Here are some pictures of a mighty mite. It's a civilian now but pretty well kept. They must have made their entrance in late 1960 or early 1961. This one has E-2-5 on the back. Must be echo 2nd Bn 5th Marines. I saw my first one on Camp Hauge in 1960.
Cpl Thomas Loch
Camp Hauge Okinawa 1959-60
From the tans it is easy to tell who is the FNG. Most of us were a bit in awe, scared, naive, tentative when we first got in-country. Being the 18-21 year old, battle hardened, E-5 and below, Snuffy Country warriors we were we had some fun with the FNG's. After a few beers at what we called our club. Warm beer and soda at $0.15 each no choice of brand, just what was there. We would return to our hooch area and begin the trial of the offending FNG.
We would grab him and tie him up. We would each take a place as Judge, jury, defender, prosecutor, spectators. The judge would bring the trial to order and ramble off a list random FNG offenses. Most revolved around just existing. The prosecutor would follow with his list of offenses many the same and add his own twist. Then the defense attorney would stand and address the judge, prosecutor, jury, spectators and without any rebuttal and with great fanfare... The Defense Rests!
Of course the FNG has been getting increasingly concerned as all this plays out from hardened Nam Marines, eyes big, pulse up, skin flush, trying to get untied. The Judge stands again without any discussion looks to the jury for a verdict... HANG'EM! Judge, jury, prosecutor, defense, and spectators drag the FNG out to a spot with an overhang, throw a rope over it and fake a hangin'.
Great fun. Some FNG's figured it out and played along, some really thought a bunch of drunk, hardened warriors were going to hang them.
Sgt "hang'em high" Grit
Sgt Grit Staff visits MSgt Alfonzo Burris
(Assisted living center, Norman, OK)
We recently had the pleasure of visiting one of our loyal customers and friends, MSgt Alfonzo Burris, WWII Navy Veteran, and Korea Marine Corps Veteran.
MSgt Burris has been a long time walk-in customer of Sgt Grit's. He always comes in with a smile, stops at every station to say hi, and leaves us with some chocolates that he gets only from Hawaii. Burris, as we call him, met his lovely bride while stationed in Hawaii. The two of them came into the store from time to time and we left our seats to greet them every time. MSgt is a joker, he loves to stir up fun and put a little Marine Corps spin on things while doing it. (Language).
Recently he and his wife moved into an assisted living center and on July 4th, he lost his lovely wife of 66 years to a fall. That was when we knew, we needed to pay him a visit. It was 1000 hours. We approached his doorway and knocked, there was no answer. We knocked again, (he was expecting us), no answer. We decided to take a chance and turn the handle to peek in, we called his name, no answer. We could see across the room that his back door was cracked open slightly; he must be on the patio.
So we walked in and went straight to the patio, opened the door and there he sat, enjoying the sunshine and a cup of sake. Yep that is a daily nutritional essential for Burris. Just a small cup a day keeps the doctor away. He offered us some sake, which we had never tasted, and then tried to give us refills; well one of us did partake of that refill. No names please. He was so happy to see us. We came bearing gifts from Sgt Grit which he quickly sat out for display among the other Marine Corps swag.
We sat down and enjoyed about a 2 hour conversation with him. The sky was the limit. We talked about service, his wife, his children and grandchildren and we talked about the good stuff. Marine Stories and assisted living center stories. Would you believe he has to fight those women off with a stick and he isn't afraid to use an actual stick, he is Marine; tell it like it is, all the way.
He says the larger women in particular fight for his attention in the mess hall. He just waves his hand at them as to tell them, go away, leave me alone; I am a Marine, I have standards you know. One lady down the hall asked him, "will you walk with me?" He said, "H-ll No I won't walk with you, find someone else." The truth is, none of these women could ever stack up to his lovely bride Janet.
As much as we wanted to stay and drink sake, and hear stories, the party was soon crashed by a knock at the door. It was the Chaplain coming for a visit. We decided it was a good time to leave and let him enjoy his visitor. Burris was the perfect Marine gentleman. He offered to walk us all the way to the car, but not before telling the Priest, "Padre, I will be right back, stay and enjoy some sake, but don't drink the whole bottle." He walked us out and tears filled all of our eyes. He waved until we drove out of site.
Forever in our thoughts,
The Sgt Grit Staff
MCAF Santa Ana
My first duty station turned out to be my only duty station (66-69). It is strange how a Parris Island Marine ended up in California, but it was a great duty and a wonderful place to live. The pictures are of MCAF Santa Ana around 1965. The hanger on the left (closes to the main gate) is where H&MS-30 had its parachute shop but most of the "hams" offices were in the hanger on the right.
The only other base that had blimp hangers that I know of was NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey. This famous base (the Hindenburg crashed there) was where I went to Parachute Rigger A school in early 1966.
Sgt J. H. Quick
Too Many Laws
I wanted to thank you for making so many Marine items available. I've been riding motorcycles for years and I added a four inch patch on my last riding shirt and got quite a few comments. So, I found this OD shirt at Cabela's and my wife added the patches I ordered. She also added the yoke design because "Everywhere we go, people want to know, who we are, so we tell them." My only regret is that I forgot my single hash mark.
I only did one four year enlistment so I never got to put one on my uniform. Hope I'm not breaking too many laws by wearing my rank insignia.
It's been 26 years since my first tattoo of a bada-- bulldog. I paid $50.00 bucks for in 29 stumps... to keep with my dad's game, upper left shoulder... now, all those years later, I have my EGA on my forearm. Only one more to go dad.
This is my dedication to our fallen brothers from 1/8 killed in Lebanon 23 Oct 1983, and to my nephew LCpl Cottle and his pals in the Fallujah raid. Semper Fidelis to all of the rest of the hundreds of thousands of those who've paid the price. Especially those in Chu Lai 1/7 1965...
Hilton, James E.
Cpl of Marines 1986-1991
Navajo Code Talker
If you get to see one of these guys... you are a lucky MARINE... just like me.
God Bless the Marine Corps
Daniel "Dann" Munoz
Just reading the latest newsletter and got a few "contacts".
Mike Gollhur wants a hand signal - so do I! About the best I have found is to roll the window down and sing out with an INCREDIBLY strong ooh rah! Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
The "hook" that I remember wasn't a fishhook, it was a "$h-thook" - whatever that is.
As I was riding to the front gate at Cherry Point for the last time, I was on the old Gold Wing, with the radio turned up. About 500 feet before I exited the gate, guess what song they played? "Take this job and shove it!" No joke! Sure wish I had that bike back... Sure wish I had the job back too!
I keep reading about J.S. Ragman, has everybody forgotten Pvt Joe Schmucatelli?
Now I'm going to let some of my "dirty laundry" out. Two years after getting out of the Corps, I decided to go back in. Went back and had to take the ASVAB again, weigh in, etc. I was planning on going in at a particular date, and about two weeks early, this Gunny in the recruiting office called me up and wanted me to go RIGHT THEN. This turned into a pretty good argument, and he slammed the phone down in my ear. Staff Sergeant tried to fix things up the next morning, but I told them to forget it.
Two weeks later I joined the Air Force. Hey, my wife, son, and I were pretty hungry.
A few years later, on the (AF) rifle range, some Lt happened to walk by, and I gave him a rifle salute. Confused the snot out of him, and I just held the salute! He finally figured it out - some 30 or 40 seconds later!
Got called to the stage at a Commanders Call once to receive a medal. Marched up to the Commander, saluted, and said, "Good morning, sir". The squadron roared with laughter! Strange...
Thanks for the newsletter, it's always great.
Clovis, NM USA
Kristy, we had a great time at the Drum Corps International Tour of Champions last Sunday. We had a drawing for the KaBar among the Marines and Doc Sweet won it. He is the Olde English Leathernecks Detachment member. He is kneeling in the front row, second from the left, holding the Ka-Bar box. We did a reverse drawing with the names in a hat and the last name drawn won. As each name was drawn, they received a 2011 MC Birthday coin, the last of the ones you sent last March.
Olde English Leathernecks
Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Greater Charlotte
Just a short video of a few former Marines getting back together after 32 years, 1976 to 1980, Camp Lejeune, NC. (Marine Corps Base) TRK Co, Area 5, H&S Bn, 2nd Marines. This was our fourth reunion so far and looking forward to the next one. Our Sgt at the time of our enlistment, had all of us go on a working party at a Catholic school fixing a few items along the way that needed repair. The nuns were happy needless to say. This also brought back some old memories that we had forgotten about, like the word 'Working Party'. We had a great time after all.
Be Polite, Be Professional
Check out Sgt Grit's Facebook Page
Snake And Nape
Tom Downey's story about the rat waddling into his bunker brought to mind a story. Fourth qtr, 1968 while I was serving as 14A of the 7th Marines we got a call about a company in contact with medevacs needed down off the south end of hill 55. I was dispatched to the south end of the hill with a radio operator. We got in contact with the company 14 and called in a medevac H-34.
The bird got hosed pretty good going into and then out of the zone and the grunts headed toward the "brown line". I told the company C.O. to let me know when his people were on the road and I was going to paste the area where they got ambushed with some snake and nape from a flight of F-4s I had overhead. The grunts reported on the road, I told them to keep their heads down and went to work. About the 3rd or 4th pass, a troop passing behind me said to his buddy "that dumb son of a b-tch is dropping that sh-t too close." I turned around and replied, "I'm the one making the calls and it's going to get closer so you better get the f--k down."
After the excitement died down, I retired to the local outpost bunker and settled in. The bunker was lined with sheet plastic and I could hear rats running back and forth on the plastic. I didn't sleep at all that night.
J. M. "Mike" Jeffries
Capt. USMC Ret.
Kind Of Snorted
Think I got it together. Remembering dates. Circa 1970, Spring, I was in Platoon 2043. Was setback from Platoon 2034. Heel contusions. Another story. And a good one.
We were in the "hotel". Whenever we went inside, we had to leave our boots out by the stairwell, most of the time. So when the call came out, "Platoon 2043 on the road", it was a madhouse, scrambling to find your boots and get them on, and get in formation.
We were having rifle inspection from other DI's in the series. This was before we bloused our trousers. A brother next to me was getting reamed. For some reason, the DI bent down and picked up his trouser leg. He had skipped a few eyelets lacing his boots. (As did others).
That DI released a tirade of cuss words I had never heard before. He said, "Well, I guess you didn't think anyone was going to look there, did you? I bet you don't wipe you're a-- because you didn't think anybody's going to look there either!" I lost it.
I kind of snorted. That DI just jumped over in front of my face and said, "You think that's funny, you c--k face mother f---er? How about giving me inspection arms!" He proceeded to tear me a new one.
The brother thanked me later on for taking the heat off him.
Oh my. Memories are made of this.
I wanted to share a funny story that happened to me in April 1990 while I was an MP stationed at Kaneohe MCAS.
I had only been at K-Bay for a few weeks and had already stood sentry at the gate and flightline and was learning dispatch. One of the duties, at that time, of the dispatcher was to play "Reveille" for morning colors and "Taps" for evening colors. The music was on a cassette tape and after morning colors played the day shift dispatcher stopped the tape and then the swing shift dispatcher would just press play when it was time for evening colors.
Well, after a couple days of dispatch training on the swing shift, Cpl Hutson, the dispatcher, told me to handle it. I pressed play and the bugle signaled that evening colors was about to begin. Seconds later we heard the unmistakable sound of "Reveille" playing. Cpl Hutson hit the stop button and there was a few moments of silence in the room. The desk Sgt, Cpl Mike Burke (now SgtMaj) looked at me and said, "What the h-ll just happened?" I thought I was about to be called on the carpet by the Provost Marshall, Maj. Fabrizio, or worse the base CO, Col Critser.
I did get a little bit of a butt chewing around PMO, but not as bad as I thought. We believe the day shift decided to play a little joke on "the boot" and rewound the tape to the beginning. Some of the MP's shared their stories of mishaps with colors, including the detail who raised the flag upside down. Which thankfully never happened to me!
I can laugh now, but in those few seconds it was happening it was worse than feeling your drill instructors wrath. Not long before I left K-Bay in 1993 the guard at the CO's building got the responsibility for playing the music for colors.
Michelle (Wright) Weaver
Cpl of Marines '89 - '93
When I was attending Airman Prep school in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1955, our commanding officer was a Marine pilot named Col Porter. He was a rough and tumble guy who loved to play push ball. He admonished people not to take it easy on him before a game.
One day in a pouring rain storm it was decided we would play. In no time we were all completely covered with mud. In a nearby barracks some Sailors leaned out of windows cat calling and making unflattering remarks about Marines. At the end of the game our barracks Staff Sergeant, a tough battle hardened Korean War vet we called Little Cesar, decided the Sailors should pay for their actions.
He marched us to the barracks and peeled us off with one group entering each hatch. Then he marched a group of us into each bay and called us to parade rest. He dashed back and forth barking at the sailors goading them to make negative comments shouting expletives as he went his way. He threatened to have us kick the a-- of anyone who spoke up.
You could hear a pin drop. Someone called the Navy OD and shortly he arrived on the scene and he told our Staff Sergeant that he was crazy and to pull our men out of the barracks immediately. Little Cesar reluctantly pulled us out while making a strong verbal protest to the OD as we left.
Subsequently, that barracks remained silent every time we marched by and no heads were ever seen poking out of windows again.
Then Sergeant 1955-1959
Me Or The Captain
First Sgt to me at receiving: "By the time you get outta the brig your uniform will be outta style!"
D.R. from stateside 'Battery' charge by shore patrol at San Yisidro: "What in the h-ll happened, Private?"
Me: "I'll give the story when I'm before the C.O." First Sgt: "Who the h-ll do ya think is running this outfit, me or the Captain?"
Me: "The Captain, Sergeant!"
The charges were dismissed by the C.O.!
My reward: 30 days mess duty followed by 30 days of 1800 club detail filling san bags 'til dark.
I was in Platoon 1120 from MCRD San Diego in 1970. After two weeks at the rifle range, my platoon drew mess duty at Edson Range. I was assigned to the mess hall linen closet. The best possible job for mess duty.
Anyway, one morning I was walking behind the cooking line when one of my platoon mates, a Private Kenneth Borees (sp) from Georgia whose job it was to break eggs into a cereal bowl for the cook, called out "Suh, there's a biddy in this here egg." I looked over his shoulder, and sure enough, there was an almost fully formed chick in the bowl with all the regular eggs he had broken.
The mess cook, a CPL, scooped up the bowl and poured the eggs, chick and all, onto the grill and scrambled it all together, saying, "give someone a little meat in their breakfast."
I watched the poor private who was served the eggs go to a table and wolf down the concoction, never realizing it was extra special.
The smell of scorched feathers never left my brain for the remainder of my tour in the Corps, and I never ate eggs in the mess hall again.
SSGT A.L. Hook
Home To Mom
Recruiters, yellow footprints and forming up stories brings my entry into the USMC to mind, as well as something I don't think anyone's mentioned. How "they" teach you something by NOT doing something.
In the summer of 1961 I received my draft notice from Uncle Sam. Rather than go that route which would mean Army, it prodded this latent desire to join the Marines. I don't think all of us can explain why you enlist in the Marine Corps. In my case, I don't know exactly why myself. That's why I said it was an underlying urge, fueled by a number of things that grew over time; legend, heightened particularly by movies, the DI, Battle Cry, Sands Of Iwo Jima, knowing a friend's dad was a Marine, the pretty uniform, boredom etc.
My draft notice was just a catalyst. It created a deadline that moved the idea to the surface. I was going somewhere, the decision was made. I didn't want to go into the Army, and I didn't check into any other options. (My dad was in the Army in the "Big One" WWI, and my brother had been in the Navy) I just walked in by myself to a Marine recruiting officer in Camden, NJ, and started the wheels in motion.
I was over 21 so didn't need parental permission, nor had I discussed it with them. At dinner I just casually mentioned I joined the Marines today, and then helped my mom pick her jaw up off the table.
As you know "enlisting" just starts wheels in motion, it wasn't a done deal. You had tests to take etc. I was blind as a bat, actually legally blind without my specs but scored very high on the tests, and I was in good physical condition, so I didn't get thrown under the bus.
Before I knew it on September 28, 1961, I had someone drop me off to my Camden Recruiter and he drove me, and perhaps one or 2 others to an induction center in Philadelphia, PA. I was 22, oldest of 23 Marine recruits. They put us on a bus, gave me the orders, put me in charge of the bunch of us and sent us on our way to the Philly airport. We flew to Beaufort, SC, (I think), via Baltimore, MD. We had to lay over a couple of hours in the Baltimore Airport, waiting for flight out on some puddle jumper to Beaufort.
I confess. I didn't appreciate being in charge of 23 strangers, many of them teenagers who never had been away from home. I wanted to just put one foot in front of the other and get on with it. But with the help of a couple of other guys, everyone made the plane to my immense relief.
I don't remember much at all about arriving at Beaufort. In fact I'm not even sure it was Beaufort, but that's what comes to mind. By now it was evening and so far it had been a very long day. I think I had instructions telling me to locate the Marine(s) in the airport who were to pick us up and herd us on to a bus. I don't remember anything eventful or how long of a ride it was. Up to this point it was pretty routine, no excitement, no harassment.
Here's what I do remember. The bus pulled up at the Gate of Parris Island, and stopped. I was sitting in the back seat, the long one that goes completely across the bus; right in the middle. The door opened and this poster-perfect PFC in the uniform of the day steps on. The bus driver was a Marine, possibly the guy who assembled the herd at the airport, where he laid down the basic ground rules. Mouths shut, eyes front, so it had been a quiet ride.
But when that PFC stepped on the bus, we made the real transition to oh-sh-t-what-have-I-gotten-myself-in-to. He started in right away with his best imitation of a DI, which was faultless. If it was daytime and we were outside, I sh-t you not he'd have blocked out the sun. He had to be well over six feet tall, as he had to dip down a bit so he didn't hit his head coming through the door of the bus and he hadn't an ounce of fat on him.
He started reading us the riot act as soon as his foot hit the deck, "explaining" sitting at attention and reminding everyone about mouths and eyes and the use of the word "SIR" which applied to about anything that moved except you maggots etc., etc.
The first thing he wanted was the orders. Who had the orders. Oh cr-p, that was me. I let him know I had them. "Here Sir" and he came to the back, got them, asked me to ID myself. True he wasn't whispering this and I already figured out that I was expected to do 180 degrees opposite. But that's all he wanted from me and he left me alone.
Not so for everyone else. He worked his way from back to front, calling each name and reaming everyone a new one. You got extra attention if you had some time in college. (You know the drill, he asked if there were anyone with some college time on the bus... and they dutifully and stupidly ID'd themselves to their, shall we say disappointment). This took a while for 20+ recruits. When he was done, he walked back and returned the orders to me without a word, turned around and walked off the bus.
He delivered a message to all of us, not that any of us were smart enough to pick up on it. I had the epiphany later. He deliberately didn't hard azs me because I was "in charge", I had the orders. The U.S. Marine Corps in their wisdom picked one dumb azs in a herd of dumb azses and gave him some responsibility. He was showing one and all that responsibility carries respect. How about that?
I've heard a lot over the years about fond memories of the yellow footprints. I don't remember them and I'll bet no one else on that bus does either. I've been trying to recall them but they don't come to mind. I was beginning to think they were a San Diego thing and not a PI thing, until other PI graduates remember them. We'd been brain fried, chewed up and spit out and were on auto pilot from that point on. Anything that happened immediately after that didn't get much priority in the gray matter.
We then went on to the assembly barracks. On reflection I can see that our group of 20+ was on the front end of forming up a new Platoon, so we had 1-2 days of light duty. The NCO in charge was no-nonsense, but he wasn't in DI mode. You had tests to take, paperwork stuff, and relatively speaking not hard assed. You were not in training, there were other things to be done. The only part of it I remember is him going through the area with a bag collecting non- essentials... e.g. after shave lotion, condoms, and combs and all sorts of cr-p common sense would tell you, you definitely would not need. Which he either just sh-t canned or had you pack up to send home. I do believe he sensed you probably didn't want to send the condoms home to mom and threw those away.
2nd Amtracs, Courthouse Bay Camp Lejeune,
1st MAW Iwakuni Japan, 9th MEB ships at sea
As I recall, Archie Van Winkle was the leader of the "Push Ball" sessions, and it was at 3/4. Other support units were "involved," Beach Masters and Construction companies. Same fuzzy memory!
Combination Lock? October 1959 when I started boot camp at San Diego we got our issue which included key locks, one regular lock and one long shank for securing your rifle to the bunk. We were told to take a boot lace and put the keys on the lace and wear it around our necks. Once in a while a recruit would forget to put the keys on the lace back inside his jacket, the D.I. would do what they called hang the recruit(no recruits were harmed).
When I left Viet Nam in August of 1966, the favored term in our unit for short was 'X number of days and a wake up'. When I got down to '5 days and a wake up', I was 'so short I could sit on the edge of a sheet of paper and dangle my legs'. When I got down to 'one day and a wake up', I was 'so short I was next'.
I'm so short, if I had a piece of chalk up my arz you could follow me everywhere.
I'm thinkin' of filing suit against the Marine Corps for building these sidewalks too close to my arz.
Semper Fi Marines
Cpl. D. McKee 59-63 1st MarDiv.
Has anyone EVER talked to someone who admitted that they fled the USA to avoid going to "THE NAM"?
Sgt John Stevenson
Comm Co, HQBn, 3rdMarDiv 1965-1966
Excellent pop quiz question Sgt. Cagle,
Here's mine, 4-10-32 (I still have AND use mine)
I still remember it. 0-2-8. How easy is that. I was in Plt 3070 from June 28th till Sept 29th 1978, when we graduated from MCRD San Diego. I only forgot to secure it one time an paid dearly for it. I kept them for better than half way through my hitch. Then when I had to replace them the new locks combination was 24-38-12, and I still have them.
I love reading this newsletter.
L/Cpl 1978 to 1982
I don't recall any specific short timer stories when I was getting short in April of 1964, but do recall that someone gave me an 8-1/2 by 11 outline of a woman sitting on her haunches. The outline was sectioned off into 30 sections, one for each day of the count down, and of course the last three sections a Marine can pretty well guess what they were. What surprised me was that it stayed on the barracks bulletin board for the entire 30 days.
I'm so short... I have to stand on a nickel to p-ss on a dime.
Chip Campbell, Sgt
. May have mentioned this in this forum before, but in Korea you could tell who the short timers were by the length of their 'staches. New arrivals wore peach fuzz. Salts had handsome adornments, which of course, where removed or tamed before rotation home from Ascom City when I was there.
Bob Rader 140xxxx
God Bless America and the U.S. Marine Corps
Could not believe that I saw the LST I made my first trip to RVN on. It was on the USS Windham County 1167. I retired with 22 years in the Corps back in 1976 and will never forget that trip from Iwakuni, Japan to Okinawa and then South to Chu Lai where we made the landing.
Never saw the so called banner either welcoming us to RVN. Charles Weidman, GYSGT USMC. Original service number was 1467083 and I started as a 6511 "gun plumber" (ordnance) and ended up as 6531 when most of the new changes were made. I did see a lot of the world while in the Corps both Pacific and the Atlantic sides.
I couldn't pass it up. Cpl Bender did you know Joe S. Ragman's cousin "A" "J" Squared-away. Of course there was Numnuts and S--t for Brains. Now all you a--h-les "drop your c--ks, grab your socks we're going to the boondocks.
Went to the Electronics schools at MCRD SD. On day walking down the "street" I saw a friend smoking a cigarette outside the Co Quonset hut. I asked what he was waiting for at the Co office and he said that he was getting out soon. I asked how soon and he told me that he was so short he might not finish his cigarette as a Marine.
Just then he was called into the office to sign his discharge papers. He threw away half a cigarette. He was right about not finishing the cigarette. Now that's the shortest "short" Marine that I ever knew.
1967 - 1970
In my unit we would start counting down from about 30 days and announce we had x days and a wake-up until that proud moment when we could then describe our self as a single-digit-midget.
I'm so short if I called home I'd probably answer, and then b-tch at myself for calling collect.
Sgt Gary Mckruit 79-83
17 Year Old DI
I enlisted in the Corps in November 1952 and hit PI on November 19, 1952. I was in Platoon 573, Easy Co., 1st Batt. I quit high school so that I could join the Corps and get to Korea to hand out a little "pay back" to even the score for my Marine cousin who got shot up pretty bad over there.
February 14, 1953, I graduated and was sent, that day, to Main Side to attend DI School. Back then it was 4 weeks. When I graduated DI School, they gave me 10 days boot leave and when I returned to PI I was assigned to Easy Co., 1st Batt as a Junior DI. Now here I am, a 17 y/o PFC with my National Defense Ribbon and I am right back in the same barracks I was a recruit a little over 5 weeks before. I was a Junior DI with Platoon 123, Easy Co., 1st Batt. I turned 18 y.o. on May 16, 1953.
My question is, and always has been, what DC brain came up with the idea of making 17/18 y/o men Drill Instructors? I think it was a dumb idea. My DI's were all Decorated Marines who had seen combat. My Senior DI was SSgt Fahey and he was a good man. I was able to stay a DI for the length of Plt 123's time and saw them graduate but was reassigned after that. I got out of the Corps in September of 1961 and I am and always will be extremely proud to be a Marine.
I had a guy ask me the other day how long was I a Marine and I told him, "This November makes 60 years." I am a Lifetime Member of the MCL. I wonder if there are other young Marine DI's out there and how they felt about it.
In conclusion - Here is a note to actor Hugh O'Brien. You were not the youngest Marine DI at age 18 as I keep reading about.
Semper Fi to all you Jarheads out there.
Sgt E-4 (the old 3 stripes)
For Team Spirit '83 we embarked from Oki to Korea on the USS Schenectady - LST 1185. No one in the Company that had 'floated on an LST' before was looking forward to the Northern Pacific on a "T". On top of that we were loaded out with the large/mountain version ALICE packs instead of our frameless small versions used on most ops we did, being in a tropical/jungle contingency BLT at the time.
Along with normal weapons and gear, those packs had all that cold weather gear, more than average chow, pric 77 batteries, etc., etc. As many know it is also just about impossible to move down the passage ways on a WWII / Korea era ship with all that gear on. I remember we had to shove each other, (sometimes using our legs) while trying to get to the berthing area. Usually we just laid our packs in the racks with us but as ye know that wasn't gonna work. We shoved them all into the little 'closet' the Navy had provided for our storage area... those unfortunate enough not to keep what they would need afloat in an a-- pack, etc. learned a lesson.
Now the Schenectady had been recently given an award for having the best chow, (on a vessel), in the Pac-Fleet, and it was good, but obviously this caused a little extra big headed behavior on the part of the Officers and especially the Skipper, a Lt. Commander. While we were still trying to get squared away the 'Bull Ensign', (oxymoron, emphasis on moron), at his own peril, is moving around the berth calling for 2 NCO's for mess duty in The Ward Room... The Gunny advised him, and not very respectfully, that he would give him 2 more Marines for mess duty but not NCO's. While afloat they have Duty 24/7, reporting to the Bridge on the hour, so that was not going to happen.
It didn't last long when our Skipper, (this according to the police Sgt.), while sitting there wondering why this LST has Sterling Silver flatware, ice cream bowls, etc. and it looks like the O-level mess on a Carrier, sees two of his Marines with those pretty white messmans jackets on wearing utility trousers and jungle boots. I don't know what exactly was said, but our Officers started standing in line with us for chow.
It was rumor that when Six Actual said something like "Marines don't engage in personal servitude" to the ship's Captain there was a remark by him like "Well Captain, you and your Officers can eat with the 'OTHER ANIMALS' while on my vessel!" I had been on the receiving end of one of Six's mad looks, and maybe that's why it seemed to me the Swabby Skipper stayed in his Stateroom while not on the bridge until D day... Yup, we did love our Cap'n...
Another odd thing about that ship,(maybe not?)... If the chow was so good, we could not figure why we had to post 2 or 3 guards on the aft deck, as opposed to 1. Naturally,the weapons CONEX boxes had to be watched, but a few days into the voyage someone caught a squid stealing C-rats out of one of the 6 by's cabled down with OUR supplies in it. The rust- picker had come up through one of the hatches on either side of the well deck aft, after killing whatever light was down there, then started ratf----n our stuff. Several more were caught in the act and when asked why, they said they loved c-rats more than ships chow sometimes! Only a squid... (only one whined about getting 'bruised-up' a little). I really didn't care except for having to stay on watch all night during a bad storm with 25-30 degree swells, but at least we could use our swiss seats and carabiners to hook on, so as not to be swimming around in the Pacific with a stupid look on your face.
We did get to return on another ship. Bravo went back on the 'scow with the best chow'... (still cracks me up)... disembarked on Oki off the USS Denver, LPD-9... nice ship...
Spray A Pile Of
I went through P.I. with platoon 446 (November 1954-January 1955). A lot of funny things happened during those 13 weeks but of course we weren't allowed to laugh if there was a D.I. present. I swore that after graduation I would spend the first several days of boot leave laughing about things that happened in our platoon. One event stands out in my memory.
It was a Saturday evening and the D.I.s had left us alone in the squadbay to shine shoes, clean rifles or write letters. One recruit was attempting to shine his shoes sitting on his foot locker but couldn't seem to stay awake. Eventually he gave up trying. Another recruit saw him doze off and retrieved a can of aerosol shave cream from his foot locker (I don't know how he was able to bring this back from the PX since we were required to use tubes of Barbasol shave cream).
In any event, he proceeded to spray a pile of shave cream about six inches high on the head of the dozing recruit. Just as he finished, a JDI came into the squadbay. Of course we were called to attention and the once-dozing recruit stood there at attention totally unaware that he had this pile of shave cream on his bald head. The DI immediately walked over to this recruit and stood there eyeball-to- eyeball with him for probably thirty seconds, and then put his hand into the shave cream and wiped it across the recruit's face while saying, "You silly s--t!" He was done with "sleeping beauty", however, and proceeded to harass those of us who were smirking. How the DI kept a straight face I'll never know, but I guess he had seen a lot of "silly s--ts" during this tour.
S/Sgt Paul E. Gill, 1954-66
Just wanted to reply to Cpl D.T. Jones' note about the float jackets. Yes, they were sharp looking. They were black, wool jackets with a silk lining. They were waist length and looked pretty sharp although some guys loaded them up with way too many patches, in my opinion. As I recall, when we stopped in Naples, Italy (on MED cruises), a sales rep came on board, fitted you and then you picked out the embroidered or stitched art work on back and any miscellaneous patches that you might want as well. When we stopped back in Naples for liberty before heading back to Morehead City, the jackets were delivered to the ship.
Back then in the 80's I seem to recall that the jackets cost around $35.00. My jacket only fit me while I was still in (no surprise) and when I started to gain weight after I got out, I just packed it away in a sea-bag with a bunch of other items and forgot about it. When my parents both passed away years later I went up to the attic to get the bag, and found the wool to be in good condition, but the stitching was breaking down and the liner was falling apart, so I removed the large Marine Corps logo on back and the patches and threw it away.
I too was in from 81 to 85, but was issued four sets of the straight-pocket, sateen-type cammies in boot camp. A lot of guys were still wearing the slanted pocket, lighter-green cammie pattern utilities, but I never did buy any although plenty of the surplus stores off base sold them. When the Woodland pattern came in, I hated them and only bought two sets when they forced us to phase them in. We were told we had to have at least two sets of Woodlands. Personally, I thought the Woodland cammies looked un-sat compared to the sateen's because they did not seem to be able to hold a crease in the trouser leg, regardless of how much starch you sprayed on them before ironing.
When I got out, I used them for working around the house or for fishing. When the trouser legs of my cammies wore out, I cut them off below the knee and stitched them up to create small utility bags with draw-strings!
Lima 3/8 Weapons Plt
Someone in this week's letter mentioned Hai Van Pass. Hill 724 was at the top of Hai Van Pass. Traffic was one way only. Up the pass for an hour, and then down from the top of the pass for an hour. Going "down the hill" from 724 was always a welcome break in the monotony on the hill. Most everyone was given a chance to go down the hill to H & S about once a month. Everyone schemed reasons to go down the hill.
At the top of the pass there was a village. It consisted of a circular fountain in the middle of a very wide plaza. On the outer edge of the plaza there were a whole bunch of retail shops, also in a circle. This huge circle would hold all traffic heading South while north bound traffic drove up to the top. If I recall correctly, this circle held about 200 vehicles. Heading north from DaNang (about 20 clicks from the bottom of the pass) if you got to the bottom of the pass at the wrong hour, you had to wait until all the descending traffic got to the bottom.
For some reason, we always got there and had to wait out the flow of traffic coming down. Just before the beginning of the ascent was a little shack that sold "33", also referred to as panther p-ss. I really believe that we seemed to arrive at bottom of the pass so we could have a few bottles while waiting for the traffic coming down to end.
The owner of the shack was a woman with no nose. I believe it had gotten blown off by shrapnel. She had a wad of cotton stuck into the middle of her face filling up the hole where her nose once was. We called her Mama No Nose. I seem to remember the price as being .25 MPC. It was always warm but she provided huge glasses full of ice. The ice was shaped irregularly with tiny bits of black stuff suspended in it. We all lived.
At the top of the pass, vehicles either continued north toward Hue or beared left onto the dirt road up to our LAAM Btry.
A Bery, 1st LAAM Btn
This is to respond to Mark Hinton. The mentioning of IOD, sounds familiar. When I was on my second tour with I-3-11 on hill 65 in June 68 'til June 69, we referred to it as the IOS (Integrated Observation System). A ships binos with a laser range finder, mounted on a tripod surveyed in. At that time I-3-7 was on the hill, CO was Capt. Chuck S. Robb, Battery CO Capt Whitworth. We were on the middle finger. Top of the hill was the "grunts" and K-4-11, and at one time or another a platoon from 1st FAG 8", 155 guns, and 175's.
Before I retired at Camp Pendleton I met a GySgt who was attached to the IOS platoon at Regt in 69. 1st round hits increased dramatically with the IOS. I can't for the life of me remember his name, but it will come to me about 0230.
You read this newsletter long enough and it will bring back a memory. Thank you for your service Mr. Hinton, and for the memory.
Jim Leonard 3/11, 65-66, 68-69
SSgt Ret. 60-80
The FLIGHT LINE
Written By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #2, #2, (FEB., 2012)
The early months of 1965 found the Officers and men of the 1st MARINE Brigade along with MARINE Helicopter Squadron HMM-161 planning and preparing for their participation in the upcoming major fleet exercise involving more than 90 ships and 70,000 Navy and MARINE Corps personnel. Operation Silver Lance was to be one of the largest combined Navy and MARINE Corps training exercise ever held during peacetime. The exercise was to be conducted off the coast of southern Calif. and ashore at Camp Pendleton from late Feb. to mid- March of 1965. The brigade, including MAG-13 (MARINE Air Group 13) and HMM-161, had started loading equipment for the journey to Calif. when the operation was canceled for all he units of the 1st MARINE Brigade. Those units already underway were called back to Kaneohe while the remaining elements of the Brigade were alerted to standby for further orders. It seems that mounting tension in Vietnam was behind these decisions and developments.
On 15 March 1965, HMM-161 flew on board the USS Valley Forge and sailed for an undisclosed destination for an undetermined period of time. It was not known at this time that the squadron would not return to Hawaii. The men of HMM-161 had no idea that they were in route to Vietnam because when the ship left Pearl Harbor it turned to the West and Calif. was to the East. Speculation was high as to our final destination. It wasn't too long before thoughts were confirmed that we were at least heading in the general direction of Vietnam. Little did we realize that we'd have a short stay in Okinawa.
The morning of the 25th of March found the aircrews of HMM-161 transporting personnel and equipment from the Valley Forge to Camp Schwa b on Okinawa. Eight hours and 45 min. later the squadron had moved 500,000 lbs. of cargo and 1,000 troops from Ship to Shore. The next day found the squadron moving its own men and equipment to MCAF (Marine Corps Air Facility) Futema in the southern part of Okinawa. Other units of the Brigade were located at six different camps throughout the island enclave.
Although no official word had been passed to the men in the squadron it was clear that HMM-161 was preparing for combat in Vietnam. Vietnamese maps were ordered and labeled, new camouflage Flight suits were issued, training was stepped up, brackets for M-60 machine guns were placed on the helicopters and live fire exercises were conducted by the aircrews.
It was during this period of time that an advanced party from HMM-161 was sent South to fly and learn from those that were already in the thick of things what to expect and how to address the problems that they were about to encounter when the they arrived. This info would prove beneficial to the Crews just coming into country. Squadron rotations had previously been three times a year and had been that way for the previous two years.
On the morning of April 27th, 1965, The squadron departed Okinawa on board the USS Princeton (LPH-5) (Landing Platform Helicopter). It's destination was still not officially known but, all hands knew that Vietnam was the next stop.
Military History leaves a Deep Respect for Medal of Honor Winners. I have favorites, I always look at the Individual who earned the MOH. As you can see World War I is Special to me and Personal.
Gunny Sgt. Cukela USMC earned his TWO Medals of Honor (One Navy MOH and One Army MOH) Despite the warnings of his men, the gunnery sergeant crawled out from the flank and advanced alone towards the German lines. Getting beyond the strong point despite heavy fire, "Gunny" Cukela captured one gun by bayoneting its crew. Picking up their hand grenades, he then demolished the remaining portion of the strong point from the shelter of a nearby gun pit. He took four prisoners and captured two undamaged machine gun.
Another Marine that Earned Two Medals of Honor (One Navy and One Army) was Private John J. Kelly, In the desperate fighting at Blanc Mont Ridge, Pvt. John J. Kelly ran "100 yards in advance of the front line and attacked an enemy machine-gun nest", for which he was awarded both the Army and Navy Medals of Honor. (What isn't mentioned here is that Artillery is walked back and forth over enemy lines, to do what Kelly did, he followed the Artillery up and back. Short rounds could ruin the day).
There are disputed reasons why Two Medals of Honor were Awarded, some say the Army Medal was awarded a Marine (remember they were serving in Army Divisions) and the Navy Awarded a medal for the same Action, there are disputes to that also.
But my favorite Medal of Honor Winner is not a Marine but a Soldier of the U. S. Army, his name was Dan Edwards, Lowell Thomas wrote a book about him called, "This side of H-ll". In the trenches, an artillery shell exploded near Edwards which left him dangling from the trench wall by his shattered right arm, when he heard several German soldiers approach. He severed his arm below the elbow to free himself in time to meet eight German soldiers as they moved on his position. Edwards shot four of the soldiers, prompting the other four to surrender. Legend has it that he forced one of his prisoners to carry his severed right arm as he marched them back toward the American lines. Before he reached the lines, a shell exploded near the group severely wounding Edwards' left leg and killing one of the prisoners. He made two Germans carry him to his Lines. He returned to the States a Hero and for years was making speeches about his War Time Adventures.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
Response to Mike Golihur's request to adopt a universal Hand Signal to recognize a fellow Marine.
I to have pondered and wished for such a Hand Signal. There is the thank you for your service gesture, i.e. Hand on your heart then extending your open palm.
Applies to any service member, it is appropriate and I use it. But, we need something that means Hey Marine! Semper Fi! I propose the Hawaiian closed fist, extended thumb, and pinky finger and waggle. Maybe followed by a short proper salute. You know fingers and thumb extended and joined in line... wait a minute you know how to do it. A proper Marine salute, not one of those aborted soldier / sailor bent handed Benny hill jobs.
Let's do this. I'm open. Then we get Grit to put em on tee shirts, we buy 'em, we wear 'em, and we spread the word.
Grit gets credit for starting a new Marine tradition and becomes Sgt Rich.
Big Joe Out
Note: I like the rich part, oops, can't say that, not PC.The pinky finger thing doesn't work for me, oops, not PC again. I also think the thumb and pinky means something in sign language. How about simply three fingers on your chest representing: Honor, Courage, Commitment, Improvise, Adapt, Overcome, and Semper Fi, Mac.
You Killed Senior
We all have stories about Boot Camp and all our various adventures in the Corps. My adventure started in 3rd Battalion at Parris Island. I can still remember the day I got off the bus and onto the yellow footprints. It was foggy and had just got done raining and the island had a mist covering it, like some scene out of a friggen horror movie.
Well once the forming phase was over and we got turned over to our platoons for training, we got to be meet our tormentors, A.K.A Drill Instructors. When you are young you don't really understand the whole mission of the Drill Instructors, that is to turn a bunch of teenage boys into the most feared fighting men in all of the world and to do it in only 12 short weeks, you only look at them as tormentors, evil S.O. B.'s.
I still remember my drill instructors SSgt. Dudley (Senior), SSgt. Fahey, Sgt. Thurston and Sgt. Musicaro. Well training commenced. We were messing up like any other group of maggots wanting to desperately become U.S. Marines. Then one night, on a cold November night, Sgt. Musicaro enters the squad bay and shouts "You finally did it 44". The look of horror on 71 recruits faces said it all. He commenced to thrashing us to within an inch of our lives.
We were dumbfounded as to what we had done. Did we forget to lock something, did one my fellow recruits forget to salute an officer when they walked past them. We were all puzzled. Sgt. Musicaro proceeded to say, "You finally done it 3044, you killed your Senior. You stabbed him in the back one time to many, he's dead! You maggots have f'k up for the last d--n time," cleaning it up a little. He commenced to dropping a B52 bombers worth of F-bombs on us! He stopped the thrashing and gave the famous command "Get on line" and I don't mean get on the computer for you kids out there.
We all stood like redwoods, waiting for the next command. The funeral commenced. My senior had what was called a Motto (Motivational) table. It had his picture and various other things that he did while in the fleet, to let us just get a peek at what we may get to do, if we were lucky enough to make it through boot camp. Well one squad fell out and got canteen cups full of pit sand and the rest of us were made to stand at the POA when the funeral commenced.
The biggest and dumbest recruit we had, I can't really remember his name after 18 years, was the bugler and believe me, he f----d it up severely. The senior's picture was put frame and all in the bottom of the box and the sand was poured over it. We were not allowed to even acknowledge that we even had a Senior Drill Instructor. Our guideon was rolled up and we had to look down at the ground when we went to chow for what seemed like an eternity.
It turned out, that we had taken second place on the rifle range. To this very day, I am thankful for what my Drill Instructors instilled in me, the spirit to never give up... even when you kill the one that you respect the most! LOL
Brian K. Leonard
Staff Sergeant of Marines (Oct 94 - April 2004)
If it flies, it Dies!
About two years ago, my Father-in-law, a man that I had the upmost respect for, spent the last few months of his life in a Veterans home. As much as I would like to talk about him, he is not the subject of this story. I'm referring back to the newsletter of 02 Aug 2012 and the stories about The Old Man and Herman Shirley in particular.
At the Veterans home I met a very elderly lady who was blind, bent over with osteoporosis, wheelchair bound, and probably had dementia also. She got around by pulling herself using the handrails mounted on the walls of the hallways. She was a WWII Marine.
One day I noticed she was having trouble trying to open the door to her room, of course there was no question that I had to help her. One Marine to another. The only thing she said was that she was worried about being late to her duty station! WOW! That really brought home the fact that the saying "Once - Always" is not to be taken lightly.
C. W. Engler
U.S.M.C. 64 - 68
Field Weight Lifting
Early-mid 1970's... independent duty, a long way from the flag pole (implying headquarters... which was in a suburb of Kansas City... and a long way from Moline, IL)... we obviously had our own flagpole in front of the Reserve Training Center, where colors would be posted/recovered at 0800 and official sunset, every day.
The color detail on weekends would be one of the Inspector- Instructor staff (in modified Blues), unless it was a drill weekend, in which case it would be three Reservists in the seasonal Service Uniform, and in either case, always done with respect and proper ceremony, no matter that the center was next door to a die-casting aluminum foundry, backed up to the railroad tracks, and bordered on the other side by a big Quonset hut belonging to Civil Defense. As the saying goes... "Character" is what you do when nobody's watching". Even at 3900 River Drive, if you care to check Google Earth... die casting company's still there, making parts for Hoover vacuums, etc.
We, as representatives of the entire Corps, being few in number in an area with an Army Arsenal (Rock Island... mostly all civilian employees, including a bunch of 'GS- unbelieveables' worked at keeping the taxpayers aware that they had Marines in their midst. Besides Toys for Tots, color guard details for playground openings, etc., we also had rapport with the PD, and the Mayor's office.
The Mayor at this particular time was one Buck Wendt... also the proprietor of a funeral home. Buck and the City Council had been taking a lot of flak in the local press from safety advocates, especially about the grates for the storm sewer drains around the city. The grates worked just fine for collecting/draining rain water... but... the gaps between the bars of the grates were wide enough to admit and trap, the wheels of bicycles, resulting in a sudden pause in the cyclist's progress... especially the skinny-tire, gazzilion-speed kind favored by the Spandex crowd who should have known better anyway (I swear I have seen suppositories with more surface area than some of those bike seats! Never sure whether one mounted one of those bikes or inserted it? anyway...)
So... the city ordered, and received, several tons of cast- iron replacement grates, that were engineered with a pattern that would not trap a bike tire. These became a large heap of slowly oxidizing ferrous materiel in the city maintenance yard... and media pressure was applied to the city fathers, especially Buck, to get the things installed. The (unionized) street and waste water city employees made a stink about the weight of the things, the average age of said employees, not in the contract, etc., and refused to deal with swapping out new for old... the papers, of course, were loving the conflict (never let a crisis go to waste... heard that somewhere else just a while back), and poor ol' Buck is getting beat up from both sides... one side for not having the grates installed after spending all that money, the other side being the watchdogs of the taxpayer's money, etc.
I dunno what the d-mn things weighed, but it was plenty... city dump truck, a backhoe with a front bucket loader... and some T-handled two-foot long hooks our machinist Gunny welded up from re-bar... two men in the truck bed, loading/unloading the loader bucket, two on the ground, pulling the old, installing the new... move down the street to the next drain. We got some favorable publicity (including a TV shot of my utility-clad butt hoisting a grate, and the I-I staff didn't mutiny (although... there were rumors about a plank being stuck out over the bank of the Mississippi across the street from the center... I'm sure they were joking, as the water was fairly shallow there) Bottom line? Got'er done! And I think the training NCO may have made some record entries about 'field weight lifting' or such...
"Don't slap that sand flea! You had your chow, now let him have his!"
--Any one of thousands of PI DI's
"The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing."
--Adolph Hitler, Hitler's Secret Conversations [1961
"The Founding Fathers realized that the beauty of America was in the individual--not in the state."
--Monica Crowley, Ph.D.
"If you're Marine, you're all Marine."
"The legitimate role of government in a free society is to stop one person from violating the property rights of another person."
--Dr. Walter Williams
"It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong."
"I have never understood why it is 'greed' to want to keep the money you've earned, but not greed to want to take somebody else's money."
--Thomas Sowell, Marine Korea Vet, noted economist
"Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that... he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country."
"Come on, you sons-of-b-tches! Do you want to live forever?"
--GySgt Dan Daley
"Capitalism without Bankruptcy is like Christianity without h-ll."
"The American, by nature, is optimistic, he is experimental, an inventor and a builder who builds best when called upon to build greatly. People ask, Why? Americans ask, Why not?"
--John F. Kennedy
"Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer."
--Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776
"Boy, you're lower than the nipples of a snake! Were you sent here to make my life miserable?"
--Thousands of Drill Instructors
Have an outstanding Marine Corps day! Gung Ho!