Sgt Grit Newsletter - 1 NOV 2012

In this issue:
• Saluting General Puller
• In Flanders Fields
• Young Punk

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Radio Operator Look who's humping the most gear... radio operator!

You Are In the Marine Corps

I reported to the Omaha Induction Station on June 13, 1969, as a brand new Marine recruit. There were six of us on one side of the room. On the other side were about 30 sad looking guys standing in a line. I assumed that they were doggie draftees.

All of a sudden, a mean looking Marine Staff Sergeant in dress blues comes out an office and starts counting off the draftees, "One, two, three, four... You are in the Marine Corps! May Jesus have pity on your soul." Poking every fourth guy in the chest. Five guys looked stunned, one guy started to cry, the last one tried to run.

Frank Fillebeck
Sergeant June '69 - June '73

USMC Mock Turtle Neck Special

Saluting General Puller

I was assigned to the Marine Barracks at Yorktown, Virginia form 1959 to 1963. While standing guard duty at the Marine gate I had the honor of saluting General Puller on many occasions and allowing him to pass on through to visit our CO. One of our standard "SOP's" was to notify the CO whenever the General came on station. After his retirement from the Marine Corps General Puller lived in Saluda, VA. This was not far from Yorktown.

As time goes by, I try to read every article about Chesty that I can find. It was indeed a great honor and a privilege to say that I saluted General Chesty Puller, and he returned my salute.

L/Cpl Michael Townsley
USMC 1959/1963

In Flanders Fields

The use of the poppy as a symbol on Veterans Day (Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth) is derived from its symbolism in the poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae. These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, and their brilliant red color was an appropriate symbol for the blood spilt in the war.

In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae 1915

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

Kristy Fomin
Operations Manager at Sgt Grit

David Steece

David Steece

Author David Steece will be at the Sgt Grit HQ from 9 - 12 Nov 2012. He will be promoting his lastest installment in the "Paradox" trilogy, "A Question of Honor", and he will be autographing them as well.

David Steece is a retired Master Gunnery Sergeant of Marines, a retired Police Detective, and has been a writer/author since the 1960s.

These books may be ordered by phone at (870) 404-8991, purchased and personally autographed during his four day visit, or ordered through David Steece's website.

The Sgt Grit physical address is:

7100 SW 44th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73179

Driving Directions to Sgt Grit HQ

Vette And Rescue

Side View of Vette Spoiler and Tag of Vette

Dear newsletter staff,

Recently a member posted about their Corvette and it's unique USMC touches and challenged others to send theirs in. Attached is my 2010 'Vette and my unique plates paying tribute to my beloved Sea Knight and my University, TCU. I flew SAR for MAG-31, 2nd MAW in the early 80's and amassed several rescues including an F-4 from VMFA-251.

I went on to fly SAR with HT-8 and HT-18 out of Whiting Field, HC-16 out of Pensacola and onboard USS Forrestal. I logged several hundred hours in '46's, UH-1N's and UH-1Ls. I loved my service with the Corps and cherish the challenges and the memories. Semper Fi

Scott Roy, M.Ed.
Former HM1(AC/SS)

Foreign And Domestic

Warning Signs Warning to ALL enemies foreign and domestic...

Semper Fi Mac!
Cpl Gregory Romeu
0351 w/Bravo, 1/7 - 75 - 79

Get your own Caution This Property Protected By A US Marine 12" by 18" Sign

Short Rounds

Attention Marine Embassy Security Guards:

The Marine Embassy Guard Association will be holding their Annual Reunion at the Sheraton National Downtown Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee during April 11 - 14, 2013.

For more info contact Denny Krause at dkrause62[at]

Sgt. Grit,

This is in response to Henk Bergmans comment in the 10-17-12 newsletter. I am not sure if anyone has responded to this question, but I EASed in Oct. of 2009 and Corpsmen was still the term (and they are still provided by the Navy).

I think this reference to Corpsmen being "combat medics" is due to the Army's publicity of their "combat medics". It's like someone calling a Marine a "soldier", the general public hasn't differentiated the two even though it is obvious that there is a difference (yes, I am biased).

Martin Donley
Sergeant of Marines

Shortest, smallest (5'1", 125lbs) enlisted male Marine '66-'69; Already so short when I got to Nam I could sit on a dime and dangle my feet without touching the ground!

Milano, M.L.
3rd Mar Div

Sixty years ago I was working the brig in Sasebo, Japan. We had an Australian sailor there up on a r-pe charge of all things. Anyway, the joson only had one way to identify him, on both cheeks of his butt he had a tattoo of twin screws that said keep clear.

Very well done and tastefully decorated. Guilty As Charged. Sent him on to Yokuska. This is no BS story.

Dave Erickson

My first meal at P.I. was SOS at the Main Side Chow hall.

WALTV USMC '52-'60
Better than C-rat Succotash in Korea!

We wish all of the Marines and their family's to have a nice, Happy Holiday from all of the Blue Star Mothers of America.

I've read a number of stories of those Marines that were called back to duty for the Korean War. My father served in the Corps from 1946-1948. He was never called up for Korean service. Do any of your readers know the criteria that was used at the time to re-activate Marines that had previously served?

Greg Pawlik
Cpl 1969-1972

Didn't Get All The Goodies

When I saw this signature from Glenn Shaw, I chuckled out loud.

Glenn A. Shaw
Sgt 1966 to 1970
Viet Nam 1968 to 1969
MASS-3, 1st MAW

Not a real airwinger, not a real grunt - an in between Marine.

You see I was in MASS-2, 1st MAW 1968-1969.Marine Air Support Squadron - ASRT (Air Support Radar Team) ground control radars that ran bombing runs with aircraft, and the DASC (Direct Air Support Center) the radio net that directed air traffic around I Corps.

The MASS-2 ASRT were at Vandegrift, Dong ha, Phu Bai. Vandy ASRT was a small hill with a counter mortar radar and a crypto bunker that was guarded by a grunt platoon. Charlie would shoot ONE mortar round at us. Dong ha ASRT was shelled with exactly 3 rounds whenever the NVA decided we needed it. I spent one afternoon at Phu Bai delivering mail and saw Cobras for the first time.

MASS-3 ASRT were at Chu Lai and DaNang. MASS-2 DASC was at Dong Ha. Not sure but I believe MASS-3 DASC was at DaNang. We handled the same planes and choppers. My outfit went back to Japan a couple of months after I went stateside, Oct 69.

As Glenn says we might have been Air Wing but we sure didn't get all the goodies of a true Wing Wiper.

Peter V. Gratton
Cpl '65-'69
Viet Nam '68-'69
MASS-2, 1st MAW

Another in betweener. Not a real airwinger, not a real grunt - an in between Marine.

Good Laugh

Sgt. Grit,

There's been a lot of complaints lately about the food in the Mess Halls. Obviously, none of the writers had served at Marine Barracks in Gitmo. Every morning, there was a line into the back of the Mess Hall so you could get eggs anyway you wanted. There was also pancakes, ham, sausage, bacon, SOS, several kinds of fruit juices, and great coffee. Sundays were special for dinner. Fifty-five gallon barrels were cut in half length-wise and set up on legs to be used as grills. We had the biggest, thickest, juiciest steaks grilled to order and I've never had any that could equal them since.

I never had any complaints about the Mess anywhere except on Fridays during our last month in Nam. 1st LAAM Battalion was staged at the northwest corner of the Da Nang airstrip in prep for our unit being pulled out of country. Nice two story barracks but on Fridays, the Mess Hall would serve "Weekend Soup". It looked and tasted like dishwater and had all the leftovers from the week thrown in: all kinds of meats, veggies and even pieces of fruit. It was C-Rats or nothing on Fri.

Personal story at initiation rites. When I reported to the Radio Shop with 2/8 at Lejeune after Grnd Rad Repair Sch (MOS-2841), I was ordered to go to supply to pick up a 5-volt Sine Wave. I knew a Sine Wave was just an image on an oscilloscope but I left immediately with everybody grinning. Instead of going to supply, I went to the PX, then back to the barracks for a long nap and, when the rest of the guys came in from work that evening, I was in the Rec. Room watching TV. The next morning, I dutifully reported that Supply was out of 5-volt sine waves and everybody got a good laugh at my expense. I didn't care; I had a great day off!

William Reed
Cpl. E-4

Young Punk

Dear Sgt. Grit,

After I got out of the Corps I was working in New York City on my first job. I took the crowded train in the summer to Wall Street each morning. Train packed, tempers flared, fights erupted between all riders daily... mostly words were exchanged... sometimes pushing and shoving, etc.

One morning a nice old gentleman, (around 60... minding his own business... was told by a young punk, "Hey Grandpa... I'm going to kick your sorry old azs for bumping into me when we get off next stop.") I said to myself, "this will not happen while I'm around!" The train emptied and the young kid had the old man against a metal post and then all h-ll broke loose. The old man assumed a boxing stance and started to hit the punk in the stomach and the kid was knocked into pole. As he fell forward he was hit in the face with a wicked punch. This sequence was repeated about a dozen times and the punk slid down to the ground a mass of blood and moans coming out of him. As I looked at the old guy he had a TATTOO of a GLOBE and ANCHOR on his arm. I said, "Semper Fi Marine! I had your back if you needed it." The Marine thanked me and said, "Son I can take care of myself."

Never saw him again, but still remember the azs kicking he gave the punk.

Bruce Bender
"The Old Man Now..."

Retired Sergeant Major Gives His Medical Opinion

Bodfish Past President and former 1st Marine Division Sergeant Major was recently interviewed by a local Portland Oregon radio station. Sergeant Major Jess Wise USMC Ret. shared his Marine Corps career and the proud traditions of our Corps with local radio listeners.

As the interview reached its final minutes the Sergeant Major was given facts by the radio host on the alarming increase in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's among veterans. The radio host then asked the Sergeant Major, " Tell our listens Sergeant Major as an old Marine, at your ripe age, what would you prefer to get Parkinson's or Alzheimer's?" Without hesitation Sergeant Major Wise answered, "Definitely Parkinson's!" The radio host then asked, "Why Parkinson's?" Sergeant Major Wise replied, "Better to spill half an ounce of Scotch than to forget where you keep the bottle!"

Semper Fi and Bodfish Forever!

Semper Fi,
Tom McLeod
Historian, 1st Marine Division Assn.

This Idiot

In response to Jim Black in the last newsletter. In January, 1959, I was Platoon Leader of First Plt., Bravo Co, 2nd Tank Bn. when we received orders to move out, destination "unknown". One of my men, can't recall his name, decided that he didn't really want to go, and disappeared. We went on a cruise to Cuba, then Vieques and finally back. When I got back I found out that my wayward man was arrested in Miami, after changing his name, and growing a beard. He had been arrested by the FBI. At that time you were declared a deserter after 30 days, and were sought out by the FBI and local police.

Anyway, this idiot was given a General Court because he deserted when we were possibly going into combat by taking Cuba back from Castro, who had just taken over. When time came for sentencing he announced to the President of the Court, "I don't give a f--k what you do as long as there is a discharge, and I don't care what kind." Naturally, the court sentenced him to confinement and then return to active duty. Last I heard he was appealing that although he was white, he had been prejudiced against because there were men in the brig that had done less than he had and they had BCD's, why couldn't he have one. Needless to say, his appeal landed on deaf ears.

Who says there isn't justice in the Corps.

Semper Fi,
E.L. Dodd, 1st Lt, USMC (forever)


LtGen Chesty Puller

1stSgt Dan Daly

Check Out the Sgt Grit Facebook Page



The best Mustang, and best officer for that matter, that I ever worked for (on Okinawa) was Gary O. Thompson. When I first met him, he was a Warrant Officer and we all called him "WOGOT" (except when the higher brass was around). Then, when he was commissioned, we called him "LiTGOT". And when he made Captain, we called him "CAPGOT". But, when he made Major, nobody ever dreamed of calling him "MAGOT"!

Another great Mustang officer that I worked with, not for, at Pendleton, was a female LT named Linda. I can't recall her last name at the moment. She was extremely intelligent (our computer security officer), beautiful (she had been a winner in the miss Florida beauty contest), and one heck of a quarterback for our weekend flag football group. And, with a great personality as well, this lady had it all!

Phil "Akabu" Coffman
Sgt '72 - '82

To Be Eligible

This is a response to a contribution which appeared in the Sgt Grit News on 25 Oct 2012. It was submitted by C. Walters, Cpl of Marines 1959-1963. He wrote that while digging through some papers in the basement of his Legion Hall (537-Oregon, Ohio) that he came across a quote: "It is the cost of belonging-it's the price you paid to be eligible". He signed it Author unknown. The quote appears on the front page of the Newspaper Guadalcanal Echoes, the paper of the Guadalcanal Campaign Veterans.

My late father was a member as he was there as a Forward Observer with Battery E, 2nd Bn, 11th Marines. I was an Associate member and retired USMC. My dad landed on Tulagi on 7 Aug 1942 in support of 2nd Bn, 5th Marines. I am extremely proud that he was there and after so much sacrifice contributed to the hard fought victory.

Thomas C. Teuscher
GySgt. USMC, ret.
Orlando, Fl.

3/1 Vietnam

Sgt. Grit,

On November 15th at Camp Horno, Camp Pendleton the Marines of the Third Battalion First Marine Regiment will deliver a bronze plaque listing the names of the 654 Marines from 3/1 killed in Vietnam. It is a beautiful bronze plaque and will be permanently housed with the battalion.

Any Marine who served with 3/1 in Vietnam is urged to attend. There will be a morning ceremony followed by lunch in the mess hall. The battalion commander LtCol Bradford Tippet is hosting. We would love to have as many Vietnam vets as possible attend.

Semper Fidelis,

Chuck Latting, C/O, Mike Company '65-'66

Couldn't Help Asking

Jim Holden's story indicating how draftees were selected back in '51 reminded me of the manner in which my father became a Marine in '43. Pop wanted into the fray so, with a wife and four kids at home, he joined the Army. While waiting to be processed down at, I believe it was, Whitehall Street in Manhattan, a Marine Sergeant was selecting draftees for the Marine Corps from a group of draftees in the same way Jim said he did it. "One, two, three, you're a Marine."

Pop couldn't help asking the Marine Sergeant as to why he was picking guys that were obviously less fit than he was and worse than when the Corps turned Pop down when he was eighteen. In response, the Sergeant asked Pop if he wanted to become a Marine. Naturally, Pop said,"Yea!" So, with a draftees serial number Pop became an inductee in the Marine Corps for one day.

They changed his records the very next day to indicate he was an enlistee but they couldn't change the serial number. Didn't matter, he made Corporal before he was discharged in '45 (The war was over and Pop with a wife and four kids was too expensive for the Corps to support), and later stood proudly by as my brother was sworn in '51 and then I in '54. My brother left the Corps as a Staff Sergeant and I as a Sergeant.

I've regretted taking my discharge in '57 a thousand time over in the past 55 years.

Thanks for stirring up the memory Jim.

Semper Fi,
Rich Young

Were Duly Impressed

In 1987, my daughter graduated from Oklahoma University. She was also commissioned a 2nd Lt. in the Army Reserves. I was invited to the commissioning ceremony to assist in pinning on her 2nd Lt bars. I donned my Dress Blues with all my medals, badges and ribbons I could find room for. All the new "shave tails" were duly impressed to see an old retired Marine still wearing his dress uniform nearly 20 years after his retirement.

One of my daughter's friends asked, "Why didn't you join the Marines like your Dad?" She promptly answered, "I did 20 years in the Marines with my Dad and I want nothing to do with it." She is now a LtCol. stationed in the Pentagon and just returned from Afghanistan for the second time. She is definitely my hero.

N. Renfro (1945-1969)
MGySgt of Marines

Hump Back

When given the choice of two hours in an Amtrac riding back to Kaneohe or Humping Back for four to five hours the overwhelming choice of the grunts was to Hump it. We had been operating with various companies of grunts for about two weeks at Bellows Air Field (old WWII Air Corps Fighter base) on Oahu. We would take them out, circle, circle, circle then land on the beach, both day and night. For those of you that have never had the pleasure of being in an Amtrac while underway let me try and paint a picture.

Stifling heat, no air movement, cramped, noise level off the chart with rocking and rolling that make most people sick. I would always warn the troops we carried about these problems and tell them that if they had to puke to do it in their helmet and the crewman would dump it over the side. This would usually get a laugh but they didn't realize that I wasn't kidding, as one group would shortly find out. As I said, we would take them off the beach then circle and circle about a mile or two out. The troops were crammed onto two long benches, about 16 people. They were packed in like sardines sitting shoulder to shoulder with their weapons between their legs. I kept checking how things were going and noticed one of the grunts was having a tough time of it from the start.

I watched as my crewman Pfc. H. moved over to him and shouted in his ear. It was way too noisy to hear what he was saying but I knew as soon as this poor soul removed his helmet and held it up to his mouth what the conversation was about. The people sitting beside him looked away and the all the others looked straight ahead. I went back to the business at hand and while my face was glued to the periscopes I heard a noise that I had never heard before. When I looked into the tractor everyone was puking, including Pfc. H! He had done exactly as he had been instructed to do but failed to rinse the helmet out after it was dumped and when the sea sick man put it back on the puke left in the helmet began running down his face.

Needless to say that started the ball rolling, even I had to crack my hatch to get some fresh air. After we dropped the troops on the beach we backed out into the ocean with the ramp down and let the seawater clean out the tractor. I was really p-ssed at Pfc. H until he explained to me that rinsing the helmet out wasn't included in the instructions I had given him.

Lesson: Don't assume the person you are giving them to understands the instructions you give. After writing this story it becomes clear why they decided to Hump Back.

Cpl E4 Selders

Never Played Reveille Again

While serving in the USMC on Chi Chi Jima in the Bonin Islands as occupying Troops, we were a group of Field Musicians (buglers) who didn't have enough points to go home yet. One morning one of our boys was sent to HQ to play reveille. It was a very bad rendition!

The Comm. Officer, a Colonel, sent his aide out to get the bugler's name. When he asked the bugler's name he responded, "Chubboff". The aide was asked by the Col, "Did you get his name?" The aide said, "No Sir, he told me to shove off!" The Col. was totally p-ssed off and said tell him to come here. When asked his name, The FM (bugler) said, "Chubboff Sir!"

Chubboff Never played reveille again!

Cpl. Richard Burdick,


It was August 1968 at about 0400, the lights flashed on and the "Fire Watch" called an alarm. Thank goodness, it was just a practice but certainly effective in those old wooden barracks of WWII on Parris Island. We all stood at attention with our buckets and blankets and waited to be allowed back in. Sgt. Morris (I guess) was getting bored and called on one of recruits that had been "recycled" to us, to come out in front and sing for us. He obeyed as ordered and sang the Beatles song "Yesterday".

Sgt. Morris and the rest of us remained still. This young Marine had a beautiful voice and knew every word to the song. After he had finished, we were allowed back inside the barracks. It wasn't difficult to tell how we were effected by his singing. Even Sgt Morris was quiet and seemed to be lost in some sort of memory. All these years later, I can still hear that voice sing about a yesterday that was far removed from P.I.

P.S. Just in case you are wondering. This Marine was kill in action in Viet Nam.

Semper Fi, Brothers and Sisters
Robert H. Bliss, Sgt.
0341, 2488799
V.N. 1970 with Golf Co. 2/ 5th., 1st. MarDiv.

Revving Their Engines


I was stationed at MCRD San Diego from April 1951 to October 1953; started out with the 3rd RTBn, as a PFC (date of rank Sep. '49), then to the 7th RTBn, Separation Bn, and finally the 1st RTBn; this was the time of herringbone utilities, and starched khaki uniforms.

While with the 3rdBn, all recruits lived in the 8-man pyramidal tents, on the back side of the Depot, close to the fence with CONVAIR. At that time the B-36s would sit on the runway for hours, it seemed, revving their engines. After being transferred to the 7th Bn, I was later assigned to the Separation Bn, processing Marines returning from Korea, for separation. Working in the office, typing hundreds of DD214s, I saw many designations as USMC, USMCR, USMC-SS, and quite a few USMC-SSV.

While with the Separation Bn, we were learning, on wire recorders, to transcribe court martial proceedings; later I was sent TAD to the Naval Training Center to learn Gregg Shorthand. Somehow I managed to finish and was given a secondary MOS of 0121 (Stenographer). By this time, also, I had been promoted to Sergeant (E4), in the spring of 1953.

I was transferred to the 1st RTBn, CO was LtCol H. K. Throneson, and ExecO was Major William E. Barber, MOH, Korea. Stayed there until October, then transferred across the Bay to NAB, Coronado, where Chesty was CG.

Semper Fi,
James R. McMahon
Hendersonville, TN
GySgt of Marines (1949-1970)

Blue Side/Green Side

Sgt. Grit,

Who says persistence doesn't pay? I recently received an e-mail from one of the Marines I served with in VN in 1967-68. After responding to him we were able to come up with other names we both remembered and he had a few addresses for me to contact. This old Corpsman has never been as excited to start the reconnecting process as I am at this point in my life! I loved being on the "Green Side" with a great bunch of very capable Marines. They took good care of me and it's great to find out, all be it 44 yrs later, that the guys I've recently been in contact with felt the same regarding my taking care of them! I spent my enlistment as follows: 2 yrs. on the "Blue Side" & 2yrs on the "Green Side". Almost exactly, to the day, 1/2 & 1/2. I know situations play a large part in the pride I carry for having served with the Marines, bad situations as well as good situations, wounded, hurt, sick Marines I cared for & these same Marines having my back through it all.

Just thought you might be interested in a Corpsman's' perspective of time served with "The Few, The Proud, The MARINES"! I find myself rejuvenated after 44 yrs to find some of these guys, d-mn near feel 21-22 yrs old again. God Bless The Corps, Happy Birthday, and God Bless America.

"Doc Frosty" Forrest L. Evans
Class of '67-'68
Chu Lai, Ky Hoa, Tam Ky, Nam
1st MAW 2nd LAAM Bn "A" Btry

Things Have Changed

Sgt. Merkle,

Yes, things have changed since your time on post, I think 360-degree change. Think 24-hour security instead of 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 A.M. Think a full policemen's belt instead of just a holster with a .38. Think of more hand to hand combat training instead of which fork & spoon to use at a formal dinner.

If you are interested in learning more about the changes, join other MSGs at MEGA (Marine Embassy Guard Association) at We have an Annual Reunion, and in April of 2013, we will be in Nashville, TN. Why don't you join us?

Semper Fi,
Denny Krause
Paris, France
12/65 - 3/68

Send Him Back

Sgt Grit,

I spent time in the MARINE CORPS from 1955-1963. All in the reserve because I had a med problem which I lied about to join the Corps. I went to P.I. in '55 then the D.I. noticed I was limping and sent me to the Old Doctor who found out I had rheumatic fever as a child and that I had a pinhole in the valve of my heart and said I could not be in the service any more.

The Commander said send me back to the reserves to handle the problem. The Major asked why I lied and I said, "Sir, I wanted to protect my country and kill any intruders trying to take our country." I was sent back to the Armored Amph. in Gulfport Miss. I became the only crew on the Officer's tractor as they were called because the crew I was on was the only one that passed inspection. After one crew member forgot to check the hull plugs and one tractor sank we became the Anti-Tank CO.

The 2nd Anti-Tank Company of Gulfport Miss. Three of us were in the top 10 in the nation with high scores for promotion but never made it. I was taking the test for Cpl but they gave me the one for Sgt instead, I missed one question and had to take the test over, which made me very angry. That may be the reason I never made it to Cpl and after 8 years I got out, in May of 1963. I did like P.I. and fired a 297 out of 300 with an M-1 Garand, I liked that rifle.

Harold Thompson

Glendale, AZ

Marine Corps League Detachment #767 of Glendale, Arizona will be hosting the Ball at the Crowne Plaza in Phoenix. We will also be raising the Marine Corps Flag over the hotel that morning and it will remain in place all day. Tickets for the Ball are only $40.00 per person.

Semper Fi!

Semper Woof!
Pound Keeper
Devil Dog Eric 'da Greek' Gagomiros
West Valley Devil Dogs
Pound # 332
Arizona Pack

Coin Flip

Read the item about the replacement draft in this newsletter. So I had to comment. When I was drafted into the Army in April of 1968 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, they had us all in a big room at the induction center and two Marines came in with the Army recruiters. The Army recruiters asked if there were any of us, who wanted to volunteer for the Marines. It seemed that they were four short of their quota for enlistments for the month. We were told that if anyone volunteered they would only serve two years just as they would if they went into the Army. The Marine recruiters got two to volunteer and then the Army recruiters began to call up draftees two at a time.

They had a coin toss and the winner got to pick Marines or Army for the next two years. Needless to say the winners in the coin toss were the guys, who got to go to the Marines, I hope. I myself did not volunteer for the Marines that day based on the old adage of never volunteer for anything. But I often wonder how different my life would have been and would be now had I volunteered for the greatest brotherhood in the world. Just a guy, who thinks highly of the Corps,.

Shed Some Tears

Sgt Grit:

In response to Jim Black's question as to whether the FBI ever collected deserters during the Korean War era... I can say the answer is yes, they did.

I came back from Korea in December of 1953 and was assigned to the Marine Barracks at the Puget Sound Naval Yard in Bremerton, WA. In the basement of the barracks was one (it might have been the only one) of the brigs for the 13th Naval District. In January of 1954 I (a corporal) was assigned to accompany a Gunnery Sgt. to Seattle to meet with an FBI agent and sign for and pick up a prisoner and bring him back to our brig.

Before riding the ferry to Seattle the Gunny and I checked out, from the brig, MP armbands, sidearms and handcuffs. Upon arrival at the Seattle ferry terminal we located the FBI agent and took control of the prisoner. The prisoner was a young 18 year old Sailor who looked much younger than his age and was being charged with desertion.

On the ferry ride back to Bremerton the prisoner was handcuffed to me the whole time in the passenger room of the ship as the Gunny spent most of the time outside on the deck by the rail smoking his pipe and chatting with other passengers. I remember our prisoner shed some tears as we talked and I tried not to feel sorry for him, but I did (a little bit). The passage was a safe one and we delivered our prisoner to the brig.

About a month later I ran into the Gunny at the PX and he told me had just returned from a train ride to Boise, Idaho to pick up another deserter (this time a Marine) from the FBI and bring him to the brig.

Jim Quam
Sgt. of Marines
1952 - 1955


In Response to the article in the Oct 25th Newsletter on the subject ship from Bob R. mentioning that his brother worked for the company that built the Puller. I elected to provide additional information on the Ship.

During my civilian carrier I was employed by the Naval Sea Systems Command and a major part of my time was spent on the Logistic support for the Oliver Hazzard Perry FFG-7 Class Frigates. The class consisted of ships with hull numbers from the #7 up to and including the FFG-61. The Puller was Built by the TODD Pacific Shipyards of San Pedro, CA, and was commissioned in April 1982, and was Later decommissioned in 1998, and acquired by the Egyptian Navy as Touska F-906, and resides as a ship in their Navy.

Therefore the Lewis B. Puller FFG-23 is no longer in the US Navy inventory of ships. Hopefully this will provide some insight as to the history of the Guided Missile Frigate Lewis B. Puller and its current status.

Respectfully Submitted by,
Former Sgt. USMC 1948-1952
Lou Simeon

Had To Dislodge

Hi Sgt. Grit,

Ddick, I hope that this helps. I flew the 144645 A/C mentioned and later flew many different tail Numbers. The H-34 was a very good bird. SEMPER FI My Friend.

After reading your newsletter and noticing that one of your avid readers/writer was seeking info on the large entry step on some H-34's. I have to "step up" (no pun intended) and try to answer his quest for info without becoming too technical.

The small step was used on the Aircraft for some years (early design) before the Vietnam Conflict and was promptly replaced on the later built Aircraft or a higher Bureau Numbered A/C after it was noticed that it was and could be a problem. The sequence that Navy/Marine Corps Aircraft are built in are identified by a Bureau Number and if I remember, it could also be part of the contract and normally is. This particular small number (painted on the tail) is what divides certain Aircraft and their modifications. Therefore, a Bureau Number or "Tail Number" is in this case a sequence of six sequential numbers. For instance, BU #144645 in this series (the 144 Series) may only come equipped with the small step.

Further Bureau Numbered Aircraft (more than likely by contract) (the 145 and later series) can be and more than likely will be equipped with the new improved large step. It might also be noted that the early H-34's came equipped with a different configuration of landing gear. It was a "Bent Leg" type (also the 144 Series and prior A/C) and this style of landing gear was very prone to the Aircraft going into "ground resonance" when landing on a carrier deck. Especially, when it was pitching and rolling. It was also possible for an Aircraft configured with this type of landing gear to go into "ground resonance" if the landing was not negotiated properly. An improved "A" frame type landing gear came attached to the 145 (?) and later Series A/C about the same time as the large step appeared.

I used to know what Bureau Numbers but, that info has felt the ole Gunny's hanger and never will return. Maybe someone will remember. Incidentally the gunner in the door is more than likely "The Crew Chief" and fly's when his Aircraft does, day or night. He, be the man! The early gun mounts were a problem for troops trying to "load aboard" and they were later improved plus augmented by the installation of the large step. I've had to dislodge a many a hand from taking my machine gun mount and trying to use it as a "Hand Hold". Thank goodness for the larger step. I hope that sheds some light on the question.

The Ole Gunny

Saved By Grace

I always seem to learn something new in your Newsletter:

I remember being told by several young men during P.I. and ITR that they had been drafted in to the Corps. I would dismiss their story thinking that they didn't yet come to appreciate the honor of being a Marine. Some are slower than others.

Now I learn how lucky they were to be pulled out of that other branch of the military just in time! Now, for the rest of their lives they have something to be truly grateful for. They are Marines! They were not drafted. They were saved by grace to become "The Few and The Proud". I'm sure that they have come to realize and appreciate this great brotherhood we belong to.

By the way, I worked as a Probation/Parole Officer in Virginia and my partner was a Mustanger (PFC to Capt.). I agree with the statement made in the 10/25/12 Newsletter, these Marines were the best of the best in and out of the service.

Robert H. Bliss, Sgt.
0341, # 2488799
1968 to 1978

No Look Of Horror

Maybe I was different. I was drafted and when it came time to find out where I would be going (along with a bunch of other draftees), I was allowed to make the decision between being drafted into the Army or USMC. My dad was a Marine (Girene as he used to call it). There was no question in my mind what I was going to do. I was allowed to enlist in the Corps - thus, no look of horror when told that I was to be drafted into the Marines like the others. Thank goodness I did that.

The Marine draftees didn't fare to well with the DI at boot camp. To this day, I never questioned that decision. In high school I knew I was going to Vietnam. So, when the time came, tradition was not the only reason I enlisted. To my way of thinking I had a better chance of returning by being Marine trained vs. Army trained. Semper Fi.

Tom Messimer
Sgt E-5, 3rd Shore Party
RVN 68-70

The Corps Was Desperate For Men

1. In response to the 1951 photos at an antique mall that Jim Grimes took: not only is it likely they went to Korea, but even more likely many are World War II veterans. When North Korea came over the border of South Korea, the Corps had dropped from a wartime high of "Only 498,000 May Serve..." to about 60,000 men.

MacArthur had only garrison troops in Japan, so the First Provisional Brigade was sent into the Pusan perimeter. Marines were called from all over the world to fill out the 1st MarDiv. The Corps was desperate for men, so tens of thousands of WWII veterans were called back to active duty - with only ten days' notice. Thousands who had survived their first tour of duty died in Korea, including my best buddy, the Chief, Kenneth J. Factor, proud Cherokee/Creek Indian, of Wewoka, OK.

2. About taking draftees in 1951, the Corps was taking draftees early in World War II. At induction centers, draftees were sent either to the Army or to the Navy pool; sometimes they had a choice. From the Navy pool inductees went to the Navy, Marine Corps, or the Hooligan Navy, (as sailors unkindly dubbed the Coast Guard.) Sometimes they had a choice. To have a real choice one had to enlist at 17; after turning 18 you were into the Selective Service system and it was the luck of the draw. In boot camp, all the draftees I knew had opted for the Corps from the Navy pool. After boot camp it didn't seem to matter.

Ernest K. St Johns,
Sgt, World War II and Korean War.

Father's Yearly Admonition

I grew up around Marines, and developed a deep respect well before I was old enough to serve. My father was a 29 year Navy vet. Senior Master Chief. I remember very fondly the Camp Pendleton Rodeo, and my father's yearly admonition to "stand aside when a Marine is behind you, they deserve the respect".

Years later when I told my father I had volunteered for Vietnam after attending OCS, I expected a much different reaction than what I got. He looked me in the eye and told me he had spent his whole life serving and sacrificing so that my brother and I would never have to know the trails of war. I still think about that and how I inadvertently made him feel like he had failed.

I send my deep respect to all that served, and carry the Corps pride to this day.

What I would give to walk the rodeo again with my father.

J Orr
Vietnam 70-71

Received $50

Back in the mid-60's we had a friend and his wife came to visit us here in Denver, and my friend was a FBI agent and while here in Denver he heard about my brother-in-laws brother who was an over the hill Marine. He was down in Colorado Springs, and my friend said he is going down to the Springs to get him because back then a FBI agent received $50.00 for AWOL military personnel.

My friend got the Marine, and Colorado Springs being and Air Force town, he was able to turned the Marine over to the Air Force MP and the Air Force took care of it from there.

Semper Fi,
Korea Baker Co., 1st MarDiv.

Raggedy Enough To Be Identified As A Grunt

Probably apocryphal, but fun anyway.

By 1970, the wing was flying what amounted to a bus route with CH-53's... DaNang, An Hoa, Baldy, Ross, etc... the DaNang stop was an LZ by hill 327. Bunch of stragglers with various reasons to be traveling were waiting at the 327 LZ... there was a LOACH, U.S. Army, one each, parked there, with crew, and probably cumshawed by the 11th Marines to do some spotting. This thing is a small observation helo, commonly referred to as 'a flying sperm'... highly maneuverable, pretty fast. The airframe motor vehicle operator (pilot) with this thing was an Army 'shake and bake' WO, who was doing a Marine worthy job of 'hurry up and wait"... to help with the boredom, he was chewing on a toothpick.

A Lance Corporal, raggedy enough to be identified as a grunt with a respectable amount of bush time, was studying the bird, probably never having seen one, at least not on the deck and stationary. Presently, he asked the Warrant Officer... "Sir... that thing's only got four rotor blades... what happens if one of those breaks while you're in the air?" The pilot takes the toothpick out of his mouth, and sez... "we apply immediate action." Now, to a Marine, "immediate action" is what he has been taught to do if his weapon malfunctions... something like 'pull, tap, rack, aim" etc... (never did know what that drill was for the M-16... carried lots of other weapons at various times, including a trench shotgun... 12GA with a bayonet stud)... so he has to ask... "Well, what's immediate action on a helicopter?"

The guy takes the toothpick out again to explain, "well, the command pilot, that's the one on the left, stands up, faces aft, and squats over the stick." Lance Cooley thinks about this for a moment, then allows as how he can't see why that would do any good? The pilot sez, "Oh... it doesn't do any good at all... but it sure makes life interesting for the accident investigation team."

Have had my suspicions about things like this with some pilots I had flown with... recall shuddering onto LZ Crampton at the Stumps in a Phrog for a pre-CAX brief... didn't think too much of it, except that there were three high-hour Major helo pilots along as passengers... and they were all wondering who had passed this guy out of flight school? (Well, "guy" is not exactly the term they used)... then one Major asked me in all seriousness, "how long would it take to walk back (to mainside) from here? Even more remarkable, considering he was wearing corfam dress shoes at the time... and on the way back, it was NOE... we were looking UP at the top of the rocks... just past the rotor tips.



"George Washington was one of the few men in all of human history who was not carried away by power."
--Robert Frost, Poet

"It is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth - and listen to the song of that syren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it might cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it."
--Patrick Henry, 1775

"The more artificial taboos and restrictions there are in the world, the more the people are impoverished... The more that laws and regulations are given prominence, the more thieves and robbers there will be."
--Lao Tsu said in the 6th century, BC

"Every time that we try to lift a problem from our own shoulders, and shift that problem to the hands of the government, to the same extent we are sacrificing the liberties of our people."
--President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963)

"The major problem with quotes on the Internet is finding out if they are verifiable."
--Abraham Lincoln 1939

"Uncontrolled search and seizure is one of the first and most effective weapons in the arsenal of every arbitrary government. Among deprivations of rights, none is so effective in cowing a population, crushing the spirit of the individual and putting terror in every heart.
--Justice Robert H. Jackson 1949

"Great Britain hath no more right to put their hands into my pocket... than I have to put my hands into yours, for money..."
--George Washington, 1774

"No pecuniary consideration is more urgent, than the regular redemption and discharge of the public debt: on none can delay be more injurious, or an economy of time more valuable."
--George Washington, Message to the House of Representatives, 1793

"A few short weeks will determine the political fate of America for the present generation, and probably produce no small influence on the happiness of society through a long succession of ages to come."
--George Washington (1778)

"I pulled mess duty at the last supper"

"I was assigned to the Marine Detactment on Noah's Ark"

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

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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