaving with deploying Marines does not wait for a Mom that might have taken a wrong turn. Again, God Bless You All for your patience and compassion. It may, have seemed like a small thing to you at the time, but your kindness meant the world to me and my family.
Proud Marine Mom of my son Cpl Zachariah D Hicks OIF
Lia L Brown
Dayton TN

Dear Sgt. Grit,

When I met my soon to be husband on a blind date in Washington, DC in July 1956 I didn't know much about the Marine Corps. I was 18 and from a small town in Florida when I got a job at the State Department. When I met Richard (Butch) Malone he had been out of the Marines for about a year. I soon learned that he was truly once a Marine always a Marine kind of guy.

Four months after I met him we were married on November 10, 1956 (no other day would do). Now over 55 years later, six children in six years, my Marine lost his battle to a weak heart, dementia and other problems on March 27, 2012. I have been wanting to write to you for some time so he would read the letter in the newsletter. But I will tell everyone please don't put off something when you think of it but do it at that moment.

I have ordered hats, shirts, the Marine Corps throw and Marine stickers for his prized 2010 Ford Ranger. In March of this year I gave the truck to our grandson cause Richard could no longer drive. I had to hide the keys so he wouldn't get in the truck and take off to Maryland, where he wanted to return to live. The Ranger had 2,845 miles on it and wasn't even two years old so our grandson got a steal of a deal but he's a good grandson and hardworking.

We will be taking Richard to Arlington National Cemetery where he will be buried near our baby (stillborn twin of our oldest son). Because the baby is in Arlington, Richard has to be buried there also and that was O.K. with him. The day before he died we received the new catalog in the mail so I took it to him at the nursing home and he slowly looked at the pages and wasn't talking so I'd ask him if he wanted me to order him another hat or shirt and he shook his head "no". The next day he was gone.

I do know he was stationed in Pearl Harbor for 18 months and from the stories he told he sure had a good time with his buddies. I'll never forget the story about the car they bought for $50 and cut the top off to make a convertible. He told the stories over and over and I never reminded him that he'd told that story before. So as I write this letter with tears falling down my face I just wanted everyone to know that another good Marine is in Heaven having a good time with all his buddies that went before him.

Thank you so much for having quality items for my Marine. He wore his First Marine hat everywhere and everyone said "Semper Fi" to him everywhere we went. The other hats I ordered for him sit on the dresser never used.

Sandy Malone
Former Marine Wife
Clearwater, Florida

My son in boot camp was accepted for Marine Presidential Security Forces in 2003. After earning his 0311 designation at SOI and completing Security School in Chesapeake Virginia, he stood watches at 8th and I and went through Guard Academy. Finally he had a one year assignment with the White House Communication Agency.

His first overseas deployment was to Tbilisi Georgia when George W. Bush visited there. That first night the President attended a formal reception including anyone who might be someone in Georgia, such as ambassadors, president and prime minister, etc. My son was among the security Marines not on duty as the communication center, and therefore was instructed to attend the reception.

There was a formal reception line awaiting the entry of the President into the room. At the far end my son was assembled with the others in civilian attire. George Bush entered the room and saw his assembled unit at the far end. He exclaimed, "Marines!" and rushed passed the receiving line to these young men. He greeted each one personally and had a few words with each of them before he could be escorted to the head of the reception line to meet the dignitaries.

Nolan Nelson


"I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I'll kill you all."
--Marine General James Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders

"Whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force."
--Thomas Jefferson

"[W]hen all government, domestic and foreign, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another."
--Thomas Jefferson

"Men must be ready, they must pride themselves and be happy to sacrifice their private pleasures, passions and interests, nay, their private friendships and dearest connections, when they stand in competition with the rights of society."
--John Adams

"A universal peace, it is to be feared, is in the catalogue of events, which will never exist but in the imaginations of visionary philosophers, or in the breasts of benevolent enthusiasts."
--James Madison

"In order to become the master, the politician poses as the servant."
--former French president Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970)

"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions."
--James Madison

"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices"
--Voltaire, 1767

"[W]here there is no law, there is no liberty; and nothing deserves the name of law but that which is certain and universal in its operation upon all the members of the community."
--Benjamin Rush, 1788

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
--Ben Franklin, 1755

"A Marine is a Marine. I set that policy two weeks ago - there's no such thing as a former Marine. You're a Marine, just in a different uniform and you're in a different phase of your life. But you'll always be a Marine because you went to Parris Island, San Diego or the hills of Quantico. There's no such thing as a former Marine."
--General James F. Amos, 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps

"This is my rifle. There are many other, but this one is mine." "I pulled mess duty at the last supper"
"I was assigned to the Marine Detachment on Noah's Ark"

God Bless the American Dream!

Sgt Grit

©2012 Sgt Grit Inc
7100 SW 44th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73179
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