Sgt Grit Newsletter - 15 MAR 2012

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• Call for Family Member Stories
• Fire from the Hip
• Esprit de Corps... dead?

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I met John Yancey at the Marine Corps Ball in Little Rock, AR in 1963. He was .. ah .. under the influence and was flirting with my young wife. I asked him who he was and he said he was "The Great Pumpkin"! I went to my platoon commander and asked if he knew the guy. He said "You don't know?" He said it was John Yancey. I nearly dropped my teeth. I went back, shook his hand and we talked a bit. I still visit his grave at the National Cemetery in Little Rock when I get up there. It was an honor to meet one of our true heroes.

Jim Sanders
L/Cpl 1961-1967

In This Issue

AMERICAN COURAGE! Have you been missing the stories from Marine Corps family members and patriots? We have! So SEND US YOUR STORIES and we'll make this a special section in the newsletter each week just for Marine Moms, Dads, Wives, Kids and More!

Here we go: Do they still teach, urge to Irish pennant, we could only exhale, bruise your thigh, best meal I had, nobody uttered a sound, radiation and dusted off, I could write a book, recruit tripped and fell, where they had EVERYTHING, Easiest way to get a Courts Martial, I thought my sh-t was together, it was an orphanage, we showed him, Best twenty I ever spent, junk on the bunk.

To All My Fellow Belleau Woodsmen

'Carry On, Marine!
Sgt Grit

The Power of Song

I suppose only a Marine would understand the physical stress, mental bombardment, coping skills and inner commitment required to make it through Marine Corps Boot Camp. I don't mean to lack humility but in raising a family to adulthood and in a twenty year career as a Texas Peace Officer I never once ran into a situation on or off the job that offered a GREATER challenge than Boot Camp in part or whole.

That said, put yourself in a second phase training situation at Edson Range. Isolated from everything and everyone you've ever known, faced with the daily grind of survival in the Boot Camp environment, the challenge of mastering the M-14... you get sick. I swelled up and red blotches covered my whole body. I hurt all over and had obviously become allergic to something.

For the first and only time I was separated from my Platoon when the Navy Medics picked me up and took me to a hospital. It was quickly determined that I had something minor and was waiting for transportation to be returned to my Platoon when mealtime arrived. I was allowed to go to the Navy Mess Hall where they had EVERYTHING I had been denied for the last seven weeks but I took only the rations I was used to. I sat eating my Spartan meal, throbbing all over and was at my lowest ebb when music started playing.

MUSIC. Not just ANY music but "our" song. My then girl-friend Sheila and I loved the song "Precious and Few" by Climax. It started playing and all my misery melted away. By the end of that song I was reminded who, where, when and why I was sitting there. I finished the meal, returned to my Platoon completely re-energized and went on to conquer Boot Camp, the Fleet and life.

Sheila didn't work out, Boot Camp will ALWAYS remain one of my major accomplishments in life but that magic two minutes and thirty-six seconds in the Mess Hall remains a memory I have yet to forget.

Sgt. Kevin Kjornes, '72 -'76.

Heavy Equipment

When I graduated high school I was 17 yrs. Old. My parents wouldn't sign to let me join the Corps so I had already signed all the papers and had to wait until I was 18 to go in. I worked (under age) on a union construction job building a bypass road around my little town. Every time the union rep showed up I had to run and hide.

I told the recruiter that I wanted to learn how to operate heavy equipment so I could go back to the company I was working for and run machinery. The recruiter told me to write heavy equipment operator 3 times, we had 3 lines to write in order the jobs we wanted in the Corps. He said that will almost guarantee it.

Well the Marine Corps almost kept their word, they put me through radio school 2531 field radio operator, sent me to the Nam, put me in an artillery battery, H/btry. 3rd Bn 12th Marines third Marine div. They put me in the field on a forward observer team to call artillery so I got to operate heavy equipment by long distance.

SEMPER FI, Bill Tinor

Old Dog Sgt

Sgt Chevron 0331 Tattoo
Old Dog Sgt. E-2-6 Weapons Plt. 1963-69.

See more Marine Corps Tattoos

Stupid Cart For VIPs

Sgt Grit,

I was stationed at MCAS Kaneohe Bay in 1954 and 1955. I was a member of VMF (AW) 214. I was the night Avionics maintenance chief. We were flying the F2H4 Banshee with the Hughes E-10 Radar. We were the demonstration squadron for visiting VIPs (which, being in Hawaii, was often). I had developed a system for testing the radars tracking ability by mounting a UPM-4 Radar echo test set onto a cart which could be moved around in front of a Banshee, allowing VIPs to lock onto and track targets.

I spent a lot of time pushing the stupid cart for VIPs. VMF-212 flew AD Skyraiders, VMF-232 flew Panthers then FJ-2 Furies (F-86 with a longer nose strut and folding wings). The F4Js came along later.

During 54/55 the Fourth Marine Regiment arrived. We had a lot of fun banging heads with them. We were better fighters, but they were in better shape. In our three rounder's, we would beat on them for two rounds until we were so tired we could not lift our arms, at which time they would punch us out!

It was also at this time the Fourth Marines and MAG 13 Helicopters developed the use of helicopters for combat. Each team of Marines had a little 75MM pack Howitzers which they strung under H-12 Marine Helicopters, when they were not running around the base dragging them. I could write a book about those two years.

Jim Reed S/SGT, 1948-52 and 54-55

From The Hip

Sgt Grit,
In reference to Too Old to see a 50yd. Target: While stationed at MCAS El Toro I served as Pistol Range NCOIC. Thoroughly enjoy my tour of duty there helping other Marines qualify with the .45 Pistol and in some cases the .38 Revolver.

Anyway, I seem to remember that the targets were set at 15yds and 25yds if my fading memory serves me correctly. Now, 50yds seems like a bit of a stretch. I'm sure that it can be done but for some reason the aforementioned distances seem right to me while I was there between 1973 to 1975.

I do remember helping a 2nd LT learn how to properly shoot as he seemed to "help the rounds down range" hit the dirt a lot. This was cause he jerked the trigger instead of squeezing it. Anyway, I asked him to check his weapon out during the lunch hour or during the afternoon and he and I would work on getting him qualified. We worked the rest of the week and on Friday he was very thrilled to qualify as a marksman shooter if I remember correctly. We didn't cheat one bit. If his bullet creased that line then he got the higher point. Sadly, I don't remember his name but maybe he's reading this newsletter

The MP's also came out often to fam fire with the shotgun. This was also a lot of fun. Especially when they had to fire from the "hip". The "hip" wasn't where one would think it would be but actually on the inside of the thigh. If properly held there you will not bruise your thigh with the kick of the 12gauge shotgun. Once, a WM came back for fam fire and stated that she ended up with a bruised thigh. I said, I'm sorry to hear that. This time hold that weapon a little tighter so it won't bruise your thigh. Never heard if it bruised her again or not though. I hope this will help, Too Old to see a 50 yd. Target.

Carl Conkling
Sgt of Marines
Pistol Range NCOIC
MCAS El Toro, CA
1973 - 1975

Count Four

Platoon 347, Oct--Dec 1958, Third battalion Q-huts. PI. After an afternoon of P-T and beating the other three platoons our Junior DI Sgt. Sherman called out the smokers for one cigarette only. He instructed us to bring out one match and the straw-paper striker box, pail and stand at attention and smoke by the numbers.

He said on the count of one to put the cigarette in in your lips, with the pail hanging on your left arm { for the ashes to be put in } count two light the match, count three light up and inhale. He told us we could only exhale on the count of four. As this was our first smoke since becoming platoon 347 you can imaging the coughing that was about to take place because the count of four was not coming. Those that coughed had their smoking lamp put out. After that day anytime the smoking lamp was lit the bucket was always used.

David A. LeVine Cpl. 2531 1690001

Haven't Heard

Sgt Grit: another outstanding Thursday motivational newsletter, thank you and your staff. I truly enjoy the stories, funny thing though, we still haven't heard any WM Corps time stories, kinda thought that hatch got opened up a while back. We are all Devil Dogs with a story of our service, so let's hear'em Ladies.

We've heard more about the bucket issue and their uses (as you were) instructional tool purposes, then we have about the silent, under recognized side of our beloved Marine Corps. Did the WM recruits get issued buckets?

Irish Pennant Scissors Enuf of my rambling, I suddenly am overcome with the urge to Irish pennant something.

SEMPER FI Devil Dogs. Cpl Radtke T.A. 85-89

Worst Meal

One of your writers mentioned the Navy Mess Hall at Treasure Island, California. I attended the Navy Electronics Technician School there (20 weeks) between October 1952 and March (maybe April, can't recall for sure) 1953.

The mess hall was huge, and the lines long - I kinda remember it being smoky. The food was AWFUL. I will say, that as a general rule the bigger the mess hall, the worse the food; at MCRD San Diego in the Spring/early summer of 1953 when I returned there for 12 weeks of Radar Repairman's school, my company shared a mess hall in the old arcade there with the MP company, and the food was excellent.

I will say that the worst meal I had in a Marine Corps mess hall was just a little bit better than the best meal I had in my high school cafeteria. But that doesn't apply to the Navy mess hall at Treasure Island.

-- Jerry Brookman (USMC '52-'55, served in Korea with 1st 90 mm. AAA Bn., released from active duty as Sgt. E-4).

Esprit de Corps

Sgt. Grit

As a former Marine and a current employee at a VA. I have a question for all the Marines who may read this newsletter. Do they still teach the meaning of Esprit de Corps ? What about the meaning of Semper Fidelis?

I have worked at our local VA medical center for 5 years and have NEVER and I mean NEVER seen one swinging ( active duty ) johnson come to visit our vets. I have made multiple requests up and down the chain of command with no results. I have started to believe that what we were taught in boot camp was just a load of words that our chain of command has no belief in themselves. It seems at every turn there is someone wanting to shoot my requests down due the fact that as a government employee I am not allowed to solicit the active military for visits of active duty personal.

To those who are serving now, these vets are the ones you learned about during those Marine Corps history classes. I am talking the heroes of Iwo Jima, Tarawa, Chosen Frozen Just remember "without them there is no us".

Thank you for letting me put my frustrations down on paper where someone may read them, and help change this B-----T.

Name withheld for obvious reasons.

You Need This

Hi Sgt Grit,

It's funny how reading other Marine's stories jogs one's memory. In July of 1983, I was in the last couple of weeks before graduation at MCRD San Diego. The drill instructors almost treated us like humans at this point.

One morning reville sounds and we all jump out of our racks and rush to our positions in front of our foot lockers. One of our junior drill instructors, SSgt Garcia, suddenly bursts out in laughter, saying a recruits name, Ziemba, then rushes into the duty hut. Well, private Ziemba had lined up at attention, full attention. He was standing there with morning wood poking out through the fly of his boxers.

SSgt Garcia then emerged from the duty hut with a pillow on which he drew a female face with a marker and big red open lips (kinda looked like a blowup doll face). He threw the pillow at Ziemba and said, "here, looks like you need this more than me!". It was amazing, nobody uttered a sound, except Ziemba who tried to readjust himself. Hey Chris, if you're out there give me a shout. Sgt Grit has my email.

You also asked if they still have a bucket issued. The reason I started the bucket issue discussion was because I didn't get one issued in 1983 and my buddy that was at MCRDSD in 1979 didn't either. I imagine it stopped when they had enough of the concrete hotels to put recruits into and the Quonset huts were abandoned.

Mike Winnie
Cpl 0311 USMCR
1983 - 1988

Junk On The Bunk

I was going thru some of the stuff I have saved over the years and found this photo with my other USMC mementos. You might remember these inspections. I copied the other inspection photos from the Handbook for Marines, published 1965 and issued to me at MCRD.

Arrangement of Marine combat gear on bunk bed When I checked into MAG 14, Cherry Point, Oct 1966 I was told there would be equipment inspection (Junk on the Bunk) the following Saturday morning. This photo was posted on the barracks bulletin board for reference and the equipment was to be arranged in this type of layout and display. I kept the photo for future reference and forgot I had it.

There was a Junk on the Bunk uniform inspection twice a year at the season changes (summer kaki's and winter greens). I arrived after the Fall uniform and clothing inspections so I was ordered to have all of my uniforms (Summer and Winter) properly marked, tailored, pressed, cleaned and folded inside the foot locker or hung inside my wall lockers for inspection by the Sgt Major. In effect I was having two inspections at once, uniforms and equipment.

Arrangement of Marine clothing on bunk bed In boot camp I was issued both cotton Kaki's and the newer synthetic fabric summer tropicals. Seldom did we wear anything but utilities, but the kakis' were inspected. Anything was better than trying to keep the kaki's sharp and starched in the hot humid months of summer. After an hour, the Kiki's were wrinkled and had lost the crease on the sleeves and on the trousers. The synthetic fabric stayed sharp.

All the clothing had your name ink stamped in a precise location. The rubber name stamp and ink pad was issued (we bought it) in boot camp. The only item that would not take an ink stamp were the socks.

Packs and Equipment - Marine's locked with uniform and gear As the inspection team moved thru the squad bay and barracks, each bunk, locker and foot locker was inspected. Sometimes an unfortunate Marine had to 'try on' an item of the uniform checking the fit and tailoring. Weapons and accompanying gear was given extra attention. There was always an assortment of questions asked to each Marine as the team inspected his 'junk on the bunk'.

These memories may be listing a bit off of true course, but this is the way I remember them.
Anyone with a different version, please add your memories.

M.N. Verhagen,
USMC 1966-70,

Glow In The Dark

March 8, 2012

Good Morning Sgt Grit - I really enjoy reading your newsletters. Keep up the Good work...

Regarding Ron Sundell PFC wondering about how many other MCTU#1 vets are left out there.

I was also stationed at MCTU#1 at Camp Horno, Camp Pendleton Calif. I was in the Disbursing Office, and Was transferred from 2nd Inf trng Unit a few miles from Camp Horno and was some of the 1st people to arrive as the Unit began. At the 2nd Inf Trng Unit, we were in Quonset Huts and at Camp Horno we had brand new structures. It is interesting one can pull up MCTU#1 at the following site (on wikipedia) and it tells much about the Unit:

The Disbursing Office flew out to Camp Desert Rock Nevada, and then went out thru the city of Mercury where a lot of scientists dwelled and a couple other places I can no longer remember, but we did witness an atomic bomb and it was great to read Ron Sundell's note regarding this experience as I've never known anyone else who had shared this.

We were in trenches and they said for us to get down on our haunches, in the event the trench caved in we could force ourselves up. I remember the flash showing everything in the bottom of the trench and the loud noise and out of the corner of my eyes could see rocks and dust etc., blowing over the top of the trench.

After a while they allowed us to look up and we could see the crackling fire ball rising up and then being blown off to the side. Some airplanes flew thru the clouds and we were able to walk up fairly close to where the bomb had gone off. Everything was roped off but there was nothing around the ground zero but dirt. We viewed some of the manikins and buildings, tanks, jeeps etc.. that had been burned and damaged. Was quite an experience. We were checked for radiation and dusted off. I remember many of us wondering if we would be sterile. Well I had 4 kids so guess it was ok, I tease my grandkids when the ask about it and I tell them that it did not affect me except that I glow in the dark.

Sgt D B Whiting - Disbursing
1427432 - 1953-1956

Third Eight Inch Howitzer

Sgt. Grit,

Photo of Tom's ride towards Danang Air Basic with the Third Eight Inch Howitzer sign disappearing in the distance I'm a little behind in reading the newsletter, but thought I would briefly comment on the topic of the "PC" (personnel carrier). My fond memory of that particular vehicle has me sitting on one of the bench seats under the canvas cover in the back, and watching the "Third Eight Inch Howitzer" sign (photo attached) disappear in the distance, as I headed for the Danang Air Basic (a few miles to the east) on 17 December 1967, to catch my "Freedom Bird" flight back to "The World" the next day.

(Note in reference to the photo: Although I live only about sixty miles from the beach resorts on South Padre Island, Texas, I hate sand to this day, and seldom spend any more time there than my family can talk me into.)

Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine.
Tom Downey
Vietnam 4Dec66-18Dec67

Short Rounds

My second day in Nam I met my company Gunny. He looked at me and shook his head, "Another FNG! Let me tell you something BOOT! I MADE E-7 when Christ was STILL A CORPORAL!"
Cpl. Z LIMA 3/9 68-69

Tomorrow 3/9/2012 will be 45 years since 64 of America's best youth, entered the halls of MCRD San Diego. It was a night never to be forgotten, and never will. Semper Fi to all of us from Platoon 141 C Co 1967. Keep watch over us Chesty.
PFC. Gene Darrow

When I went thru Parris Island in 1979 there were no buckets, but the old wash racks were still there. We used them for rifle cleaning.

Semper Fi
0311 1979-1983
Med float 2/6
NATO float 1/6
2 WestPacs 2/3

Thank you Sergeant. I had secretly been a smoker for a few years before I shipped off to PI at 17 years of age in 2001. I still remember the last cigarette I had before I left, out back of the hotel we were put up in before we took the van to MEPS. I remember the feeling of dread and thinking "My God, this is my last cigarette for 3 months..." So imagine my surprise when our initial gear issue included a plastic cigarette pack case, fully furnished with a notch for a book of matches! Imagine my further surprise when we were told that the case was for our emergency moleskin and sewing kit ONLY. Needless to say the smoking lamp was never lit for me.


Troops are requesting helmet pad kits at near record levels.

The helmet pads you help us buy and send combat troops operating in Afghanistan and around the world pass the same protective tests but are also comfortably conform to the warrior's head. With these helmet pads, head armor becomes a non-issue and troops are once again maximally protected.

Sgt. Grit, those where some great stories, my favorite was the dumb sh-t private that blew his thumb off. Yes there is always one or more dummies that make it tougher in boot Camp.
Semper Fi. Sgt. John Zink.

Sgt. Grit,

Love your newsletters. I have always wondered if the Instructors at ITR, if it is called that today, ever received any recognition for their duty assignment. I am just interested if you or anyone knows or has any information. I was an Instructor at ITR, Camp Geiger and later I was assigned to a special TAD traveling to Seabees' Bases, teaching Jungle Warfare and Weapons.

Sgt. Bill Craig
USMC 1965-1969

To the 2/3 Nam vet asking about yardage for the .45 Pistol targets in the March 8 newsletter. I first qualified with the .45 in 1984, and we shot at a maximum distance of 25 yards for qualification. There were four stages of fire from three distances; 7, 15, and 25 yards.

Semper Fi,
Joe Shirghio
GySgt (Ret), 77-00

I was still repairing the DUCK while I was stationed at MCSC in ALBANY, Ga. in 1966-68.
Thanks Sgt. Hatcher

Pete Kristall sent in info regarding MAG-13... just for info, MAG 13 was a helicopter unit at Marble Mts. in 65 to ???

Bob Yount RVN 64-66

Sgt. Grit: Some time in 1957 I was part of either B or D Co, 8th Motors stationed at Camp Geiger. Staff NCO had the company fall in on the black top next to the mess hall. SSgt asks for volunteers, no one moves and then he proceeds to pick every 3rd man. These Marines are then trained in driving D.U.K.W.'s and spent several months on a Med cruise. Sea stories galore and great liberty were had by all. The non-volunteers stayed put and pulled liberty in J-Ville. The only time I wished I had volunteered. It was still a great time to be an 18 or 19 year old PFC in the Corps. Cpl Rowe

This day fifty six years ago step down off the bus at MCRD SD. and met a really loud person, did not like us being there at this time and he did not like people taller than himself. That was my introduction to the Marine Corps, somehow I survived at made it thru boot camp and beyond, to this day it, will be with me all ways I do not know if I was old Corps, but I think just Corps, Have always enjoyed your writing keep up super work.

Cpl. David Langeslay 15622--
PLT 150 66- 63
Semper fi

Bucket/pail story... During boot camp, private received a stick of licorice, Drill Instructor tells him to get hot water in his pail and bring it to mail call. Private brings a half full pail and if I remember correctly we also used them on Sundays to sit on to clean rifles, shine boots. Anyway he was instructed to melt the candy and upon finishing the task he was to drink the buckets contents. The private looked like a guppy after all the h2o he drank. I also remember after all the running on some days we were instructed to fill them up will hot water and soak our feet in them... I still enjoy a good foot soaking to this day. SEMPER FI... Hotrod

Spoiled Me

In 1962 I was stationed at Camp Delmar, Camp Pendleton with 3rd Amtracs. My MOS was 2771 Radio Repair. It was a long ride from 1st Div Receiving in the back of a Dodge PC dropping others off at their assignments.

About 1900 I checked into the BN, the Staff Duty NCO was S/Sgt Johnson who was Motor T Sgt and was my former Senior DI at MCRD SD Plt 220. Found out a few days later that my Jr DI Sgt Turbeville was a cook in the BN messshall. The 3 of us were all in H&S Co 3rd Amtracs. Small World.

S/Sgt Johnson told me, the 3rd DI had taken some money from some recruits while we were at the range. He was a Chosin Marine SSgt and was given 6 mos and a BCD for this but was later reduced to L/Cpl with time served in Court Review.

We had 1 CO of Armored Amtracs with 105 Howitzers on them, 3 Cos of P5's (H&S, A, B) and 1 Co of Ducks. In 1963 the Ducks were taken to Vietnam and left there. The Armored Amtracs were disbanded in 1963.

Great duty, walk to O' Side, right on the beach, did a lot of surfing. Never walked anywhere, either rode in the P5 Command Tractor or a Duck. Spoiled me for any other duty station.

Cpl Gerry Schemel 61-64

My Cake

Bills 82 Birthday cake from Colin, Patty, Keven, Kelly Kenney made by Linda Sgt Grit-news letter
I would like to share my cake with you and your readers.
Semper Fi,
Bill Furey

DI Took The Bayonet

Remember PI, Remember buckets. Remember a recruit named Kelly. It was a time when the standards were a little lax. My SN 1457693.

I was a short 5'6" 150 pounder. Kelly was a short 5'7" 180 pounder (when he arrived). It wasn't long before the DI's were aware that I wasn't in bad condition, for a Reserve civilian, had to be with that stature. 100 push up's, (when I arrived) and a bit Gung Ho.

I had been in the Reserves after High School till my Dad and I convinced my Mother that I should go Active Duty. My only brother was in the Air Force, my only sister had Polio and my Dad had survived a bayoneting at Bellow Woods, he finished off his attacker.

Collusion to the nth degree. I would get in formation as close to Kelly as I could and start a conversation, pre-arranged with the DI, a short one of course as a DI would "catch us". OK, you two s--- heads, gimme 50. Kelly finally caught on one day while we were on the bayonet course and approached me with a thanks and Semper Fi. On graduation he was still 5'7" but 160 pounds of fighting Marine and looking forward to 0311.

As to promises when enlisting, none. When going active, was told a physical and mental course that some wouldn't make it through. It seems that near the end of Boot there was some type of aptitude test we took and on graduation there were 3 of us that got to choose duty.

The general's son (one h-ll of a Marine, got about 2/3rds of the way thru Boot before they found out who he was) took Embassy Duty, Steve, the Platoon Leader took Sea Duty, and I chose the Air Wing. Wound up in HRS' in Mag. 16, 3rd MAW, 6441, no longer in use. I'm leaving a few details out because of the next story.

Sometime after about the halfway mark of Boot, a recruit named Kirby was assigned "fire watch". About 0330 one of the DI's returned from a night in Beaufort, no further explanation needed, he looked for the "fire watch", was unable to find him. Went to the roster for the name. Called him.

No answer. Went to his rack and there he was sacked out, cartridge belt hanging on his rack. The DI took the bayonet, in scabbard, dragged the recruit out of his rack and pinned him against the wall with the scabbard at his neck. Other things took place. After morning formation the recruit went to sick bay to see about the injury to his neck. Later that day we (the general's son, unknown by the DIs till then, Steve, myself and two other squad leaders recalled "on paper" that the injury occurred as we broke formation and the recruit tripped and fell against the curb.

Well, that lasted till Kirby, not having been as yet instilled with Semper Fidelis, broke the true story. So now there we were five of us in front of the Old Man being read the articles of War. Signing a false Military Document was a serious charge and Leavenworth was not out of the question.

As he went down the line asking if we understood the charges, Johnson do you understand the charges? Sir yes Sir. Smith, do you understand the charges? Sir yes Sir. and so on till to the last man in line. I'll call him Wilson.

Wilson do you understand the charges? Sir Yes Sir. Wilson, that name rings a bell do you have any relatives in the Corps? Sir Yes Sir. What relation? Sir my father Sir. What's his rank? Sir Lt. General Sir. The very next words out of the Old Man's mouth were "Now I don't want you "boys" to ever do anything like this again. Dismissed."

The DI was Court Marshaled, found guilty, reduced to the rank of private, went to Leavenworth, can never attain rank higher than Cpl. Although I don't know this for a fact I understand he was given the choice of a Dishonorable Discharge or Leavenworth. He stayed in the Corps. SEMPER FI!

A post script. At his trial it came out that while in Korea and one night in a fox hole with his buddy on watch as he caught a few winks, a G--k came upon them, his buddy was asleep and had his throat cut. He bled out on the "DI" who was not seen by the G--k. I like to think I'm still alive because of what I learned from him and the other DIs.

R.W. Sumner

Should any one feel this rendition is not accurate, I would be happy to supply to Sgt. Grit, my Platoon #, dates, and the true names of the recruits involved.

I guess most are not with us anymore as I am 77. I still have my graduation book from Boot. And the General was the Asst. Commandant of the Marine Corps.

Perhaps Floyd Hutcheson, who said he was a DI at PI '53-'55 knew about this and could comment?

Changed Forever

Sgt. Grit, I finally have to comment on the Boot Camp Stories that are becoming so common in your News Letter. What most of these Marines telling their stories don't realize is that becoming a Drill Instructor, the first thing they teach you is that being a Drill Instructor is the Easiest way to get a Courts Martial. They provide Marines who are to become Drill Instructors with Information on what they cannot do. They cannot do all the things we read about these Young Marines have gone through and most of the things you read about is; "The First Liar Never Had a Chance".

If a Recruit (and they are told this prior to Boot Camp) makes a complaint about a Drill Instructor, an Investigation Starts with an Officer in Charge. They have Rules and Regulations they must follow and the Rules and Regulations are NOT on the Recruits side, believe it or not.

How tough is Boot Camp, it is probably the toughest time most young men of today go through, but amazingly enough the next three or four years are usually filled with Interesting and trying times. Boot Camp is what it is and it was changed forever by SSgt. Matthew C. McKeon's Courts Martial. It was changed in 1950 when President Harry Truman signed into Law the Equal Opportunity Law.

Even the Commandant General Randolf McCall Pate was worried when SSgt. McKeon's boots drowned in Ribbon Creek he was one of the first to condemn SSgt. McKeon, even with Chesty Puller testifying for SSgt. McKeon he was due to be convicted. He had been drinking earlier (a BIG NO NO for Drill Instructors on Duty) and he was lucky to get off with a Reduction in Rank to Corporal. He stayed in the USMC, I believe but not sure.

McKeons Commanding Officer was punished and transferred as were some other people, No Officer is going to allow someone to trample on his Career.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

Blood Shot

Here is another Bucket story for real. In my Platoon in boot camp the D. I. had said the smoking lamp was out, but one recruit tried to sneak a smoke anyway and was caught. His punishment was to get his carton of cig.s put 4 to 5 cig.s in his mouth and put the bucket over his head and his Blanket over that. then start smoking while inhaling the D. I. would punch him in the gut, this went on until all cig.s were gone.

When the bucket came off his eyes were blood shot and his face was stained brown from all the nicotine build up. This really happened because I was made to witness this ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT and that's the way it was at PLATOON 110 Jan. 1956 I have never smoked to this DAY I am now 74 yrs. old

Semper FI "YALL" Sgt. Bobby Pierce
Wpns. Co. 3rd Bn. 5th MARINE Reg.

Great Impression

Greetings and Salutations Sgt Grit.

I thank you for your newsletter each week. I really enjoy reading it.

Just a story relating the best April Fool's joke ever. Unfortunately, I was the jokee, not the joker. After graduating from San Diego MCRD, (Platoon 3097), in December of 76 then spending three months at DLI, (where I didn't exactly excel). I was checking in at MCB Camp Pendleton for duty with the MCX as a 4131. (A MOS phased out in late 79, except for a few.)

Being a "salty" PFC of this extended time in the Corps, I thought my sh-t was together. After checking in at the various units, I finally reported to the MCX Operations Office. The civilian receptionist directed me down the hall to Operations. Upon entering I noticed three Marines at desks. The Gunny was the only one in uniform so I, in the proscribed manner, locked up and reported in. The Gunny looked through my paperwork and called one of the others over, a Sgt, and showed my orders to him.

Both of them at that time shook their heads and the Gunny looked up at me and said "We don't want you, go back to the Company". Of course, this really confused me, but I took back my orders, did a smart about face and marched out of the office. Thinking I'll just go back to the H&S Company and it will all be sorted out.

I got about 15 ft down the hall and the Sgt yelled "Maxwell get in here". I turned around and beat it back to discover the three of them rolling on the deck in laughter. After a bit the Gunny said "April Fools stupid". That's when I realized I had made a great impression my first day as a real idiot.

Ernie (Max) Maxwell

Dead And Injured Children

I just got around to reading the story by Cpl. Norm Decicco about his time in An Hoa when Sgt. Grit was there, too. Norm said he spent a lot of time volunteering at the orphanage near An Hoa.

I was a gunner on one of HMM-262's CH-46 helicopters flying night medivacs out of Marble Mountain in August, 1970 near the end of my second tour in Nam. We got a radio message about 2 a.m. from the regional militia forces that the village was being hit by an artillery barrage. When we got there the artillery rounds were still coming in, but stopped as we made our approach to land.

It was a heart-breaking sight when we landed and were told that it was an orphanage that had been targeted. We had to make 2 trips out there to take all of the dead and injured children and staff members to the Navy Hospital in DaNang. It was reported in Stars and Stripes a few days later that the NVA did it on purpose to intimidate the local population and keep them away from the polling places in an upcoming election.

That must have been after Norm left or he would have mentioned it, but I write this because I thought he'd want to know.

former Sgt. Wayne Stovcik VMO-2, HML-367, and HMM-262

Not Marine Material

Sgt. Grit,

The unnamed dude who wrote "They could only" is full of Crap, and most likely never a Marine. I wish the Turd had left a name and could be found. Anyways, enough of that, he knows who and what he is. I wish I could have been a DI in his Platoon, his asz would still be dragging the ground!

Now, here's my story. In early Jan. 1962, a friend and I cut school to join the Navy on the Buddy Plan and shove off in June after graduation. Well, we were walking uptown to the Federal Courthouse in Charlotte, NC, and started to get the Jitters. We had a 09:00 apt. with a Navy Chief, but decided to go shoot pool for a couple hours first.

Two hours turned into three and we staggered into the Navy Recruiting Office at 12:15 ish hours. Needless to say, the Chief was out to lunch with a cardboard clock on his desk set to 13:00. With relief we sat on a bench by his Office and waited. It only took about five minutes for a Marine Gunny to walk by, look us over in disgust, and asked what we were doing.

We told him we were waiting for the Chief because we were going to join the Navy. He immediately replied, "Well it's a good D-mn thing you're joining the Navy, because you two are definitely not Marine material. Well, we showed him, and five minutes later we were downstairs in his Office signing away. I'll bet he and the Chief had a good laugh about that later. I'll also bet that that wasn't the first or last time the Gunny pulled that trick. No regrets, and thanks for a great Newsletter!

Preludes to my Jr. DI, Cpl. Taylor at Parris Island, "K" Co., Platoon 223 Sir. He went on to become a Stf/Sgt. and was KIA in Viet Nam in 1967, winning the Medal Of Honor for his Courage. OOH RAH and Semper FI, Sarge!

More stories about "K" Co., Plt. 223 MCRD PI, to come later.

Hanline, L/Cpl Ralph J., 2003536
Feb. 20, 1962 - Aug. 20, 1968
Once a Marine - Always a Marine!

Arrogance, My Asz, It's Pride, USMC.

Simulate A Sinking

Sgt. Grit;
Gibson, R. thinks that his D.U.K.W.'s went obsolete in 57. I was stationed at Camp Del Mar, Pendleton from 1958-62. Being in the "boat basin" and Shore Party, we had all the wonders of amphibious warfare around us. Two lots North was Amtracs and two lots South were the "Ducks"

They were in use on every practice landing I went on. They also had a huge creature called a L.A.R.C. Seemed to be twice the size of a Duck. My memories of the ducks were surf survival, where they took us out past the breakers and dumped us over the side to simulate a sinking landing craft and getting behind one in traffic. The co-driver always stood up and gave hand signals to the traffic behind.

Semper Fi
Myers, John K.
2nd Lnd Spt Co
"Red Patchers"


Sorry I did not sign my story about smoking. I'll try to do better this time. Also in Platoon 149 we had a Pvt Pete Butler from Houston, TX. I can't say that Pete ever screwed up but one time, since he was the series honor man.

Anyway, Pete had trouble with hand salutes. Seems his thumb liked to dangle. While on the big grinder, we were practicing hand salutes and the D.I. saw Pete's failure to follow the Marine Corps approved method and grabbed Pete's thumb and twisted. Everyone in the formation could hear that thumb break. The D.I.Just looked like that couldn't have happened, but only said one word "Sickbay" and Pete was gone. But not forgotten. I don't think anybody else ever had a problem with a hand salute.

I went to MCRD SD in June of 1964 Plt 149. We had several civilians in our platoon. A Pvt Washington that had to make emergency head calls while sounding his siren. A PVT Totten that wanted to be a flier, he had to make airplane noises everywhere he went. But back to the rest of the story...

While at Camp Mathews rifle range, a couple of recruits decided to go to the head and smoke after lights out thinking no one would know. Needless to say they were caught but nothing was said (at the time). Next morning at formation every one fell out with bucket in hand. the two culprits were called to the front of the formation and everybody else were told to sit on their buckets.

The two smokers were told to fill their buckets with water and return to the DI. Someone went to the mess hall for salt. The salt (probably a pound) was poured into each bucket the smokers then had to chain smoke a whole pack then drink one canteen cup of the salt water. You can guess what happened next. You best not puke on the DIs roadway, it better be in the bucket. Then another pack of smokes and another cup from the bucket (I would say water but it wasn't just water any more) Today I will guarantee these guys don't smoke.

PLT 149 1964
VIET NAM 1965-1966
1/9/3 AND 2/9/3

Nobody Budged

My first permanent duty station after Field Radio Telegraph school was M.C.A.S., Mag 32, Mabs 32, Comm., Beaufort. It was a total shock. A ground radio unit had no function with the Wing.

We made formation in the morning, after noon chow and at end of the day. Aside from these three requirements, we had no structure. Our comm shack was at the end of the runway, in the boonies away from prying eyes. The lifers played pinochle all day, every day. The snuffies could go upstairs and sleep it off on the battery boxes or check out to the P.X. or swimming pool. We would b-tch when the Top would make us fall out for volleyball.

One morning, in March of 1971, after being unable to doze off on my favorite battery box, I walked to the opening topside (no window-shutter)and took a look around. At that instant, I saw a convoy of green sedans with lots of brass inside pulling into our parking lot. A surprise inspection. I tried to arouse my fellow Marines to no avail as I ran screaming down the stairwell to alert the card playing lifers. I broke through the door and Top immediately said "Bates, for your sake ,I hope this is important". I couldn't articulate and just stammered loudly to the amusement of all.

Just then,the base C.O. walked past the window with his green pisscutter with that big silver eagle. The cards flew into the air from all hands and the Col. walked into the office just before they all had settled to the ground. The base Sgt. Major followed by the Base X.O. followed by seven more career types crowded in. I wanted no part of this. I was able to slip out unnoticed and ran topside to warn the others. I was ignored. The Col. appeared at the hatch with a look of disgust at the sight he saw. I sounded off "Ten Hut" and greeted the Col. Nobody budged or said a word. He just turned away and returned to the office to do his job.

The Top was retired almost immediately. Sgts. and above were transferred, quickly.

2nd. Lt. Pastel showed up the next day in his classic blue Crosley station wagon to provide us with structure. We painted everything. We ran hurricane lines from the parking area to the comm shack and painted those as well (red and white alternating every 18 inches for enhanced visibility). Lt. Pastel was very creative. It was time for me to move on

I paid $20.00 to an acquaintance in admin to get me transferred. Best twenty I ever spent in my life.

R/S Cpl. Dick Bates


In '64-70, the .45 qualification targets were at 25 yards and 50 yards. Timed fire and rapid (ragged) fire were at 25 yards. Slow fire was at 50 yards. Timed fire was 20 seconds for 5 shots; reload and shoot 3 more sequences again for a total of 20 shots. Rapid fire, which we called ragged fire, was 10 seconds for 5 shots; reload and shoot 3 more sequences again for a total of 20 rounds. Slow fire was 10 shots at 50 yards, total time limit of 10 minutes. Total possible points were 500. This was in keeping with the 500 point rifle qualification, later changed to 600 points.

Most qualified with the 1911A1, .45 caliber pistol; some officers used the Model 10 Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver, as it was their carry weapon when flying.

Bill Wilson
3rd MAW Rifle & Pistol Team


Chow, my favorite subject. Somewhere about halfway through boot camp, we were A-H to B-B for noon chow and I heard my name called by the Platoon Commander. "Private Downen, front and center!. On the double!" My first thought was, "Oh, sh-t! What did I do." I tried very hard to keep a low profile during boot camp and stay out of the sights of the Drill Instructors. My mind raced as I double timed to the front of the line where S/Sgt Way stood, with certain doom in his eyes.

"Sir, Private Downen, Platoon 145 reporting as ordered. Sir!"

"Private Downen from now on, I want you in the front of this chow line at every meal and don't ever let me see you be the last one out of the chow hall again!"

What? What had I just heard? Could this be true? First one in line for chow? I had just died and gone to heaven. You see, I was not only a chow hound, I was a slow eater and it was a real challenge for me to finish my meal in the time allotted. From that day forward, the platoon would still be half to two-thirds formed by the time I got out of the chow hall to join them but I made d-mned sure I wasn't the last.

Marine Corps chow ran the gambit from pretty bad to pretty good but the worst chow hall I ever ate in was a Navy trough. When I found that after ITR, I was to be stationed at Port Hueneme Seabee base up by Oxnard CA, my expectations were pretty high. The Navy? The food should be pretty good, no? NO! Bad stuff. They must have lost their cooks and pressed heavy equipment operators into service in their place.

The best I ever had consistently was on an Army base. We went to Ft. Bliss Texas for HAWK Missile CW Radar School in March of '64. I reported in a little before noon and was told to head over to the mess hall and get some lunch, then report back. I walked in and WOW! Real plates and four man tables with table cloths. For enlisted personnel? I must be in the wrong place. Nope! I was in the right place. Got my food and it was good. Another surprise because my expectations for Army chow had been pretty low.

When I finished, I picked up my tray (fiberglass, not a Marine Corps stainless steel job) and one of the Doggies at the table said, "What are you doing?" I didn't understand the question. "I'm taking my tray to the scullery," I says. He says, "leave it. The Mexicans will get it." That's when I noticed everyone working in the mess hall was a civilian. It just got better from there.

Ft. Bliss was the best duty station I had during my enlistment. No fences. No gates. No liberty cards. Straggle to class instead of marching in formation. It was almost like being a civilian which ended up getting me in trouble with the Gunny but that's a story I'll save until I know you better.

Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.
Jerry D.

Good Old Marine Corps Armorers

I have to call time out with PFC Thorpe and his "accidental discharge" of the M-14 rifle at the range.

The last year I was in the Corps, that would be 1970-1971, I was a Sergeant, and Senior Instructor, NCO Leadership School, MCAS BEAUFORT SC. I taught four classes. Two of which was the M1911-A1 Semi-automatic Pistol, and I taught the, you guessed it, M14 Rifle, along with Battlefield First Aid, and another subject I just cannot remember. We were still using the M-14 at Beaufort in 1971. They told us that the M-16's were being used in boot camp and Nam.

I really remember the M-14 very well. I fired expert with it every time I had to qualify with it. That included MCRD SAN DIEGO, 1967-1968. It is my very most favorite rifle in the whole world. I did not see an M-16 until I got to Nam in 1969. I am willing to state that the weapon cannot be fired in the manner in which was described. First of all, if the bolt was locked in the rearward position, the round would have fallen out of the chamber when the weapon was firmly brought to "Order Arms." Then the rifle, AT BEST, would have caught the falling round and most likely have jammed. Also, the trigger would have had to have been pulled with the round chambered, and with the bolt firmly rotated and locked in the forward position for the firing pin to connect with the round.

So, if someone can tell me I am wrong about this, I am willing to be corrected. But I would stake my six year Marine Corps career that I am correct.

Let me hear from some of those good old Marine Corps Armorers out there.

And another thing. In response the "ME" letter, I would like to meet the Drill Instructor that was soooo stupid that he would not have noticed someone breaking ranks, slipping up front to the squad leaders, and having time to button their ponchos together and then get BACK into ranks and not be seen by that obviously "Stupid, Blind," Drill Instructor. I never met a Drill Instructor like THAT! It certainly wasn't one of MY Drill Instructors. H-ll, they caught me every time I screwed up, and sometimes even when I didn't! I guess I have to call "ME" out on that one. I smell some bull in here somewhere.

I can't tell you how much this forum means to us. I have hooked up with some of the very best Marines I ever had the great fortune to serve with because they saw some of my letters posted in your Newsletter. For that, I could never repay you. Priceless.

Chuck Brewer, 1967-1973, Sergeant of Marines, MOS 6511 Aviation Ordnance, Vietnam 1969-1970, MABS-16 Ordnance MCAS Marble Mountain, Vietnam 1969-1970, Door Gunner HMM-263 1970, Senior Instructor NCO Leadership MCAS Beaufort SC 1971. IYAOYAS OOHRAH!

Now there is another way to find your buddies.... It's easy and it's free. Join the Sgt Grit Buddy Search

Give Me My Water

I arrived at MCRD on July 2nd, 1958. The first military item that we received was our bucket. The uses for the bucket have been well described by others. My story involves my drill instructor's bucket. One afternoon I heard the platoon passing the word "Pvt. Meade to the duty hut!" I doubled timed it to the duty hut, pounded the door jam as hard as I could and screamed, "Sir! Pvt. Meade Platoon 354 requests permission to enter the duty hut, sir!" My D.I. replied, "Enter maggot! I entered and he screamed, where's the bucket? I replied that I didn't bring the bucket, but I would get it.

I doubled timed it back to my hut, grabbed my bucket, and double timed it back to the duty hut. After requesting permission to enter, my D.I. looked at me like I was crazy and screamed "My bucket, not your g.. D.. Bucket! I was totally confused until he pointed to a bucket that was next to his desk.

The other 2 D.I.s started laughing and my D.I. ordered me to fill his bucket with water and fill it now! I ran to the wash racks, filled the bucket, ran back to the duty hut and requested permission to enter. My D.I. ignored me. I again requested permission to enter but that was also ignored. The other D.I.s started to laugh in earnest. I was finally allowed to enter.

My D.I. asked what I wanted and I replied that I had returned with the water he requested. The other D.I. s were laughing so hard, I could hardly hear my D.I. speak. He said "ok, give me my water" and when I gave him the bucket, it was empty. I was so shocked and scared, I thought I would pass out. I looked from the D.I. to my bucket and from my bucket to my D.I. with a look of shock. My D.I. tried to say something but started to laugh so hard that he started to gag. The other D.I.s were convulsed in laughter.

I stood at attention, keeping my eye on the eye on the D.I.'s wall, for what seemed like an hour. When the laughter stopped, my D.I. handed me the bucket and pointed to the bottom. The bucket had about eight small holes drilled in the bottom and was dry as a bone. When he was able to catch his breath, he told me to get my butt back to my hut. I grabbed my bucket and high tailed it back to my hut. I often wonder how many times he pulled that stunt.

L/Cpl Bill Meade '58-'64
1820498 0311

Underwater Swimmers School

ATTENTION, All Marines that Attended the U.S. Naval School Underwater Swimmers, Key West, Florida, welcomed its first class in 1954 and trained over 6000 divers before officially closing its doors in l973. Students came from all branches of the U.S. military, from several civilian government departments, and from allied forces. Former staff and students look back on their days at UWSS with pride and fond memories and we would like to include more Marines.

At this moment, we are looking for ALL the U.S. Marines that attended this school. We were Recon Marines, Force Recon Marines, Anglico Marines, E.O.D. Marines and others. Our next Reunion in Panama City in 2013. The United States Navy would be proud to have more Marines attend.

If you are one of the Marines that attended this school, ( Please contact Gerry Flowers, USMC, or Bob Holmes, SEAL Team 2 at
Gerry Flowers USMC / Vietnam / 0311 / 8654

Japanese Peace Treaty

I was a PFC in the Security Division at Marine Corps Headquarters, Dept. of the Pacific, 100 Harrison St., San Francisco, in l952 when the US Japanese peace treaty was signed in SF. One enlisted man from each branch of the service was selected to represented those who fought in WW II at the ceremony. I was only a year or less out of boot camp.

One Sat. AM the duty Sgt woke me and told me to put on my best greens and a car would pick me up. To make a long story short, I was the MC enlisted Rep, along with seasoned vets from the other branches of the service at the signing of the treaty. I don't know if it just slipped through the cracks of the MC bureaucracy and they neglected to pick someone who actually fought in WW II or if they figured any Marine would do. (Our duties at the treaty signing were somewhat ceremonial: escorting dignitaries, etc.)

I should have mentioned in my story about the signing of the treaty that I was standing sentry duty at the offices of Gen. Robilard and Gen. Arnold---many will remember them, perhaps. Gen Arnold liked it when I clicked my heels when saluting him; Gen Robilard jumped when I did that. I had to remember which I was saluting!

Patrick Hayden (I'm quite sure Gen. Robilard was WW I vet; he wore wings, so had been a pilot.)

Platoon 145 (1965)

The reunion is being sponsored by Platoon 145 (1965) and is taking place in Prescott, AZ. The date is July 6th. The host hotel is the Prescott Resort and Convention Center. Banquet is open to any Arizona Marine, past or present.

Contact info is:
Chuck Thomas

See more upcoming reunions or post your reunion

You're Smart Enough

Good evening SGT GRIT,

Love your newsletter, read every Thurs whether in class or at work! A fairly recent story about guaranteed MOSs...

I entered the DEP June after graduating HS earlier that year after a thunderstorm ended a day at the quarry early in 2006, my father was a Marine in the early 80s and I sure as heck wasn't going to college. My recruiter Sgt Keller at the time was one of the best men I came to know and represent the USMC. He smiled as you walked in and waited for you to speak first.

Once you mentioned you were interested in what the Marines had to offer you his first question was how serious you were about it. If anything other lower than a serious or pretty sure was uttered you were greeted by a "Get the H-LL out of MY office!". Other than that he was fair and just, and did not lie to you if you did not lie to him. At the time I was interested in fixed wing maintenance in the Air Wing before I knew how nasty and disgusting those Marines are (all in good fun gents). Scored an 22 on the ACT while drunk and had an ASVAB above 80, so the contract was written A4 as a guaranteed MOS field. Tried to send me a few months earlier than my ship date, ended up being too much of a porker so I left on my original date in Dec.

While at MEPS the OIC there said the MOS was filled for that time of year so he would put me in another field dealing with mechanics. I tactfully said no thank you sir, might as well put me in the 03 field. He said "No son, you're smart enough to get almost any job you want and are smart enough to know you want a trade you can use when your active duty is up, we'll put you in the B8 field. There you can be a mechanic or even Crash/Fire Rescue." I b-tched and moaned to Sgt Keller, himself being a decorated 03, and I saw and heard him argue with the OIC. Sgt Keller had a way with colorful language, but to no avail.

Moral of the story is a black ball point pen can change your MOS on the fly and is mightier than the toughest Marine or so I thought. Thankfully I had the B8 option and became a 2141. YAT YAS! Though the OIC changed my MOS, he did not change the active duty commitment from 5 back to 4 years, that was another battle I had to face while in the fleet.

Regardless. after stepping on the yellow footprints at P.I. in Dec of '06 and being part of a small and dwindling community of AmTrackers I am proud. Proud of the AAV and its love/hate relationship with every Marine including us 1833/2141s, and proud of our legacy as being "Crazy A** Trackers" that did so much more than carry troops and supplies ship to shore.

"Saepius Exertus...Semper Fidelis...Frater Infinitas"
-Often Tested... Always Faithful... Brothers Forever...

Sgt Cardenas, Samuel J/0164
2141/0933 2AABN

P.S. Never issued buckets, but a lot of other crap.

And for Marines and family a special yearly gathering for Ohio vets, This year the Marine Corps League-Lou Diamond Det 272 will be hosting its annual Landing Party Breakfast, April 22. BEER, steak, eggs, BEER, M1 Garand raffle,0700-1130. Honored guest this year is another WWII vet, he witnessed both flag raisings on Mt. Suribachi. Tickets $25, buy early and at the door. Sommerset Hall, 2458 Tremainsville Rd ,Toledo, Ohio

POCs- Ron Schramm 419 666 3430
or Don Mooney 734 848 2820
or Dennis Rodriguez 419 265 1774

***Deactivation of 5th Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2d Marine Division

Did you serve with the "Forgotten Battalion" during WWII or what would later become 5/10 after 1978?

Former Marines of 3/10 (Guadalcanal and Tarawa), 2d 155mm Howitzer Battalion (Saipan, Guam, Iwo Jima), and 5/10 (Desert Shield/Desert Storm, OIF, OEF) are cordially invited to the deactivation ceremony for 5th Battalion, 10th Marines on June 1st at MCB Camp Lejeune, time TBD.

For more information contact Captain Christopher Rhinehart at (910) 450-8009 ( or Mrs. Nancy Wike at (910) 450-8034 (

Oil Drums In A Sling

Hi Skip,

Callahan questioned the Chopper flying with the oil drums in a sling under the Bird. It was one of the first of a learning cycle flights to be made in Korea By HMR-161. The Sikorsky HRS-1's had a capacity of 5 in the lower section and one of the 5 was the crew man running the show from that deck. The pilot was up above and normally had a co-pilot in the right seat. This was not always true and I don't know whether it was for a weight savings or what but more times than not there was no copilot. I was one of the parachute riggers in HMR-161 and sewed the sling that is holding the drums in question.

The aircraft were not even constructed in December of 1950 and HMR-161 started forming up in February of 1951. We were shipped to Korea in August of that year and much was done with more flying by the seat of our pants that any one would ever think possible.

Near 50 % of the squadron were from Georgia, Alabama Mississippi and Louisiana. All reserves. The Regulars were Salts with WW2 war fighting experience from Guadalcanal to VJ Day. We even had 2 Bataan Death March survivors and the rest of the Squadron was from all over the rest of the 48.

Harry Truman didn't know it but HMR-161 had already started to be integrated as we had a Negro cook. Of course at that time not to many of the southerners didn't take to him living in the same tent as they did, nor using the same slit trench as they did. It took an 18 year old from Chicago area to point out to all of the Squadron that he noticed that they all ate his cooking and were loving it. I loved pointing that fact out and found that after a couple of months that there were some guys even playing cards with him. Of course he always had some extra cookies in his tent. But that is another story.

The First replacement operation I believe was called Stinger. In about 5 hours we transported about 1 thousand Crunchers to the line and delivered a few less than that to the rear area.

The area for departure to the line was made up of some rice paddies where some of the Long toms as we Airedales called them. The guns were moving up closer to the line also. The move out started at first light and it was cold so some guy dragged up some branches and started a warming fire. Problem was that he placed the fire over a couple of Fragmentation Grenades. Three guys carried some iron to the Squadrons Corpsman and had it removed. 2 of the guys had serious wounds and didn't get to ride in a Helicopter to get to the line. One of those complained of not getting the ride but was glad that he got his third Purple Heart as he said it meant he was out of "GonaKorea" with number three. He did get a ride in the Chopper the next day with a couple of others. We took them all to the U.S.S. Consolation.

Near the gate to Quantico there is a Marine Corps Museum. There is one of the HRS-1 in a panorama with Marines exiting it. The museum is new and I suggest it as a place to visit.

Now I have a question for Callahan. When I came back to the states I was stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Training center Brig as one of the Sergeant of the Guards. Is he the Marine that I sold my Blues?
Semper Fi,

He Informed Me

Sgt Grit,
I wonder if any others ever did something like this. After about a week at boot camp at MCRD SD - it felt like about a month - I lay in my bunk just after lights-out and commenced my nightly silent prayers thusly, "Sir, the private requests permission to speak to God, Sir!"

The senior drill instructor of the second platoon I was in (I got set back after a stay in the hospital for double pneumonia) was one of the finest gentlemen and outstanding men I have ever encountered anywhere. Around Thanksgiving I received a care package from home containing some of my mom's homemade chocolate/cocoanut cookies.

After mail call I was called into the duty hut where it was explained to me that it was not acceptable to received baked goods from home during boot camp and that I was to immediately write a letter home explaining this to my mom. My senior drill instructor then told me that these cookies would be placed in his safe until after graduation, then returned to me on that day. He asked my permission to taste one of the cookies, which I immediately granted. After the smallest of bites he informed me that my mom was a very good cook, indeed! True to his word, those cookies were returned to me on graduation day with not so much as gram of cookie missing. He set the standard for honesty and honorable behavior that I have spent my entire adulthood trying to live up to. Unfortunately, in my feeble-mind dotage I have forgotten the names of all my former Drill Instructors, but I have never forgotten their lessons.

Semper Fi
R. Dickerson 2610103

The ONE Keeping Score

Wow!... big one! (as she said... in my dreams...) (the 2/23 newsletter... that is...

Enjoyed the Chaplain bits... 3/5 Chaplain early '66 was a Baptist (I think...) name of Frank Baggett (sp?)... great guy... if we were in the bush, he was in the bush, and he was an OLD guy (must've been over 40)... always good for a stick of gum, usually Doublemint... must've carried 10 lbs of the stuff.

Operation Colorado, Tam Ky area... we (Kilo) had been flown in, after dark, to reinforce 1/5... afternoon of the next day, we were in some odd inner-ring sort of position around 1/5 CP (and the hamlet well... not all bad... )... word came down to dig in, this was it for the night.

As I looked over a paddy toward a tree line (dark green), I saw four of the finest (1st Platoon... of which I was the Platoon Sergeant), digging their holes. They had removed their shirts (we never wore skivvies... tee-shirt the absolutely fastest way to a nasty dose of heat rash)... and were quite pale against the deep green background, so I mentioned, quite casually, as any former DI, 0369 SSGT might, that it might be a really, really good idea if they were to re-don their upper garments with alacrity, lest they become targets du jour for any slope-headed hostile Asian personage lurking about with an itchy trigger finger... or ... words to that effect, as the legal beagles would say...

Satisfied with the performance of that duty, I turned to some other task, only to bump into the Chaplain, who had to have heard the entire tirade. Somewhat sheepishly, I stammered "ah... sorry 'bout that, Chaplain... "... he just smiled, pointed upwards with his right index finger, and said "It's alright... I'M not the ONE keeping score"... game, set, match.

Several mentions of the Breckinridge, some of the Mitchell (troop ships)... 2/1 went TransPac to Okinawa on the USNS Hugh N. Gaffey in '59... laid down about '45, intended originally to transport 5,000 troops... we had around 1,500 Marines on board... and a bunch of Army and Air Force dependents who were headed for mainland Japan... not a good combination at all.

We were not allowed on any of the upper decks, other than the forward and aft weather decks, could not be shirtless topside, etc. In order to go from the forward weather deck to the aft, we had to go via the passageways below decks. The forward ladder well on the starboard side had a couple of levels... down to a landing, change direction, proceed on down, etc. On the bulkhead at the landing, on the side that would have been amidships, was a hole... about one-eighth inch diameter, no apparent use or reason. It got to be a running joke to stop briefly and eyeball the hole... claiming that there was some sort of feminine pulchritude on the other side... which, of course, there wasn't... but then, we had a LOT of time to kill... you don't appreciate the size of the Pacific Ocean until you have proceeded across it at 20 knots, 24 hours a day... for about two weeks.

Somewhere in the Pacific, maybe a day or two beyond our brief stop in Hawaii, one of our number became glued to the peephole... he swore that the peephole just happened to be at the back of a closet in one of the dependent's staterooms, and he just happened to be there when the closet doors opened, and there stood an unclothed female of marriageable age, sorting through the clothes hung there... that ladder well became a safety hazard for the rest of the trip... besides impeding any foot traffic, there were more than a few pushing tussles and disagreements over 'turns'...

This ship also had, athwart the stern, a chapel, seating maybe 50-60 at a time... all hands were scheduled to attend, at one time or another, a lecture... it fell the 106 RR Platoon's lot to be the audience for the Bn Catholic Chaplain... who shocked us all... I mean, we expected lightening to strike and sink the ship!... when the Chaplain advised that he was (more or less) just like us... and woke up every morning with that which we were all sure would never happen to a celibate man of the cloth... I mean... after all... what would he do with it?????

USNS, ships, by the way, were Navy-owned, usually had an all civilian crew... no weapons, just a transport... saw the Gaffey in a floating dry dock in the Alameda estuary in the 80's... years after I'd expected her to have been made into razor blades...

Been a long time, but from memory, .45 cal (M1911A1) pistol courses of fire were 15 and 25 yards... slow or timed fire from both distances, 'bobbing' (target turned away, then back... 3 seconds each cycle) at 15, on a Dog (for 'D) target... silhouette type... 40 rounds for the course. All bets off if we're talking 9MM... after my time... but would expect 50 'meters' (yards being obsolete) with the M9 to be from a bench rest... being Army and all, (ARMY = Aint Ready to be a Marine Yet)...

"Sir!... the maximum effective range of the U.S. Pistol, Caliber .45, M1911A1 is 25 yards, Sir!" (I always figured 25 yards was about as far as I could throw one with any hope of hitting anyone... have a couple, keep'em handy, TN being a 'shall issue' state... one resides in a shiny USMC 'tanker's holster'... (from Grit, of course... )

'An unloaded pistol bears a strong resemblance to a shiny rock, and is about as effective"... message from a carry permit instructor...

Was, as we say in these parts 'burning a few' at the Guns & Leather store range... some mighty big booms coming from the next lane... all done, had to ask... guy said it was a .50 cal pistol, Christmas present from his wife (that! is true love!)... had to tell him that from the sound, I was half-expecting to find a FO and a radio operator over there with him... forget the make, may have been a Desert Eagle...

One of my DI's (1957) spent two years in 'a retraining command' (brig... Camp Elliot, across the Interstate from MCAS Miramar) for 'financial dillin' (he was from OK)... raffles, got married (every platoon), etc... heard of others (sheet rental fee) $1/week X 75 recruits = serious bucks when a Sgt made $325/mo. CID busted one with a question to the wife: "Does your husband ever bring home extra money?"... "Well, just the graduation bonus at the end of each platoon"... Buh-Bye!

(Very) condensed version of DI school: "Don't hit'em, don't haze'em, and DON'T TAKE Their Money !"... well, they throw some drill and stuff in there too, but those are oft-repeated main points.



"An important art of politicians is to find new names for institutions which under old names have become odious to the public."
--French diplomat Talleyrand (1754-1838)

"Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them;... The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
--Frederick Douglass

"No diet will remove all the fat from your body because the brain is entirely fat. Without a brain you might look good, but all you could do is run for public office."
-- Covert Bailey

"The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other."
--Ronald Reagan

"Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest."
--Mark Twain

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

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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Oklahoma City, OK 73179
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