Sgt Grit Newsletter - 05 JAN 2012

In this issue:
• No Glasses in the Boondocks
• Authority of Marine Officers
• Doctor's View of Marines

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Marines sitting by an illuminated Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve 1968 - Dong Hav Vietnam I want to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, May the coming years be prosperous, happy, healthy and full of cheer.

Here is a photograph I shot in Dong Ha Vietnam Christmas Eve 1968.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from
The 3rd. Marine Division Dong Ha Vietnam 1968

In This Issue

FNG stories, we all have one, what is yours. Here's mine.

I got to Nam March 3, 1969 along with Goog, Hunts and Kelly. (now Ret. SgtMaj Kelly) The four of us remained the FNG's past June '69. Towards the end of June we got a "new guy". I go running down to the hootch area yelling something about FNG's, I slash open the hootch door with much bravado and what do I see? I see grizzled 13 months in country with 5th Comm. Cpl "Dirty Dick" Leyden. I don't say a word to him. I just turn and leave the hootch leaving some explicatives behind knowing the four of us are still the FNG's of the Comm Plt. Towards the end of June the 3rd MarDiv was pulling out and going back to Okinawa. Some of them extended and got reassigned to 1st MarDiv units. Dick is the reason I am a Sgt and a good friend to this day.

There are several versions of the origin of the term Leatherneck, what is yours?

Here we go: apologize for missing, all of his daughters, soles were the ripple type, finer moments in my career, Band of Brothers' Day, two stocks, all the camaraderie, go out of their way, A-frames at 29 Palms, the VC gave to us, to out-roar us, U N L I M I T E D AUTHORITY, gets a bit nippy, grande dame.

Stand by, to stand by!
Sgt Grit

Photo Contest


Hey Sgt Grit,

Jack Strumpf, Budka, and Belmear on Christmas in Korea - 1954 I found this pic of me (on the left) and 2 buddies celebrating Xmas in Korea in 1954. Notice the 'utilities' with the old WWII herringbone pattern worn by Marines in those days. Today you can't tell a Marine from a sailor, soldier or airman with the camo design covering up the service designation. Almost makes you wanna cry!

I guess I'm considered "Old Corps" by todays crop of Gyrenes. Check out the containers we're using to hold our brews. No glasses available out in the boondocks.

Happy New Year and Semper Fi to all.

Jack Strumpf 1366077
Sgt USMC '53 - '56


L/Cpl R. W. Hoffman, and all of Charlie 1/13 who missed their hot turkey Christmas dinner,

As one of those tasked with bringing your hot chow to the field, I apologize for missing you. It's a pretty good bet that we were diverted to pick up med-evacs in hot LZs or extract recon teams in contact. I putted around in a Huey covering -34s and -46s, and know that every time we were promised a holiday meal, most if not all the helicopter crews who were tasked with missions to deliver food made did as many as we could, and at the end of our day - after we'd post-flighted, serviced, and repaired our battle damaged aircraft, - we went to late chow (if the mess hall was still open) and ate cold spamwiches. Since we had a mess hall we didn't have much access to C rats, so most of us hoarded a can or two when we did get rations for those many late nights when the mess hall closed before we could make it.

If your luck improves, maybe we'll catch you in the next war.


Photo Contest

92 Year Old POW

Hey Grit:
I retired from the Corps in 95 and live so far in the woods that Wal Mart is 120 miles round trip. All the commercialization of Christmas has had me really bummed this year and I just couldn't get into it.

Yesterday 22 December 2011 I had to make a trip to the VA Medical Center In Minneapolis for some tests. This was my first trip to a VA Hospital. I just want you to know those people both working and Vets are the nicest folks I have been around in quite some time. I talked to a lot of people that were there and those Christmas greetings everywhere. No one was feeling down regardless of what their problem was.

Being my first visit I didn't know they were gonna give me travel pay so that was a nice Christmas Gift to me. While I sat there waiting to do my voucher, an old Marine started talking to me from his Wheelchair. He was 92 years old and of course had his Grit Cover on to say he was a WWII Vet. We talked a couple minutes and he told me he was a POW during the war. He said when he was released he only weighed 89 pounds and in really bad shape and that he had to spend quite a while in the hospital when he returned home. No complaints and no regrets just the nicest guy you could ever talk to.

No more Bah Humbug for me.
What a great Day I got to spend with some Great Folks.


Marine Corps Base Quantico Virginia
Main side
August 1969
OCS / PLC Assembly Prior to Graduation

Prior to forming up to march out for our graduation parade; The Company Gunny had us gathered in a picnic area behind the squad bays. We were not in formation. Just a tightly packed heard. First time in our Summer Service Charlies and Pizs Cutters. First time in our in our low cut black oxfords.

Side note: We had worked weeks spit shinning those puppies, and I would guess that more than half of us had them crack. (The shine just turned to powder).

The Company Gunny was standing on a picnic table giving us advice on insurance, on having a will, whether or not to accept a regular commission or not, yada yada. Remember, the South East Asia Games were in full swing right about now.

Then the Gunny, still atop the picnic table, hunches down and begins to eye ball every Candidate in the herd. Scanning port to starboard, fore and aft. He's a small man, but wiry as steel cable. He had a very pronounced New York / New Jersey accent. He then starts this little speech:

"In the Army, you are an Army Officer and an officer of Soldiers.
In the Navy you are a Naval Officer and an officer of Sailors.
In the Air Force you are an Air Force Officer and an officer of Airmen."

Now it starts getting much louder and with more conviction. "In the UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS you are A MARINE CORPS OFFICER and officer of MARINES!
As an Officer in the United States Marine Corps,

Then, he pauses - hunches down again - and while scanning all us soon to be butter bars, He says, in no uncertain terms, "And, If you don't want to come home in a rubber bag. You had better listen to that G-d D-mn Platoon Sargent."

Advice I'm sure still stands
Keep your Interval
Big Joe out

Survives against all odds

Gunnery Sergeant David Smith survives against all odds. See article attached for full story.

Article about Gunnery Sergeant David Smith Present day photo of Gunnery Sergeant David Smith

Ode to a warrior

been from hong kong to pusan
from trinidad to bagdad
seen c-ck fights dog fights
men die and women cry
been to belleau woods
to the islands of the pacific
from the mountains of korea
to the jungles of nam
been to the sand box called iraq
and the land of the taliban
have stormed the gates of h-ll
semper fi all the way
one in a corps of warriors
a united states marine

James e. knowles sgt. Usmc

Daddy's Blues

Sgt Grit,

I also sent in the question a few months ago about the "Mighty Mite".
Well a couple of weeks ago the Pawn Stars of Las Vegas had one presented to them for sale. The vehicle was restored with fording gear attached.
Sure brought back some memories.

Baby Emma in Dress Blues This past year has brought about a new Marine in my family, my grandson graduated from MCRD Parris Island on Dec 10th and a week later along came Emma my 1st Great Grandchild. See attachment to find her on Christmas trying on daddy's blues.

The new Marine is now at MCT.

It appears that my grandson Cameron is about to join as well, so there will be a set of brothers in the Corps within one year of each other.

You can only imagine my pride.

Semper Fi and Happy New Year

Jim Barr
SNCO of Marines

Doctors view of Marines

This is a Marine Corps Birthday message from a Navy Doctor in Afghanistan (for the civilians among you, he is stationed a major, non-Marine base). I have left some of the forwarding blog material below. The doctor's comments are unedited. My apologies to the priests who are addressees but you would have been extremely suspicious of editorializing had there not been scatological opinion reinforcement of the Anglo - Saxon variety.

The Corps that we served and love lives on. May God Bless Them, Us, Our Corps and Our Nation.

Remember him (The Dr. and his staff) in your prayers. They are doing a great job for our wonded Marines.

Dr. Dennihy wanted me to forward this. I am following directions. Date: Wednesday, November 10, 2010, 1:30 PMAs an IA or individual augmentee for the army, and being stationed on a NATO base, I planned on not seeing a lot of Marines. Their primary base, "Leatherneck " is in Helmand province and combat injured Marines are close to another Role III run by the Brits.

When a Marine crosses my path I usually engage him in one form or another and when they are in my shop I can sometimes make what's routine for me less daunting to the Marine. Marines don't like medical, pure and simple.

Not that I want to see Marines injured but I just want to see Marines.

Marines don't show up to sick call with I want my mommy complaints.

Marines don't walk the base in PT gear or with their weapons slung hap hazzardly.

Marines seldom if ever, fail to note an officer passing.

Marines taking care of their own but are appreciative of those Docs that take care of them.

Apart from my medical degree, the award, honor, ribbon, or academic acknowledgement that I am most proud of is the "Fleet Marine Force " warfare device I earned deploying with the 2/23 Marines to Ramadi, Iraq in 2009.

Marines do show up here at KAF though and I usually take the opportunity to mess with them. Two Marines were in the chow hall on their way to Camp Leatherneck and I ask if I can join them. The two lance corporals seem a little suspicious but after I put them at ease with some old man banter they swivel their heads around and ask me...

Sir, what the ___ is this place? Everybody's got gym clothes on and it looks like their weapons don't even work. What's with the hippie civilians? I explain KAF and they are both happy that they will be leaving soon.

I see Marines in primary care when they come on a consult to see ophthalmology or our neurologist the TBI specialist. The LNO, an FMF Corpsman, will grab me if they have any wound related issues. I have had two Marines seeing those specialist for eye injuries or TBIs and I have seen them for the holes where shrapnel tore into their subcutaneous space and was subsequently removed, leaving a gaping open wound.. Lucky they had been, but they were left with a big hole that would take a month to heal. I offered a delayed primary closure to the two of them telling them that it had a fifty-fifty chance of not getting infected. Like all Marines, adventuresome and for the most part trusting of a Navy doctor... an FMFdoc, they said that if it would get them back to their unit they were good to go. I scrubbed their wounds, debrided margins and sutured them up.

I see Marines in my trauma bay and usually these Marines have not been as lucky. When I know they're coming I have on my game face and I ask the Lord for my A game. A snipers bullet to the head, a dismembering IED blast and a Marine who I will call "Rocky".

Rocky is a recon Marine, the toughest of the tough. His face, neck and upper chest were exposed to an IED blast. He is six foot two, two hundred and 45 pounds. He comes in on a litter with only an IV and a face that looks like hamburger. His left eye is ruptured and his right is swollen shut. Thankfully he can answer me and nods and gives one word answers. I tell him we will put him to sleep and square him away.

He tells me "Doc, do what you got to do" The blinded Marine shows bearing in the face of serious injury. After the CT scan that confirms his eye rupture but has spared his brain, we clean up his face the best we can while we wait for his time in the OR. My team takes out eight stones blown into his face and neck. The smallest being the size of a peanut M&M and the largest the size of a pecan in his forehead. We saved all the stones for him. At the same time in another bay, another Marine has been shot in the head.

Luckily he is awake and although speech comes with difficulty, the bullets tract is on the periphery of the brain. He will go to Surgery with our Neurosurgeon and blessedly do well. Before he goes to the OR, I need to squeeze his hand and wish him luck. On his chest is written: "My help comes from the maker of heaven and earth " Psalms 121.2. The third Marine unfortunately, is a fallen angel.

I am also lucky enough to have two former Marines on my trauma team. One is a now hardened experienced ICU/ER nurse. He served in Vietnam as a Recon Marine in 1968. The other is a former grunt and Hollywood Marine and is also an experienced ER nurse. These two necessary components make my trauma team the best in Afghanistan....simple as that! Today I am not seeing any Marines at the hospital. I am among them however, during a 5K run on their beloved Marine Corps Birthday. The run was fast and I ran in honor of a Marine KIA in OEF. My bib has the name of LCPL Tyler O. Griffith. I ran for him today and all the Devil Dogs in Afghanistan. I ran for all Marines but I ran the hardest for the grunts, the infantrymen that will always be the definition of warrior.

Semper Fidelis,
LCDR Dave Dennihy MC, USN Diplomat American Board of Emergency Medicine

Wrappers From Vietnam Era

Vietnamese cigarette wrappers

Short Rounds

How about "Us Suckers Missed Christmas"? I didn't hear that one until Christmas 1990, Desert Storm. My Dad heard it and had to call me right away - he thought it was hilarious.
Wes Johnston, Cpl, 1341/8531
Pinedale, WY
3rd of 4 generations of Marines

Sgt. Grit: U.S.M.C.= United States Men's College: It's grads are unequaled anywhere in the world. A true degree of higher learning.

Dwaine Goodwin
Cpl USMC 1961-1964

Relating to Howard Kennedys comments about the stock on his m1. We also were issued rough stock m1,s after getting them smooth by scraping and sanding, we used a mixture of boiled orange shellac and linseed oil. rubbed in with the palm of our hands. Lots of sore hands but really nice looking stocks

c,e, walters P.I. feb. 1959 platoon 215

I was at MCRD in June of 57 and, the M1's we were issued appeared unfinished but were not as rough as the ones you mentioned.
We rubbed in Linseed oil to the point that they looked like they had been varnished. Also, with all that oil they with stood a lot of rough treatment.
Robert Maskill Cpl.

In answer to the inquiry of why Blacks calls Whites Chuck. It refers to the overseer in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" Mr. Charlie.
Rick Whittaker 1961-1965.

Sgt Grit,

Time to join the discussion. I was in Plt 2079, 2d Bn, RTR, MCRD San Diego, graduating 1 November 1973. We stayed in Quonset Huts during Phase II of Boot Camp while we were pulling Mess Duty, which would have been September-ish '73.

Jeff Howards
Former Sergeant of Marines, 73-77

To add to the usage of USMC... In Korea we called ourselves Uncle Sam's Mountain Climbers.
G. Lipponer USMC 1950-1954

OK Grit... according to the time on this here 'puter in a Holiday Inn in Lakewood, Co, I got about 5:38 left... 'nother old saying... "dress blues and tennis shoes... light coat of oil throughout'... at some future point will confess to having been the dirty SOB who designed and started the building of the A- frames at 29 Palms... so long as I can remain incognito... know there is an entire generation of CAX-experienced Marines out there who are still looking for me, a tree, and a rope...

Sgt Grit,

The license plate holder I ordered was perfect. My father is 90 years old and fought on Iwo Jima with the 3rd Marine Division as well as other islands in the south Pacific earning the Purple Heart. Even at his age, you would be hard pressed to find a Marine who is more proud to have served than he is. He truly maintains that once a Marine, always a Marine. Thanks again and I'll be ordering more soon.

Semper Fi
Bob Rinchik- Bill's son

Sgt. Grit,
There is only one Quonset hut left, I would guess as a memorial to all the huts that were there. It is located South of the grinder in the general area all the huts were in. I was sorry to see Sea School gone, everything tore down, one cannon that was in the front is still there. Boots are living in two storied dorms. Our Marine Detachment, USS Curtiss, nuclear security for all the atomic and nuclear tests at Bikini Atoll, prior to boarding our ship we stayed in the huts that were next to the Naval Recruit Depot. We have reunions from time to time in Dago so we can pull a little liberty in TJ.
Cpl Ed Frankin

Sgt Grit, as I remember the below paragraph, you left out the one in red.

Leader of men, teller of tall tales, legend in his own mind, U.S. Marine extraordinaire, stream fordable, air droppable, beer fueled, water cooled, author, history maker, lecturer, traveler, freedom fighter, defender of the faith. Wars fought, tigers tamed, revolutions started, virg!ns converted, bars emptied, alligators castrated. Let me win your hearts and minds or I'll burn your d-mn hut down.

Hi Sgt Grit,

I was reading the short blurbs. One of the writers said, "He never sits during Christmas dinner with his family."

Because of the men and women in harm's way. I never sit and eat either during these holidays: Veterans Day, Memorial Day, Marine Corps Birthday, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Because of the service of all men and women who served through- out the ages.

Semper Fi,
Sgt. Arthur L. Hampton 5/76 - 11/86

Had Red Hair

Sgt Grit,

I just read a post about Call Signs, written by Mike Adair. He mentioned that his Platoon Commander was GySgt Fred Markland.

In the summer of 1964, then SSgt Fred Markland was my senior drill instructor at MCRD San Diego. I remember him having red hair and on graduation day his wife came by with his daughters while we were getting set up on the "Grinder" near the theater. All of his daughters had red hair and there was no doubt whose kids they were.

It seemed to me that he had at least four, but it could have been as many as six.

You could just sense that SSgt Markland liked us and liked training us. It was an underlying air that was almost imperceptible.

I was thinking that the call sign for Amtracs was "Slaveborn" Which is correct, Slayborn or Slaveborn? I like to get it right so I had to ask.

Our call sign was "Redwood Delta". Redwood was 1st Battalion, 9th Marines and Delta was our company.

Thank you for all you do.
Semper Fidelis Brother,

Dale Strawn

Make More Sense

I was on active duty 86-89. To us, USMC stood for U Suckers Missed Christmas, and U Signed the Motherf-n Contract... We also said F--k the Suck a lot, but it was for us to say and no one else, just like the apple and the Corps saying...

As far as oooh rahh is concerned, I don't know where it came from. When I was at MP school aboard Lackland Air Force Base in 86, the Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps came to visit. I remember he told us to all sound off with a loud arooga, and the room went silent for a minute, and then everyone yelled oooh rahh, not really knowing what the old man was talking about.

The stories about arooga back in the day makes that day make more sense now (oohrahh is a term of endearment, just like semper fi)..Thank you for your newsletter...

M Harris
Once a Corporal
Always a Marine

Ripple Type

Sgt Grit,

Just finished reading the newsletter and as always found myself laughing at many of the stories. The origin and subsequent variations of the term "ooh-rah" is interesting, but when I was in (81-85), OOH-RAH is exactly how we pronounced the "words" or phrase. I don't recall saying it in boot camp at Parris Island all that much, but I believe we started yelling the phrase while in ITS at Camp Geiger and it just seemed to carry on from there, but my 50 year old brain could be a bit clouded. However, I do recall an older, crusty First Sergeant once saying to us, "What's this OOH-RAH crap, where did you azzholes get this sh- t." He said it in a humorous tone, but my take is that he might have pronounced the term a different way in his day and just did not appreciate our rendition.

As for funny slang names, my all-time favorite was "Broke-D_cks" and the first time I heard it was surprisingly not from a DI, but from our company Gunny when I arrived at Lima 3/8 at Camp Geiger after graduating from ITS in December of 81. His name was Gunny Silas (sp?) and he was a grizzled old Viet Nam veteran who I believe had also been Recon at some point. He had the best spit-shined boots that I ever saw and the soles were the ripple type and I remember running out as soon as my boot-azz could to get one pair re-soled with the same sole. Anyway, as I recall, he was very small, but very tough and among other now hilarious terms and words that spewed from his pie-hole on a regular, rapid-fire basis was the aforementioned "Broke-D_cks" term that was used every time he addressed us whether we were in platoon formation or passing him on the street.

One more item while I am running my own pie-hole... I have watched the T.V. program Making Marines several times over the years since it first aired, which I believe was sometime in 2001, and the one thing that irked me somewhat was when I kept hearing the male and female recruits use the term "AYE" in a shortened form as in Aye Sir, or Aye M 'am. When did this become common practice? Being a Department of the Navy I know we Marines use Navy terminology on a regular basis and as such, the term "Aye, Aye", is used, but when was it shortened to Aye Sir or Aye M 'am? They say it so often and so fast it just sounded weird. When I was in we were taught by the DI's to use the phrase "Sir, yes Sir" (begin and end all sentences with the word Sir) and to always refer to ourselves in the third person as in, "Sir the recruit, request permission to make a sitting head call sir. Or, "Sir, the recruit request permission to speak sir", which would typically be followed up by, "speak freak"... I still crack up laughing at this stuff! Thanks for letting me sound off!

Semper Fi
Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima 3/8, Weapons Plt

Thanks For The Memories

Once again, another outstanding Newsletter. Thank you for all of the work you and your staff do to keep the rest of us informed and in contact with each other.

The past few weeks have brought back many memories, especially concerning Bob Hope. I never had the privilege or honor to see him in the field. I did, however, get to see him 11 November 1996/97 ( I am not sure just which year.)

I was attending the Tony Orlando "Yellow Ribbon" show in Branson, MO at the time. The Branson Veterans Home Coming is held 5-11 November each year in Branson, MO. Tony was on stage talking and performing for all of the Veterans and he got to talking about past entertainers who did so much for the Veterans. He told us that he had a surprise for us and walked over to the side of the stage. Reaching his hand into the curtain, he took the hand of Bob Hope and guided him out onto the stage. At first (only about a second worth of time,) you could have heard a pen drop and then it sounded like a full squadron of F-4s in afterburner inside of a closed hangar.

Bob Hope received a standing ovation that lasted over 15 minutes from the Veterans that were in that building. These were men and women who had seen him in WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, and all other places and they let him know they loved and appreciated him and his work for the Veteran.

He was unable to really do anything except talk and tell jokes and memories. His age and health were really starting to get to him. It was really worth it and I think it was an honor to get to see and hear him in person.

Thanks for the Memories Mr. Hope. Thanks for the memories Sgt GRIT.

Happy New Year to you and your staff and to our beloved Corps. May God bless and keep America and ALL Marines safe throughout this new year.

Gary L. COON
MSgt USMC (Ret)
"Top C"

Finer Moments

I was assigned to Marine Barracks Treasure Island, CA in 1975 and 1976 as Security Company 1stSgt. At the end, we were part of the closure of Marine Security for Naval Installations and were directed to stand down. On the final day, we formed up outside the barracks at 0400 for some motivating words from our CO, Captain ********.

We then took off on our final tour of the island at a good clip. We went through every area including family housing and Officer's Quarters. We, of course, counted cadence and sang some running songs at the top of our voices. When we went through officers country and around their quarters, several came running out raising holy h-ll at the noise we were making. One declared (yelled) himself a Commander (couldn't tell by looking as he had no insignia on his ugly grey bathrobe.)

As we passed, our CO turned to run backwards and gave the commander a proper, military finger wave. I believe that was one of the finer moments in my career.

E.L. Sharpe
SgtMaj Retired

Band of Brothers' Day

Brother, life is too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forgive the ones who don't, just because you can. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands, those of you who served in Viet Nam, other wars, and dangerous high risk military training know this. If it changes your life, let it. Take a few minutes to think before you act when you're mad. Forgive quickly. God never said life would be easy, He just promised it would be worth it.

Today is Band of Brothers' Day; send this to all your brothers, fathers, sons and fellow veterans you know.

Happy Brothers' Day!

To the cool men that have touched my life. Here's to you! I was never a hero, but I am thankful I served among them.

A real Brother walks with you when the rest of the world walks on you.

Paul S. Laskodi
U.S.M.C. Retired
Semper Fi

Two Stocks

Mr. Kennedy asked about un-finished rifle stocks. I was two years behind him at boot camp. (Nov.58) I don't remember the stocks on our M-1s being anything but well used/abused. We turned in our rifles before leaving for ITR at Pendleton. At ITR, I drew the 20# BAR with the bakelight stock.

My first "gee whiz", It's mine" Garand didn't come until Jan 59 when I checked in with Landing Support at Camp Del Mar. However I must have rubbed a gallon of boiled linseed oil into it. I had two stocks, one for the rifle rack and firing range. One was my "parade" stock. My parade stock somehow was waiting for me when I returned home. I sold it for $150 about 20 yrs ago to finance my youngest son's birthday gift. (He is now a SSgt of Marines)

I have a Garand again and wish I had my Parade stock back. I also have my spare 28 Thompson butt stock on a shelf behind my loading bench.

2nd Lnd Spt.

Seems To Help

God Bless you Sgt Grit!

You do much more than sell Marine Corps gear. Our Marine Corps is the only Service that becomes Family! All the letters and memories are forever priceless to us all! Like you, many of my friends and Brothers died over in that God forsaken swamp! I believe I left a large part of my soul in that H-ll hole during Tet in 1968. All the camaraderie seems to help the loss that I , and all Marines feel! May you and yours have a wonderful and healthy New Year!

Cpl. "Chip" Morgan, 3rd MarDiv. Northern I Corps, CaLu, Vietnam
(still lost somewhere on the DMZ)

Russell A. Smith

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I am submitting the below in hopes that you can get the word out to the other 4th Marine Division Marines about their brother Russell A. Smith. This is going to appear in the Emerald Empire Detachment # 917, Marine Corps League, January 2012 Newsletter. Russell was a member of our detachment, and I was contacted by Fred Smith in hopes of helping with information to get Russell the deserved funeral service for a Marine and Iwo Jima Bronze Star recipient.

About Russell A Smith About Russell A Smith

Submitted by Paul Grinde, Commandant, Emerald Empire Detachment
# 917, Marine Corps League

Pull Me Off The Street

Sgt Grit,

I have been reading stories of our Korean vets. The struggles and heroic deeds that the accomplished in an environment that they had to live through. Truly amazing! Because of them, South Korea is a free country and an important ally of the US. I served in Korea for only three months during Team Spirit '80. During that time I learned how to read, write and speak the language (obviously not fluent but was able to communicate). While there the Korean people would pull me off the street and feed me and Sgt Grit.

I have been reading stories of our Korean vets. The struggles and heroic deeds that the accomplished in an environment that they had to live through. Truly amazing! Because of them, South Korea is a free country and an important ally of the US. I served in Korea for only three months during Team Spirit '80. During that time I learned how to read, write and speak the language (obviously not fluent but was able to communicate).

While there the Korean people would pull me off the street and feed me and go out of their way to show their appreciation for what our Marines did for them. This made me more proud that I am an American and prouder still that I am a Marine. Did we make a difference? You bet we did, and we still do. God protect our Marines in harm's way. Thank you to all our past and present Marines for the job you have done.

Cpl 2512 10th Marines hqbrty to show their appreciation for what our Marines did for them. This made me more proud that I am an American and prouder still that I am a Marine. Did we make a difference? You bet we did, and we still do. God protect our Marines in harm's way. Thank you to all our past and present Marines for the job you have done.

Semper fi,

Jim Wheeler
Cpl 2512 10th Marines hqbrty

Snow Was Flying

Sgt. Grit,

Jerry D's story on his car trip inspired me to share one of my little winter adventures. During the Christmas/New Year holiday of 1965 I was riding out of 29 Palms with two other dudes (all in the 7th Comm. Bn., Radio Relay Co.) headed north up U.S. Highway 395 on the back side of the Sierra Nevada mountains. This was a Friday afternoon and we got an early liberty.

I was supposed to get off at Reno, hitchhike over the Sierra to just outside of Sacramento, and the other two knuckle heads were going on to a little town just outside of Susanville, CA. Once we left the desert outside Mojave we started seeing the clouds forming up, and the temperature began to drop. By the time we got to Bishop, CA. the state highway department had put chain controls out for all traffic on the road.

Of course, since were just E-3 and E-4 types (1965) having the money to have good tires, let alone chains, was out of the question. We somehow managed to maneuver around the chain control station (fire team envelopment?) and proceeded on north towards our destination.

Pretty soon the snow was flying so thick we could not see more than 10 or 20 feet in front of the car if we were lucky. No chains, no tread on the tires, and three bozo Marines going north. We called out our distances from the guard rail and the cliff face on either side of the road as we continued north and made Lee Vining (junction with Tioga Pass road) about 1 am on Saturday morning.

We needed to warm up (lousy heater in the old 50's era Chevy coupe) and once finished with our Hot Toddy's got back on the road northbound. For some reason we were the only vehicle on the road from then on. No snowplows, no other cars or trucks of any kind. Once in Carson City (some hours later) we barely made the hill, having two of us outside the car pushing for all we were worth. Later we figured out the road from Lee Vining on was closed by the state highway folks but we didn't "get the word", or perhaps we just ignored the obvious and continued anyway.

When we made Reno about 7 am the Interstate Highway (#80) was closed to all traffic over Donner summit in both directions. So much for my plan to hitch a ride to be home with Mom and Dad. I just tagged along with the other two bright boys to their destination. Once there we were welcomed by "Mom", and I soon found out the FBI had been there a few days earlier, looking for some Oklahoma cousins who were wanted for bank robbery. The cousins had been there when the FBI looked around but managed to elude the Feds by hiding in a hay barn amidst all the icy manure, snow, and livestock apparatus. The alleged perps were gone when we showed up.

Our visit with "Ma Barker and her gang" as I called the outfit was fairly uneventful after that; a trip back into Reno to drink, gamble, and hope for getting "lucky", along with good old Southern cooking, iced windows in the house, a trip up the nearby mountains for some sightseeing, and just old fashioned cabin life for the weekend filled out the time. We made it back to the Palms on Sunday evening without incident, but I will always remember my brush with "Ma's gang" in the eastern Sierra's winter snow and ice.

Mike B.

On The First Day

Sing to the 12 days of Christmas. I found this in while going through the box of old STUFF. It was put together in 67 in Con Thien. If anybody out from 3/26, remembers, when, where and who. Drop me a line

On the first day the VC gave to us,

1 Chi com

2 50's firing

3 60 mortars

4 82's

5 W P's

6 Satchel charges

7 Bouncing Betty's

8 Gas Grenades


10 Rockets Flying

11 Arty Round's

12 Human Waves

Larry Curry
Nam 3/26 67-68

Buddy Search

I had written a short article couple of weeks ago that came out titled "China Beach Party" were I had given some names of buddies that I was with 3/67 to 4/68 and I finally made contact with the one who really made an impact on us all I'm sure.

We were 18-19 years old and he was 24/25 years old so he probably felt he was babysitting a bunch of young Marines but he definitely made an impact on me--I always wondered what had happened to him and deep down I just knew he probably had stayed in and I was right he retired after 30 years in our Corps and made it all the way to Sgt. Major-- his name is Sgt. Major Raymond Edwards and I for one am very happy that after 43 years we have finally made contact and we have both made a commitment to stay in touch

Thanks Grit for making it possible

Torres R F
'Nam 67-68
Semper Fi

Finding your buddies and others you served with is important. It is one of the best things you will ever do. I say that from personal expeience. I have created a web page to help Marines find each other.
If is FREE, always. No layered usage costs. Add your name and search for your buds and make your name available to be found.

Happy hunting!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

Our-Roar Us

I was on Parris Island from July to October 1958. There was no "Oorah" than. Our DI's would call out "Roar Tigers, Roar". And we would holler out "RRROOOAAAARRRR"! We did that often when passing another platoon from our series or some other time when we were supposed to looking mean and hard! Of course, they were all trying to out-roar us!

The platoons in my series were 174, 175, 176. and 177.

I'd love to hear from anyone who was in the series.

Sgt. P.E. Drugge
Plt 174, PI 1958

Note: See note below previous story. Do it now.

Transition Had Begun

Sgt. Grit,

In your 01 Dec 2011 Newsletter, Jerry D. wrote about the Yellow Footprints and Quonset Huts. When I was reborn on 08 May 1967, I stood on those footprints at the old receiving barracks at the north-east corner of the Grinder immediately north of the theater. In 1970 and 1971 I took five platoons of Recruits from those same footprints through Recruit Training. On 09 July 1971 I separated from active duty and returned to school. I did not return to MCRD until I flew into the International Airport in 2001. Being a frequent flyer, I had migrated to isle seats and did not have a good view of MCRD as we landed in San Diego.

Though the transition had begun even before I was a Drill Instructor, I was disappointed at the changes MCRD had taken in the 30 years I had been away. It was not because the changes were not for the best, but like most Marines, we want our MCRD to remain as we remember it. As a Recruit I was trained in 3rd. Bn. L Co. immediately adjacent to the old Lindbergh Field where the Spirit of St. Louis was built. As a Drill Instructor, I was in 3rd. Bn. K Co. just west of L Co. and adjacent to what we called the Small Grinder and the International Airport.

When I returned, you could only see modern buildings from the gates of the International Airport and there was no evidence of the famous Quonset huts we used to billet Recruits and Drill Instructors. On later visits to San Diego, I have used my frequent flyer status to gain a seat on the starboard bulkhead of the aircraft in order to gain the best view of MCRD, and saw that there were still Quonset huts and as best I could see they were directly across the street from the old wooden barracks which served as Drill Instructor School during my tour in Drill Instructor School and in K Co. That was the location of the K Co. Quonset huts and tents when I served, and made me feel much better.

When I visited the Marine Corps Museum, we could visit the museum area and the Big Grinder, but the Recruit Training area was off limits to we slimy civilians, so I could not confirm the exact location of the historic Quonset huts.

It makes we older Marines feel good as long as there is still a barracks at PI, or a Quonset hut at San Diego like the one we grew up in and we hope some of that history will always be preserved. For those senior Marines, I'm sorry the earlier billets are already gone as far as I know.

If any of your readers / contributors can confirm the actual location of the remaining Quonset huts and/or if the old 1970 / 71 location of Drill Instructor School still exists it will be appreciated.

S/Sgt Nick Hayes 2340319
08 May 1967 - 09 July 1971
Viet Nam Jan 1969 - Jan 1970

Note: And the rest of the story for those of you who question the time lines, like I did.
Sgt Grit

Sgt Grit,

Thanks for the questions, I understand. I get those quizzical looks when people ask me about my time in the Marine Corps. It's like they think they are talking to a pretender.

The truth is that I was trained as an Electronics Technician at NAS Jax. (A school). From there I went to Cherry Point where I was trained on A-6 aircraft. That meant I had a critical MOS and since the Marine Corps only had A-6's at Cherry Point, Chu Lai and Da Nang, I knew when VMA(aw)225 deployed to Vietnam in January of 69, that if I came back, I would be returning to Cherry Point (even kept my Federal Credit Union account open with a little money in it and that money is still somewhere).

In the last few days of our tour, I got the word that my orders were in and I and one other person in my outfit and with my MOS were going to report to MCRD San Diego for Drill Instructor School. That other Marine had just reenlisted. As I recall, there were two other members of 225 who were also going to Drill Instructor School, but they were going to the Island. As far as I know, our selection for Drill Instructor School was strictly based on our SRB's.

I departed for Viet Nam as a L/Cpl. and came back a Sgt. When I reported to Drill Instructor School I tried to convince Maj. Beck (the commander of the school), that I intended to go back to college and complete my education after separating from the Corps, and that I thought I would better serve the Corps by training other Marines to maintain A-6 aircraft. I convinced him to recommend my orders be changed but we did not convince Washington. I was assigned a second time to the same class of Drill Instructor School, and began training with class 5-70. Perhaps part of the reason I was promoted so quickly was that I graduated as the honor graduate of class 5-70 and as a result was awarded the Leatherneck Magazine Award (an engraved NCO sword) for being the honor graduate.

I entered the Corps on 08 May 67, and on 28 Oct 70 (my birthday) I was informed that I had been Promoted to S/Sgt, but it would not take effect until sometime later. So technically I suppose I was promoted to S/Sgt a few days under 42 Months. I do not remember the date, but probably a couple of months later I was informed to add the rocker, so I became a clean sleeved (no hash mark) S/Sgt. My active duty was extended a couple of months on a Convenience of the Government hold, and I separated from active duty on 09 July 70.

You and I are about the same age, so you will probably understand what I am going to say next.

The back to school thing worked out very well and I have had a very successful life, but I often wish I had a second life to live. I would go back to 09 July 70 and continued with a career in the Marine Corps. I think that would have worked out well also and even though my career has been exciting and rewarding, I'm sure it has not been as exciting as a career in the Marine Corps would have been.

I appreciate you concern about these irregularities. Don't feel apologetic for asking about them. We worked very hard to become Marines and though we tend to stretch the facts on occasion, exaggerating ones service record is not something to be taken lightly.

Semper Fidelis!

Nick Hayes

O'Bannon's Grave

He is buried in Frankford, Kentucky in the same cemetery as Daniel Boone.

O'bannon Grave Marker Frankford Kentucky O'bannon's Grave

Mike Finch
Vietnam 68-69

Frost Bite?

I got to Korea Christmas day 1950, No Christmas dinner there, peanut butter sand, cold coffee

3rd bat 7th Just got out of Kotare and moved to nesaun we landed at Pusan from a Japanese ship, Christmas eve spent from Sasabo to Pusan, we stacked rifles put cig. pks on for decorations and they played white xmas over and over again. I went out on deck and there coming in to Sasabo was the prinston, My best friend was on the prinston hadn't seen him for a couple of years, That really made me home sick, my first Christmas away from home.

A song of the times was "Bless them all, Bless them all, MacArthur & Ridgeway and all, they started a drive for the river Yalu while we froze our balls off at old Hagarue, so were saying goodbye to them all the large the short, the tall, we will be home for Christmas, the kids never missed us, so cheer up my boys bless them all, A

And another was "here comes a g-ok sneaking thru the grass playing burp gun boggy on chubby's azs, so were moving on, been away too long, your flaying too high for my little old sky so were moving on. can't remember the rest.

I do remember the Bob Hope show in Korea, that was a great show, a good lift for all of us, I think I would have given it up for a hot shower & a hot meal, but what to h-ll, didn't have the choice.

I was wondering if there was any Marines out there that got frost bite, and what they do for it now. my legs hurt all the time, feel like they are giving out, and has poor circulation. Just would like to know what to do to make them feel better. If anybody knows let me know.

Bob (chubby cheeks) Langford, wep co 3rd bat 7th, 1126140 USMC

The Most Decorated Marine Officer in World War II

How many Marines remember this Marine who had the Courage to challenge the Enemy in his own town of Occupation?

Peter Ortiz (1913-1988) Colonel Ortiz spoke 5 languages fluently and was the most decorated Marine officer in World War II. He served in the O.S.S. and, before that, was the youngest Sergeant in the French Foreign Legion. In 1940, he was wounded and captured by the German invading army, he escaped and joined the U.S. Marines. Parachuting into France, he became a Maquis (French underground) leader in 1944. He frequented a Lyons nightclub to gain information from the German officers who also frequented the popular club.

One night, a German officer d-mned President Roosevelt, then the USA, and finally the Marine Corps. Ortiz then excused himself, went to his apartment and changed into his Marine Corps uniform. Returning to the club, he ordered a round then removed his raincoat and stood there resplendent in full greens and decorations yelling, "A toast to President Roosevelt!" Pointing his pistol at one German officer then another, they emptied their glasses as he ordered another round to toast the USA then the Marine Corps! The Germans again drained their glasses as he backed out leaving his astonished hosts and disappeared into the night.

After the war, Colonel Ortiz worked with director John Ford, also a former OSS member. The films 13 Rue Madeleine (1947) and Operation Secret (1952) were based on his exploits.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired


Once again, it's time to repost info on the most likely origin of "ooh-rah." Personally, I never hear it while I was in ('53-56) but this is the story I have heard several times and have posted various versions of here and elsewhere.

There are several potential sources from which the word "oorah" originated.

The 1st Amphibious Reconnaissance Company, FMFPAC can be credited with the introduction of "Ooh-rah!" into the Marine Corps in 1953, shortly after the Korean War. Recon Marines served aboard the USS Perch (ASSP-313), a WWII-era diesel submarine retrofitted to carry Navy UDT and Recon Marines. Whenever the boat was to dive, the 1MC (PA system) would announce "DIVE! DIVE!", followed by the sound of the diving klaxon: "AHUGA!"

In 1953 or 1954, while on a conditioning run, former Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps John R. Massaro, while serving as company Gunnery Sergeant of 1st Amphibious Reconnaissance Battalion, simulated the "Dive" horn sound "AHUGA!" as part of the cadence. Legend has it, he took it with him when he went to serve as an instructor at the Drill Instructor school at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. He there passed it on to the Drill Instructor students and they, in turn, passed it on to their recruits where it eventually and naturally became a part of the Recon cadence, and thereafter infiltrated Recon Marine lexicon.[1] Over time, "AHUGA!" morphed into the shorter, simpler "Oorah!" Today, the official Marine Corps Training Reference Manual on the history of Marine Recon is titled "AHUGA!"

Semper Fi,
Bob Rader #1405534
God Bless America and the U.S. Marine Corps

A Bit Nippy

Sgt Grit,

In reply to the letter submitted by S/Sgt. (C.N. Hayes) / Nick Hayes dated 29 Dec, 2011 concerning Quonset huts at MCRD San Diego. I checked into Receiving Barracks on 17 Dec, 1969. After the few days forming the platoon we took the Guidon of Plt 1228, 1st Recruit Training Battalion, RTR, MCRD, San Diego, CA. Through graduation we were in the Quonset huts and/or 2 tents along the fence next to Lindbergh Field. The 2nd and 3rd Battalion recruits were billeted in the new fancy squad bays. After the first 3 weeks 1st Battalion did get the new modern mess Hall.

The writer was correct in that all Plt's from all 3 Recruit Training Battalions drew 782 gear and M-14's from other Quonset huts further from the billeting area. Upon return from Edson Range, our entire Platoon was in Quonset huts. Even though I was acclimated to the cold, I was very uncomfortable living in a tent with an inoperative coal oil heater. Even in Southern California it gets a bit nippy in Jan/Feb.

Sgt. Tom Harrison
2630472 - 1969 - 1972

Grande Dame

Rifle range and butts probably a rich source of memories... 'Lick'em and, stick'em, taste and paste, get'em back to half- mast, don't move'em... Stand by... Targets!... get'em in the air... we're gonna be ramming and jammin, ladies... typical patter in the butts...

(from the days of the M1, when rapid fire involved twisting two rounds in a clip for the initial shots, followed by the clip of eight from the cartridge belt)... "On the firing line... wiiiith a clip, and two truckloads of ammunition, lock and load"

Police up the firing line and move back to the 300...

School range, dry firing in pairs, one shooter, one shoving on the bolt. (M1s or M14's)... boring to the max, Range personnel Cpl up on the center tower running this drill over and over, when from somewhere in the circle came a plea... "how about a break, MF'er!?... to which he responded: "don't call me that until you hear the back screen door slam... already on the firing line, standing to sitting" etc...

Think it was range 222 at Pendleton, just NE of Horno, about 1958... we had moved back to the 300, were in the sitting & kneeling slow fire string, when a jackrabbit popped up down around firing position one on the 200 yard line... and made it the full length of fifty firing positions without a scratch... there were pieces of benches, smoke pots, telephone (EE-8) stands, gravel, trash cans, etc flying in the air all along the 200. The center of the line went berserk, all hands were promised General Courts Martial and BCD's... for starters... don't recall that anything of any consequence actually happened to the shooters on that relay....

Worked with SSGT Jim Scott at Motivation Plt... he was an absolute master at innovative comparisons for recruits... e.g., "Boy... I been to three world's fairs, a hunnert and seventeen night baseball games, two South American revolutions, several hog-nuttins (castrations) fourteen windmill greasin's, a couple of watermelon pluggings, and more trips to NTC (the Navy boot camp across the west fence) than my stomach can stand, and I have NEVER seen anything as fouled (use your imagination here) up, as you are...

He could go on in this vein for seemingly many minutes and never repeat himself... a man of rare talents, indeed. He also moonlighted as a bartender at one of the ritzier joints on Shelter Island... used to stop by there for one on the bartender after Boy Scout troop meetings... Jim was vertically challenged, at about 5'6" or so, but as I sat there quietly one evening, this grande dame, dripping diamonds and flipping her mink stole around, came in and ordered a martini... which Jim promptly produced. She knocked that back, sat the glass back on the bar, and said "I'll have another of those, boy... "

Jim got on his tippy-toes, leaned forward, put both hands on the bar, and said "lady... a yard of c--k, and a slop jar full of ba--s, and you call me 'boy'?... how big do they grow men where you come from?????... Amazingly enough, he didn't get fired...

am sure others will have more... and great memories of time spent on the range

For many years, morning colors at MCRD SD were 'announced' by one substantial blast from a foghorn... which caused all who heard it to sound off "Colors!", halt, face the flagpole, and salute... of course. On the other hand, in the FMF squadbay, a particularly noisy escape of flatus might also be accompanied by the cry of 'colors!" (no disrespect intended), however the offending individual might be questioned about several things, including his parentage, or whether he had eaten that, or had it crawled up inside him and died?

Use whatever you like from the above... I'm too old to be PC... ddick

Halfway into the ground

I was going to suggest "Uncle Sam's Misguided Children" and "Uncle Sam's Mountain Climbers" and am glad I read the remainder of the letters. The writer of one, signed only as "Jerry D.", not only remembered one of those but must have served close to me at 29 Palms, as he mentioned "1st Sgt. Linehan". Robert Linehan was my Battalion Gunny in D Bty., 1st MAAM Bn. and became 1st Sgt. for about a month before we were disbanded. He then attended First Sergeant School and became 1st Sgt. in 3rd LAAM Bn.

A detachment of the Marine Corps League is named for him: Sgt. Maj. Linehan Detachment. It is good to see that others remember him as he was a Marine's Marine. It would probably be politically incorrect today but I watched him pound a Marine halfway into the ground (until he admitted his disrespect) and also saw him offer very fatherly advice to a Marine with marital problems.

Mike Shaw
# 1683214
Cpl. of Marines 1958-62


"Only the dead have seen the end of war"

"There are no good wars but good men fight them."

. "The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere."
--Thomas Jefferson

"Politicians can solve almost any problem -- usually by creating a bigger problem. But, so long as the voters are aware of the problem that the politicians have solved, and unaware of the bigger problems they have created, political "solutions" are a political success."
--Thomas Sowell, senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of many books on economics and USMC Korea

"The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money."
--Alexis de Tocqueville, 1805-1859

"This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny."
--Franklin D. Roosevelt - 1941

Have an outstanding Marine Corps new year!
Sgt Grit

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