I saw the picture Chuck Wanamaker sent of his kids at the Marine Corps Marathon and thought I'd brag a bit myself. Here's a picture of two darling daughters at the finish!
Cease Fire, Cease Fire
I arrived in the RVN on July 24, 1965. I was assigned to work in the 3rd MAF Comm Center on the night watch, 1800 to 0600. After returning to the billeting area after noon chow, in the first week of August, I heard a hand cranked siren start wailing. This was followed by several gunshots. Then a voice came over the PA system and shouted "Cease Fire, Cease Fire"
By this time, there must have been about 100 evening watch Marines (Motor-T, Clerks, Comm Center, Etc. - All support personnel were billeted in the same area) standing out on the 'Company Street' trying to see what was happening. We could hear Jeep motors heading our way. Then, a 5 foot tall, 125 lb, Vietnamese guy wearing black clothes came running up the street. He was followed by other Vietnamese wearing white helments and about 10 Marine MPs running as fast as they could. Of the Marines on the street, not a single one had a weapon of any kind.
About 3/4's of them had cameras filming the action. No one tried to stop the Vietnamese, and the last we saw of him and the posse following him was when they turned the corner running towards the Dog Patch.
It's probably a good idea no one had a weapon out... There would have been friendly fire and casualties. I often wondered if he was ever caught.
Sgt John Stevenson
Attached are photos of the Marine Christmas Tree my wife and I put up this year, along with a photo of three of our adopted Marines.
The Marines are from the left, Cpl Cole Dennis with VMU 3 in Twenty Nine Palms, PFC Heather Bedonnih in Construction and Utilities in Pendleton, and Pvt Matt Head, future MP in Pendleton.
We love these kids and have adopted them. We've got to spend the Christmas Holiday here in New Mexico. Our plans are to leave the Christmas tree up until they return next to New Mexico.
If you look closely at the photo of the tree and notice the blue star at the lower right side, you can see the toy soldiers that are hanging in the tree. There are also two choppers and two fighter planes on the tree, along with U.S. and Marine Corps flags. The tree also has decorations that appear to be bursting bombs, Marine Corps stickers (from Sergeant Grit's business!), and a couple of Marine Corps bumper stickers.
We are proud of the tree, but way more important, we are proud of our Marines!
Steve and Wanda Cannon
Farmington, New Mexico
Boulders In The Barrel
Platoon 3302, MCRD San Diego.
"Private? What the f-ck is this? I see boulders in your barrel! Squat thrust, Forever!"
And then, landing right beside you in the sand? That rifle with Boulders In The Barrel now has Sand In The Barrel! And everywhere else on that rifle! And by God, it had better be cleaned by tomorrow morning rifle's inspection!
Charles (Chuck) Brewer, Sergeant of Marines
Just read RM (DINGUS) Dinwiddie's short note about floating in the Indian Ocean in Dec '71. I was there as Arty Liaison radio operator with BLT 2/4 TAD from Hotel 3/12. We were told we would be on one of the first choppers in to rescue foreign nationals if needed. We weren't needed. But in the process of being there we lost 8 Marines. One was a grunt who was washed off the hanger bay of the USS Tripoli (LPH-10) by a rogue wave and the other 7 were helicopter crew who went down with their ships.
After those CH-46's went down I dreaded getting into one. One neat thing I did see was a rooster tail on the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) when they decided to kick it in the azs. Not sure how fast they were going but it was fast.
Cpl USMC '69-'73
Dear Sgt. Grit,
Read your weekly inspiration like an avid supporter, and never ever feel like a letdown will occur. Always amazing stories, that bring back memories or a feeling of compassion for those less fortunate in some instances. As a whole I really enjoy my weekly escape form dealing with the world of FUBAR and have my moment of peace, quiet, solace, and the MARINE CORPS experience. That is shared amongst THE CHOSEN.
This may have been discussed, but I haven't seen it. You never reenlisted or re-upped in the Corps. You always "SHIPPED OVER". And if you didn't have a bad short timers attitude... you got a shippin' over talk.
Sgt. '53-'56 inactive
Got a great Christmas present this year via Facebook. My cube-mate, Dave Paglis, at Landing Force Training Command, Little Creek, VA, contacted me. We hadn't seen or heard from one another for 40 years (1972). World of Cyber-space has made our world smaller and smaller.
Sgt USMC 1971-1974
I was at P.I. in Sept-Dec 1965 and there was a DI in Third Battalion who yodeled his marching cadence to his recruits. He could make the hair on the back of your neck stand up (although we didn't have any). Anyone remember him?
LCpl. R. Kotula
Regarding t-shirts, I was wearing a shirt in the bush for about 4 mos. We, of Kilo 3/9, were security for the Alpha command group, as I walked through their area, an officer asked me about my shirt that looked like someone had patterned buck shot on it. I told him there were never enough to go around.
My wife supplied me with t-shirts with pockets. That officer was actually using water to shave with in the bush and he hadn't even brushed his teeth or washed his face with it first!
Adam "Wally" Mackow
Kilo 3/9 1968-1969
You are not a "lowly Corporal". You are a Marine Corporal and you deserve respect. Rank and hash marks don't really matter. What matters is service.
Floyd Maurice (Reese) Leath is obviously a good Marine and he has my respect.
Lowly Male PFC Mike
When I was on active duty the only place they told us we got hash marks was in our skivvies. I guess things change.
In answer to GySgt Mac's question about 3rd Shore party where abouts in 1973 Okinawa. They were station at Camp Hansen. I was station with 7th Comm Bn. and they were across the street from us. We shared the same mess hall and also the same motor pool. I hope this helps.
LCpl John Gill
I love the Marine Corps, always did, always will. The Marine Corps are history, they always were, and always will be. From the Dress Blues to the Old School Cammies, and old steel helmets... Oohrah! John Wayne... I have the utmost respect for the Marine Corps, the best off the best, Oohrah MARINE CORPS!
I was a Navy Corpsman on Hill 55 with the 7th Marines. I arrived after Thanksgiving 1968 and I was wounded in a platoon sweep on January 7, 1969.
Can you have an 03XX MOS in the Air Wing?
D.I. MCRD San Diego '62-'64
SR# 1296318 in 1952.
I've never heard a funnier phrase than "2nd Fumble, Stumble, Stagger and Gag".
Recruits Coming In The Droves
I was the ripe old age of 17 when I went to the recruiter's office in Dallas, TX, to ask about being a Marine. I asked what skills I could learn in the Marine Corps? The old Sgt. just looked at me and said, "You learn to kill people". That was enough for me so I joined in January 1959. Boot camp was at MCRD, San Diego, which was a new experience for me!
I had a drill instructor who liked to listen to country music and every night he was on duty he would yell for me to come to the duty hut. He then would ask me if I remembered the song he was listening too. I never listened to country music, but I lied a lot just to make him happy. In 1964 I returned to MCRD, but this time I was the drill instructor. It's quite a change when you are on the other side. It was a very hectic time because the war in Viet Nam had escalated and the draft was on. We have recruits coming in the droves. There were so many men coming in that we had to set up tent cities to accommodate them. Drill Instructors would have one platoon about to graduate in three weeks and would be picking up a new platoon at the same time.
I will always remember each of those young men until the day I die. I always wondered what happened to them, because I know many of them served in Viet Nam.
SSgt. Morgan Akin
Thank You For My Freedom
I wear your hats and t-shirts all the time and in the last several years it has been kinda nice to have folks say thank you for my service. Particularly given the reception that we received way back then.
Last week I went over to Camp Pendleton to welcome home my youngest son from Afghanistan and I was wearing my Vietnam Veteran hat. I spent several days visiting him, my daughter-in-law, and grandson. On Friday afternoon we had some errands to run and had to make a stop at Costco. We had lunch there and I got my favorite polish dog. As I was put mustard on it, an older oriental woman stopped me and asked if I had indeed served in Vietnam. I said yes I did. She asked if she could give me a hug. I said OK. As I was hugging her, she whispered in my ear, "Thank you for my freedom". I said that it was my pleasure but I was totally taken back. I am still not sure how to process this. I have never had this happen to me before.
What I would like to do is to accept this on behalf of all of us who served. For all those times when we were less than welcomed home.
May this make the new year a bit brighter, it has for me.
Sgt. Greg Engelman
1st. LAAM Bn. 1st. MAW
Agent Orange Is Some Bad Sh-t
In response to your question about agent orange, if the Marine was handling the stuff then his health problems are coming from it. In July 2000, I was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and the V.A. admitted that it came from my exposure to Agent Orange in Viet Nam 1970. I learned in 2008, that this stuff also causes nerve damage. Every time I had surgery (11) to deal with a new problem, I would experience chronic pain in that area due to nerves being touched and damaged by the doctors.
The V.A. has been good to deal with here in Virginia and they have done everything possible to help me but nothing has worked out. I can't believe I'm saying this but if you served in Viet Nam, please get checked out for the effects of Agent Orange. I assumed that I was never exposed to it until the cancer showed up because I was never sick or had any serious illness until I was 49 years old. Agent Orange is some "Bad Sh-t!"
Robert Bliss, Sgt.
Viet Nam 1970
Serial # ----8799
Clapped For The Jarheads
Sgt Grit and Sgt Williams,
Please see the photos of the delivery of the items you donated to the Baltimore Station on 12/19/2012. It was a huge success! The items were met with smiling faces and plenty of "OOOHHH-RAHHH'S" and then the grizzled ole Gunny (in the wheel-chair) quietly said, "Marines take care of Marines."
There were 13 Marines present that night, although only seven of them stayed for the group photo which we took just before I left. I should have taken the photo before we started. In the photo at far left are two of my co-workers (Kristen King â€“ friend of the military and Dave Mckim â€“ Navy vet and president of the BGE Veteran's Coalition) and then I am on the far right.
The ole Gunny volunteered to hold the Sgt Grit sign during the photo and he said, "H-ll yeah, I am familiar with Sgt Grit's newsletter." Thanks again for all you have done. You really made a difference with those Marines. Sadly, I also contacted a few other military-item businesses hoping that I could secure some items to donate to the other 50 to 60 men of the other branches of service who are residents of the station, but I never received a reply so I had nothing to give to them.
The director the house, (Al Philips â€“ an Air Force vet) called everyone together and explained what I was doing, and to their credit, the other vets all stayed around and clapped for the Jarheads as they received their gifts from you!
P.S. The Gunny is a sniper and Viet Nam vet and is quite the artist. He is currently working on a mural on one of the walls of the residence main entrance. The mural is dedicated to all branches of the service, but as you might have assumed it is heavy on the Marine Corps courtesy of the Gunny's gifted hand.
He is an amputee and struggles to get himself in position to first draw and then paint on the wall, which makes it all that more impressive. The next time I visit I will send photos of the mural.
Semper Fi Marines!
Cpl Mike Kunkel
Lima 3/8, Weapons Plt
When my son joins our beloved Corps my review of his enlistment contract is solely to ensure he is receiving what he is enlisting for. His choice not mine. However it is sad, but true that there are some recruiters that say you will have swim time on sandy beaches when you enlist. They just don't tell you the rest of that, where the beaches are and how much fire you will be taking laying in the sand!
I want to make sure that his enlistment contract gives him what he wants not a song and dance from a recruiter. Now all of you recruiters out there please do not take offense. I know that the vast majority of you were straight up with the men desiring to join the Corps. There are a very small number however, that promised the rose garden and the recruit did not receive what he had enlisted for. That is all I will do is ensure if he wants an open four year enlistment contract and to serve at the will of the Corps fine. If he wants a certain job (MOS) in the Corps he is qualified for then lock it in with the enlistment contract. It is for his protection.
What good Marine father would not watch over what his son is doing when enlisting in the Corps. Yes he is a man and yes it is his decision but I am his father and I am a Marine and I would much rather see a Marine doing his job with a greater deal of desire because he is doing just what he has asked for.
I can say that I would not have changed anything about my time in except one thing. I would have fought harder to stay in when I was determined to be physically unable to perform and set for discharge due to injuries received on active duty (not combat). I went in on a four year open contract and was made a grunt. Non-high school grad kind of on the dump side but, I could hump and shoot and do both at the same time.
If I may, I was a Drill Instructor at M.C.R.D. San Diego, 1st Bat, when anyone makes a negative statement about a D.I. I tend to take that somewhat personally. I do know however, that there is a small number of D.I.'s that go outside of the regulations and do negative things to recruits they should not be doing.
I was with a herd and we had a S.D.I. and three D.I.'s because we had a few extra D.I.'s for a short time. The other two D.I.'s when they were there alone with the recruits they had a nasty side to them. They chased the recruits shooting blanks at them, chased them with hot irons and attempted to burn them, had them stand at attention and put cig b-tts out on their arms and many other nasty things. We were back at Diego after the range and I had the herd out on the grinder when the Company runner came out and advised me the C.O. wanted the herd back at the Company Office. I was scared and started thinking what had I done to screw this up. They took one recruit at a time in the Company Office and interviewed them. I was shaking all the time. I had on occasion gotten a recruits attention with a jolt upside the head or in the chest. I knew I was going down but when they were done they told me to take the herd and continue with the training program.
The next day the other D.I.'s were gone and I was there with the S.D.I. The only thing the recruits told me is that when I got their attention I told them why or warned them to wake up and I never physically left or mark or hurt them. The other D.I.'s were mean and nasty and did all they could to hurt them for no reason. So I know that with D.I.'s there are some who go way to far as with Recruiters there are those who will do anything to make the numbers they need. It seems there is always that 1 percent.
In the Corps it is no more than 1 percent that go outside the regulations and/or do it wrong. I was wrong for striking a recruit however, in my defense it was an unwritten rule that we would use "training motivators" to "help" the recruits get it. We were told not to put our hands on a recruit then in the same breath told just do not get caught.
I was on the field just after the recruit was killed during training with the sticks in 1975. So things were all screwed up. Training cards and S.I./P.T. cards had just been developed and issued to each D.I. We had heat flags and times we could not P.T. the recruits. It was a changing time in the Corps and the treatment of recruits was under the microscope.
A D.I. that did anything outside of the regulations and it was discovered they would receive a Court Martial. Yet at the same time the D.I.'s were being told to use "training motivators" just don't get caught or face a Court Martial. So the D.I.'s were walking on egg shells trying to understand where they were and how they were supposed to do their job and not get a Court Martial. Just some thoughts from a changing time.
PFC = Private First Class/Proud F---ing Civilian
L/Cpl = Lance Coolly
Question: How many of all you old tired Marines can still sing (however off key) all three stanzas of the Marines Hymn without looking at it. All completely from memory? I think from singing it every night it is scrolled into my brain housing group forever!
SSgt. Joseph Whimple
U.S.M.C. 2/70 - 12/76
A Marine's Parents â€“ the Unsung Heroes
A young man leaves your home a boy. He spends 12 weeks enduring unspeakable pain and anguish. His trials and tribulations are his alone to bear as he seeks to claim the coveted title. He doubts at first. He struggles with despair. But slowly the hurt subsides. Slowly he overcomes, for his goal is clear. His objective is honor. His commitment is firm. He will not waiver. He will complete every task. He will earn the honored Eagle, Globe and Anchor. But he doesn't do it alone, for through it all he has stability. He has the stability of knowing his parents are there. Not in body, but in spirit.
He reads it in the letters they send him. For he can read between the lines and knows that his sacrifice is not just for himself, but for their sake as well. He knows his struggle is shared by those that love him most. Those that raised him from a small child to the man he is today. When he stands proud at graduation day as a United States Marine, he knows his parent's will be bursting with pride for his achievement.
But in his mind he's not the hero, his parents are. They've given so much. They've given our country all they had. They've given their most precious possession. There is no greater hero than those that send their young in harms way. There is no greater hero than the parents of a Marine.
'78 - '84
Wish I Could Give Her More
I served my Country from 1944 to 1969, I served in three wars, I paid my taxes and tried to make a comfortable life for my family. To do this I worked at going on Mess Duty early on (for the extra 5 dollars a month), Tending Bar at the Staff Club even working at stores off base, always with Permission.
My Wife raised our five children because I was running off to war somewhere or working late or going somewhere to sell something I had bought. In the course of history I was transferred and the home I was buying couldn't be sold because all the Marines in the area and their family's had left also. The government decided in their ultimate wisdom that when I lost my home, it wasn't in an area hit by low employment so I couldn't declare my home a loss as well as moving expenses, etc.
So Taxes were high that year and Christmas suffered as did a couple Birthdays. Marines always stand heads up and fight through anything that threatens their family, their life and being a Marine. I remember how many times I was refused a loan from Banks and Loan Companies because I was serving my Country. I was told many times early on in my Career, that if the Marine Corps wanted me to have a wife they would issue me one. I was told when MY first child was born that I couldn't have Special Liberty to be there because when the Keel was laid I was needed but when the ship was launched I wasn't.
I made 50 dollars a month for nearly six years, when I married they took 20 dollars from my pay, added 30 dollars and sent it to my wife so in truth we were making 80 dollars a month in 1947, 1948, 1949. Then Congress changed the pay bill and only a Sergeant with over seven years rated an allotment, all with allotments would lose their allotments with any change in pay status, like a Promotion. So we did the best we could.
Then I served with other Marines when our President tried to ridicule us in newspapers and we stood long and tall as we were needed to fight in a war that was going to be run not by Generals, but by the UN and civilians. In my 26 years I crossed the Nation 15 times going from one base to another. I was Medivaced from Vietnam and arrived home to be given the first sick leave I ever had. After the hospital I retired, my family and I lived in the area until a job was offered in Los Angeles, and it wasn't long after that they all had left home to make homes for themselves.
In my 86th year I find it enjoyable to think back upon those days as a young Marine going through what all people go through growing up. I had Commanding Officers and they had bosses, and neither of us made a great living but we made due. I have a room where I keep my mementos and I enjoy it when I am in a store and someone says, "Thanks for your Service". It was all worth it and the only real regret I have is that I couldn't give my Wife the Medal of Honor, she deserved it because she always went beyond the duty required to make sure our family had what they needed and with lots of Love.
I've been asked what it takes to make a Marine, I think the question should be, "What does it take to Make a Marine Wife?" The only Boot Camp they have is learning how to shop at the Commissary and Marine Exchange with less money than they really need. They worry about a husband who might and does return from War with wounds to the body and mind, she has to raise the Children, talking about father miles away. Then when retirement comes she still has to be there for Husband and Children, she hasn't retired, she won't let you retire her. So here's to Helen for her sixty five years a Marine Wife, I wish I could give her more!
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau
Only One Smart Enough
I was just catching up on your newsletter, and read the story of force marches at Camp Schwab. I was attached to Ammo Co. on top of the hill '85-'86. We had a great view for watching the amtrack landings and spy-rigging (those poor bast-rds that didn't unhook. We took great pleasure seeing them dragged through the water), in the bay.
One thing I remember about force marches (anywhere in the Corps), was that you didn't want to be the guy that couldn't hack it and end up in the back of the "fallout truck". Now, we had a German Shepard for our company mascot. Somehow, one of the guys had gotten it on base and it was adopted. Well, one blisteringly hot August morning our C.O. decided everybody should take a walk. There were several guys that jumped on that truck that day, but the first one of our company on the truck was that dog (he got on before we even walked out the gate). The only thing I can remember about that march was, sweating my guts out and thinking "That dog is the only one here smart enough to get on the truck, to begin with".
I remember another time, with 2nd LSB. At the start of "Semper Fit" (the fleets way of weeding out the "fat bodies") everybody went on this march. Ironically, the very few people who stayed behind, to keep everything secure and keep the chowhall open, were the same "fat bodies" that needed the exercise. I was a cook and that was one of the couple times I had ever seen a "Gunny" pick up a copper paddle.
So, after countless ribbings about cooks not being able to hang and with the threat of extra PT for everyone, if anyone fell out we set out. We were the next to last platoon on the way back, the day was getting hotter, and the accordion effect of that many people, was starting to take its toll. So, we did what all good Marines do. We split their gear and had them hang on to other peoples pack straps.
My Day Was Made
Dear Sgt Grit,
Was in the Corps from '63 to '67 during a very rocky roller coaster ride with the feeling of the American Public having been against us Marines. I felt in my heart I was doing the right thing, but no one ever really supported us 100 percent.
In the 90's, I joined the Marine Corps League in my State and fit in at last with a great bunch of Men. I got laid off after 24 years at one job and really never recovered to another good job, my wife had her industry hit hard too!
I was back at work and retired 2 or 3 times since, but was still bored! I took out a Security Guard License in my State and got a job doing contact security at a news facility. Lo and Behold a gentleman says to me, "Thank You for serving, and not just shakes my hand, but puts his arm around me and gives me a hug. I was on Cloud Nine, and walked on air for the rest of my shift. By the way the Gentleman was Mr. Glenn Beck, a T.V. and RADIO Personality!
One does not comment on a person's views, but Mr. Beck is very supportive of the military, and a real compassionate person.
P.S. On the way home on a bus that same night, a young kid also thanked me as well!
I was wearing my Marine Corps League pin on one lapel and the Marine Corps flag on the opposite lapel.
People care and my day was made.
Boot Camp Was Tougher
In the Dec 26th newsletter, Sgt. Kevin Kjornes stated his recovery from cancer surgery was in large part due to his "Marine mindset." In Nov. of 2010, I was operated on for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The aneurysm was located so that a stent was not possible so I was opened up from rib cage to pubic bone to replace my aorta with some plastic "fuel line" as I call it. As I was recovering after surgery I didn't want pain medicine or to be helped if possible, and wanted on my feet ASAP. The nurse in attendance saw my Marine Corps tattoo, and had heard I was a law enforcement officer also, and she said "so you're a cop and a Marine huh? We're going to have trouble with you aren't we? You're going to be stubborn and try to do everything by yourself."
I was out of that hospital in 5 days and I agree with Sgt. Kjornes, Boot Camp WAS tougher.
Chief R. A. Kiser (Ret)
Parris Island Alumni, 2nd RTBN, Class of Nov. 17, 1965
Corporal and MFL (Marine for Life)
Only 6 Digits
To: A D Winters... comment...
I went thru PI in 1945... same old tents, and Quonsets after Rifle Range. Went through a full hurricane there in September 15, 1945. Spent 36 hours in full combat gear, bottled up with who knows how many others, and returned to the Quonsets, all washed up... back to the tents for 7 more months...
PFC Joe Evanich
USMC 586319... note only 6 digits!
I was a 17 year old in 1979 when I joined the Corps and enlisted on a delayed entry program, so I could begin my training after I graduated high school. I was out by 1984 at the time we were deployed to many different problems all over the world. Grenada and so on but my days when I came home were not like the days of today's vets. I was disrespected. People hated me because I was a Marine. I am very proud of it, d-mn it, even prouder today. I always wear a black vest with my beloved emblem and old glory sewn right above on my left upper chest, right above my heart.
Then only a few years back people would start to look at me different and I even got a few thank you's. There has been only one time were I walked in a bar to get a beer and I didn't have to pay for my first one. I'm just mad about how I can be hated for carrying a rifle for my country, treated like sh-t in front of my family, and believe me I took a few stands and now I'm supposed to act like nothing happened?
I just felt that I needed to write something because once in a while my daughter and I talk. I don't say too much about when I came home because I know now our warriors are treated better. She has been wanting to join the Marine Corps and wants to be a helicopter pilot but I'm telling her to finish college first.
Well, thanks for letting me vent to all my devil dog brothers, keep the faith.
Patience, Kindness, And Tolerance
Hey, Sgt. Grit,
First of all, belated Merry Christmas to you and yours. All the discussion on "rack" vs. "bunk" reminds me of a question I've had since boot camp. We were told that we should call windows "portholes", walls "bulkheads", etc. Then shouldn't we have had "bulkhead lockers" instead of "wall lockers"? Somehow I just never found an opportune time to ask my drill instructors this, although I'm sure they would have been happy to explain the apparent contradiction with their usual patience, kindness, and tolerance.
Ballistic Over That One
I've spent 3 years at MCAS Iwakuni during the 60's and early 70's... I've also served 3 tours in RVN between '65-'70, and another tour with TF Delta at Nam Phong, Thailand during Operation Linebacker I & II, plus operations over Cambodia supporting the Lon Nol government and over Laos supporting Operation Steel Tiger and Barrel Roll until 15 Aug 1973, when the Congress pulled all war funding from ol' Tricky D-ck, and ended our involvement in the SE Asian War Games.
For starters, I cannot place MAG-11 at MCAS Iwakuni at any time during my 23 year career (1964-1987)... MAG-11 was part of 1st MAW (Rear) at NAS Atsugi, Japan until early July of 1965, when they were deployed to DaNang, Vietnam. When they redeployed out of Vietnam in June of 1971, the group rotated to CONUS and took up residence at MCAS El Toro, CA.
The other thing that grabbed my attention was that this guy has told you that he worked in a warehouse that serviced F-4 Phantom's with Agent Orange at MCAS Iwakuni... I about choked on that one... F-4's fly way too fast to deploy A/O effectively. To the best of my knowledge, and I've spent 3 years at MCAS Iwakuni during my career, A/O was never shipped, stored, or mixed at Iwakuni whatsoever. The Japanese would have gone ballistic over that one. A/O was sprayed primarily from USAF C-123 Provider's, and sometimes from C-7 Caribou's, but never from any fast movers like the F-4 Phantom's. The name of the operation that controlled the spraying of A/O in Vietnam was called Operation Ranch Hand, and it was strictly an Air Force operation. The Marine Corps never sprayed A/O during the all of the years that we were deployed in-country.
It certainly sounds to me like this individual is either having some memory issues at this point in his life, or he is some sort of a poser who is full of bovine excrement, looking to jump on the VA bandwagon for an A/O claim. The only claims that the VA will recognize at this time is if the individual can provide documentation (i.e.: SRB) to support his claim of having boots on the ground in Vietnam.
Please find the url link to the de-classified Command Chronologies for MAG-11, MABS-11, and H&MS-11 below, and you'll be able to see the history of MAG-11 from July 1965 until June 1971 for yourself.
MGySgt - USMC (Ret)
Records of War
I have been a Veterans Service Officer for ten years and have never heard of Agent Orange being used or stored in Iwakuni, Japan. I am also a Vietnam Veteran. You can Google the following and it will come up where the Veterans Administration has admitted that Agent Orange has been stored or used. They are always updating different items, so veterans need to keep up with the VA.
Google â€“ Herbicide Tests & Storage Outside the U S
Should come up similar to: www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures
You Guessed It
I came from Germany on the General Morris E. Rose in 1950. My dad (Army) was sent to Camp Crawford, Hokaido, Japan in 1951 on the Breckenridge. We followed 1-1/2 years later on the Buckner. He came back on the Beckenridge in 1955.
I joined the Corps in 1960, went on a float phase to Japan and then to Okinawa, you guessed it on the Breckenridge as a Marine. I was with L-3-5, redesignate L-3-9 and later the Third Marine Expeditionary Brigade in '62, and from there to Udon, Thailand. Traveled over 60,000 miles that tour. Six years in all. Discharged at Marine Barracks, Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington.
H. J. Stegie
Always A Marine
Missed Bob Hope
Hello Sgt Grit,
My family and I wish all of our Marines and Servicemen and Women serving abroad a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
I know what it is like being away from hoe and loved ones during the Christmas holidays. Here we go:
Fox Compnay, 1st Plt, 2nd Bn, 5th Marines - An Hoa, Vietnam 1969 Location: Que Sahn Mountain Range - Search and destroy NVA presence responsible for the rocket attacks on An Hoa located by Force Recon patrols. Artillery barrage for 2 days prior to insertion. Five compnaies (Fox, Hotel, Echo, Golf, & India) were choppered in.
On Dec. 21st we landed on the highest peak. Patrols were sent out and my squad was first down into the triple canopy jungle where we found blood trails and bloody bandages used for the wounded NVA. We followed the trails for about a Klik where the trail split in three different directions. One up to another peak and two down the sides into the valleys but all heading towards An Hoa. So we returned to the CP and Hotel and Fox Co were sent up the trail to the other peak. Echo was sent down into the valley to our right, and Golf was sent down into the valley to our left. India was in reserve as rear guard.
Dec. 22nd, Hotel Co was walking point and made contact on the trail with the NVA who was hiding in well concealed bunkers and spider holes dug under the roots of trees. Hotel fought hard and broke the ambush but not without casualties on both sides. Hotel began chasing the NVA up the mountain and Fox followed behind sweeping the trails for wounded and straglers... blood all over the trail as we carried the wounded and dead to the evac site. Echo and Golf were making contact on either side as the NVA tried to escape along the valley floor but they were blocked and had to west towards An Hoa with the rest of the NVA force we were chasing.
Dec. 23rd, Hotel Co pushed the NVA force up the next peak and were ordered to withdraw to a safe distance and a B-52 Arc Light Mission was called in. We set up a perimeter and called in for supplies. India Co was behind us for rear security and Echo and Golf held the valleys in blocking positions. We saw silver bullets high in the sky and alll h-ll broke loose as the 1000 lb bombs hit the mountain top across from us. That night we were being probed by the NVA and small firefights broke out on the north side of the mountain. We called in 'Puff the Magic Dragon' and watched as the small C-47 circled around dropping flares and they let loose with a firestorm from their Vulcan Gattling Guns that tore up the side of the mountain. The rest of the night was quiet but tense.
Dec. 24th, (My birthday - turned 20) Fox Co in the lead made our way down the spine of the mountain to the area that the B-52 strike took place with Hotel Co behind us. We swept the top which was filled with giant craters, body parts, and one un-exploded bomb. We tip-toed our way around the bomb and Engineers who were with India Co exploded the bomb. The concussion threw me off the edge of the mountain and I grabbed a small tree trunk to keep from falling to my death. The bark tore the flesh from my arm, but I held on until my squad-mates pulled me back up to safety. Our Corpsman patched me up and we continued our sweep. We finished the sweep and made our way up to the next ridge to settle in for the night.
Dec. 25th, Christmas Day, at daybreak we hear heavey fire coming from the south valley where Echo Co was and heard over the radio that they had run into heavy NVA opposition as they must have retreated to the low ground cover. Golf Co was not getting any resistance from the valley to the north so they were ordered to climb the next mountain in from of us to block any NVA from escaping. Echo Co was ordered to back off half a klik and we called in F-4 Phantoms... Fifteen minutes later four F-4's came screaming over us so close you could see the pilots and the REO's so clearly they waved at us before swooping into the valley to drop their loads of Napalm.
They made two drops and disappeared with their afterburners blazing... the heavy smell of Napalm was thick and the valley was engulfed in flames. The radio man from Echo Co said they could hear the screams of the NVA trying to escape their fate. They were then sent to sweep the valley floor for possible prisoners but found nothing but enemy dead. We settled in for the night. Merry Christmas...
Dec. 26th, Fox, Hotel, and India Co climbed up to the next mountain top to meet with Golf Co and were informed that they had uncovered several entrances into the inside of the mountain. Several squads were sent in and found that the whole top of the mountain was hollowed out, with a hospital, kitchen, sleeping quarters, and chow hall... The NVA had evacuated before our arrival. We set up a perimeter and engineers were called in from An Hoa to set explosive charges to destroy the entire NVA facility.
India, Golf, and Echo Co were picked up and returned to An Hoa. Fox and Hotel Co stayed as security until the engineers had finished setting the charges of C-4. My arm was getting infected so I was given the job of escorting prisoners to An Hoa Intelligence for questioning. Meanwhile, the rest of Fox and Hotel Co walked home. When the charges were set off, you could actually see the top of the mountain rise up and then collapse onto itself as it was destroyed.
During the entire operation we all longed for the comforts of home and family, and sometimes we would sing Christmas carols while we setteled in. But, we had a job to do and had to keep our sh-t wired tight. I remember those days and pray for the men and women fighting now to stay strong so they will return home to enjoy the holidays we all hold so dear.
Oh yea... I forgot to mention that we all missed the Bob Hope Christmas Show in DaNang! CR-P!
Semper Fi and Best Holiday Wisheds to All!
Cliff "Chip" Ivie
Cpl of Marines
Question for DDICK: What MOS did the ONTOS crewmen have? Were they Infantry or Artillery?
I was not an ONTOS (M50) crewman but the few I knew / met at 7th and 9th Marines were a mixed bag of all different 03xx MOSs with a few 08XX (Arty bubba's) thrown in, but was also told there were a lot of non-grunts with them too. The weapons platform consisted of heavy weapons that Grunts and even Comm guys (me) were trained on, and since the ONTOS was pretty much a point and shoot weapon, there was no artillery / fire direction control training necessary.
I am sure there is someone out there who can set me straight if I'm passing bum scoop, I only know what I was told. I wanted to get into the ONTOS but they closed them down in '69. I met a crusty old CWO4 Gunner when I was with HQ Bn, 1st MARDIV and he told some hair raising stories about blowing the h-ll out of the bad guys in Nam with his ONTOS platoon. I did have the opportunity to work with and fire the Mule carrying the "106" when I first came in and that was such a hoot. Because of the spotting rifle, I developed a long lasting love of the "Ma Deuce" (.50 cal). I read that when the ONTOS A.T. Battalion was folded in '69 many of the remaining crewmen became Anti-Tank Assaultmen (MOS 0351).
MSGT Steve Lerner
Answer for Cpl E4 Selders 01/03/2013: The MOS of the Crew of an Ontos was 0353. The crew consisted of a Loader, Driver Ontos Commander, normally the loader was a Pvt or PFC, the Driver was a LCpl or Cpl and the OC was a Cpl or Sgt.
Rightfully so you should be concerned if you were looking down the barrels of those six 106s but it was just as dangerous standing behind them also. That little 10 ton tracked vehicle was one mean lil mother when in the capable hands of some young crazy Marines.
Jerry L. 2066---
'63-'66, RVN - '64, '65
This is for Cpl Selders. Ontos crewmen were 0353. I know because that was my first unit out of boot camp (PISC) in 1965. I was an 01 but our CO wanted everybody to be able to mount out as an Ontos crewman, so if we weren't an 0353 we picked up the MOS by OJT. I got orders overseas in '66 as an 0141/0353.
As a 44-year-old man that was too scared to face his call as a teenager, it is so nice to hear someone explain the real truth about the USMC. Like everyone else, all I knew was the hype I had been told all my life as this last year my 9-year-old son told me he wanted to join because he saw his future as a U. S. Marine. So, I started doing research for him and showing him the real side of the USMC. He has met a lot of USMC Veterans and now has a better understanding of what he is to face and so do I.
I regret every day that I didn't join out of high school. I wonder where I would be today. If I could have made a difference in the world. I know now that the Corps will not change the person you are inside, but tweak the good that is in each and everyone of the Marines.
I have learned the true meaning of Semper Fi this last year. The local Marine Corps league has taken my son in and are giving him guidance that I never received. I like to think I would have made a good Marine, but I will never know now that I am old and broken down man with the life GOD has given me. I strive to improve on it for my children. I would like to add that his birthday was Dec. 12th, 2012. After taking him shopping a few days after to spend his birthday money upon leaving the store he asked me to take the money he had left and put it in the jug that was set up outside for Toys for Tots. He told me, "Dad that is what the USMC does, they help others."
At 9-years-old he gets it and I am so proud. I thank GOD every day for the USMC. Because of them I have the greatest Country in the world as my home. I thank each and every one of you for all you do! Happy New Year and Oorah!
Thank you so much!
BSA Pack 400
Bear Den Leader
I entered the Corps 20 days after my 17th birthday. My introduction to Parris Island was everything I expected, and a lot more. I have no regrets, and I am proud to have had the privilege to be part of the team.
I was in Plt 312 and we graduated on 14 May 1963. I served the next 2 years with the 8th Marines at Camp Lejeune before joining the 9th MEB which was already at DaNang in early 1965. I was wondering if any of my brethren stationed at CLNC during the 60's and 70's have heard about the exposure to polluted water that everyone stationed there at that time was exposed to?
It seems to have been kept secret. Kind of like Agent Orange, nuclear testing on troops, and now with the troops whom have been returning home from Iraq / Afghanistan with their own brand of difficulties called "Enduring Freedom Syndrome" or whatever. It is somewhat miraculous that any of us have survived.
What have we learned from Viet Nam? Not much!
Cpl John W. DeStefano
2nd & 3rd Mar Div's
To Be Eligible
I enjoyed the tale of old serial numbers and remember well reporting in at Camp Lejeune in Oct. '63. In the barracks, on the frame of each "rack" was a card with your name and other info including serial number. The old salts would walk by and with a glance at your number know immediately if you were a boot and remark, "is that a serial number or the national debt?" Everyone had a good laugh and we newbees knew we would someday have our turn.
Well sadly the next month with the death of Pres. Kennedy we got our "get back" with the Old Corps when the base and units went on 100 percent alert for possible shipping out. It seems all had to prepare a field transport pack and of course us nickie new guys could make it in our sleep while the old timers who hadn't made one for a while suddenly needed our help.
Things do have a way of evening out. All your letters have great Corps memories. Many others can't grasp what we keep so close to us. I think of the sign in our local VFW. "It's not the price you paid to join, it's the price you paid to be eligible."
MGM/J, USMC '63/'67
No Chance of a Transfer
In September of 1939, I discovered that there was a Marine Scouting Squadron (VMS5R) located at the Naval Air Facility located on Grosse Ile, which is an island at the mouth of the Detroit River where it enters Lake Erie. I talked to the First Sergeant and he was ready to sign me up. I explained I still had 7 months to go on a 3 year National Guard enlistment. He said that was no problem, for me to request a Special Order Discharge to enlist in the Marines.
(Yes in October of 1936, I had lied about my age and enlisted for three years. I told my parents I had joined a 'Boy's Club' that met every Monday evening, they thought that was fine. Then in early 1937, The U.A.W. pulled their first Sir Down Strike in Flint, MI. Violence occurred and the Governor ordered out the First Battalion of the 125th, Infantry Regiment. I was a Machine Gunner in Company "D". Frankly I thought that the Marine First Sergeant was out of his mind, about requesting the discharge, but I requested it and within two hours I was Honorably Discharged. By now I was 18 years old.
I enlisted on 14 March 1940, off to Parris Island the next day. Platoon #28 finished training and was assigned to Sea School, a week of that and I talked to the Sergeant Major. No chance of a transfer to an Aviation outfit. Within a week, I had a letter off to the Commandant requesting a transfer (details... well, that is another story). I was transferred to Quantico and into VMS-1. It later became VMSB-131. We spent many months at North Island, San Diego, finally overseas. We then were given the SBD and had them for about a week or ten days.
The Navy took them back and gave us the TBF The Avengers, and we became the First Marine Torpedo Bombing Squadron. Returned Stateside in May of 1943 after Guadalcanal. Now officially designated VMTB-131. The Squadron split 3 ways, I went to newly forming VMTB-242. Back overseas, had a problem with the C.O. and was transferred to Headquarters and Service Squadron MAG-11. I was promoted to Master Sergeant and my old First Sergeant was now the Adjutant of Service Squadron. Because of service and serial number I became the Leading Chief.
I returned stateside in late 1945. Last assignment was a Marine Night Fighter Operational Training unit at Kingsville, Texas. After VJ Day, the Squadron is disbanded and transferred to the same type outfit but at Vero Beach, Florida. I had an extended enlistment for two years so took my Honorable Discharge in 1946.
Immediately enlisted in the Reserves Class 3-B, never recalled and in 1957 was placed on the retired list. Before they made the change and began using the Social Security Number, my serial number was 273744.
While I have not seen numbers lower than that, there must be older living Marines out there. If I hold out and I think I will, on 4 June 2013, I will celebrate my 92nd birthday.
M/Sgt. Howard J. Fuller.
Go to Rest
From May 1979 until August 2012, I, Master Gunnery Sergeant Richard A Howell III, have done what I do best my whole life, been a Marine!
I started in 2nd Marine Div and finish in 3rd Marine Force Recon. I have given my life to the Marine Corps and to my Country. On the day that I left Japan for New York a boot asked me, "Top why stay so long?" I look at him and said, "Because when I joined the Corps I was young with no direction. The Corps gave me that and more. I have seen the world both good and bad, spent my time in the mud and sun, and when the time comes when GOD calls me, I will go to rest with the heroes. That's why I stayed to be one of the few, the proud, the Marines!"
Distributed To Veterans
On December 22nd, 2012, Central Wisconsin Detachment 350 met at Trigs Grocery in Stevens Point, WI to load and distribute Food Baskets For Needy Veterans and Families. More than $3000 of food and items were purchased to carry out our mission. Needed items were distributed to Veterans, Operation Boot Strap and needy families in Central Wisconsin. Marines assisting with food baskets for the Needy Mission included L-R: Stan Potocki, Chris Glodowski, Jerry Wojcik, Eric Hirzy, Ray Potocki, Julian Sonnentag, Ron Borski, Hank Hughlett, Tom Lepkowski, Rollie Johnson, Bob Stroik, Bob Pallen, Stan Olejniczak, and Dan Johnson.
Det. Adjutant Rollie Johnson
A Weeks Entertainment
In late October 1963, I was assigned to Charlie Co, 1st Bn, 1st ITR. Charlie Co was formed from my recruit series Plts 248, 249, 250, 251, and another series that had gotten to camp San Onofre the month before, and had pulled a month of mess duty. So, Charlie Co was comprised of 8 recruit Plts formed, alphabetically, into 4 Plts. I was in the 4th plt., as my name started with "S". The Charlie Co Commanding Officer, Capt. Montgomery, was a Mustang Capt, who had been given a battlefield commission in Korea. We were told when we got to Charlie Co that it was different - we were in the "gungiest" Co at ITR.
We marched in formation everywhere, we didn't have liberty after 1700, etc. It was like being back in boot camp. Capt. Montgomery believed in running everywhere. On Monday morning, we ran up "Old Smokey" to "clear the weekend cobwebs out". Saturday morning at the end of the second week of training, our troop handler, Cpl. Bowman (a short timer from Maine who had spent the last 3 yrs in the 6th Marines at camp lejeune, and had displeased his 1st Sgt. and gotten transferred to pendleton with 10 months to go) called the 4th platoon together. He said a Naval landing force was being attached to our Plt for training. He then introduced the 15 Sailors to us. They were commanded by an Ensign straight from NROTC who was 5'5" tall and weighed about 125 lbs. The NCOIC was a surly 1st class(E-6) Bosuns Mate with 16 yrs in the Navy who had p-ssed off his Chief. The other 13 were Seaman Apprentices from the Bosuns deck gang. Cpl. Bowman said he was going to assign each Sailor to a Marine, to "teach them the ropes". He would take the Ensign.
The Bosun's Mate (making no attempt to hide his contempt for the USMC), loudly stated "I want one of those BARS, not one of those pansy M-1's." As I was a BAR man, he was assigned to me. We all marched down to supply, where the Sailors drew their 782 gear. The Bosun couldn't believe the BAR cartridge belt he was issued (8 mags in 4 pouches) and demanded to know why he was getting 2 packs, shelter half, tent poles, etc. Cpl. Bowman informed him that Capt. Montgomery liked to hike with field transport packs, "to make things realistic". We then went to the armory, where the Ensign drew a .45, and the 13 SA's drew "pansy M-1's" when the armorer threw the BAR at the Bosun, he was quite surprised at the 18 lb. weight. We all went back to the barracks to square away the Navy's gear... clean weapons, make up packs, etc.
Sunday was our day off. The Bosun went to the staff NCO club and spent the day drinking beer until it closed (he had about a 25 lb. beer belly, anyway). Our Plt Guide was a 6'2, 190lb, dark green Marine who "had found a home in the CORPS". His avowed intention was to retire in 1993 as a SGT. MAJOR. So, at 0530 on Monday morning, the Bosun was RUDELY awakened by the guide, who, after trying to get the Bosun out of the rack nicely and had been to told "f-ck off" by the Bosun, threw the Bosun and his rack across the hut. The Bosun declined chow... his stomach was upset.
At 0630, we formed up, with weapons and cartridge belts, for our Monday morning assault on "Old Smokey". The Bosun made it about half a mile, then sat down and quit. The Plt Guide encouraged him by kicking him and threatening to double time the Plt. over his body. The rest of the Sailors, including the Ensign, stood there watching the Guide in action. The Ensign asked Cpl. Bowman if the guide could "do that"? Cpl Bowman just said, "you want him quitting when the sh-t hits the fan?" This apparently motivated the rest of the Sailors, for none of them quit.
The Guide assigned 4 of us to drag the Bosun to the top of Old Smokey, where he was taken by the Corpsman assigned to our Company. We never saw him again. The Ensign and 2 SA's made it thru the week... the rest were injured. They were supposed to do the last 2 wks with us, but couldn't. That Ensign was all heart... when he was geared up, his weight almost doubled. He always tried to keep, never complained, did what he was told. We told him he was welcome to transfer to THE CORPS anytime. I always wondered who, on the ship those 15 Sailors came from, thought they would be able to keep up with Marines who had just done 13 weeks of boot camp and 2 weeks of ITR. Those guys provided a week's entertainment for us.
SGT. John Stevenson
The absolute, saddest, and most disappointing order I received while in the Corps was when coming home after serving in Vietnam fighting against the spread of Communism in that region of the world. I came home in September, 1970. Everything was going along so very well. I mean, I was NOT being treated like I did when I went to Nam as a PFC. I was adjusting to being a Sergeant. Showing off my new stripes. You know, getting some RESPECT!
Then, I hit the Air base, down by L.A. I don't remember the name of the base, but it was just a short ride by bus to L.A. Inter. Airport. There, I got a flight for the trip to northern California. But as I am presenting my orders and all that paperwork, getting that out of the way, this SSgt tells me I am under orders to NOT wear my uniform in public! I said, "WHAT?" He says it causes too much "UNREST" to be seen on the streets in uniform. He said opposition to the war was causing too much trouble whenever a GI was seen in a uniform. He said if I did wear my uniform, and I was involved in an "incident", I might be subject to Court Martial. Can you believe that? Talk about disappointing! Here I had only been a Sergeant for one month, and I couldn't show off my brand new stripes. I had to hide my uniforms. But, more than that, I had to hide the fact that I was a United States Marine! Really sad.
So, there you go, Sarge. Could Not Show The PRIDE I felt in serving my country where they needed me to serve. That, my friend, was a sad day in the life of this Marine, for sure. If the body was able, and I was needed, I would do it all over again.
Semper Fidelis Marines.
STILL Sergeant Chuck Brewer,
US Marine Corps 1967-1973,
Door Gunner 1970 HMM/VMM-263,
MCAS Marble Mountain, Vietnam 1969-1970
I am glad to see the subject of songs come up. There was a time when inter-service rivalry resulted in songs that most likely would not be sung in today's world. For example, During , and just after the Korean War there was a song that would be heard at the Sunday wash racks. The original words had been changed from Hank Snows hit about leaving a lover. The original words as I remember them were "there's a big eight wheeler coming down the track, Says your true lovin, baby ain't comin' back, He's a movin' on! Well it became a jab at our Army brothers when rewritten as, "There's a big old c-mmie comin' down the path, playin' burp gun boogie on a Doggies A--, he's a movin' on, he'll soon be gone."
The Flight Line
Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #3, #7, (July, 2013)
1965 began with HMM-165 (UH-34D's) in country as the Helicopter element of the Marine Unit Vietnam (MUV) formally (SHUFLY). The USS Princeton (LPH-5) was the designated amphibious assault ship at the beginning of the year. HMM-163 (UH-34D's) relieved HMM-365 on 18 Feb. HMM-365's aircraft, on board the USS Princeton were transferred to HMM-162 on 9 Mar. The pilots of HMM-365 returned to Okinawa aboard the USS Princeton to take replacement aircraft. HMM-162 joined HMM-163 in Da Nang in response to increasing helicopter requirements in country.
On 8 March, the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (9th MEB) including Landing Team (BLT) 3/3 and BLT 1/3 were landed across the beaches and via Da Nang harbor. On 9 March the MUV was re-designated MAG-16, under operational control of the 9th MEB.
By mid March the 9th MEB consisted of MAG 16, MABS-16, HMM-162 and HMM-163. Sadly, HMM-163 made the cover of Life Magazine (16 April 1965) when it showed YP-13's co-pilot hit by gun fire. Crewmen worked feverishly and futily in an attempt to save his life over the Que Son Valley. VMO-2 arrived in country with the first Marine UH-1E gunships on 3 May. Additional VMO-2 O-1B's arrived, Birdogs had already been in country with SHUFLY and the 9th MEB.
On 14 Apr, BLT 3/4 began it's amphibious landing at Da Nang and was flown to Hue/Phu Bai Airfield (Phu-Bai), approximately 8 miles south of the ancient capital of Hue, 10 H-34's from HMM-162 at Phu Bai to support BLT 3 Bat, 4th Marines.
The 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade(3rd MEB) under the command of Brig. GEN. Marion Carl, landed at Chu Lai on 7 May,1965. Coming under the command of the 9th MEB after the landing. The 3rd MEB was supported by HMM-161 flying off the USS Princeton until 7 June when the squadron transferred to the USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2) remaining off the coast of Chu Lai until 12 June. The USS Iwo Jima then moved off the coast of Phu Bai, where HMM-161 off loaded to Phu Bai to support the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines. HMM-365 also returned from Okinawa to Da Nang.
The Third Expeditionary Force, later re-designated Third Marine Amphibious Force (III MAF) was formed in early May from the 9th MEB units, including all elements of MAG-16. HMM-162 left Vietnam on 15 May for Okinawa. HMM-261 (UH-34's) arrived on 22 June in Da Nang and was assigned to MAG-16.
The SLF (Special Landing Force) embarked on the USS Iwo Jima on the 24th of June from Okinawa with BLT 3/7 and HMM-163 as the SLF Squadron. The USS Iwo Jima replaced the USS Princeton on 7 May. On 11 Oct, HMM-261 replaced HMM-163 as the SLF squadron and the USS Valley Forge replaced the USS Iwo Jima.
Almost A Squat
Charley was from Oklahoma, and though he didn't look it, had some American Indian ancestry, or so he claimed... sure didn't have the high cheekbones of an Elizabeth Warren, for sure, but was rather round-faced. It had fallen his lot to spend 18 months with Marine Barracks, Naha (Okinawa... before we gave it back to Japan), where we were guarding special weapons for the Navy (or so they told us... never saw one of the things). This duty was terminally boring... I mean Boooring! Four on, eight off, day on, day off. Posts were manned by Pvts and PFCs, Lance Corporals and E-3 Corporals stood Corporal of the Guard, and Corporals were section leaders and stood Sgt of the Guard watches.
The Barracks (six Quonset huts, actually) were in the NE quadrant of the Naval Air Facility, which was on Naha Air Force Base, and the area we guarded was on a small island (Senaga Shima... you can find it on Google Earth), off the SE corner of the airstrip. The only access to the island was via one of two causeways across the tidal flats. Because of the nature of the weapons we were guarding, (Nukes?), the area around the magazines (think 'Storage Wars'... low building, with roll-up garage doors along one side) had some serious lightning protection. There were six or eight vertical columns, made of steel pipe, inside the compound. These things were easily fifty or sixty feet tall, smooth, no ladder rungs, no nothin'... just well casing pipe, welded together and set in concrete, and other than our guard tower, the AUW shop (Atomic Underwater Weapons... first clue we might be guarding nukes), and the magazine, there was nothing else inside that compound, and certainly no ladders taller than a step ladder on the little island.
I was out checking posts one fine day, and happened to look up... there, just a few feet from the top of one of these monster 'lightning arrestors' was a Coke bottle... tied to the arrestor with a rope and a hangman's noose. Since it was highly unlikely that the Squids that worked in the AUW shop would have done anything that required leaving their air-conditioning and breaking a sweat, it was a near certainty that one of our guys was involved.
Since this little 'joke' didn't affect security, there was really no reason to get the Guard Chief, the Guard Officer, or the Barracks CO involved... and the bottle continued to hang there... in fact, for quite a few months... it was still there when I left in 1962 for DI school at MCRD SD.
Not being members of the 3rdMarDiv, we were transported on the Navy's dime, which meant that instead of a two week trip aboard ship with a replacement draft, we got to fly back to CONUS at the end of our tour... and usually, the off-duty Sgt of the Guard would drive the guy with orders up to Kadena's passenger terminal. It fell my lot to see Charley off... and on the way up the island in a gray USN '58 Chevy pickup, I told him... "Teeples... I KNOW you KNOW how that d-mn Coke bottle got up there! So, what's the story?" Sez he, "pretty simple, D-ck (I allowed that untoward familiarity, even though it was Pfc to Cpl)... "I took off my boots and socks, used a piece of rope like a climbing belt, and climbed up there... no problem."
Charley also seemed to have a little more money than most of his peers... and he had a Moped... probably all of 50CC... but it was enough. Girl friends were easy enough to find, but 'round-eyed' girl friends were another story. Charley had one... and would haul her around on his moped in Naha. She was also married to an Army SSGT (or so he claimed), and she worked as a waitress in a coffee shop on the second floor of a commercial building on Kokusai Hon Dori (think that means "Main Street"). This was one a'them intellectual coffee places... fifty cents a cup, and they played American records... e.g., Kingston Trio.
It was popular with Okinawan businessmen, especially since the waitress were mostly 'exotic'... meaning round-eyes with big b-obs who would do 'the bunny dip'... and Charley's GF collected more tips than any of her co-workers, likely due to her mammary endowments.
Who knows... Charley may live just down the road from Grit's establishment? I think he was from OKC... (For the younger set... 'the bunny dip' was the way waitresses in Playboy clubs would sort of bend at the knee, almost a squat, rather than bend over to serve yer sarsaparilla... or so I've heard...)
Barry J. Smith, VietNam '66-'67, reported for duty on Dec 20, 2012, to guard the gates for those who will join him in the future.
Barry started the reunion's for Fox 2/7 in 1999. He started with a handful of Fox Co Marines and now has over 500 that he contacted to join a family. Our next reunion will be in Charleston, SC from July 21 - 26, 2013. He may have left us but he has touched so many lives and he will not be forgotten. May Barry J. Smith always be remembered for his sharing, giving to others and his love for the Corps. May God Bless Barry J. Smith.
Bob Fitch VN '65-'66
It is with a sad heart that I must report on December 18th, 2012, the change of duty stations of Perry E. "Monk" Wallace, 'Nam Vet and great friend and co-worker at the Middletown Fire Dept. My friend and brother Marine is now guarding the streets of heaven.
S/Sgt. of Marines ---3531
1963 â€“ 1972
Lost & Found
I would like to know if any fellow Marines have contacted you about anyone serving back in 1975 in a special operations called Frequent Wind?
Semper Fi Sgt Grit,
I am L/Cpl Ronald Walden, I served in Vietnam from 1967 - 1968 and a part of '69. I was an amphibious vehicle operator. I have been searching high and low for a Gunny named Charly Beal. Would you please put this ad in your weekly paper?
Gunny Beal was like a father to us 18 and 19 year old kids. He protected us like we was his kids. I would sure like to have Gunny call me. He was a very special Marine.
Served '64-'68. Two tours in the Nam, first with 3rd Shore Party Bn. at DaNang, 2nd with MACS-4 on Monkey Mountain! On the Island Aug 27 to Nov 12, 2nd Bn. Plt 278. I Can remember Senior D.I. Sgt Mitchell, Sgt. Gagnon and Cpl Bailey. Cannot remember the name of the other Drill Instructor.
Would like to communicate with anyone that shared that 2nd floor barracks, or Nam dirt to just share old times and maybe get my memory jogged a little!
SEMPER FI, til I die!
"I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious."
--Thomas Jefferson, 1824
"Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience."
--George Washington, The Rules of Civility, 1748
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
--C. S. Lewis
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined."
--Patrick Henry, 1788
"You are part of the world's most feared and trusted force. Engage your brain before you engage your weapon."
"Marines don't know how to spell the word defeat."
"A country that armed Stalin to defeat Hitler can certainly work alongside enemies of al-Qaida to defeat al-Qaida."