Love reading the stories in the newsletter every week. I recently read a few about our DIs. I too had as a Senior, SSgt F.X. Muldowney. I was in Plt. 2048, and graduated on 20Sept1966. It is amazing, when you think about it, how under their (gentle) guidance, a ragtag motley herd of sh-tbirds were turned into an honor platoon with outstanding pride in themselves, Corps, and Country. We all knew where each of us would wind up, and I believe with SSgt Muldowney's leadership (and a few knocks) we did everyone proud.
I was sorry to hear about his passing on, but I know he is standing tall and squared away at the main gate, eyeballing each one passing through.
Sgt. Mike Alu
Southern Fried Whale
Two recruits that stick in my memory are Michael Mouse and John Barton. Mike's location was first bunk inside the hatch. Yes, Mike was the DI's House Mouse. Mike was the only Marine from Plt. 277 I knew at three different duty stations.
John was a native Alaskan, from Ketchikan. The senior DI's name for John was Kanuck. John was required to provide a recipe for Southern Fried Whale.
MSgt USMC ret
Circling The Drain
I know a lot of us have had them but just after sundown, Pacific Standard Time, on Monday, March 11th, it will have been 50 years since the driver that picked me up at the airport as a single resource placed me nose and toes against the barbershop door at MCRD. I knocked three times and then said, "The first words out of your mouth shall be Sir!" I didn't know anybody; who the heck was I going to talk to. It was the beginning of the eyes open, ears open, and mouth SHUT period.
I had flunked out of one college and circling the drain on another and it became time to visit SSgt. Hatfield, my friendly recruiter. Those gentlemen with the campaign covers SSgt. Penisten, P'toon Commander, Mr. Dickerson, then a Sergeant now a Major, Ret., and Sgt. Cabley gave me the mental discipline to get it together. Thank you.
As a matter of fact, I think Mr. Dickerson was only about three years older than me and is still. I was about six months shy of 21 at the time. They all looked pretty old at the time, though. I made lifelong friends while active and new ones at reunions; we all have.
It all worked and still works today for me and young folks standing on the yellow footprints now.
Semper Fi Ladies and Gentlemen, Semper Fi!
Cpl. Ron Davis posted some thoughts about returning to SD to watch a young friend graduate... I was at PI watching my daughter graduate in 1998 when I realized that it was 30 years to the day since I last stood on that grinder. The only things left standing from my day were me, one "white elephant" barracks, and a h-lluva lot of pride and tradition.
Pete Dahlstrom '68-'74
Scene: Tun Tavern, Philadelphia. Date: 1776. Time: evening
Lt. O'Bannon was sitting at a candle-lit table with a feather pen and an open ledger before him. He was recruiting the world's first U.S. Marine Detachment. The first potential recruit, whose name has been lost in antiquity, walked up and said, "What's the deal?" O'Bannon said, "Just sign this book, and I'll give you $5, which is your first month's pay, a bottle of whiskey and you're in. Of course you have to have your own musket." The recruit thought for just a second and said, "OK. I have a musket," signed, and became the USA's very first Marine recruit. He took his $5 and bottle into the back room to wait.
Second potential recruit walked up and asked, "What's the deal?" O'Bannon said, "Just sign this book, and I'll give you $5, which is your first month's pay, a bottle of whiskey and you're in. Of course you have to have your own musket." Looking sad, the second recruit said, "I'd really like to be a Marine, Sir, but I don't own a musket." To which O'Bannon replied, "Don't worry about it, son, we'll find you one." (which meant he was going to steal one from the Army.) So he signed, and became the USA's second Marine, and walked to the back room with his $5 and bottle of whiskey.
The first Marine looked the second Marine over and, by and by, asked, "So what was your deal?" The second Marine said, "Well, I got $5, a bottle of whiskey and a musket." The first Marine thought on it for a while and finally said, "Yeah. I figured, but you know, back in the Old Corps, you had to bring our own musket."
In the 28 Feb issue of the newsletter there was a story concerning some of my fellow Drill Instructor Brothers mentioned by SSgt Lionel Reed. His SDI, SSGT Breitenbach, worked for me his first platoon out of Drill Instructor School along with Sgt Elton Winger and they were a strong team. Also his Asst Drill Instructor, Sgt Wynn, also worked for me in a platoon, but I never had the privilege to work with SSGT Raney, but he also was in H Co, 3rd Recruit Bn.
Thank you SSgt Reed for refreshing some of my memories of the good times that we had in training 14 platoons of some of the finest young Marines that passed through the gate at Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC.
MGySgt Billy J. Russell Ret'd.
H Co 1970-1973
OCS Quantico 1973-1975
As a Marine who spent a considerable amount of time on a Navy ship, I was always amused by the different messages that they used to announce over the ship's loudspeakers. "Sweepers, sweepers, man your brooms." Who remembers the entire announcement? And there were more that, I just cannot bring back to this old memory. Maybe some of our naval friends can help.
Funny reading all of the MCRD posts about the planes. Brings back lots of memories. I know with PLT 3126, we blew a lot of them out of the sky! DIs Sgt. Ricker, Powers, and SDI Sgt. Davidson never stopped for them.
Just wanted to pass on about my boot camp experience in the summer of 1941. I turned 17 in boot camp (San Diego) but I made up for it 9 years later. I had just made MSgt and was recommended for OCS, but I was too old. So I lied again and served another 24 years as an officer. But still a Mustang!
Col Elwin Hart USMC Ret.
My thanks to Sgt Wong for the great aerial shots of MCRD SD. I graduated on 1 Nov 73. We stayed in the 3-story barracks during the first and final phases of training and were in the Quonset Huts during Mess Duty.
Sgt of Marines '73-'77
LCpl. Wilson posted in the last newsletter that one of his platoon mates had a long Polish name and the DIs called him "Alphabet". I bet most of your readers here had someone called "Alphabet" in their platoon or unit. I did. Plt. #201, MCRDSD, almost sixty years ago.
Bob Rader #140XXXX
Worth repeating from earlier newsletter.
"You can call me a Hollywood Marine if you want, as long as you call me a Marine."
Read with great interest the article by Sgt Rounds in the Mar 7th newsletter. It took a month at Parris Island before the DI found out my lastname. I was fortunate to have the last name Lorrain, with no 'e' as in a female name. The usual comment when I screwed up was, "Is this your time of the month Lorrain?" Even to this day everyone wants to put an e on it. It's fun when someone tries to look me up in a computer and can't find me. I have to tell them try it again without the 'e'.
Cpl James Lorrain
Plt 248 , PI, June 1960
In reference to Mike Benfields: Previous newsletter about Marines from west of Mississippi are the only ones sent to MCRD San Diego. This is wrong. I was born and raised in Grandledge, Michigan, and attended MCRD San Diego. I am and will always be proud to be called a 'Hollywood Marine'.
Semper Fi Brothers
3/6, Lima Co, '87/'91
In the newsletters as of late, there have been many comments about the Drill Instructor's Cadence. Some say they sang, some said they were melodic, others say they were stern. All I know is that when the cadence stopped and the command was: "hippity hop mob stop" you were in deep doo doo and you were heading for PT to do about 35,000 squat mothers. Ah, memories!
SSgt DJ Huntsinger
Feb. '75. On Sundays a DI would march us to Church. Either you were Catholic or Baptist. There were no atheists in the Marine Corps. We Catholics were marched by one of the DI's who would give cadence to the tune of Jesus Christ Superstar. He was great!
SSgt S Stewart
MCRD, Parris Island
Chewing And Singing
Although it has been over almost 60 years ago since I graduated from MCRD PISC, I shall never forget an incident with my JDI, Cpl (E3) W.E. Ison on the nite before Graduation.
We were in the Quonset Huts in the 5th Bn and he was informing us of the MOS that was assigned to us. A forming platoon had just moved in the area and a recruit burst opened the hatch and shouted, "where can I find a swab." I shouted out, "you better sh-t one." Cpl Ison looked me squarely in the eye and said, "Pvt Hoover, I will see you in my hootch after Taps." I reported as ordered and he said, "get down on your hands and knees and start singing The Marines' Hymn." So I did. He then commenced to give me a stick of various types of chewing gum one at a time and told me to commence chewing them and singing our Beloved Hymn without missing a beat. I ended up chewing 11 packs of gum in my mouth at the same time. He was probably one of the few Drill Instructors that did not curse.
During my tenure in Our Corps, I served 2 tours wearing "The Hat" at MCRD PISC, 1956-59 and 1963-66, and prided myself from refraining using the 4 letter words with the exception of a phrase I used on the 1st day of forming, and I Quote, "You people are a bunch of knock kneed, Pigeon-toed, horse faced, mealy mouth, motley looking, p-ss completed puddled of pukes. It is my primary function to change you. I will do in 13 weeks what your parents couldn't do in 18 years; make you believe in yourself.
R.E. Hoover Sr.
Mustang Captain of Marines
Definitely Worth The Trip
On 29 May 1962, I reported to Parris Island. There where four of us in the bus. Two from MA, one from NY, and one from Canada. We arrived at night so, we could not see much. We were greeted at receiving by a Marine who let us know right away that we were not at home anymore. The next morning it finally dawned that I'm really here. I was scared, nervous, and excited all at the same time. We went to a wooden barracks and we're told to sit at attention and keep our eyes forward.
All of a sudden the screen doors flew open and in walked three Drill Instructors, of course all eyes turned towards them, and they let loose a barrage of profanities and set us straight right away. That was the start of 13-weeks of wondering if I had what it takes to be a Marine. Our Senior Drill Instructor was SSgt J. F. Dunn, E6, Sgt L. J. Grassili, E5, and Sgt L. M. Bradley. We were in Plt 229, 2nd Rect Trng Bn. Our sister Plts were 228, 230 and 231. We graduated on 22 Aug 1962. That was one of the proudest days of my life. I was finally a Marine.
I spent 3 years active, 2 years inactive getting off active in May '65. On Feb. 27th, 1967, I joined the U.S. Coast Guard getting out in Feb. '71. Eleven years later I went joined the Marines Corps Reserves, serving with MABS-42 then MWSS-373, that was NAS South Weymouth. I was there for 12 years, then to Naval Warfare College in Newport, RI, drilling for points... no pay. I finally found a paying billet with HqCo, 25th Mar. in Worcester, MA. Retired as a GySgt. in Dec 1996.
On my 50th anniversary, from when I first joined the Marine Corps, I returned to Parris Island for the first time in that 50 year time span. I had my youngest boy, Richard J. Souza Jr. and his son (my grandson) Richard J. Souza III with me. We arrived at Parris Island on the 29th of May 2012 exactly 50 years to the day. I cannot express my feelings being there again. It was totally different, all the wooden barracks were gone... I did not recognize anything. I met a Capt Murphy, Trng Officer with 1st Recruit Trng Bn. He was very gracious. He allowed myself and son/grandson to view one of the empty recruit barracks. I was amazed to find the racks and foot lockers looked exactly like the ones I had 50 years ago.
I cannot express how thrilled I was to be there again with my son and grandson. It was emotional for me thinking back all those years, wondering how all my Platoon MBS and series personnel are faring. It was definitely worth the trip.
Sgt R. J. Souza
I always felt a little sorry for one of my fellow boots at San Diego late winter 1957. He was one of many Chicagoans in Platoon 211. His name was Pukey; pronounced Poo-kay. DI Sgt. Grube would always emphasize the long pronunciation of that name and constantly harass him about it. Of course, he had a slew of buddies from the Windy City, so he didn't take it badly. The Chicagoans were probably as big of braggarts as Texans. They always claimed they should make that city a state. We were only at San Diego for the customary 12-weeks or 13-weeks, but the DIs were interrupted a lot because of the testing of the Delta winged-jets next door.
If any of you know or remember Master Gunnery Sgt. Cecil Dickey, he is still the quintessential Marine. Just about every piece of clothing he wears represents the Corps. He is a member of my AmVets post in St. Clair Shores, MI.
When I was in the Motor City chapter of the Marine Corps League some years ago, there was a member who entered the Corps in 1926. He was in the Banana Wars. I was always amazed that he didn't look much older than the guys from WWII. I never did ask him how he felt when the country went to war in '41 and he was already a Veteran. His answer might have been worthwhile hearing.
My only regrets about my tour of duty was that I didn't make Sergeant and I never received a reenlistment interview. I was promoted to Corporal twice without ever being busted. I was a Corporal E-3, then when I should have been promoted to Sergeant but they changed the rank structure from seven enlisted pay grades to nine. I was on Okinawa and they didn't have the new Corporal stripes, so I was able to wear Sergeant stripes for the rest of my tour despite some Sergeants chagrin' at the Marine Barracks, Great Lakes NTC, when I was being separated from active duty.
James V. Merl 1655980
I love your newsletter and have a story for you. The only thing I've ever won in my life was the draft lottery in 1967 (#67). I was in my last quarter of college and due to graduate from the University of Minnesota in Dec '71. My student deferment expired. I stopped by a Marine recruiter on Lake Street to check my status. We called my local draft board. I was next on the list...
I joined that day (120 day delayed entry). I got to graduate before leaving for boot camp. I chose enlisted vs. officer because I wanted only a two year hitch. I gambled that the Marine Corps would give me a good job with a business degree.
Upon graduating boot camp, I had 10 days leave back home in Red Wing, MN, and got on a plane for my duty station. No school. I went directly to Headquarters Battalion, Headquarters Marine Corps, Arlington, VA. I worked for the Inspector General as an internal auditor, auditing records for staff clubs, EM clubs, Officer's clubs, etc. throughout the east coast. Fantastic duty. I even got to stand at attention on Pennsylvania Avenue for Richard Nixon's Inaugural Parade in January of 1973.
We attempted to have a reunion of all my buddies after 10 or 15 years, but never got it together. We all lost touch until I got a call from a buddy two years ago saying that one of our close friends and fellow Marine had passed away from a heart attack. That was all it took. Thanks to our high tech world of computers and modern investigative ideas, we were able to contact close to twenty of the old crew. Many I hadn't spoken to for forty years. It was amazing. After two minutes on the phone it was like we had talked two weeks before.
If any of you Marines have been toying with getting together or contacting your old Marine buddies, Do It Now! You may not know it, but Headquarters Marine Corps (Henderson Hall) has been torn down. They are now in the process of tearing down The Navy Annex to the Pentagon, which housed the Headquarters Marine Corps offices including the Commandant, Assistant Commandant, etc. This entire area will soon become part of the Arlington National Cemetery. This was a large part of Marine Corps history and I'm proud to have played my small part as a Marine.
I've enclosed a picture of some of us who just returned from our 40th Marine Corps Reunion. We spent a week at a rented beach house in Clearwater Beach, Florida. The stories were all basically the same, only the person screwing up varied depending on who was telling the story! I had to superimpose a couple of the guys who wanted to be there but couldn't make it for health reasons. One guy had retired to the Philippines.
Cpl Donald Winblad
Boot Camp On The Opposite Coast
Greetings Sgt Grit,
In your last newsletter there was a comment submitted by Mike Benefield indicating that depending on which side of the Mississippi River you lived on was where you went to Boot Camp. While I have heard that "story" since my entry into to the Marines in 1968, I have come to find out that there are cases where that is not true!
I received an email last year from a guy that I went to high school with back in San Antonio, Texas. We both left for Boot Camp after graduation, however, my friend had the dubious honor of going to Boot Camp in PI because San Diego was FULL, while I went to San Diego. So while they may try to use the Mississippi River as a general guideline, I know that at once in the summer of 1968, that it didn't work out that way.
Which leads to my question. How many Marines when to Boot Camp on the opposite coast? I can't believe that there is but one single case. I would like to hear from those that experienced that opposite coast training.
GySgt USMC Retired
There Were No Yellow Footprints
I arrived in San Diego by train from the Midwest the 2nd day of 1954. (There were no yellow footprints). (DIs wore campaign hats and carried swagger sticks).
Sometime during my boot camp we became part of the movie Battle Cry. We spent hours marching past the cameras and the stars of the show. Most of the film ended up on the cutting room floor, but we did appear marching past in the opening of the movie. (I look different now!) I didn't realize they also filmed some of the movie in PI. (no real swamps in SD).
There wasn't a concern about jet noise from the airport. All commercial planes were prop jobs and after one year of me flying around the Pacific in 1956, all military flights were on prop jobs. (seated backwards).
I guess I served in the "Old Corps"?
Sgt Meyers 143XXXX
Jan. '54 â€“ Dec. '56
Probably A Doggie
Larry Lovett, I was glad to read how you skated on a speeding ticket while driving 90 mph thanks to the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor/Semper Fi bumper sticker from Sgt. Grit. I wish I could say the same thing. The same week you got lucky, I was driving home from St. Louis on I-44 when a Missouri State Trooper issued me a citation for driving 84 mph.
Apparently he wasn't sufficiently impressed with my Sgt. Grit issued license plate frame featuring our motto, our emblem, and our name nor the Purple Heart license plate it was holding. He was probably a doggie.
Gary Harlan, '64 - '68
Sergeant of Marines
Hot Burning Push-ups
HOT Burning push-ups! I was in Boot in July of '77, Platoon 3061. My DI had me doing push-ups on the road. The road was very hot and my hands were burning already. So, I went down to do the push-ups and I rested with my chest on the deck and lifted up my hands to cool them until my DI, who I really think hate me, came up to me and drop his boots on top of my hands. He told me, "lift me up if you can." Thirty-five years later they still hurt. The "Old Corps". I still think about it but that's what made me a hard Corps Marine. After Boot Camp, I went to 2nd Force Recon Training and I became a Force Recon Marine. So I don't think the DI hated me so much and I'm happy about it.
I finished my tour, went into the CIA and finish with them, and got to be Mercenary for 24 years and became Commander of six Elite teams who have great pride. Semper Fi Sgt. Grit, and God Bless all Marines around the world.
Commander Carlos Albertorio
A Force In Readiness
One of my reasons for joining the Marine Corps in 1968 was to find out if I was tough. At the time I didn't know why I felt finding out was important, but I thought if I could become a Marine the Corps would make a man out of me. After graduating from Marine Boot Camp I felt a little disappointed that I didn't feel tough. So I really began to look forward to going to Vietnam, where I assumed I would acquire toughness. Another reason for going would be to answer another nagging question I had... would I, in the face of combat, discover that I was a coward?
All young men like to think of themselves as brave, but few have the opportunity to prove to themselves they possess that unique quality. For me, that question was answered, surprisingly, not on a battle field in Vietnam, but rather at the Honolulu International Airport.
At the height of the Vietnam War in 1969, Hawaii warmly welcomed two Rest and Recuperation (R&R) flights every day, for a total of more than 10,000 GI's a month. I had been in Vietnam for more than six months before I was lucky enough to qualify for a seven-day R&R vacation on the island of Oahu, Hawaii and become one of the 326 troops that arrived daily at the Fort DeRussy welcome center.
Upon arriving at the Honolulu International Airport we were given a briefing on Hawaii and then issued the "Aloha R&R Hawaii" card. That card identified me as an R&R serviceman and meant that I received many discounts at stores, restaurants, entertainment spots and business services throughout Honolulu. It was billed as the "Ticket to Happiness". While shopping discounts may be considered to some as happiness, the joy of my life was waiting at the Ft. DeRussy welcome center on Waikiki. The girl of my dreams and future wife had flown out to meet me. We had a great week of sightseeing and sun bathing. Everyone we met during our stay conveyed their appreciation for the job I was doing in Vietnam.
Because I was a bush Marine in Vietnam, my opportunities to spend my monthly salary were limited. Therefore when I arrived in Hawaii I had more money than my nani ipo [beautiful sweetheart] and I could spend. After a few days it became difficult to find ways to disburse the money. I knew I was going back to the Nam for six more months and had no intentions of saving any money. On our last morning there we went out to breakfast and I ordered just about everything on the menu. The waitress had to put some of the food I ordered on a nearby table until I ate the food that was in front of me. As breakfast tabs go, this one was probably one of the largest this restaurant had ever had for two people. When I went to pay the cashier, she asked if I had an Aloha R&R card. When I showed it to her she called the owner of the restaurant over to meet with her. I wasn't sure why she needed to see him, I had my money out ready to pay. I didn't care if they gave me a discount, I still had more money than I could possibly spend before my plane was scheduled to leave.
When the owner arrived, the cashier told him I was a Vietnam Veteran. He asked me if this was the first time I had eaten in his restaurant? "Yes it is," I answered. "In that case, here's your money back. Mahalo," he said. "Mahalo, what does that mean?" "It means thanks. It's what the people of Hawaii feel for what you are doing for all of us in Vietnam. Each Vietnam Veterans' first meal in this restaurant is free. It's my small way of saying Mahalo." A large lump was forming in my throat as I pushed my money back at him. "I appreciate your generosity but I have lots of money and besides I ordered like I knew it was free." He smiled and pushed the money back across the counter and walked away. I then tried to give the money to the cashier. She told me she would lose her job if she accepted the money from me. With my emotions on overload I hailed a taxi and started my journey back to South East Asia. It wasn't until I was standing in the Honolulu International Airport ready to board the plane back to Vietnam that I knew I wasn't a coward. It took all the intestinal fortitude I could muster to keep my tears of homesickness from pouring out as I realized I might not make it through my last six months in the war. Most of the servicemen waiting with me to board the plane were much older than me and had their families with them. When I looked around for an example to draw strength from, I found none. The airport passenger waiting area was packed with big burly men, non-commissioned and commissioned officers alike. Some with as many as twenty years of service were weeping as they said good-bye to their wives and children. I witnessed one Master Sergeant walking out to the airplane that would take him back to Vietnam, while his young daughter held onto his leg, hysterically yelling, "Daddy please don't go! Come home with Mommy and me!"
When I realized that in the past week all of us at the airport had the opportunity to go AWOL back to United States or Canada, and yet we all showed up to board the plane, my fears of being a coward were put to rest.
Needless to say, my memories of Hawaiians and their beautiful island are extremely pleasant ones for me to recall.
B Co. 1/26 Marines
I write in response to a letter from John R. Persich. I also knew then Sgt Willie Jester, he was my DI also. Nov 1966, Plt 1149. Short, built like a 155, and tough as nails. I met Sgt Jester at Edison Range a couple of years later training another sorry bunch of girls, who dared to want to be United States Marines. I am very proud to say that Willie Jester was my Drill Instructor, in my opinion he was the very best of the breed.
John sounds like you had the same respect for him, as I am sure all of his snot-nosed lower than whale poop recruits did. Thanks for the Memories Willie wherever you are!
Sgt Bill C. Springer
1966 - 1970
Are You Dead Yet Puke
I entered the Marine Corps in early 1968 with Platoon #139. My most favorite memory of Boot Training is the MCRD Obstacle Course. That was the only place in the entire base where a recruit could escape the "ear close" barrage from the good old DI. One thing I will never forget is the white coffin buried at grade level right at the edge of the obstacle course. If you're a true sh-tbird, the DI would force you to lie down in the coffin and spend the rest of the day it. I never made the ranks of the sh-tird, thank God, but one of my fellow recruits simply could not escape the wrath of the DI. He was one of the unfortunate ones who spent the day in that coffin. The DI actually padlocked the lid of the coffin shut and would run over and stomp on the coffin on occasion screaming out, "Are you dead yet Puke? You better die! I don't want you screwing up my platoon anymore! You hear me Puke?" My fellow recruit never wanted to talk about that experience. His only comment was that he kept hearing something crawling around inside the coffin. Needless to say, it must have been a rather frightening experience for that 18-year-old boy from small town USA.
I enjoyed the obstacle course so much that I would run through the obstacles as fast as possible... finish the course, and run over to the DI with a plea... "Sir may I run the course again, Sir?" He never said no... just waved me off with an order to not be the last to finish.
My cover is off to those of you who survived the White Coffin. :)
Cpl. Barry Goodson
CAP 124, Vietnam 1968-1969
Within One Month
I had already been in the USMCR for 2 years when I was transferred from the U.S. Naval Station, San Diego, to MCRDep for boot camp. Talk about a rude awakening. I was actually senior, in rank, to one of my Drill Instructors. This was before DI schools, and it seems that almost anyone could be selected to be a DI. Sergeant John Medas, Corporal William Ockert, and a PFC Bipes, were my three DIs, with the 3dRTBn.
After graduation, I spent one day at Sea School, and then I was reassigned to the 3d Battalion, working in the office; by then my MOS had been changed to 0143, Clerk Typist. I was promoted to Corporal, within one month of graduation. The roar of the jets at Lindbergh Field was constant from before daylight until after dark. I distinctly remember the B36s sitting at the Convair plant, with their engines running for hours at a time, before takeoffs.
I initially enlisted in the local, Nashville, Tennessee, Reserve Company, "C" Company, 14th Infantry Battalion, USMCR, in March of 1949. I was promoted to PFC in September that year and when Korea blew up the following June, the Company was activated on July 1, and we were on a troop train August 21, 1950. After arriving at Camp Pendleton, I sat there in the Receiving Barracks, helping to process incoming troops, until October, when I was transferred to San Diego. I was assigned to various battalions, the 7thRTBn, Separation Bn., 1stRTBn, and then in October, 1953, transferred to MB, NAB, Coronado, across the Bay from San Diego where Chesty was CG at that time. I was transferred from NAB, Coronado, in February, 1956, to the 3d Marine Division, Okinawa, for 14 months, then right back to San Diego, in June 1957, this time as a Staff Sergeant (E5), assigned to Depot Headquarters, CG was Gen. Bruno Hochmuth.
James R. McMahon
GySgt of Marines (1949-1970)
A Few Whatevers
Ddick said that it was "13-Man Drill", actually it was "8-Man Squad Drill" thankfully replaced by Landing Party drill later in the year. That was how we drilled in Platoon 213, 1960. It got me a promotion to Squad Leader and then Guide with a stripe cause I knew the commands & had a strong voice.
There was no "singing cadence". Gradually even the cadence vanished as our salty platoon used our boot thuds instead... until that horrible day marching to the hospital when a gaggle of sticker-new boots gawked and their DI said, "that's what a Marine platoon looks like," and we fell apart. Sgt Fullerton quickly brought us back to top notch with a few whatevers.
Our Marine Corps League (Capt. Jeb F. Seagle, #1265, Lincolnton, NC) is putting together a cookbook of favorite recipes. We would appreciate it, if you could spread the word amongst your readership that we would love to get input from them regarding their favorite recipes. We would like to hear from Marines, Marine families, friends and relatives.
Each submitter will receive credit via a byline beneath the recipe title. When we finally have the finished product we will be offering it for sale.
Please send recipes to Ron[at]SignShopNC.com
Class of '69
On And On
I went to boot camp at MCRDSD in April 1966, and also had a last name that contributed to my experience. "Freedom Birds" awakened my own memories including Ryan Aeronautical at San Diego Airport Lindbergh Field.
Think you're rough? Sir yes Sir. Thought you were rough. Sir yes Sir. Rough as the hair on a hare. Sir yes Sir. F'ing rough my azs. Sir yes Sir. Get your rough azs down for a hundred. Sir yes Sir. Sit ups not push-ups boot, add fifty. Sir yes Sir. On and on until the DI's all quit due to my determination. I had heard similar things from my coaches in high school. The determination struck in another way... a story for later.
My last name... Rough.
Hearts Were Still In The Corps
Camp Geiger, North Carolina (April '72) for I.T.R., I soon learned we were several weeks early. We would have to wait until enough Marines showed up to complete a Company. We were "volunteered" for Guard Duty for the next two or three weeks.
We figured out quickly that the Corporals and Sergeants of the Guard were recently back from Viet Nam and basically killing time until they got out. Short timers whose hearts weren't really in it any more, stuck with a bunch of newbies. Needless to say they had fun with us! I earned PFC in Boot camp, so I was given a post to walk which was a small complex of shops... Dry Cleaners is the only one I remember. I guess it was a better post then a tree line or field which a lot of the privates were assigned.
One Night around 0300 a Jeep pulls into the parking lot, I call out "Halt", which it does. (I'm thinking, I got this down, relying on my guard duty training at PI). I call out, "Advance to be recognized!" which to my surprise the jeep charges me at a high rate of speed! I run upon the porch in front of one of the stores. The jeep stops short and the Officer of the Day gets out. I got a class on "dismount and advance to be recognized" on the spot! He even had me redo it with him and his jeep to make sure I understood.
The Guard Mount was told that if a Force Recon Marine could bring the I.D. Card of another Marine to their CO, that Recon would get a weekend pass. We were told of how an unlucky sentry was found tied up missing his military I.D. Don't know to this day if there was any truth to this but it kept me on my toes! I'm sure they got a laugh out of it, true or false.
Early one morning the COG and SOG were in a hurry to relieve the Guard. They were rushing us through the process. The Corporal picked several of us up in the panel van and upon arrival at the Guard Shack we filed inside. We were armed with Mossberg 12-gauge pumps. I stepped in front of the Corporal, assumed Port Arms, pulled the pump action to the rear, raised the piece to a 45-degree angle, tilted it so I could see that the chamber was empty, back to Port Arms and slammed the pump action to its forward position. By now I could do all this in a matter of seconds. On this morning, being in a hurry, the Corporal decided to stick the pinkie finger of his left hand into the chamber when I returned to Port Arms to make sure no round was chambered at the exact time I slammed it home! He was supposed to take the weapon and perform the same process. Cutting corners is never a good idea, but naturally I was the one at fault. He pulled his finger out, grabbed it tight and held it up in front of my face. I remember blood squirting from the little hole the ejector made where it entered his pinkie. He kept screaming, "Look What You Did To My Finger Private!" Every time the blood squirted with each heartbeat. He said he would deal with me later and I was dismissed.
Thoughts were running through my head about what would happen to me? Guard duty forever, the brig, lose my stripe? That evening when we reported to the guard shack for duty the SOG called me into the duty hut. Several Corporals and Sergeants were there including the one I injured. I was ask and told my account of what took place. The SOG picked up one of the Mossberg's, opened the chamber and told me to stick my little finger in the chamber. He closed it slowly on my finger only pinching it slightly. He ask if I had learned a lesson, I replied "Yes Sir!" and was dismissed. Closing the door behind me, I heard all of them bust out laughing. I knew then that everything was cool.
Fall of '73, as an E-4, I checked in for duty at Marine Barracks, Naval Weapons Station, Concord, California. I was there through the end of '74. Security Guard duty there was the "Real Deal". With truck and train loads of munitions arriving 24/7, civilian and Navy ammo ships loading for Viet Nam and ammo runs to the Aircraft Carriers at NAS Alameda, it was serious business. On the ammo runs into the Bay Area we had FBI Intel and military air support. With war protesters in the area, the S.L.A. (remember Patty Hurst), Local National Guard armory break-ins, nuke's stored in Alpha Area plus the main gate taking rounds one night... we were locked and loaded most of the time. I believe it was the second largest Marine Barracks at the time? I also read later that around 95 percent of the munitions used in Viet Nam went through NWS Concord.
Those days walking around the 3rd Battalion mess hall at PI on Regimental Guard and the three weeks of guard at Geiger were useful training after all. Standing gate guard, driving patrols, duty as COG and SOG at Marine Barracks, I have to thank those "Short timers" back at Geiger. They were teaching me things and I didn't even realize it at the time. Looking back I guess their hearts were still in the Corps!
Noses In The Chain
Just read 27Feb Newsletter. Speaking of the airport. In Sept. - Oct. of 1964, we were running the 300 yard DASH, when one of our plt. members was caught looking at a plane taking off. Our D.I., Sgt. T.E. Creed, caught him and he lined all 72 of us along the fence and had us stick our noses in the chain-links and raise our right hands. Then he COMMANDED every one wave and repeat, "Bye-Bye AIRPLANE!" We did that for about 20 minutes. Needless to say, no one even attempted to gaze in the direction of the airport after that.
Sgt. T.E. Creed - 3 Tours in country - Wounded THRICE...
S/Sgt. Gary E. Truman
In Country - Jun '65 - Jul '66
Semper Fi Sgt. Grit and to all you jarheads out there...
We arrived at MCRD San Diego in the middle of the night. As we stood on those hallowed yellow footprints, there were two Drill Instructors (as I recall) going down each line of recruits yelling at us to sound off with our last name, among other things. One of the recruits standing next to me stated, "JAMES Sir," when asked his name. The DI almost had a high speed come apart as he screamed at him, "Your Last Name Azshole! Your Last F-cking Name!" The recruit, as calmly as possible stated, "That Is My Lastname, Sir!" The Drill Instructor, now intrigued, got into his face and asked, "So, what's your first name sweetheart... Jesse?" At which time the recruit answered "Yes Sir!" Again, the Drill Instructor started to have a "high speed come apart" as his face turned a beautiful shade of purple... "Jesse James? Your F-cking Name Is Jesse James? Oh My GOD! I Have A F-cking Criminal In My Marine Corps! Who's Your Recruiter Boy? He's Going To Jail And So Are You! Needless to say, the rest of us were really working at keeping a straight face as the other DI's looked us over...
From that day through graduation and even into ITR (Oscar Company, San Onofre, Pendleton), Private James was always referred to as "Criminal". I can't say I ever heard him called by his actual name, other than at graduation... he managed to graduate as the Series (1045) Honor Man and as a PFC... Guess it wasn't all bad.
C.E. (Chuck) Scott
SSGT USMC (Ret)
Serial # 272XXXX
MAG-46, Det. B
MAG-42, Det. B
Blazing Red Stripes
We are all Marines, regardless of where we did our basic training. However, the rivalry as between San Diego Boot and Parris Island Boot is great. Just like the competitions between Boot Platoons, Smokers, etc.
About what influenced us joining the Corps, well two buddies and I were intending to join the Navy right out of High School in 1948. We arrived at the Main Post Office in Shreveport, LA, and proceeded to the 2nd floor to the Navy Recruiting Office. The Navy Recruiter was out. It was then that we learned that the office was shared by The Marine Corps Recruiter. We were all 17 years old and sort of unworldly.
None of us knew what a Marine was, but were highly impressed by this handsome, lean Marine in a beautiful uniform with a blazing red stripe down his pants legs. He gave us a short spiel as to what a Marine was and told us what a great place Parris Island, South Carolina was; a vacation paradise. We went home, got our parents signatures on the enlistment papers and in a few weeks were on our way. It wasn't until we got to South Carolina early in the morning, fell asleep outside the train station and were rudely awakened by a Tech Sergeant with a Swagger Stick, that we knew we were in trouble. We didn't cry for our mommies and later became spiffy Marines.
Regarding Sand Of Iwo Jima: When stationed at Camp Pendleton in 1949, while they were filming the movie, we had several in our unit that were extras, filling scenes shots, driving vehicles, etc. At the end of shooting, the General in charge of the Camp (I believe his name was Erskine) gave a BBQ for all. I didn't see John Wayne, but did see Adele Mara and a few other cast members.
In July 1950, I was transferred to H&S, 11th Marines, and we all left for Korea. I was in the Pusan Perimeter, Inchon Landing, and made it to the first freeing of Seoul. I spent from June 1948 to June 1952 in the Corps. I have never regretted it or the experiences while there.
E. A. Andy Anderson
Airwing, That's Living
I remember Marines who went to boot camp for 8 weeks. Their enlistment was also for only two years. They enlisted rather than get drafted or have their lottery number called (I think that is correct?). This was around '67. Also there were three & four year enlistments as well '64. I went through MCRD '64. My entire Company (except for a hand full of recruits) were reservists mostly from California. One of the regulars went to Sea School (west end of grinder MCRD). I believe that has been extinct for quite some time. I went to Comm school MCRD.
I was with 1/5 from 6/65-11/66 RVN '66. Last duty station 1/67-12/68 was 4th MarDiv, Hq Co, Cadre Camp Pendleton. We trained reservists during their summer camps & weekends. When not doing that I was sent TAD. Instructors School, Schools Bn., Motor Vehicle School, 5th MarDiv Hqtrs. Had to be an NCO to be in 4thMarDiv. I arrived as L/Cpl and was promoted before I could stow my gear. We were located by area 16 at Camp Pendleton somewhere not far from the rear gate. Also, was TAD to 1st Mar Brigade, MCAS Kaneohe, Hawaii. Airwing, that's living, wow!
Current Local Portland, Oregon
P.S. Here in Portland there is an Oregon Vietnam Veterans Living Memorial that is magnificent and has to be seen to believe. Truly one of the great memorials anywhere.
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #4, #4, (APR., 2014)
It didn't take tong to find out the number of the USS Vernon County was LST-1161. Not that it makes any difference, but I did want to give credit where credit was due. I also found out that they had been in support of the ROK (Republic of Korea) Division which I referred to as the "White Horse" Division.
The ROKA 9th "White Horse" Division deployed to RVN in April 1966 and arrived in Sept. and Oct. of 1966. Now, this was after the 2nd ROK MARINE Brigade "Blue Dragons" landed at Cam Ranh Bay in the early part of 1965 shortly after the "Tiger Division" arrived at Qui Nhon. The Korean MARINES quickly established itself as a potent fighting force in the Korean War and were called the "Ghost Busters" by some and "The invincible MARINES" by others and "The Legendary MARINES" by still others. A note here and that is that all the "Blue Dragons" brigades Officers had been trained by the USMC at Quantico or San Diego. One U.S. MARINE Colonel remarked that, "We had taught them every thing that we knew and now they know it better than us.
I know you're wondering why I'm including this info about the Koreans, but many of our guys didn't even know that we had Koreans fighting next to us in the south and that we were even involved with their support with our helicopters from the unit stationed at Qui Nhon in either late 1965 or early 1966.
On December 31, 1965, and through January 17, 1966, the 4th ARVN Regiment joined with the 2nd ROK MARINE Brigade to conduct Operation Jefferson, designed to provide security for the rice harvest in the Tuy Hoa valley, U.S. Army and U.S. MARINE helicopters (HMM-363), from Qui Nhon supported the ground operation. This allied force engaged elements of the 95th NVA (North Vietnamese Army) Regiment, opening Highway #11 and blocked sea infiltration routes to the area of Vung Ro Bay.
In one battle in January 1966, two Battalions of NVA tried to overrun two ROK Marine Companies. The fight lasted three hours and the enemy suffered 400 dead outside of the Marines perimeter.
When the 9th ROK "White Horse" Division arrived in fall of 1966 and got settled in, it took responsibility for Tuy Hoa and the "Blue Dragons" were moved into I Corps. the responsibility of the III MAF. The Dragons were positioned in Quang Ngai Province south of Chu Lai, in the southern most province of I Corps.
I Corps, the northernmost Corps straddling the DMZ and Laos, quickly became known as "Marine Country" as the III MAF was assigned responsibility for it, the only corps assigned to a non-Army organization. As an aside, when the U.S. Marine command structure was activated in Vietnam in early May 1965, it bore the name, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, III MAF. On May 7th, just two days later, its name was changed to III MAF in part because General Westmoreland had suggested to the Joint Chiefs that the term Expeditionary would ruffle the Vietnamese, stemming from the days of the French Expeditionary Corps.
Do Not Try This At Home
Sometime between August of '76 and August of '77, one of the battalions of the Striking Ninth (don't remember which one, can claim CRAFT disease) got fragged (fragmentary orders) to flap (fly) somewhere within range of Kadena AFB for some incident that might require a whole Battalion of Marines to handle. (obviously, something large)... After hurriedly "mounting out" from Camp Schwab they were deposited (pay attention to that last word... it is integral to the conflict element of this true story... which could not in any way be rated as a "No Sh-t! story)... along the runways and parking aprons of Kadena Air Force Base... standing by to stand by to board Air Force tubular transporters, ultimate destination a matter of intense speculation.
Not a lot of shade, and quite a piece from any sort of building, especially any building that could provide head facilities ('latrines' or 'powder rooms' to the bus drivers)... Food and water were not much of a problem... cases of C-rations and water buffaloes took care of the intake side of the peristalisitic functions... the other end of this natural process, however, very soon got to be a problem, at least with the hosting blue-suiters, as the Marines were practicing field sanitation... E-tools, etc., and not surprisingly, nobody pulled the trigger to flap the flap... the whole Bn pretty much just cr-pped out there (couldn't resist that one...) and waited... and waited... and waited.
By the second day, a rather stressed S-4 Captain came back up to Schwab and down to the track ramp, where, at the time we had two companies of Amtracks, and two of tanks, and also a pretty good sized motor pool... well over a hundred tracked vehicles alone. He wanted to know if we (a) had any 55-gallon drums, and (b) any way to cut them in two. (Grunts tend not to know a lot about 'machinery') For the younger (and older) cohort out there, VietNam Era Marines will be way too familiar with steel barrel fractions nearly full of diesel fuel as repositories for fecal boli... and that's what Capt Krusemark had in mind. (half barrels are too tall... however, about 1/3 from each end works fine... have no idea who he was going to get to build the seats, or what the Air Force was going to say about all that odiferous smoke...) Of course, a tracked vehicle battalion maintenance platoon is going to have empty drums... quite a few of them.
There is, or was, an MOS for metal work... more than one, if you count machinists, aviation metal smiths, etc., and we had a couple of good ones, including Cpl Broadus... dark green Marine, and an absolute wizard with an oxy-acetylene cutting torch (also known as 'a flame wrench', or 'the blue-tipped spanner'). Broadus could lay out and cut precisely and cleanly, about any shape you could think of... and the end product would look like it had been machined... no slag dingle-berries on his work! I called Broadus to the office, told him what was needed and directed he produce as many 'one-third barrel' containers as we had empty oil drums and plugs for... operative word there being 'oil'... and went back to doing whatever it is that old Captains do.
In no time at all, Cpl Broadus had more crap containers ready to go than Leo was going to be able to get moved in one trip with a jeep and trailer, and as I was proudly pointing out to him the fact that not only could my Marines do his Marine's jobs (rifleman), and that the reverse wasn't likely true, I noticed that a couple of the containers had been originally stenciled in yellow on OD... "MOGAS, 86 Octane"... gasoline! When I asked Broadus, he said, "you just take both plugs out, back up to the barrel, stick the torch in the big hole... it goes 'WHOOOM', and then you can cut it."
Do not try this at home... or at work... or at the hobby shop... or at all!
I think they were down there at Kadena for about a week... never did load up on the planes to go anywhere... we had done the same thing in 2/1/9 (transplacement Bn)... in 1959... only the planes were Flying Boxcars... with propellers...
Lost a friend and shipmate off the USS Wisconsin B B 64, from the 1950s. Fair winds and following seas to Arthur Ritter.
Sgt Don Wackerly 5-56
Just received notice of the passing of my friend, best man and great Marine, Kent Frazelle of Moline, IL. I served with him with honor with H-2-5 and MAG-32 Guard. He is now another Marine guard for heaven's gate. I will miss him dearly.
Former SSGT of Marines ('65-'69)
"The English who emigrated to found a democratic commonwealth on the shores of the New World had all learned to take a part in public affairs in their mother country; they were conversant with trial by jury; they were accustomed to liberty of speech and of the press; to personal freedom, to the notion of rights and the practice of asserting them. They carried with them to America these free institutions and manly customs, and these institutions preserved them against the encroachments of the state."
--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America 
"How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!"
--Samuel Adams, 1776
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."
"All see, and most admire, the glare which hovers round the external trappings of elevated office. To me there is nothing in it, beyond the lustre which may be reflected from its connection with a power of promoting human felicity."
"If a man's rights are inalienable, then people are not morally entitled to violate those rights just because they happen to do so through group action."
"Maggot... if you don't get outta my sight NOW... we will need a 5-man funeral detail... two handles on the sh-tcan, two for road guards, one to count cadence..."
"Make a hole and make it wide, part like the red fr-akin' sea..."
"This is my rifle. There are many other, but this one is mine..."