I was not there. Respect those that were.
Recently, I have seen comments concerning Lt General Puller in your newsletter. So, I felt compelled to tell my story. In early 1968, I was medivaced from Vietnam to Philadelphia Naval Hospital as a result of wounds received in Hue City during the TET offensive. Incidentally, the medical treatment I received was nothing less than outstanding. I spent a year recovering. During the same time period, Lt General Puller's son was also a patient in the same hospital. When he visited his son, naturally he made visits to the other wards to visit his Marines. I met and talked with him at great length during those visits. He indeed was a man of compassion and cared deeply about his Marines.
After being discharged from the hospital in early 1969, I was assigned to Guard Company, Marine Barracks, Philadelphia Naval Base, located at the south end of Broad Street. I was assigned duties as Sergeant of the Guard (great duty). Numerous times, Lt General Puller came to the Marine Barracks to visit after he had visited his son at the hospital. He always went to the enlisted club and devoted a surprising amount of time talking to the troops and drinking straight liquor, no rocks, no mixer, just straight scotch, I believe. I have always and will until I depart this life, considered meeting Lt General Puller one of the greatest highlights of my Marine career.
Listening to his stories about the Frozen Chosin in the freezing season, hearing the grief in his voice when he talked about his son who was a triple amputee, I could almost feel the love he had for his Marine Corps. That's when I decided to make the "Corps" my career. I now have 22 years of memories, pictures, and possessions that constantly remind me of the greatest years of my life. I wouldn't trade those memories for all the gold in Fort Knox (if there is any there).
In late 1969, I was transferred back to the regular Marine Corps. Where to, you might ask? Well, you guessed it - Back to Vietnam for my third tour as an infantry Marine. Why three tours? Because, the "Corps", in its infinite wisdom, had seen fit to send me to Vietnamese Language School. There was a need for Marines who spoke the language fluently.
Thanks Sergeant Grit for all you do to promote the Marine Corps.
A Former Hat
A few months back I was with my son who is 12, we were eating at a Chinese Restaurant in Bellevue, Nebraska. I had my Sgt. Grit Corpsman cover and saw an older gentleman WWII or Korea age vet sitting there with a IWO JIMA cover. As I walked by I said Semper Fi, Devil Dog. He smiled and said "Semper Fi", then asked if I was a Marine. I looked at him and smiled and told him I wasn't a real Marine, I was a Corpsman. His smile got bigger as he told me that he was a Pharmacist Mate.
We shook hands and I said Doc, we are fewer, but just as proud! We spoke for a while then we went to our table to eat. My son was impressed. When we got home he told mom about meeting a Navy Corpsman that was on Iwo Jima. I told my son that guys like that have always been my heroes, that we never wanted to let them down and hoped that we could do a job that they would be proud of and that being an FMF Corpsman had a pride and tradition that was made by guys like him.
Alan Smyth HM-2 USN (81-88)
HM-1 USNR (88-94)
D-mn Fine Officer
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I read Thomas Moore's account of his Company C.O. getting him a new shirt. Like so many stories here, this one strikes a chord.
Having completed infantry ITR in early 1969, I was sent on to pick up the "11" on my 0311 at Camp Horno (part of the Camp Pendleton complex), further up into the hills. Field jackets were not individual issue and the first day I was in line to get mine, our Company Commander pulled me out of line. He was a 2ndLt. Only one that I ever saw stateside who wasn't back off wounds or former enlisted.
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He told me that he refused to accept me because my former command down at Camp San Onefre had sent me up without my health record and shot card. I explained that those were lost by my unit while I was in graduate casual and so I came up to ITR in November of '68 without them. He said that he didn't care, my problem, not his. He ordered me to go back to my former command and have them note in my SRB (which he handed me) that they sent me to him without those documents. He refused to arrange any transportation, so I hitch hiked both ways.
I got the required signature. Then I gave him the paperwork and he dismissed me. I asked about field jackets and he told me that they had no more... I could go back in a few days. It gets pretty cold up in those hills. The next morning was Saturday... standing in formation in a very raw wind... not the Chosin Reservoir, but cold enough. The Battalion Commander (a Captain) spotted me in formation and when we were dismissed he called me over to his side. He demanded to know where my field jacket was. I told him the above story. His face stormed up for a second. He then took his field jacket off and gently put it on me. He said to return it to him when I got a replacement. He then went looking for the Lieutenant with blood in his eyes.
Being Saturday, after morning formation we were free to roam the camp. I headed for the exchange, but didn't get very far before the MPs pulled up next to me. I looked 14... out of place in a uniform... especially one with Captain's bars on the shoulders. Fortunately he was back at his HQ when they called to check out my story. He roared with laughter... probably almost in tears. He told them that it was his mistake... to put the insignia in my pocket and drop me off at the exchange.
Better part of half a century has passed and I can't remember his name. But he was a d-mn fine Officer.
James F. Owings
USMC 1968-70 0311
New Duty Station
On November 19th, 2012, SGT. Russell Whittaker Jr., formerly of "HOG" Company, 2nd Bn., 7th Marines, had a change of Duty Stations. He has reported to his new duty station which is guarding the streets of heaven. Russ proudly served with H-2-7 in Viet Nam in 1966-67. His only complaint about Viet Nam was and I quote "They tried to starve me to death". Viet Nam in the end reclaimed Russ due to Agent Orange.
"Semper Fidelis" my old friend, "Semper Fidelis"!
SSGT. Bill Allen
USMC 5/67 â€“ 4/74
Viet Nam 11/67 â€“ 12/68
To Sgt L.V. Anderson; We are all smiled on by God, as WE are the ones who guard him. Thanks to all of you.
In response to Sgt Grit's commentary titled "Marines or Cub
Scouts?" F--kin' Hey, RIGHT!
Ron Morse (former Sgt, E5)
I read where a Marine who was on Iwo Jima during his tour in the Pacific, well I have met a few of those and I, ID myself as being a Marine in Viet nam and other places I've been and of course where they were at its always a pleasure to speak with them. I've also spoke with people in the other services of America, and I met one who was jumping around island to island in the Pacific telling me how he had to get a number of points so he could get home. I'm glad we didn't have to do that when going to the Nam.
It has always been 'bunk', as in "Stand by your Bunks", "Double Bunks", "Junk on the Bunk". Yes, "Rack" is and has been used, but "bunk" is the proper term. If I recall correctly, "Rack" actually refers to the canvas sleeping rack on a ship. The highest rack in the stack was my favorite.
P. Santiago, GySgt (Ret)
In regard to the term "rack" or "bunk" used in the Marine Corps, both terms were in use during the time that I served, 1972 to 1998. We slept on a "rack" but we stood "junk-on-the-bunk" inspections.
MSgt USMC (Ret.)
It is November 10, 2012, and I have thrown on blue jeans and my Sgt. Grit t-shirt ( Not as Lean, Not as Mean, Always a Marine) to go pick up some things for my wife at Wal-Mart. I park and start to the entrance when I meet this skinny older man in shorts who nods at me and says "Happy Birthday". I turn while walking and say "Semper Fi", but he has not missed a step and continues on his way. Never knew if he was a Marine or an admirer of Marines, but he sure knew what November 10 represented.
About the bunk or rack, either or "hit the rack" "junk on the bunk" early 50's.
Thomas Moore's story in the 12/6/12 newsletter reminded me of a story about my first CO (G Co. 2/5, 1970) in VN. He was a 1st. Lt. and for the life of me I wish I could recall his name. Anyways, our company had finished our 30 days in the brush and was supposed to go back to An Hoa for a three day break. However, Intelligence told the Bn. CO that a RAV compound located next to Liberty Bridge was going to get "hit" and we were re-routed in order to reinforce this position. We couldn't lose the bridge. We only stayed on this site for a couple of days, but due to the filth of the area around this compound, men started coming down with everything you could get in VN. We were sending guys to the USS Sanctuary a few at a time.
When the order came to head back to the brush without a break, we were just happy to be getting off that pile of dirt. However, we moved only a half a click when Marines started falling out due to heat and illness. I was carrying the radio so I could hear what was being said between the CO and Bn. They wanted to know how bad things were getting for us while we stood there waiting for a medivac for the fallen men and losing more by the hour. The CO informed them that he "would soon be promoted to a squad leader if we were not trucked out of there as soon as possible". After we got back to An Hoa, I (being your typical Marine) was expressing my discontent about being put on that dirt pile while the shower water was running brown from the hair on my head. I didn't know that the Bn. CO was standing next to me in showers. He didn't say a thing to me. He just dried off and left. Like Mr. Moore, I realized that we had someone looking out for us and things might not be as bad as you might think, given the circumstances.
The CO got orders for flight school not too long after that. A friend and I ran in to him in Da Nang and he knew who we were by name. We were still his men and we all knew it.
I swear, this newsletter keeps bring back memories that I thought were long gone. Thank you, again!
Robert H. Bliss, Sgt.
Serial # 2488----
Marine You #1
Sgt. Grit and Company,
I've read stories of "Old Corps Guys" (Iwo, Wake Is.[Navy Officer was senior there], Chosin, Harper's Ferry, et al), and am of the mind, "We are Survivors"! Thanks in part of course to sacrifices of our brothers-in-arms. I recall an amusing event near Cam Lo Bridge (or Dong Ha, I'm foggy on this part), summer 1967.
While filling sandbags, the kids would watch and chat and beg for cigarettes or "chop chop". Being Marines we generally liked kids, and joked with or on them. Also hating sandbags unless it directly shielded you, we made a pact with some kids (perhaps 6) to exchange their labors filling sandbags for a full case of C-Rats. All proceeded well and those kids did great, as the pile of sandbags grew. By mid-afternoon the kids had to "de-de" (leave). So it was settlement time and a case of C-Rats was given.
I swear to God guys, I am not the guilty one, but the next day only a few kids came around. When asked where are the rest of them were, one kid said, "You give bad C-Rats, all Ham and M-effers! No Salems! Marine you # effing 10. No work!" Seems to me those kids in battle zones may be the ultimate survivors, "whaddiya" think? "Improvise, adapt, and overcome".
Well a virg-n case of C-rats was promised still wired and unopened. The following day the work resumed and the virg-n case opened to the kids' satisfaction. The kid said, "Marine you #1." So it has been written, said, and shall remain! Accept it, believe it, and most of all, live it! Simply, because, we are #1, in peace or battle.
God Bless and Semper Fi Brothers and Sisters.
B. Daily (2277196)
L Co.3/9 (0351/0311)
102 Years Young
Regarding posts "Harbor Master" (Bill Daw and A D Winters) and "Kinship" Arley Spain. I would like it to be known that my Sr. retirement community also has a Pacific era WWII veteran. He is currently recovering from surgery. His name is J. Petty and he is 102 yrs young. He is not a computer user but should one like to mail him well wishes they can. J. Petty (I'm 76 and I thought I was old) 200 Jabrok Circle, Melton Place Macon, GA 31216
MCRD San Diego
In the photo are MCRD Commanding General, Gen David Yoo, Christoper Edwards, and the CG's Aide. Christopher is the young man that began the Huddle Up for Heroes organization that sends care packages and Hero Bands to all deployed troops.
On 1 Nov 2012, Christopher and his mother Denise were at the Sgt Grit headquarters and where they received donations and were given some Sgt Grit t-shirts. The t-shirt that Christoper is wearing in the photo is one of the shirts that is available at Sgt Grit.
Flying over the Golden Gate Bridge.
What A Marine
I can't believe there was a story by Sgt. Major McLeod. He was Gunny McLeod when I knew him and the lead Drill Instructor/Platoon Commander of Platoon 3092, August to November 1975. I was a 17 year old kid and intimidated like nobody's business. I wasn't a big guy, but had always had good strength to weight ratio and was able to knock out 20 "good" pull ups on our initial PFT.
Gunny McLeod could probably do 50, but I was the only recruit who maxed that portion and he called me his "stud" after that. He was this dark haired, mustachioed, Hollywood image of a Marine. He had ribbons all the way to his shoulder. Amazing Drill Instructor and we took honor platoon under his leadership. I remember his favorite term for us was "crazy". Not as an adjective, but as a noun. Like, "get over here crazy" or "get your azs moving crazy".
I went out to the fleet as an 0311/0331, competed in Super Squad, became the platoon Sgt for STA 2/4 and an instructor at the NTA. After leaving the Corps I spent 33 years in the Fire Department and never forgot the lessons he taught me. It's one of the main reasons I was so successful as a leader in the Fire Service. Thanks Gunny. Never got the chance to say it to you in person. If there is a chance Sgt. Grit can send Gunny McLeod my email I would sure appreciate it. And there was never a question he'd be a Sgt. Major. What a Marine. Amazing blast from the past. Wow!
Former Sgt. Tom Marino
Captain, Auburn Fire Department
It is with great sorrow that I tell of my oldest brother, Denver J. Payne's passing away from pancreatic cancer. He fought it long and hard, at least 8 months, but he is now standing guard on golden shores. His Marine Corps service began in 1959 and ended with extra time added for the Cuban Missile Crisis, about 3 months, I think.
He was my inspiration to enlist in the Corps four years later. I don't have any more info on his service except to say that he was extremely proud of his service and all who knew him also knew of his service. Semper Fi my brother, my inspiration, my hero, and I miss you.
Dale Payne, L/Cpl,
4/21/1967 to 4/21/1971
General Mattis and Don
This is General James 'Mad Dog' Mattis and I at an event in LA this summer. I was given best regards from Tony Zinni, former Marine 4-star general, whom I reported to as top sniper in Nam together... and Matis reported to as well.
I was an early Vietnam Marine ('65-'65). I was a Combat Engineer and worked out of Carmon Bay. To this day I have disagreements with people about Navy Corpsman.
Here is the way I explain it and when they hear this they say no more. The only difference between a Corpsman and a Marine is they wore Navy Rank on a Marine uniform. As far as Marines went they were part of us. They deserve all the honor that goes to the Marines. They fought alongside of Marines, they died with Marines. They are, as far as I am concerned, Marines.
Cpl. E. Morris
11th Engineers TAD
Brother That We Are
This past November 10th my family attended a very special family wedding. After the wedding ceremony there was a theater performance before the reception. The theater performance was two blocks from the reception in the heart of Pittsburgh. As we drove the theater I dropped off my wife, sister (Air Force Nam era veteran) and brother-in-law at the theater. Driving the two blocks to the parking lot I saw that outside a bar I would have to walk past, a group of at least 50 people standing on the sidewalk outside a bar enjoying a few refreshments.
I was uncomfortable having to walk through the crowd of merry makers wearing my tuxedo, it was a black tie wedding. As I approached the crowd the first people I see are two Marines in their dress blues. They had been in the Pittsburgh Veterans Day Parade and the group was celebrating the Birthday. Seeing my "Semper Fi" pin on my tux we greeted each other as the brothers that we are. I was very happy to have even this short amount of time to celebrate the Marine Corps Birthday with other Marines. I offered to buy the two Marines a beer. As I was ordering our drinks from the bartender I see out of the corner of my eye someone coming from the back of the bar. It was my son the two tour Iraqi Marine. He was going to the theater and beat me to the Birthday Party. Joe had, had a drink and was holding a piece of Birthday cake.
I would like to thank the Marines of the Pittsburgh Recruiting Station for all their hard work and inviting my Son and I to join the celebration.
Remembering Christmas 1966 on Operation Chinook north of Hue, Vietnam.
I regret to inform you of the passing of Irvin "Babe" Price on 9/02/2012. He served our country as a United States Marine in Korea and was extremely proud to have done so. A fatal heart attack did what the enemy could not. He died in church in the arms of his son John Price, also a Marine.
Babe's grandson John M. Price is a Navy Corpsman serving in a faraway sandy place with the USMC. Babe was my friend and I miss him terribly, but I am sure he has reached his final duty station guarding Heaven's gates. Please remember Babe's family in your prayers.
Six, Six And A Kick
Along with several other Marine Brothers who read and post in The Newsletter from time to time, some of us have not had much to say lately. At least one I know says he has started a roster, in an attempt to keep a headcount on how many sound off about whether or not they had yellow footprints at boot camp, and who had an M14 vs. an M1 in ITR or not. The latter also seems to be a big topic as to how much "tougher" it was than the later used term for 0300 MOS training, "ITS"... HUH? Anyway, several posts in the 6 December Newsletter deserve a "say again, over", so say these few brethren.
The speech given by GySgt. Richard Steiner, at his Marine Corps Ball, (submitted by his son), was outstanding to say the least... and notable was his mention of Operations in the Ashau valley in 1969, conducted by 1/9. If in fact this was Operation Dewey Canyon, that is where our Battalion CO of 1/6 from 1982 to 1983, received his MOH as the Company Commander of Alpha 1/9. Col. Wesley Fox's Citation can be seen on the MOH Recipients website.
Marines and Cub Scouts? Not to belittle Gary Harlan's, (Sgt. I believe, from past newsletters), remarks on the PC requirements in today's media, but... WELL DONE Sgt. Grit proper, Re: "this is a good one, so read it and read it now maggot!" After all, did we all at some point while on a 72, 96, or leave, not very properly and in great violation of normal communications in the civilian TOAR, "accidentally" drop a few 'F' BOMBS, Cs's, MF's, (12 line), and many others at very bad times... all guilty as charged, and on that note...
Certainly not least but always last, Ddick's contribution to 6 December. While in Charlotte, NC, a few weeks back, I had the opportunity to talk to a, (by the Awards and Ribbons on his Winter Service Alpha's), somewhat salty Lance Corporal... while speaking with him something came up about the widely used punishment known as "six, six, and a kick"... when I looked up the young Lance Cooley was eyeballing me with obvious suspicion that I myself may be a "wannabee"... SNM Lance had never heard that term before... Hmmm, seems our Marine Corps Language does have many more changes than we may want to believe sometimes...
Cpl. "DT" Jones
Alpha 1/6, '81-'85
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #3, #3, (MAR., 2013)
Every day flying the H-37 "Deuce" was not without some sort of adventure for the Flight Crew of this particular series helicopter. Some of the events that transpired were planned and some were not.
I recall one incident that happened on the way flying back from, I think it was Florida from a place then known in the Aviation Field as PAR (Periodic Aircraft Rebuild) I think that was what it stood for, except we used to call it (Paint And Return) because that's about all they did at that time. Anyway, when we received the Aircraft at NAS Jacksonville it had all the windows and hatches installed. Just like it came out of the factory.
Well, that was all good except we were used to flying with all the windows, doors and hatches removed. So we were used to the A/C being open and breezy, and of course noisy. Our intent was to remove and store the hatch covers etc., in our storage back at the base when we got there so there was no problem accepting the A/C with these items installed. The pilots signed for the Aircraft after our acceptance inspection and we were airborne shortly after a short test flight over the field. The pilot called the tower and informed them that we were leaving their area and the short Test Flight was complete. We started heading North to New River, N.C. and climbed out to about 1500 feet.
We were not far up the coast when we heard a loud "BANG" from near the tail section in the Aircraft. Both of us ran back to the area of the Cargo Door and the Port side Hatch which was just forward of the APU Location. We both put our hands on the inside frame of the port side hatch and leaned out to see if we had any damage to the aft portion of the aircraft or what sort of a problem we were faced with. Neither of us realized at the time that the Port side hatch blew out of the Aircraft and hit the aft Fuselage section causing the loud "BANG". We reported what had happened to the Pilot and there was no response for a couple of seconds and then he and the Co-Pilot started laughing. The flight continued on to New River, N.C. without incident. Our only thought about this unplanned event was that we were THANKFUL that hatch did not make contact with the Tail Rotor assembly. Trying to fly without a tail rotor could really spoil an otherwise really good day.
I'm going to fill you in on one of the most stupid things that I saw being performed by some of the more daring of the younger Crew Members while I was with this unit and that was called "riding the trolley". The interior of the Aircraft was equipped with a monorail track. It ran down the center of ceiling in the cabin section and made a sweeping turn out the starboard side cargo door and extended about 4 or 5 feet past the fuselage. There was a winch that was attached to this track and ran almost the length of the cabin section. Well, I just don't have to go much further here to tell you what the troops were doing. Yup! They'd ride this winch while in flight and swing out the door way and back in when the winch hit the rubber stoppers. Another unplanned event! We'll see ya next Month!
Hi Sgt. Grit,
I had the great privilege to go on the MO. Honor Flight on Nov. 6th, this year, is one of the best days I ever had. This is a picture of a WWII Iwo Jima Veteran I met and was lucky enough to get a picture with this Marine and at this spot. There were 67 Veterans on this flight and only six Marines. It was a honor to get to know him. His name is Ralph Dobbs and he is 92 years old. He told me he could still get into his old uniform. He walked all over that day on his own, just like a Marine. I wish all Veterans can make this honor flight, be sure to put in an application in your state. You will never regret it or forget it. I even got him to autograph my hat.
Sgt. Bob Holmes, 78 years old
In 1958, while a junior in high school, I joined the local Marine Corps Reserve Company on the 6 month active duty and 6 years Active Reserve Program. This program was ideal for those hoping to enter college after graduating from high school but to real Marines we were considered the lowest maggots on earth just a little bit above civilians. I asked my best friend, one Jack Ott, who had just finished his active service for some advice for my pending trip to MCRD, San Diego. He told me, "Just do what they tell you and keep a low profile. Wow, I can do that. It seemed to be working pretty good and then in our 3rd week we were assigned to Mess Duty. The Mess Sgt. stepped in front of our formation to assign us our places of work while on Mess Duty. Mess men would work inside the chow hall and I was assigned as an outdoor skullery man, standing by the two sh-t cans with boiling water where the recruits dipped their dirty mess trays. I then stacked the clean trays on a metal cart for the trays re-use in the chow hall.
I was becoming a real salty 3rd week recruit showing those first and second week recruits how to clean their trays. I found that you had to be really literal when showing those boots how to do it. One day a Drill Instructor marched his platoon up to my sh-t cans, halted them, looked at me and said, "Give me one mess man right now!" I was stacking my trays and thinking in real literal terms I turned over my shoulder and hollered, "One mess man out here on the double!" I never saw anybody move so fast as that Drill Instructor. He was in my face and he first said, "You simple sh-t, what are you doing going up the chain of command!" From there it was basically downhill and so much for a low profile.
In the fifth week we went to Camp Mathews for Rifle Qualification. We lived in wooden floor tents that held a squad a piece. I was working real hard to re-assert my low profile plan. One day the chaotic silence was broken by the repeated refrain of passing the word up through the tents, "Pvt. Alexander report to the duty hut!" Oh sh-t. I pounded on the wooden frame of the door to his tent and requested to enter. I squared away in front of the DI's desk and reported as ordered. Our Junior Drill Instructor sat in his chair holding an envelope. As only Drill Instructors can, he told me to assume the position and give him 20 for the Corps. After the 20 pushups I stood at attention before him. He asked me in a way only Drill Instructors could, if I thought boot camp was funny and I answered in the way only a recruit can answer, that I assured him that the Private didn't think Marine Corps boot camp was funny at all. He was around the desk in a blink, hit me in the stomach and shoved the envelope in my face and asked me if I knew someone named "Jack O-F". Now trying to explain a friends name as Jack Ott in acceptable recruit lingo is practically impossible. He had me doing squat thrusts until I couldn't stand and I stumbled out the hatchway, rolling away from his kicks.
Finally making it back to my squad tent, I immediately wrote my friend and told him what I thought of his advice and from then on to sign his return address as "Jack".
Sgt. Don Alexander
LCpl. Thomas Moore's Company Commander, Capt. Jay Vargas and Capt. Jim Livingston another Company Commander of BLT 2/4, were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor while serving under Battalion Commander, LtCol. Bill Weise. There is a series of YouTube videos narrated by BGen. Weise describing the Dai Do battle beginning with "Battle of Dai Do Part 1". Attached are b&w photos of the aforementioned Captains Vargas (L) and Livingston (R).
This week Tom Geisler has moved on from this world. Don't know his rank only that he was one of the finest Marines I ever met. Talked to him in depth many times and rank just never seemed important. Tom was just a simple man and lived a simple life.
I know he was a Viet Nam Vet and that I never once heard him complain. Yesterday he got his legs back after all these years and will now be able to stand at attention once again and guard the gates of heaven till we get there to relieve him. I hope they will let his daughter into heavens E-Club so that he can have a dance with her when he gets liberty.
Thanks Grit for letting me say my piece because today I am hurting real bad. Tom was indeed a good man and friend and I will miss him.
"The Corregidor Hymn"
When I went to Korea, two of my group were Former Japanese POW's. One captured at Corregidor and the other was one of the first Marine's captured during World War II, he was at the Embassy in Pekin, China. He was held Prisoner in North China. The friend captured at Corregidor won the Navy Cross by holding the trail legs of the 37MM up so they could shoot the Japanese landing barges as they came in. I served under him three times before he retired.
We honor all Marines and the battles they have fought but I'm afraid we don't honor those that had to go through a h-ll of imprisonment not of their choosing. At Corregidor the Marines wanted to continue fighting but the Commander of all forces in the Philippines surrendered after telegraphing President Roosevelt; "There is a limit of human endurance, and that point has long been passed." The treatment of the forces that had fought on Corregidor were as bad or worse than at Bataan. Marine humor has always been evident during the hardest times, Corregidor was the same. The author of "The Corregidor Hymn" was captured by the Japanese in the battle and was never seen again.
"First to jump for holes and tunnels
and to keep our skivvies clean,
We are proud to claim the title
of Corregidor's Marines."
"Our drawers unfurled to every breeze
from dawn to setting sun,
We have jumped into every hole and ditch
and for us the fightin' was fun."
"We have plenty of guns and ammunition
but not cigars and cigarettes,
At the last we may smoking leaves wrapped
in Nipponese propaganda leaflets."
"When the Army and the Navy Looked out
Corregidor's Tunnel Queen,
They saw the beaches guarded by
more than one Marine!"
So send help to the Wounded Warriors of today and always remember those that came before us.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau,
Laying At Attention
To the person who posted the comment about a bunk vs. a rack. I went through boot in Feb 1970 and then it was called a rack. I remember it so well, the D.I. calling out "lights out, stand by to hit the rack, once all of you ladies are in the rack, I want every one of you laying at attention and singing my Marines' Hymn in tune and as so loud you wake up the Navy girls." Then a few years later when I was at M.C.R.D. San Diego as a D.I. I continued the tradition and would command all the ladies in the platoon to stand by to mount their rack and sing my beloved Marines' Hymn. I can still see the sight of all of us as recruits laying at attention singing as loud as we could and then seeing all of the recruits laying at attention singing as loud as they could the Marines' Hymn. I loved it and such a beautiful sight.
I so enjoyed the time in the Corps and the traditions of the Corps. I still continue some of them to this day in my home. My 19 year old son is preparing to enlist and I advised him not to until I review all of the paperwork to make sure he gets an enlistment that has it all written down on paper. I want him to get a lot more than I did from being a grunt. Do not misunderstand me, it was great in so many ways and I learned so much. I just want him to get what he wants and more training that he can use once he decides to separate from the Corps.
Semper Fi! I love all you Marines. Thank all of you for your service and welcome home. This is from one old Veteran to all of the Veterans out there. We did our job, a thankless job, but we did it anyway. We were not looking for thanks but we were not looking for the name calling, the spit the urine and whatever else it was they sent our way! So, thank you and welcome home. Stand tall and Stand tall, we are United States Marines and not a lot of others can say that with the same sense of love, feeling, honor, commitment and loyalty.
SSgt. Joseph Whimple
U.S.M.C. 2/70 - 12/76
Marine by choice, till the day I report to the MAN upstairs
for my final duty station.
This is in referrence to the letter from L/Cpl Thomas Moore about Jay Vargas. I also served under Col. Vargas when he was the Regimental C.O. of the 7th Marines in the 1987-1988 timeframe. I was a Sgt with Co. I, 3/9 at the time and was a part of the 7th Marines during those years of unit rotations. I had an opportunity to speak to him and listen to some of his tales at our Regimental Marine Corps Ball at Camp Pendleton. I had never met a more amiable, honest, even-keeled officer before except for one other, which was General Louis H. Wilson back in 1975 when he was Commandant and also holder of the MOH. I wonder if those traits are characteristic of MOH winners?
Col. Vargas was very much wanting to see how things were going down in the trenches with us grunts and answer our questions about what is happening now, what is in the works for the near/not so near future, and of course, was even glad to answer questions from the younger snuffys about the circumstances surrounding his MOH. He was very up-front, personal, and down-to-earth. He was a pleasure to listen to that night and also a pleasure to serve under during my time with the 7th Marines. By the way, I wanted to make a slight correction to L/Cpl Moore's description of Col. Vargas: unfortunately, Col. Vargas did not ever made the rank of General. He retired in 1992 as a Colonel.
SSgt Bob Tollison
How KA-BAR Got Its Name
Our name dates back to the early 1900's from a fur trapper testimonial. He wrote that while trapping, his gun jammed leaving him with only his knife to kill a wounded bear that was attacking him. He thanked us for making the quality knife that helped him to kill a bear, but all that was legible was "K a bar". Honored by the testimonial, the company adopted the phrase KA-BAR as their trademark.
Posted in home town newspaper in 1968
IN VIETNAM: He's 18 and a half years old, a pinked cheeked, tousie-haired fellow who under normal circumstances would be considered by society as half man, half boy, not yet dry behind the ears, and a pain in the employment chart. But right now he is the hope of the free man. He is, for the most part, unmarried and without material possessions - except for possibly an old car at home and a transistor radio here. He listens to "soul" and the howitzers.
He has just gotten out of high school within the past year, received so-so grades, played a little football, and had a girl who broke up with him when he went overseas or who swears that she is still faithful, although he is half the world away.
He has learned to like beer now because it is cold and because it is the thing to do. He smokes because he gets free cigarettes and because "it helps". He never cared much for work, preferred waxing his own car to washing his father's, but is now 10 or 20 pounds lighter than before because he is working or fighting from dawn to dark-often longer.
He obeys now tamely without hesitation, but he's not broken. He has seen more suffering than he should have in his short life. He has stood among hills of bodies, and he has helped to construct those hills. He has wept in public and in private and is not ashamed in either place, because his pals have fallen in battle and he has come close to joining them. He has become more self-sufficient. If he is fortunate enough to have two pairs of jungle fatigues to call his own, he wears one and washes the other.
He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth but not his rifle. He keeps his canteen full but has almost given up trying to keep his socks dry. He can cook his own meals, fix his own hurts and mend his own rips - material and mental.
He will share his water with you if you are thirsty, break his rations in half if you are hungry, split his ammunition with you if you are fighting for your life. He can do the work of two civilians, but draw half the pay of one, and find ironic humor in it all. He has learned to use his hands as a weapon, and his weapons as his hands. He can save a life or, most assuredly, take one.
B25 Bombers, WWII
My Dad just turned 93 and is very proud of being a Marine. He is still very alert and would love to hear from other Marines that might have had some of the same experiences during WWII.
He enlisted in December 1942, went to Parris Island and then on to a variety of other schools. He went from Boston Navy Yard to Air Crew Training in Memphis TN, to B25 Bombers School at Cherry Point, in Edenton, NC. He ended up being sent to the Pacific front and went from New Guinea, to Bismarck Archipelago Island, to Emirau, and flew raids over the islands of New Hebrides, Kavieng, and New Ireland. If there is anyone out there that would like to communicate with another Marine, he would love it.
His name is Bill Brooks and his email address is Brookssen[at]wmconnect.com. If you would like to call him, I can help arrange that.
As he would say, Semper Fi.
Songs Of Warriors
You help in our journeys of the mind to other places, scenes, and Pain. But one thing forgotten (at least as I have seen it) has been the music, the songs the warriors sang and had sung. My lifetime took me into World War II where the songs were mainly about waiting, wondering, funny and of course about love. When the war started, Pearl Harbor became a song; "Let's Remember Pearl Harbor", Kate Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" was played and enjoyed by all.
Songs of WWII were wide and varied, from; "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", "Rum and Coca-Cola", "Don't sit under the Apple Tree", "It's been a long Long time". During the War in Europe the GI's captured some German songs and American singers sung them, "Auf Weidersehn Sweetheart", and "Lily Marlene". Also great songs like "GI Jive", "Der Furhrers Face" were enjoyed. It was tough all over the world and much help came from the songs.
The Korea War was different, not too many songs written, one I remember; "There's a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere". This was before transister radios so you listened to the USO Stars (when they came) and their singing. On R&R we would hear Japanese songs like; "Con Con Moosimi", "Gomennasai", "Tokyo Boogie", and "Yokohama Mama", most of these done by Hari Kari and his Six Saki Sippers.
Then Vietnam came along with transistor radios but mostly Rock was heard, good American Music like, "Fortunate Son", "War", "Born to be Wild", But then a movie about Vietnam gave America the music most remembered about Vietnam, "The Ride of the Valkyries", with Robert Duval saying, "How I love the smell of Napalm in the Morning".
Music in Wars would be a great title of a book if one of you potential writers might spend some time researching American's who have never shrunk from playing songs while fighting. By the way, I'm sure you could find some of these songs on YouTube, they seem to have everything else.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau,
A Marine's Pride
I have been getting your e-mails and magazines for my husband. He and our son were both in the Marine Corps. Bill, in the late 60's and Eric in the late 00's. I order things from you, like his hats, T-shirts and Christmas gifts. Well, I wanted to let you know what the last T-shirt was for.
My husband, Bill Milatovich is an amputee, not from the service, but from an accident 12 yrs ago. So here are a couple of pictures of his prosthetic leg.
Hand Grenade Fishing
A wee bit north of Da Nang the Nam O Bridge was a key highway link to points north along the coast. [Check it out on Google maps... I started with "Da Nang, Vietnam" and then just moved north up the map 'til I got to the bridge. If you had ever been on one of those expeditions, you'll see a very obvious change in the bridge crossing: modern Viet Nam!]
On two or three occasions it was my great good fortune to be part of a small group of Marines which escaped to the splendid little beach that was nestled close to the bridge. Sunny weather and marvelous water temperature! I'd guess we were not a hundred yards from the bridge.
Bridge security personnel would drop hand grenades onto suspicious floating stuff, to deter sabotage. If you happened to be in the water at the moment of detonation, even if just lounging on your Rubber Lady, the vibrations from the detonations would cause our body to tingle. Rather like a whole body adrenaline rush. Was very glad to not be very close to the bridge!
And no doubt there were thousands a grenades that were used for fishing, from the DMZ down to the Delta!
Ahh, the memories! On one of those trips our group of Adventurers found their way to the Army's "Camp Viking"... which some of you may have discovered included the luxury of a steam bath. Which had lovely young ladies who would assist with one's ablutions.
As Celine Deon might remark, "It's All Coming Back to Me Now!"
Christmas Dinner Menu
Christmas Dinner menu for 1959 at Kami Seya, Japan (near Yokohama).
Trivia question: When did the military stop giving out cigars and cigarettes at holiday dinners?
Coincidence? Who Knows?
Forgot to mention another of Smitty's 12-letter declaratory exclamations... we had been in the field up around Case Springs (NE corner of Pendleton... many pronounce it "Casey" Springs?), and had road-marched back down to Basilone Road, then parallel to the highway from Cone Hill (now range 413, or something like that...) and up to the tank crossing on the south side of Horno ridge... being tracked vehicles, we were obliged to use designated spots to cross the asphalt pavement, usually by laying two rows of junk tires to drive on.
I had been driving, and as we closed up the column after crossing, and stopped for an 'at the halt' check, I straddled a 4' bull snake lying between the tank tracks... (non-venomous, also known as a 'gopher snake). He (or she) wasn't bothering anything or anyone, it was approaching dusk, and beginning to get cooler. The Ontos had a drain hole in the bottom of the engine compartment which provided access to the engine oil pan drain, and other than when fording or beach landing, the drain hole was not plugged. We didn't loiter long... just enough time to do a quick check of tracks and hubs, and off we scooted along, and then down Horno Ridge to the 'ramp' (parking area).
Off to chow and the barracks... enough for one day. The next day started with preventative maintenance. In order to check the engine oil in the early Ontos, one had to squeeze sideways in the driver's seat, and slide a 8" X 10" panel out of the way to access the dipstick (dipstick not to be confused with the OC). Smitty climbed into the driver's seat, slid the panel open... and as his eyes adjusted, perceived that yesterday's bull snake had not only survived, but had used our at a halt respite to ease up into the engine compartment, and coil around the oil pan, where it was warm. Smitty's exit from the driver's hatch may have been the inspiration for the ejection seat in James Bond's Aston-Martin. One of our guys removed the snake, and let it go (they eat rats... we had some in the ramp area). Thereafter, if the OC enquired of Smitty if any make-up 30W was required, he would be advised that if he wanted to know, he would have to check it himself. As to the snake? We all knew its name... Smitty named it several times on his way out of the hatch...
Been a rack for as long as I can remember... in fact, during the year, had a dog of the 'Brown' breed report on board. Exceedingly well trained, lean, can fake being mean pretty well (loves kids and cats that are not hostile, keeps an eye on the UPS guy when he's in the neighborhood from his fenced mobile defensive position), tightly disciplined, only chews on authorized objects (cats not authorized)... and was trained by a hard-charger who is currently an 0331 in 1/9. Would bet his three-mile time is well under 18 minutes, but until I find my turbine Nikes we ain't gonna know for sure. His 'release' word from the position of attention (seated) is "at ease"... and when it's time for taps, or if for some other reason he has to go into his crate... the command is "Gunny... hit the rack!" He does.
In the late '70s, when 'maneuver warfare' was all the vogue, the US Army was looking for space... a lot of it, to practice/develop armored and 'armored infantry' tactics. There were three or so potential sites for what would come to be called 'The National Training Center"... all Federally owned land, either currently in use, or in some quasi-caretaker status. Part of the selection process was holding public hearings in the area potentially to be affected. One of these sites was at the time known as "Camp" Irwin... in the Mojave Desert, twenty or so miles outside Barstow. (The Army has always had this thing about "Camps" and "Forts"... name may change depending on the level of use... Camp/Fort McCoy in Wisconsin is another example).
Another facility on the target list was our beloved 29 Palms... in use by the Corps since 1952 or so. The 'community hearings' for 29 Palms were scheduled for a Monday evening, at the Elk's Lodge, on Highway 62, west of town (red building, probably gone now, but the centerpiece of a zany circular chase scene in the movie "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Word"... starring a whole bunch of 60's movie stars... fun, if you can find it on video). CAX's (Combined Arms Exercises) frequently began on Sundays... in some years, as many as ten might be scheduled, and the opening act was artillery and air prep... live fire, might also include 'Scooters' (A-4 Skyhawks) laying smoke.
On this particular Sunday, a Navy squadron of A-6's were also participating, with 500lb 'HE' bombs (A-6 can carry a BUNCH of 'em). Thankfully, no one was hurt, and other than some cactus and greasewood bushes being severely inconvenienced, there was no lasting property damage, but a two-plane flight managed to somehow drop a few outside the southeast corner of the base. Now, the A-6 community will tell you, and rightfully so, that they can literally "put'em in a pickle barrel", but be that as it may... the community hearing on Monday was 'standing room only'... whereas the meeting at Barstow had attracted fewer than 20, and those mostly turtle/tortoise huggers (ain't too many trees worthy of the name in those parts). The squadron commander retired routinely at the end of the month, the investigation found that it had been 'equipment malfunction'... and the National Training Center has been at Fort Irwin, outside Barstow, since 1981... our Navy brethren can be most helpful at times, even beyond our Devil Docs and 'the ride to the fight'... coincidence? who knows?
"A Marine will dive into the Jaws of Death and bring back the Jaw Bone."
--(WWII era Comedian whose Brother was a Marine)
"It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself."
"It is the fundamental theory of all the more recent American law... that the average citizen is half-witted, and hence not to be trusted to either his own devices or his own thoughts."
--American journalist H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)
"We Marines are Truly Blessed. We get to enjoy the Sweet Taste of Freedom because we know its Price."
--(Marine Veteran, John Chipura, Survivor of the 1983 Beirut Bombing. He became a New York Fireman who wrote the above for the 225 Birthday of the Marine Corps. He was killed September 11 at the World Trade Center.)
"It is a matter of record that in the German Election of 1933, the Communist Party was ordered by its leaders to vote for the Nazis - with the explanation that they could later fight the Nazis for power, but first they had to help destroy their common enemy: capitalism and its parliamentary form of government."
--author and philosopher Ayn Rand (1905-1982)
"We are what we repeatedly do; excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."
"He shows the Resolute countenance of a Marine who just went through H-ll and has lit his cigarette on the tines of the Devils pitchfork."
--(A Marine Serving in Iran or Afghanistan)
"The first day I was at Camp, I was afraid I was going to Die! The next two weeks, my sole fear was that I wasn't going to Die! After that I knew I'd never die because I became so hard that nothing could Kill Me!
--(World War I Recruits Boot camp Comment)
"As You Were"
"I'll be out of the area all day"
God Bless the American Dream!