This is a picture of my son Brian at the recent USMC 238th Birthday Ball. He is stationed at Camp Pendleton.
Is this a good looking Marine or what?
The Heat, The Cold, The Courage
In 1952, I was slated to leave Korea as my 13 months were almost up. To make it easier we were assigned either MP Duty or Duty as Firemen somewhere in rear areas. I was assigned as Fireman in Masan, Korea. I look at the fire trucks now and think of my 30 days as a fireman riding the back of a 6X converted to a Fire Truck with platform and rails on the back to carry all firemen to the Fire. We were sent to fires in the ville also, and watching the THEN Korean Firemen I remembered my DI talking about being as screwed up as a Chinese Fire Drill. The Korean Fire Department THEN, had to find a well closest to the fire, at that time a Fireman would grab a hose and somehow dive off the truck with a pad of sorts, after rolling, he would get up, drop the hose in a well he had pulled the cover off of. Fires at houses where the Kimchi pots were buried in the back yard was always delightful for the tender noses of the Americans.
But not all was riding a Fire Truck and putting out small fires. First, one must understand that there were thousands of displaced people in south Korea and not enough housing or government help, so, as people do, they built cardboard homes and usually tucked them alongside a building that allowed it.
We were called out to a fire on the docks, there at the docks the tree cutters would haul the trees they had cut somewhere and stack them on the docks at Masan. Somehow the fires got started and many, many fires were going, wind whipping the fires along the docks and cardboard homes next to the docks. I got off the truck and started pushing the burning wood piles into the water. Of course the owners of the wood piles were doing all they could to prevent me from pushing the piles into the water. Finally I had the help of someone driving a 6X who helped me push wood piles into the water while the other firemen (and there weren't many) went to work putting out the other fires, helping people, and trying to find a warm place other than the burning docks. If you have never been to Korea, you don't know cold. It has been my feeling ever since I left there in 1952. We knocked down doors of Gov't buildings to find room, and I believe the Marine Base at Masan gave some assistance. The heat, the cold, and the courage of the Korean people have stayed with me all these years.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
The Most Famous Coast Guardsman
Hey Sgt Grit,
How's this for a coincidence. September 27, 1942, Guadalcanal. During the second battle of the Matanikau, 1st Bn, 7th Marines were landed and almost immediately, were pinned down and being raked by Japanese machine guns. The order came to withdraw the troops and a young Seaman First Class named Douglas Munro, U.S. Coast Guard volunteered to lead the landing craft to go in and retrieve the Marines. Dozens of the Marines were in the water and many were being killed. Munro sent the other boats ahead to get the Marines, then placed his boat between the Japanese gunners and the Marines. As they were nearly finished, Munro was killed by enemy fire. His final words were, "Did the boys make it?" Every year on the anniversary of his death, Seaman First Class Munro is remembered in a large ceremony. The most famous Coast Guardsman, their only Medal of Honor recipient, had saved the lives of 500 Marines who, incidentally, were commanded by LtCol Lewis Puller. He is buried in a beautiful memorial part of the cemetery in Cle Elum, WA. The Coast Guard recently announced that their new Headquarters in Washington, D.C. will bear his name.
MSgt, USMC Ret.
A Marine's Story
The organization that I belong to, National Image, Inc., honors civilian and military men and women on active duty who have excelled in community service at our Military Awards banquet on a yearly basis. This year our conference was held in Baltimore, Maryland. The call went out to the Department of Defense to submit personnel to receive this award. I have been in contact with my platoon commander since the late 80's even though we had served in the Republic of Vietnam in 1966-67. I knew that he had been involved in community service in Philadelphia where he resides and asked him to meet me just to say hello and talk about our experiences. It was a complete surprise for him!
Attached is a photo of the group that received the awards.
Lt. James J. Kirschke was our 81's platoon commander with 3/5 and later the rifle platoon commander with 2/5 in 1966-67. He was critically wounded by a triple explosion of a box mine rigged to an anti-tank rocket round and a fragmentation grenade. He was medically retired as a Captain.
Dr. Kirschke is the author of A Marine's Story, Not Going Home Alone and is currently a professor of English at Villanova. He has been and continues to be a great advisor to the men who served with him and continues to stay in communication.
Lorenzo Maya Jr.
Young Maggot Life
I arrived at the yellow footprints on a muggy July morning. Nothing could describe the journey I was about to embark on.
The first day, was something hard to explain. Your whole life was turned upside down, by three drill instructors. Gunny Forgach, Staff Sgt Vaughan, Sgt Sapp - I hope I spelled their names correctly. It's been a few years. But will never forget The outstanding job they did.
It was like going to a comedy club, and you were the act. You thought it was funny, but you wouldn't dare laugh. Nothing you could do or say was correct. But that is the beauty of the system. Not to say the "fear factor wasn't in effect".
Each day and week was the greatest adventure of your young maggot life. They meaning the drill instructors would revel in the task of breaking us down, then building us up.
The stories of our drill instructors have been etched into our minds forever, just like their drill instructors left for them to embellish. No words can explain the true meaning of what boot camp was like. But to me it meant I was now a U.S. Marine, following in the footsteps of all my brothers before me and to come.
I guess that's why they say (Get on the footprints) you were going somewhere and it was no longer your decision.
In closing, I hope I have stirred up some thoughts.
"Assume the dead bug position", "ready fall", "get down and get up", "Get your little red books out and put it up to your face", "I can't hear you", "Get your footlockers over your heads".
The Utmost Respect
While vacationing in Georgia, I was met by two gentlemen who approached me in a supermarket parking lot with a handshake and a "Semper Fi". Thanks to my Sgt Grit license plate frame. One gentleman stated he was a combat Corpsman and loved serving with Marines, and retired with the rank of Admiral. The other individual stated he retired with the rank of General. I stated it was the first I ever talked to a Navy Admiral and a Marine general at the same time given that I was a Lance Corporal during my enlistment. Both gentlemen stated they had the utmost respect and admiration for the enlisted Marine and Navy personnel they commanded and served with during their respective careers.
Cold War Medal
I joined the Marine Corps in 1957 and was honorably discharged in 1963. While on active duty I was trained by and served with veterans of World War II and the Korean War. I was confident then and now that the Marines of my era could respond to any hostile event or action taken by The Soviet blog or Chinese Communist during that period with the same level of courage and professionalism as any other era in Corps history.
I personally don't care about any medals, but I understand that other Marine veterans of that era may want a symbol of recognition for their service. I don't need a medal to reinforce my pride to have served honorably in the United States Marine Corps.
Treated Like Royalty
In July 1970 on my homeward bound travel from Viet Nam, I was bumped from my flight in Albuquerque, only 1-hour away from my destination in Amarillo. Nothing I could do about it, so I slept on a bench in the main lobby of the terminal. Unknown to me, a ticket agent was aware of my situation and at about 0600 the next day, I was awakened by a smiling flight attendant who said, "Marine would you like a ride home?" Well of course I said yes. She escorted me to an airplane, introduced me to the crew and away we went. The flight was completely empty because the plane was headed somewhere east for a charter flight. I was served breakfast and treated like royalty. The Captain informed me my ride was free and that he was going to make an unscheduled stop in Amarillo to let me off. The plane landed, I was home again.
Today, I live in Albuquerque and every time I go to the main airport terminal I see those huge log beams on the ceiling I stared at that night. I was bumped and reflect on that time in my life. I will remain forever grateful to that crew of Continental Airlines and the ticket agent who told my story to the flight crew.
I was in Platoon 396 at MCRD SD Christmas, 1961. We marched to the mess hall for Christmas Dinner. After chow we received a cellophane packet (1each) of hard candy and peanuts. We were ordered not to open the packets. After marching back to our area the packets were turned in to our Drill Instructor. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
I only went home on Christmas leave one time during my enlistment. It was 50 years ago in 1963. I was stationed at MCRD San Diego, attending Basic Electronics School. Since the course just happened to end just before Christmas and Radar Fundamentals class didn't start until right after 1 Jan 1964, we were given leave over the Christmas holiday.
As usual, I was short on money so flying was out of the question. Having had the round trip bus experience on boot leave and since one of the guys in the class was going to the Chicago area over the Holidays to pick up his wife, his baby and his car, I opted for the train home, and worked a deal with him for a ride back.
I had traveled by train a couple of times, a year and a half earlier, when my buddy and I went from Decatur, IL to St. Louis for our pre-induction physicals, so I kinda knew what to expect or so I thought. The leg from San Diego to L.A. was okay but from L.A. to Chicago the accommodations were less than A-1. Much less. They must have put on more cars just for military personnel taking Christmas leave and reactivated them from wherever old passenger cars go to die. I swear I was in third class in a car straight out of the 1920s. There were hard bench seats and no comfortable place to sleep other than a padded bench in the head. What the hey, I was a 19 year old Marine. This train trip wasn't squat compared to boot camp.
It came time to go back and my folks drove me down to the agreed upon meeting place where I jumped in the car with my buddy and his family. The trunk and back seat was packed with all his plunder (I think) with just enough room in the back seat for one person. (Me when I wasn't driving.) He and I shared driving duties while his wife took care of the baby.
The car was a 1955 Chevy with a busted fuel gauge. No problem. He knew approximately what mileage he got with the car so we just calculated how far we could go on a tank and kept an eye on the odometer. That is until the speedometer cable broke somewhere southwest of St. Louis. Not even a quarter of the way there and the only way we had of keeping track of the gas in the tank was by guess and by golly. We pulled into Oklahoma City about 0200 and that's where the fuel pump decided to take a dump. Somehow we managed to find a place that could fix it in the middle of the night. We managed to scrape up enough to pay for the repairs and it wasn't long before we were back on the road. Except for splitting the seat of my trousers somewhere in the mountains of Arizona, the rest of the trip was pretty much a blur of driving, riding and trying to nap. We pulled into San Diego early in the morning of the day before we had to report back in.
I don't remember the name of the guy I rode back with (or anyone else in that class) but I recall his face and I've included a picture of him cropped from our class picture. If anyone recognizes him, please contact me -- LAAM_Marine(at)Yahoo.com
In 1971 after doing a float to several places including Nam we were back at Okinawa and off loaded. It just so happened that Bob Hope and the USO show he always had overseas for many years was at Okinawa. After offloading and getting all squared away we were offered the chance to go to the Bob Hope USO show. Most jumped at the chance and loaded up to go. Bob Hope was the absolute best putting on the USO shows. He had the best bands, the best individual singers, the funniest people and the best women on his show. He himself was in my opinion the funniest person I had ever heard or seen. He was always good at making fun of himself as well as the higher ups in the military. He did his bits on Nam as well. I was also waiting to go back to the world. I was waiting for my date and time to jump the freedom bird and get home. It was one of the best Christmases I have ever had.
I think of this every year as Christmas comes around. Bob is gone now and I like to believe he was welcomed with an honor guard of U.S. Marines as he reported at the Pearly Gates and escorted in. He did a lot for all of the troops no matter what branch, but I feel he had a soft spot for the Marines. He truly gave of himself and gave to the troops to help make Christmas in hard places the best he could for the troops. He is one man who gave of himself to help make life a bit better for a short period of time for those who would not be home for Christmas. I spent two Christmases overseas away from home. I was blessed to see Bob Hope one time in 1971. This as I said was the best Christmas in so many ways that I have ever had, and it will always be remembered each Christmas with a smile on my face.
To all the men and women serving in all branches of the United States Military, but especially to all those men and women in the United States Marine Corps, I hope you are all blessed with the best possible Christmas wherever you may be serving. Stay safe keep your head down and hopefully come home in one piece. My family and I will remember all of you in our prayers and your families as well. I know how hard is to be far away at this time of year. I know the desire to be home with friends and family. Due to the sacrifice you are giving for your Country we are all safe and able to have a good Christmas in freedom and peace at home. Thank all of you who have and who are serving. Thank you for your sacrifices. Thank you for your families sacrifices. When you are transferred back to the world hopefully all of us will take a moment to thank you in person, and to say Welcome Home Brothers and Sisters. May the good Lord bless you and your families, and bring ya'll home safe and sound.
SSgt Joseph E. Whimple
U.S.M.C. 2-70 / 12-76
Well Sgt Grit, I have spent several Christmases away from home starting 1959, however, for my time spent in the Corps, that was my home and I enjoyed, Japan, Okinawa, Laos, Vietnam during the Christmas seasons, and I had 6 of them overseas on the Pacific Rim. Christmas overseas meant, USO shows with top artist at the time, Good meals in the Mess Hall cooked by Marines and lots of suds. (beer, booze) and great friends.
The two pictures are of Christmas 1965 at DaNang Airfield with the 5th Comm Bn and a picture of me and Hank Starky with 2 beers issued to us for our pleasure. By the way... they were warm.
I really enjoy your articles from all the Marines.
MAHALO, Merry Christmas
1958 - 1969
Japan, Okinawa, Laos, The Nam
My High School buddy, Doug Hart, and I joined the Corps (Delayed Entry Program) in 1977. We spent our senior year together in High School Army ROTC and left for Recruit Training after graduation in 1978. I left on June 6th, but Doug didn't leave until after the 4th of July. His Mom wanted him home for as long as possible. We both went to MCRD San Diego for our transformations, but never ran across each other. We did manage to get together a few times in Okinawa in late 1979, early 1980, and then again at Camp Pendleton in late 1980.
Christmas 1980, Doug and I were talking about our upcoming holiday leaves and decided we'd drive home together in my car. It seemed like the cheapest way for two young, broke-d-ck Marines to get halfway across the country. When the day came, we left Camp Pendleton at 1700 hours and hooked it south towards San Diego. When we hit Interstate 8, we pointed my family station wagon (I bought it off my parents) east towards Texas.
We'd decided to do the trip Mario Andretti style. One would drive until we needed gas (which was pretty often since my car got cr-ppy mileage). When we'd hit an Exhaust Juice Station the driver would jump out and start pumping the old beast full of go juice. The passenger would dash into the station, hit the head, grab some snacks, and then pay out. During that process the driver would make a fast head call. After our pit stop we'd change places and burn rubber.
Most of the trip was done at a high rate of speed. We were both eager to get home and not waste too much time seeing the country. I was amazed we'd managed to get as far as we got before we saw our first cop. We were coming into Sweetwater, Texas where my Grandparents lived. I'd warned Doug to lay off the snacks before we got there because I knew my Grandmother would have a feast set up for her two young, hungry Marines. Sure enough I was right. The dining room table was full of food. So much so, that we ended up taking most of it with us (at her insistences).
As we approached Sweetwater, we left the main highway and came in on the old business route into town. I was driving. We'd kicked off the after burners, but hadn't applied our breaking mechanism yet. To say the least we were exceeding the posted speed limit. As we cruised closer to town we got nabbed by a cop with his radar gun.
When the cop approached, I knew I was a screwed pooch. He'd caught me red handed. He asked for my license which I handed over along with my Military ID Card. I was hoping for mercy. He asked us where we lived and where we're going. I explained our situation. I also pointed to my uniform, which was hanging on the hook on the driver's side passenger window which was right behind me. He paused for a few seconds, and then surprised me. He said we'd get by with a verbal warning. Then he detailed, almost street by street, when the speed limit changed. We'd dodged the bullet. We got off scot-free.
We traveled from Camp Pendleton, California to Wichita Falls, Texas. From my barracks parking lot to my parents driveway (including going by Doug's house to drop him off) was 1401 miles. We made the trip in 24 hours, which included a 4 hour stop to see my Grandparents. We ran at an average speed of 70 mph at a time when the maximum speed limit was 55. Ya gotta love those swoops home!
U Suckers Missed Christmas!
John H. Hardin
Christmas at MCRD Parris Island 1957
My platoon was on mess duty our last week on the island. I was assigned to the scullery where all the trays and other utensils were fed into the dishwasher. The DI's were fed family style by recruit waiters and as we were about to graduate, we were of course salty. When they cleared the tables there was always some pies and stuff untouched so they slid them into the scullery with the other stuff, well we weren't going to let them go to waste so we ate them, lots of them. At the end of the day it came to pass that the Duty Officer was checking on the mess hall and we were summoned into the eating area. We immediately assumed that they caught on to all the good food being passed to us and we were in for a good old fashioned azz chewing. Well the duty Lt had brought his little daughter with him and wanted to wish us a Merry Christmas and the tables were set with pies and ice cream, except for the scullery crew who were all stuffed with the uneaten DI goodies the rest all had a nice treat.
Platoon 284, 1957
I thought you might like the attached Christmas song. It seems appropriate for all us Gold Star mothers who lost our sons and daughters in recent years.
Album: Home For Christmas (1992)
Do you remember me
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you with childhood fantasies
Well I'm all grown-up now
And still need help somehow
I'm not a child
But my heart still can dream
So here's my lifelong wish
My grown-up Christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need
No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
Everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end
This is my grown-up Christmas list
As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something lovely
Wrapped beneath our tree
Well heaven surely knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal a hurting human soul
What is this illusion called
The innocence of youth
Maybe only in our blind belief
Can we ever find the truth
Merry Christmas from Mary Wyscarver
A Very Hard War
On June 16, 1965, Marines we hit the beach at DaNang. To my knowledge we were the only ones to use WW II landing craft. After being hit 4 times I got back to the States in the summer of '66. Yes, I have a Purple Heart and papers for the others that I never submitted... one was enough for me. I got out of the Marines in '67, and went in the USAF in '68 assigned to C-130 Aircraft... nothing unique yet right. But, in 1973 the US did operation homecoming for the POWs. We had 4 planes on Clark AFB - (2) 141's and (2) C-130's each went to Hanoi for the prisoners. The 141 as a hospital ship and the 130 to carry the Officers to inspect the last holding point of the POWs. I have a picture of the signing of the release of the POWs. The other C-130 went to DaNang to wait till we were all airborne then it took off for Clark. We traded spots for the next airlift, my C-130 went to DaNang to wait till the planes took off from Hanoi. So here it is, first Marine Regiment to land at DaNang and when my plane left DaNang AFB on the 2nd POW release I was on the last plane to leave DaNang... while we were there they took all remaining US Military out on a DC9 and when we took off there were no more US Service members there. Eight long years of a hard war. I have only shared this experience with a few friends, but being there for the end gave closure for my time in Viet Nam. Many Vets now still do not have that. It was a very HARD WAR. I hope in these words, that they help some to come to forget. God Bless our Service Men/Women.
USMC Vietnam '65-'66
WWII Marine And The Young Marine
Here is a picture of the oldest and youngest Marine at the 30th Annual Tom Grosvenor USMC Birthday Toys For Tots Breakfast in Fox Lake, IL at the VFW. The WWII Marine is 92 and the young Marine is 22.
Got the label "Hollywood Marine" but went through Parris Island with Plt. #462 in 1952.
Was busy trying to stay low key because I'd already gone through a quadruple amount of personal harassment, and me being a nice kid from a small town in PA. All of a sudden "COURTRIGHT" was barked out several times in a row. "Get your b-tt over here!" Went to the DI's hut and had to go through the BS to enter. DI said, "Were wanted at the Company HQ on the double." We entered the office and were met with a large assortment of NCOs and Officers. Then the "heated" interrogation began "Who the h-ll are you?" Pvt. Courtright sirs. "No, we mean are you the son of a high ranking Marine Corps officer, a son of a senator?" Questions seemed to be bark from everyone in the room at the same time. Me denying every one of their accusations. What a group of paranoid people.
Then it was explained to me that there was a group of people from Quantico at base HQ waiting to interview me. I was told in a not so pleasant way "If I reveal anything about anybody detrimental about my stay on Parris Island I would receive punishment no human being would want to go through." "Do you understand Boy?" "Yes Sirs."
I was ushered to Base HQ and met with a group of PR people who were assigned to write an article on "The Making of a Marine". As dumb as I was I could see trouble coming. I started blurting out names of guys in my platoon that were smarter, handsomer, better all around, etc. The lead spokesman said "No your name was randomly picked and you will be our assignment."
They followed me around for several days with their note pads and cameras. They made the DIs place me in the front ranks, chow line, best of everything. Every time the DI would mutter "You wait till they leave and then your asz is ours". Well it turned out I was not only harassed by the DIs but also by my fellow boots. Just when you get use to "H-ll" someone would turn up the heat.
Kennedy Funeral Detail
Your gifts plus my purchases for door prizes helped to make our Mini Reunion in Allen, TX very memorable. I made a display of your gifts, sign and catalogs. I hope the Marines who took home your catalogs will make a purchase.
We marked the 50th Anniversary of our participation in the Kennedy Funeral Detail.
Thanks again for your continued support of Marine events like this. You may have noticed the press coverage we received from the New York Times, Dallas Morning News, American Legion Magazine and the Allen Star Newspaper.
Again, thanks and Semper Fi!
Ed Mac McCloskey
8th&I Drill Team '62-'65
Esprit De Corps Thing
Good morning Sir,
My wife and I were returning from three weeks of visiting our family in Cali, Colombia. The visit was wonderful but at nearly 70 years old, the trip home was exhausting; changing planes, waiting for hours in airports for the next leg of the flight and my arthritis was screaming at me from all quarters.
We were bone tired standing at the back of a long line waiting to board the plane to Denver. I found little relief in leaning on my bamboo cane, but it did offer some relief. I tried to maintain patience as the little old lady at the head of the line was going through her large purse trying to find her boarding pass.
A young man in a suit with a breast tag identifying him as a United Airlines employee appeared suddenly at my side. "Are you a combat veteran?" he asked, "I saw your Marine tattoo on your arm."
"No, I'm not a combat veteran but, yes, sir, I served in the Marine Corps," I said.
"You and your wife step out of line and go to the front and board now."
"But I am not a combat veteran," I protested.
"I don't care. You served in the Marine Corps, didn't you?"
"Yes, sir, I did. Probably before you were born."
"Good enough. You and your wife go to the front of the line and board now. I don't care if you were in combat or not. You served. Once a Marine, always a Marine, right?"
I was so grateful to him. We went to the front and boarded. I was so grateful to that young man as I was so tired and hurting all over. In sitting there in the seat my Colombian wife of ten years whose command of English is still a bit weak, asked me, "What was that all about?" I attempted to explain about young men and women who have served in the Marine Corps is usually for a life-long enlistment. "You mean, if there is a major war, you will have to go?" She asked. "No, I won't, it's just that..." How the h-ll do you explain to someone what it means to be a former Marine. It all went over her head, as it usually does with those we have to try and explain the "Esprit de Corps thing" to.
But it is enough that I understand it. All of us who ever wore the EGA understand completely.
Marine Corps Humor
This week's most popular post on the Sgt Grit Facebook page featured an image of Marine Corps recuits posted in front of phones at MCRD San Diego. The text around the image reads "Marine Corps Humor, The Things That You Can Laugh About Now, That You Didn't Find All That Funny Back Then."
Below are some of the comments received in reference to this post.
Les Strickland - We did our phone call home on 1st night. Just to say we arrived. This was SD in Feb '89. One thing I will never forget is that we were all lined up and told to pick up the phone and start dialing as our time has started. Was about 10 seconds into it and then heard screaming to put the phones down. Apparently one guy was not calling. DI's asked why. He said he didn't have anybody to call. DI said you are not going to be different. And then told the guy he didn't care if he didn't have anybody to call, but he WOULD put the phone to his ear and push buttons for the entire duration of the call period! HA! HA!
Bob Marques - MCRD San Diego 1975. We got to send a post card home stating we had arrived and we were ok. Got to line up at a pay phone in 3rd phase because we did so well at the rifle range. Nobody was home. Phone just rang and rang for what seemed like forever . Oh well...
Dennis Sarge Thomas - In the early 70's we called home the second night. they gave us some leeway. We got 1 whole minute from the start of dialing until we hung up. LOL!
Michelle McBride - Argh when I called my mother and heard her voice for the last time for 3 months I could not choke back my tears.
Walter Flynn - We sent postcards home that we arrived safely. Only got a phone call home because we were there over Christmas '95, and then I got another phone call when the Chaplain informed DI that my grandmother had passed (3 days before graduation).
Read more of the 182 comments made about this post on the Sgt Grit Facebook Page.
All the talk regarding the bayonet or no bayonet on the M1 Carbines in the South Pacific during WWII reminded me of the only time a bunch of us airwingers ever heard the command "fix bayonets" ever uttered "in anger" or maybe it was just "in earnest".
Stationed at MCAS Yuma in 1970-'71 with VMFAT-101 as a radar tech, my most exciting moments while on duty were probably those spent on guard duty. Yeah, Yuma was considered a "hardship" station not because of any enemy about to pounce on us but because of boredom always just around the corner! So it was with a high level of anxiety that us airwingers were going about getting our "combat" gear (let's see that would be helmet and cartridge belt with bayonet and scabbard) together and drawing M-14s from the armory!
The word that "all non-essential personnel" should report to the barracks immediately came down in mid-morning of another beautiful day in paradise. When us "non-essentials" got to the barracks we were filled in to the news that a group of people from L.A. would be storming the brig to release a prisoner, a brother.
Now, let me remind those old enough to remember those turbulent times back in the late 60' and early 70's. Not only were the hippies running things in California, but the Black Panthers and their agenda were also in the daily news. Even our beloved Corps had both camps within our ranks. Don't forget that the draft was to blame for many wearing o.d. green when they didn't want to.
Well back on the dusty streets of MCAS Yuma we proceeded to gather a motley crew on a side street to practice the art of "riot control"! I still don't know who was in charge that would have had that kind of knowledge at an air station! I guess somebody had seen a movie or read a book about it because before we knew it we heard what only John Wayne should be allowed to yell; "FIX BAYONETS".
By the time that command was given we had already practiced how and when to form a "fighting wedge", the wedge extended from curb to curb on the street (the intent was to clear the crowd by scaring them down the street), how to stomp our boots with every step (in our case, our work shoes with unbloused trousers) this would certainly scare the most blood thirsty rioters, how to hold the M-14 in order to thrust the rifle and bayonet forward while also protecting our fellow Marine to our left (or was it to our right?). In the center of the wedge was a radioman, an officer, a ranking NCO and probably a photographer or two and maybe even the local homecoming queen since this type of gathering was totally unheard of by the locals or "Yumanoids".
Us guys from Texas thought this is really overkill since we had been brought up with legends of the Texas Rangers, remember "One Riot, One Ranger" was all that was needed. We spent so much time out there on that street that the mess hall even brought us sack lunches, fried chicken I remember. Well somebody finally appeared across the street from the brig which was right inside the main gate. Back then there was a SunKist orange orchard directly across from the main gate. "Yep, there they are, the jail breakers are here!" "Where?" "There in front of the orchard." "You mean those two little girls with the sign?" The sign that reads, "Please free our bother!" "Yeah, those are the two meanest looking 10 and 12 year olds I've ever seen!" Well, I'm sure the Black Panthers must've gotten word of a fiercesome looking bunch of airwingers in a wedge formation eating fried chicken and chunking the bones over their shoulders like a bunch of murderous Vikings cause we never had a problem again. Or maybe we did and the C.O. called the Texas Rangers.
Ahh, good times!
Semper Fi, you scary Devil Dogs!
Corporal David Martinez
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #7, #5 (MAY-2017)
One of the beauties of the CORPS is the fact that it's not only a legendary fighting unit and that alone does not foster the brotherhood, but it's uniqueness sets it apart from all the other branches of the service. Former MARINES often look for prior CORPS members just to talk to them about their experiences. Case in point, just go into a VFW somewhere in the Country and sit at the bar and if your wearing a Ball Cap with a Eagle, Globe and Anchor on it someone from across the bar will ask you "When were you in the CORPS, or "What did you do in the CORPS". You don't ever hear, or seldom see, former members of other branches of the services confront other patrons as to their service background other then MARINES. Now, This isn't only the VFW, but almost anywhere you go. Now, part of the reason I'm saying this is because of an instance like that just happened to me the other day. It played out like this.
I was checking my E-mail the other day and there was a name that I didn't recognize that came up in my "in-box" and I was reluctant to open it, but finally decided that I would take a chance just to find out who it was. If I was wrong I could have invited a virus, or whatever. I clicked on the name and a short E-mail message came up with a name that I hadn't seen, but thought about many times over the last 50 years and that was, Art Stein. Art was a good friend that I had known from my home town and he also was in the CORPS with me. In fact, we were in 2nd. Bridge Co. at Camp Lejeune N. C. in the latter part of the 1950's together as were a lot of guy's from our hometown of Reading, Penna. But, I'm getting ahead of myself here. The reason that I didn't want to open the E-mail was because it was Art's wife and she apparently uses her maiden name as her user name and I didn't know that. Once I read the message I figured it out. She later said that Art was not a fan of the computer and it would be better to work through her. She indicated that they had tried our phone number up in Olympia, Wash and she also gave me theirs in New Jersey. Well, I was pleasantly surprised and sent off a quick note and said I would get back to them as soon as I had the time. A couple of hours went by and I called Art. He picked up and said "Hi Ya Jim" just like it was yesterday that we had talked or seen each other. We both tried to fill each other in on what transpired in our lives since we saw each other, and he even said every body that he would run into that was a former member of the CORPS he would ask them if they knew me. But, he didn't find anybody in the 50+ years that had run across or served with me and of course I did the same with the guy's that I served with.
This holds true for a lot of old friends and sometimes the stories don't always end the way we'd like, but in a somewhat lessor degree of acceptability. Keeping in touch thru reunions and unit get-to-gether's are a great way to renew old friendships and keep everybody in touch with each other. There are several organizations that are in place to help with the task of finding a Service buddy or friend. The Corps is certainly a brotherhood of Warriors.
We Dig Fighting Holes
Hate to bust the bubble, but am pretty sure the project for the super-duper high-speed amphibian tractor was cancelled last year or so... R&D had drug out over too many years, thing had gotten too expensive, etc. Suspect he had seen it on a re-run of a Modern Marvels program on the History Channel. Can also advise Gunny Rosseau that for the couple 'for real' landings by the Special Landing Force (BLT 3/5) in late spring of 1966, the loading was down a ladder into the well deck of Alamo (Landing Ship Dock), and into the front hatch (bow ramp) of the LVT-P5's... we left the ship, which may have been steaming parallel to the beach, in column... at the AmTrack Platoon Leaders' command, the tractors did a flanking movement, and proceeded to the beach, headed for a VC Bn rest area no circling... Can't recall the LVT Bn or Company, but am pretty sure the Lt. platoon leader was a 1st Lt. with a name of Greeley... (or similar name).
For the fortunate majority of your readers who have never experienced 29 Palms... let me 'splain the relative isolation of this garden spot... The United States Postal Service... (you know... "neither gloom of night, nor... etc.etc. shall stay these couriers from their appointed rounds"... or something like that) has this premium service, called "Priority Mail"... and while they can compete with other services of the type on price (including the one founded by a Marine... you know... absolutely, positively... that one), they (USPS) will not guarantee next day delivery on an envelope... (for around $20) from Tennessee... to 29 Palms. Bubba... when you that far out, even in the eyes of a Government Corporation... you out there!
BS'ing with a bud at coffee yesterday (he's a Squid spook, used to float around off NVN in a tin can plotting radar positions, etc.)... he, when younger, was a Long Hunter re-enactor (TN version of a Mountain Man... sorta)... he was telling me that Sojers in the U.S. Army in the 1870's and '80's could grow full beards... and that the Native American women would have nothing to do with them, until they shaved, claiming they looked like dogs... and hence the moniker "Dog Face"... interesting bit of etymology, if true... and no reason to let the truth get in the way of a good story...
Have been reading a history book on US Army in ETO in WWII... noted the commonality of items about digging fighting holes (which the Army calls 'fox-holes'... as do most civilians... recall SSGT J. A. Hollinshead telling us in 1957 that "we dig fighting holes... not 'foxholes'... foxes use theirs to f-ck in... ours are for fighting".) Recall some I dug as a grunt... one that wasn't deep enough, and another day when "this is it for today... dig in"... came down no less than four times... others that got to be fairly complex... deep, timber on top... anyway, suspect many of the readers may have memories of holes and bunkers, including the Korea cohort, and would be willing to relate their efforts in improving recently acquired real estate... advice... probably worth what it cost you...
"The Army and the Navy are run like traditional military services. The Air Force is run like a corporation. But the Marine Corps is a religion."
"Marines die; that's what we're here for. But the Marine Corps lives forever. And that means YOU live forever."
--The role of GySgt. Hartman, USMC; portrayed by GySgt. R. Lee Ermey, a Marine Corps Drill Instructor, using his own choice of words in the movie Full Metal Jacket, 1987
"No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders."
--Samuel Adams, 1775
"You'll never get a Purple Heart hiding in a foxhole! Follow me!"
--Capt. Henry P. Crowe, USMC; Guadalcanal, 13 January 1943
"I love the Corps for those intangible possessions that cannot be issued: pride, honor, integrity, and being able to carry on the traditions for generations of warriors past."
--Cpl. Jeff Sornig, USMC; in Navy Times, November 1994
"The smoking lamp is lit for one. Guide, light it and pass it around."
"I'm so short I'm sleeping in a match box using a rifle patch for a blanket."
"Bends and mothers until you change the rotation of the earth!"
"Private, how much rent are you collecting from the visitors living in the bore?"