Sgt Grit Newsletter - 10 MAY 2012

In this issue:
• Toby Keith in Afghanistan
• I am an American
• The Battle of Alcatraz

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Pictures that my son sent me from Afghanistan, I thought that you might like to see them. They are PICS that when Toby Keith (the country singer) was there and performed for the troops / Marines.

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

In This Issue

We ran a contest on Facebook for the best boot camp story (short and sweet!) check out the top ten below.

Here we go: PLOP, PLOP, sunny side up, one of my "red racers", wingless chicken, propaganda machine, hurt and hungry all the time, every 20 point segment, smashed up cookies, Aren't Mothers wonderful!

Your buddies aren't getting any younger! Sign up for free - find your buddies and fill out your profile to help them find you!

GriTogether June 9th in OKC - Be there!

Sgt Grit

The Next Day We Had

With all the discussion concerning Mess Halls I have to respond. In 1957 & 58 I served with the MP Company at Camp Pendleton, and was assigned to the San Mateo Military Police Barracks (The Northern Patrol) on the South side of San Clemente. There were approximately 50 of us with two Navy corpsmen and an ambulance. We manned three gates into the Base and provided patrols of the Northern half of the Base as well as Highway 101. Our barracks consisted of rooms (two men each), a rec hall and mess hall. The office included the ambulance garage, holding pen, Desk Sergeant, and offices.

I do not remember the Mess Sergeants name, but he was a master chef. We had an open mess with access by all to the reefer 24 hours per day where we could indulge in ice cream, cheese, or horse C*** as desired. We had T Bone steaks at least twice a week and crepe suzettes for breakfast every day. Breakfast also was offered whenever and whatever one wanted and cooked to order.

We had many Generals visit just to have lunch. I was the office clerk, and a one point the men asked me to make a request of the mess sergeant. They were tired of crepe suzettes and wanted me to ask for SOS for breakfast. I approached the mess sergeant (a Tech Sergeant) and voiced the men's request. He looked at me awestruck and threw his cover on the ground. He said, and I quote, "I've been in the Marine Corps for twenty years and never have heard a request for SOS." The next day we had SOS and I still have it today from time to time.

Edward Spence
Sgt 1954 -1958

I Am An American

Sgt. Grit.

Again, thanks for all the great material you have in the newsletter, it is a highlight of my week to read it. So I would like to contribute a couple of stories.

What A Great Kinship we are in.

Several years ago, while working for in international NGO, I was assigned to go to Mozambique, Africa to work in a refugee camp following a tsunami in the area. Shortly after my arrival in country I went to the American Embassy to register. As I approached the Embassy I was meet by rent-a-cops, I showed them my American passport, they examined it and I was then escorted into the waiting room and told to sit on a bench with the others, all of which were locals looking for work or there for some other forms of business.

I sat there for a few minutes watching and listening to all the goings on, and watching the Marine guard inside his bullet proof post. Then the thought hit me, (I'm slow on the uptake sometimes) this is American soil, I am an American citizen. I walked up to the Marine, showed him my passport and introduced myself as a fellow Marine, (Viet Nam vintage), and told him why I was there. We had an excellent chat, he show me which line to go to, and got me to the head of said line. I was in and out of the embassy in less than 30 minutes. I even got to use the head and was able to pick up several US Marine Guard Detachment T- shirts that had just come in for myself, and another Marine friend of mine back in the states. It is great to be a part of this great fellowship.

I have never enjoyed wearing a cap, or hat of any kind, very much, so I will readily admit I have not been as faithful in wearing my Marine caps as I should. I have read numerous articles about the wearing of the caps and the contacts that were made because of it, so I decided to conduct my own experiment.

My wife and I recently went to a large Home and Garden Show in Cleveland, and I decide I will wear my 1st MARDIV cap and see what happens. During the several hours we were there I meet up with at least four to five other Marines, (none of which were wearing caps), all of which made special bee line efforts to cross traffic in the crowd of people to stop me and say hello.

One other I meet was a vendor and another who stopped me along the concourse was in the 1/26 and '68 and I was in 3/26th. I also noticed, several other of the other branches wearing various identify garments, but I never observed any of them stopping, meeting and greeting similarly identified personnel.

So I've prove to myself, how great it is to wear the cap, you never know who you will meet.

Semper Fi.
Dan Griffin, Corporal, 1966 - 1969, RVN, 1/68 - 4/69

Get Your Marine Caps


Sgt. Grit,

The recent entries about "Double Rations" sure triggered a long- suppressed memory; side-step: "Double Diet" : PLOP, PLOP, side- step: "Double Diet" : PLOP, PLOP, side-step: "Double Diet" : PLOP, PLOP. All while Fat Bodies placed before and after serenaded me with their misery, their "pitiful" portions, and my own largesse. "Lucky Bas---d" being the politest whisper.

I too was a twig when reporting to MCRD San Diego in June 1964; 6'2", 155 pounds, 29 inch waist. Just right for my cross-country running, but waaay behind the power curve for the rigors of Basic Training.

I graduated at 6'3", 196 pounds, and a 32 inch waist. Had to have all my uniforms refitted, due to the lag time between initial tailoring and graduation day.

Now, at age 65, I'm 6'0", 170 pounds, 39 inch waist. I just can't seem to get rid of my Gunny Gut. Must be all those extra mashed 'taters I still eat, with relish.

GySgt R. James Martin (USMC Vet)
1964 - 1980
RVN: 10 Mar 1966 - 15 Aug 1968

The Battle of Alcatraz Begins (1946)

In Sept.67 I was coming of active duty, a gunny who was finishing his career, was involved in this operation. His unit had returned from WESTPAC. He said they opened up with a 3.5 Rocket launcher blew the doors off, and sent in the BAR men they emptied a few magazines all became silent immediately? This is the first time I have heard anything about since '67.

The Battle of Alcatraz Begins (1946):
The Battle of Alcatraz followed an escape attempt from Alcatraz Island's federal penitentiary by six inmates who got stuck inside a cell house after failing to secure a key to the prison yard. Trapped, the inmates took the guards prisoner and took control of the cell house. The US Marines were called in, and two guards and three inmates died in the ensuing confrontation. Two inmates were later executed for their role in the incident. How long was it before the next attempted escape from Alcatraz? More... Discuss

Tommy Curran


When I was in boot camp in 1945, our DI instilled in us the correct way to mention the name of one of the Corps greatest leaders. That being Lt Gen John Archer Lejeune and he emphasized that the General and his family called it as Luh-Jern.

Well I called his name and the base Luh-jern for the next 22 years. During the 60s I found out that the civilian populace and the media in the Jacksonville area started calling it again as La-joon.

This not only infuriated me, but also dismayed the family that they couldn't respect the General's name and the way they pronounced it.

I even read an article later in the Leatherneck magazine that some GySgt stated that there was a Marine he knew that had the same name as his great Grandfather General Lejeune, being his Great Grandson and that they called it La-Joon. The most interesting part of the information is the fact that General Luh-Jern never had any sons, so how on earth could he be his Great Grandson.

Go to Wikepia dictionary or to the U-tube and print in Laura Lejeune 2929, and hear what his daughter had to say when questioned by a reporter from Raleigh, NC.

George M. Barrows Ret USMC

Respect and honor the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps by saying his name correctly.

John Archer Lejeune (Luh-Jern)

Very Large Man

I have many chow hall experience's to share but the most memorable was while attending Field Medical Service School at Camp Pendleton Dec '66. Our company of Navy Hospital Corpsman were bivouac in two man shelters somewhere in the hills. In the valley below the Marines had set up a portable chow hall. Those of you who served here are well aware of the extreme temp change from day to night even in Dec/Jan.

One night a few fellow Corpsman had KP duty and decided being so cold at 0500 hrs. to procure some bread and peanut butter so we could all stay warm a little while longer by skipping morning chow and sleeping in. We had to form up at 0600 to begin classes in the hills.

Approximate 0530 dark hours, a loud bellowing/ echo screaming sound was coming from somewhere in the valley below. The sound was getting closer so some of us peered out to see what all the commotion was about. The voice screamed for everyone to fall out, form a straight line.

As we rubbed the sleep from our eyes, standing before us stood a very large man in a white cooks hat with a white full length apron, white tee shirt underneath, He stood, legs spread apart, arms folded across his chest. One could not help notice the very large biceps. We stood in silence at attention. This very large man introduced himself as in charge of the mess hall and informed us that he did not get up at 0200 to cook morning chow and have no one attend.

By then our company Commander arrived. Together they discussed our punishment. Our Commander advised us that we would suffer the consequences of offending the mess hall Sgt. The company would fall out in full gear including the wearing of ponchos and we would double time to each class in the hills throughout the day. The mess hall Sgt then took his right foot made a line in the dirt in front of the platoon and asked if anyone had a problem with that to step across the line. Nobody dared move.

Needless to say the next am after shedding a few pounds the day before double timing in the extreme heat. The next morning chow was the best I ever had.

Frank Morelli
Semper Fidelis

Usually Edible

Years 1951-71:
Chow varied, but mess hall chow was usually edible with a few exceptions. Week end chow required people to be hungry!

Breakfast consisted of hardboiled eggs and ponypeter. Lunch was much the same without the eggs: maybe white bread and mayo with the cold cuts. No one ever tried dinner. Boot camp chow was great and intended to fatten us up. I entered bootcamp at about 165 and lean as I had been working on the ranch and not an ounce of fat. By the time I left boot camp 8 weeks later (yes! 8 weeks: there was a war going on!) I was a lot softer than when I was 8 weeks earlier.

Over the years, going into the field, unless I was required to eat C-rats, would buy stuff at the local market (by this time I was an officer, so could get away with this.) If I ate C's I would have to pay my com rats which were more than the cost of stuff from the market! As a Staff Sgt, our mess was second to none. I had civilian guests join me at the Del Mar SNCO Club and they went away amazed at the quality and selection. Later, as OOD I ate in the mess and was served rabbit. I have never eaten rabbit since.

J. L. Murphy
Pvt-Major 11646xx

Girls, This Is The Marine Corps

Gentle Reader, BE ADVISED For those of YOU who have experienced the "pleasures" of Marine Corps Recruit Training, this somewhat long-winded article will be enjoyable. Please bear with me.

I went through MCRD San Diego in 1988. After the first few terrifying weeks there. I began to see that our Drill Instructors (bless them all for their dedication to transforming little boys into Marines), were not the "cyborg-like machines" that I had first perceived them to be. My platoon had four very unique and diverse Marines who were our D.I.'s. All of them were excellent instructors, but one of them I remembered the most vividly, (his name was D.I. SSGT Carter). This is probably because I was a "fat body t-rd" when I arrived at MCRD. SSGT Carter made it his personal "MISSION" to transform all of us fat a#@es into "lean, mean, U.S. Marines".

Me and my fellow "FAT BODY, RED RACERS" spent many anguished hours in SSGT Carters', "Fun time Sandbox". SSGT Carter was the third of our D.I.'s as far as experience. I later heard that we were only his third cycle platoon. What he lacked in experience he made up for in harshness and intensity. He was also the most secretive of our D.I.'s. He never once told us recruits what his MOS was, (I had him pegged for a GRUNT). I later found out that I was correct, he was a grunt. I also discovered that he was a "Beirut Marine". This explained why he was so "hardcore and gungy".

Like many D.I.'s, SSGT Carter had a few very funny and colorful phrases. One phrase he would tell us recruits that I always loved was, "Girls, this is the Marine Corps, this is not Burger King. YOU CAN'T have it YOUR WAY here!"

After 13 long and hellish weeks I graduated; albeit I was 51 pounds lighter. I thanked SSGT Carter sincerely for his role in pushing me through that tough challenge.

Fast forward five plus years later. I am now a Sgt serving with 1st Recon. I was all banged up with a tibia/tibia fracture and torn up left knee (courtesy of really bad PLF on a training jump 4 months before). I am a miserable "light duty commando" playing office bi-ch at the company office.

One Friday the company XO comes up to my cubicle and asks, "Hey Sgt. How would you and Cpl. Martinez like to go pick up some burgers for everybody for lunch. I'm buying." To that I grabbed my crutches and replied "Aye Aye Captain". He said he felt like a WHOPPER, and handed me a $50. I took his order, and me and Martinez went around and got everyone else order. We hopped in the duty truck and headed to Burger King at Main side.

It was about 1100 and the line was small, so Martinez and I fell in line right behind a tall light green GySgt. I stood there looking at the Gunny when I realized that it was my old D.I. SSGT Carter. I politely approached him and said, "Excuse me Gunny, but were you a D.I. with Charlie Company in 88?" He looked at me hard and said, "I remember you, you were one of my "red racers". I laughed and responded yes. He gestured to the jump wings and dive bubble on my chest, and to the chevrons on my collar, and said, "It looks like you have done pretty well for yourself, Sargent." I smiled and replied, "Thanks Gunny, I had great teachers."

It was his turn to order which he did. I gave Cpl. Martinez the list of orders and money and had him order while I smoked and joked with my old D.I. After our very large to-go order was complete, I had to excuse myself from the Gunny. But, before I left, I HAD to ask him one question. I looked at him very seriously and said, "Gunny, being that we are at Burger King, can I have it MY WAY now?"

The Gunny did a complete facial transformation and put on his most menacing, irate, disgusted Drill Instructor look and replied, "Get away from me, disappear you smart A-S"." I snapped to rigid attention and said, "Recruit disappearing Aye Aye Sir!" I even managed a halfhearted about face, despite my crutches. On the way back to the office Cpl. Martinez asked, "Who was that GySgt?" I happily explained, and we both laughed at my smart as-ed remark I made to him.

I never saw GySgt Carter after that, but I sincerely hope he is still out there. Hope you all enjoyed the story. BE ADVISED this story is a 100% true no SHI---R story.

REGARDS to all MY MARINES out there.
"Semper Fi"
Sgt. Rad
Ventura County, C.A.

Short Rounds

It is with great sadness that I have to report a duty station change for Master Gunnery Sergeant George B. Pangelinan, he is now guarding the streets of heaven with his big smile and positive attitude. You are missed my friend but I look forward to the time I will serve with you again my brother.

Semper Fi
Gerry Schaller
Sgt USMC forever

Song of the Marines 1937

There was a question about Flame Tanks! In 1971 I was with the 4th Tank Battalion at Camp Elliott, San Diego. We had the M48A3. Just after I arrived we saw one of the last Flame Tanks with a great demo of what they could do. They had been discontinued and it was on its way to where all old Marines go. Too bad; it was really something to see!

SSGT L. Thompson

I would like to invite all retuning warriors to our club house in mt. morris, mi to have a free beer. Smooth, forbidden wheels 3255 mt morris rd, to contact me: ruizotterlake @ hotmail .com

Reunion Correction:

Should read as follows...
Marine Warrant Officer Class of 1966 (7th WOCS & WOBC) (22 August to 25 August 2012)
Location: MCB Quantico & MB Washington DC
Contact: Bob Dalton (443) 202-6408 (prdalton @ msn .com)
or Joe Featherston (803) 644-5995 (Jrhd @ aol .com)

In the Corps 1963 - 1969 - never had a bad meal, no matter what is was or where it was, we were grateful.

Bob Haller, 2nd. - 3rd. Tanks.

i'm 68 went thru san diego in 1961 got out of Corps in 67
Bob Bratain

Very Scary

Just a quick note to thank all of you who responded to my submission about Flame Tanks and Flame Platoon. All the folks I served with were a great group of guys, although a little crazy. As was pointed out sitting next to a 360 gallon napalm and gas mixture tank, under pressure, I may add has a tendency to make you a little crazy.

When we fired the flame, no matter where, states, Okinawa (The Rock), or Viet Nam, it got people's attention. I will admit a flame tank is a very scary weapon and you would not want to be on the receiving end. I was proud to serve my 4 years with a group of great, somewhat crazy guys, that really cared for each other and loved being part or a unique group, Flame Platoon.

Semper Fi,
Cpl. Andre
USMC Flame Tanker 1962-1966


Sgt Grit.
I was in Udorn, Thailand connected to VMA-332, flying A4D-2N's. I was not a pilot, I was a wing wiper. We heard there was a battalion of Marine grunts in the area to protect us, but never saw one. We arrived at Udorn on 16 May 1962 and left on 2 July 1962. We came to Udorn by way of NAS Cubi Pt. Philippine Islands, and then back the same way we came. Flew in CV's (C-130's) both ways. (I use the word grunt in the most solemn way; I have a lot of respect for all grunts).

If you didn't know about it, you are authorized to wear a medal for being there then. It is called The Marine Expeditionary Medal. Grit has the medal and ribbon. I am looking for something I found in your newsletter and can no longer find it. It is the dates that allow for the wearing of this Medal, perhaps you can help me. I know that this is a little fragmented but it's the best I can do for now.

Bob Reiseck former Corporal and always a MARINE.
Semper Fi to all Marines

According to the USMC Decorations Book, this medal is authorized to wear for dates from 1919-present with the following criterion: Landing on foreign territory and operations against armed opposition for which no specific campaign medal has been awarded.

Sunny Side

Sgt. Grit,

Reading this week's newsletter (26 April), I found several accounts related to mess halls and food, but the one that jogged my memory was written by Vince Meyers, Sgt of Marines, wherein he sang the praises of sunny-side-up eggs.

At The Basic School (March-to-August, 1966, Class 4-66, Foxtrot Company--also known as "F Troop," after the ridiculous TV "Western" of the time), Sunday mornings were for relaxing: the only day when a new lieutenant could eat a leisurely breakfast. On one such morning, I decided to ask the duty cook for a dish I had never eaten before--eggs "sunny side up." Consequently, that became my usual Sunday morning breakfast, and it seemed that the same cook was always on duty on that day of the week. He began referring to me as "Lieutenant Sunny-Side." In fact, that's how he introduced me to his wife when we ran into each other among the crowd at a Quantico air show.

After graduating from TBS, I was sent to Fort Sill (Field Artillery Officer Basic Class 5-66) for a couple of months, followed by a month's leave, during which I set up my new bride (married on 23 July) in a rented house in McAllen, TX, before heading for "WesPac."

On Okinawa for four days (getting the required shots and making the necessary preparations for further travel to Vietnam), when I went to breakfast one morning, whom did I find at the serving line, but the same cook. And he greeted me with: "Lieutenant Sunny-Sides!"

I wonder if he receives this newsletter.

Semper Fi!

Tom Downey
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine
1963-76 "for pay purposes"
Vietnam: 4Dec66-18Dec67

Smashed Up Cookies

Sgt Grit
Best food I had was at An Air Force base somewhere in in the state of Washington we had stopped over to exchange planes going to Nam. We were marched over to the mess hall there and was it something, curtains on the windows table cloths the whole shot. Any way when it was my turn with my tray which had plates on it, the guy behind the counter asked me how I wanted my eggs. I about fell over but all was good bacon. And all the worst was at the mess hall in the Nam never ate there much at all. Lived on c rats and what I asked for from home - smashed up cookies and cakes and other stuff sent in care packages
Vic DeLeon
Cpl USMC 65-68

Dumping Trash

Reading all of the recent tales about chow at various duty stations brought back memories.

In late May my post. of '64 I was a young PFC aboard the USS Monrovia APA-31, bound for a Med Cruise with Second Battalion Sixth Marines. I was a gunner in Weapons Plt. attached to E Company. It came my turn to "guard" a 5" gun on the fantail.

As I was walking from port to starboard "taking charge of all government property in view", I noticed an equally young squid hauling a G.I. can of trash to the rail. He proceeded to dump said trash into the Atlantic Ocean. Do they still do this with all of the environmental concerns today? Anyway, I noticed a lot of Swanson's frozen rabbit boxes being dumped over the rail. Being as this was my first time at sea I stayed quiet and walked my post.

When I was relieved of duty, it was time for noon chow. Having been on guard duty got you to the head of the chow line! As I got my tray, I glanced at the posted menu which read "fried chicken, mashed spuds, gravy, peas or carrots". My favorite meal! I proceed through the line and lo and behold the first sever is the young squid I had seen dumping trash! Then my brain housing mechanism clicked and I thrust my tray out and said " Give me some wings".

Said squid recognized me from the morning episode and looked me square in the eye and said "What are you, some kind of wise a--?" I said "No, I just like wings." his response, after realizing I was bust his beans was "Well Jarhead this is a f:g wingless chicken. You get what I give you." with that he dropped a couple of pieces of very tasty Swanson's fried rabbit on my tray and said "Move on down a--hole" I did and chuckled as I ate my "fried chicken" and listened to my buds say how good the chicken was.

The best chow I had while in was at Guantanamo on the leeward side from May to November of '65. We couldn't get off base. The Navy flew fresh milk, eggs, meat and fruit in every day and the Sea Bee cooks did an outstanding job of preparing it for us. Best omelets I have ever eaten anywhere!

Thanks for the memories.
Old Dog 0331 E-2-6 Sgt.

The Honorable Harry S

In reply to Jim McCallum and the Honorable Harry S

Just after the 2nd World war and just before Korea the Marine Corps, its budgets slashed, and reduced to hoarding surplus inventories of World War II-era weapons and equipment. I believe my 782 Gear was US Army issue and I know some of the C-Rats I ate in P.I. was WW2 issue and ammo I fire in MCAF Yuma was marked 1944. But more...

In a private letter distributed publicly by the recipient, a congressman, Truman accused the Marines of running a "propaganda machine almost as good as Stalin's," a remark for which he had to publicly grovel in apology. And there were suggestions at the time, an era of drastic military cost-cutting, that the Marines were redundant and should be cut.

The exact quote I believe was...
"The Marine Corps is the Navy's police force and as long as I am president that is what it will remain. They have a propaganda machine that is almost equal to Stalin's," newspapers from the time quoted the president as telling the congressman.

I see the same thing happening again within the next few years, keep your pencils sharp and just think of all those young men killed in Korea because some bean counter sliced the Corps to the bone and beyond.

Bill Carey
Cpl of Marines 65-69

Pork Chops And Bread

1963. Seventeen year old, high school drop- out, 5'3", 133 lbs. Mom said I did pull ups all summer trying to get tall enough to join the Marine Corps. Boot camp, San Diego - hurt and hungry all the time. Used to slip cookies, pork chops and bread into my utility jacket, then run the obstacle course. After lights out, I ate the stashed food and sand grit. Platoon 199, Senior Drill Instructor Staff Sgt Moon (tough but fair), Staff Sgt Shields (tough but fair), Jr Drill Instructor Cpl Hicks (just plain ole mean!). We won all the pennants except the obstacle course (I probably took too much sand out of it!) We were an awesome bunch. 100% qualified and Pvt Norman Colvin regained the title for San Diego of best Marine marksman by shooting a 244 (M14) at ole Camp Matthews.

I left boot camp at 5'9 1/2", 155 lbs. (no wonder I hurt all the time). Made PFC in ITR, Camp Pendleton and was assigned to MACS-5, New River, NC out of radar school. I became one of the youngest Marines to make E-6 at 20 years old. After the Marines, I had a very successful 40 year career with IBM (got my HS and College GEDs in the Corps and my engineering degree while working ).

I attribute most of my personal and professional success to those 4 years in the Marine Corps. They taught me self- confidence, team work, loyalty, dedication, perseverance and adaptability. Being a Marine never leaves you. I am now retired but ride motorcycle with my Marine brothers, Leathernecks MC, International. Not a better group of Marines around and we get to continue telling all our old sea stories and making new ones.

Semper Fi Marines
SSgt Don Mitchell


Just a note of response to Chuck Brewer's question in the 3 May 2012 Newsletter concerning eligibility of being awarded the Air Medal or the Combat Action Ribbon.

The Combat Aircrew Insignia (CACI) are the Airwing equivalent of the grunt side Combat Action Ribbon. Combat Aircrew Wings are authorized individually as are their accompanying Combat Aircrewman Designation, signed by the commander, in the form of a Flight Orders document which is entered into the Marine's SRB and the aircrew training records. The STARS on the CACI are awarded per the commanders discretion. Not all CACI wearers rate 3 stars.

Air Medals are awarded to whomever accrues enough POINTS for each mission in a combat or a potentially combat zone, as directed by higher headquarters. The points are issued in different values for different missions. Delivering the mail to the ships of your float would go for 0.3 points. A hop into the Zone would go for 3.0. The points are tallied by Ops off the fight records by ops clerks, usually aircrewmen themselves, and Ops is always a hot spot to see how many points each crewman has accrued.

When an aircrewman (pilot or crew) accrues 20.0 points he is eligible to be awarded an Air Medal. Every 20 point segment after the initial Award is designated by a number ON the ribbon.

Not every grunt has a Combat Action Ribbon and not every Aircrewman has an CACI (combat aircrew wings). Fewer are awarded Air Medals. I know one guy that earned one, with a V for Valor. I have also met one enlisted man that earned the DFC, for taxiing a burning bomb laden A-4 off the runway because the pilot had been incapacitated.

I too served in the capacity that Chuck Brewer did, also in HMM-263. We were the last ones out of Beirut. I was the Ops Chief. I tallied the POINTS.

Keep up the great work, Don. We appreciate you and your crew.

Semper Fly, Cal.

Old School

On December 31, 1959, at the request of the USAF, the Marine Corps shut down MCAAS, Mojave CA. In return the USAF turned Vincent AFB, Yuma AZ over to the Marine Corps effective 1 January 1960. I was Station Comm Chief and the Comm facilities were certainly an improvement as was everything else on the Base. Just north of Yuma, on the Colorado River was an Air Force Special Service fishing camp that we fell heir to. The Staff NCO Club was unbelievable in relation to the austere (tho adequate) Club we had in Mojave.

But to get to the reason I'm sending this tale. The barracks were not the open squad bay type in use by the Corps for all lower ranked enlisted. Rooms, that's right rooms, 2 men to a room with a head between each room. Privates, PFCs and all. Our Station Major was a gentleman from the "Old School" and this was more than he could take. He immediately had the barracks Police Sergeant remove the doors from all the rooms! The NCOICs of the various sections discussed the situation with the SgtMaj and he was reasonable, relented and had the doors restored.

MSgt John E. Godwin 534495 USMC ret.
1944 - 1968 WW II, Kor, Vn.

Aren't Mothers wonderful!

Sgt. Grit,
It seems most of the letters are about Good Old Marine Corps Chow and how bad it was here and how good it was there. Being brought up in the Depression Years (my Mother was a TB Nurse making $15.00 week, taking care of Tubercular Patients, more about that later) and remembered what food we received then.

When I was introduced to Marine Chow, (we didn't have double rations then, Eat all you want but don't leave any!) I never thought about how good or bad it was, because I was so d-mned hungry I would have eaten a tree if it had been soft enough,

Later, remembering the Tropical Butter that was hard like cheese, "K" rations (I still remember the Green Ham and Eggs UGH, but the hard oatmeal could be chewed on and it was at least not green.) But Mostly I remember Steak and Eggs for breakfast I had twice (Navy Doctors hated that Breakfast and later had it stopped but I understand the Marines that landed in the first Gulf War were given Steak & Eggs for breakfast). During my 26 years I had good meals and bad meals BUT ONLY aboard ship did I have Beans for Breakfast and that was on Sunday.

Reading Major Kellogg's story about how a Colonel arriving unannounced asking for as LCpl. created some problems. In 1950, I, as a Corporal, was attending Ordnance School in Quantico when I was called to the Office. I reported to the 1st Sgt. and He said; "WHAT'S YOUR B-TCH!", I said I don't have a B-tch, why? "You have a United States Senator visiting you" So I told him my Mother had taken care of the then Lawyer Millican's Mother who had TB, until she died. "Oh, is that all. Report to Schools Battalion Headquarters and tell them that.

So the Schools Battalion SgtMaj asked me; "WHAT'S YOUR B-TCH?", I explained and he breathed a sigh of relief and took me into the Colonels Office, the Col. asked' "WHAT'S YOUR B-TCH?" and I explained again. The up shoot of it all was the Conference room was set up for my meeting with the Senators Wife, as she is the one who came and Protocol says the Senator must call when coming to a base for whatever reason. The Senator had Serious Health Conditions and was in a wheel chair, so sent his wife.

The Cadillac pulled up with Congressional License plates and I was hurried down to greet her. When she asked to see my wife and kids, I asked if I could go. I never had Special Liberty granted so fast. My fellow students got a charge out of the fuss but I'm sure the Schools Battalion was glad when I left. I called my mother and she had asked Mrs. Millican to Visit me. Aren't Mothers wonderful!

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

First In Last Out

I was 6'2" 140 pounds when I reported to MCRD in Dec 1967. Shortly after Platoon 1091 was picked up, Senior Drill Instructor GySgt J. L. Bolton called me to the front of the platoon and told me I would be "first in and last out" at the mess hall until I gained some weight. At graduation, I was 175 pounds and could barely get into my uniforms that were tailored weeks earlier. During Boot leave I dropped back to 155 pounds and stayed there for 6 years.

Two Platoon 1091 Marines were KIA in Vietnam, Franz Tines and David Volmer.

In 1973 or '74, I saw a story in the Navy Times about GySgt Bolton's twin boys enlisting in the Marines.

Jay R. Anderson
MSGT Retired 1967-1988 F4J Radar tech
VMFAT-201, VMFA-232, VMFA-312, VMFA-451, VMFA-235
Task Force Delta Nam Phong, Thailand


Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #2, #5, (May, 2012)

I'm going to take a few moments here and explain how the Strike /Flight system works and what those numbers and devices you see on the Air Medals really mean. To do that without having a mental breakdown. I'm going to copy the info directly from "The Complete Guide to UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS Medals, Badges and Insignia, WW II to Present." Hopefully, the next time that you see a fellow MARINE wearing the Air Medal with a small Bronze number or other small device affixed to the medal you will know what it means and what had to be done to achieve this award.

Regulations and requirements state that the Air Medal may be awarded to individuals who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Services, distinguish themselves by heroism , outstanding achievement, or by meritorious service while participating in aerial flight, but to a lesser degree than which justified the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross. The Air Medal is worn after the Bronze Star and before the Joint Service Commendation Medal. The Air Medal is considered by many to be the air version of the Bronze Star. ( I personally have 17 documented Air Medals.)

The Air Medal was established by Executive Order and signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in May 1942. The medal was intended to protect the prestige of the Distinguished Flying Cross and as a morale booster to recognize the same kind of acts that were recognized by the DFC, but to a lesser degree. The NAVY and the MARINE CORPS also use a system for awarding the Medal for meritorious achievement while participating in sustained aerial flight operations based on the number of Strikes or Flights. Strikes are defined as sorties which encounter enemy opposition and flights are without enemy opposition. The requirement calls for 10 Strikes, or 20 Flights, or 50 missions, or 250 hours in direct combat support or any combination. The combination requires the accumulation of 20 points on the formula of a Strike being valued at 2 points, a flight at 1 point and a mission at .4 points.

The NAVY and MARINE CORPS distinguish between the award of the medal on a Strike Flight basis and those awarded for single mission/Individual basis. This is done by placing a bronze Arabic numeral ( indicating the number of awards) on the ribbon bar on the wearers left indicating the award is for Strike/Flight. If the award is for individual heroism or achievement a three-sixteenth inch bronze star is placed in the center of the ribbon for the first award, while five-sixteenth gold stars are used to denote additional individual awards (a silver star is used in lieu of five gold stars).

The use of stars to denote the number of Air Medals for Single Mission /individual Awards was discontinued during the period from 1 Jan. 1980 to 22 Nov. 1989 and the practice of using gold Arabic numerals (indicating the number of awards ) on the ribbon bar on the wearers RIGHT was substituted. The current practice (since Nov.22, 1989 ) of denoting the number of Air Medals for Single Mission/individual awards is with the use of five- sixteenth inch gold stars (a silver star is used in lieu of five gold stars.). A combat Distinguishing Device "V" was authorized for use with the Air Medal effective April 1974.


Wonder if you can get a thread going with remembered nicknames of official designations?... For example, can think of several for Headquarters & Service Company... "Hide'n'Slide"... "Heat & Steam" "Hug & Suck"... etc. Force Logistics Command (VN) was commonly known as "Fork Lift Command" (had a bunch of 'em... LSU 1 at An Hoa alone had eight forklifts)... Force Service Support Group, the successor to FSR , or "Forced Service Regiment", was being called "Fumble, Stumble, Stagger, and Gag" around the time I retired... and yeah, we really need to hear more from the 'younger set'... some of the DS/DS (Desert Shield/Desert Storm) generation are already contemplating bi- focals (or financing Lasik surgery)...

for example, around that time, when the Corps was operating both M-60 (diesel engine) and M1A1 (turbine engine) tanks in the sands of the ME, the plea was going out to significant others back in the States to please send they were severely needed to tie over the air intakes on the tanks to overcome the extreme dusty conditions... This was straight up BS, as tank air cleaners had/have a 'pre-cleaner' section... essentially a turbo dust separator, which was followed in the intake air stream by some really good nearly sub-micron filters, which could be removed and cleaned fairly well... nylon pantyhose might get to an 80-90 mesh (number of openings in a square inch)... , but wouldn't stop more than the bigger chunks... so I don't know the real purposes those hose were put to, but have to wonder what them pre-verts were really up to with the silky drawers..(you can always tell when one of the fairer s-x wearing pantyhose may be suffering from an excess of flatus... her ankles appear to swell periodically...

Those odd-ball connections the Corps provides????? We had our annual appreciation dinner for our Fire Department Volunteers this week, and had as one of our guests, a founding board member... Gy Jim McMahon USMC Ret... a week later, an old friend, E-Model Amtracer, and co-worker from California stopped by after a 1600 mile tour in a Model T, seeing the South Slowly... he has a nephew in the same volunteer FD in CA... with FF Bob Bliss... who was one of 'my' recruits at SD... in 1963. Marines?? you gotta love'em!

Oh yeah... soup and salad courses had been served, steaks were starting to come out of the restaurant kitchen, when 'the tones dropped' (dispatch radios 'went off')... the guys saddled up, roared off, put the fire out (industrial type building where they had been cutting steel during the day)... and got back in time to go on with dinner, speeches and awards... I sometimes tell people (other NOLADs) that the volunteer fire service can be a lot like being in the field with troops... including the LCPL-level grabass... gonna do it as long as I can! (that's what I told her, too... )

Last tour on Okinawa, '76-'77, at Schwab with Tracked Vehicle Bn (Huns of the North... common moniker for those of us banished to the far hinterlands... included Ninth Marines)... by this point in the career was a fairly senior Captain... enough years in grade that I suspected CMC had changed my first name to 'Forever'... and like all other officers there, had a room in the BOQ. One room... with a shared shower and terlet that was also the passage way to the other room... for most of the year, the bunkie over there was a Navy Dentist, who managed to get into trouble in imaginative ways, but that's another story.

Okinawa is pretty much hot, or muggy, or hot and muggy, and unless you wanted to go through all the hassle of getting permission (camp maintenance folk were fussy about electrical connections) etc., to put in a window air-conditioner at one's own expense, one got along just fine with a wall-mounted fan blowing all night... with maybe a sheet for a top cover. The overhead had a fluorescent light fixture, with a timing device... that being my pet gecko, who would appear, upside down, walking across the ceiling from atop the light, promptly at 2100 every night. He/she? lacked the cute accent of the insurance sales critter seen on TV... just went 'geek, geek geek' as he hunted mosquitos.

Was lying there one evening, freshly showered and skivvied, planning on reading a Western paperback until my lips got tired, covered partially with a sheet, when I felt something run across my foot under the sheet.. Having had a full eight hours of hand-to-hand combat training some 19 years before, quickly responded in that area with an open-handed blow to the sheet (I think the Tae Kwon Do term for the move is 'swat')...

Whatever that was double-timing around under there took umbrage at the blow, and promptly bit me on the foot. That was it... the war was on!... throwing the sheet back, I leapt (leaped??) from my repose, in time to see a reddish thing with beau coup legs disappearing over the foot of the mattress... that sucker appeared to be a foot long at least, so grabbing a boot, I flipped the mattress off the box spring and smacked this vicious critter with the boot heel... that alone sufficed to cause the size to shrink to something more like four inches, and it ceased to move of its own volition... Closer examination of the remains revealed something along the lines of a centipede, so I scooped it up in a water glass, and as a means of preserving it, filled the glass with Scope... the only item available with alcohol. (honest!)

At this point, decided maybe a trip to sick bay was in order, just in case whatever this thing was, was venomous, so put on some clothes and meandered (a word meaning to take a direct path while attempting to appear not panicked) to Regt'l sick bay... I explained to the Corpsmen on duty what had happened, and recommended that we get out the books on things with fangs and poison in that part of the world. It turned out that we were exceedingly well equipped to deal with anything like that in California... and had nothing on the flora and fauna of Okinawa, whatsoever.

The bite marks hadn't changed, my breathing and vision were more or less normal, and since reveille was going to come early, I elected to return to quarters, making sure the senior Corpsman had the number of my room, so that, if I were to be found lifeless in my humble abode come the dawn, somebody at least would know what it was that got me... biggest d-mn centipede I ever saw, and that includes three tours and several retired years in 29 Palms!


Buck Sgt

Sgt Grit,

This is for Andrew Donley, who asked about the term Buck Sergeant. I found two pieces of information. First, from Wikipedia, it was the old Sergeant (E-4) rank in the Air Force that Senior Airman (E-4) were laterally promoted to, and was below the Air Force rank of Staff Sergeant (E-5). That rank was phased out, starting in 1991. They were commonly called "Buck Sergeants". The second thing I found (it actually made more sense to me) was a definition from the Free Online Dictionary: Noun 1. buck sergeant - a sergeant of the lowest rank in the military

I think when people ask if you were a Buck Sergeant, they are asking if you were a three stripe sergeant; the lowest ranking sergeant.

Joe Shirghio
GySgt, USMC (Ret)

I'm going to try to answer Andrew Donley's question about what is a buck sergeant. Just after the Korean War there was a rank structure change. Prior to the change, an E-4 was a three- strip Sargent. No rocker or crossed rifles on the insignia. That was known as a Buck Sargent. When I was at los pogus in 1962 we had an old timer that still carried that rank from the Korean War... Not sure of his MOS but he was the grounds keeper around the Quonset huts... I used to have a picture of this guy but don't know where I can lay my hands on it...

Annin, GB Cpl E-4

I have been called Buck Sgt from time to time and seem to remember the term from some old Marine movies. I have always kinda liked the term.
Sgt Grit.

Boot Camp Top 10 Stories

These came from the Sgt Grit Facebook page. We ran a little contest. This is a selection of my favorites from over 100 submitted.
Sgt Grit

James Roudebush: One time the DI's were doing drill towards the end of the day. I was at the back of the platoon and we were marching in front of the barracks. One DI was back there watching us as he marched and ran into a light pole. It made his smokey bear cover flip sideways. No one witnessed it, but me. I could hardly keep a straight face. He came up to me and whispered in my ear. He asked if I saw anything, at which I said "Sir No Sir!" He didn't believe me! I still get a smile to this day thinking about it.

Todd Rohrs: Standing online one morning in our skivvies, one of the recruits must of had a really nice dream, because he had the evidence of it standing at attention through his boxers, Our new DI we just picked up during grass week, sees this and screams "you have exactly 2 seconds to secure that gear" I didn't know how I kept from busting out laughing, but some of the other recruits lost it, and off to the pit we went.

Tom Tarr: My favorite moment came while standing at the foot of our racks listening to our Senior Drill Instructor say "Anyone of you pukes want to go home and forget all about my Marine Corps can be on a plane tonight, just report to my quarterdeck!" From the back of the squad bay we hear a recruit running thru. This recruit comes running up from the rear of the squad bay and screams "Sir, Private so and so reporting as ordered!" the Senior looks at his watch and says "Well Private so and so, If you had made it to my quarterdeck two seconds faster I would have let you go home, but now your azs is mine!" Priceless!

Dustin Miles: Plt 2048, MCRD Parris Island (2002). We was toeing the line one night and this POS had left his foot locker wide open for final count. Our heavy hat was the duty that night and it was right before we went to Weapons Co. The heavy hat instructed us to unlock and unhinge our foot lockers and grab hold. As he yelled "pull targets", all you heard was the sound of 50 some odd foot lockers being dumped. He had the POS recruit grab the push broom and put everything in the center of the Squad Bay. Having us form a half moon around this mound, he proceeded to grab the guideon, climbed the mound, stuck said guideon in mound, and we sang the Marine Corps Hymn. I still laugh myself into tears every time I think about that night. Afterwards, he gave us 5 minutes to get our belongings and have our foot lockers back in correct order. Needless to say, we didn't get much sleep that night. Semper Fi

Greg McBrayer: San Diego MCRD 1985 on the grinder it was impossible to hear the D.I's commands when a plane was taking off at the adjacent San Diego International Airport. Our senior D.I. would halt the platoon and call out Pvt Noon who was five feet nothing with thick pop bottle BCG's to the front of the platoon and yell out "Pvt. Noon, what are we waiting for"? Pvt. noon would point towards the airport and yell "The plane, the plane". Just like Tattoo on Fantasy Island lol

John Christensen: During mess duty i was refilling the milk my drill instructor sgt perez approached me and ask me to see the "whine" list. I was a bit lost. I asked what "whine" list... He responds with "I want to hear you whine like you did upon arrival here at MCRD san diego" I respond with "SIR... Due to the outstanding training from my 3 drill instructors This recruit has lost the ability to WHINE!" he smirked at me and said "CARRY ON! I met up with Sgt perez in the fleet and am still very good friends to this day...

Robert Racine: I have too many... But the best was when one of the recruits in my platoon received a camo g-string for xmas. He was made to wear it the next time the Lt came to inspect

Kirk Sherrod: Standing at final inspection, the Colonel asks the private next to me "If I said I was with the 5th Marine Regiment, would I be telling the truth?" The private said "Yes Sir!" (not correct btw... didn't have the Fourragere on his Service Alphas). The Colonel asks him why he said 'Yes'... the private replies 'Because Marines don't lie!" Had to work hard to keep from grinning and having the Senior DI strangle me...

Aaron DePaolo: Our bus pulled into MCRD San Diego... DI got onto bus and simply stated to "Not be the last one off his bus"! Without hesitation... we all fought to get off the bus quickly... got in formation just in time to see Pvt. Buster be the last one off the bus! Pvt. Buster placed both feet on the ground... turned to look behind him and realized he was the last one off the bus! All of a sudden Pvt. Buster just took off running followed by 4 DI's who quickly took him down and proceeded to scream at the top of their lungs!

John Stewart: A particular recruit in Plt 3045, I Co., 3rd Recruit Bn. aboard Parris Island had been writing a lot of letters "home" since midway through 2 phase. Around the 2nd week of 3rd phase, the DI's caught wind of what was really going on when our black belt received a letter from what turned out to be the recruits RECRUITER! Seems that recruit was informing his recruiter that he was the platoon guide, iron man recipient, qual'd as an expert and was highly favored for the honor graduate spot. Really this cat was the bottom feeder in the platoon. The only chance he had of getting those titles was to be in the air force boot camp. Needless to say, the DI's had him thrashing on the quarterdeck from LIGHTS to LIGHTS that day chanting "given not earned" at the top of his lungs. He didn't graduate...

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First, Thank you to all you wonderful men who are willing to die for their country to protect their family. I have two sons, both US Marines. Both enlisted right out of High School, college or a desk job was not right for them.

One is now a veteran of Afghanistan. He will be getting out in a few months. He does not like what he is doing now at the base is thrilled to be getting out but glad that he did join and do his term. I think he had an attitude problem because he was only promoted to PFC in four years.

My younger one I think will have a more successful career even though he is a lot like his brother.

I am a single Mother who for the most part raised both myself, once working three jobs at once so they could have everything they wanted needed, played every sport in town. So what happens in the Marines that makes them so rude and disrespectful to their Mother and other women in their life? My calls or texts will go completely unanswered and ignored? I have been put on medication and have cried myself to sleep many nights, I thought I would be getting back real gentlemen.

Sincerely A Very Sad Mom.

Sgt Grit

Great newsletter - love reading it each week, definitely a Thursday highlight after getting out of weekly meetings.

This story comes from my dad and always reminded me that you just can never make everyone happy all the time.

First some background - My dad spent a cold winter in Korea 1950 making sure the engines on his C46 didn't freeze solid overnight especially when they were flying out of yan po(sp?) airfield well north near the Chosin reservoir. He wasn't a Marine but raised one - I am sure he saved a few too when flying in low under the clouds and thru the fog to deliver much needed ammo or flying out wounded.

Now on to the chow story - after more than a year of living the simple life and surviving a troop ship ride back to California he was being processed back into the reserves. Each night they lined up for their evening repose and for the 3rd night in a row they were being served steaks, potatoes and all the fixings (it was a week before Christmas) when from somewhere behind him he hears - "What we're having F---ing steaks AGAIN!"

He didn't mention whether they were any good or not but then he eats whatever is set in front of him without a complaint.

Fair winds and following seas - welcome home Marine job well done

Semper Fi
1stSgt Langedyk
1989 - present

Dear Sgt Grit,

Got a job on Wall Street in 1967 - as lot of anti-war sentiment from mostly college students reigned supreme on Lower Manhattan. Columbia University was rampart with support of all rallies against the Viet Nam, Police Action as they called it.

I was returning to my office after lunch with a group of a half- dozen co-workers, and we get engulfed by about 200 protestors carrying signs against the War. I was shoved by some wanna-be who told me to get out of the way. I grabbed him by the shirt, and was about to show him the prone position- when two undercover cops grabbed me and escorted me back to my office. After I am in the lobby of my building they ask me for I. D. I tell them I just got out of the Marines, and they thanked me for my efforts- and apologized that they had to defend those clowns. I was upset, because my brothers were being put in harm's way, and these people did not get the message!

The last laugh was on them that day, as the construction workers downtown cleaned house with them, and the police disappeared at the same time the confrontation took place.

I do question certain aspects of various policies my Country decides on- but I am proud to have served with the BEST- and my Marine Lapel Pin get noticed by all!

I am glad that we have a place to e-mail- as every now and then I want to express myself- and realize that everything you get cannot go in your newsletter.

Thank You,
(for being there for us)

Bruce Bender
1963-1967 CPL


"As long as [Americans] elect profligate warrior wannabes, their liberties and lives will be at risk."
--Doug Bandow

"The United States Marine Corps, with its fiercely proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of American myth."
--Thomas E. Ricks; Making the Corps, 1997

"I want the people of America to be able to work less for the government and more for themselves. I want them to have the rewards of their own industry. This is the chief meaning of freedom. Until we can reestablish a condition under which the earnings of the people can be kept by the people, we are bound to suffer a very severe and distinct curtailment of our liberty."
--President Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933)

"Power may justly be compared to a great river. While kept within its due bounds it is both beautiful and useful. But when it overflows its banks, it is then too impetuous to be stemmed; it bears down all before it, and brings destruction and desolation wherever it comes. If, then, this is the nature of power, let us at least do our duty, and like wise men who value freedom use our utmost care to support liberty, the only bulwark against lawless power, which in all ages has sacrificed to its wild lust and boundless ambition the blood of the best men that ever lived..."
--Andrew Hamilton, The Trial of John Peter Zenger [1735]

"Freedom has ceased to be a birthright; it has come to mean whatever we are still permitted to do."
--Jo Sobran

"We have two companies of Marines running rampant all over the northern half of this island, and three Army regiments pinned down in the southwestern corner, doing nothing. What the hell is going on?"
--Gen. John W. Vessey Jr., USA, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the assault on Grenada, 1983

"When in command, there are two simple principles. The first is to be prepared for the worst, and the second is to be optimistic when it comes."
--Major General Oliver P. Smith, USMC, 1950

I'm here to finish a job no one ever started...

There is the right way, the wrong way, and the Marine Corps way.

Semper Fi!
Sgt Grit

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Oklahoma City, OK 73179
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