Sgt Grit Newsletter - 11 JUL 2013

In this issue:
• Declaration of Desertion
• Gum Disease
• Combat Action Ribbon

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The 5 Lous


Attached is a picture of the 1/1 81's forward observer radio operator re-couping at Phu Bai after TET. The world famous 5 Lou's, from left to right:

Mark Anderson - AKA "Big Lou" - Chicago.
Bruce Coe - AKA "Lou" - Elmirya, NY (Deceased).
Ron Meyers - AKA "Little Lou", AKA "Superman".
Bill Guntor - AKA "Medium Lou", AKA "The Derilict" - Central Mass.
Tom Waltz - AKA "Squog", AKA "Lou" - NH.

Declaration of Desertion

HQ 3rd RTBn

Dear Sgt. Grit,

Saw the story about the lad who was arrested for "being AWOL at Sea..." Marines can and do fall between the cracks.

I had graduated from MCRD in August of 1968, but a paperwork snarl kept me at Graduate Casual for three months instead of going onto ITR immediately. First thing the following morning a Corporal approached me at 3rd Bn. HQ and advised me that I was on the morning report as UA...

I looked and saw that while the last name was the same, I was J.F. Owings and the lad reported UA was C.A. Owings. The Corporal took note. Weeks later the Battalion Adjutant tried to get Depot to cut me a check... they did... in the name of C.A. Owings.

I was in Graduate Casual for three months before being sent to ITR. A few weeks before the paperwork unsnarled I was called into the Battalion Commander's office. He and the Adjutant had been talking... They asked me if I was related to C.A. Owings... Not that I knew about...

Turns out that the day before he went on report he had been hit by a truck. He was immediately taken to sick bay and from there sent to the Naval Hospital in San Diego. Somehow nobody notified his superiors. For weeks he was in a coma. At ten days missing the Battalion had sent his folks a Ten Day Letter... at 30 days they were mailed a copy of a declaration of desertion... and just now Battalion had learned that Private Owings was not a deserter, but had been in military "custody" the entire time.

His folks lived in Oklahoma City, so someone from the Officer Selection Team there went out to have a talk with his parents. The Marine Corps decided to try to make it up to his folks. After graduation and ITR, he would not be sent to FMF PAC but to Sea School.

James F. Owings
0311 1968-70

A Sergeant We Nicknamed Bulldog

I've enjoyed the articles in the newsletter for the past several years, and finally decided to submit a couple of Novocaine stories. When I was stationed at Camp Lejeune, I lost a filling on the side of one of my molars. When I went to Dental to get a new filling, the Navy dentist gave me a shot of Novocaine, and after just a few seconds, asked if I still felt anything. I said yes, and before I could explain it needed a little more time to kick in, he gave me another dose (I didn't even want any in the first place). He was being very cautious, since his predecessor apparently had a bad rep. By the time he finished, the whole side of my head was numb. I had to hold my lips closed with my fingers to rinse my mouth so as to not drench myself. It took hours for the numbness to clear.

My experience was mild compared to a Sergeant we nicknamed "Bulldog" (he sort of looked like one). He was a heck of a nice guy, but was one of those poor souls that had all of the crazy things happen. When he came back from Dental, he had trouble speaking, and his cigarette kept falling from his lips. His worst experience, however, happened during a field exercise, when he discovered a tick embedded in a very sensitive part of his anatomy. When he went to sick bay, the Corpsmen decided it would be best to give him a shot of Novocaine before trying to extricate the tick. He said when the needle went in, just his heels and the back of his head were touching the table. The procedure was successful, but for some time afterwards, he was known as Sgt. Numbnuts.

I'll probably have another Bulldog story in a future newsletter. And, Bulldog, if you read this, it sure would be great to hear from you and others.

Semper Fi,
Ron Goodrich
Sgt., '68-'72

Gum Disease


This was my first exposure to Navy dentists, in boot camp, September 1972. We were still being "introduced" to the Marine Basic way of life (haircuts, shots, dental exam, etc.). We were in line waiting for our time to see the dentist. The Private who was in line about three people in front of me had been in the dentist's office for a bit longer than anyone before him. When he came out, he had a mouth full of bloody cotton, and a small pad and pencil in his hand. His face was swollen to about twice the size that it was when he went in there. I asked him what happened to him and he wrote that they had taken out all of his teeth! When I asked why, he wrote that they told him that he had a "gum disease" and that his teeth would all fall out during his four year hitch anyway. So, they just took them all right away to save time and money. He was only 19 years old!

When I went in and sat in the chair, they did a quick examination and told me that I had this same gum disease, and they were going to pull all of my teeth too! I promptly informed them that they were NOT going to pull all of my teeth! They then brought in a Captain who told me that I had no choice in the matter. I told him that they better call in reinforcements, because I was about to prove to him that I did have choice. At that point they tried to tell me that, if I refused the treatment then, that I would never get any further dental benefits for my entire time in the Corps. I said that, if that was their idea of "treatment", then I did not want it anyway. I was then told that I would have to report directly to my Battalion Commander to inform him that I was refusing treatment.

So, my DI escorted me to the Battalion Commander's office where I presented myself properly before his desk. When he asked why I was refusing treatment, and I explained it to him, he told me that I had made a good decision. He then told my DI to take me back to my platoon, and informed me that I would still have full dental benefits during my time in the Corps. As my DI and I were leaving his building, he was putting on his cover and heading towards the dental facility at almost a dead run!

I don't know what the end result of that was. But, I do know that no one else had all of their teeth taken out. At least no one from our platoon, or anyone I saw in our series.

Phil "Akabu" Coffman
Sgt '72 - '82

Combat Action Ribbon

In regards to the question about the CAR... it's one of the pickiest regs I've ever seen... taking fire or incoming won't get it unless you can document a specific amount of time in direct combat... tough to do unless you can remember specific dates and get official copies of unit diaries and file for a DD215 correcting the record. The last time I helped someone do it, it took 18 months and lots of postage. On the other hand, 'Nam Vets do need to look into the revised criteria (circa 1972) for the award of the Vietnamese Civil Actions Medal and the Vietnam Gallantry Cross to ALL U.S. service members who were in-country. The VGC is drop-dead gorgeous.

Sneaky Pete Dahlstrom

Cpl Kobza wanted to know how to get medals he was supposed to get. In this case, it is a Combat Action Ribbon. I, too, had difficulty with medals after I returned from Viet Nam. I tried going through channels, all to no avail. Finally, I contacted Senator Stennis' office and had several sets arriving at every Navy/Marine Corps facility in the state in short order. If his Senator knows how to use power, he can get them. Stennis did.

Robert E. Hays
HM-2 D 1/4 3rd MarDiv '68-'69

In reply to Cpl. Kobza: to qualify in the Marine Corps for the CAR you have to have taken and returned fire, i.e. been in a firefight. If this is the case and he can demonstrate it to the Navy/ Marine Corps records center with supporting documentation (statement from his superior, press releases, daily log, etc.) with a request to revise his DD-214. It takes about a year. In addition, he can enlist the aid of his U.S. Senator or Congressman to make sure his request is expedited.

Semper Fi,
J Kanavy 0311/0231
'66-'68, RVN 1st Marines

To Cpl T.J. Koza and any others in regards to the Combat Action Ribbon.

I enrolled in the VA health care system in March 2006. The County Service Officer opened my DD214 and he looked me straight in the eye... from there it was all over. As he was filling the paper work out he commented on I did not have a Combat Action Ribbon "CAR"... I had no clue what it was. The Service Officer copied a rep from the American legion to assist me in this.

Enrolling in the clinic there was another person that made reference to the lack of the ribbon. This person also asked if I was a "River rat". He noticed I had ringing in the ears and thought it was from the boat motors. I questioned him in regards to that comment, and he said I see you were Navy. With that the veins in my neck began to tighten and protrude, "pop out". "Navy!" I said. "Corpsman"... Combat, I served proudly with a Marine Grunt Battalion. He walked away. I don't think he understood.

Six months later I finally contacted the American Legion Service Officer who had my case. He said I would have to contact the Marines in regards to the "CAR". Again the veins protruded. With that, someone suggested filling out a form SF 180 to send in the request. I had also obtained my personnel and medical records. Listed were my Ops in '67 -'68 serving as a FMF 8404 Combat Navy Hospital Corpsman assigned to the 3rd Mar Div. Eight months in the field with 2/4 and Amtracs. Then served at the 3rd Med Batt, Phu Bai,TET Offensive.

I waited another 6 months, over a year now, for the "CAR". I was bound and determined to receive. Finally someone at the clinic suggested contacting my Congressman. His office is nearby and a Great Rep for Veterans. Within 10 days I had in the mail all my ribbons and a new DD215 corrected.

So Cpl, "Contact your state Reps for aid and assistance. You truly deserve it."

P.S. April of '67, 5 weeks after we arrived in Country, we set foot on land. The red clay muck mud. A fellow "FMF Navy Corpsman" assigned to H&S Co 3/3 sacrificed his life while trying to treat his wounded Marines.

Semper Fi,
Frank Morelli "Doc"

How Things Have Changed

1. Duck Walking during my boot camp at Parris Island always involved the use of one's personal footlocker.

2. In 1962, before shipping out to the 3rd Tank Battalion on Okinawa, I was in B company, 1st Tank Battalion at Los Pulgas, Camp Pendleton. We were called to Company formation and a dishonorable ex-Marine from our company was brought out in front of us. He was dressed in bright colored clothing and the colors clashed badly. An officer read the charges (I can only assume now he had been court-martialed) against him. When the officer finished, he had us all do an about-face and then he asked the "Gunny" to escort the man to the front gate. It's been over 50 years, but I think I remember hearing the sound of a snare drummer but don't remember ever seeing him.

After we were dismissed, I remember talking with other Marines who witnessed this event and based on the charges, the man in question got what he deserved. However, recently what he did has become totally acceptable to the government and the ranking military individuals who have passed laws that make it so. How things have changed. I'm glad to have served when I did.

Annin, GB
Cpl E-4, '61 - '65

Thump Call

Interesting to read of some of various "motivational" tools utilized by our Drill Instructors... duck walk, holding your M-14 in outstretched arms for periods of time, "get down and give me a hundred!", etc. I went through Parris Island February through April, 1962. Third Battalion (Disneyland), Platoon 311. I was generally a pretty squared away recruit and really enjoyed the challenges we all were confronted with. Kept my nose clean with the exception of one incident which I'll never forget.

Must have been around week 10 or 11 and we were lined up (azshole to bellybutton!) about to enter another class on History & Tradition. While waiting to have the column begin to move forward I mumbled something to the guy in front of me, and of course who is standing just to my right side but Senior DI, SSgt J.W. Lawrence. "Honan, shut the f-ck up! Tonight. Thump call. Be there!" Thump call, at least in our platoon, was a time following evening mess, cleaning rifles, showers, and the singing of all 3 verses of the Marine Corps Hymn when the duty DI would call out "Thump Call!" Anyone who throughout the day had screwed up and was told to report for Thump Call would run up to the DI's hatch and stand at attention. The duty DI (Sgt J.F. Farrell, that night) would then ask each recruit what their violation had been. He would then administer an appropriate punishment... push-ups, duck walks, etc. When it came to my turn and I told Sgt Farrell I was talking in formation he turned and went into his room and came out with a small bottle in his hand. Out of the corner of my eye I recognized it as tabasco sauce. He said, "Put your head back! All the way back and don't swallow until I tell you to!" He then proceeded to empty that bottle of tabasco sauce, shaking it, into my mouth until it was slowly dripping out of both sides of my mouth. "OK, now swallow and get out of my sight!" Needless to say I spent an uncomfortable night in my rack to say nothing of head call for a couple of days!

Cpl Bill Honan 200xxxx
Charlie 1/5
Golf 2/3

Permanent Latrine Orderly

Sgt Grit,

I remember duck walking and quacking with the rest of my platoon - 367 in 1963 - one DI was more sadistic than the others! I felt that they put heads together to decide how to play us each day, and rotate the "Bad Asz Routine?"

One of them let us read the comics on Sunday - and the other 2 would kick some asz if we looked at them the next week?

One guy had trouble reading at all - so his job was looking at the pictures and the DI would make him cut out an article and eat the it?

One guy would have a poor memory and the DI made him the "REMEMBERER!" If he forgot something he was asked about - he would catch a load of sh-t later on. We had a guy who reminded me of the Movie "No Time For Sergeants" - he would have made the Andy Griffith character a dead ringer with the scene for the PLO - Permanent Latrine Orderly.

Best one was when I had a month left and went for a physical and a dental check. Medical was okay but dental was shaky? The Naval Dentist said that my wisdom teeth would have to come out as they were getting very bad, and after I got out it would be very costly to have civilian dentist treat me? Had 4 teeth pulled 2 weeks apart, and the last month had light duty - no lifting at all! P-ssed off my crew I worked with as I worked in a warehouse doing a lot of lifting... last month I only lifted drinks at the NCO CLUB!

Still in touch with a few from the Old Corps!

A good year to the Old and New Corps members and their families!

Semper Fi
Bruce Bender
1963-1967 ( CPL).

P.S. Was a Cold War Marine - saw no combat - only got a Good Conduct Medal and a Cold War Certificate... do not know what else I am entitled too!

Would have gone wherever they sent me as I had an open contract to be owned by the Corps, and was proud of it!

Most Made It Out

Sgt. Grit,

This is another report about 'Duck Walking' which was brought up by PFC Larry Lovett in the letters I have just read. I started my career in the Marine Corps in Plt 18 of 1948 at P.I. Our senior D.I. was a TSgt A.A.C:_. He was often rather hard to understand because when he hollered commands he lost his voice - and it is somewhat difficult to understand someone who didn't seem to be saying anything. (When we finally made it to graduation the junior D.I. told us that he had been shot through the throat in WW11 and his voice box was messed up.) Anyway, he had a very mean streak that often got the best of him - and he developed an obvious dislike for one particular member of the platoon.

This fellow was from Baltimore, MD, and was more than a little bit overweight. But you know what they say from the beginning - "If you are a little underweight they will fatten you up; and if you are a little overweight they will trim you down". This man was about 30 to 40 pounds overweight, and the Gunny found out that he could not 'Duck Walk'. With the slightest provocation he would order this man to hold his rifle over his head and 'Duck Walk' around the squadbay. He would try to comply but after about ten steps he would collapse, out cold. Then the D.I. would accuse him of treating his rifle badly. He would have someone throw a pail of cold water on him to get him back up, and his abuse would continue. This would go on and on maybe ten or twelve times in a row before he would let up. This man would try his best but simply could not satisfy the Gunny. He made it to graduation and departed on leave, but he never did get back to Baltimore. His family owned a large trucking company and kept trying to find out what happened to Herman C:__. He had gone to some remote spot and committed suicide.

Incidentally, this same D.I. often had us out in the same body of water that got another D.I. in trouble several years later. It was a part of the usual routine in that era - but most made it out.

MGySgt Harold T. Freas, Sr.

My Houtch

Top Bowers Room

Top Bowers Houtch

Sergeant Grit,

I am an old Nam Vet myself. I retired after 30 years as a Master Sergeant. I have purchased so many items from you over the past few years. My wife is used to seeing a package about twice a week from you. I have attached just a few of the flicks of my Houtch and my front Hatch. I know you will appreciate my taste in decorating my quarters. The flicks are a little fuzzy as my hands aren't as steady as they used to be when I shot Expert with the M14. One flick is my Rack another shows flicks of General Amos and SMMC Barrett. These were autographed along with their challenge coins. The other shows the large metal Emblem and Chevrons that you provided. The last one shows Gunnery Sergeant Ermey shouting out orders for PT. All your gear has made this old Marine Happy.

"Semper Fidelis"

Top Bowers

1st Radio Battalion Reunion

1st Rad Bn Group Photo

Marines from 1st Rad Bn

Hey Sgt Grit,

We had our 2013 USMC 1st Radio Battalion Reunion in Jacksonville, Florida, this past May... the economy stifled a bunch of our West Coast and Midwestern guys from joining us, but we gained a few more East Coasters, and a great time was had by all... former Sgt Lee Ahr and Linda Reinhart once again led the group by organizing this annual get-together, and their plans were excellent again.

We're shooting for Seattle in 2014; I'll keep your website posted.

Former SSgt R. J. Zike

The Corps Survived

The 1950's were indeed a time of change in the Corps. I believe it all started when McKeon (an ex-swabbie) as a DI marched his platoon into Ribbon Creek at P.I. I was a Cpl. (E-3) and was considering going to P.I. as a DI, after re-enlisting. Literally all hell broke loose in the Corps during McKeon's court martial. The Corps was really getting a lot of press. Besides newspapers, magazine articles, etc. Most of it negative. Congress was demanding changes also. In my opinion, the Corps responded to the pressure. They had to.

General Pate was 'appointed' Commandant, for two years, supposedly on a trial basis. Remember, Eisenhower was President. Though I have great respect for him, he truly didn't care for the Marine Corps. Anyway, in '58 I went on the field at Dago. After school I was assigned to the 1st Bn. My Company Commander was the CG's son. My first assignment was as a 'junior', and my senior was an ex-swabbie SSgt., who had been in the Corps two years. Why this happened I'll never know. Boot Camp had really changed. They had 'monitors', usually butter bars or Cpt's walking around watching platoons drill, etc. They carried clipboards and many times just wrote and disappeared. They usually suddenly showed up while we were on the field. Regarding my senior D.I., it was rumored that HQMC 'quietly recruited' these Navy instructors. Pate was a PC Commandant. Another practice that was instituted was that if a particular plt. got a rep., while on the drill field, a Major and aides would suddenly appear and order you to take the plt. to a classroom. The DI had to sit outside while the Major 'talked' to the screws.

Many times the results were a DI's relief. In fact, my senior turned me in to my CO, behind my back. Reason: his neck was on the line after a 'classroom'. I eventually told my side of the story to my CO, my defense being I was 'training' the plt. with methods my DI had used on me. Result; no defense!

Then came the rank structure change. I remember Master Sergeants being made Gunnery Sgts. They were angry. Morale suffered. I went to Sgt. (E-5), There was a temporary period before where we carried the rank of 'acting' Sgt. etc. They also came out with the 13-man squad drill. Talk about Hogan's Goat.

To verify more changes that happened, read the just released book "Underdogs". It is written by a LtCol who is a history instructor at Annapolis. Quite eye opening. Fortunately, General Shoup, MOH winner at Tarawa became CMC. One of the notable things he did was get rid of the 'swagger stick', and instituted the annual PT test. In my opinion, the Corps started coming back in many ways. The changes were positive.

Regarding General Pate. I personally received a ltr. of commendation from him. He was serving as CMC under a lot of pressure from Washington, and the Corps proudly survived. Pate, along with Chesty, actually had to testify at McKeon's court martial which received daily coverage in the press.

As I said, the Corps survived - again! I am confident it will for years to come. We are Marines!

Semper Fi
Bill Morenz '53-'63

Platoon Books

I have Platoon books that I have found and have bought. I collect them and give them back to who ever has lost theirs by flood, ex-wife, or fire. So far I have return 6 Platoon books to Marine and still have 138 Books left.

Please let tell your readers that read your Sgt.Grit newsletter online.

My email for them is marinecorps1955[at] I have information on our site about how to find there books. I would like to find them a home.

William E. Pilgrim Jr.
U.S.M.C. '72 TO '81

--7th Release--

The Parris Island, S.C. Books I have on hand are:

Platoon 3017 Jan. 8 1975 to March 25, 1975.

Platoon 311 Jan. 29, 1975 to April 16, 1975.

Platoon 114 Feb.4, 1975 to April 21, 1975.

Platoon 2015 Oct. 21, 1975 to Jan. 6, 1976.

Platoon 342 May 26, 1976 to August 9,1976.

The San Diego, C.A. books I have on hand are:

Platoon 1083 Aug. 6, 1974 to Oct. 23, 1974.

Platoon 1024 Feb. 26, 1974 to May 15, 1974.

Platoon 1028 March 7, 1975 to May 23, 1975.

Platoon 2126 Nov. 19, 1975 to Feb. 4, 1976.

Platoon 3128 Nov. 21, 1975 to Feb. 6, 1976.

Mr. Pilgrim has many more Platoon Books. We will list them in groups of (5) in each future newsletter until all have been listed.


Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #5, #9, (Sept., 2015)

Educational Edition: The origin of the term "AV-8-er".

This explains it all. Aviators come from a long line of a secret society, formed around one thousand years ago. They are warriors, and here is the proof. Ground pounders can read it and weep! A little known fact is the origin of the word "Aviator". In the immortal words of Johnny Carson: "I did not know that". Phu Khen (pronounced Foo Ken) 1169 (?) is considered by some to be the most under-recognized military officers in history. Many have never heard of his contributions to modern military warfare. The mission of this secret society is to bring honor to the name of Phu Khen. A "Khen" was a subordinate to a "Khan" (pronounced "konn") in the military structure of the Mongol hordes.

Khan is Turkish for leader. Most know of the great Genghis Khan, but little has been written of his chain of command. Khen is also of Turkish origin. Although there is not a word in English that adequately conveys the meaning. Roughly translated, it means, "One who will do the impossible while appearing unprepared and complaining constantly".

Phu Khen was one of ten Khens that headed the divisions, or Groups of hordes as they were known, of the Mongol Army serving under Genghis Khan. His abilities came to light during the Mongol's raids on the Turkistan City of Bohicaroo. Bohicans were fierce warriors and the city was well fortified. The entire city was protected by huge walls and the hordes were at a standoff with the Bohicans. Bohicaroo was well-stocked and it would be difficult to wait them out.

Genghis Kahn assembled his Khens and ordered each of them to develop a plan for penetrating the defense of Bohicaroo. Operation Achieve Victory (AV) was born. All 10 divisions submitted their plans. After reviewing AV plans 1 thru 7 and finding them unworkable or ridiculous, Genghis Khan was understandably upset. It was with much perspiration that Phu Khen submitted his idea, which came to be known as AV-8. Upon seeing AV-8, Genghis was convinced that was the perfect plan and gave his immediate approval. The plan was beautifully simple. Phu Khen would arm his hordes to the teeth, load them into catapults, and hurl them over the wall. The loses were expected to be high, but hey, hordes were cheap. Those that survived the flight would engage the enemy in combat. Those that did not, well, surely their flailing bodies would cause some damage.

The plan worked and the Bohicans were defeated. From that day on, whenever the Mongal Army encountered an insurmountable enemy, Genghis Khan would give the order, "Send some of the Phu Khen AV-8-ers". This is believed, though not by anyone outside our secret society, to be the true origin of the word Aviator (AV-8-er). Phu Khen's AV-8-ers were understandably a unruly mob, not likely to be socially acceptable. Many were heavy drinkers and insomniacs. But, when nothing else would do, you could always count on an AV-8-er. A Phu Khen Aviator. Denied, prose. As the great poet Norman Lear never once said: "There once was a man named Phu Khen, whose breakfast was whiskey and gin. When ever he'd fly, he'd give a mighty war cry: Bend over, here it comes again!"... Consider it an honor to be a Phu Khen Aviator. Wear the mantle proudly, but, speak of it cautiously. It is not always popular to be one of us. You hear mystical references, often hushed whispers, to those Phu Khen Aviators. Do not let these things bother you. As with any secret society, we go largely misunderstood, prohibited by our apathy from explaining ourselves. An AV-8-er's reputation is cultivated and has been undaunted by scorn and ridicule, plus undaunted by progress. So drink up, be crude, sleep late, urinate in public, and get the job done. When others are offended, you can revel in the knowledge that YOU are a PHU KHEN Aviator!

There is another famous Aviator named Phuc Dup, but, that's another story!

Old Corps

This is in response to letters I have just read in your newsletter.

Regarding six/seven digit serial/service numbers. I enlisted in 'the Old Corps' on 26Jan48 at Philadelphia, PA, and was the proud possessor of a six digit 'serial' number starting with a '6'. I happened to end up in the Disbursing Branch so I can tell you that the Marine Corps (and all military units) started to take an income tax deduction from military pay in 1954. I do not know when seven digit serial numbers started, but I seem to recall it was during the Korean War. Sometime later - after 1970 - all new recruits used their Social Security Numbers for military I.D. numbers. But, those in 'the Old Corps' continued to use their previously assigned serial/service numbers. (Maybe this is a good way to tell just who can consider themselves to be in 'the Old Corps'). This may have changed sometime later.

The Gunnery Sergeant that taught me how to fire an M-1 rifle at Parris Island was transferred to MCB, Camp Lejeune, NC in 1949 to try out for the 'All Marine' football team. (I suppose there are a few out there who never even heard of that.) It was originally intended that they would be on a par with the teams from the military academies. The Gunny made the team and it was pretty damned good team, too. But the idea was scrapped and it never really got off the ground.

Gunny Harbin had come to my office to settle his travel expense and I went to watch the tryouts. He asked me who that pretty lady was that was working in the travel office. I told him that she was a civilian employee, and former Woman Marine Sergeant. He asked if she was married. I told him she was not and told him to come by the office and I would introduce them. He did. They were married about three months later. The only accommodations for enlisted personnel at that time were '8x24' house trailers and they had a waiting list two years long. They were forced to live about 16 miles away when they were married.

Then there was a golf course planned for Paradise Point and a competition was set up to determine who would occupy the Golf Pro's home on the course. When Gunny Harbin was playing football he said he could not see a grown man with a brain chasing a tiny ball around a big field. But, he won the competition - and he had the best, by far, house on the base.

The Gunny had a six digit serial number starting with a '2'. He was a P.F.C. at Pearl Harbor on 7Dec41. He was involved with General MacArthur's return to the Philipines and he 'Island Hopped' back to Okinawa before World War II ended. He was wounded going into Iwo Jima and again while being evacuated. He ended his career of almost 40 years as Sergeant Major of all Marines in the Pacific theatre in 1976. He passed away in 1997 and is buried at the Punch Bowl at Pearl Harbor. His wife, Louise G. Harbin was listed in 'The Memorium' in Leatherneck a couple of months ago.

That's enough for this time.

MGySgt Harold T. Freas, Sr.
Platoon 18 of Jan 1948

Short Rounds

Grit - Good scuttlebut. To all Marines who may be having trouble with VA benefits, RUN, Do Not Walk to your nearest branch of the Disabled American Veterans. When it comes to circumventing the VA bullsh-t these guys work wonders. Tell them you need an advocate and you'll be amazed at what they can do for you. I sh-t you not.

Gerry Zanzalari
Corporal of Marines
1966 - 1970
RVN '68 – '69

I joined the Corps Mar '51 thru Jun '72 Regular Marines. I was given a seven digit (118xxxx) number.

MGYSGT H. P. Miller

In a recent newsletter, J.A. Howerton complained that he was not eligible for some of the Veteran Organizations, i.e. Legion, VFW... I suggest that he overlooked the most obvious group - our own Marine Corps League. There has got to be a detachment near enough to make attending meetings, etc. possible.

Semper Fi,
Bob Rader DeKalb County Marines (IL)


John Wayne was a true American and one hell of a human being. I have a son in the Marines now for nearly 20 years. He was one of my small bore rifle students in the NRA Junior program. He made it to getting a promotion during Marine Corps boot camp by tying the range record at Twenty Nine Palms with an M16, which he learned using an M1 Garand during our DCM shoots at the Marysville Rifle Club in NW Washington. Today he is a Major and stationed in Germany and giving counter terrorism classes to CIA and FBI persons. He has a Master's Degree in National Security Affairs.


Dear Sgt. Grit,

I always enjoy the newsletter and often read it my friends at work. (A couple Squids). We all get a charge with every newsletter. But, I gotta tell ya this last one was a great contribution to USMC legend! Thank you for all the laughs from everyone. From me... SEMPER FI My Brother!

Roger Serpette
Sgt. '70-'74

Sgt. Grit,

For anyone interested, we are approaching the 45th anniversary of the ONLY Marine Corps Officer to escape on his own as a Vietnam Prisoner of War (20-22 Aug 1968). Major Risner passed in 2005, but his story remains alive in "Year of the Monkey", available at A percentage from each book sold goes to the Wounded Warrior Project. Please email me a copy of your order/receipt so I can make the donation. I will also send you an autographed book plate.

Semper Fidelis
Gene Hays
MSgt, USMC Retired

"I was on Embassy Duty in the Garden of Eden!"

Semper Fi
Anthony 'Tony' Fisher
SSgt, USMC, Disabled

Sgt. Grit,

I went to another website and found the same information: This site is amazing. I rather believe that our comrades in arms would find this interesting as it deals with Iwo. I am so glad that I was wrong, and that Gunney F. L. Rousseau was right. I should keep in mind that the Gunnery Sergeants, First Sergeants (Master Sergeants) and the Sergeants Major (and not the least, Master Gunnery Sergeants) always have the straight scoop. That's how they got there! I apologize for my faux pas.

John Hodson
1st. Lt., USMC 1968-1972
Combat Engineer

Marine puts a stop to bank robbery.


"This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take. Neither aiming at originality of principle or sentiment, nor yet copied from any particular and previous writing, it was intended to be an expression of the American mind, and to give to that expression the proper tone and spirit called for by the occasion."
--Thomas Jefferson, 1825

"A Marine will dive into the Jaws of Death and bring back the Jaw Bone."
(WWII era Comedian whose Brother was a Marine)

"He shows the Resolute countenence of a Marine who just went through Hell and has lit his cigarette on the tines of the Devil's pitchfork."
(A Marine Serving in Iraq or Afghanistan)

"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence; true friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks and adversity before it is entitled to the appellation."
--George Washington, 1783

"We Marines are Truely Blessed. We get to enjoy the Sweet Taste of Freedom because we know its Price."
(Marine Veteran, John Chipura, Survivor of the 1983 Beirut Bombing. He became a New York Fireman who wrote the above for the 225 Birthday of the Marine Corps. He was killed September 11 at the World Trade Center.)

"The first day I was at Camp, I was afraid I was going to Die! The next two weeks, my sole fear was that I wasn't going to Die! After that I knew I'd never die because I became so hard that nothing could Kill Me!"
(World War I Recruits Bootcamp Comment)

"Keep Your Powder Dry."

"Gimme a huss!"

"Rise and shine, it's Grunt time." But, that was then and I have no idea what it is now. Try the "Rise and Shine" or how about "Rise and Shine, It's Grunt reading time?"

"Keep your interval!"

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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Oklahoma City, OK 73179
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