Heard "Chesty" one night while he was inspecting our unit. After listening to some b-tchin (if you ain't b-tchen - check to see if you are alive) "You are entitled to two meals a day and four hours of sleep. This is not guaranteed.
WWII, Korea almost Beirut, almost Vn.
Ed Tate GySgt Ret
1944 - 1965
In This Issue
Here I am, May 28th, 1968 standing outside the recruit station at the Murrah Building in downtown Oklahoma City in all my youthful glory. Yes, the same Murrah Building that got blown all to h-ell. There was a group of us going to San Diego. We flew to Dallas, spent the night. Then made our way to San Diego the next day.
Here we go: the choice is yours, as a scoundrel, moment of silence, still owe him 3100, Wednesday was PANCAKE day, grizzly mean, the tripod and 30 light, The Island may have changed, Depopulating the Trash Pit, my trail of memories, CRAP! What did I do now?, there must be a hundred of 'em, thought they were pretty.
Our enlistment has a start and finish date. The "Oath' does not.
You're Bouncin' Girls, You're Bouncin'
Fair winds and following seas.
Greetings Sgt Grit,
My enjoyment never ceases as I take my weekly travel back in time when reading your newsletter. Here is something that I hope might make one of your next newsletters.
Recently I was traveling to San Antonio and had to go through airport security and they had one of those body scanners in place. As I was following their instructions, they said " Step into the machine, stand on the "Yellow Footprints" and raise your arms". I asked the guard why since I had stepped on the "Yellow Footprints" some 40+ years ago, why did I have to do it again? To my question, I got a blank stare.
I am guessing that "our yellow footprints" is something that only we can understand and when used in the outside world, they have no clue as to their hollowed meaning for many of us.
GySgt USMC Retired
He just turned 3 but he's Daddy's boy!
OOOOOOOOHRAH Sgt Grit, and SEMPER FI to each and every one of you hard chargin Devil Dogs standing tall in Sgt Grits cyber formation.
Sure glad a few of you pointed out that the CMH is not won, pretty sure it's not a medal that's wanted, yet a very high honor to receive.
No matter which branch u serve in. We had an old crusty Gunny in 2/6 he was our H&S company Gunny, Gunny Haskel (sp) Nam Marine I believe, anyhow, he'd been around a while and if you messed up and got the pleasure of one of his a-s chewins, it usually ended with (if i see you in here again, we will be doin the 3 legged hop down to the battalion aid station, to get my foot surjickley removed from your azzs).
He was what a MARINE GUNNY should be, hardcore, grizzly mean to the point but fair. Happy 4th, exercise your freedoms.
Cpl Radtke TA 85-89
Been reading the chow hall comments for several months now, but have not seen a mention of "Methane Wednesdays". There had to be collusion within our Corps, by those cooks who had 3 am reveille and required payback!
Every Wednesday was PANCAKE day. This special recipe had to be worldwide [unless one was eating out of a C or K rats can]. From PI to Geiger ; to my first PDS at MCRDSD, then Camp Foster Okinawa [69-70]...every Wed was PANCAKE day. This produced the most prodigious amount of exhaust in the barracks that evening...woe to those in the top bunks. Being a MARINE, I fearlessly faced danger [backwards?] on those evenings , as I was a smoker at the time, with a lit cigarette often in hand.
Does anyone else remember these pancakes; they resembled a mattress, extra thick and tasted like them, too?
Ray Burrington, Cpl 68-70
POG MOS 40xx
Letter to General Reynolds
I am enclosing the letter I sent to the CG at PI. I was given a gift by wife of almost 50 years on my 75th birthday. I had to write this letter to General Reynolds because of the way she treated a really old and emotional Marine.
I can never repay you for your generosity and the help you showed me last Thursday at the Retirement ceremony. I don't know how I got the nerve to approach you after the ceremony but I did. I was very emotional about my return to the Island. It was obvious that you could see my emotions. You kept me there until I got somewhat composed. You also showed great compassion for a very emotional and old Marine.
Your offer of a tour of the Island was unexpected. I must say that Captain Ellis and SSgt Shaffer were outstanding. I had a bond with Captain Ellis since we were both connected to 1st Battalion, Able Company at some point.
I will never be able to repay SSgt Shaffer for her generosity in taking care of me on the tour. She is truly an excellent representative of the Corps. I had the great fortune to sit with SSgt Shaffer and her father at the graduation ceremony.
I don't believe that you personally will see this letter but I had to write you to thank you. I hadn't been back to PI since I graduated in December 1956. I know I won't return but I must thank you, SSgt Shaffer and my wife who gave me the gift of the visit.
I spoke to other Marines (some retired) who spoke of you in outstanding terms. The Island may have changed but the Corps values are the same. However some things were the same; the mosquitoes.
The Marines on base were always willing to talk to old folks like me when we appeared lost. I had two cars stop and ask if I needed help. One even asked if I was looking for Change of Command. I have never been called SIR so many times in my life.
I had the honor of taking my return flight with two of Friday's graduates and they are the continuation of the Corps. Times change but the traditions of the USMC will not change.
My wife said I sounded overly excited when I called her after my meeting with you. The people on the Island were extremely fit, even the older ones. Colonel Grabowski gave a perfect speech after Colors on Friday. I remember him saying not every Marine is an infantryman but every Marine is a rifleman.
I also observed a former Marine in a wheelchair who struggled to rise for the National Anthem. He made it with some aid from others and from his wife. At the graduation ceremony, Colonel Jones asked the audience to give a round of applause to the parents, DI's, and then he asked all former Marines in the audience to stand for a round of applause. It was memorable to me.
In closing I can only say I am even prouder to be a Marine (although a very old one).
3 Belaire Road
Marlboro, NJ 07746
P.S. You are correct about memories of the Island. My drill instructors were Tech Sgt Kelleher, Sgt Leigh and Cpl Jones. The new Marines will definitely carry on the traditions the old Marines created.
Out Of O2
To the Marine who approached me in Westchester County Airport on Monday June 25th with "Semper Fi, Where'd you get your cover, Sgt Grit?" With a big smile.
And I said, "Do Or Die, Yes, of course." (Cap style with Marine Corps Veteran, unit, and Korea Doober). I apologize for being in a hurry and not taking more time to reminisce. My flight had totaled a 7 hour delay and my oxygen concentrator's battery had given up. My family wanted me to get to the car, relax and plug the monster in to recharge.
It was the first time in 56 years I hesitated to continue a conversation with a Brother Marine. Thanks for your recognition and again my apologies. Semper Fi.
Richard. 3rd MAW, MAG16, HMR 163.
Vietnam 1968 Thanksgiving Menu
Thought you might like a copy of this since everyone talks about chow. I agree Hill 55 had the best mess hall.
A Heap Of Trouble
While a member of A-1-8, Camp Lejeune, a buddy and I took a weekend liberty to go home to Pennsylvania where we both lived. We were going through a little burg in North Carolina, perhaps driving a little over the speed limit. From out of nowhere came this "Dodge Sheriff" with his siren blaring. We pulled over and he slowly ambled up to the driver's side, asked for the driver's license and owner's card, and told us we were in "a heap of trouble," for breaking the speed limit.
"Now there are two things you boys can do to get out of this mess. You can go before the judge on Monday morning, but I figure you boys have to be back on the base early Monday morning. Or, you can pay me the fine. The choice is yours." When we asked how much the fine was, he replied, "How much you got?" He asked us to hand over our wallets and he took money out of both of them but left five dollars each in our wallets. What could we do? Ironically, as we drove away we felt grateful to him for sparing us the grief of returning to base many hours late. Neither of us ever took a weekend liberty home after that.
SSgt Paul E. Gill, 1954-66
Recently I was at a Marine vets association lunch. A woman at our table told us her grandson, a relatively-new Marine following in his late grandfather's footsteps, went on liberty with his buddies to a rodeo. There they had a bull poker contest. After signing waivers, he and three other guys were seated at a table in the ring and the bull was released. The last guy to remain seated got $500. He was thrown in the air and broke a finger, but the Jarhead got the cash! He'll be a fine Marine!
Robert A. Hall
Once a SSgt, still a Marine
However I am writing about an incident that occurred while on Mess Duty in boot camp in hopes that someone that reads it may remember me.
It was about 030 dark outside when we reported to the Sgt in Charge at the Mess.
I was given the task of swabbing the deck with another boot (memory fails me on his name). After finishing we were told to dump the water outside and place the mop outside also. As I was emptying the wash bucket out back, a truck pulled up from the bakery, and unloaded several Silver containers on wheels.
The driver went inside the mess, and started to have coffee with a cook he seemed to know. The smell of fresh baked goods permeated the air outside. I instantly reverted from a half trained boot to an inquisitive 18 year old teenager, and opened one of the containers.
Inside were trays of peanut butter cookies. I closed my eyes and savored the aroma, when something snapped me back into my boot camp mentality and I realized that my fellow 1/2 trained boots would probably enjoy a tray full of cookies.
I then took one of the trays (or as I later learned as a fully trained MARINE "borrowed" it). I told the other boot outside with me to not say anything, and I took off for the barracks.
Now at that time we were staying in the Gomer Pyle Quonset huts, across the parade field from the Mess Hall. I kept to the shadows, and made it across the parade field to the first hut. Never dropping one cookie.
I took a deep breath, waiting a second or two with my back against the side of the hut. The hut I was staying in was the second one in. Now at that time we also had a fire watch person that walked the area looking for fires. (Which I never understood, since we had sand around the huts, and the huts were steel).
Anyway, I peeked around the corner, and the fire watch (again name forgotten), had just turned to walk the other way, so I made my move. Being as stealth as I could, on my tip toes I started to walk toward the second hut, when out of the shadow of the two huts steps, SSgt H. D. Brewer, Drill Instructor "extraordinaire", that could use a combination of swear words that could actually make your ears ring, and your nose bleed.
The first words spoken by this Drill Instructor that claimed he invented the words "Bad A--", were "What do you have there boot?". My response was, "Sir, cookies Sir". SSgt Brewet than kindly asked "And where in the F&%^#, do yo F&%#@#* think you are going with those F^*%#$^&* pokey bait F&%#@#* things Private?"
Now being only a half trained Marine, I did remember the Improvise Adapt, and Overcome slogan I had heard so I responded, "Sir, for the Drill Instructors Sir".
There was a moment of silence from this battle hardened Drill Instructor that had been assigned to be the "Bad A--" for this series of platoons, and he had to turn his head away for a second.
As he turned back, he said "Bullsh-t" grabbed the tray and said get back to the Mess Hall. To my amazement, he appeared to be holding back laughter. I made it back to the Mess Hall, and waited for the hammer to fall during the day.
Even more surprising, after I went back to the hut from Mess Duty that day, nothing was said from any of the Drill Instructors on duty that day. I never saw the tray again, and I know none of my fellow boots had any cookies.
However the next day, when SSgt Brewer came back, he did kindly ask me to do 4000 squat thrusts. I graduated boot camp, owing SSgt Brewer 3100 thrusts.
SSgt Brewer claimed that someday he would find me, and make me pay up the squat thrusts I owed him. I did stop looking over my shoulder a couple months ago, on my 65th birthday.
Anyway, the fire watch that night, or the private I worked with, or even SSgt Brewer, GySgt Rowland, or SSgt McAllister, if you read this, give me a shout. That incident served me well, as I became the designated scrounger at several duty stops.
SSgt Ralph Netzel
Marine Corps Corvette
It was a pleasure speaking with you and, as promised, I have attached a few photos of our 1998 Corvette Roadster with its military (primarily Marine Corps - of course!) theme.
As I mentioned to you, the two chrome auto emblems that I ordered are going to be installed on the stereo speakers on the inside of the two doors. The paint on our white Corvette is a "ghosted" purple pearl that runs from the Marine Corps emblem painted on the nose of the car through the checkered flags that run over the hood, around on the sides of the quarter panels (and on the inside door panels) and then up on to the trunk deck, and look tattered to reflect the motion of the car. If you are looking at the car, the checkered flags appear to be gray/green at first, until the sun hits and then the purple shines through.
We had our painter paint the engine valve covers in a similar fashion and including Semper Fi and the trunk compartment has a large purple Marine Corp emblem embroidered into one of the white compartment covers.
We have been showing this car for almost 15 years and the paint job and other accents were added over the last 2-1/2 to 3 years. We received such a nice response to the Marine Corps elements from the spectators, that we had our painter add the other branches of the military of the car's rear bumper - photo attached of the right side.
My husband, Don, and I hope you enjoy these photos as much as we enjoy traveling around the country showing ti to people - it definitely starts conversations and it is very gratifying and heartwarming to have it open up conversations with families that current members deployed, with veterans from all branches of the military and, especially, from young people that have just enlisted or just returned from overseas.
Please give our regards to your staff and we wish all of you a wonderful 4th of July.
Margaret and Don Spires
Can't Make This Up
Dear Sgt Grit,
It amazes me as I get older that I remember things about the Corps that I have not thought of for many years. We walked flight line guard duty after 4 in the afternoon until the next morning.( weekends too) (24/7). The concept is to prepare you for a combat zone and the importance of doing it the right way with no threat - so you react like a Marine under pressure when it has to count for real. We had a few clowns on guard duty, as well as a few office sea lawyers who staffed the night and weekend shift to spell the Cpl or Sgt of the Guard when he went to chow or checking on the flight line guards.
One night I was awaken by the duty Sgt and told a driver was waiting to take me to the flight line- I said, it is earlier than I normally should report- went anyway. Found out the guy I relived was taken away by M. P.'s for evaluation- people could hallucinate in the middle of the night amidst the 4.2 mile runways and flight line with the wind whistling thru the planes and hangars. In the winter it was freezing outside, and the summer hot as h-ll.
One day a real sh*tbird spelled the Sgt of the Guard, and the clown walking Guard Duty put rounds in the chamber of the shotgun we used - because it made him feel better. Pvt Numnuts could not unload shells from magazine- walks off of the flight line ( which is not smart- goes to LCpl Sh*tbird and says what do I do- am I in trouble. The office of the First Sgt was used for guard shack as he had all telephone numbers needed for emergencies.
The LCpl was a gang banger from Philly, 6' 2" and a big bruiser- who grabbed the shotgun out of Pvt's hands and said let me help you brother. After 10 minutes of not getting magazine unloaded - he took the shotgun and started to bang the shot gun on the first sergeants desk to dislodge shells from weapon. The result was a huge piece of buckled metal was blown or inverted from the wall.
Somebody could have been killed, maimed, or whatever- Sgt of Guard and Officer of the Day and the M.P.'s, and the First Sgt and the C.O. and Exec. were called in immediately. Pvt was cut orders out of Cherry Point the next day- The clown who discharged weapon was bought up on charges- I was rotated out to a new duty station before I found out what his punishment was. And the best part of being at Cherry Point is my follow up on how some other short timer almost blew up the staff NCO Mess Hall because he was p-ssed that he had to get up early for mess duty.
That is another story my fellow Marines.
Cpl. 1963- 1967
P. S. The guy who was taken to base hospital for evaluation for being crazy- said he saw 2 bears on the flight line and they looked hungry- so he ran away-- turns out a traveling circus had an accident, and some animals escaped who were later on captured- not reported to public to keep it quiet.
Can't make this up- anybody have stories to relate!
Semper fi to all Marines young and old. On13 September I will be 91 tears young. I started with the 1st Mar Div in May 1942, based in Guadalcanal. Saw action in New Guinea, Cape Gloucester, Peleliu, and Okinawa. Left Okinawa on the Hospital Ship Solace. Discharged from Klamath Falls Marine Barracks on 23 November 1945.
Cpl Thomas C Forslin
I used to feel the same way and I queried the R.R. Keene, MGySgt (Ret.) of Leatherneck and his reply was the Corps honors the word 'won.' That took me back a bit, but I consider his expertise to be factual. Looks like we both, as many others, are in for an awakening.
Don Belsey USMC (Ret.) '64 to '96
Greetings Sgt. Grit, I would like to announce the 2nd reunion of the 3rd 155/175 Gun Btry. (SP) in San Diego on September 13th to 16th. Please contact me for information at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 978-987-1920
Semper Fi, Ed Kirby
Speaking of skivvy bags, mine from 1957 is still around somewhere holding old "treasures." You would not believe it lasted this long w/o falling apart.
Love this site, it's the best thing since the Marine Corps invented lizards that could grow their tails back.
Have Known Many
During my career as a Marine (a lifetime responsibility and commitment) I have known many who rushed the shores of places like Iwo Jima (Col. Herb Schlosberg, USMC, resting now at Arlington, BGeneral Len Friberg, Okinawa and Saipan, Lt. Gen. Ed Miller, the last Marine out of Saigon) and others. Above my desk are six remarkable faces each gone far too early. They never considered themselves heroes but have become iconic figures in our history;
Marines: Ira Hayes, Franklin Sously, Mike Strank, Harlon Block, Rene Gagnon, and esteemed Corpsman John Bradley. Their moment in time is eternal as are the countless lives whose sacrifices made this very moment possible. The young faces of these men match the young faces of the men and women who continue to say "send me," and say nothing of politics or religion, they simply defend our rights to speak freely and hope for a better future for all. Bless these people, the young brave people and those they follow and attach their footprints.
Semper Fi... eternally
Gray Badges Of Courage
Hey Sgt Grit,
Had a great 4th. Shot my Match M1A this morning and in the afternoon played slap 'n tickle with a former WAVE. (I'm single again so it's OK). Must be in my second "Marinehood" Anyway, just read today's newsletter and need to Sound Off on a couple of points before I forget 'em;
To Cpl Mike Kunkel-Re. your question about Geiger. Like you , I was in from '81-'85. Also am an 0331. After ITS I shipped over to 1/6. Yeah, i remember those old concrete platoon squad bays- who could forget. The heads across the street still had those old coal fired boilers somewhere. Got a 2nd degree burn from one of the exposed steam pipes. Had pneumonia the whole time along with some others. I think that is why the concrete pad used to form up at the Chow Hall for ITS boots had Sn--t blotches all over it. Seems i read one time that they were called "grey badges of courage" 'cause you must be either crazy or brave to get through ITS that sick.
H-ll, everyone was but all you could get at sick call was an "APC" and some GI Gin. What was the point? Just didn't want to get recycled really. Was there from Feb. thru March. Maybe we were trained together. Pretty sure I was in Charlie Co. To answer the question about the Geiger chow. I ate at a lot of places over the next 4 years but Geiger was the worst man. I'm pretty sure no civilians cooked there. Best chow I had was at Anderson AFB in Guam.(check out "floating hamburgers" in 2nd Mar Div. stories). I remember all the 8th lived in the big barracks, but was not there long enough to go to the clubs. I do remember that the main 2 bars outside Geiger gate were 'Toby's", (bikers I think), and "The Globe and Anchor". All gone now for sure. "court street" and the "highlife" were gone not long after our EAS . Hope i helped.
To HM2 Stevens and HM3 Wahoff. In my last letter titled "we get older"
I should have mentioned that along with many Marines becoming Law Enforcement, I should have mentioned Corpsmen and other certain Military Units that have the same disproportionate amount such as The Airborne and others. My apologies. The thing is Marines, especially FMF, take you guys as just other Marines. I think we all know how much you guys meant to us. I won't get many disagreements either. We took care of our Corpsmen more than each other. Thanks to you all.
Ref. HM3 Wahoff's letter, I'll back you up by reminding ALL Marines that most of the many Bases on Oki.(Schwab, Hanson-many more)are named after Navy Corpsmen MOH Recipients. Posthumously. Be PROUD that you are STILL Marine Corps Corpsmen!
Cpl "D.T." Jones
Almost finished with our trip. As I said, Many people will never get a chance to visit Washington, D.C and see the monuments there relating to the various wars our service men and women have fought in. And seeing the professional staged photos in Magazines and on the web, I feel don't give the real life of being there experience that the photographs you take personally does. So in that vein, I hope these are acceptable substitutes.
On Saturday, May 26, 2012 after riding a Motorcycle from Wyoming to D.C., girlfriend and I first visited the Iwo Jima memorial also known as The Marine Corps Memorial. As most of us know it is reproduced from a photo by Joe Rosenthal of the raising of the second flag on Iwo Jima on Feb 23, 1945.
Five Marines and One Navy Corpsman are in the picture. Frank Sousley, Harlon Block, Michael Strank, Rene Gagnon, Ira Hayes, and the Corpsman John Bradley.
Many don't realize that the sculpture sits on a pedestal. Around the top of the pedestal in gold engraving are climatic moments of Marine Corps History. So to capture as much of this as I could, I took pictures from all around the memorial.
I hope I have done these justice. (see all the photos)
Sgt of Marines (nla)
1968-1974 RVN 70-71
Once again we at Detachment #57 would like to thank Sgt Grit for helping to make our picnic a success!
C.J.Oudendyk /Adjunt/Paymaster Det.57
Grabbed The Tripod
Sgt Grit a few years back I sent you a comment about my Gunny Sgt Barbosa and it was about the time we were out in the field (1958) and climbing a monster of a hill at Camp Pendleton. Well I was in great shape for I had just finished playing football for the First Marines and was feeling my oats when I grabbed the tripod and 30 light and humped up the hill passing everyone in my path. When we got to the top of the hill Gunny Barbosa came over to me and said "Don't be a Smart A-z Conners" I remembered that and will never forget his comment as long as I live and never did it again.
Well I had the pleasure this past May to be in San Diego with the Elks Convention and met with Gunny Barbosa of which he insisted I call him Artie. I let him know if I would have done that when he was my Gunny it would have been my A-z. And he said you are so right.
We were in San Diego for I am a Past District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler plus Trustee and Lodge Leader of the Tracy Elks Lodge 2031 and our convention was at the Town and Country it was our State Convention so I called him a few months ahead and made arrangements to meet with him.
Well we met at MCRD and we went to the Officers Lounge for lunch my wife Laura and Artie and of course myself. We had a great visit and he gave a medallion and we chatted and then he gave us the 3.98 tour of the Museum of which he is a docent and instructs recruits on military history.
He retired as a Master Gunnery Sergeant E-9 and to sit and chat with a HERO such as Artie was something I will cherish the rest of my life for he was very open to talk about how he received his medal and it was very heart whelming and it brought tears to my eyes.
When I was in I had no idea of what he had done and it wasn't until years later I read what he had done and all I can say is wow. I went through MCRD in Jan. 1958 in PLT. 305 and boy has it changed. We use to have Quonset Huts and now they have it seemed like hotels to live in.
Well Sgt Grit I had to let others know that even though he wears the honor next to the highest Medal of Honor he is a true Marine through and through.
True Old Corps Application
Once upon a time, in a land far away - in another time, another place, an almost, but still remembered life - the following transpired. This tale was inspired by "WWII Dogs And Cats" in your 5 July Newsletter..
The time was 1951; the place was Korea, the MLR on Hill 1082, 862, 910 or somewhere. There were a lot of very steep, very high hills on the MLR, I don't remember them all. Anyway, we were on one of them and had problems; some with feral rats. They loved our trash pit - empty C Rat cans, moldy care package stuff (mail service was usually less than speedy).
At that time, there were no movies, no TV, no Game Boy, no Nintendo, no X-Box, no DVDs, no Walkman and the radio only worked when the weather was right and you could scrounge BA-30s, which was not very often. Life in the field was austere. We lacked occasional entertainment. Sgt Blackie or Moose or the Chief, I can't remember which one, or their real names, came up with an idea. A new game with real rules and naturally, wagering "Depopulating the Trash Pit of Rats". Winner was to be decided by choosing either the first trap to snap or alternatively the closest guess as to how long between placement and the SNAP.
Bait of your choice from C Rats or PX rations (no good stuff from care packages was allowed). All participating traps had to be placed simultaneously. Waiting for the SNAP had to be out of sight of the trash pit. The winner, first trap to snap or best guess, had to dispose of the catch. Hammer or butt stock preferred, the grunts on our flanks got real excited if we used a Thompson, 45 or an M1. If the game was interrupted by incoming or a fire mission, that called for a restart.
Sears Roebuck was still in the mail order business with a big catalog (useful for a multitude of unpublished purposes). We possessed a copy. Vintage probably 1948 or 1949. Pictured on one of the remaining pages was a very large rat trap. The order form, being of substantially heavier paper than the rest, had not been removed. There were five of us in the tank crew. We ordered one for each of us. A letter was attached to the order form advising Sears of our situation and that we were willing to pay, but only were allowed to possess MPC. Regulations prohibited having "Green". We included several of our home addresses and asked if they could send the traps and bill one of our parents.
Nothing was heard for a couple of weeks, then, miracles happen! A package arrived with five very large, very loud rat traps (not little mousetraps) and a letter. Someone at Sears wrote that these traps were about to be discontinued, removed from stock and trashed. They thought it was nice that someone still had use for them, so they sent them - cumshaw. We each put our name on a trap. Placement was critical and because the SOBs tried to steal our traps we attached an anchor line.
Wagering, most often, consisted of C Rat fruit cans, edible care package stuff or post WWII heavy cans if we were lucky enough to get them. The best bait was discovered to be C Rat "Rubber Disks" (the strange colored, tasteless, sugar coated things that could break a tooth and were alleged to be candy). The rats did not like C Rat peanut butter, cocoa, beans and MFs, ham and limas or corn beef hash. In spite of a very high body count, we never ran out of rats. They re-populated faster than we could de-populate them.
Entertainment! A true Old Corps application of Improvise, Adapt, Overcome. Semper Fi,
Mustang Major, Retired
Dear Sgt Grit, My name is Harry J. Daigle, Gray, LA. I joined the Marine Corps in 1953 at the age of 17. Feb 28 1954, when I graduated from MCRD, I stayed in the corps 8 years, 8 days, and 8 hours. I got out as a CPL, E-4. I would have enlisted for another 6 years if they had given Sgt, E-5. I left the Corps Dec 8, 1961, and after 58 years I still love the Corps, as you see by the monument in my front yard, next to my American flag and the Marine Corps flag I bought from you. I just want to share my monument with all other Marines, celebrating the Fourth of July.
Shop Sgt Grit Flags
Had All The Fun
There I was on graduation day at MCRD San Diego, proudly wearing my dress greens with my PFC stripe I was lucky enough to get out of boot camp. Proud, proud, proud! We had been given only a little time before we reported back to our Quonset huts. For some unknown reason, I decided to go over to the receiving barracks to hopefully see some new recruits starting their 12 weeks of h-ll on earth.
There they were: "The yellow footprints."
Memories flooded back into my mind of my arrival that night of November 23, 1964 and what those footprints meant. Standing there remembering, I was suddenly jolted back to reality when I heard someone screaming orders and profanity at me from up above in the 2nd story area of the main building of the receiving barracks. Senior NCO's were ordering me to get on those yellow footprints. Trained as I was to instantly obey orders, there I stood in the hot sun, back in the yellow footprints that had started my trail of memories and here I was on graduation day standing in them again. They eventually told me to leave their area after they had all the fun they wanted.
I'll never forget those footprints.
H. R. Kemper - MCRD - 64-65
9th Marines - Vietnam - 65-67
What Did I Do Now?
Sorry, Grit. But I am about three or four Newsletters behind on my Newsletter reading. But I still have them and I shall get caught up.
I know I am late but one of my best boot camp stories had to do with KP Duty for just one night in the Staff NCO Mess Hall on MCRDSD. I call it the Mess Hall. All I remember is they had waiters, and their food was brought to the table for them. Kind of like a restaurant. He! maybe it WAS a restaurant!
We had been there for a while by then. We were at the point where we had our trousers bloused, and our top button unbuttoned. A great milestone in the life of a Recruit!
On this particular night they needed someone to work in the Staff NCO Mess Hall. I am only guessing it was called that. I just can't remember.
Well, our Chief Drill Instructor had the duty that day, Gunnery Sergeant Gallihugh, and he just happened to put ME in charge of the detail. There were about eight recruits and me in the detail. I was to march the men over to some mess hall, I think over by the base theater, to do our duty for the night, and then march them back to our area again. I was just scared to death. I knew that everyone that saw us would be checking us out to see how well we stuck to the program. I did find out that the Marine at the Staff NCO Mess had called our Drill Instructor and told him how we did.
So, we did our duty with no problems, and we were dismissed to return to our huts. Now, it just so happens that I was a smoker, and some of the men in my detail were smokers. But by the time we got back to our area, our platoon had already taken their showers, and the smokers had already been out on the street with their smoking formation. So, the other guys that missed their smoke break for the evening told me that because I was in charge of the detail, I had to go to the Duty Hut and ask him for our smoke break. I quickly lost THAT argument and it was off to the Duty Hut I went. I did the regulation DOOR KNOCK, meaning I almost broke my wrist, and I asked for permission to enter the depths of h-ll. I get the "ENTER PUKE," and in I go.
I made my case to the Gunny, and I guess I must have done it right cuz I was told to fall out my detail, take them down to the showers and then REMIND him after that was done. So, I got into my shower garb, and I hit the street and I shouted for the KP Detail On The Road! Then I marched them down to the showers, and after returning to our huts, I go down again to the Duty Hut, and I shouted, "Sir! Private Brewer is here to remind the Drill Instructor of the KP Detail's smoke break."
I must have really screwed up, cuz GySgt Gallihugh exploded through that Duty Hut door and he grabbed me by the throat, and I swear he was holding my Adams Apple in his hand. He pulled me dangerously close to his face and he shouted, "Don't you ever remind me of ANYTHING! You got that, Puke?" I kind of croaked out a, "Sir! Aye, Aye Sir!" Then he told me to fall out my detail in the smoker's formation. By this time I could hardly speak. It ain't easy to speak after having your throat nearly ripped out of your neck! But I got them out onto the street, into the smoker's formation, and we waited like that until the Drill Instructor came out and lit the Smoking Lamp for "ONE CIGARETTE."
After that, and before lights out, I hear, "Private Brewer to the Duty Hut! CRAP! What did I do now? I run to the Duty Hut, I report, I am called in, and I stand at attention and I report. Drill Instructor Gallihugh tells me, "Good job, Brewer. That's the way you take care of those under your command." I pretty much marched on air back to my hut to wait for READYYYYYY! MOUNT! Then, it was lights out.
Great end to a great evening.
Chuck Brewer, Sergeant of Marines FOREVER!
Have just finished reading 5 July 2012 issue of scuttlebutt, which I really enjoy. Read Cpl Bruce Bender's letter regarding the E-Club and the NCO Club at Henderson Hall.
I had the pleasure of being stationed with A Company at Henderson Hall from 1964 to 1966. I had just rotated home from thirteen long months with HqBtry, lstBn, 12thMar where we were able to enjoy the Ebb Tide, an Army club at Camp Sukerian, Okinawa. Get to HQMC and find that the E-club at Henderson Hall was just like the E-club at cold weather training at Camp Fuji, Japan... strictly BEER! Not much in the way of atmosphere to say the least.
When I did make Cpl, found that the Army clubs at Fort Meyer and Fort Belvoir were something else again. Good food, and female waitresses. Don't really remember the NCO club at Henderson Hall having steaks. We mainly went for the cheap drinks before hitting town looking for a party. Great liberty town D.C.
Dear Sgt Grit,
I'm writing this letter in the squadbay of a recruit training barracks overlooking the parade deck at MCRD San Diego. Tomorrow is graduation day for Company H, so I'm fixing to be one of the world's newest Marines. I'm writing you because your website was one of the deciding factors in my choice to enlist in the Marine Corps. I come from a family full of men and women who have served in the various branches of the armed forces so growing up I always wanted to join the military.
I could never decide which branch though, and when I turned 18, I still wasn't sure so I decided to wait until I was. After graduating high school and spending a year at the local community college, I decide enough was enough and sat down to do some in-depth research into all of the branches to make a decision. All I ended up learning is that on paper, all of the branches are pretty much the same.
It wasn't until I ran across your website that I finally found what I was looking for; a look inside the real Marine Corps. Seeing the camaraderie and brotherhood that exists between Marines on your website was ultimately the deciding factor in why I joined the Corps. So thank you for running such an incredible website. Without it, I might never have enlisted.
Did They Get Off?
Your newsletter of 4 July 2012 mentioned this gentleman. This is official USCG information. More detailed versions are liberally available through internet searches.
Kirk Hogan, Manchester NH
Official U.S. Coast Guard Biography:
Douglas A. Munro, a signalman first class of the United States Coast Guard, died heroically on Guadalcanal September 27, 1942, after succeeding in his assignment, for which he had volunteered, to evacuate a detachment of Marines from a point where enemy opposition developed beyond anticipated dimensions. Munro's final words were "Did they get off?"
Douglas Albert Munro was born in Vancouver, Canada, of American parents, on October 11, 1919, but spent his entire life previous to his enlistment in South Cle Elum, Washington. His parents are Mr. and Mrs. James Munro of South Cle Elum. Douglas Munro was educated at the South Cle Elum Grade School and was graduated from the Cle Elum High School in 1937. He attended the Central Washington College of Education for a year and left to enlist in the United States Coast Guard in 1939. He had an outstanding record as an enlisted man and was promoted rapidly through the various ratings to a signalman, first class.
In the action [where he was killed in action], Munro had already played an important part, since he was in charge of the original detachment of ten boats that had landed the Marines at the scene. He had successfully got them ashore and then had headed his boats back to a previously assigned position. Almost immediately upon his return, he was advised by the officer in charge that conditions had been different than had been anticipated and that it was necessary to evacuate the men immediately.
Munro volunteered for the job of heading the boats for the evacuation. In charge of the rescue expedition, he brought the boats in-shore under heavy enemy fire and proceeded to evacuate the men on the beach. When most of them were in the boats, complications arose in evacuating the last men, whom Munro realized would be in the greatest danger. He accordingly so placed himself and his boats that they would serve as cover for the last men to leave. It was thus that he was fatally wounded -- protecting the men after he had evacuated them. He remained conscious sufficiently long only to say four words: "Did they get off?" He died, therefore, with the realization that his mission had succeeded and his final assignment had been carried out.
In addition to the Medal of Honor, Munro was also awarded, posthumously, the Purple Heart Medal, and was eligible for the American Defense Service Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.
MOH X 2
Read the 27 June newsletter and didn't think I needed to respond to one article because I was sure you would be inundated with letters on the subject - but what do I know?
Article was talking about the MOH and how nineteen people were awarded two. What caught my eye was the statement that seven of these people were Marines. When I went through boot camp (April-June 1969) we were informed that Dan Daly and Smedley Butler were the only two Marines to have two Medals of Honor. This left me wondering who the other five Marines might be.
Went to the Home of Heroes website for information. Found that five Marines were awarded the Medal of Honor by both the Navy and the Army for the same action during World War I. Daly and Butler were awarded MOH's for separate actions.
Was aware of the Marine history during World War I so I understood how five Marines could receive an MOH from both the Navy and the Army, but apparently the Marine Corps, at least in 1969, did not consider them to be multiple recipients, either because the awards were for the same action or because one award was from the Army (or both).
I've been out for a long time, so can anyone enlighten me on what the Marine Corps position is today on how many Marines have won two Medals of Honor?
First Flash Of Light
Upon graduation from MCRD San Diego (Gunnery Sergeant Robert Roper / Platoon 356 / 1966) I was sent to schools Bn. to become a 2531 / Field Radio Operator. Because there was a big demand for Romeo Oscars in WestPac, I was surprised to be sent in the opposite direction: Camp Lejeune. This is a funny, although slightly embarrassing, story from my first days in the Comm... Section there.
Whether it's still the norm or not is an unknown to me, but back then a new guy reporting in was a walking target. In the first few days I was sent to and from various Comm. Supplies looking for a "coaxial cable stretcher" and other such fanciful devices. It soon became clear that I was the Entertainment of the Day.
My first real job was to man one of the two towers at either end of that section of the inland waterway adjacent the base where Marine jets ran air strikes. A RO in a duplicate tower downriver from me and I were to radio an alert when we spotted any river traffic, putting a check fire on airstrikes until the area was again clear. By late afternoon operations had ceased and I was informed I'd be picked up "shortly". With a successful day behind me - no civilian craft were sunk on my watch, By God - I wondered if perhaps, just maybe, I'd be relieved of entertainment duties.
As the afternoon's sunlight turned to the dark shadows of early evening and no ride had shown up I became once again suspicious. Was there some new skullduggery afoot? So, when I saw the first flash of light some 50 feet or some from the base of my tower my imagination kicked into high gear. Surely it was one those Rat B------ds from the Comm. Shack coming out to scare the p-ss out of me. Then, there was another light, then another. Holy Crap! Now there were ten lights down there. No wait; there must be a hundred of 'em!
Just as I was preparing to repel the entire battalion from my tower, two things happened:
The first was a low rumble announcing the arrival of a six-by in no particularly hurry to pick me up.
And, the other was my discovery of what a beautiful North Carolina evening filled with fire flies looks like.
Later there was the RVN, a secondary MOS of 0846 and many stories of a different stripe. But this one is still a favorite.
Just yesterday I went to the bookshelf in my home office and I started pulling out stuff that is stacked up on a shelf so I could see what I had stashed there. I found a rather large manila envelope addressed to me from Gene Gustad. As most of you know, he was one of the few Iwo Jima Marines that I had the privilege of calling my friend. I found inside of the envelope photographs of Gene during his... (I think it was the)... 60th anniversary tour of that "horrible" Pacific island.
One of the photos is of the Sgt Major of the Marine Corps handing Gene the Sgt Grit's flag that several of us had helped get flown over the Iwo Jima Memorial & the Capitol building in Washington, DC and several other locations that I do not recall now. There is also a packet of Iwo sand and a hand written letter to me from "Poppa Gene." For as long as I live, these prized possession will be just that, highly prized by me.
Wait Till I Go To Nam
I enjoy reading the stories of the others, and I am glad there is a venue to which we can sound off. Thank you very much!
I served with a few units so I've been around. i.e. while in Nam in 67 I served with 1st Anti-tanks (Ontos) H&S and Bravo Co. and was TDY to 3rd BN 5th Marines which Bravo Co was assigned. Then they disbanded 1st AT's in DEC 67 and I was reassigned to 2nd BN 7th Marines H&S Co. MOS of 2531. After Nam tour finished up in Apr 68, I was sent to 2nd ANGLICO. While with them I did a tour in Gitmo for four months. While there I had the honor of coming into contact with a Sgt who did not like me for no reason that I knew of, and at this time I was a Cpl, but he and I had no direct contact. In other words I had a different Sgt in charge of me.
Any way I had already been on a Med cruise, and the reason I state this; is while on board the USS Francis Marion the last two Sundays the ship's entertainment was boxing matches between the Marines and the Navy. I participated. I did exceptionally well in the matches. For example they rushed the second match opponent to sick bay immediately after the match because I broke his nose during the match. And the Captain in charge of us was watching from the poop deck and a Naval officer was watching too. He said to the Captain what do you feed those animals while watching my match. He told me this. When we docked at Cherry Point to disembark I was asked if I wanted to try out for the Marine boxing team. I said no thank you.
So one night, this Sgt in Gitmo returns to the barracks drunk and wants to kick my azz.. Of course he's mouthing off, among the statements like wait till I go to Nam they'll straighten me out, and I'm just ignoring him. Now I'm not tall - under 5'5" and he is close to 6' and he wants to go outside with our blouses off and go to it. Well some of the guys there were aboard ship with me and tried to talk to this Sgt and calm him down because they knew what I could do. TNT is a small package but don't be handling it when it goes off. They eventually got him to go lie in his bunk, he is still seething but finally goes to sleep.
A couple of days later we had an inspection which required us to fall out in Winter Dress Greens in front of the barracks. As I was starting to line up, this Sgt approaches me and looks at me and wants to know where I got the ribbons that I was wearing. The various Viet Nam ribbons, combat action, a PUC. I told him I saw them in the PX and thought they were pretty- so I bought them. Oh he blew up. Yelling and screaming that he was going to get to the bottom of this. He took off like a rocket to the company HQ and was going to pull my records and was I in for it.
I had been to Nam, turned down two Purple Hearts because I wasn't hurt that bad but something not in the records is that I was hit with enemy fire. I pulled shrapnel out of the back of my helmet. It just didn't get to me, it was wedged between the steel pot and fiberglass liner.
Needless to say this Sgt didn't bother me in Cuba after reading my records. But there is a little irony here. Five others and myself after being back at Lejeune were sent to fire a destroyer on Culebra (off Puerto Rico). That included two LT's, two Sgt (one of which was him) and two Cpls (one of them - me). We flew to and were to spend the night at Rosy roads and fly over to Culebra for a couple of days with provisions.
Well, we decided (not the LT's) to go outside the gates for an evening of fun, that one night. We were on our way heading out when I remembered I left my wallet in the locker, as I returned to the barracks, a bunch of Navy personal was on a small embankment, sitting, as I walked by they started mouthing off baby killer etc. and I returned the compliments.
Needless to say, first one got up and approached me in a very aggressive way. I was just defending myself - quickly the fellow was on the ground seeing stars. One of his friends disapproved and came flying off the hill towards me as I was entertaining myself with his partner. He leaped in the air trying to kick me in the head and I just grabbed a handful of limp head and put it in a direct course of the arching foot. Great punting kick. I got the second fellow to also land on his buddy so I could take care of both at the same time.
As I was entertained I noticed a whole group got up - I said to myself "here we go". But all of a sudden they calmed down and told me to go. They wanted to stop the fight because the first one was bleeding very badly. The loafer shoe made a nasty gash on the neck of the large guy and they wanted to take him to sickbay.
The following day I told the others about the fight, and while the Sgt and myself were heading to the mess hall on one of the cattle cars, there was naval personal talking about a big fight the night before and how they were looking for the Marine. The Sgt poked me in the ribs and quietly said not to say a thing. It just seemed funny to me, for him to do that.
M Martyna, Jr.
Sgt of Marines
Where I am Told
I fight where I am told and I win where I fight.
--Devil Dog Review
See more on the Sgt Grit facebook page
MCRD. First Phase. Marching back from chow.
"Hippity Hop! MOB_STOP!" Our platoon commander screamed at us. "Get the F--- off the road!" And we retreated to the side of the road, sure we were going to get PT'd for poor marching. We were starting First Phase, our covers and utilities unstarched and unbloused, our boots mostly buff shined, our belts drab and our brass still dull.
"Now watch!" Our platoon commander ordered. We heard them before we saw them. A Third Phase platoon. Our mouths must have hung open to see them come marching by us. THEIR covers were stiffly starched, THEIR utilities pressed and bloused, THEIR boots were spit-shined, THEIR belts bleached white and THEIR brass blindingly bright.
"That's how you do it!" Our platoon commander yelled. "Now fall in on the road."
MCRD. Third Phase. Marching back from chow.
"Hippity Hop! MOB_STOP! "Get the F--- off the road!" but it wasn't our platoon commander screaming at us. It was a First Phase platoon standing on the side of the road, and THEIR mouths hung open as they watched US march by. CRASH! The ground seemed to shake as our polished boots hit the deck as one with every step. I can still feel the vibration in my head from that sound 37 years later.
Something had happened. Something had changed. In that split instant of recognition, at that moment, I thought my heart would bust out of my chest from the pride I felt, and I GOT IT! All the yelling and seemingly mindless repetition and drilling had forged us into a single unit. We weren't officially Marines yet, but we were far removed from the disorganized silly civilian pukes we had been when we arrived. I remember thinking at the time that anyone who got in the way of me and the guys in my platoon was going to be in for a world of serious hurt!
My late mother used to like to tease me and say that she learned to march when she was in the Girls Scouts. I would just smile at her and say, "All due respect, Ma, but you never learned to march like we did."
Semper Fi and God Bless the Marine Corps!
LCpl John Nihen
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The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #1, #10, (OCT. 2011)
Pilots of H-34's flying in Vietnam soon discovered in the combat zone that some of the design's innovative features carried penalties. The high Cockpit made it an obvious target and the drive shaft created a partition that made it difficult for Crew Chiefs to come to the aid of an injured Pilot or Co-pilot. The H-34's magnesium skin resulted in very intense fires and contributed to significant corrosion problems when exposed to salt water. The airframe was also too weak to support most of the weapons systems that allowed the UH-1 (Huey) to become an effective ad-hoc gunship. Nonetheless, the H-34 demonstrated an ability to sustain a substantial amount of combat damage and still return home.
I'd like to interject something here and that is about the "Cuban Crisis" fiasco. This was not a war, nor did it involve a landing or, any other such type of action, or operation. It was more of a "show of strength" and never much more. Helicopters were deployed as were troops aboard carriers and APA's but again, non were committed. My personal experience was that I was assigned TAD to HMM-265, an H-34 Squadron, and went with them to Vieques, P.R. where I rejoined my Detachment and we picked up an H-37. or (HR2S ) which was a twin engine heavy lift helicopter.
The aircraft had been sitting on the Tarmac while it was being repaired for a fire that it had while flying in the area some months earlier. The repairs were completed at NAS Roosevelt Roads in Puerto Rico and we flew it aboard the Carrier (USS Okinawa, LPH-3) and stayed on station for several more weeks while the "Suits" worked out the problem and then it was a stop in St Thomas in the Virgin Islands for "Booze" and then back to MCAS, New River, N.C. where we flew ashore. This all happened in Sept. of 1963 prior to dis-embarking from the USS Okinawa LPH-3. off the coast of North Carolina.
While all this was happening on the East Coast, The situation in Vietnam was starting to pick-up and in Oct of 1963 two MARINE H-34 Squadrons, HMM-361 (reinf). and HMM-261 plus a Detachment from VMO -6 (Observation Aircraft) were starting operations in country. It would not be until Oct 1964, after several unit rotations, that Operation SHUFLY would end and MARINE Helicopter units would be rotated on a regular basis. But, The handwriting was on the wall and what was now happening in Vietnam was not going to be a short haul, so, the training intensified all across the Country. Systems and personnel were being fine-tuned for the eventuality of what was to come. I was also the units Embarkation NCOIC and I spent many hours taking inventory and making sure everything worked before the actual "Time for Need and Use", came.
Shortly after returning from our adventure in the South, I re- enlisted and requested duty in Hawaii with HMM-161 at Kaneohe Bay. This was in Dec. 1963 and I arrived there in Feb. of 1964. It should be noted that this was the only MARINE Helicopter unit in the Islands. The unit was an H-34'd Squadron and I had just came from a H-37'c unit which meant that I had a lot to learn about my new assignment. My newly assigned unit was in direct support of The 1st Marine Brigade (4th MARINES) and we were involved in many different training exercises plus many actual SAR (Sea Air Rescue)calls. We maintained several aircraft in a standby status because of the number of calls that would come in for assistance, from boaters in trouble somewhere in the Island Chain and we would respond.
No Matter How Bad
I arrived into San Diego, CA, by train on 16 November 1961 at approximately 2300-hours. This is early by Marine boot standards. I arrived with two other men. Being the oldest (I was 20), and someone with a little college, I called MCRD and they sent a panel truck for us. Two Marines picked us up and spoke very nicely to us (e.g.-"If you are chewing gum please put it into the trash cans and do not smoke in the truck.) Something happened to these two polite Marines because as soon as we went through the gate and we got to receiving barracks their language became: "Get the f**k out of my truck and get your maggoty as* feet on those yellow foot prints." or words to that affect.
Once we were inside, we were given a padlock with a key that had a shoe lace through the key. We were told, "Everything that you were not born with, take off and put into the locker, lock it, put the key around your neck, and stand at attention. You've got 10-seconds." Seconds later I was as naked as the moment I was born with the key around my neck. However, the other two guys were still wearing their underwear and had their hands over their "boy parts". The acting DI yelled at them and their underwear simply disappeared. They did not reach down to remove their underwear, their underwear just disappeared. It was at that moment in time that I knew that only God was more powerful than a DI.
It was in boot camp that I learned that no matter how bad I thought things were, I could survive it if I took it one-day at a time. As every Marine knows, that is one of the most valuable lessons that we can learn.
On 15 Feb 1962, I graduated from boot camp and left active duty in 1964. However, I have been a Marine ever since. Only another Marine knows that "Once a Marine, ALWAYS a Marine."
Lack The Music
Re 'anon'... whenever I run into one of those phony wannabes, I am reminded of the story about Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) whose wife objected to his prolific use of profanity. She thought to perhaps cure or reduce the proclivity by ripping off a string of oaths herself over some minor affront, in his presence. When she had finished, Clemens said to her "My Dear... you have the words...but you lack the music"... and so it is with the frauds. Had one of those in my civilian career... for some reason, it seemed to be well known in the 700+ employee company, who the Marines were... (go figure?).
One of the younger engineering assistants came to me one day, and asked did I know that Bill in IT had been a Navy Corpsman and had a Bronze Star?...news to me, but if we got a Devil Doc on board... well, as SOPA, (Senior Officer Present... either Afloat, (or shore)... antiquated acronym, but at the time, that be me) got to go recognize a brother... and it went like this: "heard you're a Corpsman?" "Yup... with Third Battalion, up in the DMZ" (OK...there's got to be more... like, maybe, a Regiment?) Oh...Third Battalion?"
"Yeah, you know... Third Battalion... it was scary, what with the white crosses on our helmets and..." (OK... we have just triggered the male bovine scat factor). "Bill... you're a lying SOB (long version), and I don't want to ever hear any of your BS around here again."
He quit the company shortly after, and last I knew was trying to make a living running a convenience store somewhere up around Yosemite National Park. I would say to all out there something that came from a leadership course long ago... don't condone a wrong by not condemning it.
Further on the subject of profanity... as a lad of ten or so, happened to 'slip' in the house one day... followed by one of those really, really significant charged silences... I had screwed up, big time... and I knew it. When the silence ceased, seemingly some two or three centuries later, my father, who had hands resembling bunches of bananas (from a life of farm work, including hand milking twice a day), said "We need to go out to the shed for a talk," lacking a last testament and will, I could only hope that my baseball card collection and boots with the knife pocket on the side would go to some deserving soul, as I would soon be dead.
When we got to the shed, Dad said "Wal...I guess you boys are getting to be that age, and I know you hear us grown men use those words sometimes...but two things." (by now, there appeared there might be some hope that I would survive the evening). "one, I don't ever want to hear you use those kinds of words around women or children, and two...there is one word I had better never, ever, hear you use...you can go now." It took me three days to realize...he never told me which word 'that one' was...and I sure wasn't going to ask!
The kind of truck the expensive driver drove...this one was on the maintenance ramp at Camp Schwab over a weekend, probably in the spring of 1977...the vehicle on the trailer is a LVTR-7, the Recovery version of the P-7 family, later called AAVs...R&E, if visible, stands for Replace and Evacuate, which is a Depot overhaul program intended to remove vehicles from the FMF while overhaul is still economically repairable...a one-for one exchange. The truck likely belonged to Truck Company, H&S Bn, 3rd FSR...they moved 128 tracked vehicles from Schwab to Naha Port that year...all between midnight and sunrise, which is when the Japanese permitted wide loads on their roads
Pvt/Colonel Thompson wasn't exactly a Mustang...but assigned to Base Motors (the civilian equipment motor pool) at 29 Palms. Although a Private, he was observed in the PX (yeah, I know...technically, the MCX, and "PX" is a sister service term, but every pendulous Richard I ever knew called it 'the PX')...anyway, in the PX, in summer service Charlies, with Colonel's eagles on his collar. It may have been the lack of gray hair or wrinkles that gave him away, or possibly the 'death before dishonor' tattoo on a forearm, (in the day, few, if any officers had tattoos...of any kind or size) but other than a masterful azzchewing by his OIC, one CWO-3 Valentine Patsy Amico, (Celestial Six rest his soul...) I don't think he was ever formally charged with impersonating an officer.
Civilian vehicles, those commonly known as POVs (Privately Owned Vehicle...or 'ride', 'rig', 'kemp' (that's a real old one, so is 'short'), were not allowed inside the gate of Base Motors...in the day, and probably still there, on the north side of 10th Street and just uphill from Del Valle Blvd...so anyone who owned a car and drove it from the barracks to work, parked in the sand across the street from the gate...thus diminishing any chance that U.S. Gubbmint 86 octane leaded mogas might accidentally be dispensed into an undeserving vehicle.
Thompson had somehow acquired a Chevrolet Vega two-door station wagon sort of vehicle, and managed to convince the Provost Marshal's office that he indeed did have the requisite liability insurance. And his Vega, parked in the sand lot, was noted to have had the back glass solidly painted over with black paint...with a brush...all of it.
When called by V.P. Amico to explain just what the he! that was all about, Thompson announced that he was planning on a career at the wheel of an 18-wheeler after his time in the USMC, and that was his way of learning to back up, using only his side rear view mirrors...Improvise, Adapt...for all I know, and I happen to know the guy who is in charge of all trucking for WalMart, Thompson may be working for him today.
V.P. Amico was pretty much one of a kind...born on 14 February, hence the 'Valentine"...never did know where the 'Patsy'[came from, but he was 5'2", grew up in NYC and went to the Manhattan High School of Aviation Trades, and enlisted in 1946, and like Johnny Cash's 'Boy Named Sue', with a name like that, you gotta be tough!...if you asked him "Val...how tall are you?"...he'd tell you "four foot, fourteen...what of it?"...If I had needed a shirt, and Val didn't have one, to take off his back, he'd have gone and stolen one for me...
We used to eat lunch at the O-Club, at the 'BOQ' table, with mostly younger Lts...this was around the time that running became the be-all and end-all for Marines, and the subject came up one day, mostly about the 'best' time of day to run..."Gunner...when do you run?"..."Sonny...I own three cars, and I don't walk fast to any of them..." At the time, he had around 33 years in...After he retired, and later became a widower, he bought a house in a development outside of Phoenix. Cooking was his hobby, and any time I was headed to the Phoenix area on business, I was to give him at least three days advance notice, so he could make brasicola (bra-joool) for me.
I would get these detailed turn by turn by street name directions (long before GPS) to his house...which worked...to take me to the only house in the entire development that had a 4' Marine Corps Emblem on the stucco wall facing the street...right behind the only flagpole in a yard...I miss the guy...
"History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or timid."
--Dwight D. Eisenhower
"The truth, indeed, is something that mankind, for some mysterious reason, instinctively dislikes. Every man who tries to tell it is unpopular, and even when, by the sheer strength of his case, he prevails, he is put down as a scoundrel."
"A Marine should be sworn to the patient endurance of hardships, like the ancient knights; and it is not the least of these necessary hardships to have to serve with sailors."
--Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery
"America's founding Ideal was the principle of individual rights. Nothing more-and nothing less."
"The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate evil than from those who actually commit it."
[On ancient Athens]: "In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all - security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again."
--Edward Gibbon was an English historian
This was the first time that the Marines of the two nations had fought side by side since the defense of the Peking Legations in 1900. "Let it be said that the admiration of all ranks of 41 Commando for their brothers in arms was and is unbounded. They fought like tigers and their morale and esprit de corps is second to none."
--Lt Col. D.B. Drysdale, Commanding 41 Commando, Chosen Reservoir, on the 1st Marine Division
"What a glorious morning for America!"
--Samuel Adams, Upon hearing the gunfire at Lexington [April 19, 1775]
"From each, according to his ability, to each, according to his need."
"The bended knee is not a tradition of our Corps."
--General Alexander A. Vandergrift, USMC to the Senate Naval Affairs Committee, 5 May 1946
Today is a good day to die!