Read Our Marine Corps Birthday Stories
Signs Remained Up
Thank You for great products and a newsletter that I look forward to receiving weekly.
The attached photos were taken in March or April of '65 in downtown DaNang. The first photo of me was taken by Sgt Paul Nicklin my driver. I took the second shot with the USO building just visible on the right. The 8 March '65 landing was made up of BLT 1/3 by air and Blt 3/9 by sea. At the time of the landing I was the FDO of A-1-12 and later the XO. To the best of my knowledge the signs remained up for at least two months, maybe more. Once again thanks for a great newsletter.
Robert W. Colgan
Nice Big Red Helmet
This is in reference to the story from your Oct 4, 2012 issue (I think) from M/Sgt Howard J. Fuller.
I was in HMLA-269 Gun Runners New River, NC, from '83 - '86. We deployed on a NATO Med. cruise from Feb. 84 - Aug. 84, our final destination was to support and cover the final withdrawal from Beirut. At that time, there were no COMBAT AIRCREW wings but a few friends and I had thought there should be something for those flying missions that weren't actual aircrew and whom did not rate Aircrew Wings.
We had discussed designs etc. but that was the last I had heard of it. Later, of course there are now Combat Aircrew Wings. I can't vouch for who gets credit for the idea but I would like to think my buddies did because they were the kind of go-getters (one of them made SSgt in 6 YEARS!) that would make things happen. At that time I was dual qualified as a plane captain on the AH1-T Cobra and the UH1-N Huey but cross trained for Door Gunner (I actually was utilized to help water survival qualify others due to my vast previous life of experience). Go figure.
Somehow my records were lost and only 18 of the required 20 flight hours that were required at the time could be verified so I never got my Combat Aircrew Wings. I Did however go on to get my Aircrew Wings that year, so I guess all was not lost. Here's a couple of pictures of me getting ready to fly a mission. Nice big red helmet. A big target or "better to see you with" if you ditched in the ocean?
CPL Joe "MRMOLOTOV" Thompson
'82 - '86
Eagles On His Shoulders
I was in Japan on a train headed for a camp that had belonged the Japanese during WW2. I was trying to open a bottle of Japanese whisky and who comes walking through the train, Col. Puller. He looked right at me struggling with a cork, I thought "Oh sh-t". Nothing happened.
The next time, after I had been placed in his regiment, the 1st in Korea, I walked into a shower unit and there was this guy chewing on a cigar, taking a shower. I didn't remember who he was when he said, "Hi." We finished about the same time and were getting dressed when I saw the Eagles on his shoulders. There was another time I ran into Colonel Puller, this the last time was when he turned the line around at chow on Thanksgiving. Pvt's first Pfc's next and Officers last.
I don't believe there was anyone who wouldn't have followed him to h-ll because he would have gotten us back. I am very proud that I met and served under "Chesty" Puller.
Cpl. J. R. Morris 1051995
First replacement Korea 1950
Parris Island 1954
Facing the picture. I am 6th from the left in the front row. My name is Richard Barlow.
Act On Instinct
I recall one day at PISC, we were lunging into the hanging dummy with fixed bayonet. The 2nd Lt did not like the way I growled so after the third time he had the platoon form a circle around him and then he called me into the center with him and growled at me saying he was going to show me how to do that. Then he came at me with the rifle and bayonet aimed at me. I do not remember what I did but I took the weapon away from him and had him on the ground while bouncing the rifle butt into his groin.
The men yelled do it to him I don't know how many times, but when I heard them I got up and backed away from him. He then yelled I was going to the BRIG, then a voice from out of the ring said no he had seen the whole thing and we both went to the Maj. He said we need more MARINES like him that act on instinct and then released me.
Harold Thompson PFC
While at the range, seagulls landed at the 200 meter line and we were at the 500 meter line. I shot one of those flying rats and got in trouble. I figured that if a grunt could hit a bird it was far better than that big target.
Also while at the range pulling butts, when they were getting ready to shoot the rapid fire volley, some Marines threw bread crumbs over the berm. Blood and feathers went everywhere. They made us pick up the dead and wounded flying rats.
I was at MCRD San Diego in early 1957. Sgt. Grube (the bad DI) would always say to one of us who screwed up, "I'm tired of your cheap civilian bullsh-t." I still use that term today and chuckle over it. For all of his hardazsed bearing, he had a sense of humor.
James V. Merl
I first saw Col. Chesty Puller on Guam in '44 while he inspected our Company. Very Impressive, Swagger stick and all!
Richard Burdick, Cpl. USMC WW2
While being stationed at Henderson Hall in '60-'62, I was assigned to drive Gen Puller on several occasions during the annual General's conference at HQMC. What an honor that was.
Bill Allar, Cpl
I remember you from the Last Supper... good duty. Do you remember Christ saying, "All you guys get on this side of the table. Michelangelo is going to take our picture?"
I drew guard duty on the gate to the Garden of Eden.
I was on the .30 cal machine gun in the Corps in Korea... there was no picnic!
Sgt P.W.S., U.S. Mil Ret
I served from April of '82 to March of '85. My orders sent me to the Middle East and to the Far East. I always wondered why the Marine Corps made me, being so tall, a Radio Operator. Then one day in the Philippines, just before I left for downrange, I asked my grizzled hard core Sergeant. "Why Me?" His reply, "Because your tall enough to see over a bush." And I believed him.
L/CPL Skrlin D.
"Look who's humping the most gear... radio operator!" Obviously whoever said this hasn't seen an 81mm Mortar Crew, Heavy Machine Gun (old water cooled .30 cal.) team, or Flame Thrower Operator in combat situations.
Furthermore, the radio in the picture is a toy to the old SCR 300 of the 50's era. Why, even a day's ration of "C" rations weighed more than this little radio. Hahahaha!
"If you can't take it, why'd you join?" After the "draftees" started drifting into the ranks, one of them would usually whine: "I didn't, I was drafted!" This was usually met with shouts and comments on how happy we were they were able to join us and share our quarters.
Truthfully, though, most of them were pretty good guys. Although, I would bet the re-enlistment rate was pretty low for this group.
J. Barnes-"Lance Cool"
RVN: '65-'66 (Amtracs... "Waterborne!")
The Korean War, in which the Marine Corps fought and won some of its most brutal battles, was not without its gallows of humor.
During one such conflict a ROK (Republic of Korea) commander, whose unit was fighting along with the Marines, called legendary Marine General Chesty Puller to report a major Chinese attack in his sector. "How many Chinese are attacking you?" asked Puller. "Many, many Chinese!" replied the excited Korean officer.
General Puller asked for another count and got the same answer, "Many, many, many Chinese!" "G-d d--mit!" swore Puller, "Put my Marine liaison officer on the radio." In a minute, an American voice came over the air: "Yes sir?" "Lieutenant," growled Chesty, "exactly how many Chinese you got up there?" "General, we got a whole sh-t load of Chinese up here!"
"Thank God." exclaimed Puller, "At least there's someone up there who knows how to count.
'63 - '89
5 Gallons A Second
This is a response to comments made by Cpl. Andre, USMC Flame Platoon '62-'66.
I too, served in the Tank Flame Platoon, at Camp Hansen, Okinawa from 1963 to '64. I was there when President Kennedy was assassinated. Someone came into the barracks and threw trash cans down the center isle (much like boot camp) and told us what had happened. They added "gather your gear, we're going to war with Russia."
I was there at Easter when the Marine was killed on the hill (the night before Easter) close to the basketball court near NCO club. A week later several of us were attacked in the same manner, in the same spot, by the same people. This time the MP's caught the bad guys.
Those two incidents have stayed with me over the years and if you were there at those times I'm sure you remember as well. I remember mixing napalm in the 55-gallon drums. Then hand pumping the mix into the 300-gallon tank inside the turret... If you remember, each tank also had a .45 cal grease gun and each crewman had a 1911.
The tank pushed a napalm "rod" out of the nozzle at the rate of 5 gallons a second. There were two igniters at the end of the fake gun tube that ignited a gas vapor that in turn ignited the rod of napalm.
I was in the tank on the impact range that ignited a dud mortar round. It was close to the tank as we moved up and it exploded. The T.C. was exposed in the cupola with his left hand was resting on the scope of the .50 cal. The shrapnel took his left thumb and his chin, and I was the gunner under him. He fell in on top of me.
I don't know if you saw them, but I sent pictures of several flame tankers to Sgt Grit and they were published in his newsletter several issues ago. I apologize for not remembering your name. You might recognize some in those old pictures. I wish you all well.
Annin, GB Cpl E-4 USMC
Flame Tanker (1811)
Held Up Over Someone's Head
In 1954, I was stationed at the Itami Airbase in Japan. The base was actually an Air Force base, but it seemed to me that the majority of the personnel were Marines. Anyway, the Marine Corps had made arrangements to have sole use of the enlisted men's club. That evening all was ready for the big event. The CO was there and so was the oldest and youngest Marines for the cake cutting.
As the evening progressed, I think the CO left as the party was just getting started. Later, the door opened, and a bunch of Air Force personnel came charging in to crash the festivities. Needless to say, some words were said, and the next thing that I knew, the fight was on. Having just turned 18 a couple of months earlier, I had never witnessed anything like this or ever been involved in anything remotely like it. That didn't last too long. Punches were thrown and tables were turned over. The next thing I knew, I was being held up over someone's head before he threw me onto some tables. I must have cleared everything off of two or more before falling to the floor.
At that point I noticed a bottle of beer on another table, so I reached up and pulled it down and proceeded to drink it as I watched the thing play out. Shortly, you could hear the MP's and AP's charging in. At that point, the fighting stopped and the place was cleared out. To my knowledge, I do not remember any Marines being put on report or having to go before the CO.
I was told that the CO stated that all Air Force personnel were advised that the Marines had taken over the club just for that night, and that they should have known that they probably would not be too welcome. Needless to say, it is a Marine Corps birthday celebration that I will never forget.
Sgt. Daniel N. Colbert
For God, My Country, and My Corps
I have been out of the Marine Corps since 1986. I know I am a U.S. Marine, I earned the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor on 10 NOV, 1975. The 200th birthday of our beloved Corps. I am not looking for pity in any way. But to this day I feel like the only thing I did was go to Boot Camp and ITS.
I am a retired Letter Carrier for the U.S. Postal Service with 22 yrs, and I spent 11 yrs in the USMC where I earned the rank of SGT E-5. But to this day I feel like I have done nothing and that I am a failure. I read and think about what a lot of Marines write about and I am in envy. I know a lot of you all will say no you don't, but I wanted to go to combat and if I died it would have been for a reason. For God, My Country, and My Corps.
I was not a good enough Marine to reach the rank of SSGT but have seen fat bodies and confirmed drug users get selected for the rank. My nephew and my own son were both in the Middle East and I also have a nephew that is in Afghanistan right now and has been on patrols where he came close to death and received the Purple Heart. So I'm blowing off steam cause it is nothing I can change. But, I will feel this way until the day I die. I wish to all my brother and sister Marines a Happy Birthday and a Loud Semper Fi.
SGT Jun of '75 until April of '86
[triggered by Kristy's 11/1 note about poppy's]
I was in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2004, visiting with my daughter who was doing a semester abroad at Queen's Univ. I Had bought a poppy for "Remembrance Day" which fell on our Veteran's Day, to support their troops - our allies. Coming out of a restaurant about 10 pm, we were confronted by two football [soccer] players, shoulders as wide as they were tall... and well into their pints... pointing at the poppy on my jacket. They very belligerently exclaimed, "what the h-ll is that?."
I replied "U.S. Marine". They laughed and slapped my shoulder [ouch!... I was nearing 60], and went on into the restaurant. I had moved in front of my wife and daughter, but turned around to see their jaws had dropped, they were astounded. We went back to our hotel where the night/security manager happened to be ex- Irish SAS from Dublin and I explained my confusion as to what had transpired. He re-explained the "troubles" [I did read Trinity, but long ago], which were quiet at the moment, but I removed the poppy for the rest of our visit since my lineage includes ancestors from both sides. But, being a U.S. Marine had another benefit!
Cpl '68-'70 2506945
MOS 40xx, Hdqtrs Bn, USMCSD & Camp Foster, Okinawa
Chesty Puller Statue
Just wanted all Marines out there to know that the sculptor who created the Chesty Puller statue is a Marine. Terry Jones has been a friend of mine since we were nine years old. Terry was in the Marine Corps Reserve during Vietnam. His father, who has passed away is Sgt Patrick Rudy, USMC, Korean War Veteran and Drill Instructor.
My decision to join the Corps was based on talks with him in 1966. I went on to live through Vietnam and I owe him my eternal gratitude. After a separation of forty years I was reunited with Terry last year when he joined our Marine Corps League Detachment, General Smedley D. Butler in Newtown Square, PA.
It's fitting that the first people Terry will show the statue to when put in place will be the Puller family. God bless you Chesty you now hold the high ground.
Terry's friend and fellow Marine
I joined the Marines on December 16, 1964 and went through boot camp at P.I. I had to stay in receiving until enough men arrived to make a Plt. This was because, according to the Drill Instructor, "No one joins the Marines a week before Christmas. You must be the scum of the earth!" When we had enough men I was assigned to Plt. 3009. Here we were welcomed with open arms... NOT! We were told to line up in front of our racks and then all H-ll broke loose!
I never heard such screaming, throwing of G.I. cans, and a few bodies I'm sure, in my life! The party was over, we went on our merry way learning what it took to be Marines. After a few weeks, a young recruit happened to call a D.I., "You". Not a good thing. After "a good talking to"... You! You! - Do I look like a female sheep? Get the 'you' juice. Time for some WISKy." WISKy was the laundry detergent Wisk.
Some may remember using this at the outside wash racks while hand scrubbing your utilities. Well, there seems to be another use for this fine product. Pour out a cap full of Wisk, Tilt back head, pour Wisk into mouth, gargle and say, "You, You, You" at the top of your lungs, over and over, while blue bubbles foam all over the front of your utilities. All this while trying hard not to swallow. It wasn't me, but it certainly got my attention.
Ahhh, another day in the Marine Corps. Where every day is a holiday and every meal is a banquet.
Semper Fi Bros.
Dana Theis - Sgt.
1964 - 1968
Lost At Sea
In the 31 Oct issue Scott Roy noted he flew a SARS mission out of Beaufort for a 251 Phantom that went down off the coast. I am wondering... I might have been in the other F-4 (the one that didn't crash) flying that day. Of the 4 crewmen in the 2 planes, I was the only one who survived for a few more years.
On the day perhaps referenced by Scott, a great guy was lost at sea: no trace was ever found of the plane or the pilot. My pilot that day, and the RIO that were plucked from the ocean by the 46 SAR bird, were killed in a training accident in Yuma a year or 2 later (near the Chocolate mountains). I ended up ejecting from a MAG-31 TA-4 a year or so after the referenced incident. My story might be a bit early for Scott: My faded memory says the crash I recall was in '78.
I remember one of the SAR crew men giving the RIO who was pulled from his raft a note saying something like "where's your airplane a--hole?" The SAR guys had a real sense of humor! I always thought the swimmers were crazy: jump out of a working airplane (even though it was a helicopter) and into the ocean 60 miles from shore? I want to believe they are dedicated but I think they were nuts! Good thing there are Marines like that.
The Cold War was nowhere as bad as any of our 'hot' wars, but in the aviation community we lost too many good people. Most everyone pushed the envelope in training to always become better at what we did. It helps to believe what we did, for those and their families who sacrificed a lot, helped to keep the Cold War, cold.
Just thought I'd share my new plates for my Nitro that my son bought for me for Father's Day this year. My son is stationed in Okinawa with 3rd Mar Div. He is a 2nd generation Marine, following daddy's footsteps. I am so proud of my son for what he has turn out to be.
Re-adjust To The Civilian World
As I sit here now, I am contemplating the past 237 years of our beloved Corps. I realize that I was only a part of it (active duty) for only a few short years. Yet, I also realize that I am still a part of an organization that never let's go of a man or woman once they have earned the right to wear the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, once they earned the right to call themselves a Marine.
I read an article once, where the author talked about how long it took a Veteran to re-adjust to the civilian world once they finished their tour in their chosen branch of the service.
For the Air Force, it took only a few weeks, and they were totally adjusted back into the civilian community. The Navy took several months. The Army took several years.
The Corps NEVER really adjusted back. We always used a phrase, a habit, or just the way we walk, stand, or just the way we react to a situation. Once Boot Camp is completed, the tour is finished, one can never really adjust back to being a civilian. And truthfully, who wants to?
I guess I realized that I wanted to be a Marine when I was still a small child, yet, old enough to understand that my Dad's youngest brother was with the 4th Division on Iwo and he did not come home. I wanted to honor him.
I served with some outstanding individuals in the Corps and each one of them had a part in making my career solid. To each and every one of them, I say "Thank You." Some I worked for and some worked for me. However, ALL of us worked together to help make the Corps what it is.
There have been many changes in the Corps and there will be many more made as the years progress. Yet, it is still the United States Marine Corps. For the past 237 years, the Corps has earned the reputation and designation of being the elite of the elite of the world's military forces. From the very beginning until now and into the future, it will continue to be the best because the Corps takes only the best.
May God bless and keep our beloved Corps always strong and honorable. May He keep our Marines always safe and bring them home to their families and loved ones soon.
Happy Birthday, MARINES!
Gary L. COON
MSgt USMC (Ret)
They Picked Him Up Any Way
There are so many stories about men being recalled back to service during the Korean War and even Vietnam. I enlisted as a Reservist during World War II. A Reservist served the duration of the war. So when the war ended the only thing you had to worry about was how many points you had, points for time in service, time overseas, battles, medals, etc. High points were discharged first.
When I received my Discharge at the end of WWII, I was asked to stay in the reserves, in case of war I would be assured of returning to the Marine Corps. I did join the Inactive Reserves and was told I didn't have to worry about the Draft (remember most of us at the end of WWII were still in draft age and were required by Law to report to the Draft Board). When I decided to return after only about 9 months I was now a Regular.
A few weeks after I returned to active duty, I was called to the office and met two FBI Agents who wanted to know why I hadn't registered with my Draft Board, I looked at them like they were nutty as h-ll and said I returned to Active Duty, and only because of that was I was not charged!
Before the Korean War Started, the Marine Corps was only allowed to have 75,000 men by law. This was made possible by a Democratic President who hated Marines, Harry S. Truman! All the Marines that enlisted during World War II for the "Duration of the War" Reserves, were still available for service and many were recalled as well as the Inactive Reserves (remember... Ted Williams?).
The 1st MarDiv was so low in manpower that reserves were recalled and reported to (usually) the Federal Building and if found physically qualified for active service would further report to Camp Pendleton, California for Duty in excess of 90 days. When you're married and have a new job and getting used to automobile backfires, this wasn't a happy set of events, but mostly they went, along with them came transferees from Lejeune, Guard Detachments all over the world, there was a flood of AWOLs from all over turning themselves in at CampPen asking to report to the 1st MarDiv, some did and some went to the Brig.
The flow of Marines and Corpsmen into CampPen were so many that the 1st ITR had Companies that were 80 percent Staff NCO's. I was sent to CampPen and joined such a company. You had to be a Marine in those days to really appreciate medical exams. You stripped in your tent, put on your over coat (90 degrees outside) and untied boon dockers and marched route stepping to sick bay for the prodding and poking and looking and sticking needles in you. Then you returned to your tent, put on your utilities, rubbing your arm hoping to ease the pain of the shot, you all know the shot.
There was b-tching and crying women calling their Marines, but most of them went to Korea. There was a story that when the ship was being loaded with elements of the 1st Marine Brigade going to Korea, a Marine on the dock was being dragged by an MP, the Marine was saying out loud, "I don't want to go to Korea, I've had enough!" So some MP's came and took command of the situation, the other MP left and the Marine was put in the ships brig. Later at sea they found out he had a buddy help him, he wasn't due for this draft, and they picked him up any way.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
Inactive To Active
I'll try to answer Greg Pawlik's question about why his father wasn't re-activated when the Korean War started.
I enlisted for two years in September, 1946. When I was discharged September, 1948, I enlisted in the inactive reserves for two years. When the war started in July 1950 all enlistments were frozen for one year and my reserve status was changed from inactive to active.
Two possible reasons Greg's father wasn't re-activated. Maybe he hadn't enlisted in the inactive reserves when he was discharged in '48 (it was voluntary) or maybe his two year reserve enlistment had expired before the war started.
James L. Corn
You should get quite a few responses to Greg Pawlit's request so add this to them:
1st called up were the active reserves (me), 4th Inf. Bn., Mpls Naval Air Station, and all the other active reserve units in the states and 2nd the inactive reserves. Last, if true I heard, the Marine Corps had a program after WWII that a person could spend a "short time" on active duty and then remain in the reserves, subject to recall for a period of time. If so these people were also called up.
Edw. F. Hoffman, Sgt. #561153
Cpl. Greg Pawlick's dad was not called up I think, because of the following:
1. He probably was not a member of the organized reserves (we lost whole units at Chosen Reservoir).
2. Some of us were called up because of our MOS number.
WO Bob Woodworth 044553
In response to Cpl. Pawlik's question about World War II's Marine veterans who were called up for service in Korea, let me mention what I have heard:
At the end of World War II there were so many veterans who were eligible for discharge that a "point system" was created to avoid too many Soldiers, Marines, and Sailors being thrown on the U.S. economy at once. Discharging was based on how many points one had acquired based on length of service, months in a combat zone, etc. But if one was willing to sign up for the Ready Reserves he was moved further up the line for discharge.
Most veterans thought there wouldn't be another war for a long time so many were willing to sign on for the Ready Reserves and thus get an earlier discharge. Then came the invasion of South Korea by North Korea in June of 1950, and to meet that threat many of the Ready Reserves were activated for combat in Korea. I knew many World War II veterans during my tour who had been activated for Korea in this way.
Staff Sergeant Paul E. Gill, 1954-66.
As a former Marine recruiter during the Korean War, I can answer your question. WWII ended suddenly when the big bombs were dropped on Japan. Troops were quickly discharged and were asked if they would join a reserve unit. They were given about ten seconds to respond. Some said yes and others said no... without time to think about it.
Nobody anticipated another conflict so soon thereafter but on June 25, 1950, all those that were still in a reserve unit were called to active duty. Those that had said no we're not called (but many of these did volunteer again).
Incidentally, although I had been on recruiting duty most of the Korean War, the Commandant decreed in early 1953 that "Any Marine that had not yet earned a medal for Korean service should plan to go!" I left Seattle in March 1953, telling those I left behind that I was going to end this d-mned war! I was in the 34th replacement draft and arrived in Korea on July 1, 1953. You know that the Korean War ended less than four weeks later.
I bet my buddies back in Seattle got quite a chuckle out of that. I know that I did. (I was with MAG-12, the unit that had just gotten night flying capabilities), which the North Koreans had no way to defend against, and MAG-12 bombed the h-ll out of them from dusk to dawn every night for the last two weeks of the war.
MGySgt Harold T. Freas, Sr.
Dear Sgt. Grit,
It's me, the Beer Runner! I wrote to you last year after I found your website looking to replace the sword on a plaque given to my dad when he retired. I am sending a picture of my mom with the sword and scabbard, back in its place of honor. I'm also sending a picture of "Our Wall"; thanks to Sgt. Grit's store for some of the memorabilia.
When I was back in New York, I was able to go through a trunk that had a treasure trove of goodies my mom saved from 30 years of Marine Corps living!
The first thing I came across was a 493 page Guidebook for Marines. What I found interesting was there is no date telling when it was published. What I found even more interesting was a note my dad wrote on the last page and it read... "And on the seventh day the Lord rested... and Marines continued to fill sand bags."
I came across a newspaper article titled "Marines Teaching Dangers of Duds" at Camp Hansen, Okinawa. The article was about a villager that set off a dud shell killing one and injuring the other. Three Marine officers decided to come up with ways to prevent such accidents from happening again. The three officers were Col. Mike Mosteller, Capt. Harry G. Hartley, and 2d Lt. David Luke. My dad, Sgt. Patrick J. Kelly was in the photo holding up a "dud" shell. I've also attached a copy of the article.
One of the most touching things I came across was a letter written to my mom on April 11, 1966 from Miss Margaret Jo Roach, USO Associate Director. They originally spoke via the MARS station in Okinawa. I've attached the letter; it's amazing in this day in age to see how our troops had to communicate with family "back in the day".
I also thought I'd share a letter written to my dad from a high school girl from Kwang in 1952. She writes about the "unlegal invasion" of the North Korean Army and how our troops came to help. It was simply written and her words do the Marine Corps proud.
I've also attached a couple pictures that were labeled on the back, "Defense Department Photo (Marine Corps)." That's my dad pulling the lanyard of a 105mm howitzer sending a high explosive shell on the way to enemy positions.
And last but not least, in honor of the Marine Corps Birthday, I've attached a picture of my dad and my brother (age 3) at Parris Island November 10, 1968. My dad served 30 years in the Marine Corps and I'm sad to say he died in 1985. It seems like yesterday. After 4 daughters, my parents had Patrick J. Kelly II and he was the pride and joy of our family!
My dad never got to see his son play pro football for the Denver Broncos or the NY Jets; he never saw him married and never got to see his grandson, Patrick J. Kelly III. But dad was looking down and I believe had something to do with Patrick III being born on, you guessed it, November 10, 1999. My brother died almost 10 years ago at age 37. We do what many families do, keep memories alive through pictures, stories and in our case, Irish blarney! That's the way they'd want it.
I would sincerely appreciate hearing from anyone that may remember GySgt. Patrick J. Kelly.
God Bless our Troops,
God Bless our Veterans,
Michelle Kelly Lewandowski
P.S. My dad would have loved your website and I know he would
have had many stories to share!
Standby Twin Screws
I believe I can attest to the accuracy of the story. In 1955, I was assigned as a prison chaser returning to CONUS on the USS Cape Esperance, a "jeep carrier". We had thirty-five prisoners from the Yokosuka stockade as our charges. One of the prisoners was a sailor who indeed had "standby twin screws" tattooed across his backside.
It was tough to keep a straight face whenever we marched them to the showers. I was a sergeant in those days. Semper Fi to all my brothers and sisters.
G. H. Brandt
Captain of Marines, Retired
Hey Sgt Grit,
In response to Cpl. Selders' post in the 1 November newsletter.
His description of what to do, and the "instructions" one should follow in case of the dreaded 'chain reaction' vomiting session on any given AMTRAC ride is dead on. If only people would follow those directions... Only one grunts opinion, but whoever made the "decision" to hump 5 hours back to K-bay rather than make the mech-movement, probably did not take a vote. As a matter of fact, I do not recall ever having heard the term, "let's see a show of hands", anytime during my tour. Even on liberty... I think that democratic solution to any situation in the military is reserved for other branches.
Stifling heat, stale air, the wonderful smell of fellow Marines who may have been in the field for 2-3 weeks, diesel fumes, etc., describes that particular kind of boat ride perfectly. But it seems after a while one does get used to it, like all things Marine... the worse thing about Amtracs is that most grunts I know would say, oddly enough, that weird floating-in-air sensation just at the exact time of launch from the stern of any given type of amphibious ship... one second you can feel the 'tracs' bumping on the steel of the well deck, combined with that distinctive noise, and the next second there is an almost ominous silence.
It's not like you don't know what is going to happen next, I mean, the crew are all way up high in their positions, so they can get out faster if the thing does not pop back up to the surface. Maybe that's why those 2 seconds seem much longer. And then when a few hundred gallons of water, (or it seems like that much), comes flying in, you are not really thinking you are gonna' sink, but how in the h-ll are the crewmen holding on? The only thing worse is when your squad is in the back and it seems like the "Daytona 500 of Amtracs" is being held. I don't know how fast one can go, but I do know that Trackers only have 2 speeds... bloodshot, sleepy eyes and heads jerking hard at every change of gear in those big automatic transmissions.
Most memorable was during Big Pines II in Honduras, from Oct. to Dec. 1983... there was a C-130 strip being constructed across the bay from our positions at Puerto Castillo, and Amtracs would make the one hour each way trip twice daily... just like most Caribbean ports or harbor type areas, the water was always slick as glass and clear blue... that was the only time I remember being afloat on an LVT-7 with the top hatches open. We would just lay up there and soak up rays like we were on the beach, and the breeze felt great as opposed to that still, stagnant air in the jungle... it dried out our gear and utilities too, as we watched the porpoises running alongside the Trac.
I guess just like all Marines, "Trackers" love what they do/did... and are d-mn good at it. Well, The World's Finest obviously... and they have to put up with just as much s--t, sometimes more maybe, than all of us... not the least of which is having to deal with us grunts all the time.
Cpl. "DT" Jones
Alpha 1/6, '81-'85
One Step Back
In Chicago, IL, 1961, at the Induction Center I was among a large number of men waiting in lines. What we were waiting for who knows. From my right side I see a highly decorated Marine Sergeant come out from nowhere and stood in front of us and said, "everyone who enlisted take one step back."
This Sergeant moved to his left in the first line and started walking to his right saying and pointing to each draftee the following: Army, Army, Army, Navy, and Marine and started all over again until he was finished. Every time he said Marine, you heard a groan, oh sh-t, oh no, you can't do this to me, etc. For us who enlisted it was funny and we were very proud to have enlisted into the service of our choice, which most of us chose the Marine Corps.
This made us very proud that we did the right thing and joined the Marine Corps. It is funny how good memories keep coming up and re-living.
Never Slept In A 'Real' Bed
Cpl. Pawlik asked about the criteria about calling up prior service Marines for Korea. My cousin was a TSgt/Gunny from WWII. He had been assigned to a reserve outfit in Ohio. He got called back, and went over. I remember him telling me that some of the 'reserves' he was in charge of had never been on active duty or gone to boot camp. They were not familiar nor even qualified with their M-1's. On the ship, he trained them how to fire, and they would fire, adjust sights, etc. from the rails while at sea.
Another man I know, Bill Faulkner, who trained with Ira Hayes and is mentioned in the book Flags of Our Fathers, told me he was also called back to active duty for Korea. Faulkner had already served on the Canal, Bougainville, and was at Iwo, where he got hit. This man is a 'real' Marine until this day, and he is in late 80's. What stories he has. Anyway, upon his recall he went to St. Louis. He met a Navy Corpsman who was a Chief, and had also served at Iwo. He told the Chief that he was a married man with two children, just started a new business, and that he was sick and tired of killing, war, and was getting too old. The Chief agreed. He (Faulkner) was re-classified.
Faulkner, one of the first and only para-Marines, alone with Hayes, said he never slept in a 'real' bed for over three years. He and Hayes were in the same foxhole at Bougainville, and told many interesting stories about combat there. One night a son of Nippon crawled to the edge of their hole, Hayes who was awake bayoneted him in the gut and tossed his body out over the edge. Hayes then puked his guts out. I know that is digressing from the original question, but still appropriate. I enlisted in '53 at the tail end of Korea, and was at San Diego when the 'truce' went into effect. Marines died on that day too.
The Corps had been gutted of personnel by the DOD during the Truman administration. That was the main reason for the call up. The Corps was still 'different' in '53 too. Most of my boot plt. were sent to Korea as replacements in the 1stMarDiv, which returned in '54. They were given the parade in San Diego, etc. Most the combat vets had returned earlier and were not in the parade.
Semper Fi Marines
Bill Morenz 1392831
USMC, and will be until the day I go on to the streets of gold!
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
I'm going to go back to about three days after HMM-161 had the crash that took the lives of two MARINES and explain that at this time the monsoon season had begun in the Northern part of the country and flying conditions were treacherous. Howling winds and driving rain were the order of the day, and the VC took advantage of the bad weather to attack the outposts in the Ba Long valley. It was during this time that 15 UH-34Ds from HMM-161 lifted almost 500 troops and 93,000 pounds of cargo to the Ba Long outpost, which had beaten off a large scale Viet Cong assault during the night.
Because of the attack, the outpost was short of ammunition and supplies. When the resupply aircraft arrived at Ba Long there were over 100 enemy bodies strewn about the area from the previous night's battle. Operation "RED SNAPPER'" was also conducted in the Phu Bai area using helicopters from HMM-161, HMM-361 and VMO-2. The operation was concluded on the 25th with the lift of approx. 350 MARINES from the operating area of Hai Van Pass, to Da Nang and Phu Bai.
Helicopters from HMM-161 were busier than usual during November and one flight of UH-34Ds lifted over 21 tons of cargo and 50 passengers from Quang Tri area to Nong Son and Dai Loc. Another flight of 6 UH-34Ds airlifted 37,000 lbs. of cargo and 77 passengers between La Vang and Ba Long. On the same day, an unfortunate towing accident occurred taking the life of Cpl. Charles Antonelly, a mechanic with HMM-161.
The monsoon weather continued through the month of November, and the rain frequently forced the cancellation of fixed wing aircraft flying helicopter escort missions in the Ba Long Valley. On the 23rd of Nov., 6 UH-34Ds from HMM-161 attempted to re-supply the Ca Lu outpost. With fixed wing escorts grounded because of the weather, the flight of helicopters could make only one lift due to the intense enemy ground fire. The flight received both small arms automatic weapons fire and 60 MM mortar fire which was fused for air bursts.
The helicopters were fired on from three different locations and the aircrews considered themselves lucky just to be able to depart the area. It was hard to believe that only two aircraft were hit in the landing zone and one crew member Cpl. Charlie Wright was wounded and later evacuated to the medical facility at Phu Bai.
The continued monsoon weather during December of 1965 hampered flight operations everywhere, especially in the Bai Long Valley where the ARVN outposts at Ba Long and Ca Lu depended entirely on the helicopters of HMM-161 for supplies. On the 4th of Dec, HMM-161 responded to another call for emergency re-supply at the ARVN outpost at Ba Long. Eight helicopters and six fixed wing escorts repeatedly entered the valley under adverse weather conditions. Six trips were made into the valley; each time a different entry was used as the weather was constantly changing.
At times the flights of four had to fly column formation to enter and leave the valley through a small break in the weather, while the second flight of four helicopters orbited outside the valley until the first was clear of the ridge lines.
Information on the Viet Cong positions located along the ridge lines was passed along to the fixed wing aircraft which had voluntarily entered the valley providing suppressive fire for the Helicopters. This type of flying was extremely dangerous for the jets because at times they would have to maneuver in altitudes of 300 feet or less.
Given A Pass
The draft, the Reserve, and Viet Nam... having been involved with the Reserve as Viet Nam wound down, and before President Ford granted deserters amnesty (16 Sept '74)... followed about three years later by President Carter's pardon for draft 'evaders', have some observations (and a tale or two) about those years and events.
In the Reserve unit of my experience, we had quite a mix of individuals... some who had left active duty but weren't ready to be totally civilian yet, some who were old-timers with varying amounts of active duty, but not retired, (the Reserve Sgt Major was a local contractor, many years in the unit, and had driven a bulldozer on the road from the Chosin Reservoir... he also had the training center parking lot plowed before dawn anytime we had snow), and many who had enlisted under the older 6/6 program (six months active duty, remainder of six years at 1 weekend and 2 weeks per year) I think the Everly Brothers (popular musicians in the day for you youngsters) had served in that program.
Then there were those who had calculated their odds of being drafted against the odds that LBJ would call up the Reserve for Viet Nam... (didn't seem likely at the time, and that's the way it turned out). And some of them were dismayed that they had multiple years of weekend drills and two week active duty in their future... when the real deserters/dodgers were given a 'pass'.
The weekend commitment was not an 'elective'... barring an excused absence with concomitant 'make-up' time, issued by the Reserve CO, not making drill was equivalent to 'absence without leave', or 'unauthorized absence'... it was an involved process, but a Reservist who missed a set number of drills would be issued orders to active duty... not too likely that these recalcitrants were going to wander by the Training Centers to pick up their orders, so the orders, called 'an invol package' (for involuntary assignment to active duty) were mailed by certified mail, return receipt, to the last known address. If someone at the address signed for the mail, that constituted delivery.
We had one whose mother signed for the package... and our friends in the local PD were happy to find and apprehend him ($25 at the time... with no FBI involvement). Once in custody, we had two options: issue straggler's orders to Camp Lejeune, along with a bus ticket... or plunk them in the local pokey, and notify the chasers at Great Lakes.
We had a choice of hoosegows, one being the Rock Island County jail... the name says it all... built in part with limestone quarried by Civil War prisoners from Rock Island... and another across the Mississippi, in Davenport, IA. This particular numbnuts, on the recommendation of the I-I Sgt Major (Max H... who looked... and in other ways resembled our Devil Dog mascot) went to Rock Island, and a message went to Great Lakes... Thursday is always a 'slow news' day, and the crime reporter from the local fishwrap happened to read the jail log... Friday's paper had a sub-headline in the lower left corner on the front page, below the fold, that read "Marine Reservist Jailed... Failed to Attend Drills".
Saturday was drill weekend... and we had 100 percent of the staff on time, in formation, with acceptable haircut, participation... no excused nothing, no fifth grandmother funerals... no nuthin'.
One of our classic, six-year privates, asked to visit the head, set on the stool, put his feet on the inside of the stall door and sleep for much of drill, was also the manager of two of the biggest hotels in the area (one is now an up-scale condo)... top floor suite, which went for big bucks when Ed McMahon (and his 'companion' Vickie) were there... went for $17 per diem when the bigs from District came to town. And yes... or a while there Reservists were allowed to wear 'short hair wigs'... over their 'ahem' longer locks... these were the days of disco (still sucks), and 'stayin' alive'... (Google Travolta and the BeeGees) 'Fro's were also around for a bit... always made me think of 'a self-propelled Brillo Pad'.
"the issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite."
"My reading of history convinces me that most bad governments results from too much government."
"All see, and most admire, the glare which hovers round the external trappings of elevated office. To me there is nothing in it, beyond the lustre which may be reflected from its connection with a power of promoting human felicity."
--George Washington, 1790
"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom."
--theoretical physicist Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
"A wise and frugal government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
"An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among the several bodies of magistracy as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others."
--James Madison, Federalist No. 58 [February 20, 1788]
U Suckers Missed Christmas
The Green Weenie
Uncle Sam's Misguided Children
University of Science Music & Culture
Uncle Sam's Mangy Cr-tch
U Suckers Mis-Calculated
Uncle Sam's Mountain Climbers
Unlimited Sh-t, More Coming
the MEAN, Green, Fightin' Machine
UNCLE Sam's MickeyMouse Club
Uncle Sam's Motorcycle Club
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.
God Bless the American Dream!