Sgt Grit Newsletter - 24 MAY 2012

In this issue:
• Cuban Missile Crisis Marines
• 127 Mile Hike and Blizzard
• Recruiters' Appreciation

Online Store TShirts Men's Headgear Patches Women's

Gift Ideas   Flags   Family Member   Ka-Bars   Auto   Headgear  Jackets  ALL CATEGORIES  

Request a catalog
Facebook Twitter Sgt Grit Blog Sgt Grit's RSS Feeds
Camo Applique Special

$5 off your next $35 order

New at Sgt Grit

Marines Embroidered Black & Red Mesh Back Cover/Hat
Marines Embroidered Black & Red Mesh Back Cover/Hat

Red Marines Legend Cover/Hat
Red Marines Legend Cover/Hat

Pewter Painted Marine Corps Hitch Cover
Pewter Painted Marine Corps Hitch Cover

Marines The Few the Proud Throw
Marines The Few the Proud Throw

Marines Zebra Women's T-Shirt
Marines Zebra Women's T-Shirt

Marines Disabled Veteran Black Hat
Marines Disabled Veteran Black Hat

Pink Marines 75 Women's T-shirt
Pink Marines 75 Women's T-shirt

KA-BAR Short Becker Trailing Point
KA-BAR Short Becker Trailing Point

KA-BAR Zombie Mule Folder With Serrated Edge
KA-BAR Zombie Mule Folder With Serrated Edge

First To Fight Black T-Shirt
First To Fight Black T-Shirt

Marine Corps The Few The Proud Black T-Shirt
Marine Corps The Few The Proud Black T-Shirt

Black USMC Chesty Quote T-Shirt
Black USMC Chesty Quote T-Shirt

Shop New Items


Print this newsletter
Newsletter Archives

The general public doesn't know how close we came to war in October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was in Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 1st Marine Brigade at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. We packed everything into our two sea bags. One with the things we would need the other was left in the company supply room. We moved out of our barracks to the air strip. There we waited for the word to draw ammo and board planes. We had classes, went to chow, more classes. At night we went back to our barracks and slept on our mattresses. Everything else had been turned in. The next morning back to the air strip. We did this for three days. We finally got the word to secure. I have no idea where we would have gone. It seems like a long way to go when others were much closer.

A. H. Johnston

Read more Cuban Missile Crisis Stories below

In This Issue

Memorial Day is this weekend. Let us not forget. In the movie Saving Private Ryan it ends with him at a graveyard in France...

Ryan, now an elderly World War II veteran, and his family visit the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Colleville-sur- mer; Normandy, France. Ryan stands at Miller's grave. He asks his wife to confirm that he has led a good life and that he is a "good man" and thus worthy of the sacrifice of Miller and the others. He then salutes Miller's grave.

I would hope we all strive to be "worthy of the sacrifice".

What a great job I have. Great employees, great customers like Nat Berman. I have included some of his art before. Nat is a WWII Marine, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan. (Old Corps, Hard Corps, the real deal) He is also something of an artist. Lakers artwork of Marine playing with a basketball We have a basketball team in little 'ol OKC that is having some success. They are currently playing the LA Lakers. Nat is from LA. See the art work he included on the outside of the envelope that included the other two pictures below. Nat obviously has more talent drawing than in choosing teams to follow. THUNDER UP!

Here we go: wtf TSTSA, a sticky mess, Gimme the Rain Bow Boys, MARINE PROOF, a full blown blizzard, Sir, the Private doesn't know, the food was so bad, a Master Baiter, From there to Fallujah seems a life time!, BEARDED BUM certificate, those belts were tight, to hug a pretty young lady, Chargers, 442's, Super-Bees.

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

Happy Memorial Day

Uncle Sam art from Nat Sent in by Nat Berman

Nat at Camp Elliott - San Diego, CA June 1942

127 Mile Hike

Sgt. Grit:

Composite of 1st Recon Bn. starting and ending points with misc. info and dates I would like to submit a couple pictures for publication in your newsletter to see how many of the 200 Marines of the 1st Recon Bn. of the 1st MarDiv. that made the 127 mile hike are still remembering it. The first picture is a composite of our starting and ending points with misc. info and dates.

The second picture was taken while we were on top of Mt. Whitney around the noon hour. It is a gathering of 199 Marines out of the 200 that started the hike. Only one Marine did not make the last 13 miles from the Whitney Portal to the summit of Mt. Whitney. His feet were in too bad a shape. The Corpsman with us grounded him. The pictured occasion was to sing the Marine Corps Hymn and also honor the youngest Marine with the oldest Marine that made it to the summit.

Gathering of 199 Marines out of  the 200 that started the hike. We made it to the summit around 10:00 AM. The sun was shining brightly and it was comfortable temperature-wise However, by 1:00 PM we couldn't get off the top fast enough. We were in a full blown blizzard. Because of conditions we could not move as fast going down. As a result, by early evening we were forced to pitch shelter-halves and dig trenches around them to keep the pouring rains out of the shelter-halves. Sleep was very elusive that night with the thunder and lightning. By morning the sun came out enough for us to dry off and continue our descent off the mountainside.

Robert Hammershoy

Recruiters Appreciation

On 23 April, we held our 2nd Annual Recruiters Appreciation Day in Bismarck ND. It was hosted by several "unassigned" Marines in the area. They provided beverages, beans, grilled burgers, chips and cookies for the recruiters, especially Marine recruiters in the area.

Sgt Randy Lehmann (unaasigned) Grill Instructor The reason for this Appreciation Day is to recognize their efforts and thank them for their service. Most recruiters assigned to Bismarck are away from their family of origin or in other words away from an area they grew up in. Secondly, they are away from their "military families". There are no Marine reserve units in Bismarck and the closest major military base is Minot AFB in Minot ND, about 2 hours away. So in essence, the Marines are orphans in this land locked city. Oh yes, we fed the other branches as well since they are Americans, but this is a Marine dominated effort and celebration.

RSS Bismarck Sgt Gilbertson, Sgt Miller and RSS Minot Sgt Goggans modeling their Sgt Grit rank shirts RSS Bismarck SNCOIC  SSgt John Dupnik with his SSgt rank shirt

Read more about this outstanding event and see more photos


This is Marine Joe Bryans new place overlooking the Missouri river in Jefferson City MO, just several blocks from the state capitol. Joe had a local steel shop make the fence and the shop owner wanted to make an EGA. Joe has built a clubhouse w/ an antique bar for all Marines, including an extra bedroom for those brothers in need. We've collected the old copper plumbing from the remodel to scrap and plan on buying some sign age from your catalog when we start decorating. I'll send more pictures of the project.

USMC Emblem on Gate USMC Emblem on Gate

Joe said if you're in the area look him up.
Vince Owens

Gal Back Home

OOOOORAH Sgt Grit! A week or so ago I was paying a visit to the local watering hole, which here in Wisconsin, there are plenty to choose from. I ran into an old trapping partner who served in the Corps. shortly after Korea wrapped up and before Nam got rolling. As always our small talk about gardening, politics, baseball, etc. turns to our more memorable times in the Marine Corps.

This is a story he told me about a letter he received in Boot Camp. Seems a gal back home here, decided she was hot for old Tom and was writing him quite a few letters, which he told her no perfume or lovydovy nonsense on the envelope or he would end up paying the price. Well as most young love struck for Marine lady's, she didn't follow orders and Tom received a gooey envelope covered in fufu smell with TSTSA on the back of it.

His DI was not pleased and asked wtf TSTSA stood for? Tom explained, (too sweet to sleep alone) at which his DI threw the letter on the deck, and ordered Tom to "make love to that letter" it must have been pretty good, cuz Tom is 75 years old and he still gets pretty red when he tells the story. Only in our CORPS.

SEMPER FI Cpl Radtke T.A 85-89 2/6 2/8
I wonder if ddick was his DI lol

The 9th Annual GriTogether is Getting Close

09 JUNE 2012 - The greatest Marine gathering in the Nation! Fun for the whole family...

Dunk Tank for Recruiters Heckling Approved
Free High & Tights Tips Welcome
Airsoft Shooting Range
Arm Wrestling Tournament
Pull up and Push Up Contest
River Valley rifle detachment with a 21 gun salute
Best Chest Contest
Clearance Tent
Music by DJ Kabar
After party after the GriTogether Held at Martini Lounge

Get more info and make plans to attend!


Three men sitting side by side on a plane had ridden silently for half an hour when the one next to the window cleared his throat and said, "General, United Stated Army, married, two sons, both surgeons".

Another 30 minutes passed in silence until the man on the aisle snorted and said, "General, United States Air Force, married, two sons, both judges".

A full hour later, the man in the middle spoke up. "SERGEANT MAJOR, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS, Never Married, Two Sons, Both Generals".


In ref to Jim Grimes p-ss call request: P.I. Boot Camp Summer '52. Knocked on DI's door.
DI: "Get the f--k in here, sh-tbird" "What??"
Me: "Sir, I have to urinate"
DI: "I don't know what it is you want to do, so get back in the squad bay!" "But if you need to take a p-ss you've got ten seconds, get outta my sight!"

Walt V '52 to '60. Semper Fi!

Burgers, Fries And Coke

It was 1971, Platoon 1097 had finished qualifying with the M-14 (still my all-time favorite weapon) when we were assigned to mess duty. After we gathered behind the Mess Hall at Edson Range, the NCOIC asked if there was anyone with experience at grocery shopping or some such thing.

Now, I am the son of a Marine (Eggers, S.J., Sgt 1946-49 RIP 2012) and the nephew of a Colonel (Eggers, R.F. 1955-1981 RIP 2010) and had been told just the week before by both of them on a visit (how they got away with that, I was never told) NOT TO VOLUNTEER! For anything, ever. But I was young and dumb, so up went my hand. I was assigned to the professional PFC who ran the storeroom. We would get a list from the cooks and put together carts with all the dry goods etc.. they needed to fix the chow. It was easy duty, so much so that the head cook was always asking me to go here and there to do other things to keep me busy.

One day I was told to report to the Gunny who ran the club. (NCO or SNCO, I don't remember) A canister of soda had "exploded" in the storeroom, and it was a sticky mess. I spent the morning field daying this room, and he pronounced it clean right around lunch time. I was looking for my cover, and heading out to the mess hall when he asked me if he could fix me something different for lunch. I was offered a burger, fries and a coke, all non-boot camp fare. It was by far the best meal of my entire time in the Marine Corps.

When I was with the 5th Marines two years later we went over to Edson, but this Marine had retired and moved home. I wished I had been able to buy him a beer or 7, but I know one thing for sure; even though I have had that same meal hundreds of times since, it has never tasted as good as it did that day.

Eggers J. P. Cpl 1971-1975 A1/14, H&S 1/5, Hq Btry 2/12 3041 REMF

Rain Bow Boys

I wasn't able to appreciate the sense of humor of our drill instructors until about a year or so out of boot camp. Our first time on "The Road" the drill instructor asked two questions, "How many smokers do we have"? then added, "You are all now non- smokers" (although everyone had to carry a pack of Pall Malls in your jacket pocket).

The second question was, "How many enlisted for four years" I noticed about half of the 76 raised their hands, including me. I thought the others must be crazy because the SGT. who recruited me said "You want to sign up for four years or six years" I chose four. The drill instructor than said, "Let me see the hands of those who signed up for three year". THREE YEARS! I'd been lied to for the first time in The Corps and it was a doozie.

At that same formation four maggots were brought Front and Center and introduced by the drill instructor as the "Rain Bow Boys". It was Black, Brown, Greene and White. Black and Brown were white and Greene and White were black. These four turned out to be "with the program" and "squared away" so anytime something had to be demonstrated such as the manual at arms or something to do with formation they were brought "Front and Center". We looked forward to the call "Gimme the Rain Bow Boys" because it was informative but entertaining!

Black was about six foot four, Brown and Greene were in the five nine to five ten range and White was about five foot six, quite a sight. We ended up smoking three cigarettes in Boot Camp (and EVERYONE, even the nonsmokers, SMOKED). The lamp was lit for taking the rifle range, one for standing an honor guard for the Commandant (Gen. David M. Shoup) and one for becoming the series Honor Platoon.

Turned out that one guy had more than three, plenty more! We were called out on the road one night at o'dark thirty, there was one of our herd standing tall in his skivvies, flip flops, with his bucket over his head. He had been caught smoking in the head by the fire watch. He was made to smoke an entire pack of smokes with only an occasional break for a drink of warm salt water. We all learned one of the thousands of valuable lessons that night.


Bulk Fuel Reunion

Bulk Fuel Reunion sign I just want to thank you personally, for donating some of your great USMC merchandise to our annual Bulk Fuel Reunion. We always have a great time & the shirts are very popular! I've attached a few pics for you.

Semper Fi & have a wonderful day,
Jim Good

Goods from Sgt Grit Group photo of Bulk Fuel Reunion attendees

Marine Proof

One recent Saturday morning I was out to breakfast with my wife and two granddaughters, aged 6 and 4.

Being seated in the booth behind my wife was a very tall (6 footish) young lady with, presumably, her parents. The young lady is wearing a shirt that has NROTC on it. My supposition is that she is in the Naval ROTC unit at nearby The Ohio State University.

I have been eternally accused of having selective hearing. But I happen to hear the young lady say something about MARINE PROOFING something. Her dad repeated MARINE PROOF? I never did hear what the subject of this proofing was. Regardless, I was obliged to stop at their booth on my way out and excuse my overhearing but, "THERE is NO SUCH THING as MARINE PROOF". I then proceeded to OOOORRRAAAAHHH! my way out the door. Another successful hit and run maneuver.

Chris Fisher, 0849, '69 - '72
Airborne, 2nd ANGLICO, '70 - '71

No Blood

Hello Sgt Grit,

When I was in boot camp cleaning our gear on the company street, the D.I. says, "Who wants to give blood? If you do they'll give you a meal chit for a steak." Being young and smart knowing that I'll be eating a steak I've never ate before but only heard of, skipping duties, and PT's, I raised my hand. So off we went to Coronado naval hospital. I laid on the table as instructed by this young Lt. J.G. nurse who poked me in the right arm, and came back a few minutes later. No blood in the bag. So she poked around the right arm again and left only to comeback a few minutes later. No blood. Well the young nurse who looked like she's fresh off nursing school poked around the right arm again and left, came back, no blood, again!

By this time I've had three holes on my right arm worthy of a purple heart, but they told us at MCRD San Diego that squids are not our enemies. So, there was no medal for me. She said, "Well Marine (fresh faced unknowing innocent looking young nurse thinks I am a MARINE), "well Marine, we'll have to try the left arm this time." "No way ma'am," Says I. "I done my duty and I want my steak chit," which she, obviously embarrassed because she never poked a harden future Marine's arm before, gave me my chit and had my first steak in my life. By the by, with other steaks to compare with in the last 40 odd years from my first steak, it wasn't that great. But I had to know.

Cpl Batayola of the Marines

Short Rounds

Question to my fellow Marines. Does anyone know what happen to all of the UNCLAIMED SEABAGS, in Vietnam around 1967?
Thanks, J. Velazquez, Cpl-5th Marines, Chu-Lai
Semper Fidelis! OoohRah!

Just finished RVN novel "Matterhorn" by Karl Marlantes. Super.
PS I was one of the Chatterbox CH 46 drivers.

I was also in comm. co hqbn 3rd Marine div. assigned to Anglico plt. 1962-1963 went to subic bay to qualify air wing and navy ship I was in the air sec. had a good time ate some of the best chow while in the Corps sure miss the guys that was in the plt then. usmc 1960-1966 L/Cpl Jim mangum

The Helicopter pictured is a HH43 Huskie. While serving in Vietnam for my first 6 months I was a MP, at Phu Bai with the Third Marie Division and ordered to go to Cam Ranh Bay to get a Prisoner. The C 130 I was traveling to Cam Ranh Bay on had a problem getting the landing gear down. The crew got the gear down and we landed. After the ramp came down, and while we were leaving the aircraft. An Air Force helicopter---a HH43 Huskie with a tank hung under it was hovering very low off the rear of the C130 for fire suppression, I am guessing the tank contained foam which I am glad we did not need. I think these helicopters were used for fires and rescue.

Rick Oswood

Sgt Grit
Some pics of my mustang tribute car in Marine dress blues. More photos can be seen on my Facebook account "onegr8mustang" without the quotes. Thanks
D. Smith

Marine Corps tribute Mustang featuring Dress blues design - Side view Marine Corps tribute Mustang featuring Dress blues design - Dusk 3/4 view

Just a note to let my brother Marines who served with former Drill Instructor (MCRDiego) Sgt George M. Jones is now at his final duty station with the good Lord in Command. SSgt George M. Jones left for his new station on May 11, 2012. Attending his vigil with SSgt Jones' family was Corporal of Marines Kenn Christi, one of SSgt Jones and my former recruits. I had the pleasure of serving with George for a couple of recruit platoons. Semper Fi, George, God Speed.

GySgt J. J. Hinojosa USMC (Ret) Austin, Tx.
Discipline is as important as courage. Forged on the anvil of Marine Corps Discipline.

Cuban Missile Crisis

Regarding Cpl. Robert Fry's recollection of the Cuban missile crisis, he has his dates a little off. He says he was in Gitmo during the crisis in 1963. Actually, the crisis started Oct. 24, 1962, when the first Marines sailed from Morehead City, NC, and by the second week of Dec. most ships and troops were back at Lejeune. I had just returned from a Caribbean cruise with 6th Marines aboard the LPH Boxer, and was with Comm. Co., HQ Bn. at Lejeune. On Oct. 22 or 23 we got the word to pack a field marching pack and a seabag and be ready to board ship the next day. I barely had time to make arrangements for my car.

We boarded the USS Fort Snelling, an LSD, at Morehead City and away we went. The sea between Key West and Gitmo was one big shipyard, ships of every type from carriers and frigates down to the lowly amphibs, the LST's, LSD's, APA's, etc. Just about the entire 2nd Marine Division was deployed, and some troops from Pendleton too. We floated around Gitmo for weeks.

I was an E-4 and didn't have to do much work, and me and 3 other guys played a lot of pinochle in the life jacket locker. We had been ashore in Gitmo previously during the float with 6th Marines, this time we just floated around and never went ashore. We were back at Lejeune by the first week in Dec. All discharges had been frozen for the duration, and there were some guys on our ship who were supposed to have gotten out in Nov. who were quite surly about the whole thing.

The thing I remember most was the fact that when the Division deployed, they let a lot of brig rats out of the brig to be the rear echelon. One of their duties was to open every wall locker and foot locker and pack everything in boxes addressed to our next of kin. This was like having the fox guard the henhouse.

When we returned, these big cardboard boxes were sitting in the middle of the squadbay, and just about everyone, me included, lost many items. All my souvenirs from the previous float were gone, some custom-made shirts from Hong Kong, and many other items. The brig rats and the other REMF's had their pick of the division's goods.

Viet Nam had not heated up yet when I was in, so I never went there, but I take great pride in telling my kids that not one commie pinko made it to Key West on my watch. Always good for a laugh.

Paul Lindner, Cpl. 1959-1963

Sgt Grit,

It was interesting to read the short story regarding the Cuban Missile Crisis written by Marine Robert Fry. I was serving in the Corps as an Aviation Electrician, in Marine Attack Squadron VMA-242, when I was notified at home via a "courier" that I was to report to our hangar ASAP, ready to deploy for an undetermined length of time. My wife, who was 6 months pregnant at the time, was somewhat distressed due to all the "unknowns" and being in her condition. I packed my Seabag, kissed her goodbye, and left for the hangar. This all took place in early October of 1962 (not '63 as noted in Marine Fry's note).

Before we would take off in a Hercules C-130 (to an unknown destination) we had to get all of our Skyhawks in the hangar airworthy. After doing so we were finally airborne, at about 0300. We still had no idea where we were going or for what reason. At dawn we landed at a rather desolate location with little vegetation except for the palm trees. We were mustered up and told that our new temporary home was Key West Naval Air Station (Boca Chica). Again, we were not told how long we would be there. We were also told that we could not contact anyone, including family members, until further notice. The entire operation was top secret (for obvious reasons).

None of us knew why we were there. Our aircraft were configured with some pretty high octane ordinance, poised on the runways, and kept ready for action at a moment's notice. The F-8's of a neighboring squadron were reconfigured to film the landscape in Cuba to monitor what was going on with the missiles... Cameras were mounted in the bomb bays then covered with plexi-glass. These pictures were extremely important to the high level decision-making process during this operation. Since we had no communication regarding what was going on with the missiles in Cuba, we just remained at the ready the entire time we were there. President Kennedy did manage to visit and review the troops, adding words of wisdom and support for our efforts.

We remained in "ready" mode for 6 weeks, returning to Cherry Point in late November. All in all it was a pretty easy operation except for being restricted to the base/barracks for the first 4 weeks. We spent most of our time during that period fishing, playing cards, or walking guard duty from midnight to 0800 on our assigned shift. I could have done without the latter duty. Eventually we were allowed to go in to Key West on liberty which turned out to be pretty enjoyable...

I later found out that our squadron, VMA-242, was the first Marine squadron sent to Key West for this operation. I didn't find out until years later how important this operation was or how close America came to an all-out war with Russia. I've always been proud of the fact that our squadron made such a difference during the Cuban Missile Crisis...

Lee W. Hart
USMC '61 - '65

Volunteered (Not a good word) to be NCO in charge of C&E Bn students from MCRD San Diego unloading ammunition at North Island Naval Base. For three days we unloaded small arms ammo 105 and below on one side of a dock while bombs were being unloaded on the other side. Slept on the dock between trucks. Unmarked civilian semi's out of China Lakes and Fallon Nevada delivered the ammo in heavy foggy weather. North Island/32 Street Naval base one in the same? Anyway cold, damp wet, labor intensive (for the students). Supervising was still wet and damp/cold. Trucked to a mess hall and right back to the dock.
Anyone else out there remember this activity?

I saw your story and like you I'm a "Hollywood Marine".
I was assigned to Plt 377, "L" Company 3rd Battalion , Recruit Training Regiment, MCRD, SDiego, CA
Base CG: MAJGEN 'The Brute' Victor Krulak
Senior DI: GYSGT J.G. Bullock
Jr. DI: S/SGT P. Dobson & SGT Williams

After ITR (Camp Pendleton) I was off to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii for 2 years. My MOS was 6412 Jet Mech. VMA-214 Blacksheep, MAG 13. Hawaii was tough duty though, surfing, walking Waikiki beach, helping those mainland teachers get over the past school year, etc., but we managed.

After my tour on the Rock was over I was shipped out to VMA-225 Cherry Point, NC, 2nd Air Wing. I stayed there until the end of my tour. (1963) However, not long after my arrival there I took some leave home to Dayton Ohio around September 1962.

Now check this! One night while at my Mom's two MP's came pounding on her front door wanting me. They said my leave had been cancelled and I was to depart with them now! Man they really had my attention! So I grabbed my gear kissed my Mom and off we went to Wright Patterson AFB. My Mom thought I was being arrested. At WPAFB I was given a box lunch and some travel papers and soon after I was on board a plane going to a Naval Air Base in the Florida Keys.

It was 3:00 AM when we landed, Marines were all milling about confused, wondering what the H-ll was going on; to this day I can still smell the tropics. A short while later after we all got checked in I was told that I'll be flying out to meet up with my squadron at sea. I said at sea?! No one would elaborate... they were all pretty closed mouth, and very straightforward.

After a short nap on top my gear I was ordered to go aboard this COG naval aircraft. We were airborne and after a short while it started to get light and I looked down and saw a big aircraft carrier and a few more ships in beautiful turquoise water with huge white wake flowing behind them, it was really something to see.

Well, I'm sure you guessed it by now; yep, we were just off Cuba smack dab in the middle of the "Cuban Missile Crisis" and we were about to make a carrier landing aboard the USS Enterprise (CV-65). Prior to landing aboard the Carrier we were all given the word that we were about to give Ole Castro a whole bunch of whoop-azs.

Semper Fi,
Cpl. Rich Lee

I was in B Co 3rd Amtracs at Camp Delmar, Camp Pendleton when the Crisis hit. I was then a L/Cpl, MOS 2771 Radio Repair. The B Co CO operated his own way often creating his own methods, which I was required to follow. This along with my own attitude brought me problems with a Staff Sgt in BN Comm H&S Co. This S/Sgt convinced the Comm XO a Warrant Officer that I had horns or some other defect.

Got a call to report to the Comm XO. He told me there was going to be a small exploratory unit going to Cuba. It consisted of 1, LT, 1. PLT Sgt, 1. radio operator, 1. radio repairman, 1. mechanic 10 tractors and 30 crew members. The Warrant asked me if I wanted to volunteer. I asked him why did I have this honor. He told me how all the other repairman had some reason not to go and he felt I should go. I told him I had all the reasons the others had. I knew it was a ploy by the S/Sgt and WO to get rid of me. He asked if I volunteered. I said NO!. He asked why not? I told him my DI in Boot Camp told me to never volunteer. He then asked me if I was refusing to obey an order. I told him no, just not volunteering. He then told me I was volunteering, pack my sea bag, check my shots, get a will and stand by. I did all the above.

A couple of days later a LSD came into view and anchored off the beach. It was for us "Volunteers". At 1500 I was standing by waiting to move out. My Co CO came to me and asked if I still had that hooch in O'Side. I told him I did. He asked if I had a phone in it. I said yes. He then told me to go home and get as much sleep as I could as they had no idea when the order to move out was coming or if it even was coming. I had a PT job that made me more money than most E-5s were making and could afford a car and an apartment. This job/apt was also a bone of contention for the S/Sgt.

Went to bed at normal time for me and being an optimist I set the alarm for regular wake up. The next morning the alarm went off. No call came in and I went in my usual time. When I got there nobody was around. All the tractors were gone. The whole BN was gone. I thought I missed the movement. I went to the gate MP and turned myself in hoping to get out to the ship. He made a call and told me to go to the Provost Marshall. I reported there. They didn't seem concerned and let me sit in the hall until 1000. Needless to say I was very concerned.

Finally they called my name. Seems our little group had been turned into the whole 1st Marine Division moving out. Somebody had to stay behind to tie up any loose ends. So to simplify things the BN Commander just swapped lists. Those of us "Volunteers" stayed back and the rest of the entire BN shipped out.

Provost told me to go to the BN mess hall and meet up with the LT for further instructions. I met up with the LT. He was a Tractor Officer with no tractors. He told me he didn't know what I did, so I should give him my phone number, go home and call in every day around 1100. I did this every day during the entire crisis. I worked my PT job and went surfing every day. Just went on base to get paid.

3rd Amtracs had a miserable trip. The refrigerators went out a couple of days into the trip. They ate canned food, milk, eggs, etc. the entire trip. Felt sorry for the men, but not for the S/Sgt and WO. When they got back the S/Sgt and WO never bothered me again.

Gerry Schemel, Corporal of Marines
Serial # 1958xxx.
Plt 220 MCRD 1961.

Sargent Grit.

This is to Robert Fry 1936xxx.

I was also at the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was in Charlie Company, the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Division. I got there on a Naval troop carrier. We were on exercises maneuvers expecting to hit the beaches off Camp Garcia, Puerto Rico, or so we thought. When very, very early in the morning arrived all Marines were on deck. I saw all these boxes filled with live ammo being distributed to us. Then The NOW HEAR THIS, came on the speakers and the Captain of the ship stated that we were heading to Cuban waters and we were going to hit the beaches there. I said to myself what's going on. The ship captain told us that the Russians and Cubans had installed Missiles there aimed and readied to fire at the United States. "That we may have to make sure that didn't happen. This was in September of 1962.

When we landed we were told by our platoon leaders that we were the first to have landed because we are the closest Marines to the Cuban Island and that we had to stand by. We started to make bunkers with the Sea-Bee's. This lasted until the beginning of December 1962. Water and C-Rations were delivered to us. We took bird baths with water poured into our helmets. I improvised using an ammo can with holes that I punctured with my Bayonet on the sides of the can. Cooked all of my C-Rations and made soup. It was all good eating. Made a bunk bed using four sandbags one for each corner and four rods that I got from the SEA-BEES, communication black wire that I tied the rods with and placed my Rubber Lady on top. Why you ask? I was afraid of all the Scorpions that were crawling everywhere along the dirt floor and with the ARMY LAND CRABS that you would hear every night as they banged their shells as they were marching around.

No showers. Can't complain, it didn't get any worse than that. Oh by the way, on 10/1962 we received a BEARDED BUM certificate from Lieutenant Colonel, David A. Brewster, U.S. Marine Corps BLT Commander, that we had to grow a recognizable Moustache and Beard to the confusion of the "Beards" across the fence.

SEMPER FI to all Marine's that served with HONOR and to those Marines' we will always remember that gave their all to COUNTRY and CORPS.
Arturo Santiago, 1923xxx.

Sir, The Private Doesn't Know

Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, Second Battalion, Platoon 233, SDI Act. S/Sgt. Frank Best, JDI's Act. S/Sgt. L.D. Laws, Act Sgt. J.E. Seitz, Act Sgt. C.T. Kramer, May -Aug 1959.

I don't remember the exact time frame for this story, but it was very early in out Boot Camp training.

We were all standing at ease waiting for the next detail. The senior Drill Instructor, Sgt. Best, called out my name and told me to front and center. After reporting as I thought I should, he asked if I wanted to be the Right Guide. I had no idea what he was talking about, because I had never heard the term before. In an effort to be cautious, without saying yes or no, I said "Sir, the Private doesn't know." He asked if I knew what the Right Guide was and I answered in the negative. He said the Right Guide is like the platoon leader, would that be OK? "Sir, yes sir."

Then he said, "Can you whip every private in this platoon?" Not wanting to say yes, but not wanting to say no, I said, "Sir, the Private doesn't know." "Well, turn around and look at them." So, I slowly turned around and looked up and down every private in that platoon of about 75. As I looked at each one, I was weighing my chances, yes, no, maybe. Then I came to the last private on the right end as I faced them. He was about 6 inches shorter than me but I had seen him without his utility blouse and knew that he was sporting 20" biceps and a huge muscular bodybuilder type chest. Well, I figured he could just wring my neck any time he wanted to. But once again, I didn't want to say yes and I didn't want to say no, so I turned around and said, "Sir, the Private thinks so, sir." He said, "Well, we'll find out." With that I just about fainted. He had me get back in ranks and announced to the platoon that I would be the Right Guide. I'm not sure they knew what that meant either.

Later I was told that if anyone wanted to be the Right Guide, all they had to do was let the senior DI know and a boxing match would be arranged. As it turned out, the bodybuilder was from Indiana, as was I. He played the harmonica, as did I. We both shared the same first name, Kenneth. He was selected as the Left Guide, who took over when I was not around. Like I was going someplace. Later he stated that he was quite happy to be the Left Guide because he got out of some details, but really didn't have to do anything. He especially did not want to be the Right Guide and take all the crap from the Drill Instructors when someone in the platoon screwed up because it was my job to be sure they were squared away all the time.

Later, Kenny Miller became the base boxing champion and knocked out every opponent during the 'smokers' in Boot Camp. Was I one lucky SOB for having him as a friend? He could have had my Right Guide position any time he wanted it. I remained the Right Guide throughout all of Boot Camp and was the Honor Man. I see today that the Honor Man gets a set of Dress Blues, never happened for me.

Kenny, I see you had my back the whole time. Thanks brother.
Former Cpl. always a Marine.
Kenneth L. "Rip" Stephens

The Cook Was Air Borne

Sgt Grit. I left staging Bn. at 13 area of Pendleton January of 1962. I arrive aboard APA 33 Bayfield at Naha Okinawa around the first of February of 1962. We boarded buses and went up to Camp Schwab. My barracks was at the top of the hill across the street from the enlisted club and PX.

The order to fall out and march to the messhall was given and we waited for chow. The food was so bad and had no taste what so ever. In the morning all the food was cooked around 0400 and placed on steam tables.

After two weeks of this junk, we had an IG inspection by MajGen Raymond Murrary. A friend of mine wrote the General a note on a napkin and asked the General to come back at evening chow in civilian clothes.

The General talked to the head cook who was a corporal E-4. The General asked him why the food was so bad. The cook told him that he was taken out of the world and sent to the rock. He did not like cooking and what could be worse going to Vietnam? That afternoon the cook was air borne to Vietnam and they brought another cook from camp Hanson.

Three days later we got our new cook from Pendleton, GySgt Hardiman who treated us fine. They cooked the chow, eggs while we waited. Everything tasted great and we had no more problems with our mess hall.

Sgt JD Markley

A Master Baiter

I already knew a lot of Marine Corps history when I got to Parris Island and Plt. 273 in August of 1964. When we'd have a "School Circle" on Marine history and traditions, I'd often ask a question designed to show off how knowledgeable I was. Not a smart move.

I was in the squadbay with a few other recruits one day, after a detail. We were studying our notebooks, an activity carried out when no other duties were pending. The Senior DI, Sgt. W. H. Harris, was grading our tests. He called me up. The conversation went like this.

"Hall, get up here." "SIR!"
"You got a 98 on the history and traditions test." "SIR!"
"You're pretty smart. But you ask a lot of questions during school circle. I think you're trying to catch the DIs in a mistake." "SIR, NO SIR!"
"Yeah, you are maggot. You're baiting the DIs. And when you get good at that, you become a Master Baiter. You know what that is?" "SIR, YES SIR!"
"You knock that sh-t off, maggot. Get out of here. MOVE!" "SIR, AYE, AYE SIR!"
I knocked that sh-t off.

I've had a very successful life thanks to the self-discipline taught me by my DIs, Sgt. Harris, Sgt. M. P. Martin and Sgt. E. Owens, Jr. I know they were doing the job assigned, but I owe them a debt beyond paying.

Robert A. Hall
USMC 64-68, Cpl
USMCR, 77-83 SSgt

Still Squared Away Like I Expected

I live in Az during the winter, MN in the summer. This past winter I learned that there was an airshow at Yuma and looked into attending.

As a vet of VMA 214, I found that 214 is now there after El Toro closed some time ago. Anyway, I wrote a letter to the CO, XO and SgtMaj of the squadron asking if I could meet with any one of them during the show.

About 2 weeks later, the Wed prior to the airshow, my phone rang, wife answered, came running telling me the CO of 214 was calling! Lt Col Pherson asked if I was still planning to attend and of course I was. He gave me his cell phone number and told me where the hangar was. I was 'flying high' after the call to say the least. I certainly did not expect that the CO would call me, just thought I would attend the airshow and that would be about it.

When I arrived at the main gate, I asked directions to 214's hangar. The MP's asked what for? I said Lt Col Pherson was expecting me... got directions really quick!

I found a parking spot pretty close to the hangar and my buddy an 'anchor dragger' who came along, got out and started walking over to the fenced gate. About that time 3 Marines stopped us at the gate and asked why we were there... same response I gave the MP's before... no problem, wanted to check for weapons and right through.

I called the CO on the cell phone number and he said that he would be right there... and he was. Not in uniform, but still squared away like I expected. I gave him a 'sorry, it has been too long since I reported' and gave him a quick salute noting that it was not custom, but I felt it necessary... he just smiled and gave me a warm welcome.

The CO spent about 4 hours with me, had a tour of the hangar and admin offices, sheeps pen/etc. I got to see the Harrier up close for the first time and took a few photos. I was interested in the plane as I was a jet mech on A4C's while at El Toro, they even had one of the aircraft painted up with Pappy's name on it.

I never expected to be one of the 'old Corps' but it was apparent as I met some of the pilots, all young guys compared to me. I was active from 1966 to 70 and stayed in the active reserves after getting off active duty in the fall of 1970.

The CO spent about 4 hours with me and my buddy that day, it was memorable to say the least. When I recalled some of the times I had with Col Pherson, I remarked that my wife and I had our only daughter during the active duty time... and that I remember not having much cash for us. I got a Baby Pack from Navy Relief which helped us quite a bit. Anyway, I asked if I sent him a check would he give it to some deserving Marine in a like situation. Of course he said he would do that!

When I returned home I wrote a check for 100 bucks and sent it to him to disburse. I also asked that he just say that it was a 214 vet and that no response was required to me.

Perhaps there are others who read these ramblings on Sgt Grit website, maybe you can do something like this for your fellow Marines now on the line. Every little bit helps them remember that we are ALWAYS MARINES and we NEVER FORGET. I have fond memories of my time in the Corps, even the bad times do not seem so bad now... you know what I mean.

Semper Fi,

Erv Paulson
2310xxx, Sgt then SSgt in Reserves

Anchor dragger, haven't heard that in years. How about we make a list of all the Navy slang terms. Send them to me.
Sgt Grit

Marine Warrant Officer Class 1966

(7th WOCSC) (08-02-2012 to 08-05-2012)
Location: Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA
Contact: Bob Dalton | 443-202-6408 | "
The correct information is:

Marine Warrant Officer Class of 1966 (7th WOCS & WOBC) reunion at Quantico and Washington, August 22 through August 25, 2012. Contact Bob Dalton (443) 202-6408 ( or Joe Featherston (803) 644-5995 (

See More Reunions

Can't Get 'Em Up

Don't know if anyone has heard this but my dad, a WWII/KOREA Marine used to sing it once in a while. This is sung to the tune of reveille and it goes as follows:

I can't get 'em up! I can't get 'em up!
I can't get 'em up this morning!
I can't get 'em up I can't get 'em up
I can't get 'em up at all!
The Corporals worse than Privates,
the Sergeants worse than Corporals,
Lieutenants worse than Sergeants and
the Captain's the worst of all!
I can't get 'em up I can't get 'em up
I can't get 'em up at all!

Ron Perkins
Nam 68-70

Boot Camp MCRDSD July 1959

Sands of Iwo Jima This all started back in the year 1950 when I was eight years old. The Movie Sands of Iwo Jima Starring John Wayne came out and my father M/Sgt Harley W Jenkins retired/Deceased who had been wounded on Iwo Jima in 1945 took me to see the movie. In fact we sat through it twice. When we left to go home I knew that someday I would be a Marine.

Fast forward to July 1st 1959 at 0 dark thirty I arrived at MCRDSD by bus and when the doors opened someone outside must of been in a very bad mood started yelling and screaming at all of us on the bus to disembark and do it now. Here I am the ripe old age of seventeen wondering what have I gotten myself into. What a first night that was. I think we might have gotten a total of two hours sleep (maybe).

Next day we lost all of our hair, were issued a bucket, soap and brush, skivvies and all the other things we would need to survive for the next 12 - 13 weeks. Things were moving along pretty good until I went on Mess Duty around week three if I remember right.

While on Mess Duty I came down with blood poisoning and was given permission to report to sick bay which happened to be on the other side of the Grinder from where I was. My leg was so bad I could not put any pressure on my right foot so I had to hop over to sick bay. When I arrived a Navy Doctor looked at it and told me to turn around bend over and put my foot up on a chair at which time he proceeded to cut my wound open and clean it out without numbing anything. Boy did that feel good. I spent around two weeks in the Infirmary and when released I was picked up by First Battalion Company C Platoon 152 which happened to be in the same stage where I left off.

Now the fun begins, while with my new Platoon one day standing in line for noon chow the recruit behind me said something to me and ever so slightly I turned my head to answer him and one of the JDI's saw the movement. Next thing I now he is up beside me and only the way a DI could do it he asked if I had been talking. Of course the answer was yes and I was told to report to the Duty Hut after chow.

Here I am pounding on the hatch of the Duty Hut asking for permission to enter. You all know the drill. Well finally he hears me and tell me to enter. He is sitting there screaming at me and then gets up comes around the desk and kidney punches me not once but a few times. Next he tells me to climb up on the wall locker and hang on by my arms (imagine your elbows to your shoulders with you forearms bent toward your head ). While in this position he continues to kidney punch me all the time yelling at me to never talk in his chow line as long as I live. By this time I am getting weak and start to slide down the wall locker at which time he informs me that if my boots touch the deck he will kill me.

As I am trying to crawl back up he hits me again and I fall to the floor. When I get up he goes to kidney punch me again but I turn and he hits me in the gut at which time he stops and tells me to get out of his sight. While all this was going on I had lost my cover somewhere. I saw one lying on the deck and grabbed it and got the H-ll out of there. A few minutes later while standing in formation here comes guess who and in his had he has a cover. He stops in front of me and asks me if the cover on my head is indeed mine and I answer yes at which time he tells me to take it off and look. Well guess what it wasn't and for the next couple of seconds he is smacking me in the face with my cover. When thru he puts it on my head and pulls it down over my ears. From that day on you could call me Harpo Marks because I did not speak to anyone except the Drill Instructors when told to. Lesson learned do not talk and if you do don't get caught.

Next off to the rifle range, I qualified as a Sharpshooter just a little off of Expert. I was happy. The rest of boot camp went smoothly and I graduated October 1959. By the way I had three fights while in boot camp. Won two lost one but a friend of mine took care of that. That's a story for another day.

Would I do it again? You bet your sweat a-s I would. S/F LCpl Richard E Jenkins 1878---


Anyone who wants the true story about Alcatraz can get it in Wikipedia. We were at Presidio waiting to go if needed. The first batch of Marines were already there guarding the other prisoners in the yard. The Marines were wearing their pistol belts with an empty holster (what does a Marine do with an empty holster? Carry his cigarettes!) the prisoners were calling out to the Marines; "Hey! Marine, Shoot me with your cigarettes.

We were watching through binoculars and telescopes and the upshot of it all, a Marine Warrant Officer used a cratering charge and blew a hole in the roof over the trying to escape Prisoners. He then dropped a grenade in the hole and killed the baddies. That was the extent of the Marines battle at Alcatraz. I don't remember the name of the Warrant Officer but he was the only (I believe) Marine that had anything to do with the killing/capturing of the escaping prisoners. Look it up.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

Below is the answer to the next escape attempt at Alcatraz and what happened to the two survivors of the attempted escape. In checking the facts security forces adopted a plan to drive the armed convicts into a corner with tactics perfected against entrenched Japanese resistance during the Pacific War. They drilled holes in the prison roof and dropped in grenades into areas where they believed the convicts were in an attempt to force them into a utility corridor where they could be cornered.

Miran Thompson and Sam Shockley were executed in the gas chamber at San Quentin on December 3, 1948 for their role in the Battle of Alcatraz. Carnes was given an (additional) life sentence but was eventually released from prison in 1973. The increased security measures ensured that there were no more escape attempts until 1956.


I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn't Than live my life as if there isn't, and die to find out there is.

Every day is a Holiday
Every meal is a Banquet

Kenneth Picton


Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #1, #5, (MAY 2011)

It is interesting to note that although the MARINE CORPS was the last American Military service to have helicopters but, it became the first to institute a long range program of working out Helicopter combat techniques. Our Helicopter operations doctrine was copied by the ARMY almost word for word.

Fast forward and back to Korea in July 1950 HMX-1 which was still stationed in Quantico, VA. was ordered to send several Pilots and about 30 enlisted men to The 1st Provisional Brigade for assignment to MARINE Observation Squadron 6 (VMO-6) of MAG-33 (MARINE Air Group-33.). These MARINES would fly and maintain four (4) H03S-1 helicopters and would be the first helicopter unit organized for combat. After only about 2 and 1/2 years of evaluation for both the concept of the helicopters and the aircraft themselves The MARINES were on their way to war for the first time with helicopters. During this phase in MARINE CORPS Aviation history the Helicopters were proven invaluable. They were used in every conceivable type of mission. All associated officers and enlisted men alike were convinced that the Helicopter and its ability to accomplish the various tasks assigned will be a definite asset to future MARINE Corps operations. In the summer of 1951, as the first year of Korean Operations were drawing to a close, MARINE Helicopters had flown every mission except the one that had been envisioned for them and that was, vertical envelopment during an amphibious assault.

The remedy for this lack was to be a new unit, MARINE Transport Helicopter Squadron (HMR) 161. HMR-161 was commissioned in Jan 1951 at MCAS EI Toro, CA, under the Command of Lt. Col George Herring. HMR-161 arrived in Pusan Korea in Sept. 1951 with 15 HRS-1 Aircraft and immediately launched an attack in the Punchbowl area. There were numerous other operations involving this newly formed Squadron while in Country, including Windmill I, Operation Summit, Blackbird (the first night troop lift), Bush-beater, Switch, Farewell and Mule-train. As 1952 passed HMR-161 grew both tactically and in their ability to respond to the needs of those they supported, (Med-e-vacs, Re-supplies, Etc.). In February of 1953 the MARINES of HMR-161 proved that the helicopter was destined to have a unique place in logistical support of combat MARINES. In one 4 day period an average of 12 HRS-l's carried an average of 31,000 Lbs. of cargo per hour. It would have taken a large fleet of trucks to provide this type of support and it would have taken 4 times as long.

Water Was Down

Reading the funny boot camp stories, I realized I had a real good one. It was the middle of third phase and we were scheduled for the grinder at MCRD San Diego to practice final drill after lunch. Some bit of training in the morning ran a little long, so we had to make up some time by eating duck for lunch. We ducked in and ducked out, so it was more a case of food cramming than we had participated in so far. I am certain some recruits didn't even bother to chew.

So back at the squad bay, we put on our parade belts nice and tight when the junior Drill Instructor belays his last command to get our rifles. We had a heat casualty the day before and it was August in San Diego, so we get the command to grab our water bowls and prepare to imbibe. Any time we drank from the canteen, we had to drink the entire thing in one go and then hold it upside down over our heads to prove it was empty.

Of course, if zero was hit before you were done, you got a shower and a future IT session aimed at improving your drinking abilities. The water was down, we just crammed food into our stomachs and it hadn't settled, and those belts were tight. Predictably, a recruit spewed the water and his lunch on the squad bay floor.

Sgt. Carpenter comes up to him screamin "Oh, oh! Just puke on my squadbay deck without requesting permission!" and that was when the recruit next to him pitched his cookies. The next thing you know, recruits are puking all up and down the squad bay in what has to be the world's largest case of community projectile vomiting. It was epic. As one recruit would puke, another drill instructor would head over his way to scream at him just as another one puked in front of him.

They were running from recruit to recruit, screaming their heads off at us and the puke just kept coming. Only four of us out of 45 didn't puke, and I was one of them. Needless to say, we performed a complete field day in the squad bay instead of practicing final drill. Maybe if we had that one extra practice, our Senior wouldn't have called a movement on the wrong foot during final drill. Turns out he needed the practice more than we did.

LCpl Paul D. Raines

Seen Me Hugging

Sunday, 09/11/11, was a day remembering and extreme pride in our country and our Corps. My wife and I attended church and on our way home, we stopped at Starbucks for a couple of pounds of coffee. As always, I had my USMC Vietnam Veteran cap with Combat Action Ribbon devise ( from Sgt. Grit of course ) on and upon entering the store I noticed two young ( 20-25 ) employees behind the counter. I approached them with my two pounds of coffee and handed them my credit card for payment.

The first employee, a young man, looked at my cap and stated "thanks for serving". This was a pleasant surprise and I said thanks. He then proceeded to tell me that he wanted to give me a pound of coffee at no charge. To say I was taken back is an understatement. The other employee, a young woman, told me she wanted to give me the other pound for my service. I was speechless. I hugged the young lady and shook hands all around and thanked them for this kindness and returned to my car.

My wife had remained in the car and as I seated myself back in the car she asked me what had happened inside. She had seen me hugging a strange woman and shaking hands with several people and, as I recall, my response was to the effect "I never pass up a chance to hug a pretty young lady". My wife has a great sense of humor took that in stride.

I have never felt so honored since my return from Vietnam in 1970.

Brian Jefferies
Sergeant USMC
"C" Company 1st Tank Bn

USMC Vietnam Veteran Covers

Planted A Fist

Sgt. Grit,

My father was walking night sentry detail in boot camp in the 70's. Times were different in the Corps at that time, as many of you who went through then can say. Every Marine is taught that your rifle is an extension of you, and you do not release nor hand your weapon over for any reason that is not inspection or to the armory. A boot LT fresh out of OCS came up behind my father, grabbed is shoulder and tried to take his weapon. Later he said he was just testing the Marine, well test he did and correctly answered he got. My father spun around and planted a fist into his face before he knew who it was or what was being done. The LT hit the ground azs end first with a broken nose. My father identified himself and asked for identification from the LT. Needless to say the LT was not happy with the results.

The LT complained to not only the Company commander but also to the Drill Instructors for assault on an officer. The charges were obviously dismissed with the company commander commended him for doing what needed to be done and what every Marine should do in the same situation. The parting comment to the LT was, "What the h-ll did you think was going to happen?"

The moral of the story, never try to take a Marines rifle, cause you just might end up with a broken nose, wounded ego, and company commander dressing you down.

Semper Fi
Cpl. Dale

Chargers, 442's, Super-Bees

Ah, yes... in the days of Chargers, 442's, Super-Bees, and 'two and a quarters', 4-4-2's, etc... many parked outside the gate at what was then "MCB, Twenty-nine Palms", there arose at the southeast corner of Del Valle Road and 1st Street, that which was to be known as 'The MOWASP warehouse'. (it's still there, according to the last Google Earth fly-over). The cars outside the gate were outside the gate due to some teensy little regulation involving 'proof of insurance'... most belonging to single Marines who had saved their pay, maybe extended for six months, and/or extended their enlistment while in VN, used the tax-free 10% interest savings program, and bought their dream car when returning to CONUS (old acronym meaning 'Continental United States')... insurance for single males under age 25 (most of the Corps, most of the time) could run $1,000 for six month's minimal coverage on a muscle car... and was not foremost in the minds of these firm Richards when they got home on leave and paid cash for the car. (may have mixed years and car nicknames... being an old married guy of 27-28 at the time, had other priorities besides a cool ride)...

Anyway, MOWASP was short for something like "Mechanized Operations Warehouse And Storage Program"... or something like that. The Corps was just getting heavily into computerizing supply, and this was going to be 'state of the art'. A 'tilt- up' concrete pre-cast slab building, it was being constructed by a civilian contractor, and coming along nicely, including the full-length loading dock on the west side... probably 52" above grade. (standard height... any mothertrucker out there can check your dry freight box tail gate height and tell me if I'm wrong on that, inch wise... )

The CG, BGEN Regan Fuller, stopped by there one toasty desert day in his sedan, with driver and 1st Lt. Aide de Camp (last identifiable by the 'loafers' loops' worn on the left shoulder... something like the Fouragaerre worn by 5th and 6th Marines... and the 4th Machine Gun Bn... got mine with my 782 gear when checking in to K/3/5), 'loafers' appellation applying only to the Aide's badge of office). The CG noticed a crew busy laying cross-ties, sole plates, and 100# rail alongside, and a specified distance from the edge of the loading dock. When he enquired of the civilian construction superintendent as to why they would be doing that, the Super rolled out the blueprints (actually white) on his standup desk, and in a tone usually reserved for preschoolers and mothers-in-law, pointed out 'right there... standard for Government warehouses... "

When General Fuller politely commented: "what are you going to connect those rails to?... Baghdad rail head is about 50 miles and two passes up that way, (pointing to the north), and the Union Pacific is down by Palm Springs... ?" The Super, being a quick study and well-versed in the Bacon-Davis act, looked up and hollered: "Ah, Charley... hold up there with what you're doing"... (General Fuller had been one of Chesty's Company Commanders as a Captain on Guadalcanal, A/1/7) Rails and ties came up, were eventually replaced with paving...

"Computerizing"... can you say "1348 dash one card"??... a generation ago, the second most commonly read words in the English language were "do not fold spindle, staple, or mutilate". ("IBM cards")... in first place for frequency of being read were "close cover before striking"... Which brings us to one of the more classic 'unit of issue' contretemps... somebody decided, in keeping with the Corps' nautical traditions, that the Headquarters (AKA 'Wind Tunnel') should have a Quarterdeck. (in the desert) These usually involved things like dummy shells polished to a fare thee well, laced with spiffy white rope (it's 'rope' in the chandler's store, 'line', once it's aboard... picky, picky), and those outlining some area which indicated that there were Important People somewhere in the vicinity... And the word went out amongst those who were responsible for acquiring such things, that some quantity, say for argument's sake, 100 FEET of nice white 1" diameter nylon rope should be acquired for rigging this area.

Onry one riddle problem... Hewho, that being the guy ordering the stuff, didn't notice that the 'unit of issue' for the particular Federal Stock Number was not 'feet', but 'drum' (each 'drum', it turned out, held at least a hundred feet of 1" white nylon rope). The FSN (later NSN) folk provided... when the shipment arrived, it took up three forty-foot flatbed semi- trailers. Heads rolled, but apparently in the case of rope, 'all sales are final'... other than the portion used for the quarterdeck, the remainder had to be declared surplus, and went up for sale at the Defense Property Disposal Office ('Dippity- Do'). Come to think of it, the stocking agency may well have been the GSA... they've been in the news here of late... also in the desert...
When I returned from Nam in Oct 70, I got a 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner, 383, Hurst, blue, complete with Roadrunner beeping horn. I paid $900. If Nam didn't kill me that muscle car should have.
Sgt Grit

From There To Fallujah

What do you know about your Marine Corps? Did you know that in 1935 there were more Police in New York City than in the whole of the Marine Corps!

Did you know that the Marine Corps went from about 25,000 Marines to almost 600.000 and that the Marine Corps, like the Army and Navy, didn't have enough Camps, Barracks, tents, Mess Halls, food and even Bases to care for the flux of people joining the Corps, there was Chaos! But the Marine Corps had Officers, not enough as needed but enough to start things going, that ground the rabble into fighters. We went to Guadalcanal with mostly new men who carried World War I rifles, the 1903 Springfield, Pilots had planes that were from the 1930's, and to top it all off, before all supplies were unloaded on the beach, the Admiral took his naval forces away and left the Marines to Fight or Die. Fight they did and beat the Japanese, who lost about five Divisions of trained Soldiers, Sailors and Pilots.

BUT... when the Chaos of the War ended, the Chaos of Peace Began... we suddenly didn't have enough men to Guard the Bases, the Brigs, troops to help Discharge the thousands that were ready to go home.

As bases closed down theft began and everything from vehicles, to desks, tables and chairs, beds, mattresses, (you are thinking bunk beds but we had Married quarters with civilian type beds, dressers, tables and chairs).

To keep men in they were offered a promotion of one rank to Re- Enlist and that created a problem because hundreds were returning from POW Camps and they had to be Promoted.

THEN in all his Wisdom, President Harry S. Truman, started Congressional actions to rid him of the Marines he hated so, but the Hero of Guadalcanal, General Alexander Archer Vandegrift made a speech in Congress that stopped that. But Harry wasn't done with us and we were cut down to only 75,000 Marines. So what Happened? North Koreans stormed over the Border and d-mn near took over South Korea. General MacArthur asked for a Brigade of Marines, what was Truman's answer?

"For your information the Marine Corps is the Navy's Police Force and as Long as I am President that is what they'll remain, They have a Propaganda Machine that is almost equal to Stalin's." That created a Fire Storm and he apologized to the American Public.

But we went to War again with a few trained men but we held the Pusan Perimeter until the Koreans and Army could hold it and we landed at Inchon with almost a full Division of Marines, with Marine Air over our heads.

From there to Fallujah seems a life time!

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired


Dear Sgt Grit and Staff,

My Daughter, who is 12 yrs old, had the honor to sing at the Vietnam Memorial in Springfield, Il. on May 6th, 2012. This was the 24 yr year of this ceremony. I took some pictures of the Memorial and the Honor Guard who where on the 24 hour watch before the ceremony.

Vietnam Memorial shot of honor guard around the Vietnam memorial

It was a pleasure meeting and speaking with some of the Honor Guard there on that Sunday. I introduced myself and wife along with my daughter. I was honored to server in the USMC and I felt honored to be there with such giving and respectful Marines and Soldiers.

Some of the ceremony was tough to get through but we all Stood proud and saluted as the POW/MIA Flag was lowered while Taps played and then Raised to mark a new day.

I was so proud of the Troy Middle School choir from Joliet, Il. who sang to the Honor Guard Saturday night and then again to the attendees on Sundays.

Honor Guard rifleman DI instructing formation of honor guard

I have enclosed a few pictures of the Memorial and the Honor Guard. Sadly I can not send any of the Choir due to the fact I have not gained permission from the school nor other children's families. I will be returning to the Memorial next year when the choir will again perform. I will take some pictures of my family and send you some of those when my daughter is in 8th grade.

Thanks for your time.
Glenn Taylor


Ka-bar tattoo

Ka-Bar on the Forearm
Posted by Michael Turner

See more USMC tattoos and Post Yours!

Upcoming Reunions

6/13 2nd Bn 4th Marines
7/8 2nd PLT. Hotel Co. 2nd BAT. 3rd Marines 3rd Marine DIV

See more USMC Reunions and Post Yours!


"That is not a just government, nor is property secure under it, where the property which a man has in his personal safety ad personal liberty is violated by arbitrary seizures of one class of citizens for the service of the rest."
--James Madison

"Better to fight for something than to live for nothing."
--George S. Patton

"Let us remember that if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it."
--Samuel Adams

"Influence is no government."
--George Washington

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes an act of rebellion."
--George Orwell

"Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it."
--Albert Einstein

"What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?"
--Thomas Jefferson

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
--Thomas Edison

"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."
--Patrick Henry

"Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices."
--Voltaire, 1767

There is the right way, the wrong way, and the Marine Corps way.

You can always tell a Marine, but you can't tell them much.

Sgt Grit

©2012 Sgt Grit Inc
7100 SW 44th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73179
You are receiving Sgt Grit's weekly newsletter.
Unsubscribe from all Sgt Grit Emails
To Submit a story - Email
Subscribe to this newsletter.