Sgt Grit Newsletter - 22 MAR 2012

In this issue:
• Muzzle Velocity
• DIs Spit Shined My Shoes
• True Story!

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As a hard charging Pvt., I was standing my first Commanding General inspection, and very nervous. First week in the Company.

I was in the second row, third man when the C.G. stopped in front of my squad leader and was presented arms. What is the muzzle velocity of the .45 pistol? he ask. "The Cpl. Doesn't know sir" was the response. He stepped to the man on my right. Same question: "What is the muzzle velocity of the .45 pistol? "The PFC doesn't know sir."

The it's my turn. He and his entourage pulls up just as I was finishing my present arms. I looked up from the empty chamber...there they were... I was ready. He says "where is the best fishing in your home state?" and I reply "802 feet per second sir"

Myers, J.K.
2nd Lnd Spt Co
Red Patcher

In This Issue

Marine Mom Sue and others have started off our AmericanCourage section to the newsletter. Marine Patriots, Parents, Spouses, Family and Friends - subit your stories and pictures now!

Save the date: 9th Annual GriTogether
09 JUNE 2012 from 10am-2pm
Free Food and lots of fun for the whole family! Face painting, tattoos, Marines from all over the U.S. Paintball shooting station. DJ. Kabar will be here. River Valley rifle detachment with a 21 gun salute. After party that evening. More details to come!

Here we go: driving thru town, Long overdue thanks, my saddest day, doubt my witnessing, Life was grand, don't voluntarily endanger, the younger vets, DIs spit shined my shoes, seabag drag, they will suck it up, end of negotiation, I'm leaving on a Jet Plane, Welcome "Doc" someone said, Docs never did seem to wonder, that's a joke.

Have you visited us on Facebook lately? Always fun, always interesting: Join the Conversation

Keep kicking at darkness until it bleeds light Popping smoke.
Stay Green
Sgt Grit

The Best Meal I Ever Had

The story about the worst meal, reminded me about the best meal I ever had. The 6th Marines arrived on Guadalcanal as offensive and mop up, relieving First Division, 1943.

We had been there several weeks, which is another story, surviving on c-rations. Did you ever wonder if the guy who figured out the corned beef hash unit got a medal for that abominable stuff? So bad we wouldn't eat it even though we were close to starvation. We wondered if that unit was left over from WW I. Food of any kind was scarce. Coconuts were a wonderful change from the c-rations. I found a d-ration once, which was a block of chocolate, not like a Hershey bar, but a hard square that my foxhole buddy and I shared. So much like a block of wood, we used a sheath to shave off little bits that could dissolve in our mouth.

The Japanese were worse off than we were and had nicknamed Guadalcanal, Starvation Island.

Finally, the kitchen was assembled and we were given a canteen cup of hot oatmeal with canned cow (evaporated milk). It tasted so good! The first 'hot' meal and the best I'd had in about 6 weeks. The next day, the kitchen was bombed and we were back on c-rations.

Today, oatmeal is not one of my favorite foods, but on that little island in the middle of the Pacific, it was the best meal I'd ever had.

Arley Spain, Pfc, USMC D-1-6
Guadalcanal, 1943
Age 90 1/2

Truly Exemplifies

Sgt. Grit: Another Marine sent me this. Don't think it needs a lot of words. It truly exemplifies "Semper Fi."

Semper Fi
John W. Streeter
USMC 1960-63

My Saddest Day

To "Worst Meal", Jerry Brookman.
As a Navy Corpsman in FMF Training at Camp Pendleton we would muster outside the chow hall and wait to enter until told... when we entered in line our trays were filled to overflowing... but we had just two or three minutes to eat... before 'cleaning' our trays into the buckets and returning to muster. Can't say I ever actually tasted any of it.

To "Esprit de Corps" Name withheld...
I feel your pain... in a different way. Christmas '68 I was in charge of the 6 to 6 night shift at Bethesda N.H. Orthopedic Surgical ward.

You can imagine at that point in the war... we were overflowing... we had 8 beds on the "sun porch" and with twice our designed limit in beds with almost 4 times our patient load. I taught our ambulatory patients to do the basics of "TPR" and pot help. No Marine ever complained. they were ever faithful.

What made it my saddest day ever was that we had received a "quad." a man with no arms or legs... he was the worst case on my ward, we knew he came from W.V. and was poor... so we took up a collection to send to his family so they could come for Christmas. No family showed... so we set up our tree and rolled him into the ward, from the "Sun Porch' while signing the Marines, and Navy Hymns. Esprit de Corps was evident, family was not.

My son served as a Marine in the middle east, and we visited his comrades in hospitals here. When he was "in country" he wore my caduceus with his dog tags, so that any corpsman he ever needed would know his father cared. I cannot visit in uniform, trust me it doesn't fit, yet our nation has done a 180 from when people spit on me when I returned, yet few even now, want to see the scars that our service creates and endures.

To the Marines who kept all Corpsman safe when the sh.. hit the fan THANK YOU, To the Marines we were able to save THANK YOU, you justify our existence To every "Doc " out there THANK YOU... you serve those who serve.

And to "name withheld" Our Corp is spread thin... and desperately needs time to decompress when no longer under the gun. Talk to VFW, or Reservists who have not been in combat recently... you may get a response that will surprise you to serve your men and women.

FMF "Doc" Wes... Viet Nam

Buddy System

Sarge: Thought you might get a kick out of this. These are 4 guys that all joined the Marines on the buddy system. We did various lengths of hitches, but after the Corps we all ended up in law enforcement in one capacity or another.

This is a shot of the day we celebrated our 40th anniversary of enlisting in the Corps. We have one of your flags to commemorate the event. We are all wearing WW2 repro Marine camo with various and sundry other pieces of Corps equipment. The pooch on the end is a retired police K9 and has just taken a Japanese battle flag off of an enemy combatant who no longer needs it. Hope you get a kick out of the pic.

Rick Stull

He Earned It

A few years ago, I had the honor of meeting Gerald F. Sherlock, United States Marine Corps, a WWII veteran of Saipan, Tinian, and 36 days on Iwo Jima. I was a Marine reservist from 1980 to 1984, and I've always been, and will always continue to be proud of the title, United States Marine. Never, however, have I been so proud to be a Marine as I was after having met Jerry. Meeting a man who fought in some of the most momentous battles in our history was like a young baseball fan meeting Ted Williams, or a young music fan meeting Elvis. All that aside, his best quality was his humility and sense of humor. Jerry was just a regular guy.

Shortly after meeting Jerry, I saw a contest, announced in small print, in the Sgt. Grit newsletter. It was a Marine Corps trivia contest, and the first 10 people that answered the questions correctly won a small bit of sand that had been taken home from Iwo. When mine came in the mail, it was like someone handed me the Holy Grail. I made up a small triangular box, painted red, with the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor symbol on the front, to hold my prize. I cherished it.

Once I got to know Jerry Sherlock, I felt it was only right to give the sand to him, from one Marine to another. He earned it. It was his. On the night of the last episode of The Pacific on HBO, a bunch of Marines got together with Jerry and his son, and watched The Pacific in reverent silence. After dabbing some moist eyes, I gave the box with the sand to Jerry. He was so appreciative, for once he was without words.

The next year, 2010, those same Marines and I took over as the committee for our local Rhode Island Marine Corps dinner. It is an honor to have over 175 Marines from all over Rhode Island break bread with us as we celebrate the birthday of the Marine Corps.

This past November, on the day before the dinner, Jerry was diagnosed with cancer. He came to the dinner as he always has, in good spirits, despite the bad news. We were once again honored to have Jerry in our midst; but we were also graced by the presence of Pat Femino, another Iwo veteran from Rhode Island. What we found amazing was that Jerry and Pat had never met! They became fast friends. Jerry's son in law Frank often took them out to lunch and made sure they stayed in touch.

In the last few months, he fought valiantly, as he had done for our country and for the honor of our beloved Marine Corps. PFC Gerald Sherlock stormed the beaches of Iwo Jima with the 4th Marine Division on February 19th, 1945. He left this Earth on February 19th, 2012 at the age of 86, 67 years to the day from when landed on Iwo Jima. Rest in peace my friend. Semper Fi.

Carl Weston

He Then Said

I have to share a story. The other day I was driving thru town with my six year old grandson in the back seat and I suddenly saw flashing red lights in my mirror. I pulled over and the officer came up to my car and said "License and registration" He then said "I pulled you over because you were going 45 in a 25 zone." I expected the worst. As I produced the license and started to reach for the registration he said "were you in the Marines?" he had obviously noted my Marine Corps League license plates.
I said "yes sir I was"
He then said "Have a good day sir." and he walked away.

Semper Fi
Bill Szilasi 60-64

3rd Marines Scout Sniper Platoon (Vietnam) Reunion 2013

Las Vegas Nevada 8 Feb - 10 Feb 2013
Contact Jim O'Neill 328-684-2309
email taraniall @ gmail .com (no spaces)

See more upcoming USMC Reunions

DIs Spit Shined My Shoes

MCRD San Diego Jan. 1968, 17 year old kid, R Co Plt 311, if my memory serves me right. My dad passed away while I was just starting boot camp. I was a green stupid kid who was scared to death, but the Corps seemed to be the place for me. When the Red Cross informed me of my dad's death we were on the drill field, utes, buttoned all the way up and trousers straight down.

My Plt. commander took me to get me issued a uniform, which we hadn't been issued yet, took it to town to have it pressed, the DI's spit shined my shoes and barracks cover, showed me how to dress properly, red cross gave me a ticket to Portland, OR to go to the funeral. That showed me that even though I was a boot I was on my way to being a Marine and to this day 44 years later I have been and always will be a Proud Marine. Semper Fi!

Short Rounds

I had a 1St Sgt who claimed he pulled Mess Duty at the last supper and he looked like he was old enough to be telling the truth.
C.R. Milster SSgt 1945 1956

In your "Permission to Bleed" newsletter, Cpl Randall Epps wrote he was around when the Dead Sea got sick. Tell him that I was around when the BIG BANG occurred and was the one who said, "What the f-ck was that?"
Cheers and Semper Fi. Gunny JJ Hinojosa, Austin, TX
God Bless America and our Armed Forces. Marines are not afraid of going into harm's way. H-ll, we ARE harm's way!

Your article about this guy brought back memories for me. I was a 2531 Radio forward observer and when not in the field my bunk was in the barracks at the end of the 8" gun line. My bunk would bounce every time those guns would fire as I was 20 ft. or so from them. I was there 1969 so it all looked the same. the home of 105's, 155's, 175's and 8" No wonder I lost a lot of my hearing Loved those guns in the bush... Brought back a lot of memories !

Sgt Wenell 69-73

The M forgot about... one set your wearing, one set dirty or a laundry tag...

M.P. Doukas
Sgt USMS 66-70


Reading the newsletter each week brings to mind the old question; What's the difference between a Sea Story and a Fairy Tale, one begins with "Once upon a time" , the other with "No S h - t".

Jack Pomeroy

Sgt. Grit,
In reference to the article in this week's newsletter. The article concerned "junk on the bunk". Stamping your name in the proper place etc. Didn't work on socks. During boot camp, July of "61, we did the stamping likewise except for the socks. What the DI"s suggested was using white 1/2" first aid tape, stamp your name and hand stich (from your sewing kit) in the proper area on the socks.
Semper Fi, Jim Schneider "61-64"

Sgt Grit,
When I went thru PI in 69, the "old wash racks" were still "new".
Ron Morse (Sgt 0311 69-75)

MAG-13 was an F-4 Phantom unit at Chu Lai in the late 60s.
MAG-16 was the helicopter unit at Marble Mountain in the late 60s till June of 1971.
Ron Flett, MAG-12 Chu Lai 1967-68, MAG-16 Marble Mountain 1970-71.
MSgt 1961-1987

Sgt Grit

Have been an avid reader of the newsletter for some time and the stories are all so true, but once in a while there are those that I do not believe nor understand....How on earth can any Marine forget his Platoon Number, his Drill Instructor's name and the date of his/her graduation? If they have had an injury to the head, then I can understand....Give me a break!

Grandle Starling

Hey might be old, but no way dead. Marines never give up, might die, but Marine Corps is A Live !

In regard to MAG-13 being a helicopter unit by "Bob Yount RVN 64-66" in your latest newsletter, check out the 3MAW site

I distinctly remember their F-4s while at Chu Lai in 1967. They flew over 9th Engineers day and night along with a lot of A-4s as well.

Jim Harris, former Lance Corporal, always a Marine Semper Fidelis to God, Family, Country and Corps

Sgt Grit,
I arrived at MCRD on 30 May 1978. We were not issued buckets. We were issued two sets of Sateen's, two sets of Jungle Utilities, OD covers and an OD Field Jacket. We wore white T-shirts with it all. Best part of the deal, we also received the long wool overcoat. I still have mine. Semper Fidelis.

MSgt Boganowski

Just to let you know, I am an old Marine Sgt. and live here in the Philippines. Recently we started a club called the Fraternal order of the Tuefel Hunden (Devil dogs). We have more than 40 members and growing. Nice to be with your family again.
"Semper Fi"
Sgt. Richard Haulet

Speaking of food... while flipping the eggs, we would sometimes break a yolk, or maybe break it while picking up the pair. When I got out, I tried to get a job at the Boca Raton Hotel & Club as a cook..."RIGHT"... they allowed me to be a Steward in charge of the Buffet.

L/Cpl Gallant

Two Options

I believe it was in 1958 and, I was going on my first leave other than the one after I graduated from Boot Camp.

I was told to turn in my M-1 to the company supply before leaving. When I went to do that they were reorganizing the supply room that was located in a Butler Building.

By the way I was in H&S 1/5 81mm Mortars Camp Margarita at Pendleton. The supply Sgt. told me he didn't have time to make out a receipt for the weapon and said he would remember me.

When I returned from leave, the weapon was not there and, the Supply Sgt. had been discharged. Later, I'm not sure how long I was interviewed by Base (Camp Pendleton) CID. I don't believe it was called NCIS then.

They gave me two options, either pay for the weapon or, face a Court Martial. Frankly at the time facing a Court Martial scared the heck out of me.

I believe the cost then was $100 which was a lot considering I was making about $60 per month. They took out so much each month until it was paid for.

The serial number on the rifle was 4264251, and I have to assume the Supply Sgt. took it.

Robert Maskill
Cpl. 1684158

So To Everyone

Dearest Sgt Grit,
I have my DD214 to prove that I am in fact a Marine. And To Chuck Brewer: you wouldn't want to meet my DI's they were the biggest meanest MF'ers on the base and one of em had a brother that was also a DI in a sister platoon that was just as mean (they could've been twins December 1996). So to everyone that disputes the fact that I am a Marine or said that my boot camp stories are nothing but fables - YOU WEREN'T THERE! So shut your pie hole.

My DI's were just as vicious and meticulous. Made many men cry just by staring... The story about me clipping poncho's together were under the cover of night and heavy rain made my mission even more cloak and dagger as everyone did not like our squad leaders. All of them removed except for one of them made squad leader throughout the 3 mos of bootcamp.

Please print my private email so I may respond to anyone who may have questions about my experiences.... Gman92201 @ yahoo .com where I will be happy to disclose my real name. Semper Fidelis

These Beasts

Cpl Gerry Schemel 61-64 mentioned that these beasts were disbanded in about 1963. They were still in use a few years later

I remember a few of them that were on operation Blue Marlin (Oct 65), when we (K-3-3) landed on Amtracs somewhere between Danang and Chu Lai from an LST, When the Bn was moving to around Hill 55. Only time I remember going ashore on tracks, and the launch off the LST in those thing was scary. Those 105/tracks started firing from the beach on a Ville we were going into, after we got a bit of fire from there, and we were pretty surprised to see them coming down the beach behind us. Never saw them again over there.

Marine Warrant Officer Class of 1966

The 7th WOCS-WOBC (1966) class is having its first reunion at Quantico
23 to 25 August 2012
Contact: Bob Dalton or Joe Featherston
prdalton @ msn .com (no spaces) or jrhd @ aol .com (no spaces)
443.203.6408 803.644.5995

See more upcoming Marine Corps Reunions

Water From SF Bay

Sgt. Grit,

Jerry Brookman complained about the Treasure Island Mess Hall in the '50s. Well, it was no better in 1965 when I was there TAD from MCAS Yuma for Tacan repair school. Ugh, worst food, sloppy messmen, and he was right about the smell. I think they washed the place with water straight from SF Bay.

The place has been shut down for a while now, but I now live near-by and TI is a great place to watch the Blue Angels perform during fleet week. The barracks that I lived in are still standing, but most of the other buildings, including the mess hall, have been torn down.

BTW, the food at Yuma then was really good. Long overdue thanks to any mess cooks who serves there in 65 or 66.

One more thing. My mother-in-law is a Marine, having served from 43-45. I wonder how many other jarheads can claim that distinction?

Art Tarsa
Sgt, USMC, 63-67.

Last Song I Heard

In last week newsletter there a story about two friends sharing a song together. I reminded me of a time when even our Drill Instructor was lost for words because of an appropriate song at the right moment in time.

It was about 0400, the Drill Instructor woke us and called us out for a Fire Drill; with our blankets and buckets and not much else. While we waited to be allowed back in, the Drill Instructor called one of recruits out of formation and ordered him to sing us a song. Of course, no of us knew at the time that this man had a beautiful voice.

He sang the Beetles' song "Yesterday". And for just a moment, we all seem to forget where we were and what we were doing. Even the Drill Instructor was quiet and allowed him to finish the song. We were release and went back inside and laid down. I'm not sure about anyone else but I found myself thinking of home and the people I left behind.

The last song I heard before getting on the plane in El Toro Air Station heading to Viet Nam. Peter Paul and Mary song "I'm leaving on a Jet Plane" (don't know when I'll be home again). The memory of those two songs and the weight of my gear and weapon I carried in Viet Nam has always stayed with me.

Semper Fi (until I die),
Robert H. Bliss, Sgt.
Platoon 296 at P.I. in 1968

Only Magazine Change

To: Bill Wilson
I don't know what Corps. pistol qualification process you were using. I do remember being an instructor at MCRD PISC in 65' - 66' for all ranks, at the pistol and rifle range. The pistol was 4 strips, two at the 25 yd. line, and 2 at the 15 yd. line. At both distances there were 10 rounds slow fire, and 10 rounds rapid fire. At each stage of fire a magazine change was required. Total for a perfect score was 400. The 1911A1 was the only weapon used for pistol, and M-14 for the rifle. The M-14 was 5 stages, 2@ the 200, 2@ the 300 and 1 @ the 500. perfect score was 250. the only magazine change that was needed was at the 300. (5 rds kneeling, 5 rds sitting - slow fire)

Dwight Lang
Sgt. PMI - Range NCO
1965 - 1966

Welcome Doc

With all the hubbub of the 45 pistol, I would like to share my first experience with such. As a FMF NAVY Corpsman I was authorized to carry the 45 pistol as a side arm. During training, I heard the 45 range was up to 50 yards more accurate at 25 yards and deadly in close contact. Needless to say I was not keen on all of the above.

Upon arrival in the Republic of VietNam on 10 of March 1967, I had a choice of various Grunt Battalions to offer my assistance. I chose 2/4 along with two other fellow Corpsman. As an afterthought didn't realize why they needed 3 at the same time. Upon checkin somewhere on one of the hillbases near Danang was issued my Unit 1 with meager medical supplies, In addition a 45 cal pistol with holster and clip with 6 rounds.

Assigned a bunker with a blanket. That night sleepless and hearing strange noises of something on the sand bagged roof, I questioned my Bunker mate who slept soundly He just said don't worry it was either the G--- throwing rocks from outside the perimeter or rats Welcome to my new home.

The next evening after a long day doing nothing I volunteered ? for my first night ambush patrol. Six men and I "saddled up" and walked out the main gate. Dusk was soon approaching and we neared a ville, surrounded by rice paddies. The Corporal in charge motioned we would set up for the night in the paddy next to a dike. Unknown to me we were checking out a road somewhere in front of us. Soak and wet full of muck I followed the example of the man next to me and got comfortable? Suddenly voices could be heard coming from the area of the road it was dusk the sun had gone down and curfew was in effect. Something I learned about later. The Corporal gave the signal to pass down the line to ready weapons. I pulled out the 45 and rested it on the top of the dike somewhere in the direction unknown. Thinking about now was it 25 or 50 yards no matter. With the signal to fire suddenly all H-- broke loose. The man next to me fired his what I learned later was A rocket launcher (law) scared the living you know what out of me.

Suddenly the signal to seize fire was given. I am not sure if I pulled the trigger or not. Returning back to base safely I now was experienced and my fellow Marines invited me to their next adventure but advised to dispose of the 45 and medical bag. Stuff the supplies in my ute pockets and morphine alongside my all-purpose white paper in the upper left pocket. I also was issued an M14 and later a 16, Shown how to fire on automatic and a Marine was designated to keep it clean. Welcome "Doc" someone said.

Years later somehow the Corporal and another Marine who had retrieved our bounty that night of NVA papers and captured Thompson reconnected. The Corporal remembers the story and said he remembers seeing my trousers wet jokingly and the Marine who lives nearby have the same picture individually sitting on top of the bunker holding the weapon. I was shirtless unshaven, muscular and city tan scared Sh--L--. My new found buddy sat smiling with a cigarette dangling out of the corner of his mouth.

Welcome Home
Frank Morelli
Corpsman of the Marines


Sgt. Grit,

Chuck Brewer's article about the M-14 got me to wondering... Who was the last unit(s) to use the M-14, as in, issued weapon that required qualification, (not drill teams)?

I went to Sea School at MCRD from Nov-Dec 1976, and we trained with the M-14's. When I joined the USS Kitty Hawk, (CV-63), in Jan. 77, I had to re-qualify with the M-14. Sometime that summer, we turned our M-14's in for M-16's, because we all had to re-qualify with M-16's before we left for a West-Pac in Oct. 1977.

Did anyone out there have M-14's later than that?

Tommy Ruyle
Cpl. of the Marines
MARDET 77-79
I 3/6 79-79

My Witnessing

Sgt. Brewer seems to doubt my witnessing a young recruit at the rifle range having the tip of his thumb removed by the accidental discharge of his M-14. This happened when he grounded his rifle butt. I started looking around the internet, and found out that the M-14 has indeed been known to misfire when the rifle bolt slams shut. This was called a "Slam fire". The M-14 could also do a "Doubling". This is where two rounds go off in quick succession before the trigger is released. Both were very rare. Also extremely dangerous.

One cause of this is that the firing pin on the M-14 is "free floating", and the momentum of the bolt going forward could make the pin continue flying into the cartridge primer. Another possible cause is that the firing pin was dirty and could not move and was sticking out enough to hit the cartridge primer as the bolt was closed. Also known causes can be traced to defective ammo. I know what I saw. Maybe someone out there can recall other slam fires and doublings with not only the M-14, but the very similar M-1 Garand.

PFC Thorpe

1st Civ Div

I'm replying to the letter where name withheld was lamenting lack of active duty visitors. I too am a Marine Veteran and VA employee, and I'm here to say Esprit de Corps is alive and well. Most of the VA facilities are pretty far from any active duty bases. MCL members and former Marine employees have got to pick up the slack.

My facility issues a card that shows branch of service that you wear behind your PIV card. Ours stand out better than the other branches (as well it should!) I always like the startled look, then the following conversation when I bark at someone wearing a USMC cover, "Where did you learn to wear a cover inside, Marine?!?"


"A Marine is a Marine. I set that policy two weeks ago - there's no such thing as a former Marine. You're a Marine, just in a different uniform and you're in a different phase of your life. But you'll always be a Marine because you went to Parris Island, San Diego or the hills of Quantico. There's no such thing as a former Marine." CMC, General James F. Amos

Keith Grisham, Currently serving in the 1st Civ Div.


He's Got The Blues

I remember when my son came to me at the end of 11th grade and told me that he had been talking to recruiters and he had decided that he wanted to join the Marines. Horrified, I said, "THE MARINES?!? What happened to the Air Force?" He had been talking about joining the Air Force since he was around nine years old. So, what was up with this MARINE thing???

My son, a dedicated weight room rat, promptly replied, "The Marines are the best-trained, and they have the longest and toughest boot camp. If I'm going to go, I want to go with the best, and the Marines ARE the best. Will you just come and listen to the recruiter?"

Well, I thought about that for all of two minutes. The MARINES? They were the tip of the spear ... the first to fight! I knew my son was going to serve his country. Our whole family had served back to the American Revolution. His heart was set. With that in mind I decided that I, too, wanted him to go with the best. So I said, "Okay, let's go. I'll talk to him."

Well, I ended up signing him into DEP later that same day. Then I started reading everything that I could get my hands on about the Corps. After all, my son may have ENLISTED, but I got DRAFTED! If I was having to go through this, I wasn't going to mess around. The following year when my son graduated high school, for his graduation present I presented him a home-made gift certificate "Good For (1) Set of USMC Dress Blues." After all, what do you give a kid that is leaving home with nothing but the clothes on his back and $20 in his wallet?

He said, "Thanks mom, but I won't need this. I'm going to WIN my set of dress blues by being the honor man." (This was before the Corps started issuing them to all new Boots.) I thought to myself, okay, son ... nice goal to have, but how many other 18- year olds out there were saying the same thing?

Fast forward an insane thirteen weeks and I'm on the grinder at MCRD San Diego, sitting on the bottom row of bleachers in front of Alpha Company 1014. In front of me is an incredibly handsome young man holding the guidon. IT WAS MY SON! He had done exactly what he said he was going to do--he was the Honor Man of his platoon! He won those dress blues! I was so very, very proud of him. He did it! Why, oh why did I doubt?

Those dress blues were sure an incredible "carrot" dangled before my son that kept him pushing himself to the edge and back countless times through thirteen of the toughest weeks of his life. Four years and two deployments later, in 2010, he opted not to re-enlist, but the pride of being a Marine will be with him forever. I can't help but think it a shame that the Recruits today are missing out on the great motivator of "winning" their dress blues. How many would push themselves just a little bit harder, for just a little bit longer, with those awesome dress blues as a goal? I guess we will never know.

Semper Fi, Sgt Grit! I LOVE your newsletters and merchandise. To all of the incredible Marines out there, past and present, you are -and always will be- my heroes!

Once a Marine Mom,
ALWAYS a Marine Mom

Sgt. Grit:
I always enjoy reading your newsletters. By the way, there is a Facebook page for Tyrone Power Postage Stamp. It's a group supporting Tyrone Power on a stamp in 2014, which would have been his 100th birthday. For those not familiar with him, he was a handsome movie star from 1930's to 1950's. A good actor. He served in the Marines in World War II, later was a Major, USMCR. He portrayed Marty Maher, of the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, in the movie" The Long Gray Line"(now out on DVD). He deserves to be honored on a stamp.

Sgt. Grit, I thought you would like to mention this in a future Sgt. Grit Newsletter. Sadly, Tyrone Power passed away at 44, in 1958, from a heart attack, while filming "Solomon and Sheba" with Gina Lollobrigida, George Sanders, in Spain.

P.S. I thank all the Marines who have served our country.

Hello Sgt. Grit.

This is my first letter that I have ever written to you. I'm a disabled MARINE and I'm still very proud that I got the chance to serve in the MARINES. I wished that I could have done my Twenty or more yrs. in. Back in 2005 We were a month out from going back to Iraq that would have made my 4th time over in the big sandbox.

Anyhow I'm writing about my son Joshua. He was born at Camp Pendleton, Ca. at the Naval Hospital there on Base back 20yrs. ago Feb. of 1992. I'm very proud of him we almost lost him and I thank the lord every day for him. I'm just getting over my 3rd heart attack back 4 weeks ago and then two weeks ago I lost my Mom. Anyhow on Sat. Feb 11 Gunny R Lee Emery was in town here at Hoover Tact firearms. He was also here two yrs. ago and my son missed him. Well this time I made sure that he was going to get to meet gunny.

When we got there the wait time was 3hrs. long. Having a bad back and everything took its toll on me but I hung in there like we MARINES are supposed to do. He always, when he was little, would watch mail call and lock-n-loaded with Gunny. He pitch one more fit when they took it off the air and put on that ice road truckers. When we got to be the next in line to see Gunny He looked at me and said Dad I don't know what to say to him. I could see a tear in his left eye.

He told Gunny how much he missed his show and how much Gunny meant to him. I just stepped back and let him have his time with Gunny. I told Gunny that tomorrow was his Birthday and where he was born. Gunny grabbed ahold of him and gave him a big MARINE Hug. He was so tickled to death. My Son on the way out when we got to the car gave me a big hug and told me that that was the best Birthday gift he had ever gotten and that I was in such pain that I waited that long in line for him to meet Gunny.

I said Son that's what we Marines do. We always go the extra mile or 100 miles to help someone or just to give. The next Morning I had my heart attack and my son said it was his fault. I tried to tell him it was not his fault. Anyhow I love and miss the Marines

Semper Fi to All my Bro. and Sister Marines.
Sgt. Tom Harris (TomtheMarine)
Enclosed is a photo of my Son Joshua and Gunny.

My husband served as a Sgt in the USMC (1966-1972), and was stationed at MCAS Beaufort, SC in 1967 with VMFA 251. He proposed to me on Christmas Eve while at home on leave. I drove down to the Air Station to see him in September of 1967. When Top Butler asked him if he knew the girl that drove from PA to SC to marry him, and was sure he wanted to marry her, he said "Sir, Yes Sir!" When asked how long he had known her, he said "Sir, we've been together for 7 yrs. and 3 days Sir! Top Butler's reply was "Son, she's been with you longer than the Corps. I guess you'd know for sure by now. You've got the Corps blessings and mine." We were married the next day in Beaufort, SC in 1967. When he was reassigned to Iwakuni, Japan, I worked to get enough money to fly commercial air and joined him in Iwakuni. Our daughter was born there in 1970.

We will celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary this year. I guess we are both a bit gung-ho because of all the places we could go, we would love to celebrate with a trip to Washington DC to see the Vietnam Wall Memorial and USMC Evening Parade at 8th & I.

Life Was Grand

Sergeant Grit,

After returning from Vietnam in May 1966 my orders were to report to MCRD San Diego Ca. Upon my arrival I met with a SSGT who decides where to assign you. Looking at my paper work he informed me that I would be assigned to MP Company. Well, I wasn't that excited about the MP's so said to him I'll go but I will ask immediately for a transfer. He asked why and I said you don't want to put me on the gate with a loaded 45.

He began to shuffle his paper work and then informed me that he was sending me to the Post Exchange 4131 and I agreed. I wasn't sure what I would be in for but my thinking was anything but the MP's.

Enclosed are photos from my time under the Post Exchange and my duty was located at receiving barracks at the end of the grinder next to the theater. I had two billets, one above receiving barracks and one located at HQ next to the Generals building at the opposite end of the grinder. I had a lot of time off as I worked two to three days a week and stood no inspections and lived off base in Encinitas.

Life was grand the last half of my time in the Marine Corps. I had to get a job at the EM Club bartending because with so much time off I was spending too much money. The barbers were union and did not work nights or weekends so I would cut the privates hair as in the one of the photos. No training and as it was explained to me (it's just like shearing sheep).

See all the photos

Thanks Sgt. Grit, all the best,
Liam Jones

My Brother, Norman

"Good morning, Marines... I will be your primary instructor for this next period of instruction... I am Gunnery Sergeant Clature... Frank Clature... some of you may know my brother, Norman... that's a joke, gentlemen... you, there... in the rear... if you can't stay awake, standup"

Somewhere back along in there, went off TAD for a week, maybe longer, to "Techniques of Military Instruction' school at Division Schools at Horno... we learned public speaking, so to speak, how to structure a lesson plan, use or improvise training aids, etc... student body was an assortment of enlisted ranks, up to and including a Gunny or two. Final test was to present a class on a Corps subject of your own choosing (well, d'oh!... what else would you expect the Cpl vehicle commander of his very own Ontos to select????)...

The evaluation was of the toughest kind possible... peer group. One of the Gunnies was well-prepared, had a good 'attention gainer', good training aids, eye contact, a clear, forceful, speaking voice... and something in his nose that was bothering him... he was 'into the zone'... 'livin' the dream'... totally focused on what lay before him, and waxing eloquent about the subject he had chosen... when he removed the thing in his nose that was bothering him, took a quick look at it, and wiped it off on the front of the lectern... and continued on with his lecture.

The communist 'confess your sins' circle went fine, with many gratuitously laudable points brought out, until one LCPL worked up the nerve to say "It was really good, Gunny... up to the point where you wiped your booger on the lectern" The Gunny was in total disbelief that he had done that... until the instructor staff walked him back up front, and pointed out the offending bot... and affirmed that indeed, every last one of us had seen him do it.

Three key parts to a lesson plan: "Tell'em what you're going to tell'em", then "tell'em" and, in closing... "tell'em what you just told'em"

Gunny at Quantico instructing an Ordnance Officer class on the M109 SP 155MM Howitzer, got to the bulge around the barrel which contains back-angled chambers/check valves... captures some of the gas as the projo goes by, then helps blow any crap out of the bore when the breech is opened... has a fancier name, which I forget (bore evacuator??). Anyway, the Gunny points out that the function of this device is 'to clear the bore of durbis'...

Student: "ah, Gunny, what was that again?" "Sir, it is to clear the bore of durbis"... this got repeated a couple of times, and the Gunny was getting visibly irritated with this bunch of fish Lts and WO-1's, (some of whom had more time in grade as SNCO's than he did)... He finally struck on a way to get his point across, by spelling. "You know, gentlemen... D-E-B-R-I-S !!, ... 'durbis'... " So ever since, I have made sure that there is no durbis left in the bore when I leave the range...


Alive And Well

Sgt. Grit,

As I always do on a Thursday morning I just finished reading the newsletter. I enjoyed it very much. I saw a couple of stories that made me recall some of the time I had in the Corps and one that upset me titled Esprit de Corps.

I know there are a lot of the old Corps heroes spending some of their last days in a VA hospital in almost every state in the Country. To jump on active duty command for not working with you on getting active duty Marines to visit them is a bit overboard. There are many demands on command however I feel that setting up a day a month or such for half a day for a certain number of active duty to be able to go and visit these heroes would be a good thing.

How you go about getting it done I do not know. You might try to get a mass letter writing operation going to HQMC the Sgt. Major of the Corps office or even his bosses office General Amos I believe (forgive me if I am wrong) requesting why active duty Marines cannot have half a day once a month to visit these Marines and others who most do not have anyone to come by and see them. Just a thought. I do not know if would have any effect but I know when I went through boot and when I was a D.I. that we taught the young Marines that the Corps is family and we look out after our own always no matter what. Esprit de Corps was alive and well then and I believe it is today.

Junk on the bunk with all of your gear including 782 gear was always a pain in the butt. When I was at 29 stumps pending medical discharge they had an I.G. inspection with junk on the bunk. However I was a SSgt. and only had to stand the personnel inspection in full dress greens. My last inspection before discharge. The inspector must have been a blind in one eye or he took pity on me being discharged for medical at any rate he gave me a meritorious citation for being squared away in my uniform.

When you had to line up all your junk on the bunk it had to be in the exact spot it was supposed to be, folded items had to be folded to the exact size, everything with your name on it had to be done without railroad tracks and all the gear on the bunk in the wall locker or footlocker had better be clean, pressed if required and absolutely squared away. You also had better know your stuff on the Corps, your mos and leadership for an NCO or SNCO because the inspectors would quiz you and you had better know the answers.

I know when I was in boot we used the buckets for washing clothes, they were taken with you to one day motivation or PCP platoon and were used for smokers on the road. In 1975/76 when I was on the field they no longer issued the buckets as I recall. The bucket was most likely the most used tool we had in boot camp.

Thanks for the newsletter and keep up the good work.

Semper Fi

SSgt. Joseph E. Whimple
U.S.M.C. 1970 / 1976

Anyone out there from platoon 2033 Feb. 1970 graduated May 1970? Just wondering.

Feeling Of Invincibility

I want to respond to this person as I think I know the reason you don't see active soldiers, sailors and Marines at the VA. I served from 1988 to 1994. From my high school, 9 of us enlisted in the Corps and probably another dozen enlisted in the other branches. None of us Marines were wounded or killed in Iraq but a couple army classmates were.

During that time, since we all knew we may well be shipping to the sand box we didn't go visit any of our injured classmates when they returned to CONUS because we saw it as an unnecessary reminder of what may happen to us when our turn arrived. It isn't because of a lack of Esprit De Corps or Semper Fi, it was only a self-protection mechanism. Most Marines do not lack self-confidence but you don't voluntarily endanger your feeling of invincibility prior to a potential combat tour.

Similarly, I live near Arlington National Cemetery and go there at least once every year but not while I was active.

Semper Fi,
MS Lewis

Nuclear Tests

Good morning Sgt Grit!
In regards to Sgt Whiting's "Glow in the Dark" story at Camp Desert Rock, Nevada where he witnessed a nuclear test... The story reminded me of my first observation of a nuclear blast.

I was part of ship's company (Seagoing USMC) on the USS Princeton (LPH5)...We departed Long Beach, California in 1962 for Johnston Atoll in the South Pacific. We were part of what was called, Operation Dominic (wikipedia article)

As a helicopter assault ship, our responsibility was to evacuate and house the military personnel from the island during the nuclear tests. On our way out to the atoll, EVERYONE aboard was issued "dosimeters" to wear on their dog tags. These were devices to measure our exposure to radiation from the blasts. All cameras and recording devices were confiscated and we were not to report any after effects of the testing to anyone!

To this day, I can still recall most my experiences during the testing... As an 18 year old, I wanted to "see" an atomic bomb blast and signed up to witness the first test. I was issued "high density goggles" for use during the test... After the issue, I walked outside on the flight deck and tried them out... in the bright tropical sun, I could barely make out the deck I was standing on... I could look directly into the sun with NO discomfort.

On the night of the first test, we were escorted out on to the flight deck and were given instructions... we buttoned the top button on our utility shirts and pulled the collar up... we crossed our arms so our exposed hands were in our armpits and sat cross legged on the deck. We had to keep our eyes closed and our heads bowed down.

The count down to the blast started and I recall being very nervous... at zero on the countdown, I remember feeling "instant heat"... it was very hot... almost to the point of being very uncomfortable. We stayed sitting for quite a while before we were told over the ship's PA system, "Remain seated and looking down... you may open your eyes". With the high density goggles, I could clearly see the flight deck in great detail.

After a while, we were allowed to look up... I could see the horizon very clearly (remember, the test was at night and I had high density goggles on!). We had to remain seated for a few more minutes until the shock wave passed us... the shock wave sounded like thunder and I remember my ears getting "plugged" (like going up in an airplane)... only after this were we allowed to stand and look around... it remained like daylight for quite a while... definitely scary stuff.

On following tests, I can remember being in my bunk fast asleep and sitting up when my ears would get plugged by the shock wave. I think that the "cold war" that was going on at the time was impacted by these nuclear tests.

If any reader shared this experience with me, shoot me an email.

Semper Fi,
Howard Hada

What They Do Best

In regards to "name withheld" and his observations regarding the "lack" of Esprit de Corps... I've worked as a civilian construction contractor at the nearby VA hospital, and the brotherhood was alive and well there, amongst all the Marines who were no longer wearing uniform. One of the former Marines working in the Maintenance Dept. gifted me with a small USMC sticker to wear on my hard hat... guess where he bought those?

I can't say I saw any Marines in uniform while I was there, but then, I'm not surprised, and I really don't understand "name withheld" 's complaint. When he was on active duty and took leave to go home, what the h-ll did he do with his time? I know I spent as much time as possible pursuing civilian females when I wasn't eating home cooked meals or sleeping off the previous night's adventures. Perhaps "name withheld" is near an active duty base, where Marines in uniform is a common occurrence, but where I'm from, it is fairly rare.

I'm not suggesting that those Marines receiving care at the VA facilities don't deserve our attention and respect, but in my experience, they get it plenty from VFW, Legion, Marine Corps League and other veterans who get to spend every day with their families and look forward to making those visits. If any former Marine reading these letters hasn't taken an afternoon to visit a local VA, I highly recommend it; you'd be surprised at how a little banter and an appreciative audience can improve the outlook of many a veteran in their declining health, whether they happen to have served with the USMC or elsewhere. I've heard many an epic story and met my share of true heroes, from conflicts both before and after my time of service, and nothing compares to hearing them from the living history themselves.

Let's leave the active duty to do what they do best, and let us out of uniform Marines carry on the mission for our veterans.

-Sgt Weaver, R.M.


Hey Bob I don't know about a Helio unit in MAG-13 but maybe attached for supply but this is the short and sweet of it.

In June 1965, MAG-13 became a unit of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, where it operated until September 1966 when it deployed to the Republic of Vietnam. Based out of Chu Lai, MAG-13 supported the III Marine Amphibious Force and other forces in I Corps and II Corps tactical zones, Laos, North Vietnam and Cambodia. Initially the Group consisted of VMFA-314, VMFA-323 and VMFA-542 all operating F-4B Phantoms.

In December 1967, VMFA-542 was replaced with VMFA-115 while VMFA-232 and VMFA-334 arrived in early 1969 with the new F-4J's. This was the structure that remained through most of 1969. MAG-13 headquarters left Vietnam in September 1970 and returned to MCAS El Toro in October of that same year.

Marine Aircraft Group 12 (MAG-12) was assigned to Chu Lai to direct most Skyhawk operations in South Vietnam. The plan was to rotate Skyhawk squadrons to and from Chu Lai and Japan to conduct combat operations. Marine Aircraft Group 13 (MAG-13) was also assigned to Chu Lai -- The dates and mission are a mystery.

The Skyhawk --- The Marine Corps had flown the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk since 1957, but had to wait eight years to fly the Skyhawk in combat. The A-4 Skyhawk was armed with two internal 20mm cannons and could carry additional guns in external pods. The A-4C had three external stores stations available and the A-4E had five external stores stations available. From the external stores stations Marine pilots could deliver approximately 8,500 pounds of ordnance ---"iron" bombs weighing up to 1,000 pounds, napalm, Zuni semi-guided rockets, cluster bombs, and unguided rockets. I've added this because I was in VMA 223 from Iwakuni to Chu-lai in 68-69

Every Meal a Banquet, every day a Holiday
Bill Carey once a CPL always a Marine

I'm Here

In the past few months Marines have asked if there are any WM's reading the newsletter and I wanted to reply that, Yes, I'm here.

I was at Parris Island from Aug - Nov 1989, N Co. Platoon 4033, and my drill instructors were: Sgt Gavin, Sgt Collins and Sgt Sheppard. I went to MP school at Lackland AFB (just what the Air Force needed, a bunch of boot Marines running around their base calling it Camp Lackland!). I was stationed at Kaneohe MCAS for the next three years.

My mother served in the Army, she was a secretary for Gen William Westmoreland at the Pentagon and after I was born she was one of the first women accepted to OCS in the Florida National Guard. (That's an article from the Jacksonville Journal with a pic of her and me from 1973.) My father was also in the Army and served in Vietnam. My stepfather, lied about his age and joined the Navy at 15 in 1943. My sister was in the Air Force and my brother is in the Navy.

To all my veteran brothers and sisters, thank you for your service.

Proud to be a Corporal of Marines,
Michelle (Wright) Weaver

Half The Visits

Sgt. Grit: In regard to "Name withheld", it may have to do with local! When I was in the Robert J. Dole V.A.M.C. in Wichita, Ks. for a bypass, in Dec. 2003, we were swamped daily with visiting vets of all branches! They came singly and in groups. they came with care packages, cards, or just to visit! I live in north Oklahoma, just 80 mi. away. Okla. and Kansas both are thick with old Jarheads from WW2 thru current war. Young Marines made up at least half of the visits!

They were there for all vets, but they always seemed to spend more time with us. "Semper fi Sir, how are you doing?" They asked us about our time in, our wars, thanked us for our service like their's was nothing! We'd tell them thanks for their service, and they'd down play it! They made it all about us.

Different ones, different groups almost every day! Oldsters and youngsters. But by far the younger vets were the most motivated! So yes, Name withheld, the Corps is still teaching Esprite de Corps, and this new generation of Marines understand it and have in spades! While I have many concerns about my nation's future. I have seen that my Marine Corps is still here for her, and stronger than we've ever been!

Semper Fidelis:
LCpl Edward L Basore, C Bty. 3rd LAAM Bn. 1969-1973.

Dignity Factor

WOW! I cannot believe this is written by a Marine! This is a travesty on several levels, of course for the Vets not getting visits, but then to voice that level of disgust in our community. Let me first say, I too work in a hospital and it is against many regulations state and federal for someone to just walk into a hospital and start talking to patients.

There are privacy factors as well. For example: If I, a PROUD US MARINE VETERAN, just prances into a hospital and starts talking to another PROUD US MARINE VETERAN, and I'm not family and do not the permission and we begin talking about the reason they are in the hospital and others hear or I pass on any of his/her personal information, that is illegal.

And not to mention the dignity factor. How would you like to be a patient and have some stranger come visit YOU and perhaps start telling all the Jodies on the block about you and your situation? In your vast 5 years of working in the VA have you ever contacted a recruiting office or veterans affiliation and then have them contact the hospital social worker or patient advocate? That possibly would be the correct chain of command.

The hospitals are not designed to be "dog and pony" shows to put our proud service men and women on display. I'm sure in the VA, like many other hospitals there are media relations, patient outreach, and advocate departments that sponsor outside groups to visit our PROUD US MARINE VETERANS, and as being a patient in the VA in Dallas, I know for a fact that the Dallas Cowboys make appearances, I have witnessed it myself.

But before you voice that negative perception and keep your "Name withheld for obvious reasons", how can you be reaching out? If you had a name or signature maybe some of these "swinging johnsons" active or inactive would see to it that something is done. Esprit de Corps is not just an action, it is also in statements and the only one I see lacking and not understanding the true meaning of Esprit de Corp is you; Mr. Anonymous!

Semper Fi
John H.
USMC 1987-1991

Seabag Drag

I could not help but laugh about the bucket stories. I arrived at MCRD Parris Island July, 27 1970, Pt 1393 and was issued a bucket. I am certain that everyone remembers the seabag drag with everyone screaming at you about everything.

Well we were in the Seabag process and were herded into an old wood barracks and lined up in front of a bunch of racks. At that point the entire group of Drill Instructors proceeded to have at everyone, I was lined up and trying to be "small" which is difficult when you are 6'3" and about 250 lbs.

I became a target for a 2nd Lt that had joined the party. The only problem that he had was he was about 5' 2" so he got tired of screaming at my chest and grabbed my bucket and stood on top of it so he could scream at my face. I will never forget the look on poor recruits face across from me while all of this is going on. I am looking at him and both of us know that if we laugh we are dead meat.

Also, I qualified with a 45 for barracks MP duty, I believe the gentleman was correct at 25 yds. max. For all of you that have fired a 45, anything over that you would be better off to throw the thing at the target! It is not a distance weapon. But it will stop anything that you can hit with it.

Semper Fi
Sgt. R.F. Shelor
1970-76 Mag-13, NAS Treasure Island, Marine Barracks

One Stipulation

Response to: Name withheld
Re: Stated that in 5 years at a VA hospital, never saw an active duty Marine "Swinging Johnson" visit the VA.

I hang around with a bunch of Vets-(mostly Viet Nam)- at a military shop every Saturday. We had a regular (Fred) a retired Major (Korea / Viet Nam). Fred had diabetes. Had to go to the VA and have a foot amputated. On the way home from work, I stopped by the Marine recruiting station. Talked to a SSgt there. Told him about Fred's plight and thought it would be neat if they could send a uniform over there to wish him well.

No hesitation from the SSgt. "Where's he at. We will send someone over." I said, "One stipulation. Can't tell him who, what or why sent them". I say them, because three showed up. Two Lance Corporals and Sgt E5, all fresh out of recruiter's school showed up in undress blues at his bed side with a USMC coffee mug and other trinkets.

The nurses were all a twitter and swooning. After a lot of interrogation by Fred, No one ever broke and told him how they just happened to just show up. Fred died not long after. His Mother "Granny Pat" turned 101 years old last month. Baked cookies, fudge etc... about once a month for us, until she turned 98 or 99. Still sending her birthday cards.

I have several other stories where I just asked, and had active duty uniforms show up. But, I'll save that for another time

These guys are busy being the tip of the spear or training to be. Plus, they have families. But, it has been my experience that if you just ask, I haven't had a turn down yet.

The "New Breed" seem to deem it an honor to visit with an "Old Breed" I think they call it "Esprit de Corps."

Keep your interval
Big Joe...Out

P.S. As for you Grit and your newsletter;
Well Done!
Carry on.

All I'm Saying

This is a reply to an article in the Mar. 14th newsletter written by Gy Sgt. F.L. Rousseau about how young Marines are stretching the truth about how their DIs are treating them... I mean no disrespect to the Gy.Sgt. as to what he says, but I entered MCRD San Diego at age 16 and didn't turn 17 until 2 weeks later in Sept. 1956... Maybe things have changed now and there is certain things the DIs can't do, but they pretty much did what they wanted in 1956...

I've seen ankles kicked until the recruit couldn't walk... I've seen a recruit eat a cigarette with the fire still on the end of it... A good friend of mines voice box was paralyzed for about 2 weeks from a DI flipping him in the throat, Once his voice came back he sounds like a bullfrog when he talks now almost 56 years later... The DI was Judo Champion of Southern Ca. so he knew what he was doing...

We were told if we had any complaints to come to the DI and tell him and he would arrange for a meeting with the Chaplain or whoever did the investigating... But he also told us "God help your azs if they send you back to me" needless to say there was no complaints...

I've seen many recruits treated pretty rough... The worst for me was stationary double time while dry shaving, which was nothing compared to some... All I'm saying is back then they were rough and you didn't dare cross them or get on their wrong side...

I've said all that just to say this... I wouldn't have wanted it any other way... The DIs meant business back then and turned out some great Marines... I've heard guys say if I catch that SOB in combat he's mine, But I'm sure most would have died for him once they realized what that DI had done for them...

I still say the young recruits of today should still be given h- ll everyday with no letup... Pushed until they can't handle anymore... If they are sincere and want the Honor of being a Marine they will suck it up, push through it and come out with the ability to face and hopefully survive combat... All because of a hard azs Drill Instructor...

The Marine Corps is the greatest experience any one can have... it never leaves you... But the DIs are the ones who make Marines... Don't tie their hands to where they can't do their job...

Howard W. Kennedy USMC 1956/1962
K/4/12th Marines 3rd Marine Div
Camp Hauge, Okinawa 1957/58

Tagged The Weapon

Hi Sgt. Grit. Let me start by saying how much I really look forward to receiving your newsletter. I am writing in response to Chuck Brewer's letter that appeared in the March 14th newsletter. I graduated from Infantry Weapons Repair School at Quantico in the summer of 1970. I spent the rest of my time in the Marine Corps, either working in an armory or working on a firing line.

One thing that was drilled into our heads at Quantico was that the firing pin on the M-14 could not act on its own. Remember the phrase "inertia type firing pin"? Because the firing pin was an inertia type, I would have to say that the round would have to have been chambered, the bolt locked in place, and the hammer was cocked back ready to fire. The slamming of the rifle butt on the ground could possibly release the hammer. Anything is possible, but the main emphasis on the firing line by everyone working there was safety.

I agree with Sgt. Brewer that it would be very very unusual for a round to discharge in this manner. I imagine that all types of h-ll would have broken loose when that incident occurred. The main objective of everyone there would have been the wounded Marine. The armor on duty most likely would have tagged that weapon, taken it out of service, and taken it back to the armory for a detailed inspection. That is, if it was not confiscated first for legal purposes.

When I first read the original story, I was surprised by the tone of the story teller. This was a very serious incident, not a "smoking when the smoking lamp wasn't lit" type tale. I hope someone can add to this story. It would be great to hear from anyone that was there, especially the armor on duty. Thanks Sgt. Brewer for the 'good old Marine Corps armorers' shout out.

Cpl. David Mendiola

Signaled An End Of Negotiation

I just wanted to give a shout out to my boss Mike who served in the Corps during Vietnam. He exemplifies the term "Marines take care of their own".

A few days ago my brother succumbed to a long battle with bone cancer and I was in the process of trying to find a plane ticket to L.A. to be there for the service, I complained to a co-worker that my brother in law in L.A. was trying to find me a ticket, but prices were very high just one way. She said "Let me see if the travel department for our office might be able to help"

My boss Mike who was walking by overheard that part of our conversation asked "What's going on?" I told him the situation and he said "I'll take care of it." After getting the pertinent information he goes into his office and minutes later he yells me into his office (he still has his Marine lungs) and hands me my flight info for a round trip ticket.

I said thanks for helping me, now how do I go about paying for this? He replied "Don't worry about it" I said, Mike, are you sure? He said "get out of here" with the accompanying hand waving gesture. So I'm sitting at my desk, thinking this over and not completely comfortable with it, when he yells me back into his office to hand me an e-mail confirmation from the Airlines, and I asked again "Mike, are you SURE I can't pay for this?" and he replied with a clear, precise, and non- arguable "SEMPER FI MOTHER F---ER!"

Clearly this signaled end of negotiation and to be perfectly honest, I truly had no voice to argue with at that point.

Brothers like no others. Ooh-Rah!

L/CPL Louis F. Lapointe 1981-1985

47 Years Ago

Dear Sgt. Grit.

I have posted some stories in the past. I thank you for your great way to express opinions to the few and select brothers that read Sgt. Grit.

You forwarded a response to me from one of your subscribers and I was in shock at the response. 47 years ago I lost touch with my best friend I ever made in the Corps. We were good buddies who hung out together and were both New Yorkers who saw the seriousness and humor of all situations.

I want to thank you for finding a long lost brother after all these long years, since he lives now in Thailand, like all of us have to live with some stigmas of our past, but most of us overcome adversity and Marines are survivors.

Again, God Bless the Marine Corps- and Sgt. Grit for his ability to be there for the few of us who need a place to go to be what we honor and cherish in a former period of our lives.

Semper Fi,

Bruce Bender
USMC 1963- 1967 CPL.

Note: Find your buddies. Join the Sgt Grit Buddy Search


I joined Uncle Sam's Misguided Children at 17... most of my life before my teen years were spent with my grandparents. By today's standards they were Have nots... no car, no phone, no refrigerator, no indoor plumbing... but we had a large garden, chickens and a milk cow so we ate plainly but well.

I weighed a bold 150 lbs when I arrived at MCRD-SD... The food was not memorable. For a fact I remember nothing about it except about 80% of my platoon got the quick step from badly cooked turkey. I think we were given 30 minutes to recover... Was 165 when I left there.

Camp Pendleton was a different deal... The hiking, pt, and other exercise made food very important... Breakfast was 6 or more pkgs of the sample boxes of dry cereal plus whatever they gave you for main course. (Preferred raisin bran ate anything)... Stuff on a shingle... foreskins on toast (chipped beef to the unknowing) and whatever other culinary delights they could dream up... When I left I came in at 185 and you know there was no fat.

After sea school the US Navy sent 6 of us by bus from SD to Treasure Island outside San Fran... and eventually put us on a seaplane to Hawaii... searching for the USS Wisconsin. We spent 2 weeks in Honolulu Marine Barracks and the food was unreal good... Fresh fruit, juice, 2 or 3 kinds of meat, eggs to your choice and various sides... The sign at the head of the chow line said "Take all you want... Eat all you take" never saw this at any other military mess hall...

Food on the Wiscy was erratic at best... some good some forget it... rumor was they brought on Sci Fi writers to compose the menus for Thanksgiving and Christmas... What they wrote really didn't match up with what they served... I never understood baked beans for breakfast Saturday morning or horse collar (cold cuts) for evening meal on Sunday... The Navy said it was TRADITION but you know those Navy guys lie...

Had a few memorable steaks. Was a restaurant near Marine Barracks Gitmo that served a kind of rib steak for $1.50 which was excellent, tried to eat there a lot... Lady cooked me a steak in Copenhagen Denmark at her home because she heard Americans like steak... And everything I got with it was excellent also...

Lastly was in a cat house in Tampico, Mexico... was a fillet about as big as a fist, cooked on coals and that's all im saying about that...

Had fish and chips in Greenock Scotland. That would be worth the price of a plane ticket to eat again... Batter dipped, deep fried in a kind of shack just big enough to hold the 3 or 4 people working in it... No sit down dining... passed through a window in newspaper or brown kraft... only condiments malt vinegar and coarse salt... Have never found its match in 57 years... Besides that I fell in love two or three times with the girls working there.

Enjoyed the story from the Jarhead about the CO hosting a T-bone steak dinner for his unit... d-mn... never knew the Corps had T- bones, at least I never saw one... One other comment... any of you out there who served at Honolulu Marine Barracks please let me know if I was hallucinating or was the food that good... Later I thought they were trying to impress an Inspection General or something But it was all good...

Semper Fi
Sgt Don Wackerly 53-56
PS. Dollar amounts are important as we were getting $80 per month. Plus the $50 allotment I was sending home.

Payback - True Story

Sgt. Grit

Read the newsletter every week. A lot of variety in the stories. But I'll bet you NEVER had a true story like this.

I arrived at Parris Island on 14 Aug. 1969. I was sent to 3rd Bn. Platoon 3027. It was pretty hot at that time of year. We were doing marching drills outside, when the black flag was raised. The black flag was flown anytime the temperature hit 100 degrees, and, training was taken inside. Our Sr. Drill Instructor was pizsed off for some reason, (did he need a reason?) He had us doing push-ups, but it was the kind where you would put your hands on the top rails of the bunk on each side of you. I believe they are called "dips" now.

We had been doing this for about 45 minutes and most of us were exhausted. When the Sr. D.I. turned his back, I would put my feet on the bottom 2 bunks and go through the motions without using my arms, I dipped at the knees, looking like I was doing the exercises. This was working out for me pretty well. Then all h-ll broke loose, Pvt. Baines, across from me snitched me out to the Sr. D.I. Needless to say I got a butt chewing of my life time. So, I volunteered for fire watch that night. I had the 1am to 2am watch. About half way through my watch I went over to Pvt. Baines bunk and I picked up his boot. I went into the head and SH_T in his boot. The laugh I got later on when he was stomping his foot trying to get his boot on was worth every second of the butt chewing I took.

True story.

P.S. Pvt Baines, if you read this, screw you.

Sgt. Allan Janosko
Semper Fi

Tie Tie

Hi Skip,
I'm a pack Rat.

Recently there have been references to results of smoking when the smoking lamp was out during boot camp and how the buckets were put over your head, etc. Some of the letters to you seemed to not believe the stories were more than a sea story about the bucket. So I dug my bucket out and offer it as proof that we were issued them. Please note that on the bail of my bucket there is even a Tie Tie. In the past 60 odd years I have forgotten the use for the existing Tie Tie. I know it was functional or it would have been gone years ago.

I would pack one of the wool blankets in the bottom of my sea bag. Then packed other soft stuff around the bucket which was on top of the blanket. In the bucket was packed anything fragile with more clothing or whatever around those items. No round worn circles show on my sea bags bottom from it being dragged or dropped because of the bucket.

There were several Navy and Army veterans in Platoon 70 and they had offered many stories about what would happen when orders were not followed so the platoon didn't have many problems with abiding by the "DI's, Whims". We did have the sand carrying challenges and practice fire drills with them. We had only one trumped up discipline time for someone folding one of their blankets to soften the bucket while setting on it and spit shining shoes.

Semper Fi

Growing Up

I was a DI at MCRD SDiego 58/59 and was present at my father's retirement parade there. So many stories of what happened there that were humorous then. and now. I had the opportunity to sit in on many classes for recruits in the 40's when I was just a little kid of 7-8 yrs. old and had nearly free rein of the base. So, I can say I grew up at MCRD and Camp Matthews. When I enlisted, my home address was 200 Marine Drive; Camp Pendleton. Haven't met too many Marines who were closer to growing up in a Marine Corps environment than that?

Semper Fi
Rocky Kemp - Distinguished Pistol - USMC 1953-63

Locker, Foot, 1 ea

Useful things, back in the day... Marine Corps version quite a bit larger than the ones in the HS hallway, or most jock locker rooms, and came in twos... common back panel, two doors on the front... depending on unit/location, etc. one Marine might have both halves... or, having the whole thing to oneself might be an NCO privilege... footlockers, which the tripping over of which, have sent more Marines to sickbay than the entire German (WWI), Japanese, North Korean, Chinese, North Vietnamese, and Iraqi armies combined, were 'one each' for all hands (the Docs never did seem to wonder how tripping over a footlocker could result in black eyes, broken noses, torn utilities, etc... but ,'cause of injury' always seemed to involve a locker, foot, 1 ea)...

DI hut lockers might have been put to uses their designers never contemplated... recall a series with Gy Whitworth as the Series Gunny (they probably call them 'the Drill Master" or something like that now... ) Gunny was one of those who just had 'something' about his eyes... t'was said he could look a hole through a steel plate... and he was to the Series Officer (a Lt.) as a Platoon Sergeant would be to a Platoon leader.

Series Gunnies usually convinced Lts that the way they could be the most effective was to remain out of sight and out of mind... reinforcing the idea planted in recruit heads, that if they had reason to even see the Series Officer, that they were approaching the Right Hand of some personage who could do several powerful things to them, none good... (the 2ndLt basketball player who was seen to skateboard, sans p-cutter, through the Company area, and the amount of time he spent "in hack" (restriction to quarters for junior officers) are for another time/story... but true... )

Gy W happened into my duty hut one afternoon, and we exchanged the usual pleasantries... "How's it going, Sgt Dickerson?"... "Goin' just great, Guns"... for whatever reason, as he moved on from our end of the duty hut toward the other two platoon's end, he idly reached out and rapped one of the wall lockers used to delineate the office space from the Duty DI bunks in the middle of the Quonset.

From the top and bottom vents in the door of the locker, came a voice... singing... something about "From the halls of Montezuma, to the shores"... etc. in retrospect, it was probably fortunate that he had 'turned on' my 'jukebox' with the tap code for the first of the day's "Top Ten"... as a higher number of taps might have produced 'Be-Bop-A-LuLu", or some other popular song of the early sixties...

I got a hole looked through me... which was enough clue to find reason to send my musically inclined recruit to other duties... I think he might earlier have been humming happily over something inside his hut... they always forgot there was a never-used door at the end opposite the platoon street... surprise, surprise, surprise, and shazam! "You like music, boy?"...

Worked another platoon (381, December '62 to end of February '63) with an 'extra' DI... SSGT J.A. Dickerson, working as a Junior for part of his first platoon... so the recruits had to deal with two DI's with the last name... funsies... At the time, we had a wall locker up on the DI platform... and, in the first week, we pretty well had'em convinced that none of us was born of a mortal woman, but had been issued, ready to go, by the Commandant...

To this end, at the last formation before lights out/Goodnight Chesty/Taps, Cpl Webber and I would ask the platoon if they thought we should stow SSGT Dickerson for the night? For some reason, maybe the way we posed the question, the answer was always "Sir, Yes, Sir"... fairly loudly? SSGT Dickerson would step backwards into the locker, assume the position of Parade Rest, and close his eyes... we would then place a combination lock on the closed door, and send 'em off to bed... we were reasonably sure there would be no peeking out of the huts (if you have to wonder why there would be no peeking... you're an outsider... have never experienced those first few days)... and we'd let him out. Ten minutes before reveille (bugle over the PA system), we'd put him back, lock the door again... and of course the recruits would agree that indeed we should open the door... where they'd see SSGT Dickerson just as they had last seen him... it took them a while to figure it out... some sooner than others...

Side note... the 3rd Bn Commander at the time was Lt.Col W.H. Rankin... an aviator, who had ejected from his jet, got caught in a thunderstorm, and spent many minutes inside the storm cell in his parachute... rising at times, falling at others. He wrote a book about it... "I Rode the Thunder"... probably out of print, but might be available via Amazon, etc... pretty buff guy, rumor was that he ate lots of apples...

Best meal I ever had was a thick slice of bologna (no mustard) between two slabs of fresh-baked bread and a canteen cup of strong black coffee with grounds floating in it... at the time, was buck-naked, squatting on a C-ration case sleeve underneath a water buffalo. along the air strip at Tam Ky in a pouring rain... we had been in the bush several days, eating C's (when we had them) and had been rotated back to Tam Ky to take our turn at airfield security... FSR had a laundry unit working there... we all just stripped off, turned in our utilities... got'em back, clean, hot, and dry not long after... in the meantime, there was 'fresh' (as in "not canned") food for us... K/3/5, Op Colorado, summer of '66. (fresh chow after a lengthy period on C's will soon enable one to thread a 40-mesh screen at 20 paces without touching a wire...)


Correction: Underwater Swimmers School

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.

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, SEALTeam 2 at:
nomad52usmc @ gmail .com (no spaces)
deepdivebob @ yahoo .com (no spaces)

See more upcoming reunions


"Never trouble another for what you can do yourself."
--Thomas Jefferson

"The right way is the greatest gratifier of human wishes ever come upon -- when allowed to operate. It is as morally sound as the Golden Rule. It is the way of willing exchange, of common consent, of self-responsibility, of open opportunity. It respects the right of each to the product of his own labor. It limits the police force to keeping the peace. It is the way of the free market, private property, limited government. On its banner is emblazoned Individual Liberty."
-- Leonard E. Read

"Invention is continually exercised, to furnish new pretenses for revenues and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without tribute."
--Thomas Paine, 1791

"Freedom is not free, but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share."
--Ned Dolan

"The preservation of freedom is the protective reason for limiting and decentralizing governmental power. But there is also a constructive reason. The great advances of civilization, whether in architecture or painting, in science or in literature, in industry or agriculture, have never come from centralized government."
--economist Milton Friedman (1912-2006)

"My confidence is that there will for a long time be virtue and good sense enough in our countrymen to correct abuses."
--Thomas Jefferson

"Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors."
Joseph Story

"There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion."
--Gen. William Thornson, U.S. Army

"I'll be out of the area all day"
Semper Fi!
Sgt Grit

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