Sgt Grit Newsletter - 17 OCT 2013

In this issue:
• Anonymous Marine
• Modified Blues
• Family Of Pain

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Tom Flynns Granddaughter

Pumkin Carving


My GRANDSON will be graduating on 10/18. His sister carved a pumpkin for him. Thought maybe some people might enjoy. His Mother, brother, and Grandparents are VERY proud of our new Marine: Eric Baldree. PLATOON 2084, 2nd BN, E CO. Following in Grandpa's footsteps (USMC 69-71).

Don't you just love the Family. How many ARMY/Navy/Air Force pumpkins do you think are out there?

Tom Flynn
CPL. 69-71
RVN 70-71.

Get the t-shirt worn by Tom Flynn's granddaughter at:

Marines OD Green T-Shirt

Marines OD Green T-Shirt

Anonymous Marine

While serving as the Avionics Monitor, MMEA-84A, at HQMC from '78-'81, the Personnel Management Division SgtMaj hand-delivered a letter to me that had an anonymous sender. It was addressed to the Commandant of the Marine Corps. In the letter this anonymous Marine said that the CMC was a p-ssy for not invading Iran to get our embassy hostages rescued, and went on to explain that he didn't join the Corps to stay out of war, he wanted be assigned to a combat outfit and of course he didn't sign his name.

I thought it was amusing as on the return address of the envelope, he wrote his name, rank, MOS and squadron assigned. He was one of my Marines in the OccFld 63/64, and was a LCpl on a detachment in the Med with VMAQ-2 out of Cherry Point. The SgtMaj assured me that the letter would be forwarded to the CG, 2nd MAW at Cherry Point where the CG was "anxiously" awaiting this Marine's return off of deployment. BTW, I gave him his wish and he was transferred to 2nd Marine Division as an 0311 with the rank of PRIVATE!

Semper Fi,
Gene Hays
MSgt, USMC Retired

8th and I

Photo of Marine Silent Drill Team

Marines of the Silent Drill Team.

Modified Blues

Modified Blues

On sea duty in the mid-'50s we wore "modified blues", which were trousers with tropical worsted shirt and white barracks cap. All shirts, tropicals and khaki in those days were long-sleeved. I do not recall any particular designation for this uniform, just modified blues. We wore them for some duty situations, and even wore them on liberty in the Virgin Islands in the summer of 1956 (no, we did not attract any).

Spike Berner
Sergeant of Marines

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Family Of Pain

I'm sitting here writing this with my knees hurting. They've hurt for over 50 years, and I think I can pin point the cause. This story is in response to Ddick's question about those things that we really hated to see coming in Boot Camp.

We wrestled the telephone poles, lifted our buckets filled with sand, ran the obstacle course, climbed the rope, etc., but the things that stand out were all in the "squat family" of torture. "Squat Thrusts" were done without a rifle; you squatted down, put your hands on the ground and thrust your feet out behind you, brought your feet back and stood up. You did this two or three hundred times as I remember. "Squat Jumps" could be done with or without a rifle, and on a few occasions with footlockers. Without the rifle you would interlace your fingers behind your head, squat down ("that azs had better hit them heels") then jump back up, then go back down changing your feet from front to back over and over.

The "Squat Jumps with Rifle" were basically the same except that the rifle was held at arms-length above your head (there was a variation where the rifle was held at arms-length in front of you, and again you did this till you thought your legs/arms would fall off.

The "Duck Walk" was also in this family of pain, and one of my least favorites. This could be done with a rifle, without a rifle or with a footlocker held over your head. One day while on the Big Grinder we were really p-ssing our DI off, so he marched us down one of streets in the 3rd Bn area. As soon as we were out of sight from any Brass on the grinder he ordered us to begin our Duck Walk. It so happened that there was a Platoon in formation on this road, but they were ordered off the road by their DI so that we could "march" by. The only good thing that came out of this whole episode was watching some members of that other Platoon getting "thumped" for walking on the grass (ice plant).

Well that's my input to Ddick's inquiry, but my knees don't feel any better!

Cpl. Selders
Plt. 181


Sgt. Grit,

I'm glad SSgt. J. E. Whimple commented on Marines giving names to those things they liked or disliked while serving in the Marine Corps. During my service of twenty-six years I heard a lot, and sometimes wondered if they served in the same Marine Corps as I did. You had to listen to what the young Marines said, language seemed to change with each generation (remember "Huss").

But the misnomers always got to me and some are still coming down the times, like "Ike" jacket. The "Ike" jacket was a type of jacket that General D. Eisenhower designed for the Army, it was a Form Fitting waist length jacket. Calling a Marine "Battle" Jacket an "Ike" jacket isn't a misnomer, it's an insult.

In about 1958 or so the Marine Corps came out with a "Battle" Jacket that was bloused at the waist and even had button holes for the buttons located on our new trousers, (much like suspender buttons) on the inside back of the trousers (maybe the front also, a lot of fine points are not remembered after 50 odd years). The "Battle" jacket looked so much better than the "Ike" Jacket and was very comfortable, more so that the long blouse issued before and since.

Now something few might not remember or know, but they also issued a "Battle" jacket in Khaki. Now the Khaki Battle Jacket was a "B-tch" when starched, it wasn't as thin as a shirt but as thick as the material in khaki trousers. They didn't last long and neither did the Green "Battle" Jacket (last khaki Battle jacket I saw was in a surplus store many years ago).

Calling a DI a Hat comes under the same Misnomer cr-p as Battle Jacket being called "Ike" jacket.

Some Marines I know (some have written in to Sgt. Grit) don't like EGA being named for our Marine Emblem. You remember Boot Camp, do you remember what your DI did when you miss-named one of the items you were issued?

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

Freedom Hill

Jerry Hardings Corvette

Sgt. Grit,

I thought I would share this photo with you. The Marine Corps is always on my mind and in my heart. I ordered my first car from the GM Military Overseas Representative at the "Freedom Hill" exchange in Da Nang in August 1968. This is my latest.

God Bless all that served and God Bless America.

Semper Fi
CPL Jerry Harding
Red Beach Raiders, RVN Aug '67 - Sept '68

Adapt or Die

I keep hearing, or reading, this phrase and never ever heard it used or "taught" in Boot Camp. Our D.I., Sgt. Richardson used another phrase that is/was more appropriate than that missive that appears to have been copied from a Clint Eastwood Hollywood creation. Sgt. Richardson referred to his statement as the "Dinosaur Rule". Simple and to the point... "Adapt or Die!" No room for questions, and no question as to the intent of rule. I have lived by that rule since boot camp, and it has served (saved) me innumerable times throughout my life. Three little words that have helped me survive and retire from 2 different careers. Now to make up for lots of lost time and catch up on lots of fishing and grandkids!

Bill Wilson
Semper Fi and Gung Ho!

Success In Life

In 1975 I became a Marine. My experiences have taken me around the world and even into transferring into the Navy when they froze rank after Vietnam, and then again transferring into the Army to be an Officer.

Everywhere I have gone people said they could tell I was a Marine because of the way I walked and talked. Even after 38 years people still make that comment to me or my family members about me. The Corps instilled in me the pride and respect that is or has not been seen in other branches. My 7 children even tell all their friends they were raised in Marine boot camp because I have tried to always instill in my family the same esprit de corps that I have and will accept nothing less from them.

My family has served this country for over 200 years. Due to disabilities I am the last of the long line. I am so thankful for what the Marines did to and for me as they did something for me that made me a success in life.


Heroes Stood And Applauded

My wife talked me into attending a Marine Reunion, in Youngstown, Ohio, on August 17th, 2013. It was sponsored by Tri-State Marine Corps League, Detachment 494. There were WWII, Korea, Cold War, Dominican Republic, Vietnam, Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan veterans there.

The speaker, Lt. Col. David B. Morgan, is the Commanding Officer, 1st Recruit Training Bn., MCRD-Parris Island. He talked about what they tell recruits about each of the Marine Corps historical encounters and the men whose footsteps they follow. When he talked about Vietnam Marines, the sacrifices they made, and their shabby treatment on coming home, the whole roomful of heroes stood and applauded.

Semper Fi!
Cpl., 1/5 & 2/5, RVN, '66-'67

The Costs Of Liberty In Waikiki

In reply to Cpl. LeBlanc writing about enjoying his time at K-BAY, I also was stationed there from June '61 through June '63, E-2-4. I enjoyed this duty station very much except for the costs of liberty in Waikiki. Fortunately, the officers and staff NCO's in my company found me to be pretty "squared away" and I received proficiency (pro) pay which made the cost of everything in Hawaii a little more bearable. There are plenty of cockroaches and rats there, but the worst is the mosquito population, especially in the Waikane and Kahuku training areas.

My wife and I have gone to Hawaii for vacation four times, 1969, 1975, 1996 and 2008. We were able to get on the base to visit in 1969, 1975 and 1996. However, in 2008 we were on a cruise to Tahiti and our ship wasn't in port long enough to visit K-Bay that time. Therefore, security may have tightened-up, especially after 2001.

LeBlanc, if you get a chance to go back for a visit, you will be astonished and somewhat disillusioned after seeing K-Bay and the islands. As the song goes - "They have paved paradise and put-up a parking lot".

Cpl. E-4 Wietfeld
# 18xxxxx


M16 breakdown

This image was posted on the Sgt Grit Facebook page, and we received some pretty good feedback from our fans about it. Thought we'd share a few of the comments that we received.

Sgt Grit

Cass Barrett - In my sleep, in the dark, with my eyes closed, any day of the week. Love is a clean rifle.

Roberto Reyna - Its been a while but Im sure I can still do it.

Marcus Smith - Muscle memory!

Robert Bjork - With a blindfold on taken part and reassembled in less than 60 seconds(timed in Boot Camp with an M16 in 1978).

Miguel Rivera - This is my rifle,this is my gun,this is for pleasure,and this is for fun.

Allan Gilbert - Brings back memories... I see the trigger mechanism taken apart to... must be getting ready for an inspection.

Steve Farrington - If you know how to do this then congratulations you just made the government watch list!

See more of these comments at:

Sgt Grit Facebook Page

Wealthy Marine

Got me beat by a couple of years, but sounds like a rare "wealthy" Marine as I recall my days on the ship (USS Wisconsin-BB64) '54-'56, I was earning the fabulous sum of $130 per month. I got two new twenties every first and fifteenth, and had an allotment of $50 going home to pay for a 1949 Mercury which I never saw... (remember the upside down boat look). Anyway I would never have been able to afford any "swooping at his price". Usually the car owner asked for a few bucks for gas and that's about all he got or we had. Also please recall gas wasn't $4 to $5 a gallon, it was like 40 cents. And although not required by law, most cars got decent gas mileage. Anyway, thanks for a different angle on "swooping". I enjoy all Sgt Grit tales...

Sgt Don Wackerly

P.S. Among my souvenirs I have a completed W2 forms that remind me that I made some $1500 one year, don't think I filed income tax... come and get me...

Pugil Practice

Pugil Stick Bout

Yeah, I remember it well.

Aug. 1965, pugil practice. I was paired against the smallest kid in our platoon, I was about middle size then. I went charging out to meet him in the battle space, skidded to a stop as I swung my pugil, and somehow ended up on my b-tt with my left leg in the air. When I brought the leg down my pugil was between my legs and the guy was standing on it beating me severely. My hands in the boxing gloves were pinned beneath my pugil, left leg was extended straight above the stick, and I was trying to keep up on my right knee. He kept swinging, right and left, right and left, and every so often a b-tt stroke and a club to the top/back of the head for good measure.

I finally wised up enough to figure I wasn't going to be able to lift the stick with him standing on it, and my arms were too short to be able to lean back far enough to stand or to lunge forward enough to knock him off his feet. I tried to pull my hands straight out of the gloves only to find that with his weight on the stick that wasn't going to happen, so I began working my arms as much as I could to pull my hands out. All the while he kept flailing away at me as I looked at the world thru the ear hole in the "protective" helmet. I finally pulled one hand loose and as I made a leap and reached for him with my bare hand, my feet were suddenly dangling three feet off the ground. I was suspended by a a fist gripping the back of my collar, and there was a shrill whistling in the ear facing the front of the helmet.

The whuppin' must have gone on for 30-40 minutes, or maybe seconds that felt like minutes. I ended up with a broken nose and black and blue back shoulders for about a week after. My shoulders were so beat up I had to struggle to go thru the manual of arms. Thank God I wasn't asked to "gimme 50."

Yeah, somethings you remember well. My shoulders are feeling the pain again. God, how I miss those days.


What A Strange Life

I'm sure that those of us who were in combat can relate some odd moments when someone or something had to be watching over us.

We had been humping through "tiger grass" for most of the day and was about played-out from having to push our way through this stuff. The C.O. ordered the platoons to form defensive positions and set up shelters. Which we all know, means that we were planning on staying put for a day or two. One of the guys from the 60mm mortar team (from Salt Lake City, UT.) paired up with me and we put our ponchos together to make a tent. We didn't use shelter halves for tents because they were too heavy to carry and basically only had one function for them; so they weren't practical to carry in the field. But I digresses. One of the Marines from the southern states must have gotten a (stars and bars) flag from home and decided to run it up above the tents and watch it fly in the small breeze that didn't often blow in V.N. Well, a NVA sniper found this flag to be very helpful as well because he/she was able to start putting rounds right on top of us.

My friend went to the mortar pit, that was next to our tent, and started putting out rounds. I should admit at this point, that I hadn't gotten around to digging my fighting hole; so I went in to the mortar pit and helped to break out rounds for the fire team. Well after a heated response by everyone, the sniper stopped shooting. The C.O. ordered that the flag be taken down and explained that snipers really didn't need our help with being their spotters. I'm pretty sure that he was not from the south either.

My friend and I went back to our tent to get some rest. That's when I noticed the hole above my head. At first, I was pretty mad about it, but then I started tracing the path of the hole. I was able to find another one on the other side of the tent and then where a bullet had hit the dirt. It was piled up around the mortar pit and stopped by my helmet that was setting there in front of me because I hadn't bothered to put it on during the shooting. If I had worn my head gear like I should have then the sniper would have gotten me right in the head. True story... "I sh-t you not".

Whenever it rained, I would get wet because of that hole in my poncho and my friend from Salt Lake City, UT. wouldn't share a tent with me again, but it didn't matter because that helmet became my "good luck charm" for the rest of my tour. The other guys were always trying to get it from me.

What a strange life we lived in those years.

Semper Fi my friends,
Robert Bliss

Wife Almost Divorced Me

In Dec. of 1954, as a young Pvt. after completion of Cold Weather training at Pickle Meadows, I shipped out on the USNS General Gaffey from San Diego Harbor to Kobe, Japan. We were assigned to Easy Co, 2dBn, 4th Marine Regiment. After less than 3 months, we boarded APA's and transferred the entire regiment to Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. We became the original members of the 4th Marine Brigade (Rein). We moved into clean and empty barracks and was there from Feb. 1955 to Nov. 1956. I never saw cockroaches or rats in our barracks. Later on in my career, I was a HAT from July 1965 to Nov 1966 at MCRD San Diego. I then was reassigned to I&I duty in Reno, NV. It was supposed to have been for a tour of three years. I requested a transfer to the lst Marine Div in Nam and was approved, this just after 14 months in Reno. My wife almost divorced me when she found out I had volunteered for this reassignment.

I have a personal request: As a JDI for my first recruit platoon, and then afterwards as PC for the rest of duty as a HAT, I trained quite a few recruit platoons. Sometime during a transfer, all the pictures of my recruit platoons were lost in shipment. I only have copies of Platoons 347, 341 and platoon 3317, which was my last herd. My tour was with Kilo company, 3dRTBn the entire period. My request is for any Marines that I helped train that read this, please e-mail me a platoon picture for platoons other than the three listed above, which I received from former members. My wall is bare without those platoon pictures. My Email is: jhinojosa22[at]

Thanks, Sgt Grit, for your help and your outstanding Newsletter.

GySgt J.J. Hinojosa (Ret)

One Of Ours

Sgt. Grit,

The Marine Corps lost a friend recently. Jim McGrath, the chief editorial writer for the Albany (N.Y.) Times Union, died on Sept. 4 of a heart attack at the age of 56.

Jim was a colleague of mine. He had never served in any branch of the military but he took a great interest in my tales of my time in the Corps (1968-71). As all Marines know, the truth about life in "the cr-tch" is stranger than fiction, and I made it a point to always tell Jim the absolute truth. Nothing more was needed to impress upon him the Corps' unique qualities. We often forget that what is normal for Marines is difficult for many civilians to process, and Jim's incredulity at, say, my description of a normal day in boot camp prompted a flood of breathless questions from him that I patiently answered, and that usually ended with him slapping the bar and exclaiming "Oh, my god!" A casual conversation could stretch into an hour or more as Jim interrupted me to ask such things as:

What's an M79?
What do you mean by "top?"
What does "di di mau" mean?
What's an "XO?"
Where was Dogpatch?
How far is a "click?"
What does "dust-off" mean?
How was the food?
What is "liberty?"
What's a "donut dollie?"
What was Quantico like?
What happened in Tijuana?
What are ham and motherf-ckers?
Why do you go crazy when a news story refers to a Marine as a soldier?

And on and on. Jim was also interested in why anyone would voluntarily subject himself to such an ordeal as a hitch in the Marine Corps. That was more difficult to explain because each of us has a different reason for wanting to be a Marine. But because Jim was a perceptive man with a genuine interest in people and their motivations, he was able to understand why I, at least, took that particular path.

As he came to know more about the Corps and Marines, his admiration for me and my brethren was unbounded. I have found that some people who were never in the military, for one reason or another, get a vicarious thrill from hearing what it is like to be a Marine. Jim was like that and he grew to appreciate, to a degree, the Corps and its values. As part of that feeling, he always made sure to reserve a space on the Times Union's op-ed page for the Marine Corps birthday story I write each year. That particular tradition will live on as part of his legacy.

Jim McGrath is gone and all Marines should mourn him. He wasn't one of us, but he was one of ours.

Semper Fi,
Bill Federman
Sgt., USMC
RVN 1970-71

They Were The Old Breed

The following is quoted from Captain John W. Thomas, United States Marine Corps, in 1918 in reference to his fellow Marines in France:

"There were North Westerners with Straw Colored hair, and delicately spoken chaps with the stamps of Eastern Universities.

There were large boned fellows from Pacific Coast Lumbercamps and tall lean southerners who swore amazingly in gentle drawling voices.

There were husky farmers from the corn belt and youngsters who had sprung to arms from the necktie counties.

And there were also a number of diverse people who ran curiously to type with drilled shoulders and a bone deep sunburn and a tolerant scorn of nearly everything on earth.

They were the leathernecks, they were the old breed, regarding the service as home. And they transmitted their temper, and character, and viewpoint to the high hearted mass which filled the ranks of the Marine Brigade.

There is nothing particularly glorious about sweaty fellows going along to fight. And yet they represent a great deal more than individuals mustered into a division. There is also what is behind those men, the old battles, long forgotten that secured our nation. Traditions of things endured, and things accomplished, such as regiments hand down forever.

And that abstract thing called Patriotism, which I have never heard combat soldiers mention.

All this passes into the forward zone, to the point of contact, where war is grit with horrors, and common men endure these horrors, and overcome them, along with the insistent yearnings of the belly, and reasonable promptings of fear... And in this I think is Glory."

(From an internet posting by GySgt Miller on May 12, 1999)

Submitted by: Chris G.


Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #6, #10, (OCT., 2016)

I want to start off by saying that my years in the Corps were sprinkled with friendships from all spectrums of life, and from all corners of the country. But, it seemed that the largest accumulation of characters and talent was when I was with HMMT-301 (later HMHT-301) at MCAF Santa Ana, Calif. There was just this strange feeling of "getting over a major hurdle in life and nothing could stop us now" type of attitude. And it wasn't felt by only a few, but by everybody. There are, I'm sure, a lot of stories that I'm missing here, but my brain only holds a few anymore. Now, I have to provide enough space to remember what pills to take when, and also directions back to my house when I drive down town. Don't worry, you'll all be there one of these days, soon! Once you turn in your 782 (web) gear things start to go down hill fast. So, I'd better get back to a story that just surfaced, and it had to do with having to re-qualify on the Rifle and Pistol range when we returned to CONUS. Now, I know what you're thinking? Why are we Re-qualifying after just coming from Combat, well, we apparently still had ammo to use up and Southern Calif. was low on lead deposits, so it stands to reason that we should help put more lead in the ground.

We were given the word as to when to report to the range. This was followed by a trip to the armory where we checked out Rifles for the upcoming event. It was also decided that a Muster would be required. The place of choice was called the "Half Crown" on Edinger St. in Santa Ana, Calif. Many of us decided to meet there and "prep the Zone" so to speak and several of the guy's also invited their wives and girlfriends (but, not both) for the festivities. The "Half Crown" was not a very big place, but it was a cozy friendly establishment in an area that was not far out the gate from the Air Facility. I remember sitting in a booth with one of the younger married couples, and this guy's wife was a sweet young lady from the farm country somewhere in Indiana. After a couple of glasses of beer and a great deal of conversation somehow the talk turned to how this young Marine was going to pay for his bullets at the range the following Monday.

I wondered if I was hearing correctly, but I wasn't about to say anything derogatory, so I kept my mouth shut. As it turned out this Marine almost had his wife convinced that he had to pay for the ammo that he used at the range. This was his method of getting "Beer Money" for the day after shooting. Pretty Clever, HUH! Did it work? NO WAY! Smart Young Lady!


Hello Sgt. Grit,

I received notice this week that Wayne A. Duffy, truly a fine gentleman, a brother Marine, and member of our "Greatest Generation", has been called home by the Lord to help guard the pearly gates of Heaven.

Wayne served our glorious Corps from April 1944 to August 1946. Wayne was a BAR man in the Pacific theater from March 1944 through August of 1946, and participated in the occupation of Japan from March 1945 through June of 1946. He will be sadly missed by his family and friends. God Bless and Semper Fi Mr. Duffy, Semper Fi.

Pete C.
Former SSgt. '65-'69
RVN '66-'67, '69
H-2/5 (2)


Unfortunately the SgtMaj. J.T. Allen who passed on in Henderson, NV. in 2006, is my misplaced friend. He married late and had no children. I will document the items I have, from the action we participated in and he will live on in the memories and stories I relate to my sons and grandchildren. He was truly one of a thousand, a true friend, a brother, and a Marine's Marine.

R.I.P. Sergeant Major John T. Allen
26 March 1928 - 29 October 2006
Sid Lawrence

Short Rounds

Re Ddick's "really rather hated to see coming" suggestion. Still cringe 57 years later when I think of marching on the grinder at MCRDSD and the Drill Instructor barks out "Port H'rms" as a prelude to "Double Time Harch!" We know we'll run until we die.

PT is strictly mind over matter, I don't mind and you don't matter.

Jack Pomeroy
PI '66-'68"

Legendary Vietnam Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap dies at 102.

I was Seagoing from late '56 to mid-'58 and we wore UnDress Blues a lot (blue trousers with khaki shirt) for a lot of informal events (with or without field scarfs) and white covers. We looked good and it was a lot cooler than wearing the blue blouse. It's a good looking uniform.

Jack LaFleur
Cpl. '56 to '59


"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."

"I come in peace, I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you f-ck with me, I'll kill you all."
--Marine General James Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders

"H-ll, these are Marines. Men like them held Guadalcanal and took Iwo Jima. Bagdad ain't sh-t."
--Marine Major General John F. Kelly

"We signed up knowing the risk. Those innocent people in New York didn't go to work thinking there was any kind of risk."
--Pvt. Mike Armendariz-Clark, USMC; Afghanistan, 20 September 2001 As reported on page 1 of the New York Times

"No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable."
--James Madison

"Close it up, Move it. Azzholes to elbows. Close it up."

"The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war."

"Dinosaur Rule"... "Adapt or Die!" "You will adapt, or you will answer to me. Do you understand you bunch of low-life roots?"

The Marine Corps Birthday is coming up. How about a few stories about your most memorable one.

Semper Fi!
Sgt Grit

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