Sgt Grit Newsletter

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 07 JUN 2012

In this issue:
• Good Drill - No Drill
• Marine Logic
• Paint and Ashes

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Sgt Grit... Noted some folks sent in comments about metal cups in the Mess Hall at PISC, well, here is a few photos of what they are like.

Remember well the hot and cold drinks from one of these in Feb- May 1958. Great for coffee and ice cold milk. Hope some others enjoy the memory of these....Semper Fi

Joseph E. Bock
SgtMaj USMC (Ret)

In This Issue

Your buddies won't wait forever! Get a free profile made on Sgt Grit's buddy search so they can find you! You won't regret it...

GriTogether 2012 THIS SATURDAY June 9th - Be there!

Here we go: bumped 25 people from a flight to New York, No further questions, was no further attack that day, sissies were weeded out, The rest is history, Private Pall Mall, to invade Thailand, every rinky-dink airfield, were taken by surprise, Vampire Liberty, you're a little late aren't you Sergeant, civilian hillsides, all fuses and detonators, Castro was screaming that 10,000 Marines, but not from sympathy, nor empathy.

Stand by to stand by!
Sgt Grit

Mother's Day

Mother's Day Picture from: David M. Bombard Jr. "Scooter" my son in Afghanistan. Semper Fi and OOORAH Marines !

David M. Bombard Sr. (2187)
USMC Disabled Veteran

Look On People's Faces

Good stories about the Cuban Missile Crisis from Marines from the East Coast of America, on a cruise in the Crib, from California and Hawaii and now I'll throw mine in the pot and show you how wide spread the readiness of our Military was.

I was stationed in Bremerhaven Germany as a Comm. Tech (Morse code) with about 45 other Marines and a bunch of Navy Techs doing our thing during the Cold War with the Russkie's and we get a 3am in the morning call to muster in the rec hall and were told about 25 of us are going to Camp Lejeune, N.C. in 3 hours! Were told what we needed to take with us and dress in winter greens and bring your M-1.

We went by train to Frankfurt, Germany then flew to Paris, France and bumped 25 people from a flight to New York City on I believe was TWA (American airline) you should have seen the look on people's faces in the airports with us wearing dress greens and carrying M1's.Then a flight to Washington D.C. and another flight down to Raleigh N.C. and then a bus to Camp Geiger N.C. and we did all this within 24 hours or so.

We did what every other outfit did for the next few days, stand by the ready, then when it all died down we hung around for a month or so and got to know all the sweet joints across from the rear gate of Geiger on rte. 17.

Semper Fi! my brother's and sister's
L/Cpl J.T. Lacey 1956...

Good Drill-No Drill

Good morning Fellow Marines, Oct. 1963 found our Bat. 1-8 being combat ready on a Fri. As was the practice 6x6's lined the Bat. Area. We were all packed as was the S.O.P. We were then told to load up. (good drill). Out the gate we go (really good drill). Off we go to Cherry Point. Planes on the runway (wow a fantastic drill). Next thing we knew we were in Gitmo getting live ammo. (no drill). As we all know everything worked out well.

If you will permit me I will tell you a quick story about chow at Gitmo. We were getting tired of C rats, and I had a really good idea. So I talked my buddies into giving me the C rats while I took my helmet liner out and made a holder over a fire, placing my helmet over the fire as a kettle and putting all of our food into the pot. GREAT IDEA! I saw this in an old WW2 movie. Only problem was the helmet had green paint on the inside and ruined my Stew. Needless to say that was the last time I was a Chef. GOD Bless you and GOD Bless our Corps.

J. Logan 1831701 1959 - 1965

Old Face, Different Day

I went through boot camp at MCRD, San Diego, California in 1965. I had joined the Marines so I really couldn't complain about the rigor of the training. Our DI's were tough but fair enough. The lead DI was a person anyone would respect and was all business. The next in line DI was a man of wit and even while leading us on a daily three mile run seemed to bring a smile to everyone's face with his actions and comments. There would be a third DI but they would change now and then. One had served in Vietnam and was a nice guy (For a DI). The one that would replace him however was... well... let me continue.

We got this Corporal for our third DI and he didn't know anything about how to arrange a pack, the manual of arms, or ... you name it. He seemed to get frustrated about his own inabilities and would appoint a recruit to demonstrate certain activities. As time with him went on the recruits would offer advice to this DI which he resented. He would then replace the lesson he should have been teaching us with PT.

PT, as any Marine knows, was used a lot as a discipline as well as a way to get us in shape for combat and our general health. This DI seemed to be using it to strike back at those who made it apparent that he shouldn't be wearing the Smokey bear hat. We were in that sand pit for a good hour when the recruits began to call the DI names and such. The situation was deteriorating rapidly when the lead DI showed up and stopped the Pt. He spoke in private to the third DI and we were then marched off somewhere else. Nothing was said of the incident and no one mentioned it again. The Corporal disappeared soon after.

Time passed and I find myself on the Rock Pile in Vietnam in 1967. That day some replacements had been delivered to our position and who should be among them but the Corporal my boot camp platoon had so strongly disliked. I smiled and shook his hand surprised that he recognized me. He asked how it was out here and I said that it was some boredom followed by some terror. Anyone could see he was very nervous.

The day moved on a couple of hours and a few of us were talking to the Top Sergeant. I remember the Razor Back was to our right. Out in front of us there suddenly came an explosion. Since there was a lot of artillery on the hill the Top yelled out, "Who fired that round?" apparently thinking it was someone on the hill. Then came another. It was much closer. The Top shouted, "Incoming!" as the impacts walked into our position. Everyone scattered.

I went to my assigned area which at that time was mortars. I began to feed the gunner with rounds. We laid them down hot and heavy. It wasn't that long before the incoming stopped and we could clean up all the empty ammo boxes and catch our breath. There was no further attack that day but we all still slept at the ready just in case.

The next day I didn't see the Corporal but I did ask about him. He spent the duration of the attack under cover. Who could blame him? This was his first experience with combat and most likely had barely enough time to find his hooch and meet his commanding officer. I bet that Corporal learned pretty quick after his first day out in the field. Maybe he would learn enough with his experience in Vietnam to get a second chance at being a DI. If he survived.

Anonymous 3/3/3, Marines

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March Like THAT!

Reading the posts about the Cuban missile crisis promoted long forgotten memories in this Marine. I joined the 2nd 105mm How Bn., Miami in Feb. of 1957 while still a senior in high school. After graduation in June I along with 25 to 30 other reservist from that unit were flown out of OpaLocka to MCAS, Beaufort, SC and bused to PI on July 1st. The next day we along with 50 other recruits formed Plt 192, 2nd Bn. Graduated Sept 30th, 1957 and proceeded to Camp Geiger for ITR. In January 1958, I returned to the reserve unit for the next 7 1/2 years.

The only scary portion of time during my time, was during the Cuban missile crisis. I lived and worked in Ft. Lauderdale with our sign shop right next to the Florida East Coast RR tracks. I remember Pres. Kennedy addressing the nation about Cuba and for the next 2 months the RR was loaded with Military pouring into S. Florida. I mean military hardware and personal, most of it was going to the Keys. What didn't go to the Florida Keys went to and below Homestead Air Force Base.

We had Nike Missile batteries in Florida for a number of years later (they may still be there, although I doubt it). Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale also geared up with Navy presence since it is a deep water port close to Cuba. I also seem to remember they evacuating civilians from the keys and closing the over sea highway (but I'm in my 70's now and that was 50 years ago). We had a weekend drill the weekend, following Kennedy's talk and as we reported, we knew something was up, as they had us all get up to date overseas shots and went over our records and also made us do a will. We were put on a 12 hour call up and told that as it developed and those ships carrying more missiles did not turn around when they hit the blockade surrounding Cuba, that was when we would be called to report and the info filtering down to the ranks said we were to be shipped to Gitmo as backup to the Marines already deployed. The 2nd 105 (which had been renamed into the 4th ANGLICO) was the closest Marine Reserve Unit to Cuba.

I visited PI in 2004 when my grandson graduated, earning his EGA. I visited the museum there and found out that the ERA I was in what is called the "Cold War ERA." I loved the Museum and that visit brought back many memories, both good and bad (only a Marine can understand that statement). I felt the same sense of pride as my grandson's Plt. marched with the others for graduation. Only Marines march like that. I had a son in the 82nd Airborne, one in the Air Force and a daughter in the Navy, but ONLY a Plt. of Marines can and do march like THAT! ------ By the way, in 1957 I don't remember "yellow footprints" or "Oh Rah," (but like I also mentioned I am in my 70's). -------- I do believe that PI and Recruit Training made me the man I became and am! God Bless all you Marines, Semper Fi.

Howard Loveless / 1589--- / USMCR (6 Month active / 7 1/2 year reserve enlistment)
Plt 192, 2ND Bn., MCRD,PI / Camp Geiger ITR 1957
2nd 105mm How Bn. USMCR, Miami, FL 1'58-Mar 2'62
4th ANGLICO FORTRS, FMF USMCR, Miami, FL 3'62 - 2'64
Inactive Reserve 2/'64 - 2/'65

Echo Battery 2/10 Needs

Sgt G,

Just wanted to separately express my most professional gratitude for sending the flags to the Marines with Echo Battery 2/10.

I'd also like to let you know (so you can promote accordingly), a specific need they have.

Other than the standard stuff (Beef jerky, tuna in pouches, drink mix, sunflower seeds and other items that can be eaten easily or heated and ate. Gold bond powder, athletes foot cream, baby wipes, solar showers, other hygiene items, laundry soap and athletic socks).

They really need 2XL PT shorts (the nylon ones) and L t-shirts. This is exactly what they said in an earlier email to me:

"We're just looking for plain green skivvies to replace those that are worn out for the guys at patrol bases. Large tee-shirts and 2xl skivvy shorts are the best sizes. Ours are made by Soffe. We have about 40 Marines at patrol bases that are going through them at the rapid rate."

I just sent them 20 shorts via the Marine Corps Uniform shop.

If you're also interested, you can friend them on Facebook. Just search for Echo Battery 2/10 and you'll find it. They arrived in country on 7 May.

Thanks again for the support.

Semper Gumby (always flexible)

Frederick C. Montney III
MSgt, USMC Retired


Dear Sgt Grit,

Read a story about how the Medal of Honor was proposed in Senate Bill 82 on December 21st, 1861. Philadelphia Mint was to design new decoration.

Twenty-five year old John F. Mackie was a native New Yorker, and a silversmith who served on Naval gunships manning cannons. Served on U. S. S. Savannah. Saw action at various places as well as support of amphibious landing at against Fort Clark near Cape Hatteras. Assigned to U. S. S. Galena, which with other Union Ships attacked Fort Darling at Drurys Bluff. Captain Rogers took the Galena to within 400 yards of the fort, but the other ships laid off twice as far. The fort had a height advantage of 100 feet, and had 16 inch guns.

For six hours the battle ensued. The other ships had to withdraw under heavy damage, including the U. S. S. Monitor - since she could not get the elevation on her guns either. Captain Rogers was wounded in the first exchange of fire. Mackie noticed that the aft 100 pounder Parrot Rifle (4) crew had been wiped out, acted without orders. NOTE:( Robert Parrot, at the West Point Foundry, came up with a new method for strengthening a cast iron gun with a band of wrought iron at the breech.)

Rallying some of the Marine Detachment he manned the big cannon. His marksmanship was superb and soon destroyed a Confederate 10 inch Columbiad (5) that had been doing terrible damage to the ship with each round fired. NOTE: (The Columbiad was a large bore caliber, smoothbore, muzzle loading cannon able to fire heavy projectiles at both high and low trajectories.) Out of ammunition and her decks swept with enemy damage, the Galena withdrew. Out of 130 men over 70 lay dead or wounded. The Galena had taken 100 direct hits.

General Order No. 17 on 10 July 1862 awarded him the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Lincoln and Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles. Mackie got a promotion to orderly sergeant.

If anyone is interested in getting more information on the story you can ask Sgt. Grit, and I can cite 2 books for you.

P.S. Naval personnel on ship were given commissions to officer rank. Tough to make grade in the OLD CORPS!

P.P.S. I am considering getting Kindle and can submit stories on other Marine History, as always I can cite where my stories come from and give proper credit to original sources.

Bruce Bender
Cpl. 1963-1967

A Lot Of Thinking

Did a lot of thinking today, as I do every Memorial Day. It's a good thing we have a service rifle match on Memorial Day, before that, Memorial Day tended to be a pretty dark day for me.

Here is the best I can come up with to summarize how I see things:

Here is to those who went before me, They made it possible for me to grow up free.

Here is to those I went with, that never came back. All gave some, some gave all.

Here is to those that went after me, you kept the faith, restored pride, and make it possible for me to grow old in freedom.
Thank you all!

God Bless America.

Sgt USMC 1971-1975

Invade Thailand

Sgt Grit.

In Sept of 1962 I was in the Diamond Club in Olongapo PI, drinking some cool San Miguel beer. The shore patrol comes in and tells all of us Marine and sailors to get back to our ship right away as an emergency had happened.

Once aboard USS Monticello LSD-35 we left Subic Bay at flank speed. the Valley Forge, and the APA Navarro was with us. We steamed two days and where in Tai waters. The communists were threating to invade Thailand. We sharpened bayonets, cleaned .50 caliber machine guns. We were to land the next morning.

At dawn the ship's captain came on the ships speaker and told us Russia had nuclear missiles in Cuba that we would remain aboard ship and wait.

After a week or so, we hit the rack and the next morning land was gone and we were at sea once more. The Captain told us we would be going to Hong Kong for RandR. We spent two weeks in Hong Kong and then back to Subic Bay. BLT 3/3 was disbanded and we returned to Camp Schwab Okinawa to third motor transport battalion.

Sgt JD Markley

Marine Logic

Semper Fi Sgt Grit. Here's a copy of a letter posted on our company bulletin board (Golf co. 2/3) Back in the early 1980's. Marine Logic at its best.

From; Lt.Col. H. D. Charger
To: Pvt. S. Byrd
Subj: About that day you want off.

Pvt Byrd; It has come to my attention that you have requested a day off. After careful consideration, I have come to the following conclusion.
1) There are 365 days in a year
2) The average Marine sleeps 8 hours a day using up 121.5 days. 3) every day around 2 hours are lost in the chow hall and another 2 on liberty-(61 days)
4) 45 min are spent sitting in the head for 11.5 days
5) Let's not forget Saturday and Sunday, The weekend costs the Corps 104 days.
6) You already receive 1 day off for your birthday
7) Also you get 1/2 a day on Friday for special services (26 days)
8) The Corps recognizes 9 holidays
9) And let's not forget your 30 days annual leave.
Figuring all this up comes to 364 days. Leaving one day left for the Corps to get any work out of you.
And I'll be D-mned if I give you that day off.

Signed; H.D. Charger
Lt. Col. Commanding

OOH Raah. The best part about being a Marine is that all the sissies were weeded out.
Sgt Gary Mckruit 79-83


Sgt. Grit,

I have been receiving your newsletter for a few years now-since I met my husband when he was in. I do have to say, I owe all happiness in my life to the Marine Corps, a friend, and whim.

I met my husband in 2008. A friend of mine asked me if I wouldn't mind attending the Marine Corps Birthday Ball in Las Vegas since her date's friend needed a date. I agreed to go as this guy's blind date. I knew nothing but that we were going to Vegas on Friday (it was currently Monday when she asked me).

I scrambled for a dress and took that Friday off work. My friend and I drove separately from Redlands, CA and the guys drove in from Twenty-nine Palms. We met the guys in the lobby of the hotel. It was quite awkward to say the least. Here are our friends-chummy and cute and glad to see each other-and there we were with a weird "Hello, I'm your date" exchange. He was a gentleman though, carrying my bags to the room, opening doors. We made it through the weekend. In a weekend full of craziness, whatever we did to impress the other worked (and we all know how Marines can party in Vegas).

After the weekend, we decided to go out again. Honestly, I was more nervous about that second meeting than I was about meeting a stranger in Las Vegas! So, here we are, four years later: He separated out in 2009, not long after we started dating and received his honorable discharge in December. We were in the wedding of the friends that introduced us. We've lived 1800 miles apart, then in Washington state, and now Mississippi. He's in school using his GI Bill and I'm a teacher.

We were married this past October. All because I decided to go to Las Vegas on a whim, I am happier than I could ever have dreamed possible.

Just thought I would share! Love getting the newsletters... whenever the day comes for little ones to come along, I already have a wish list!


Elizabeth Juneau

PS- As a teacher for the best district and the top school in the state I keep the "We don't promise you a rose garden" poster above my desk. It goes with my reputation. :)

Note: Marine Family Members! Send in your stories to be included in the AmericanCourage section of the newsletter.

For My Brother

I had been wanting to get something for my brother and finally got this design drawn up. I can not express how proud I am of him for time in the Marines and his willingness to put his life on the line for our country, for me. He made it back home but there have been many that didn't. I will never forgot their sacrifice. Thanks to all those that are serving and have served for their country!

Marine Family Members and Patriots! Send in your stories to be included in the AmericanCourage section of the newsletter.

No Further Questions

SGT Grit-

I deployed to Iraq as an Army Nurse Captain. But when my convoy was ambushed I reacted according to my Marine training, with well-aimed fire. The Army Nurse Corps never taught me how to react to an ambush. The lessons learned at the PI and ITR Camp Lejeune have served me well, in Vietnam and future assignments. And they are lessons that are never forgotten. In the ambush my co-workers were surprised that a nurse could handle an M4 with such accuracy. I spent the last 2 years of my military career as Commander of a USAR MP Company. COL's and GEN's asked what qualified a Nurse to command an MP Unit. My response- I was a US Marine. No further questions about my qualifications.

Semper Fi!

Short Rounds

Just got a call from a First Sgt. He was very pleased with his order. He said he was "Happier than a boat load of sailors headed to Dick Islands'.
Sgt Grit

I should not have been surprised 1st recon Bn doing the lo-hi. I know how demanding it is since I finished the Badwater 146 in July of 1995. Which is same thing except it is a race or a contest. I raised money for MCL and Toys for Tots I ran and walked for 44 hours and 2 minutes non-stop to finish and get my belt buckle, Semper Fi.
Jim Dill
Marine 1960-1965

I was station at Los Pulgas H&S Company Flame Platoon from 1963-1964 and also in Okinawa with Flame Platoon from 1964-1965. Those pictures sure bring back memories of both places. Even some of the guys look familiar. Thanks for the memories.

Semper Fi
Cpl. Andre

I recently was tested at the War - Related Injury/Illness Study Center (WRIISC) program at the Washington, DC VA Hospital.

This program is very thorough I don't know how many Vets are out there that may be like me and not even know this is there. I just wanted to pass this along.

Semper Fi
Jim H.

Sgt. Grit... SSgt. Ralph Walker Willis passed away at age 90 in April of this year in Arroyo Grande, Ca. He wrote the book, My life as a Jarhead, and was a combat veteran of Iwo Jima. He became a neighbor and friend of mine in San Jacinto, Ca. and I had the utmost respect for him. We visited a couple of times in Arroyo Grande when my wife and I were up there in our rv. I found out about his passing from an obit. column in the Arroyo Grande newspaper, having had no response to my emails over the past couple of month. He was a standup guy and a proud Marine. I am proud to say that he was a Marine brother.

Dick Vara
Cpl. of Marines
San Jacinto, Ca.

Just read the letter regarding "Posers" and the mention of MOS numbers. I was in the Corps 1948-52. I seem to recall that we called them Spec Numbers.
Andy Anderson 1072045
Carthage, Texas

The Gunny Was Pizsed

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I always wore starched utilities, blocked my cover sometimes with an octagon block of wood, and spray starched the cover as well. One day I noticed a man dressed like a soup sandwich walking in the barracks? I asked another Marine "Who is that creep?". It was the Gunny, who had a room on the upper level. I saw him next in greens - that were filthy.

One day a S/Sgt who looked like a recruiting poster boy, came in our squad bay and introduced himself as a newly assigned Marine to our unit. He told us that Mr. Piggy, (the Gunny) and he was having a field day in the pig sty he called a room! The Marines cleaned the room Saturday and Sunday. The S/Sgt was pleased and the Gunny was pizsed. The Staff Sgt. was later on joined by his family and moved to base housing, and the Gunny reverted back to his old ways.

One day we had an unusual odor emanating from his room, and the Barracks Sgt. called the First Sgt. to come and investigate. The Gunny was written up moved out of the barracks, and his room cleaned out by some barracks people. I was amazed that Staff NCO's had disagreements in front of us troops. I was also in awe at the pride one can have in one's self, and the passion to be squared away as a lowly private or a Staff NCO.

Do any of you out in Marine Land have stories about squared away or sh-tbirds that would bring back memories to us all???

We had a guy who was a private who never changed his skivvies. He hung them up on the side of his rack and showered and put them back on again. One day one Marine was boosted up by the window of his cubicle and poured lighter fluid on said skivvies, and proceeded to ignite them.

Another person who never took a shower was awaken at 2 in the morning, dragged into the shower and we used scrub brushes and soap to wash him, he was taken to sick bay with various bruises, and became a member of the daily shower brigade after that incident.

Another guy went into the shower after lights out and took all the soap remnants and molded them into one bar- we called him the rainbow soap Marine.

Bruce Bender
1963 1967 / Cpl

The Rest Is History

I was also involved with the Cuban Missile Crises. I was right out of boot camp at PI and ITR at Geiger was assigned to 3BN/6TH MARINES HQ Co 81MM Plt. Left Camp Lejeune on Friday for Boot Leave by Trailways for Wyano, Pa.(30 Miles from Pittsburgh) Got home Saturday morning around 6AM.

Sunday morning at 2AM got telegram on phone that all leaves were canceled, report back to Camp Lejeune. Arrived back on Monday morning at 3AM. Duty NCO told me and 6 others to drop our gear, get in to Utilities, and go to supply to get 782 Gear. Once back at barracks was told to make up Field Marching Pack. All this without any sleep.

After reveille, Sq Leader told us to go to chow. after chow he told us to go to the Armory to check out a '45. At 7:30 at Company Formation, CO told everybody to grab all gear and be outside for formation on company street at 08:00. At around 0815, the "CATTLE CARS" arrived. We loaded up and was off to Morehead City. We got on board the USS ROCKBRIDGE, APA 228. This was on OCT 2nd, 1962. We set sail for Charleston, S.C. to load up ammo. Next morning before breakfast, we set sail for GITMO.

We spent 71/2 weeks a mile of the coast of GITMO. 2 times we disembarked on to "MIKE BOATS" only to come back to the ship and climb the ROPE LADDERS. The 3rd time we disembarked, the battalion got to within 500 yards of GITMO and then we got turned back. That is all the closeness we got to invading Cuba.

Next morning we set sail for Camp Lejeune and made a wet landing at ONSLO BEACH.. The rest is history.

Peter P Ritzo 2010106 1413/0341/0331/0311
SSGT 1962 - 1972
RVN "65-'66" 1st MAW/3rd DIV/III MAF HQ
Semper Fi

Only Marine Squadron

Read the comments about the Cuban Missile Crisis and those that were around the Corps then. I was in VMF(AW)-115 in 1962 and we were on a med cruise from March 1962 until late Sept 1962. We all had leave after the med cruise and had just reported back to MCAS, Cherry Point around the middle of October when the Crisis started.

All the A-4 squadrons on base had left almost overnight taking some of our squadron members with them to bring the A-4 squadrons up to manning levels. So those of us that were left figured that we would be staying at MCAS, Cherry Point. No such luck as around Thanksgiving we were shipped out almost overnight also. I was on an advanced crew that left on c-119's (Boxcars) and headed for Homestead AFB. Stayed there while our aircraft came through on the way to Gitmo. The squadron at this time was flying the old memorable Douglas F-4D Skyray.

We were the only Marine squadron on the base during the crisis and were there until the late spring of 1963 around May was when we returned to Cherry Point. All I can remember of that time was that we were there with an infantry unit from either Camp Lejeune or Camp Pendleton. I figured that they were from Camp Lejeune as it was closer than Camp Pendleton, wrong. It was some regiment from Camp Pendleton. Also there was a Seabee outfit, but I don't know if they were permanently stationed there or came there because of the Missile Crisis.

When we all got to Gitmo there was a need for someone with a Gov't license since all the Navy personnel that had one had moved out since they were just a training outfit. After a search through everyone's SRB I was picked along with another Marine to drive the small bus that was used to go from the Officers area to the mess hall and then to the flight line and to the ferry landing and then make a return trip. At that time everyone needed a Gov't driver's license to drive a military vehicle and I had been to the Cherry Point driving classes for all of the vehicles that were used on the base. Didn't appreciate that I had to drive that bus every day, but having that license would prove to be a real blessing later on in my 20 year career in the Corps and that is another story.

When we were at Gitmo it never crossed anyone's mind that we were close to being in a war. As we continued training as we had been doing at Cherry Point, but were doing it at Gitmo and in better weather.

We left Gitmo after the Navy training squadrons returned and went back to Cherry Point. Since I had decided later on to make a career in the Corps some of those that were in VMF(AW)-115 did the same thing and later on we served together again in another war, but this time in Vietnam. Some of their names are on the wall and I think about them many times.

Robert Otto

Every Meal A Feast

OOOOOHRAH Sgt Grit, and a highly motivated SEMPER FI to each and every one of you Leathernecks out there.

In response to Woodrow Pea's best non Marine Corps chowhall chow, I'd have to give my 1st vote to the USO on the Rock, on camp Schwab back in 86. You could get a helping of yackasoba (spell) noooodles and other goodies that would soak up at least a bit of all that SanMigouhl we'd drink and it was pretty tasty to boot.

2nd would be while in port in the Med. the gut trucks that would park on the dock, usually at the end of Liberty call, 0?00. they had smashed sandwiches, steakum like meat, cheese, onions, peppers and French fries in a toasted hoagy bun then smashed in some kind of waffle iron type sandwich smashing device. Can't really remember what it looked like, but the results were a big sandwich that was devoured somewut dry and when it soaked up a load of beer in the belly, instantly full and ready for the rack.

The best chowhall food I ever had was at the Northern Training Area chowhall while tdy there for my 6 months on the Rock in 86. Every day is a holiday and every meals a feast. a very small price to pay to belong to the world's finest fighting force.

Cpl Radtke T.A. 85-89 2/6 2/8 OOOOOOHRAH!

To Share

I work at the Durham VAMC, in Durham, NC., and our office houses 2 prior service Marines. We have a friend who is an artist who is a disabled veteran, ARMY - we all can't be Marines - who stops by and visits during his doctor visits.

He decided to
paint a picture on the wall for us. It is about 8' x 8'. I just wanted to share. The Artist name is Sidney Flake from Alamance, NC.

James Stephenson

In His F--king Corps

I grew up a military kid so when I went to boot camp at Parris Island I was dressed in bloused fatigued pants combat boots and no hair, so my drill instructors jumped straight down my backside all through boot about the way I was dressed when I showed up. Well Gunny Martinez asked me why I was in his f--king Corps, so after graduation I seen the Gunny and told the reason I was in his f--king Corps was my grandfather, my father, my brother were all army and my uncles were in the navy, so I thought that I would make haappy so I told the reason I joined the Corps was I told that I didn't want to be weekend warrior as my father and brother were after they came home from overseas and I also told him that beings my uncles were in the navy that I wanted to be in the men's department of the navy he laughed and told me I made it, I would like to thank my di's for the training.
James Moore 73-74

Got Off The Plane


I was in the Corps from '81-'85, going to boot camp 3 days after HS graduation (I had just about sobered up).

Anyway, I recognize many stories that were similar to my experiences, with just the names or dates changed. But one story about the boot camp chow and how one Private gained weight while another lost, eating the same chow, struck me as my personal experience was a little different.

I went to boot camp when I was 18 years and 8 months old. I was 5'11" and weighed 162 pounds. I don't remember my height changing or my weight fluctuating much at all through boot. I remember weighing about the same when I got out as I when I joined. Of course that doesn't mean things didn't change and that's the point of this story.

I returned home after boot and got off the plane with two other Marines, just out of boot like me. We exited together, excited to be on leave and see our families again. Even more excited to have survived the h-ll of boot camp. So I got off the plane with two other Marines, I saw my family waiting for me just outside the gate, as they could back then. The look on my mom's face was priceless. She looked so confused, scanning from Marine to another. She did not recognize her own son!

So while my "numbers" didn't change, the Corps changed me so that even my own mother didn't recognize me.

Semper Fi,
Paul Judd, Cpl '81-'85


Dear Sgt. Grit,

The past few newsletters featured some helicopter interest. Here are some more recent pictures that were sent me by my son, LCpl Tim Urquhart USMC (2002-2006), all from his 2003 Iraq deployment. They are, USS Saipan flight deck loaded with AH-1W Super Cobras headed for Iraq, the Squadron Iraq flight line sign, flight line and a Cobra and Huey.

LCpl Phil Urquhart 1619050 (1956-1959)


I have the honor of reporting the passing of a WW II Marine Raymond Sanger.

He quit high school at 17 and entered the Corps in 1942 and served until 1946. He served with the First Marine Division in the Pacific including Peleliu.

He liked to tell the story of going back to high school after his service and sitting in history class with a first year female history teacher. She was discussing the war in the pacific and Raymond had interrupted her several times to report that what she was saying was not true. After about the third time she got quite annoyed with Raymond and asked him why he thought he knew more about history than she did. He replied "I was there".

I served as the honor guard commander giving final military rites to this Marine on May 26.

Kevin Kelly
Platoon 1092-November 1971

A Marine's Marine

Every now and then, in the middle of the constant barrage of crap thats just pissing us all off these days, we come across a story, a feat, an event that just makes us stop in our tracks. This was one for me.

Cody Green was a 12-year kid in Indiana who was diagnosed with leukemia at 22 months old. He loved the Marines, and his parents said he drew strength and courage from the Marine Corps as ... he bravely fought the battle into remission three times. Although he was cancer-free at the time, the chemotherapy had lowered his immune system and he developed a fungus infection that attacked his brain.

Two weeks ago, as he struggled to fend off that infection in the hospital, the Marines wanted to show how much they respected his will to live, his strength, honor and courage. They presented Cody with Marine navigator wings and named him an honorary member of the United States Marine Corps. For one Marine, that wasn't enough ... so that night, before Cody Green passed away, he took it upon himself to stand guard at Cody's hospital door all night long, 8 hours straight.

Nowhere on the face of this planet is there a country so blessed as we to have men and women such as this. I wish I could personally tell this Marine how proud he makes me to be an American. God ... I do so love this country.

Shared from this blog

More on this story

Not Happen To Us

Sgt. Grit, My high school buddy and I had gone to school in Escondido, Calif. just 30 some miles north of USMCRD San Diego. We were just out of high school in June 1947 and after one year of Junior College we both decided we needed to join the military. He had no idea which branch to choose, so since my Dad had been captured on Wake Island at the start of WWII where he had gone as a civilian worker for Morrison and Knudsen, and I knew of the courageous defense of Wake by 249 Marines and some of the 1200 civilians who volunteered to help the Marines, I convinced my friend that we needed to Join the Marines. because they always stuck together and as was proven later at the Chosin Reservoir, the Marines brought every Marine out, live, dead and wounded.

We rode the bus down to the USMCRD and walked in the back gate just like we owned the place, with that "High school" crap the Marines hated so. We saw recruits being struck about the head and shoulders but of course knew that we were such hot stuff that that would not happen to us. We were directed to a small office with a crisply starched young corporal sitting at a desk who appeared to be about 5'2" and 120#. I was 6 feet tall and weighed 180#. We walked in and informed him that we had just joined the Marines. He exploded across his desk and grabbed me by my stackin' swivel and pushed me back against the far wall screaming, "Whenever you talk to a Marine in uniform, YOU WILL CALL HIM SIR! That was just the first few seconds of our experience on the road to becoming Marines. More later.

Cal Lewis, M.D. PFC USMC 1948-1950

Private Pall Mall

I had just volunteered for service in the United States Marine Corps in August of 1970 and a friend who was a Marine warned me of a couple of things that I should NOT do while in boot camp. His first bit of advice was never to volunteer for a detail and since I was a smoker, never smoke top of the line cigarettes like Marlboro or Kools as everyone would mooch cigarettes when they ran out. So being the smart guy that I was, I decided to smoke Pall Malls while in boot camp.

During the very first week of boot camp, our Senior Drill Instructor, SSgt Ross, had us in platoon formation and told us we could have one of our three daily smokes while we were resting out on the "Grinder". It was then that SSgt Ross asked us if anyone smoked Pall Malls and in a moment of forgetfulness, I raised my hand. Immediately SSgt Ross bellowed out "Get up here Private Pall Mall"! As I hustled to the front of the formation, upon offering SSgt Ross a Pall Mall he notified me that from now on I would be known as Private Pall Mall and that I WOULD have a Pall Mall cigarette for him at all times. Needless to say, I immediately regretted my forgetfulness, but he also informed me that I would be allowed an extra pack of cigarettes each week which didn't sound too bad considering.

About six weeks into boot, one night after lights out, I was laying in my rack when I heard a voice in the dark bellow out... "Private Pall Mall to the Duty Hut!" I immediately jumped out of the rack, put my shower shoes on and reached for my pack of Pall Malls. To my shock, I found my pack was empty and I then started digging around my Foot Locker for another pack. Wouldn't you know it, I was out of smokes. As I struggled to find a full pack, I heard SSgt Ross's voice bellow out again... "Private Pall Mall to the Duty Hut!"

Well I knew I was up the creek without a paddle so I decided to meet my fate head on. I quickly ran to the Duty Hut and pounded on the hatch 3 times and yelled out "Sir, Private Pall Mall reporting as ordered Sir!" The response was short and to the point... "Get in here Maggot and gimme a smoke!" With a gut full of fear I reached out with the empty pack and reported to SSgt Ross that I was out of cigarettes. The look in his eyes was enough to melt even the bravest of boots.

"What do you mean you're out of smokes? YOU WILL get me a smoke and YOU WILL BRING it to me IMMEDIATELY! DO YOU hear me MAGGOT, now GET OUT!" As I double timed it out of the duty hut I knew I'd better find him a cigarette or he'd PT me till reveille. So I went around to the surrounding Quonset huts, waking everyone up, trying to find a Pall Mall. Well no one had one so I decided to try one of the other Quonset Huts that wasn't assigned to our Platoon.

As I hustled around the corner of one of the huts, I was challenged by one of the recruits standing guard duty. Upon challenging me and advancing me to be recognized, I approached him with the most fearful looks in my eyes. I then asked him if he had a Pall Mall and he said "No, but will a Camel do?" and I decided to chance it. I said yes and gratefully took the Camel and thanked him. Upon reaching the Duty Hut I again pounded on the hatch 3 times. "Sir Private Pall Mall"....was all that I was able to get out when SSgt Ross yelled out "Get in here maggot and gimme my cigarette!"

After locking up in front of his desk, I offered up the Camel I had retrieved and he took one look at it and he jumped up and yelled at me that "that's was no Pall Mall, but since it's late I'll take the Camel. Now Sweetpea, give me Bends and Thrusts till it goes out!" Needless to say I was pretty wiped out by now, but I started doing Bends and Thrusts. It took about 5 minutes, but the cigarette finally was put out and SSgt Ross finally let me out of the Duty Hut with the warning that the next time he called, I'd better have a Pall Mall for him. And I did too. It was the only time he every had to discipline me while I was in Boot Camp.

William D. Barnett
SSgt. 1970 - 1985
Platoon 1136


Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #3, #6,, (June, 2013)

I'm going to relate just 2 more stories regarding my experiences with the CH-37 "Deuce" and, then I'm going to move on. While we were down at Roosevelt Roads and, after the Aircraft was fixed we, of course, were required to take it on a test Flight to check out all the systems, because the Aircraft had been parked there for some time. Well, we got all fired up and took off. While we were flying out over the surrounding fields close to the Airfield Installation, we decided we should do a little clean up inside the Aircraft so, one of the mech's, not I, found an old mason jar with some "Day Glow" (Orange Paint ) in it.

Now, apparently it had been in the A/C for some time and, it was no longer needed so, the one who found it just tossed it out of the Aircraft. Well, apparently no one gave any thought to where it would land or, what it would hit. Now, I should also add that we were on our final approach to the landing pad and we continued until we were on the ground. All was well, and good and, the Pilot said that he wanted to "go around the Patch once more". We, in the belly had nothing to say about it so, we just continued in or efforts to get some of the junk that had accumulated together, to off load, once we got back to the base again.

We lifted off and, went outbound from the base and made our 180 degree turn and, on the return trip, the Pilot keyed his mike and started to laugh. At that point he said, "did anybody see that Day Glow Cow on the last trip in". We looked out and, there it was. A cow grazing out in the field apparently got splattered with the thrown out paint when it hit the ground and, was still grazing just like nothing ever happened. What a "LAND MARK" navigational aide. I just wonder what other pilots thought when they saw this cow. We naturally all had a good laugh and, the word got around pretty fast about the "Day Glow Cow".

The next and, last part (Honest) of my H-37 experiences was when we went back out to the carrier during the Cuban Crisis to head North to New River, we were parked next to the island, on the deck because, there was one extra H-37 on board and, that was us. We had to stand watch at night, to ensure the A/C's safety. Now, I know that statement doesn't make a whole lot of sense but, that was what we were told. We stood guard up on the O-3 level which looked down on the Helo..

Now, I submit to you what the h-ll were we do if we had a problem ?? "Call the Cpl of the Guard " . I can just here him saying "What the h-ll am I supposed to do". Anyway, we ran into some bad weather and the ship was rolling quite profusely. I will tell you that the H-37 has 4 tie down points and, we were using what is known as Hurricane tie downs on all points. Every once in a while you could hear one of the deck tie downs snap and, that meant that it would have to be replaced.

This required the man on watch to go down from his post on the 0-3 level and, secure a rope around his waist and venture out on the deck and, replace the broken tie down. It also required that someone else would have to assist because venturing out on the deck in the storm alone was not a smart move. We also had cargo straps holding the rotor blades in the racks that were attached to the side of the Aircraft.

I don't remember if the Cuban Missile Crisis was over at this time, or not but, I think that the storm was while we were cruising in the vicinity of Cat Island and, in several days were in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands for a couple of days. That's where we'd load up with some Booze to take back to the "Lucky devils", that didn't have to make this expedition.

Songs From the Past

Gee But I Wanna Go Home

I don't want no more of the U.S. Marines
Gee, but I wanna go, right back to Quantico
Gee, but I wanna go home.

They say when you're enlisted, promotions are mighty fine
Well, I'm a g-dd-mned private, I've been in over nine.

The uniform they give us, they say is sure to fit.
We wall along the highway, we look like a sack of sh-t.

The shelter half they give us, to keep us from the wet.
A friend of mine lay down in one, they haven't found him yet.

The officers they send us can stand up to the worst
You'll find them every weekend, shacked up with a nurse.

The shoes they give the gyrenes, they say are mighty fine.
You need a number seven, they give you number nine.

The bedsacks they five you, they say are mighty fine.
Well how the H-ll would I know, I never slept in mine.

The craphouse that they give us, is mighty cold and bare.
The wind flows through the open seat, and tickles your curly hair.

They say if you're in the Corps, then you're the very best
Well they can take the fighting, and we'll take a rest.

Bless 'Em All

Bless 'em all, Bless 'em all,
The long and the short and the tall
There'll be no promotions this side of the ocean,
So cheer up my lads, bless 'em all

We sent for the Army to come to Tulagi
But Douglas MacArthur said "No
And this is the reason it isn't the season
Besides you've got no USO"

Well we sent for the Navy to come to Tulagi
The dear little Navy agreed
In ten thousand sections, from eighteen directions
Oh Lord, what a screwed up stampede.

Then we sent for the Air Force to come to Tulagi
The Air Force appeared on the scene.
They bombed out two donkeys, five horses, three monkeys
And seven platoons of gyrenes.

Then we sent for the Coast Guard to come to Tulagi
And waited for them to appear.
They sent back a letter, "We like it here better,
But maybe we'll make it next year".

Then we sent for the Nurses to come to Tulagi
The Nurses they made it with ease.
Their asses on the table, each bearing this label
"Reserved for the officers, please"

Bless 'em all, bless 'em all
The long and the short and the tall
Bless all the sergeants and corporals too
Bless all privates, and above all bless you

For we're saying good-bye to them all
As back to our foxholes we'll crawl
There'll be no promotions, this side of the ocean
So cheer up my lads, bless 'em all.

Paint And Ashes


Got lot of pics to share, for those that haven't seen these monuments and maybe never will. I tried to take the pictures from a different perspective then the professional ones we've probably scene. There are so many I will break them down to several newsletters if you will allow.

The Air Force decided to no longer fund my job so I took advantage of being able to take an extended trip with the new girlfriend to Washington D. C. for Memorial day, and Rolling Thunder, by Motor Cycle. From Wyoming it is roughly 1900 miles one way via, US 30 and US 50 the OLD byway highways. and a short stint on the interstate.

Our second night on road we were in Burlington Iowa at a motel. I needed to go to the front desk, and as I turned the corner in a the hall, this guy got down on one knee in front of this woman, don't know why. But he said, "you know, I must of done something really wrong, to be down on my knees and that I probably been there too!"

I replied, "No sir, the Marines do not have a tradition called the bended knee!" I of course was referring to General VandeGrift's 1946 speech to Congress! Bended Knee strikes me as strange that as the flag was raised on Iwo Jima, Navy Secretary Forrestal proclaimed, "The raising of that flag, means a Marine Corps for another 500 years. But yet just over a year later the War Department tried to do away with us and others. And there has been talk of it several times since. Hope we still have dedicated current Marine Corps leaders Today as such as General VandeGrift.

Anyway on our trip to see Patriotic monuments and events. In Iowa about a mile south of I 80 about 40 miles west of Des Moines is a large granite rock. In 1999 a teenager started painting it with different patriotic scenes as a tribute to Veterans. One year a group of bikers were heading for THE WALL, in D.C. to leave some ashes of a veteran friend. they wanted to sprinkle some around the wall. Bubba (the artist) thought they would blow away and be wasted. told them to put some in the green paint he was using to paint a Huey on the rock in Vietnam. Now each year he repaints the Huey with paint that has ashes of veterans that are sent to him.

For those so inclined here is a link to the website and you may wish to leave a message of gratitude, as he does this all for free out of his own pocket, and what donations he gets.

So here are a few pictures of the Rock from this year. Look close as in many pictures are some hidden details. Such as in the Sullivan's. The fighting Sullivan's is spelled out in the gray, shape of the ships tower.

Hope you all enjoy these. Next up will be some others we saw on the road, and then onto D.C.

Semper Fi
Choo Choo Sgt of Marines
68-74 and RVN 70-71

Rinky-Dink Airfield

On 23 October 1962, my buddy Bobby and I boarded a DC6 out of LaGuardia Airport in New York for a flight to the tropical paradise of Parris Island, South Carolina. This flight was like getting on a railroad local, as it stopped at every rinky-dink airfield all the way to, as I recall, Buford, SC.

At some point in the flight, a bunch of what looked like refuges boarded the aircraft and one young kid sat down next to me. I asked him if he was alone and he said his mom was in the back of the plane. I asked him where they were going and he said he didn't know. I asked him where he was coming from and he said Guantanamo; he said he didn't know why, but they were taken out of school that morning and taken to an airfield.

Now, I was 18 years old, fresh out of high school and I had no idea where or what in h-ll Guantanamo was. I asked him where his old man was and he said he didn't know. Now I was really curious. I asked him what his dad did for a living and he proudly said, he's a Marine. A Marine! I gave up my seat so his mom could sit with him and took her seat in the back of the aircraft.

I was sitting next to a guy that looked real important - when you're 18 years old and on an aircraft for the first time in your life, anyone wearing a suit and tie looks important! We got to talking and it turned out he was with the State Department or something. I asked him what the h-ll was going on and he told me there was trouble in Cuba with the Russians. The f-ing Russians! When we got to P.I. and got settled into our squad bay (Plt. 379), our Senior DI asked how long we turds (Trainee Undergoing Recruit Discipline) had signed for. Then he told us it didn't make a s--t, we were at war with the f-ing Russians and we were all in for the duration!

For the next couple of weeks every turd in the platoon paid such close attention to everything the DI's told us it would have made our HS teachers proud! We figured it might save our butts someday. It probably did.

Lou Raio
Long Island, New York

Turkey Was Tainted

In October 1962, I was a PFC, serving with 1/1 in the San Mateo Area of Camp Pendleton. My two friends and I were up at my folks place in Moorpark, CA when we received a call to return immediately to base. Upon arrival we were informed of the "Missile Crisis" and told to be "ready to go". Some of our personnel were transferred to 2/1, which was flown directly to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - my best friend was sent to fill an open spot in the S2 Intelligence Section.

1/1 was marched over to "supply" and we were ordered to bring all our 782 Gear. We dropped the very old stuff we had been using and were issued all new equipment, including new sleeping bags - all brand new. We thought we were in heaven! A day or so later we were trucked to San Diego and embarked on the USS Henrico for our own trip to Guantanamo, a trip that took us through the Panama Canal and off station with our task force off Cuba. The Henrico was an old WWII Attack Transport, built for around 1500 Marines and it was seriously overloaded. We had people sleeping everywhere, including on deck. For me it was a real learning experience as we had to adapt our combat load for a planned invasion of Cuba. We had intelligence maps that were amazing in detail and planned our Battalion Landing to hit the beaches in Cuba - something we were very Gung Ho to accomplish.

During this voyage I learned a lot about life aboard ship. Week-long rotating double deck, Cut-Throat Pinochle games where you might lose your pay check for the next few months, the best time to go for chow (on a rotating basis), and how to take a "Navy Shower" with salt water. It was a grueling voyage with no privacy, no room, little fresh, good food and the feeling of being cramped for almost 2 1/2 months. Working in the S3 Section, we had an "office" which was at the very bottom of the APA, in fact we had to straddle the housing for the propeller drive shaft to move around in our little room. My Gunnery Sergeant and SSgt took real good care of me, and a special treat was when they would bring me a fresh, cold Apple from the Chief's Mess. Getting any fresh fruit in the enlisted mess was impossible, although the Navy tried their best.

At some point Thanksgiving arrived on board the USS Henrico, and some portion of that meal, probably the Turkey, was tainted. There were Marines heaving and with diarrhea all over the ship. The heads were full, and overflowing. Marines were taking a dump in their helmets and throwing the contents overboard. Marines sleeping on deck, were taken by surprise and ended up throwing their sleeping bags overboard, so badly were they soiled. We were all sick for 2-3 days and it was just a clusterf...

At some point, the "Crisis" was ended, but we were selected to make a "practice" landing on Vieques, the then US Navy Gunnery range in the Caribbean to "try out" our combat planning for the invasion. We had been on board ship for more than a month we were all a little goofy, and they expected this to relieve our tension. After the landings we went to a tent camp and truck loads of beer, booze, food arrived. It was a Battalion-wide drunk, that ended up in a number of fights. One new 2ndLt in our Section decided to step in and stop a couple of fights. He ended up being knocked out with an entrenching tool and we had to drag him back into our S3 Tent....not much happened as a result of this, other than we all had amazing hangovers....

After reloading the ship, we sailed to Jamaica and had a 7-day 1/2 on, 1/2 off Liberty, where I learned to appreciate Rum Punch, sitting on the deck outside the Sheraton Hotel, enjoying life. We then went back to the Panama Canal and had another liberty rotation there, before going back through the Canal, an amazing experience, and heading back to the States, where we again off loaded the Henrico by landing on the Pendleton Beaches in full combat gear.

We got our personnel back from 2/1 when they arrived by air from Cuba, and eventually were rotated in 1963 to Camp Hansen, Okinawa as 2/9. Ever since the Cuban Crisis and my experiences aboard ship, I've never liked being on board ships and refuse to take "cruises" to this day. But I remember the Henrico, APA 45 to this day....

Jim Holden
Weston, FL

Refer Deck

Hey Grit,

Love your news-letter and have been reading some of the stories about the "Cuban Missile Crisis". I just had to give my input. I was with Bravo 1/1 at Pendleton when we got the call to "Mount Out" in October of 1962. They sent us to San Diego via 6xs where we were hurriedly loaded aboard a nice big Navy boat called the USS Henrico, APA 45.

It was nearing evening and we had so many troops on board that we didn't have bunks for everyone which we didn't find out till later that evening after loading the "Holds" with live ammo, so much so that the hatches couldn't be closed. That night we had Marines that didn't have bunks sleeping on the ammo crates. Well of course, nearly every Marine smoked, so I noticed that some of them were snuffing out their butts on the ammo crates before falling off to sleep. At this point I figured that 'we don't have to worry about getting killed by some enemy, because we would likely get blown up before ever getting out of the San Diego bay are by our own troops and their smokes.

Well obviously that didn't happen, so after a while I was ssigned to mess duty and was put on the 'refer deck' to serve out my duties. I didn't realize at the time just how lucky I was getting put there. We got to send up to the chow lines the canned milk and was able to enjoy the better milk and the ice cream that the Navy had in the freezer.

At any rate, Thanksgiving day rolls around and the Navy decided that they wanted us all to feel good about it, so they extended the chow line and served Turkey and all the trimmings to everyone. I am eternally grateful that at that time in my life I did not like turkey and I and the others on the refer deck skipped that part of the meal and enjoyed our ice cream and fresh fruits for lunch.

Later that night we noticed that there seemed to be a great demand for the toilets in all the heads, so much so that there were lines to each one. Some couldn't wait so they were just relieving themselves over the sides. We didn't understand what all the fuss was about, those of us from the refer deck that is because we were not having a similar problem. Of course we were checked out as to why everyone was sick but not our group. It was a problem that disabled the entire ship and we would not have been able to make a tactical landing with most of the troops having dysentery. As it turns out, they found that the problems was with the turkeys, they said that they were not properly thawed before being cooked.

I have since learned to like turkey after a few years.

Semper Fi,
Dick Collis Cpl. 1961-1966

Vampire Liberty

Sgt. Grit, It's been said before, but thanks again for a great newsletter. Just a few remarks about the Cuban Missiles.

I was just a few months out of Boot Camp, "K" Company, in platoon 223, PISC. I had left a staging battalion at Camp Geiger, NC, to another staging group at Camp Pendleton, CA. We had only been there a couple of weeks when in the dead of night we were woke up with a lot of shouting and banging about. For a moment I thought I was back on the island at PI. Anyways, we were rousted out of our bunks around 02:00 hours, given two last will and testaments, powers of attorney, etc., to fill out and turn in. Then, they issued us new M-14's and bayonets. What the f--k, over. No explanations, nothing.

We were then organized into a large working party, loaded onto cattle cars, and driven to a large bunker somewhere on Camp Pendleton. After several hours of loading grates of whatever onto six bys, we were hustled over to San Diego Naval Base and told to stand by to stand by.

Eventually we were told what was going on with the blockade and missile crisis. I had only been a Marine for a little over five months, and knew nothing about Cuba. Anyways, I was scared s-- tless. They told us we would be deployed, be put on a ship, and via the Panama Canal, then off to Cuba.

Long story short, we never boarded. We were sent back to our barracks with all liberty cancelled. We were later told to stand down and back to usual routine. It was an Interesting week. A week later, we all boarded the USS Pvt. Breckenridge for a float to the Pacific. When I was issue my orders at PI, it was for Okinawa. On the way over, I celebrated my first Marine Corps Birthday on board ship. What a relief it was when we pulled into Pearl Harbor, where I learned that I and about a hundred more were going to the Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Air Station.

I was too naive at the time to not know that there were three battalions of grunts there also. Anyways, I was assigned to Weapons Platoon, Machine Guns, Mike Company, Third Battalion, Forth Marines. At the time, the third battalion had mounted out to Guam for guard duty. Apparently, a big typhoon had gone through and pretty much devastated everything, causing rioting and looting. So, my first month there was a picnic, lots of liberty in Waikiki, etc.

It was at that time, I was introduced to "Vampire Liberty". I had just been promoted to PFC the day before we left Pendleton, and I thought I was the "Cats Asz" so to speak. The only problem, I was only making about $ 80.00 bucks a month, and my money went fast. Apparently, you could go to Queens Hospital in Honolulu, and sell a pint of blood. The deal was, give blood and get a rare steak, a beer, and $ 15.00 in cash. I thought that was a great thing, a weeks pay and a meal, and money for about twenty minutes of your time. The problem was, nobody told me NOT to put down on the Hospital Questioner that I had been to Tijuana, MX. Dream over, back to base pay.

The last thing I would like to touch on, was that story about DI "Trash Can", who really liked his job, but didn't sign his name.

Now, I had a total of six DI's in Platoon 223, the four original, plus two who were replacements. They were all tough as nails, including our Junior DI, then Cpl, G. Taylor, later promoted to SSgt., and KIA Vietnam, and won the Medal of Honor for his sacrifice. I don't think we were treated any different than other boots at that time, but our DI's made men out of boys, and they made us Marines, not idiots.

I just don't see what he was accomplishing by beating on his recruits with a night stick. I tend to believe that he was probably a small kid who got his azs beat everyday in school, and/or boot camp, and was taking out his frustrations on his troops. Just my own opinion, enough said. Thanks again for a really great newsletter, Sgt. Grit, and keep up the good work.

Hanline, Ralph J. 2003xxx
Feb. 20, 1962 - Aug. 20, 1966

Up the Gangplank

Sgt Grit,

The letter from Don Harknes, "Missing a Movement", jogged my memory about what happened to me in 1963 or 1964 in the Philippines. I don't remember the circumstances, possibly after an Operation but our ship docked at the U.S. Naval Base, Subic Bay Philippines. We were given Cinderella liberty and off we go into the town of Olongapo in our khaki uniform. At that time everyone had to be inside the Navy base before midnight because that was the time they locked the gate.

Anyway, I must have had a good time in the City because the next thing I remember was waking up in a bus shelter on a bench. At least I made it through the gate. I checked myself, still had my wallet with ID and my p-ss cutter. It was oh dark thirty and the next thing to do was walk to the pier where the ship was tied up. I started walking and when I got to the pier the ship was GONE!

I sort of panicked and started thinking court martial, brig time, bust to Corporal, etc. There was a lone sailor walking the pier as security and I asked him what happened to the ship that was tied up there. He said there was a typhoon warning and the ship moved to the sub pier which was on the other side of the base and pointed in the direction. That time of the morning there were no buses or taxis running so I started walking in the direction of the sub pier.

After walking awhile I noticed a building with the lights on and it happened to be the navy security patrol building. Thinking I might be able to hitch a ride I walked into the building and asked the sailor there if it would be possible to get a ride to the sub pier. He said sure as he was about to make his patrol around the base. He took me to where the ship was tied up and I gave him my thanks.

Up the gangplank I went, saluted and requested permission to board the ship. The Officer of the Deck granted permission and commented, "you're a little late aren't you Sergeant". I said no Sir I have an overnight pass. He said carry on and off to my compartment I went thankful for not missing a movement and had about an hour's sleep. Those were the days

GySgt G.R. Archuleta USMC
Never Retired, Always a Marine

Gunny Hiway

The letter from Sgt. DeVoe about enlisting in the Army Guard rang a bell... after 4 years in 2nd MarDiv, my daughter spent 2 months on inactive Reserve before missing the military life (and the money) so she joined the Guard...

I attended her swearing in and when it was over the Brigade Commander walked over, shook her hand and said "tough job you drew Gunny"... since she was an E-3 that was a bit strange, until he turned to his SgtMajor and said "keep calling her 'Hiway' and she'll get these guys straight. The nickname stuck... in Iraq the 1st Cav Division CG walked into her operations center and asked "Where's Gunny Hiway ?".

Last year this Old Corps Old Fart pinned her E-6 stripes, she'll make "Gunny" soon. Marine training pays off.

Sneaky Pete Dahlstrom - '68-'74.

Gazing Longingly

You wanted to hear from any non-boot-camp Marine. I could've been one but wasn't. Joined the Reserves in 1955 under current eight year military obligation. Would never have had to have go through boot camp under regs existing then. Just two weeks every summer and one weekend a month. However, dumb as I was, I wanted the true Marine Corps experience so I voluntarily (can you believe it?) signed a new contract and after high school graduation the following summer ended up at MCRD SD. Did I ever regret my choice, standing on the grinder gazing longingly up at the civilian hillsides? You'd better believe it.

Cpl. K. J. Mumford, USMCR 1955-1963

Certain Things

In 1972 I was at Lejeune as a grunt just returned from overseas the Rock and an all- expense paid trip around the area to Japan, PI, Honk Kong and Nam. I was not in the mood to be a grunt anymore and dealing with all of the sq. away crap they had stateside. A career recruiter came by and asked me if I wanted to stay in the Corps and ship over. I asked what I could get out of it. He told me I could gain a change of MOS, cash, change of duty station and a promotion. All of which added up to a positive for me.

I was already thinking about being a lifer and I had only two and a half years in. So I shipped for ava supply, $6,000.00 in cash and E-4. I went to ava supply school in Millington TN. Since I did well in school I was held over to attended an additional school for mech ava supply school. When I finished I received my orders to MCAS Yuma AZ.

I had lived in Az for several years and my wife's family as well as mine lived in the Scottsdale area. I arrived at MCAS Yuma and was assigned to the base supply section supporting three sq of Marine fighters. I was then promoted to Sgt and re-assigned to the Group Hq as a Fiscal Officer. I was with MCCRTG-10 at the time. I arrived in Yuma in Feb 1973. In June of 75 I believe it was I was selected for SSgt and was on the list awaiting promotion. The Corps thought this was the best time to give me a change of duty station and MOS and I received orders for Drill Instructor School. After I completed that and was on the field I was promoted to SSgt.

The letter in the May 31 newsletter titled Trash Can was a bit disturbing to me. As a D.I. we did a lot of things that we were told we were not supposed to do but would do whatever it took to get the job done. I will admit I did things to help get the attention of a recruit when necessary but they always knew why and I never hurt them or left a mark. The idea of putting a recruit under a trash can and beating it with a bully club and having all of the recruits do it could easily have damaged the hearing of the recruit.

When I was on the field 75-76 the recruits were instructed on what was and was not allowed to be done by D.I.'s to them. This would have landed the D.I.'s in an investigation for abuse. That is no fun when that happens. I was on the grinder with the herd when the Company runner came up and advised me that the C.O. wanted the herd at Company Office. Man I was thinking fast what had I done to the recruits, what had the other D.I.'s done. Man this is not good. It was not good. The other two D.I.'s (we had a four man team) had been abusing the recruits and they dropped a dime on them and rightfully so. They could have included me in this as well because I was not perfect and had done certain things I should not have but again the recruit always knew why and I never left a mark or actual hurt them.

The two D.I.'s were re-assigned pending the outcome of the investigation. I was re-assigned to a new platoon and a new team took over the old platoon. The D.I.'s suffered being reduced in rank, fined, and removed from the field. I went through most of my tour before I had an Achilles tendon injury which in the end put me out of the Corps.

I may not sound like a regular D.I. to some or all of you but to do what this person so proudly speaks about to the recruits makes me wonder if he was a D.I. , if he was a Marine and if he was busted out for abusing the recruits. You could do a lot of things to recruits and get away with it to train them if the recruit knew what the issue was and you did not actually hurt them. The two D.I.'s I served with burned them with irons and out cigs out on their arms and chased them shooting blanks at them and other such things. This trash can deal is not much different. The story made me think this is wrong and there is something wrong with this story.

SSgt Joseph Whimple
U.S.M.C. 2-70 / 12-76

Very Good Year

Have been following the "worst and best chow" notes and saw the note Wayne Mailhoit put in this newsletter about MCAS Yuma -- I agree!

First -- worst chow ever was when with 1/5 at Margarita area at Pendleton in 65, before Oki and VN. So bad it made SD boot camp chow seem wonderful. I suspect that a good part of the ration the messhall there got issued, never made it to the kitchen, as SOS was about the meatiest dish of the day.

Best, as noted, was without a doubt MCAS Yuma. On returning to El Toro from Vietnam on a cargo jet in late 66 (0311 - E 2/9 and K 3/3) I was surprised to be assigned to a weapons security unit in MACS-1. I went on leave and reported back to El Toro, as I was told MACS-1 was in 1st MAW there. It was in Yuma and I would be a day late getting there from Toro, but the Air Wing guys checked me in and flew me to Yuma on a Navy DC3 they used for a daily mail run. That was my very positive intro to the Airedale side of the Corps. Yuma had mostly F4s and A4s then.

As Wayne noted the chow hall had great meals and midrats with lots of choices and cooks on the line, and the 2 man quarters were wonderful, especially a bunch of mud Marines used to C- rats, and sacking out rolled in a poncho . The security unit for the weapons detail was all 0311 or recon, most returned for VN, and between the quarters, the food, and the desert air (---no humidity or stink), it was a wonder to all of us, We figured this was how all the Marine Airedales lived. It was a very good year there.

All Fuses And Detonators

Sgt. Grit, in the swamp between PI and MCAS, Beaufort, SC, 10/62, Ordnance Section, received orders to mount out every piece of ordnance in all the small arms lockers (.30 cal, .45 cal) and all the 20mm we had plus all of the aviation ordnance in the bunkers. 250, 500, 1000 and 200 lb. bombs plus all fuses and detonators, (delay, impact and proximity) this was to include Sidewinders, and 2.75 rockets and pods, RDX and C4, grenades and all else.

We worked all day and night for the better part of three days bringing everything we had to the Air Station for loading out for the movement from the Air Station and Lejeune. It was a drill for the memories. It all flew out or was trucked for ship loading as quick as we could get it to main flight area. Unfortunately most of it came back and we had to re-pack it and restock it back into all the correct lockers and bunkers. Had several good buddies that were there to use it all but it didn't happen.

Dwaine Goodwin
Cpl E4 1960-1964

Memorial Day

Sgt. Grit,

I visited this in San Antonio, TX and hope we can share with others that were on Hill 881S on 04/30/67.


Castro Was Screaming

I was Bravo Co, 2nd Tank Bn Platoon Leader. We were tying up at Morehead city after 6 weeks on Vieques training as part of a BLT. When USS Hermitage docked, my Company CO came aboard and told me not to off load any equipment, that a maintenance crew would come aboard and service all our tanks and trucks. I was to give the men all leave, but they had to be on a 24 hour recall.

It was between Christmas and New Year's, 1958 that we received word to recall my troops and that trucks would be there to pick us up. Twenty-five hours later we were in trucks with all our gear. We arrived at Morehead City and went back aboard the USS Hermitage, a LSD. Mine was the only unit embarked on a ship designed to carry 250 troops, plus officers.. We were part of a Bn Landing Team. Then shortly after that we sailed heading south, but with no knowledge where we were going.

The next morning I went out on deck and saw ships everywhere, all heading south. That afternoon a helicopter landed and took me to the USS Boxer which was the Amphibious Command Ship. There, we were all briefed that we were going to land at Gitmo, set up a base and then attack inland. The rest of the 2nd Mar Div. would be following as well as an the 82nd Air Borne. We were to be the anvil and they would be the hammer. The entire operation was to last no more than 90 days. We were going to kick Castro out.

I went back to my ship, briefed my platoon, checked on all our ammunition and supplies. The next few days were spent in planning and loading up the tanks. Finally, it was nearing the time of offloading, 0300 hours. All was quiet and then at 0100 hours word came orders not to land, but remain at the ready. Castro was screaming that 10,000 Marines had landed and all would die. Our order not to land came right from President Eisenhower.

We then sailed around Cuba for five days before heading to Vieques. We off loaded and spent the next 30 days training and firing. Then another R4Q landed and new orders arrived. We went back aboard ship and stopped at Gitmo for liberty. Two days later we headed back to Lejeune.

I have to admit some of the details are a little fuzzy, but I'm now 77 years old.

1st Lt E.L. Dodd, still a Marine for life. Semper Fi

Joke - USMC General vs. Reporter

A female radio reporter interviews a Marine who is about to sponsor a Boy Scout Troop visiting his military installation...

INTERVIEWER: So General, what things are you going to teach these young boys when they visit your base?

GENERAL: We're going to teach them climbing, canoeing, archery, and shooting.

INTERVIEWER: Shooting! That's a bit irresponsible, isn't it?

GENERAL: I don't see why, they'll be properly supervised on the rifle range.

INTERVIEWER: Don't you admit that this is a terribly dangerous activity to be teaching children?

GENERAL: I don't see how. We will be teaching them proper rifle discipline before they even touch a firearm.

INTERVIEWER: But you're equipping them to be violent killers.

GENERAL: Well, you're equipped to be a prostitute, but you're not one, are you?

The radio goes silent and the interview ends!

Un-Protected Reproductive Type Activities

For SSGT Don Mitchell, MCRD SD ,'63... SSGT Moon made Gunny, was a plank-holder with Motivation Platoon when it started in February of 1964... (me too)... I recall a Shields, lots of freckles, front handle of 'Bobby' (of course, you wouldn't have known that at the time)... I am still in touch with Cpl Hick's widow, and his son, who was an amtracker in Desert Storm, and has been LAPD ever since... that's the Corps for you...

Fried wingless chicken, aka 'rabbit'... used to have the FSN's (Federal Stock Numbers) for about four kinds of rabbit, or more correctly, pieces of rabbit, frozen or 'fresh'... shot/ate my share as a lad on an Illinois farm, raised them for income after moving to town... then, some years ago, somebody put me onto some research... look up 'pseudo-ruminant' and then decide what's for supper... (haven't eaten rabbit since... key word there, when you find it, is 'coprophagy')

Mess Sergeants/Cooks... Correctional Custody Platoon at MCRD SD had Sgt Hill... a cook by MOS, forget which recruit training Bn he had come from, but one big studly dark green Marine... without exaggeration, he had to have had 20" guns and a 50" chest, voice to match. Scuttlebutt was that while he wasn't much on singing, his version was 'wine, women, and weight rooms'... and a 140 pound weenine maggot with a complexion like a week-old cheese pizza put him in the hospital!...

Seems Sgt Hill had the evening duty with CCP (where the inmates whenever inside their barracks were always attired in skivvies and shower shoes, latter now known as 'flip-flops')... and had this miscreant, who probably was there for sneaking a smoke, standing in front of the duty desk. Quite the visual... scrawny post-pubescent with acne, wearing obviously hand-washed, formerly white skivvies/tee shirt, and flip flops, is having his short-comings recited to him by Sgt Hill. The youngster may well have been suicidal, because he told Hill that he (the recruit) was about to kick his (Hill's) azz...

Hill had his feet up on the desk, seated in one of those ancient oak swivel chairs, got to laughing so hard he fell over... chipping an elbow bone when he hit the deck. Oddly enough, his DI peers didn't really give Hill much guff about it... he was also reputed to have a pretty respectable time in the 40...

H&S 2/1/9 at Sukiran, 1959-1960 had a decent mess, as did each letter company. The base had been built Army style... in the day, each company would 'mess' separately... there was a galley incorporated on the end of each two-story barracks. ... initially, at least, chow quantity was a problem, although the quality of what we got was good. It seems that we were drawing rations from an Army supply... and while the Corps (and the Navy) calculate things like pork chops by 'pieces per man', the Army went by weight... hypothetically, say, 50 lbs. of pork chops per 100 men. The net effect was that if you were at the tail end of the chow line, you might not get even one pork chop.

Bacon was another item that frequently came up short... The senior SNCO's and older Officers had enough time on the far side of Hawaii to be wise in the ways of the Asian world, (if not somewhat 'Asiatic'), and it soon came to pass that by taking advantage of the Okinawan economy and a piffling one-time $4 each 'contribution', H&S Company was going to be able to buy new four-man tables, chairs, tablecloths, real china and glasses, and hire a few civilian mess attendants. My guess is that the start-up capital came from the senior SNCO's and the Officers, and the $4 was collected the first pay day. There are, of course, knot-heads in any unit, and we had our share... who refused to chip in.

The Company Gunny, one GySgt L.P. Slezak, (walrus mustache and all) had a cure for this... anyone who had not chipped in his $4 by the next payday had to bring his mess kit and canteen cup to chow... and fall in on the bitter end of the chow line. We actually had three chow formations each day in garrison... 106's, Flames, and Comm platoons formed up outside building 520 and marched over to the CP/H&S barracks, where supply, admin, etc. lived... weekends, from memory, were 'straggle' to chow, and be on time if you expected to eat.

The Gunny had a name for the mess kit brigade... "Bolsheviks"... in fact, he must've thought they were over-endowed with testosterone, as he always called them 'F---in' Bolsheviks'. (a Bolshevik being essentially a landless lefty Russian peasant... doubt that the irony of someone with his family name referring to these contrarians as 'Bolsheviks' ever struck him... )... it became 'one of those things'... and Marines that I knew for sure who had chipped in... would come to chow with messkit in hand. The thing eventually died of its own weight, but it was "fall out for chow... you f---kin' Bolsheviks to the end of the line"!.

Besides the money issue, there just was no place else to eat on base... including the PX... Burger King, Pizza Hut, Mickey D's, Subway. on base ? ... those didn't come along until well after the start of the All Volunteer force...

Aqua Velva?... can produce stiffs, but at least their last breaths are not too funky... denatured alcohol, once 'denatured', cannot be 're-natured', by straining it through a loaf of bread... or anything else, and anyone who says otherwise would make a good Christmas turkey... however, that bit did remind me of an incident in building 520 at Sukeran (Okinawa), back when... one of our number (H&S Co, 2/1/9) had experienced the old 'picking off of the 'chotto-matae' paper' thing at the first urinal call the morning after payday. (chotto-matae is phonetic spelling of the Okinawan words for "just a moment"... and the paper is TP).

Besides his roaring hangover, this was the individual's clue that perhaps he had engaged in un-protected reproductive type activities with one of the local beauties the night before... and might have been exposed to an all-too common bacterial infection, known as 'the clap'. His ever-helpful buddies pointed out that alcohol was known to kill germs... and he had some right there in his shaving kit!... so this genius got out his Aqua Velva, sat on his footlocker, tipped his one-eyed worm upward, and poured Aqua Velva... his later description of the pain involved the entirety of his spinal column, the medulla oblongata, and other parts... some witnesses had tears trickling down their cheeks... but not from sympathy, nor empathy... don't recall whether he was on 'medical restriction' after that or not... but suspect a whiff of Aqua Velva, even today, triggers a memory for him...


Upcoming Reunions

6-13 2/4 Association
7-8 2nd Plt Hotel Co 2nd Bn 3rd Marines 3rd Mar Div
7-24 Marine Corps Detachment USS Hornet (CVS-12)
7-28 Charlie Battery 1/12

See More Upcoming Reunions!


"Americans of all ages, all conditions, and all dispositions, constantly form associations. They have not only commercial and manufacturing companies, in which all take part, but associations of a thousand other kinds, -- religious, moral, serious, futile, general or restricted, enormous or diminutive. The Americans make associations to give entertainments, to found seminaries, to build inns, to construct churches, to diffuse books, to send missionaries to the antipodes; they found in this manner hospitals, prisons, and schools."
-- Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America [1835]

"They fought together as brothers-in-arms, they died together, and now they sleep side by side. To them we have a solemn obligation."
--Chester Nimitz

"don't go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. I was here first."
--Mark Twain

"Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing."
--Thomas Paine

"They fight - Not because they hate those in front of them, but because they love those behind them."
-- unknown

.. "There will always be wars and rumors of war."
-- Bible (Matt 24:6-7)

"Evil will triumph when good men do nothing."
-- Locke

"That's what work does for you. Work is a sovereign cure for despair. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It is better than any drug. Work is a gift from God. Depression is death blows of low self-esteem. Work is self-esteem."
--Ben Stein

"Potentially, a government is the most dangerous threat to man's rights; it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims. When unlimited and unrestricted by individual rights, a government is man's deadliest enemy. It is not as protection against private actions, but against governmental actions that the Bill of Rights was written."
-- Ayn Rand

"We sleep peacefully at night because there are rough men who do great violence on our behalf."
--George Orwell

Microphone clearing sound. Weird whistle.

Now hear this! Now hear this!
All Marines topside go below.
All Marines below go topside.
All Marines forward go aft.
All Marines aft go forward.
All Marines in the middle stand by to direct traffic!
That is all!

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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