Attached is a photo of Sgt. Major Iron Mike Mervosh WWII (Iwo), Korea and Viet Nam Vet. That's him on the right, never mind the old fart on the left. This was taken at the Mike 3/7 reunion in Reno, NV, and was our 30th. Anyone interested can Google, for the history, rosters, past and upcoming reunions. Google (Mike37.org).
Dave Coup WWII, Korea almost Beirut, almost Vn.
Ed Tate GySgt Ret
1944 - 1965
We love it when our Leathernecks stop by for a visit, but there is so much clean up when they are gone. Just Kidding.
Semper Fi Leathernecks!
Director of Operations/Customer Service, Sgt Grit
Original "Camp Hansen"
One of my claims to fame was that I was stationed at the original Camp Hansen. Anti-tank Co., 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, in 1956 in Okinawa. We had a Tank Co. and an Ontos Co.
Pictured is our Chapel, which we put back together after every typhoon. The slop chute, mess hall and Co. offices, and of course a motley crew of tankers and mechanics. Thought I was doing good being from the original "Hansen" 'til I met a man at a MCL Convention from Zephyr Hills, FL, that helped build "Hansen" one year before me.
Sgt E-4 C.J. Oudendyk
St. Petersburgh Fl.
Devil Dog Scoot
A Vietnam buddy (Army) heard I was forced into retirement and had to sell my motorcycle a few years ago. He found this 1983 Yamaha (Dead Dog) and brought it to me on his trailer behind his bike. Picture # 1.
After months of work and a fun project with some accessories from Sgt. Grit, I now have my Devil Dog Scoot (without manifold & carb). Saving my nickels and dimes for the parts so I can provide harassment to the Army, Navy, Air Force & Coast Guard golf carts in my community. Oooooorah! See next 4 pictures.
1964 P.I. MCRD 2nd Battalion Platoon 212
1965-1966 Chu Lai, Viet Nam
The Army Obliged
In response to Sgt Stevenson's question:
Yes, I have talked to, and have known as a friend, someone who fled the country. He went to Canada after receiving his draft notice and being denied Conscientious Objector status back in '68 or '69. He did, however, redeem himself sometime later when he called and agreed to serve as long as he didn't have to carry a weapon. The Army obliged him and trained him as a Medic... and sent him to Viet Nam. He was a high school friend by the name of Kenneth Michael Kays. He is also a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient for his actions under fire in Viet Nam in early May, 1970.
Reborn as Marine 1967
Figured Out Why
I read several letters on this site concerning the bad food some Marines ate a different mess halls. My first thought was why did they not use the condiments (salt & pepper) that was available on the table. Then another reason hit me, maybe they just did not like that particular dish that was on the chow line that day.
I was a cook in the Marine Corps for almost four years. Never have figured out why I was chosen for this MOS but being a Marine I did it to the best of my ability. I used to have some regrets for being a cook instead of a grunt or any other MOS but I finally came to the realization many years later that, that job had to be done by someone.
Not to toot my horn but Myself and LCpl. Sam Jackson received a Meritorious Mast (Attached) from Lt. Col. Joseph E. Muir (K.I.A. on 9/11/65) for setting up and maintaining a field mess in Chu Lai South Vietnam for Lima Co. on August 12, 1965. It was not until several years later that I learned of Col Muir's death which makes the Meritorious Mast much more meaningful to me. I was also awarded a Letter of Appreciation (attached) for a job well done on March 27, 1967 at TBS at Quantico, VA.
I am now done venting concerning the Marine Corps Cooks!
Remember all Marines no matter what the MOS are First and Foremost A Rifleman.
Carl (Paw) Anderson
I can't claim to have been there for this but heard it somewhere. A bunch of young Marines, while watching a movie, one of the Starlet's guns down her lover and shrieks, "Oh dear God what do I do!" A voice from somewhere yells, "Pick up your brass and fall back to the 300 yard line!"
When it was time to rotate out of Nam we use to say, "I'm so short I have to look up to see down."
Sgt. Rod "Pappy" Yoakam '69 - '70
Great, ABSOLUTELY GREAT, story on MSgt Burris. Heartwarming and eye watering and a real gem. God bless you all.
Great newsletter. It makes my Thursday mornings. I hope they never end. I can't wait to see how bad Lyles "OD Shirt" gets hammered by the gang.
Ddick, I walked some of your hallowed ground.
4th FSSG 4th Maint Bn 4th Marines
Rock Island, IL
'79 - '84
I can remember a short timer. When he got down to 12 days, he got him a 12 inch ruler, and we would all gather in front of the barracks each morning and watch him saw of 1 inch.
Field Music School
Parris Island 1958
B. OTIS '57 - '60
I met a phony butt wipe not long ago that claimed he was a door gunner on a cobra gunship?
Cpl H. White Jr
USMC '67 - '70
7TH Eng 1st Mar Div. '68 - '69
8th Eng / TAD Rifle Range Camp Lejeune '69 - '70
Vieques, PR '70
I'm so short I tripped over the shine on the floor!
Military Police Co., Head Quarters Btn, Camp Hague, Okinawa received their first mighty mite in early spring of '63. I was driver for the Provost Marshall at that time so I drove that thing all over Okinawa. It was the closest thing to a hotrod I had the chance to drive in my 5 years in the Corps. They didn't last long though.
Sgt. H. B. Overton '61 - '66
Okinawa '62 - '63
I very much recall the Mighty Mite - I saw it at CamPen, K-Bay on Ohau. They hit the beach on a tach training week on Maui. I saw them at Camp S.D. Buter on Okinawa and believe they were all a part of the landing kit in country. This goes back to 1961-64.
MCAF Santa Ana, Grit, as a former Control Tower Operator in the sky at MCAF Santa Ana, under a Colonel who REALLY wanted to be a General, I was also stationed at yet another Blimp Base, for Air Traffic Control 'A' School, at NAS Glynco, Brunswick Georgia. Liberty was pretty good at both places. Wound up at MCAF Marble Mountain, a place MANY of us are familiar with!
Fair winds and following seas.
John J Holland, Sergeant of Marines, 1966-1970 2229533
Sgt Quick, I believe there is one more "blimp" facility. There are several (2, I think) blimp hangars on Moffet field south of San Francisco, CA. Moffett was also a LTA (lighter than air) facility. The whole time I lived in SoCal us Marines always referred to it as LTA . The hangers are still there, but some folks want to tear them down and put up housing; fortunately people are fighting it, but we all know how that can go!
Wayne Mailhiot 1980XXX
MCRDSD Plt. 175, C Co., 1st BN, RTR. Sept 1961 - Dec 1961
H-3-11 2531 Fld. Radio operator Camp Pendleton.
Mar 1962 - Feb 1963
Comm-Elect School Bn. Mar 1962 - Jan 1964
6641 MACS 1 MCAS Yuma, AZ. Jan 1964 - Dec 1964
TAD Comm-Elect School Bn. Dec 1964 - Mar 1965
5941 MACS 1 MCAS Yuma, AZ. Mar 1965 - Jan 1966
I met one of the code talkers at an air show in St Paul Mn. Albert Smith, a M O H recipient and a very interesting man to talk to. He thanked me for my service. I was honored to shake his hand.
Seems Like 'Yesterday'
Aug 14, 1965:
Seventh Marines land at Chu Lai.
The advance units of the Seventh Marines land at Chu Lai, bringing U.S. Marine strength in South Vietnam to four regiments and four air groups. The Marines were given the responsibility of conducting operations in southern I Corps and northern II Corps, just south of the Demilitarized Zone.
Hanoi Radio broadcasted an appeal to American troops, particularly African Americans, to "get out". This was purportedly a message from an American defector from the Korean War living in Peking. In South Korea, the National Assembly approved sending troops to fight in South Vietnam; in exchange for sending one combat division to Vietnam, the United States agreed to equip five South Korean divisions.
That is sick... HANG'EM! Fake a hangin'... really after some have hung themself due to PTSD. Take me off your email list.
Snuffy Country Warriors! HA! Old memories, FNG not so old. Thanks for the mental shake-up Wordsmith
The Hang'em High article seems to me to be in very poor taste and illustrates behavior unacceptable to the Public; hence, a bad image for us.
John T. Foster,Jr. Ph.D
LtCol. USMC (Ret)
Note: Let me just say this. A good time was had by all. Once the 'event' was over the FNG was one of the guys. They did not feel detached from the group as the new guy. As 19-20 years olds it was a great way to have some fun and forget for a few minutes where we were and what we did. For those of you I offended, I apologize. It is still one of my fondest memories. I too was 'hanged' and attach none of my PTSD to it. And as a FNG at once felt accepted and calmer knowing my new found Marine friends accepted me.
Three Man Lift
I remember a very involved and hilarious gag I saw pulled off in an air wing "O" club in DaNang in 1968 called a "Three Man Lift". It would begin with a very large and muscular Marine boasting that he could lift 3 men off the ground the height of a beer bottle and hold them there for 60 seconds.
Marines then began to argue as to whether or not he could do it, then they began choosing sides. "Yes he can - H-ll No he can't - then bets started to be made with the large Marine who started it all. All this was being done to lure 3 FNG's into a trap. After 30 minutes or so of arguing and betting, the large muscular Marine would approach each of the 3 FNGs, one at a time, to asking them to participate - be one of the 3 men to be lifted - and if they would, they'd split the money 4 ways. Of course GREED took over and they agreed.
He then had them sit on the floor in the middle of the club holding tightly to one another. Everyone else gathered with drink or beer in hand and encircled the 3 FNGs. Large Marine then told them he'd count to 3 and on 3 they should hold on as tightly as they could to each other. He then counted 1-2-3 and at 3 everyone in the circle poured their drinks onto the heads of the 3 FNGs. Man, were they wet and embarrassed.
Does anyone else remember seeing a "Three Man Lift" or remember playing the drinking game "21 ACES" - where you rolled 5 dice from a leather cup as you drank the night away at the club? And speaking of drinking - the only beers I remember drinking out in the boonies was Carlings Black Label and Olympia - I believe those were the only 2 brands that made it up from DaNang to Dong Ha, the Rock Pile and points west in 1968.
S.R. Van Tyle
Beating Down Boredom
A lifetime ago, I was stationed at MCAF Santa Ana, aka LTA, where it would occasionally 'rain' inside the dirigible hangars. As a freshly-minted Corporal, I was tapped for Duty NCO, given minimal 'instructions', and proceeded to issue and eventually collect, liberty cards, make log entries, and spend a fair amount of time beating down boredom.
There was a radio in the 'duty hut', and a local radio station that played all requests, and five minutes of news headlines commencing just before the half-hour... and in the slow, dark hours between Taps and Reveille, an idea formed:
Rather than just flip on the PA and announce Reveille, I called in and asked for Johnny and the Hurricanes "Reveille Rock" to be played as they came out of the news break at 0600. As the newsreader signed off, I cranked the volume up, flicked the PA switches on for all areas in the barracks, and sure enough, dead at 0600 the dulcet tones of a rocked-our version of the song that has roused generations of Marines blared out of every speaker... including the cubicles where Marines who'd been on 'graveyard' had just shut their eyes.
Needless to say, it was a mistake never repeated - but D-MN, I'd never seen that much activity at that hour in that barracks.
Duke, '66-70, Nam 68-69
One Arm Pushups
Hello Sgt Grit,
I read the letter from Sgt JH Quick regarding MCAF Santa Ana in 1965. I was stationed there in 1978 swingin back to the world from the rock. Back then it was called MCAS(H) Santa Ana. Soon after I got there, it was changed to MCAS(H) Tustin. I remember the big hangar. I watched a Silent Drill Team exhibition in that hangar and I will tell you it was the most impressive 'thing' I had ever witnessed.
Now that doesn't include watching my company gunny with his Recon wings pinned to his utilities, with the arrow carved into his hair on top of his head, on top of the raised platforms in the PT field at Parris Island, at '0 dark thirty doing pushups with one arm and looking out over the masses, making sure no one's butt is too high.
Anyhow, Santa Ana was much more populated in '78 than in '65, as the SoCal commerce and building started up. I was also at NAS Lakehurst in 1976-77. The rigger school was still there. I was not a PR however. I was at the Aerographer's Mate School. In other words, I was a Marine Weather Observer.
I love reading the letters in Sgt Grit. I grew up during the Vietnam War and have a big brother who flew the choppers in the Red Barons. I missed all the conflicts being in '76-'80. It is what it is. I'm not a war-monger but feel sometimes I should have done more. I never regret my service.
That's What We're Here For
Really? A 'Bent mess spoon'? Now you're just talking crazy! Everybody knows the spoons in MRE's are plastic and they'd break if you tried to bend them much less kill anything! Besides... It was in the Congo! Surrounded by an entire tribe of pygmy cannibals with nothing but a broken boot band and a canteen cup! All kidding aside, I am a peace time Marine from '95- '99.
Just want to thank you and all my fellow Marines for your service. And the other branches of course, my Dad was Army RVN '68. When I graduated boot camp and went home he proudly took ownership of my sweatshirt with my series number 3095. Nasty 95 - we couldn't drill, shoot, low pft, and dumb as rocks. Unfortunately there was no reward for close combat training because that was the only thing we were good at! We wore those other platoons out!
Senior stole a pugil stick and stuck in our bay window as a trophy. He came into the squad bay and said, "You are dumbest, nastiest, undisciplined, unsat bunch of maggots I have ever seen, but at least you can kick some azs! That's what we're here for, right Nasty 95!" Anyway, the point is I told my Dad that story and that I would probably never see the things he saw and asked if he really wanted to wear a recruit sweat shirt. I told him I could get him a nicer one and he said, "No, you worked hard for this one and this is the one I want, and I hope you never see what I've seen."
I realized at that moment how proud he was. That was the most conversation we ever had face to face about his Nam experience. But he did wear that sweatshirt ragged, at least once a week in the winter! My Dad is gone now and so is the shirt, but I still have the respect for Vets like him, like yourself. In a way I guess this random babbling is a testament to our Marine Corps, that a salty old Army Dog like my Dad would rather wear his sons recruit sweatshirt, series number, dbl rat bars and all, than wear even a hat that says Army. Semper Fi.
Waved To The Fishermen
The story titled "Other Animals" by "DT", Cpl. reminded me of Team spirit '85 going from Okinawa to Korea on an LST. We, as MP's, had to guard the connex boxes - a four hour one man post. A buddy of mine L/CPL Thayer and I decided to do our shifts together to kill the boredom.
We spent that time lying on top of the cargo nets that were draped over the connex boxes. They made kind of makeshift hammocks. The seas were very calm, there was a slight breeze, we were about midway between Okinawa which was warm, and Korea which was cold, so our field jackets provided warmth and padding. Man that starry night sky without light pollution was amazing. I recall later, seeing some flying fish on that cruise, and the quote "Tell it to the Marines" came to mind.
I also remember a "fishing boat" following us - this being the time period of the cold war - and we were in international waters, we figured they were Russkies so it was decided that we needed to test some of our weapons. We took target practice with our shotguns and 45's on the garbage that was being thrown overboard. We also waved to the "fishermen" with one finger! I was told later that the trash was sometimes picked up and examined by the Russians to see if they could gain any information.
L/CPL Louis F. Lapointe 1981-1985
You Writing A Book
This is in response to Sgt. John Stevenson, about meeting draft dodgers. I never met any while in the Corps, but managed to meet some after being discharged. It was in college, imagine that, at a faculty sponsored affair with cocktails, (yes with liquor), food and meeting various people. I was wearing a black jacket I bought in Oki that had the EGA and some unit patches sewn on. I must explain that, like Picasso and his Blue Period, the first 4 or 5 years after discharge I called my 'Asshole Period'. I was not nice to know, hard to approach, and dangerous to just about everybody.
Anyway, this guy, my age, comes over, points to my jacket and asks what was it like over there. My comment was, "You writing a book?" He says no, but he went to Canada to avoid the draft. My comment was, "Fine, we didn't want your asz anyway." Another guy comes and says, that he was in the Air Force and went to Canada to avoid Nam. I told him, "They ought hang you for desertion," and I proceeded to choke him 'til he was red in the face with eyeballs bulging.
Some people pulled me off him, and it took a fair amount, and I was told to leave. From that day on, when I saw this non-qual chickens--t on campus, I headed straight for him, and he would duck into the first building available to avoid another choking. I was not invited to anymore faculty functions, but was the hero of our Vets on Campus group for a while.
Cpl David Goodman
1967 - 70
Reading the story from GYSGT Charles Weidman brought back my introduction to Nam in late '64. With 1/7 we were off the coast of Chu Lai and ready to go to war. Locked and Loaded and climbing down the ropes. I was a ground radio repairman so not first wave but I was barely 18 and not real happy to be there. Anyway we circled and circled and as we did I kept thinking about the movies I had seen about the ramp coming down and all the jar heads piling out. So not wanting to be first out I sort of wiggled my way toward the back of the boat. Ended up at the port hole. As we started in I looked out the widow and watched a guy water ski past. We ended up landing in the rec area and I was a very happy young puppy.
We ended up on the beach at Chu Lai and eventually set up a radio shack (tents back then). The sand was a real hazard as we tried to repair the equipment so one of us, not sure who, swiped a couple bags of cement from the seabees and we had the first cement floor on the beach. I remember body surfing using our rubber ladies (Air Mattress) most days. Lots of cribbage.
Spent the last year back at MCRD teaching at the Basic Electronic School (1966). I was back there in March of this year to witness the graduation of my Grandson. So the beat goes on. He is a Airedale learning to repair the CH-53 Sea Stallion. I could not be more proud of him.
Speaking of the beat going on. My first job after leaving the Corps in Nov of '66 was at Hughes Aircraft company in Fullerton, CA. I was part of the design team for the PRC-104 which was the replacement for the PRC-47. I had worked on the PRC-12 in Nam.
Cpl. Chuck Hayford
Nov 63 - Nov 66
Civil War Marine
This is the original Transfer Card of my great Grandfather, mothers side, Marine Cpl. A. N. Ingersoll from Ossining, N.Y. dated 2 February 1903.
He joined the Marines in Westchester County, New York on April 4th, 1862, as a Private and was discharged as a Corporal on April 4th, 1866, after 4 years of honorable service during the Civil War. After he left the service he was a guard at Sing Sing Prison, Ossining, NY. He is buried in the local cemetery there along with other members of our family.
I was a Marine from 1964 to 1968 having served in Viet Nam in '66 and '67 with H&S Co., 3rd Srv. Bat., FLC - Alpha at Red Beach north of DaNang and then at Phu Bai. For my great Grandfather to join the Marines in 1862 at the age of 22 as a Private and be discharged in 1866 at the rank of Corporal is something that I am very proud of. I wish that I knew more about him. My brother Tom was also in the Marines from 1963 to 1966 and we hooked up over in Nam at Chu Lai and DaNang during the war. We were both fortunate enough to come back in one piece and I will always be grateful for the adventure of a life time.
Dana H. Theis - Sgt.
Show My Wife
I was wondering if Gunny Weidman from the Aug 16/12 newsletter could say where he saw the LST Windham County. I googled her and I couldn't find where she is located. I also was transported on the Windham Cty to Vietnam with 9th MEB on Apr 5/65. We embarked on board at Naha on that day. I remember 'cause I was celebrating my 1st year to the day of Marine Corps life. We disembarked on Apr 13/65 in Da Nang. At that time I was the CO, Alpha Co,3rdEngrBn,3rdMarDiv jeep driver. I was looking at my sea and air travel embarkation slip from a copy of my SRB and I noticed it was LST Windham Cty 1170. I don't know if the Navy ever had two LSTs with the same # listing.
Anyway I wanted to know if he saw a picture of it on the computer or wherever. I wanted to show my wife how I went to Nam the first tour. I remember also we went through a typhoon and I'm sure you know how rough the ride was. Belly flopping in the middle of the Sea and watching our vehicles so they wouldn't come loose. Plus the Navy chow was the best. I just didn't know how appreciative of it I would be until we started on C-Rats.
Also I recall my time driving the mighty mite in Okinawa in '64 to Camp Courtney from Camp Hansen. I couldn't keep up with the skoshi cabs, and those little vehicles were fast. Once we landed in Nam I went back to my original Plt. I didn't need the stress of being around brass and silver as a PFC.
My short timers saying was "I'm so short... I ended the sentence at transient area in Da Nang on the tar mat loading aboard the silver bird headed back to the world. I enjoy your newsletter. Been a fan and a customer for years. I also located a fellow boot camp jarhead through the newsletter.
Manny (Speedie) Gonzales SGT
"A" Co 3rd Engrs 3rdMarDiv Hq/1stPlt 64-nam65
3rd Bridge/Charlie 7th Engrs 1st MarDiv 1stPlt 66-68
"B"Co 3rdEngrs 3rdMarDiv 3rd herd 68-69
USMC 64 - 71 USMCRD 2ndBn Plt 230 Honor Plt 4/64-7/64
And That My Friends
I do not remember if movies were available during the regular week - but remember on weekends we went. Matinees had all the dependents, and too noisy for the rest of us without kids.
Remember that they had a roped off area for base general, and senior staff, also place for OOD. Saturday on an off payday week had all the poor enlisted out in droves to do something, as we were short on money, and long on nothing to do. Some of us went to the base gym, others went to the library to check out books, and "Chesty's Chosin" went from the Club to the movies - usually a little under the weather! When the General or high ranking people were present - the MP's were in the theater, and outside as we entered. Some were stopped, but most of us went inside to see our bargain movie - think it was a dime to get in - do not remember?
One night the theater was packed on a Saturday and dignitaries were present. The crowd was loud, and the picture was an adult movie. One scene had a teenager talking to his father about getting his girlfriend in the family way - and the father is really reprimanding him - The son retorts, "Dad, What should I have done?" One drunken Marine yells out in the dark theater, "You should have kept it in your pants?" The general was pissed, the lights went on, the MP's went to the section that the comment came from, and that my friends is the last picture I saw at the base theater, because we never saw the end of this movie - as we were asked to leave, but the officers, and staff nco's stayed.
I do not remember the name of the movie, but we laughed about this a long time. Not for the comment made - but the overall happening - typical for Marines away from home, low on funds, maybe a little dejected. I found it amazing that you had thousands of Marines around you, but could still be lonely for a lot of reasons.
Like The Drill Instructor said at " Lights Out."
We all yelled out in unison, "God Bless Mom, God Bless Dad, and God Bless the Marine Corps!"
I agree with Cpl Kelly, I was in the Corps from Aug 1965 -June 1969, Vietnam 67-68, With VMGR152 at DaNang and Futema Okinawa. I have never met another person That was in the air wing. When I tell another Marine I was in the Air Wing, most of the time the response is, "Oh One of Those?" What the h-ll does that mean? Boot camp PLT 260, New River HMM 231, Cherry Point, Okinawa- Vietnam 152 and Alvin Chandler Field HMM 767. I don't think all Marines were Scouts, Snipers, or Force Recon.
I think and am very proud that I am "One of Those"!
I got to Korea Christmas day 1950, No Christmas dinner there, only peanut butter sand and cold coffee. 3rd Bn 7th Mar just got out of Kotare and moved to Nesaun. We landed at Pusan from a Japanese ship, Christmas eve. Sent from Sasabo to Pusan, we stacked rifles put cig. pks on for decorations and they played white Xmas over and over again. I went out on the deck and there coming in to Sasabo was the Princeton. My best friend was on the Princeton. I hadn't seen him for a couple of years. That really made me home sick, my first Christmas away from home.
A song of the times was "Bless them all, Bless them all" by MacArthur & Ridgeway. They started a drive for the river Yalu while we froze our balls off at Old Hagarue. We were saying good-bye to them all. The large, the short, the tall, we will be home for Christmas, the kids never missed us, so cheer up my boys, bless them all. And another was, "here comes a g--k sneaking thru the grass playing burp gun boggy on chubby's asz, so were moving on, been away too long, your flying too high for my little old sky so were moving on." Can't remember the rest.
I do remember the Bob Hope show in Korea, that was a great show, a good lift for all of us, I think I would have given it up for a hot shower and a hot meal, but what the h-ll, didn't have the choice. I was wondering if there was any Marines out there that got frost bite, and what they do for it now. My legs hurt all the time, feel like they are giving out, and has poor circulation. Just would like to know what to do to make them feel better. If anybody knows let me know.
Bob (chubby cheeks ) Langford, 1126140 USMC
WPNS Co, 3rd Bn, 7th Mar
Not As Mean, Not As Lean, But Always a Marine
No Blue Chips
Still on the green side of the grass! Been enjoying your letters, and had to add:
When we hesitated to take a chance on something: "No balls, no blue chips."
There were no WM's out on the "Cutting Edge" back then so we were pretty crude. On choices of females (60's): "Eight to eighty, deaf, blind, dumb or crazy, No mor'n three days dead."
Later, our ideal choice became (70's): "Deaf, dumb, over-s-xed, and owns a liquor store"
Went to Viet Nam in 1965. Peace since Korea. No one had been in combat. We all knew we were going to die. Flak jackets, white T-shirts and M-14's. Climbing down cargo nets... The helicopter was a great invention.
Thanks for everything you do!
MSgt USMC Ret
Regarding Sgt. John Stevenson's question: "Has anyone ever talked so someone who admitted running away to avoid going to Nam?" In 1972, I was fresh out of the Corps and had taken a job for a Co. called Sperry Rail Service and was doing rail testing all over the U.S. and Canada. On my first trip to Canada I was talking to the Conductor who was assigned to us (To keep us from being run over by a Freight Train) and when I asked him where he was from he told me, "Can't remember where anymore, but it was somewhere in the states." I asked him what he was doing in Canada and at that instant it dawned on me that he was a Draft Dodger.
At that time in my life I was fairly narrow minded about draft dodgers and very nearly lost my job that day. Come to think of it I was narrow minded 'bout most things. At any rate I didn't kill him and didn't lose my job.
Those Were The Days
In reference to games played on base. I was stationed at MWTC Pickle Meadows my last two years 86-88, we always had the game of the year either the day before or the day after Thanksgiving, I can't remember which day. It was called the Turkey Bowl. Each section would put a team together and play football. Some games got kind of rough, and everyone was fair game, the CO and XO included. Our CO at the time was Col. Stenick and he was out there taking hits from Marines and Corpsmen half his age. It never failed that we would always see the after effects of the games in sick call.
I look back at my time at Pickle Meadows with fond memories. I have some lifelong friendships from my time there. I have an 1943 Willy's Jeep that I got while I was stationed there and spent countless hours working on it after hours in the HE Shop. Retired MGySgt Sir John Marjanov ran the HE shop at that time. John had 8 Purple Hearts and several other awards for Valor, we all looked up to John, he called them like he saw them. I remember one evening the Chaplain stopped by and his son was running around the shop messing with stuff, he went over by a torch and John took his cigar out of his mouth and without missing a beat said to the kid, "you keep your little dick tongs off that!" Then he went right on with his conversation with the Chaplain. John was a good friend.
I had a bear tag in 1987 and was hunting with M1-A that I bought from one of the armorers when I was assigned to Scout Sniper School in Quantico. John told me one evening while I was working on my jeep to stop by his place, so I did. He handed me a 444. Marlin and told me to use it for bear hunting, and bring it back when I was done. A couple weeks later I shot a nice bear down by Levit Lodge. I was glad I had the 444. Those were the days!
Alan Smyth HM-1 USN
Smooth As Silk
Ddick has mentioned spending some time at Rock Island Arsenal, I too have had some memorable moments in the "quad cities". After going to Parris Island in '93, I spent the next eight years as a reserve 0311 in 'L' Co 3/25... (yup... stationed at Camp Couch, college, women... what a tough life) where we trained hard to master cold weather combat.
Having completed my 6 X 2 contract (all eight actively training) I had gotten married and listened to my new bride who was worried about deployments and got out. I wasn't satisfied with the concept of civilian life without the ability to routinely crawl around the woods so I joined the Army Guard... NOT my brightest idea (Excellent enlisted... crummy O3s and up).
So, I'm in the Army now as a TOW team leader and if you're one of our smarter readers you've figured out it's 2011. September comes and goes and we get the word that we're to deploy to a post which hasn't been guarded in several years, but it is the ONLY place where they make breeches for artillery pieces. We begin looking at maps to find out where Rock Island is located and discover that the Mississippi River is going to be our neighbor.
Our arrival on the Arsenal is to what I imagine the Allies experienced going through occupied France, waving people lined the entrance and a welcoming ceremony like none other (talk about good food in the military). Our job is to secure the base, guard three gates, provide a roving patrol, and a QRF 24/7 with a heavy platoon. As Ddick knows the local area has only a couple of ways to cross the Mississippi river and until our arrival crossing through the base was one of them.
We put a screeching halt to the local traffic pattern and caused a huge gridlock with our newly established checkpoints (randomly searching 1 in 10 cars out of a 400 cars per hour flow and checking every driver for proper base ID will put a kink in the morning rush). We aided the local law enforcement by finding dozens of felons, guns and drugs in cars attempting to cross the island and searched several thousand more who just wanted to "drive across to get to the other side".
About two weeks into the mission we get a driver who must be related to the cycling 5th grader with the foul language. This guy pulls up to the check point and as his ID is verified is informed that he is the next random vehicle search to which he simply replies, "No, I'm not!" My Spec 4 (think LCpl) has a quick but polite back and forth with the driver and finally convinces the guy that he should pull out of the traffic pattern and discuss the matter with the NCOIC.
After pulling to the inspection area the driver is quickly surrounded by the remainder of the inspection team and by the roving patrol (who just 'happened' to be in the area) and was convinced to exit his car. Undeterred, the driver makes several statements about how he's a GS-something or other, and how he's to be treated like a General and how he is exempt from vehicle searches. We inform him not to confuse "Rank with Authority" and how we are going to do our duty.
In the interim we have already completed the inspection of his vehicle and found no contraband or weapons (we could average a sweep of the whole car in about 60 seconds) and returned his ID to him allowing him access to the base. Mr. GS big-shot gets into his fancy car and makes several threats about how we're all going to lose rank and so on and so on before he drove off. After the excitement ends we inform our OIC of the incident so he has a "heads-up" and we return to work.
Well, as it turns out the driver was the second highest ranking civilian on the base and had been there for 25 years. He drives straight to the base CG's office and storms in yelling about the inspection interfering with him coming to work and how he should be above that. The CG calmly listens to the rant and after the complaining winds down asks "Are you better than the rest of the people on this base?" The CG tells him that every other employee and military member on post go through the inspection and he will too, then the CG sends him home for the day.
Our OIC (a 1st LT) gets summoned to the red carpet and brings the NCOIC who relates the entire episode to the CG. The following day our post's second highest ranked employee was reminded by the CG that "this is a Military base and no one will interfere with base security" then he fired the guy and had the DOD Police escort him from the post. The CG called our LT and told him that if anyone "messes with his Grunts again" to call him immediately. After that incident things became smooth as silk and we had a great year on a historic base.
Once a Marine, Always a Marine.
Lando 0311, Sgt
Other People's Opinions
Think you might like this one. My youngest Daughter has been resting a bit after her summer studies before starting her sophomore year at USC... (NO, not Southern Cal)... She is in the junior scholar program there and although still 15 has a big head start so to speak along with many others it seems... (yeah, I'm braggin'... sue me). Anyway, she has noticed on Thursday mornings instead of hanging around the kitchen drinking coffee I go directly to my 'Marine-Cave' above a new shop I threw up over the summer... about the coffee, she asked my sister, "why does it seem to be a cliche that all those old Marines (OLD?) drink that black tar-like substance they call coffee?"
Normally, I only use a computer for ordering supplies, very little research, etc. Naturally being curious as to why pop is deviating from his normal routine and morning chores on the farm be d-mned, she starts snooping around, and since she already knows the various old 'shackle-codes' I use as passwords from my Marine Corps years it didn't take her but a nanosecond to hack into Dad's comm-shack. Aside from a few alternate frequency chats with Marine Brothers and lately fellow Marine and 'po- leece ociffer' (Ret.) Cpl./Chief R.A. Kiser all she found was the file containing the Sgt. Grit Newsletters.
At some point Sis' tells me, "Your little girl has been on her I-pad for a couple of hours reading that 'Marine-stuff', you might want to stop her." Typical, there is much, much worse language on TV and movies these days than in this newsletter, but I guess people think we sit around and spout out tales of horror, blood and gore highlighted by the most outlandish and hideous cussin' known to modern man... (true in places and times we know about)... Later in the day my daughter strolls up to me with a puzzled look on her face and says, "Dad, you know my summer term Lit. paper was on F. Scott Fitzgerald and 'The Great Gatsby'?"... "Yeah, so what's the problem?"... "Well, I just read page after page of letters written by obviously very smart men, but I still have no idea what in the world anyone was talking about."... "well honey, I guess you'll have to start reading more about The Marine Corps rather than listening to other people's opinions about us?"... "Yes sir, I will."... I think that sums it up pretty well.
Bottom line Sgt. Grit and Staff, this Newsletter is the best thing since God made Jim Beam and Browning Automatic Shotguns... and that's big in this neck of the woods...
Ref. 'Marine-Cave'... in a past newsletter there was an article that said there might be a competition? I told Cindy while making a recent order just like any Marine, if I have one by then, I plan on winning. In the same and very small order Cindy and Lynn treated me like I was buying the store. Whatever you decide on the 'Semper Fi' signal we'll buy... keep up the good work as all say...
Wpns. Plt.,A 1/6
The FLIGHT LINE
Written By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #2, #3, (Mar., 2012)
HMM-161 ( remember this Squadron ?? ) started it's Vietnam tour with another first when on 7 May, 1965 the Squadron conducted the first amphibious assault of the Vietnamese War under combat conditions on the beach of Chu Lai. By noon, the squadron had lifted the assault elements of BLT 1/4 from the USS Princeton , ( LPH-5) to the beach and the surrounding area. The command group of the Regimental Landing team followed. Operating from the USS Princeton, HMM-161 supported the units ashore and conducted general unloading of the RLT.
While in route the squadron received a message from the commanding officer of MAG-13 officially detaching it from MAG-13, 1st MARINE Brigade, FMF and assigning it to the 1st MARINE Aircraft Wing. This message also included permanent change of station orders for the squadron personnel, meaning that the squadron would be in the Far East for an extended period of time. The 1st MAW , in turn assigned HMM-161 to Mag-16. Four days after the amphibious helicopter assault, HMM-161 moved by helicopter and small boats from the USS Princeton to the USS Iwo Jima. It continued to carry out its mission of supporting the units ashore from that location.
On the morning of 6 June, 1965 a tragic event took place taking the lives of 8 of the squadrons aircrew members and two of its aircraft. The accident occurred on a pre-dawn mission shortly after take-off from the USS Iwo Jima. Because of the darkness, the two Helicopters apparently collided in midair and both were seen crashing into the sea In a brilliant ball of fire, followed by a load explosion..
This Squadron (HMM-161) operated for about a month from the deck of the USS Iwo Jima in support of Regimental Landing Team-4 at Chu Lai. In early June the squadron began unloading its own equipment and supplies from LPH -2, (USS Iwo Jima), moving to its new home at the airfield at Phu Bai just South of the city of Hue. The squadron began daily operations from the new base around the middle of June, 1965. The normal daily commitments included resupply and medical evacuations for BLT 3/4, (Third Batt., Forth MARINES) MARINE logistics flights (MarLog) from Phu Bai to Da Nang and Chu Lai and return in support of the 1st Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) located in the northern provinces of South Vietnam.
HMM-161 and BLT 3/4 (Third Batt., Forth MARINES) were the most northern MARINE Units in South Vietnam at this time. In the extreme north of the country was Quang Tri Province, the responsibility of the First ARVN division. In the months to come HMM-161 would fly many missions in support of the ARVN troops in this sector.
I cannot continue without saying that if a person had to hang only one characteristic on the Vietnamese war to describe it in the MARINE CORPS experience, it would have to be named a "helicopter war". MARINE Aviation deployed seven medium transport squadrons and three heavy squadrons out of a total 12 mediums and 6 heavies before the war was over.
The End of the Sateen Utility Uniforms
I enlisted in the USMC in the Delayed Entry Program in June 1977. I went on active duty in June 1978. This was right after my high school graduation. In Recruit Training I was issued 2 sets of sateen utilities and 2 sets of the original woodland camouflage utilities. The sateen's had the straight pockets as did the cammies. I remember seeing pictures of the guys in Vietnam and theirs were slightly different. Their sateen's had slanted breast pockets. I have a picture taken of me while I was a recruit at MCRD, San Diego. It was taken on Visitor's Day by my Brother-in-law. I was wearing my sateen utilities. As you can see, my pockets are straight.
In mid-September 1978 I was assigned to the Base Material Battalion, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton for training and assignment as a General Warehouseman (MOS 3000). I lived in the 22 Area of Camp Pendleton. That was just up the hill behind the Cash Sales Store, Commissary and Exchange. My first assignment during training was in the Cash Sales Store. Once I completed my training, I was assigned to run the mobile van with the MOS of 3051. The mobile van was a 50 foot box trailer we used to go to all the remote bases on Camp Pendleton.
About the same time I arrived, Headquarters Marine Corps issued the directive that the sateen utility uniform was to be phased out. This included the blouse and trousers, but not the cover. The starched sateen cover remained. I remember having to scramble to keep up with the long line of Marines being forced to replace all their old sateen's with the brand new woodland camouflage uniform. By the end of 1978 the sateen uniform was no longer authorized to wear Marine Corps wide. It had been relegated to history. I do remember seeing guys after that wearing their sateen's. But, only to change the oil in their cars in the parking lot, never while on duty.
In 1981 I re-enlisted and made Sergeant. Sometime after that the woodland camouflage cover was introduced. But, at the time of my discharge in 1984 it was still optional. I never bought a cammie cover. I always preferred the sateen cover and still had the original 3 that I had been issued in boot camp. In my six years on active duty in the Marine Corps I never saw any Marine wearing the slanted pocket version of any utility uniform. And, after 1978 I never saw any Marine wearing sateen's again. At least that's how it was in my Marine Corps.
I missed the sateen's, they always looked sharp when they had just been starched and pressed. But, I guess that's what they call progress.
This is in regards to Mike Gollihur's Article, hand signal.
I was active duty from Jan '89 thru Jan '96 under the QEP program. Mike Golliur was asking for hand signals, my response is find out from someone in the area who is hard of hearing or deaf. My wife is deaf, so sign language is part of my everyday thing. Here in Minnesota and Wisconsin areas, there are different signs for Marines, looks like an open handed neck choke, as well as signs for navy air force and army. Try ASLPRO.com? or org, and see if there is a universal sign for Marines. There can be regional signs for different words, same as an accent to us who hear.
Thanks for the letter Sgt Grit, enjoy them all.
Cpl once upon a time,
Marine Always and Forever
In regard to saluting a fellow Marine, perhaps also consider a left-handed salute of some kind. We who ride motorcycles have a hard time releasing the throttle when giving any such wave with our right hands. I did so the other day and hit my kill switch, unexpectedly (and embarrassingly) stopping me on a ride.
Jim Harris, former Lance Corporal, Always a Marine
Semper Fidelis to God, Family, Country and Corps
Sgt John Stevenson asked a great question. Have I ever met someone who admitted to being a Draft Dodger?
Yes, I have the first one I tried to toss out of moving jeep on a fire break at Camp Pendleton, because he bragged about it, later, about 2 years later, he made his amends and I made mine and we became sort of friends. Because I've aged (68-89 retired GySgt) been sober 27 years, and look at the past different.
Pres. Ford signed the Amnesty Law ordering us to forgive them for deserting us (their country). It was hard at first, but I made progress, "progress not perfection" I had to remember that they are Human too, and Children of God as we are. As a Grunt Gunny, me finding forgiveness was because Jesus forgave me for my sins and who am I not to forgive those who harmed me. Yet, I have a BUT, a big BUT, and it is because she has never made her Amends to me and those POWS she harmed and got beat up because of her actions of Treason, that is Jane Fonda, I have tried and every time I think I've done it, she says or does something to remind me of her Treason.
Which reads, "betrayal of one's country, in giving aid and comfort to its enemies." Forgiveness is very hard for some of us to do, I have found I sleep better since I forgave the Vietnamese, both North and South Vietnamese, I have even forgave my Drill Instructors HAHAHA. OOORAH
GySgt D.L Petersen
2/1 Wilcox Range and others
Phrases, Idioms, and Acronyms
Over the years, have noted buzz words, catch phrases, idioms, acronyms, etc. come and go in the Corps... Korea and later types would use terms like "MLR" (Main Line of Resistance)... "MSR" (Main Supply Route), and so on (and claimed another branch had a "BOR"... for 'Bug-Out Route')... today one might encounter "shaping the battle space" (which, near as I can figure, has to do with hitting them where they ain't so as to herd them to where you can put maximum hurt on 'em... or something like that). We got yer FEBA, yer FARP, and so on.
For a few years there, the Gazette, an August publication put out (along with Leatherneck) by the Marine Corps Association, and commonly found in the Officer's head... come to think of it, not only August, but also July, September, et.al...) had a style that required spelling out, inside parentheses, every acronym used in an article... sometimes, just after every use. Granted, as a Mustang, could probably use the help, but by the third time of seeing "FEBA (Forward Edge of the Battle Area)" in two paragraphs... OK, guys... I got it, I got it... and can probably remember it until next payday at least.
One of the words that really caught on in the 70's and 80's was 'system', or 'systems'... everything got incorporated into a 'system' of one kind or another... 'kinetic', praise be, had yet to be discovered... anyway, was overhearing a conversation one day about fast movers (jets) and 'systems' this and systems that, when a Colonel observed that of all the 'systems' to be found in a F-18, the most complex and highly technical component or sub-system in the entire 'weapons system' was the only one that could be produced by unskilled labor... this being the pilot. He further noted that the production force (labor) was known to go about the early production phase with a good deal of vigor and enthusiasm, and that the only downside was that lead time was a minimum of eighteen years...
Where your tax money goes... and from the days prior to the kinetic shaping of political correctness. Big-arse live-fire exercise going on at the Stumps... which, for the fortunate few who have not yet been there, is a big place. We had displaced forward once or twice, and had a big CP set up in a couple of GP tents... lit by Coleman lanterns. Lots of antennas, radio sets, plastic-covered maps on easels, field desks, a few folding canvas chairs, plenty of dust, some 'digital computers', those being Lt(s) who counted on their fingers.
There were artillery folk, air folk, S-2's, S-3's, maybe even a Chaplain, and lots of radio traffic. One of the radio nets had something to do with directing airplane traffic, probably something to do with 'de-conflicting the battle space'... or in simpler terms, trying to make sure that an artillery round and an airplane were not going to try to occupy the same airspace at the same time. Somewhere back in the rear was a truck-mounted van with lots of electrical gizmos and watch officers... called, (from memory), a DASC... Direct Air Support Coordination center. A request was made, and the reply, over the air, was unmistakably... a female voice.
This required action... a pool, at $10 each for a number between one and ten, was quickly organized, three non-participants (Lts) were selected as judges, and a slick was fragged (slick = UH1B helo, no guns, and 'fragged' in this sense = fragmentary order). The Judges' mission was to board the helo, fly to the rear whence this DASC van would be found, open the door, assess the relative pulchritude of the voice's owner, and having agreed upon a score, return to the forward CP to declare the winning number. For the younger reader, there was a time in the politically incorrect past when relative female beauty might be assigned a number... 'ten' being drop-dead gorgeous, 'one' more fitting for a 300# mustachioed mother-in-law... the winner, in this case, was holding a slip of paper with '4' written on it... and expected to buy the first round at happy hour, post- exercise.
Dunno what it cost an hour to fly a Huey, and there may have been a more plausibly justified reason for the flight (at night, by the way), but that score was the reason those three Lt.s were on the mission... Then there were the 'elevens'... defined as 'a ten without a headache'... rare...extremely rare, closing time notwithstanding...
"From an early age I was aware of what America meant, and how the Marines at Camp Pendleton were ready to defend us at a moment's notice. I also remember what fabulous bodies those troops had."
"The two most powerful warriors are patience and time."
"I had the pleasure of driving a mighty mite in Da Nang 1967."
"I remember one time I was so short I used Irish pennants as rappelling ropes to get down from a book of matches."
--MSgt Ron Sharetts, 1957 - 1979
"How prone all human institutions have been to decay; how subject the best-formed and most wisely organized governments have been to lose their check and totally dissolve; how difficult it has been for mankind, in all ages and countries, to preserve their dearest rights and best privileges, impelled as it were by an irresistible fate of despotism."
"You are part of the world's most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon."
"Marines don't know how to spell the word defeat"
"Demonstrate to the world there is 'No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy' than a U.S. Marine."
The USMC is over 222 (237) years of romping, stomping, h-ll, death and destruction. The finest fighting machine the world has ever seen. We were born in a bomb crater, our Mother was an M-16, and our Father was the Devil. Each moment that I live is an additional threat upon your life. I am a rough looking, roving soldier of the sea. I am cocky, self-centered, overbearing, and do not know the meaning of fear, for I am fear itself.
I am a green amphibious monster, made of blood and guts, who arose from the sea, feasting on anti-Americans throughout the globe. Whenever it may arise, and when my time comes, I will die a glorious death on the battlefield, giving my life for Mom, the Corps, and the American Flag.
We stole the eagle from the Air Force, the anchor from the Navy, and the rope from the Army. On the 7th day, while God rested, we over-ran his perimeter and stole the globe, and we've been running the show ever since. We live like soldiers and talk like sailors and slap the H-ll out of both of them. Soldier by day, lover by night, drunkard by choice, Marine By GOD! OORAH!