Since you showed a truck with decorations of Marine Corps Pride, I thought I would show you mine also..
It's been only 2 weeks of non-uniform life for me after 30 years of active duty! My wife and 10 year old baby girl are very happy that I am home for good, but I miss it so much I still run three miles around central park . I call French Creek once a day, but French Creek was my home and Force Recon my life. I guess as days go by I will get better but I will never forget the light green and dark green Marines that I called, even to this day, my brothers.
God Bless the United States Marine Corps, 2nd Marine Div, and the Recon and Force Recon Marines of French Creek.
Love you all and Miss you
Master gunnery Sergeant
Richard A. Howell III
5/79 to 8/12
Hot Little Hand
I have here in my hot little hand, my Boot Photo. It is dated so, Enlistment 8 May '44, picture taken 15 May '44. The picture is taken of me wearing a khaki shirt with a "Field Scarf" and no tie clasp. "Ain't it a dandy!"
Also, in those days we were not issued Dress Blues unless you were assigned to Sea School. Oh, for the days of '72, there were bucks a day once a month. I don't remember what the cost of the P.X. bucket issue was at that time, or if we were ever told.
GySgt E.H. Tate
While stationed with Kilo Btry, 4th Battalion, 12th Marines in Feb. 1957, I was sent to Camp Matthews for qualification. As the Marine wrote in the 8/30/12 newsletter it was exactly as he described as I recall. We quartered in 5 men tents, our shower house was a wooden frame covered with a tarp, with a 2" hose thrown over the wooden frame and pumping cold water. Also when we had movies they were on a bed sheet stretched between two poles outside.
It was a hot dusty place to be but when the sun went down and roll call was taken we slipped away from camp for some boon dock liberty and had a good time, or got into trouble in Kin Village. Also for breakfast all we ever had was powdered eggs, so we'd slip off at night and trade cigarettes and c-rations for fresh eggs with the locals.
As I remember, at that time we were told Kin Village was mostly Communist and off limits to us Marines, but we didn't let that stop us. The girls and bars didn't mind we were Marines... lol! When off duty, one of the best places for some relaxation was Ishakawa Beach which I've enclosed a picture. There were lots of young girls, warm sand, good food, and plenty of ice cold beer. I thought I had found paradise... BTW... If any of you old salts can remember a beach somewhere around there where there were thousands of Mortar shells on the beach and stuck in the cliffs, where they had washed ashore from the invasion of Okinawa in 1945, Please let me know where that beach was. I can't remember where I was at when I saw that.
Through some research I found out that there were two ammunition ships sank by Japanese torpedos during the battle and that's most likely where so many Mortar Shells came from. If you can refresh my memory, please do.
Howard W. Kennedy
Hey Sgt. Grit,
I sure enjoy your newsletter and all the stories and pictures. Here's our boot camp platoon picture. Platoon 346. On the way to get our picture taken the platoon screwed something up and we were ordered to button our top buttons as punishment. Actually, now years later I think we look better with all our buttons buttoned.
Our Platoon Commander was S/Sgt Irwin D. Morrison who went on to become an officer and the Drill Instructors were Sgt Bolton and Sgt Curtis. We began as a platoon 14 February '66, and graduated in middle of April. The platoon guide was Pvt Bohannan and high shooter was Pvt Wolfe who got his nose bruised by Sgt Sausau our Samoan PMI. We lived in Quonset huts and locked our M-14s to the racks with a combination bicycle lock and I don't know where mine went, but I still have my laundry scrub brush which I keep in a safe with my platoon picture book and my USMC Guidebook.
After chow we would assemble in formation outside the messhall and we would read our little red book and keep an eye open for dummies who tried to cut through our platoon or by mistake get in the wrong platoon and we had some fun throwing them back out. Once, when the platoon was working on our uniforms, someone asked our drill instructors how the laces should go and the answer was boot laces and shoe laces go left over right; and I have been doing it that way every since.
God Bless our Corps.
I didn't know you were with 11th Marines. My first tour was with 11th Marines, May of '66 - July '67, part of 11th Provisional Gun Battery. Two 8" and two 155 Guns pulled out of Chu Li to AN Hoa. Just after Tet we became "Roving Guns" one 8", one 155, two M-60 tanks, a platoon of grunts from 5th Marines, couple of squads of ARVN's, and two Kit Carson scouts. We roamed the Nan Song coal mines and thru elephant valley. Had some hairy times made better by some of the sh-t we did... to break the tension.
Capt. T. L. Johnson, Jr.
United States Marine Corps Ret.
Trying Them On
I don't remember ever having locks on a foot locker or a rifle rack , nothing then, there were other things to think about. If given permission by the D.I. We did have locks on the wall lockers at Cherry Point.
Also "sateens". I remember "herringbones" with canvas leggings and "boon dockers", but later we had black jump boots that we had to shine. Eventually we had "Cammies" (God I hate that word almost as much as "Veggies").
No "Yellow Footprints" either or the D.I. would have had someone trying them on for size.
To Capt. Zobenica: the story seemed plausible until we get to the part about "Bumming a ride in a F4U". The F7F's had a second seat and that is the only one I can think of. Can't count the PBJ's, the JM's or the PB4Y's. Of course there were the R4D's.
In 1950 we were in Japan waiting to go into Korea at Ottsu, which had been a Japanese Sea Plane Base. Rather nice... as things stood. The liberty town was Kyota. Big thrill ride in a Charcoal fired taxi... with right hand drive.
MacArthur had changed Japan to left hand traffic and that left the passenger sitting in line with oncoming traffic and a Japanese cab driver driving a '37 Ford sedan and a charcoal burner in the trunk.
I look forward to receiving your newsletter & I enjoy reading it very much. I want to comment on Marine Corps chow. I cannot remember one instance where I had a bad meal in a Marine Corps chow hall. This includes my time in Viet Nam in 1970 - 1971. I was an 0331 with Lima 3/7 & Kilo 3/5 and I was able to get a hot meal occasionally at Firebase Ross and Firebase Baldy when we came in out of the bush.
I spent my stateside duty at Camp Pendleton and the chow there was very good in my opinion. I came from a family of nine children. We never had a lot of anything but my parents made sure we were fed well, so I knew something about food when I joined the Marines. By the way, I think you and I were in Viet Nam at the same time. Maybe you provided us some artillery support.
Cpl. John P. Sitek
3/7 and 3/5
Around 1960, I was a Weapons Platoon Cmdr in Charlie Co, 3d Bn, 5th Mar, 1st Mar Div, Camp Pendleton, CA.
We were in the boonies all day after an amphibious beach landing. We had been on the move for about 20 miles at dark and it was time to finally bed down. It was drizzling and the wind was blowing. In short, it was Cold and Wet. I was looking for a place to set up my sleeping bag out of the wind when I spotted some large rocks on top of a small hill... Looked good to me.
Before I go to sleep I always put a pile of twigs next to my head so when I wake up I just roll over and start a fire for my coffee. I made the mistake of eating some crackers before going to sleep and put the crackers next to the fire for tomorrow morning wake up. While asleep I kept getting awaken by to tiny little critters running around my head. I was so tired I did not care and would just go back to sleep.
Suddenly, I felt something land on my face. I came out of the sleeping bag at Mach 2 screaming and yelling because I was convinced it was a rat that landed on my face. It was a leaf. The scuttlebutt around the Co was I woke up everyone withing 200 miles. They exaggerate.
Charles A. Baggett, Capt Once a Marine, Always a Marine
I'm happy to see more stories about us "rotorheads"...
Glad to see more stories about us Airwing Jarheads, Wingers, Rotorheads, "The Other Guys", whatever you want to call us... Keep 'em coming... Semper Fi...
Beirut 82-83 .... I'm so short I don't have time to exhale...
Walt "Ski" Federowicz (SGT)
68-70 Marble Mountain
I'm so short I can do pushups under toilet paper and not raise a crease.
Dear Sgt. Grit
Wondered what happened. Don't be too hard on them... they look young and inexperienced. Anyway they probably couldn't take much compared to us old (or rather than old, one may prefer the word experienced) "salts". Got to go... want to look at the rest of today's newsletter! By the way, while in PI (1965, Plt. 323), I was the first to remember my service number! I was also the one who gave everyone their service numbers. Mine was 2141414, was certainly EASY to remember and has been kind of HARD to forget.
Sgt. M.B. "Bunky" CAREW
USMC 1965 - 1971
Camp Lejeune (A/1/8) '65 & '66, Med. Cruise '66, Cuba '67, Viet.
(FLC & Marine Liaison, DaNang) '67 & '68, Quantico (HQ, Serv. Bat.)
'68 & '69
I was a short-timer TWICE. I was counting the days until I received a letter from Mr. McNamara that stated "You have been involuntarily extended for 120 days past your enlistment". This was in late 1965.
CPL J.W. Riner 1982640/2575
Short? "6 days and a seabag drag"
J. Barnes (Lance Cool)
3rd 'Tracs (Waterborne!)
Speaking of locks, I have both of my issued locks. With keys! What's a combination?
Plt 3076 MCRDSD (tents)
'68 - '72
RVN 7/69 - 7/70
Just wanted to post a note to let all Foxes of 2/7 VietNam know that they are invited to join our reunion in Charleston, SC in July 21 - 26, 2013. You can contact me Bob Fitch, (65-66) at bffox66[at]gmail.com.
Thanks and Semper Fi
I'm so short I gotta stand on a nickel to piss on a dime.
HDQTRS 10th Marines
Does anybody remember taking a deck of cards, placing one on the end of your rack for the last 52 days. Then giving the Joker to the gate guard on your way out.
H & S Company
3rd AmTracs Camp Pendleton
Short timer ribbons were very common when I left our Corps. 60 days and a wake up were when you were allowed to wear them. Right side of cover through the holes. Not very noticeable, but the pilots we worked with knew better than to sh-t with anyone wearing them. Also a note on MCAS Yuma Arizona, anyone know the name San Luis, Mexico?
We came to Yuma about twice a year to do live ordinance. Hot as h--l. 12-hour shifts and lots of poker and beer after work. My family lived in LA, borrowed my brothers VW van and ran tours down to Mexico on weekends. Hey, it paid for my beer and other enjoyments. Fond memories of finishing my last beer with friends watching the sun come up on Saturday morning.
John B. Roe
After reading all the stories in your great newsletter, I have come to believe my time must have been very boring. I came to look at it as a job like any other to be done to the best of my ability. Two tours in Nam and being a courier for the rest of my hitch seems lame when compared to a lot I've read, but I guess it takes a lot of us ordinary Marines to keep law and order in the ranks.
Love the newsletter and all of the merchandise. Keep up the good work.
USMC '66 to '68 and '70 to '72
Anyone Know For Sure
Just reading the newsletter and looking at the ads. I have purchased three of the Marine "toy" packages and they are really cool. I have the first fire team set up, the urban and the desert patrol ones. Keeping them in the box as collectables.
I purchased the two and three blade pocket knives. Everything about them is cool from the presentation box, the Eagle,Globe, and Anchor, the handle of the knives with USMC and the Eagle,Globe, and Anchor on the handle. The knives look great. They again will never be used they are a collectable to pass down generation to generation.
In response to Sgt. R. Hornbuckle: I was on the field in '75/'76 and we had the recruits doing bend and mothers forever all the time. I am a bit surprised that the Corps no longer allows the use of bend and mothers. When I went on the field we had the PT cards and the Yellow card. We got around the "allowable" number of any PT item by continually changing up the excercise so no one could keep count for any one excercise while in the pit.
The only thing we could not side step to well was the temp card. When the temp got so high no PT was allowed. If you were seen with the recruits in the "pit" during a period that the temp was in the black zone you would be relieved of duty and faced a Court Martial. No recruit was worth your career. I being a career designated Marine at the time would push the limits, blow away the envelope and do all I needed in order to train the young ladies I had received as a platoon of young, scared, wild eyed maggots that thought, for the most part, they had made the biggest mistake of their young life at this time.
They thought they had died and gone to H-ll. Great times being a D.I. but I cannot boot without bend and mothers. Anyone know for sure if the Corps has dropped using the bend and mothers?
SSgt. Joseph E. Whimple
1970 - 1976
Living it, Loving it, Doing it
In 1968, I became one of Americas Best and very proud to do so. I went to the Island and on to the Nam. I loved my tour in the Corps. Now to my story, 18 years ago we had a son named "Jack". From the time he could talk he has wanted to be a Marine. He worked hard to get his body in shape, 4 years ago he had a minor surgery on his left shoulder the doctor took out a little tag of skin that had lodged under the bone.
The operation took about an hour and he was back to school on Monday. During the next years he played football, became State Weight Lifting Champion in his weight class, and also became a 2nd degree black belt. We took Jack to enlist, all proud because this is what my son wanted to do (be a United States Marine) and after 8 months of going through P.T. with the recruiter and the rest of the recruits, they tell him he is not good enough for the Corps because he had a little surgery on his shoulder.
This has made both of us very mad. All this young man ever wanted was to be a Marine. His truck, room and clothes all have something to do with the Marines. This has brought my joy as being a Marine down a few levels. Knowing that Jack can never fulfill his dream because of a little 1 hour surgery makes me sick, especially after I see some of the young men they are taking in. What's even worse is that this 4th of July he still wants to wear his Marine Polo I just bought for him from you Sgt Grit. God protect My Son, my Corps, and the United States.
Sgt, Brown K.O.
Marine Detachment USS America CVA 66
Hey Sgt. Grit:
Would you kindly post notice of our third reunion?
Unit - Marine Detachment USS America CVA 66
When - October 18 - 21, 2012
Where - Biloxi, MS
Why - Will attend christening of LHA 6, AMERICA, in Pascagoula, MS
Contact - lesholzmann[at]verizon.net
Thank you for the outstanding newsletters and for your past support of our reunions.
I counted one day and by the time we'd hit the rack we had done four hundred and twenty five. You wouldn't think that was possible. One of the D.I.s (S/Sgt Sherman) loved them, with the M-1 over your head.
What I remember most is after them, he'd make us run, guys were falling all over the grinder. One day I started laughing, watching everyone trying to run. Big mistake...
I got the "Do you think I'm funny, maggot?" thump to the stomach, speech, "If I was funny, I'd on TV" thump to the stomach. "My beloved Marine Corps a big joke to you?" thump to the stomach.
I think he saw that I was hurting, and backed off... for the next week I was "rivate Comedian". All good stuff, I'd go back tomorrow, if only I could...
Bill Mc Dermott
No padlock, but my M-1 was 2428301
Hell in the Pacific
Hi Sgt Grit,
Just finished reading an exciting new book about the Marine Corps titled "Hell in the Pacific", published by Simon and Schuster (2012).
It's a first person account of Sgt Jim McEnery's 6 years in the Marine Corps before and during WWII. He relates, in detail, of his experiences from boot camp through the battles for Guadalcanal; Cape Gloucester; and Peleliu with K/3/5 of the1st Marine Division.
I highly recommend it as required reading for all past and present Marines. At present age 92 his memories of those years are spot on.
Have To Admit
It's funny (and sometimes a little sad) how some of these stories can bring back old memories. On my first tour, 1977-1981, I was stationed at Camp Pendleton with HML-267. I almost always ate at the chow hall and I always thought the food was outstanding. One of my favs was Sh-t On A Shingle (SOS) for breakfast. I didn't grow up poor, but in a middle class family. Of course chow hall food was never as good as mom's, or so I thought.
During that tour in 1979 I was on an exercise in S. Korea and my mom, unknown to me, was dying in a hospital in Biloxi, Mississippi. By the time they found my unit in the field, my mom, according to the message, would be dead. I was, of course, devastated. But a General, whose name I never knew, flew me from Korea back to Okinawa on his Lear jet. Either there, or in Hawaii, I can't remember due to my state of mind, a grunt Captain named Howerton got me advanced pay for my emergency leave and got me on the next flight back to the States just because he saw the message and we had the same last name.
I never got to thank him properly, so, Thank You Sir. To make a very long story (and trip) short, I got there in time to say goodbye to my mother, who passed away later the day I arrived (3 days from receipt of the message). While there, I ate in the USAF mess hall and for dinner they served steak and lobster! I have to admit, it was almost as good as mom's.
J. A. Howerton II
SSgt USMC (Ret)
Parris Island, Plt 263, April 1967. I am, although I hate to say it, one of the "useless maggotts" who didn't lock his foot locker before falling out onto the street for morning formation.
No need to tell you how upset S/SGT JC Fish was. I can still see the blood coming out of his eye sockets now he was screaming so loud and fast. That was the first time and only time I ever forgot to do that. Mainly because I knew if it happened again I would be dead, real dead. Still remember the combo. 7-21-15.
About Marine Corps chow. SOS with two over easy eggs on top, Mmmm Mmmm! Best food I ever ate. Marine cooks are the best! Semper Fi.
Cpl. Z RVN 68-69
Regarding the article from:
Carl (Paw) Anderson
The Marine Corps is what is, because every Marine does his job! If it was not for the support that the grunts get from all the support teams, he would not get very far or fair very well.
I was fortunate enough to be a grunt for my short 17 months in the Corps. The one job that could have made me shoot myself was if I had been forced to work in a kitchen. I hate that kind of work, and it is work.
In Nam I did not eat in the mess hall very much as it had a tendency to give us the screaming shits when going from C-rats, but I do not remember ever thinking a meal was "bad" when I did eat in a mess hall stateside, at Camp Hansen, or in Nam. I was glad to get it.
When I returned from Nam, I was scared to death that they would put me on mess hall duty my last 6 months in the Corps. I was lucky; they let me out in three days.
Congratulations on your "Meritorious Mast" and Thank You for a job well done. You have every reason to be proud and your Marine buddies are equally proud of you. The Marine Corps is a team, not everyone can be the quarterback or pitcher, however, if you had been called you would have switched into a Rifleman within one heartbeat. That is what makes a Marine a Marine, regardless of his MOS, we are all Riflemen.
Mike Company 3/7
It is an honor and pleasure to be able to have a story put in Sgt. Grit's email letter. I went to Boot camp in San Diego, CA, with six buddies from Midwest city high school. We stayed together until after ITR training they went to the East Coast and I went back to Camp Pendleton, CA, for bulk fuel school. I went to Vietnam in August 1967. I was with Bravo Company 126 Marines. mainly in Khe Sanh the whole time.
I spent the end of April and May in Camp S.D. Butler in Okinawa Japan. Then I went to Camp Smith in Hawaii until September 1968. I came home to Midwest City, OK, and got married to my high school sweetheart Nancy. we spent our honeymoon going back to Camp Pendleton. Stayed there until October 1969. We bought the '40 Chevy 20 years ago with high hopes but things change and other needs came first.
Nancy and I both retired in June 2009 and it was our turn now. 18 months later we are on the road and loving it. We have followed Sgt. Grit all over town. The Gritogethers are great and are always fun and enjoyable we always find something we just can't live without. Lynn is the sales person we see most of the time and she helps us with our purchases. Thank you so much Kristy.
Brent and Nancy thrasher
On My Command
I saw the topic of the combination lock and I had to tell my story while at MCRD San Diego in the summer of 1969.
My first morning.
"Get out of the rack, get out of the rack, Get Out Of The M-therF-----g Rack!", followed by the clanging of a metal garbage can tumbling end over end across the barracks floor. The lights are turned on simultaneously, so there must be two DI's at work. I roll right out of my bunk. I never slept in the top bunk before. Uh oh, the floor is six feet away! I manage to land flat on the cement. Did That Ever Hurt! I pull myself up. Fear drives me to move. Don't want to draw the attention of the two lunatics running around.
God, I hope there's some method to this madness. Did I happen to mention I never had to use a combination lock in my entire life until now? Boy, did I live a sheltered life before I got here. I've got to open the lock to get into my sea bag to get at my clothes. The fellow from the bottom bunk is scrambling to get dressed. I grab him by the arm, "Man, you got to help me with this lock," I pleaded. He looks at me with this exasperated look and says, "what's the combination?" I tell him the combination and he quickly shows me how to open it. I'm forever in his debt.
Another memorable event.
The long shank lock: One morning we're ordered to gather up our gear. We are being reassigned to another row of Quonset huts, and we're carrying everything in one move. We've got to move quickly. Back in the day we kept our rifles locked to our bunk, using a long shank combination lock (I've got these things figured out by now). We gather up our footlockers, bedding, and rifles and move down to our new homes. No sooner than we've set everything down on our bunks, we're called "On The Road!", the command to get on the platoon street.
I suddenly realize I don't have my long shank lock! "Oh Sh-t!" I take my rifle with me, what's going to happen to me now? When I get to formation, I see that I wasn't the only one that screwed up. There are five other privates that have brought their rifles with them. We stand at attention for some time. Then the DI's come out of their hut, one of them carrying our long shank locks, all locked together! They did a walkthrough of the huts when we left and found the locks hanging on the bunks. The six of us step forward and lay our rifles down. We are told to each take a lock, and we're now in a circle facing each other. A DI is looking at his watch and says, "You have forty five seconds to find your lock, ready, GO!"
We are frantically spinning the dials of the locks as the seconds tick away. Eventually, "click, click, click, click" four of the locks are free. "STOP!", shouts the DI. You guessed it, me and another recruit are standing there holding each others locks. The other four recruits are dismissed with the rest of the platoon. The two of us await our fate. "On my command,Squat thrust forever, Ready, exercise." Squat thrusts forever, one Sir. Squat thrusts forever, two Sir. Squat thrusts forever, Three sir. Squat thrusts forever, Four sir...
Good to read about the crew chief aboard the R4D at Quantico, VA. Had about forgotten about the time I was stationed at Quantico Air Facility in AES-12. I was in the Ordnance Section out of Larson Gym and we flew close air support for the new LTs in SKD (OCS) with ADs. This was in late 1959 and all of 1960 where upon I transferred back to WESTPAC after a meritorious demotion back to LCPL.
While there, went from Cpl E-3 (two striper) to Cpl E-4 and then Lance Deuce. OIC thought I was a S--tBird (NOT). Ended up with him as my OIC in Chu Lai, RVN in 1965 and was awarded a Navy Com with Combat V along with NUCS, etc.
Retired GySgt USMC
Blues, Shoes, Oil
As I stepped in the yellow foot prints on Oct 3, 1958, the memory is not what is was... In my previous email think I meant to say squat jumps, not squat thrusts. You squatted down with either your hands on your head, or your M-1 over your head.
Also haven't heard: "Git, git, git!" That's it Ladies, mill around, scratch your ass," and my favorite "Dress Blues, tennis shoes, and a light coat of oil." Thanks Sgt, I look forward to the letters weekly.
Bill McDermott L/Cpl
Captain Mix's bit about flying was great and I would like to see more about the Enlisted Pilots flying in the Marine Corps. We still had them in Korea and after a mission over the enemy with bombs, Napalm or just machine gun fire, they would usually fly over the Marine Unit they just helped and wiggle their wings and they were many times low enough we could tell they were smiling, however, we couldn't tell if he was an Enlisted pilot only a Marine Pilot.
There were many, by that I mean over several Hundred, I believe. They flew mostly C47's and C54's but they also flew fighters and bombers I have read about. In 1948, with the changes in the Military, the Army Air Corps was changed and was their own organization, the U. S. Air Force. At that time they stopped the Enlisted Pilot program, saying that Enlisted Pilots didn't have the ability College Trained Pilots had.
However, all Enlisted Pilots were allowed to continue while some were commissioned. There was a problem with Enlisted pilots on Aircraft Carriers. If my memory is correct I think there were a book or two about Enlisted Pilots in the Marine Corps.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
Hey Sgt Grit,
Gotta Keep the morale up! So here ya go! RVN... 1969, An Hoa Combat Base Fox Company, 1st Plt.
Just got off the chopper from the Arizon Territory (this is a true story, so help me Chesty!), and the Company Gunny, I can't remember his name (but he was from New York), tells me, "Ivie, you and your blooper man take a shower, go get a jeep and meet me at the Company Office!"
So I inform the Platoon Commander, LT Newsome that James King and I have to go get cleaned up and grab a Mighty Mite from the Motor Pool. We pull up to the Company hooch and the Gunny jumps in the passenger seat. He then says, "We're going to Da Nang for some supplies!" Then I said, "Hey Gunny, there's no convoy until tomorrow morning." Then he turns to me and looks directly into my headlights and says, "Then you better be doing 60 mph all the way to Da Nang Marine, 'Cause we need these supplies urgently!"
So, James puts a Bee-Hive round in his M-79, the Gunny slaps a magazine in his M-16, and I hit the gas... There we are, flying down the road like maniacs, across Liberty Bridge past Hill 35... Everyone we pass is yelling for us to slow down, but the Gunny only smiles and keeps humming some crazy tune while the only thing I can think of is land mines and James is in the back hanging on for his life. I swear, we looked like the Three Stooges.
So we arrive in Da Nang at about 1600 hrs (WHEW!) and the Gunny dircts me past the PX and the Air Base into the dogpatch. We stop at a beat up two-story building that looks like an old apartment house in Brooklyn. The Gunny jumps out and we follow him into the entrance. He walks up to the third door and knocks... the door is opened by another Gunnery Sergeant, but instead of walking into some office, he walks into the Da Nang Playboy Club!
There are plush rugs on the floor, leather seating, a bar, and Mama-sans serving drinks to most of the senior enlisted men in 1st Marine Division! We were speechless with our eyes popping out! What the? How the? The Gunny turns to us and says, "Meet me at the PX at 0800 tomorrow morning," and slams the door in our faces.
James and I go to the Air Force Mess Hall by the airstrip for dinner, catch a movie and some E-Club and sack out in an empty quonset hut. (Grumble, Grumble, Grumble... Here we are sleepin' on the deck and he's sleepin' in heaven!)
We arrive at the PX at 0800 and the Gunny is waiting for us... He jumps in the driver's seat and tells us he will be back in one hour. This is crazy! Are we in some fr-----g James Bond movie? What are we really picking up? We go into the PX and scope out the goodies, buy some Pogey Bait and James buys one of those poncho liner jackets with the map of Viet Nam embroidered on it that says, "When I die, I will go to heaven because I've already been to hell."
We go back out and the Gunny is there sitting in the passenger seat, and in the back there are six cartons covered with a tarp. "Don't touch anything maggots, let's get going, we have to catch the convoy back to An Hoa!" So, off we go and all the way back the Gunny is yelling at James, "Get off! Don't touch my sh-t! What did I tell you! Sit up straight! Lean the other way!" To me he was saying, "What the hell are you laughing at stupid? You sound like a fr----n' donkey! Keep your eyes on the road, retard!"
We make it back to An Hoa safely and pull up to the rear entrance of the Company office. The Gunny jumps out and pulls the tarp off the cartons. He's got cases of booze and all the top shelf stuff for our command staff. We helped him bring in the goods an he tells us, "No word of this to anyone, clear?" "Clear Gunny!" we say and he hands each of us a bottle of Jack Daniels.
We took our reward and shared it with the rest of our platoon. No one ever found out about where we got such a precious gift and we never told anyone... who would believe us anyway?
Cliff "Chip" Ivie, Cpl
No One Ate
I know that Marines always have little positive to say about the Army but in 1970, I was with the 1st Radio Bn. at Dong Ha when the Marine Artillery unit that provided messing for us rotated out of RVN. Since there were no Marine units available, the unit was provided with messing facilities by the Army.
We went to noon chow for the first time and the "food" was truly horrendous. No one ate a thing and "maybe", drank some of the milk or "jungle juice". Upon our return, we asked (really begged) the CO to be allowed to eat C-Rats instead.
Now the officers seemed to think we were just dumping on the Army as usual so the CO and some other officers and the 1st Sgt. went over for evening chow to see for themselves what the b-----ng was all about.
Less than an hour after they returned from evening chow, each hooch had 5-6 cases of C-Rats delivered to them on a regular basis until the unit turned over operations to the Army.
As bad as we thought the Marine chow was, the Army outdid the Marines on that one.
Sgt 1st Radio Bn.
Battalion Commanders Fighting
So, do we wanna talk about food in the Corps? I have several stories from several perspectives, not the least of which is from my father. He was the senior cook on a gator freighter in the late '50s and early '60s. Would you believe battalion commanders fighting in the Regt. Cmdrs. office over whose battalion was entitled to the good food on HIS ship? How about my first meal in the Corps? I still don't know what it was... and my fond memories of Sunday chow. Damn, Fried chicken, fried eggplant (never had that before, even with a Navy cook for a dad)...
Stomp-down Great Job
Like Gary Walker, who posted a note on August 30th, I served with Mike Company, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, and as an acting platoon sergeant with 1st platoon, witnessed the splendid work of the FAC, Capt Mike Jeffries, who contributed August 15, 2012. I'm assuming we're all talking about the evening of November 4, 1968, when earlier in the day a squad-sized patrol from Mike 2 hit the sh-t and most of the remainder of the company reacted to the ensuing brawl.
I did not know Captain Jeffries name at the time; but I've never seen a more sh-thot job of calling in close air support than what I witnessed that night, and those of us who were there, and who gather at Mike Company reunions, always reminisce about the stomp-down great job of "that FAC". It was simply outstanding. It's good to put a name to the performance.
Thank you Sir!
Sgt. Mike 3/7
I had the unfortunate experience of knowing a Marine that fled to Canada. After active duty I was a member of Co L, 3rd Bn, 25th Marines, in Columbus, OH. This was an infantry reserve unit that was considered a "first to go" outfit when activated. We were told that when the word came down we would be activated at any time and within 48 hrs we would be headed to training for deployment to Westpac.
Sometime around 1967 or early 1968 we got a guy in my platoon that had been to Parris Island, Camp Geiger for ITR. He served his active duty time and was now assigned to our reserve unit. In 1969, when the Pueblo was captured, we were ordered to bring in all our 782 gear, with seabags packed, and our personnel files were placed on our seabags in platoon formation on the drill deck. We were told to go home, make out wills, put our bills and essentials in our wives or parent's names and stand-by for orders to be activated.
This disturbed the guy I mentioned earlier and he insisted he was going to Canada rather than be activated and sent to Westpac. About a week or so later we were called to the Reserve Center and low and behold this guy was not present. After a few weeks we heard he was listed as a deserter and that his friends had said he went to Canada. In mid-1970, after I had become a police officer, I saw the guy while on duty. He was waiting at a traffic light in the city where I worked (a suburb of Columbus, OH). He recognized me and I recognized him. He took off quickly and by the time I got my cruiser turned around in traffic he was out of sight.
To this day I don't know if he is still up there. I can remember his name and still consider him a wanted deserter, but as was written in an earlier newsletter, we were supposed to forgive them. Never understood why he enlisted in the first place and hope he has had many a sleepless night since then.
R. Kiser (former Cpl, and proud retired law enforcement after 41 years of service) Fratres Aeterni, Semper Fidelis
Note: What is kinda ironic is that many Canadian citizens came to the USA to enlist in the Marine Corps to go to Nam. Many are customers and I have talked to them.
Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation
On July 26 my family and I attended the award ceremony for winners of Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation college scholarships at Camp Lejeune, NC. My son, Adam Federman, won his third scholarship, but this was the first award ceremony we had been able to attend. Besides my tremendous pride in Adam, being back on a Marine Corps base for the first time since I was discharged at Camp Pendleton in 1971, and being surrounded by Marines made for a day I will long remember.
I was extremely anxious for Adam and my wife to see real Marines up close and personal. They are used to my stories, my outsized pride and my near contempt for anyone who isn't a Marine, but they didn't really understand why I feel the way I do and I figured this was their chance to find out.
This monumental day, however, did not begin well. I had told Adam and my wife that passing through the main gate at Camp Lejeune would be our first glimpse of spit and polish Marines who would be outstanding representatives of my beloved Corps. But this was not the case. Instead, we were waved through by someone who more closely resembled Joe Sh-t the Rag Man than a Marine. He was wearing some kind of dark blue utilities and a baseball cap and yawned widely as he non- chalantly waved our car through. I was mortified. Things got better, though. We stopped to ask the way to the Paradise Point officers' club and a very squared away warrant officer gave us precise and very polite directions.
I was still puzzled by the sh-tbird at the main gate but I began to feel better. We dropped my son off for his 3-hour orientation and my wife and I drove all over the base, without interruption, and I explained to her about daily life on a Marine Corps base. I was amazed at how much I remembered.
We met Adam later at a building near the Officers' Club where the ceremony was held. The room was filled with scholarship winners, parents and Marines of all sorts and it was difficult to walk around without bumping into a Sergeant Major. I tried to explain to my wife and Adam what a hallowed rank Sergeant Major is but that's a hard thing to get across to a civilian.
I bellied up to the bar and ordered a beer before heading to a table covered with appetizers. While filling my plate I glanced to my left and saw a Marine with two stars on his shoulders. Wow! I poked my wife, pointed and mouthed the word "general!" She pulled me aside and told me to chat with him and to introduce her and Adam. I was momentarily frozen and had no idea what to say, but this was an opportunity I didn't want them to miss so I screwed up my courage and said, with a lopsided grin: "Hey, general. How ya doin?" I felt like an idiot but Maj. Gen. Raymond Fox, CG of II MEF, was gracious and didn't confirm my feeling. I told him that I had tried to explain to my wife and son my pride in being a Marine but that I wasn't sure I had gotten my point across and could he help?
Gen. Fox did indeed help. He spent about 15 minutes with us and told them why he loved the life of a Marine and why my son should enlist. Adam has not interested in enlisting but he was impressed, especially after he read Gen. Fox's resume and discovered that Marines not only have to be badaszes, but smart, too.
My memories of the rest of the event are dominated by a swirl of dress blues and squared away Marines who were eager to talk to me and my family about the past, the present and the future of the Corps and our respective places in it. My thanks to the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, MajGen Fox and all the Marines we met at Camp Lejeune. Our beloved Marine Corps is in good hands.
In a completely different matter, I lived in a small town in northwestern Illinois when I enlisted in 1968. I left by bus from Rock Island and was transported to Fort Des Moines, Iowa. I spent the night there and left the next night on a plane with, as I remember, about 150 other enlistees. Five of us were headed to MCRD San Diego and the rest were going to Navy boot camp. Their loss. Anyway, did anyone else have this experience and does anyone know if Fort Des Moines is still there? I doubt it. I think it was an antique in 1968.
Sergeant of Marines
While stationed on a bombing range at MCAS Yuma, in the summer of '68, it was time for target maintenance.This consisted of dragging a heavy, flat device (loaded with rocks and some E-3s for weight) behind a large tractor that would smooth out the practice bomb craters that pock-marked the sand on the large circular target. After that we would rebuild the center with scores of old tires which formed the bulls eye.
I was charged with driving that tractor out the 30 miles from the base to the target that day. This was also the day the base was being inspected by a Vice Admiral and staff. The road on which I traveled was two lanes of thrashed asphalt that meandered between the cactuses, sagebrush, and rattlesnakes. It was eaten away in spots along the edges by wind and blowing sand over the years.
About halfway out to the target, here comes a staff car, heading straight toward me. I knew the admiral was out there inspecting our facilities at some point that morning, and this had to be him. The road was narrowed by erosion at what I estimated to be the point of convergence of our two vehicles. I pulled off into the sand and stopped to let the staff car have an easy time of it. I was wearing utility trousers, a white T-shirt and no cover, as was the approved uniform of the day out there in the 100 degree heat.
Well... out of respect, I stood up at some form attention in the open cab while waiting for the staff car to pass, trying to show some kind of military decorum. Sure enough, as it approached, I could see shoulder boards and stars all over the place inside that car.
I could not salute because I was not covered. So... I chose to WAVE at that rank-heavy crew as they got near (better than nothing, right?). And they WAIVED back, and smiled! All except the driver, an older, grumpy looking Marine who was at least an E-6. He just scowled at me.
At the end of the day, when we all returned to our shop, our mustang executive office had somehow heard (I wonder who) of my adventure and reamed me a new one... about 5 minutes of chewing out with expletives up the wazoo... lack of respect, slovenly, disgrace to the Corps, something about my mother, you get the picture. I pleaded my case but to no avail.
What the hell was I supposed to do? I felt I did the right thing. At least my intention was pure. What would you have done?
MCAS Yuma '67
Quantico (OCS, that's another story)
MCAS Beaufort VMFA 251 '68
H&MS 13, Chu Lai '69-'70
This was sent me by an Army friend that recently visited Korea at the expense of the Korean Government. The visit sounded like an Honor flight that is offered in many states to the veterans of WW2. The Tower and Ambulance gives me no clue and I have not been able to phone my friend to gain any more information. I think the signs speak for themselves and the "Once a Marine Always a Marine" tells me we are remembered.
Ops Plt, Hq Btry 3/11 Reunion
Not as lean, not as mean, but still Marines (Ops Plt, Hq Btry 3/11 Reunion)
They converged on the Windy City like 155mm rounds for a final protective fire (FPF). Coming from far and wide, the Artillery Marines of Operations Platoon 3/11 "fired for effect" August 24 - 26 in Chicago to re-establish old friendships, swap sea stories and have a grand time. The Marines, the majority of whom are veterans of the war in Somalia, formed up at their downtown barracks (hotel) Friday afternoon where they were met by the welcoming committee and enjoyed some refreshments.
After convoy operations Saturday morning via the Chicago "L," they enjoyed a hearty breakfast (which also served as an elixir to too many refreshments the night before) and then attended a game at historic Wrigley Field. From their OP in the upper deck, they watched the Colorado Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs (much to the enjoyment of Denverite Corporal Carlos Sala). BDA for the game was 4 - 3, Colorado. The rest of the day was spent enjoying the sights and sounds of Chicago's many drinking establishments, excellent food (thank God no MREs), camaraderie and an overall unforgettable time. Souvenirs were purchased from Sgt. Grit and included custom made T-shirts, bumper stickers, EGA gift bags, and a custom-engraved KA-Bar for one winning Marine of the raffle (Corporal Matt Robbins of Indianapolis). The service and quality of the products were first-rate. Two custom, original prints of the Marine Corps Monument in Washington, DC were donated to each attendee by Sgt. Michael Sadaj (USAF '64 - '68).
The quote of the weekend comes from Sgt. Sean Dailey of Springfield, Illinois who uttered the timeless words: "I don't care where we go, as long as I get a beer." Furthest travelled award went to Corporal Brian Lubiens of Bismarck, North Dakota, who put up with some good-natured jabs about Bismarck, ND finally getting air travel. Special consideration was given to Mike Ritchings who continues to serve our county in the US Army and has recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistan. A special thank you to Julie Brumback (wife of SSgt Michael Brumback) for putting up with us. She was the only wife brave enough to attend. She is the only Marine wife and therefore was the only one who could probably put up with us. A good sport indeed.
Due to communications problems, "virtual attendee" Lt. Col. Michael Broihier (Ret.) was unable attend via satellite from an undisclosed location overseas. Sunday morning was spent disbanding the group and heading home from our "TAD" assignment back to our permanent duty stations under the orders of our respective CO's (wives). It was an unforgettable weekend. Now that the beer quantity of Chicago has been severely diminished, the only option is to pick a new location for the next reunion... Vegas, 2014!
We fought together, lived together, and laughed together for many years. This weekend proved that we are still family and always will be.
LCpl Kevin "Tile Marks" Sadaj
The Day I Lost My Friend
My doctor recommended writing about my traumatic experience while in Iraq, to try to get over them. It kind of worked. This story is about the day that I lost my best friend. I hope someone can relate. God bless and Semper Fi.
3rd Battalion, 7th Marines Kilo Company
It was a little past seven in the morning when I laid my head down; the hot summer sun was just starting to pierce my closed eyes through the windows that lined the ceiling as I tried to get too sleep. There was a pungent smell of sweet, coffee and grown men in the large train yard warehouse that a group of one hundred and twenty of us called home.
I had been up conducting patrols/ambushes every night for the past two weeks and had been looking forward to these next three days like they were my own personal Christmas. I had them all planned out. The first day I was going to clean my M16-A4 service rifle and my M9 service pistol because they were both covered in the desert sand, a bad combination for any weapon system while at war.
The second day, I was going to hit the gym with my best friend "Gunny" Elie Fontecchio and catch up on writing letters home to the family and friends. Then on the last day, I was going to do all the planning and intelligence collecting that I could for the next week of my operating in Sa'da Iraq. But first, all I cared about was catching up on my sleep. I covered my eyes with my blanket to block the sun, put on my C.D. walkman to drain out the sounds of the morning patrol that were just starting to leave.
Throughout the whole warehouse you could hear the sounds of flak jackets and load baring vests being snapped on, weapons snapping from the Marine lubing up the inner workings for the chance of a fire fight, and Marine fire team leaders and squad leaders barking last minute orders at their junior men. "This is the constant frustration of being in war, no consideration," I muttered this to myself as I rolled over getting ready to embrace my pillow. I was on the verge of falling into dream land when I felt the mussel of a M-16 poke me square in the back. I rolled over in frustration and ripped the sheets back with a vengeance. My best friend "Gunny" Elie Fontecchio was standing there in full combat gear, peering down at me with a big sh-t eating grin. He knelt down next to my rack and whispered, "You sure you don't want to work out today?" I was completely drained from the rigorous schedule of the past two weeks; patrols/ambushes all night, return in the morning to debrief the company and then the battalion, get maybe two hours of sleep if I was lucky, and wake up to plan for that nights patrol/ambush; so needless to say I was not feeling like spend some time in the gym on my first day off.
"I'm good Gunny, I need a day to myself, but I am game for tomorrow." I knew this would disappoint him since Gunny and I had been going to the gym for the past four months almost every single day, no matter what time it was (we both worked around each other's schedule). But to my astonishment he seemed not to care, "Go back to bed, I am going to head out with Kilo 4 for the morning patrol." He stood up and turned to leave. I muttered one last thing to him as he left: "Gunny,... watch yourself out there, it's no place for a p--sy!" He flipped me off and I could see through the rows and rows of racks his signature smile gleaming from ear to ear as he walked out the back door. A heart beat later I was a fast asleep dreaming of being home. I was still asleep but very conscious of what was going on around me, something that my body developed in a combat environment for more than fourteen months. I could hear a lot of movement going on around me, but was still not fully awake to comprehend what was going on. My rack was located about twenty feet from the company command post, a central location in our "home" that we would all congregate to discuss future missions and planning. In the command post there was a huge map of our area of operations, a couple of computers, two radios to communicate with patrols operating in zone, and the one essential machine that any functional combat efficient marine rifle company needed, a coffee machine.
Now, still in a sleepy daze I could hear a distinct beep coming from the command post, meaning that there was a lot of communication going over the radio between the patrol that was out and our company staff. Which only meant one thing, Kilo 4 got contact with insurgency. I rolled over and looked at my watch. It was just a little past eleven and the vibrant desert sun was now beating down directly on the building making it nearly impossible to sleep due to the heat it generated inside. I lay on my back starring up at the ceiling, when I heard the worst sound come flying over our building: two Blackhawk medevac helicopters taking off and heading north toward our area of operation. I shot out of my rack and sprinted into the command post to see our company commander, company first sergeant, and our company executive officer all huddled around the radios.
Just as I took a step in, our company commander threw down the receiver to the radio and bolted out exclaiming to our first sergeant, "I am going to meet the birds to figure out who they are." I stood to the side to let him go trucking by and turned to enter only to meet our six foot five inch first sergeant's chest with my face. "MOVE!" he yelled with his deep booming commanding voice, and like the sea for Moses, I parted to let him by. I slowly moved into the command post to gage the executive officers demeanor before asking the lingering question, who were the medevac's? I could hear him continue to try to raise communication with Kilo 4 in zone, but with no luck. I started to pour a cup of coffee when I felt a hand slam on my shoulder and a distinct, "f--kkkkinnnnnnnn'," I turned to responded, but our executive officer was off to catch up with our first sergeant and company commander. By this time, the majority of the squad leaders had congregated in the command post, and we all started to bull sh-t with each other. It was fairly rare that we all got to see each other like this.
With each platoon doing their own separate thing, it was usually a quick passing by that you got to see your buddies. We all started to speculate who the causalities could be and a dark cloud started to come over me. I started to fear that my good buddy and roommate back in the states Travis Stricker, 4th platoon's 1st squad leader, could be one of the casualties. Travis, being from Iowa, was a cornbread country boy that had a pee for a brain but was one of the best Marines you could ever come across. As I sat back and listened to everyone talking and laughing, I started to reminisce about the trips that Travis and I took to Vegas, Mexico, Lake Havasu, San Diego, and my home town Pleasanton, CA. I closed my eyes and started to pray when I heard that distinct sound come flying back over again, it felt like a drum beating in my chest, the two Blackhawk medevac helicopter birds were returning with their causalities. I did not even stop to think... I was out of the building as fast as I could move and I sprinted to the south side of our base where the Blackhawks had already landed.
As I ran toward the make-shift navy medical center which was located about seven hundred yards from our living quarters, I could see the dust being kicked up from the Blackhawks rotor wash, signifying that they had already touched down, off loaded the causalities, and were starting to take off again to move back to their staging point. As I came upon the medical center, I saw our company first sergeant, company commander, company executive officer, and the majority of our platoon commanders and platoon sergeants all pacing by themselves. I could see that there was a blank look on all their faces, a look of helplessness. I knew right then and there that it was not good. My platoon commander, Lieutenant Burke, saw me walk over. He came up to me with a look of compassion. I could feel my heart start to sink. "Gunny has been hit." I was speechless, my mind went blank, and a feeling of shock took over me. I stood there for what seemed like minutes trying to gather the strength to speak, "Is he ok?" That is all I could think to say, "Yea, he was talking when they off loaded him off the bird, he was hit by shrapnel from an IED in his stomach and is in surgery right now." A sense of peace came over me, I felt a feeling of relief knowing that he was talking and that it was just a minor wound and that he was in surgery getting help. I thought that I knew Gunny better than anyone did. He was the strongest man that I had ever known, a man that did not know the meaning of "can't." If anyone could make it through such a minuscule injury, Gunny could.
Feeling peace and feeling that Gunny was going to pull through this, I headed back to our living quarters to pack a bag for Gunny to take with him on his journey back to the states. On my walk back, I recalled a conversation that Gunny and I had about a week before on one of our daily walk to the gym. Gunny was worried about a conversation that he needed to have with his wife. He needed to tell her that he was going to be coming home a week later than expected due to the fact that he was no longer on the advance party. He kept telling me about how upset she was going to be and I kept reassuring him that it was no big deal, it was only a week. After reliving the conversation in my head, I started to laugh to myself... in a weird twisted way, he was going to be home sooner than he expected. When I got back to our home, I grabbed Gunny's assault pack and started stuffing it with some personal items that I knew he would need. I threw in his CD player with my Godsmack CD that he loved. I threw in his pictures of his son and wife, his blanket, and I wrote him a note in which I said, "here you go you s.o.b., looks like you don't need to have that conversation after all and you better have a beer waiting for me when I get off the bus next month, I will miss you brother and I love you man!" I zipped it up and I was off back to the medical tents to wait for Gunny to get out of surgery.
I could not stop thinking about what I was going to say to Gunny when he got out of surgery. I was going to miss him and I was losing my workout partner. I decided that I was going to challenge him to a bench press competition when I got back to the states, thinking that I could get a leg up since he would be recovering. I looked at my watch, it was about three in the afternoon. The temperature was closing on one hundred and thirty degrees and I was starting to get impatient. He had been in surgery for two hours now and I knew that he should be coming out soon. Just as I looked up, our first sergeant came out of one of the drab brown medical tents with his head down walked toward me, "First sergeant, how's Gunny?" He looked up at me and I could see that he had a tear running down his face, before I could even process what was about to happened. "He didn't make it. "WHO," I asked, not having the slightest clue who he was talking about, "Gunny,... he's gone." I stood there, alone, in utter shock. I went into denial. "There is no way that he died, it was a minor wound." I played it over and over in my head, he's not gone, I kept saying it over and over until it finally hit me, and it hit me like a bus on the freeway, he was really gone. The flood gates of emotion opened, I could feel my heart being destroyed and I started to cry un-controllably. I walked toward our company staff, crying so hard that it hurt. I couldn't speak, I couldn't think, I could just cry. Our company executive officer ran over and grabbed me and held me while I wept tears of pain and sorrow until there were no more tears to cry. I will never forget that day 'til the day I die. I lost a friend and comrade that filled a void that was in my heart since I was child.
Gunny was like a father to me. He taught me and showed me what it really meant to be a man, and I thank him for that. There is not a day that goes by that Elie Fontecchio is not in my thoughts and prayers. I miss you brother.
More Info on LTA Hanger 1 is on the National Reg. of Historical Buildings, thus cannot be destroyed (as of yet). Hanger 2 was used as a movie studio, can still see some commercials with it in them if you know what you're are seeing. When the facility was passed to the city of Tustin the base housing was all but new, a new PX complex, some new barracks. This is not counting the newer aircraft maintenance buildings on side of the hangers. Hangers are second largest, Lake Hurst, NJ is larger, Moft Point hangers are, I believe same design but smaller. LTA 1/4 mile long, almost 900 ft wide and 109 or so tall, and a real joy to walk guard duty in at night!
On my last trip to SoCal I landed at John Wayne (Orange County) airport. Short final takes you over LTA off the left wing. From the air looked like all is gone, but the hangers. Scuttle Butt has it that all the copper and other metals have been stripped from the buildings (by people unknown) the interior of the office spaces and maintenance areas trashed or destroyed.
I Was stationed there from 1962 to 1965 deployed twice to West Pac and beyond! It was my home and still has a spot in my heart, what a shame we have lost a part of us. And now thanks to the powers that be, MCRD San Diego may close and the beat goes on! When will the people we protect and protected wake up.
GySgt. Joe Barlow Jr. USMC (Ret.)
Hi Sgt Grit,
Draft dodgers in my home town were heroes. I and the few who chose to serve, were villains. Ithaca, N.Y. is not only famous for its gorges, lakes, Cornell Univ, etc., they are also known for their strong anti-war sentiments. Cornell was overrun by the Students for a Democratic Society and the Black Panthers and held until the end of the Vietnam War. The residents and students there have protested every war including the Revolutionary War. Cpl Bordoni, USMC, was recently KIA, Afghanistan. His Mother called the Patriot Guard to make sure her Marine got the respect he earned and to keep protesters from disrespecting her Marine. Ms. Sprague didn't need to worry. His entire company had rotated back to the States while he clung to life his last 4 months in the hospital. They all came to his funeral and gave a real hero's funeral. There was no trouble. If there was, I would suspect Tompkins County Hospital would of had many incoming patients.
I did not have the honor to have known Cpl Bordoni. I will be going back to New York next month to settle my affairs (impending quintuple by-pass)and will go to pay my respects to Cpl Bordoni.
Semper Fi, Marine.
Sgt Angelo J. Manos
I wonder whatever happened to a "Newbie" like myself, and his Buddy, that went saltwater fishing off White Beach on the Rock.
Transported from Diego to the Rock, 7 Jan, 1967, (MSTS Gen. Walker), and got off at White beach to Camp Hansen. Training started immediately as 0311's, however pay records weren't up to snuff yet, so our pockets were skinny. So 1st weekend was limited to dime beers and 15 cent cocktails at the EM club. Sadly, only a few could afford time in "Kin Village". One who did, had gotten married in TJ the weekend before getting on ship, and pawned his wedding band in town. (Adapt and overcome?)
Another two however, somehow, someway, got a boat (rowboat?), from White Beach and went out fishing. They must've been from the Heartland, because any "Coastal-guy" knows to be aware of tides, currants, and winds. I vaguely recall the guy but not his name. He was of Polish extraction by name(Ski or Witz,...?), perhaps 6'2" or more and dark hair. Anyway, the tides and such pulled them out to sea, and by Monday they were listed as AWOL. They stayed that way and were unheard of until we were embarking onto a puke-bucket ship, USN Bayfield to Vietnam (Dong ha), late Feb. or early March '67.
Then we learned on front page of Stars and Stripes, story and photo, what happened. As I recall it was on their 4th day at sea, a Polish Freighter spotted two desperately thirsty and hungry Green Marines and picked them up. Because one of the Jarheads could speak or understand Polish, they were treated to meals at the Captain's table. They never did catch back up to us, and I wonder if they ever got to "Nam"? Wow, what some would do to stay out of the "Bush". LOL
The Polish ship made a side trip and dropped off our heroes in Japan. Perhaps it had been ferrying loads between Hai Phong and Vladivostok? I'm certain they were interrogated for a long time in Japan. Hope they made it back to the world okay, and wow what a fish story to be able tell the Grandchildren.
Side note: The Bayfield, was anchored in Da Nang harbor and used for Transit Billeting, and was sold for scrap and towed back to Oakland, CA, in 1968 where it was cut up for scrap. Many of us on that rusty-tub didn't sleep because the hull groaned terrifingly and we thought we'd wake up on the bottom of South China Sea. You can Look up Bayfield in Navy Ship History online. You know the Navy's motto right? US Navy, "We're gonna fight this war until the last 'Effing Marine is dead." LOL
1966-68,schooled 0351,used as 0311
Lima Co., 3/9
Thanks for the newsletter and all the work you do to keep it going. I cheat and read it late Wednesday night! Now for the Might-Mite friends I have a picture of one flying... under a CH-46! The other picture is of a CH-37? I really need some help here. Two of them were at MCAF Santa Ana when I got there as a young PFC. That would be about Spring 1966. Then one day while working on the flight line I noticed that they were gone. I'm assuming that they were flown out but who knows. Thanks to Wayne Miailhiot for the update on the old hangers.
Semper Fi to all.
Sgt. J.H. Quick
First Marine Corps Meal
I have been interested in fellow Marines remembrances of mess hall chow. I remember vividly my first Marine Corps meal at MCRD Parris Island, 2nd RTRBn. I looked at the food on the serving line and reluctantly received my first breakfast meal of my Marine career. I thought to myself, I'm going to be awful hungry before I leave this place!
Needless to say, within hours of that experience, I was eating all they would give me. My next experience with awful mess hall chow was Camp Geiger at ITR. It was the worst chow I experienced for 24 years in The Corps. One day there were several hundred Marines with food poisoning, and that was from Main Side mess hall. We would have gratefully eaten C-Rats. The rest of my career, there was good, mediocre, indifferent, and basically unmemorable mess halls, but there was never anything as bad as Camp Gieger in 1968.
MGySgt G. D. Beard
In 1961 I was a member of First Composite Radio Co. in Kaneohe Bay. We were TAD to San Miguel, Phillipines. There was a club right outside the base called the Playboy Club. Now this wasn't the type of club we have here in America. This was what we would call a beer joint. We all know from the news how stirred up the Filipinos get about elections. One night there were 6 or 8 of us out there partying. The door jumped open and 3 guys came in waving machine guns. I don't know what kind of gun, I just know it was a hand held automatic weapon. It's what I would call a tommy gun.
Needless to say I thought we had just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. There was a door to another room just as you enter the club. I think they called it the "J" room. One of them told us to get in that room and shut the door. We didn't know what to expect. We weren't in there very long maybe 5 to 10 minutes. The men left and we were told by the employees that they had just came in and threatened them that they had better vote for their candidate or they would be sorry for it. We felt better now that it was over and went back to drinking our San Miguel.
That was the best beer I ever had.
In the day (in my case, between the end of Korea and the beginning of Viet Nam), and before the (then new) Commandant, General Shoup caused a tremendous bonfire behind Headquarters Marine Corps with his comment "Carry it... if you feel the need of it"... Officers in Service (Trops or Greens) uniform carried a swagger stick... and, if in Greens, also a pair of thin leather gloves (rarely worn... usually neatly folded around the swagger stick and secured discretely with a rubber band.) The 'issue' (meaning 2nd Lts got to buy it along with the rest of their initial uniform items) version was/is about 24" long, dark-finished wood, with a slight taper from end to end, and a shiny metal ferrule at each end, the larger end bearing an emblem. The gloves back then may have been brown, as were the dress shoes of the era... The original purpose, perhaps now lost in the fog of antiquity was to contribute to 'military bearing'... and there is something about having the thing tucked under the left arm that made one stand straighter with shoulders pulled back...
Brit Lts were admonished that it was not for lopping off the heads of daisies, nor rattling along picket fences, but would serve quite well as a reminder to keep one's hands out of one's pockets. It might also serve for purposes of insult... unintentional, but insulting, nonetheless to have an inspecting officer use his swagger stick to manipulate items displayed for a Junk on the Bunk... always that thought "wassa matter, lieutenant?... afraid you'll catch something?" In the field, just about anybody might have an unofficial one... typically made with brass cartridge at one end, maybe the matching projectile at the other... all homemade, sort of a form of 'trench art'. Short-timer sticks were much the same sort of thing.
The walking stick, always unofficial, but a help on a hump, was usually known as "A Fuji Stick"... for those at the Fuji Camps, and visitors up from Oki who had the opportunity, hiked to the top of Mount Fuji. (little old Japanese ladies do it too, but it ain't easy)... the Japanese had a saying, "A man is not wise until he has walked to the top of Mount Fujiyama... and only a fool would do it twice!"
Then there was the epidemic of 'aviator sunglasses'... wire framed, rather more rectangular/square than the ones so labeled in the current Grit catalog, and worn by Lt.Gen Herman Nickerson when he became the CG, III MAF... oddly enough, within just a couple of weeks, these became the rage among staff officers in the Da Nang area... then it spread outward to the Regiments, and then to the Battalions, usually to Majors and above... there was some conjecture that the Air Wing had sent a C-130 on a special aviator sunglasses re-stocking mission for the Freedom Hill PX... have heard that the pandemic extended back to FMFPAC HQ in Hawaii, as well. There was also some suspicion that there was a block on the officer promotion board briefing sheet for "wears aviator sunglasses... yes/no" etc...
Then there was the attache' attack... can't quite pin down the year that it began, but in the interest of looking 'professional', junior officers, then SNCO's ,began affecting attache' cases... or briefcases, if you prefer... the de rigueur model was a black Samonsite (TM), hard-sided model, with a center handle and two (lockable) flush thumb latches, one on either side of the carry handle. It made the carrier appear somehow important, as if the contents might be highly classified, or otherwise somehow of high value... truth be known, more were used to carry brown-bagger's bologna sandwiches and cases for aviator sunglasses than ever had anything of real import in them... since the swagger stick was pretty much gone by then, this gave the left hand something to keep it occupied, with the right hand kept available for saluting.
Smokers might have a spare pack or two in there... or the day's ration of cigars... cigar brand varied by proximity to payday. Once settled in CIVPAC, it was pointed out to me that the real heavy-hitters in civilian business, if traveling by commercial air, were the guys in first class, who might have a slim leather envelope... if anything... Us grunts in the back with the Samsonite cases... well, that's different... recall being really impressed with a guy on an airplane in the early 80's... had this hard case, that would just fit under the seat... said "Compaq" on it... mind-boggling to find out that it was, no kidding... a computer! (Go ahead, kids... laugh... just wait until we tell you about 'long-distance' phone calls, or 'air mail', or 'phone booths' or...
It's Quarterdeck Time
You guys are a HOOT! I would recommend 'bends and thrusts' if there are any further screw ups. Take care and have a grand and glorious Marine Corps day!
One for Chesty, one for the Corps.
Why are they not doing them on their fingertips! Get real!
PS: squat thrush, anyone!
PSS: to error, is human
In refrence to why the Corps stopped doing [squat-thrusts]? Thats easy, there aren't any [left], we did them all in the sandpits at MCRD San Diego.
John West U.S.M.C. 1966-1970
looks like too much "gedunk" is responsible based on the background... LOL, Semper Fidelis
Need to make them duck walk around the area for a while too...
That's too easy, they should be made to duck waddle up big aggie at the old Camp Matthews.
Chuck Michalski, Cpl. 62-66
PS: I was there in 62, Semper Fi.
Excuses are unacceptable. Carry On!
What happened to squat thrusts? Pushups are for p-----s.
This is Awesome... To have a staff with such a great sense of humor! Working for Sgt Grit, must be more like being with family or best friends all day, rather than a place to employment. Thanks for all that you do and the service you provide. Keep up the great work.
Wayde P. Gibbs
1stSgt USMC (Retired)
My senior drill instructor SSGT. Mitchell Would have said push- up FOREVER. Platoon 202 P.I. 4-1-75 It was April fools day. Since that day every April fool's day I still get that sense of pride.
They are not on their knuckles, nor on a sand swept tarmac. Are you taking it easy on these guys or what?
You Okies crack me up. You're the best of the best. Everyone makes mistakes no need for sorry. Pushups till Grit gets tired! I love it!
I work as a physician assistant (PA) in an ER and am laughing out loud during my evening shift from your mistake correction and photo! Thanks for making my day.
Jim Hill, P.A.C., M.Ed.
Former Captain, USMCR
A loyal customer and Marine
Make the windows rain!
Sgt. USMC 1975-1978, '80 USMCR
Gosh darn, now that brings back memories.
Looks like they field day'd already! Nice and clean.
Y'know, Don... besides being humorous... that's the sort of thing that sets we Marines apart! I've always grudgingly given credit to one of the motorcycle groups for the saying "If I gotta explain it to you, you wouldn't understand it anyway!" But... there it is!
Now that's funny
Squared Away! To err is human, to forgive is not Marine Corps policy.
U.S.M.C. 98... U.S.M.C. 99... U.S.M.C. 100... Apology Accepted!
Hello Sgt Grit,
Coming from an Old Corp Marine, don't you follow the idea that the Leader is completely responsible for everything that happens in his/her command?
If you do, then it might be appropriate for you to give us twenty! Then, find out how you could have avoided this problem, in the first place! Semper Fi!
Oo-rah. Get some! I'll do 20 right now as thanks for the motivation.
How about a little "stationary double time" while they rest.
I cant believe you did that private! Were you sent here to screw up my Marine Corps by the commies or what? Did Ho Chi Minh have something to do with it, I think the bastard may still be alive, do you work for him? Bends and thrusts forever, ready begin. Dont stop 'til I tell you! For drill instructor and the Corps.
Outstanding! Giv'em hell Grit. "All the way down, girls. This ain't the Air Force!"
When You Can Count Ten Sweat Drops, You Can Stop!
That Marines ankles are too far apart, and he isn't making me sweat yet!
CPL Lawrence 1982-1986
"Freedom is not free, but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share."
"The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy."
"It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world... Harmony, liberal intercourse with all nations are recommended by policy, humanity, and interest. But even our commercial policy should hold an equal and impartial hand, neither seeking nor granting exclusive favors or preferences."
--George Washington, Farewell Address [September 26, 1796]
"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
"[A] wise and frugal government... shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
"You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; right derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe."
"But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations... This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution."
--John Adams, 1818
"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
God Bless The Marine Corps!