If you are having trouble viewing this issue, see it on our website:

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 18 JUL 2013

In this issue:
• In The Presence of Heroes
• Still Laughing
• Such An Uproar

Online Store TShirts Men's Headgear Patches Women's

Flags   Family Member   Ka-Bars   Auto   Headgear  Jackets  ALL CATEGORIES  

Request a catalog
Facebook Twitter Sgt Grit Blog Sgt Grit's RSS Feeds

I have a patch for VMO-3 which has a Vietnamese motto underneath. What does this mean? I have tried researching it on the internet, but can find nothing.

Thank you,

Fisher House

We would like to thank all who have donated to the Fisher House charity over the previous quarter. We are happy to announce that the total donated came to a grand total of $4192.00.

Thanks for your selflessness and generosity in helping to provide Fisher House with this monetary gift that will allow them to continue to provide help to all of our military families in need.

In the Presence of Heroes

I read from time to time comparisons between old Marines and young Marines, and as a Sgt during the 70s, I had my own ideas, both good and not as good. I found out recently just how far off base this is.

About 8 weeks ago, I took my oldest son (Jon's about 29), to the amazing Museum of the U.S. Marines Corps outside the gate of Quantico. I'd been there once before. We had been there about a half hour. Jon had just qualified with the M-16 at the inside range, and we were standing in one area looking at a display of rifles from the 1800s. I looked across the room and saw 4 men in what I would guess were their mid 20s. It was a hot day, and they were in shorts. They were also standing in front of another weapon display. I asked my son to look over at them and tell me if he saw anything unusual. He looked over and said to me, Dad, they don't have any feet! Yeah, all four were double amputees.

Did it look like they were aware of it? No, It was obvious they were wounded, fixed, and ready to go back for more. Stuff happens. Not a single human foot among them. I realized right then, that we have amazing men in our ranks, I'm very proud to be a Marine.

When I spoke to one of them a bit later, it was as if nothing had happened to him. We were looking at a display of M-1's and wished we had a chance to fire one. We discussed what boot camp in 1974 was like vs. today. I wished him well, and was glad for the opportunity to be in the presence of heroes.

Rick Cassel (2841)
SGT 1974-1978

Still Laughing

Sgt. Grit,

Still laughing after reading this one, I was not a PHU KHEN Aviator, but I did work in the PHU KHEN aviation maintenance section, I know that all us old air wingers have great pride in the CORPS and our PHU KHEN Aviators.

Semper Fi
Chuck Michalski
Cpl. '62-'66

P.S. I also had some experience with PHUC DUP, I assume he was Phu Khen's XO.


This dental and nickname story can be verified at the Marine Corps Museum by visiting the Hill 881S section of the Vietnam War Gallery and locating Clarence and the commemorative plaque.

As India Company, 3rd Bn, 26th Mar was ordered from Dong Ha to Khe Sanh, Chuck Reed had gone to NSA Da Nang to have his teeth pulled and fitted with dentures so he could enjoy chewing his C-rats. As India was about to move out, Chuck arrived smiling with a big grin showing off his new choppers like a Cheshire cat. Arriving in Khe Sanh, India was assigned the strategic hill defensive position on Hill 881S. After the siege started, the Hill was pretty well fortified with trench lines, bunkers, and bunny holes dug into the wall of the trenches just big enough to sleep one Marine at a time. Chuck's bunny hole was near one of the .50 cal. positions where he could catch some sack time. As was his habit, when he crawled into his bunny hole he would place his dentures in the small top pocket of his flak jacket.

Now everyone knows the stories of the huge rats in Vietnam and Hill 881S had its share. They had been feeding on dead NVA buried in shallow graves since the "Hill Fights" in 1967. Anyway, one night as Chuck slept he was awakened by a large rat sitting on his chest staring in his face with Chuck's new dentures clenched firmly in its mouth. Chuck reached for his dentures but Clarence, the rat, took off down the trench line. With Chuck in hot pursuit swinging an e-tool in a futile attempt to apprehend Clarence and retrieve his dentures, Marines manning the trench line were grabbing at sandbags to lift their legs up to avoid this huge rat with the biggest set of teeth they had ever seen, to pass with this crazy Marine close behind wildly swinging an e-tool. Clarence was last seen hopping out of the trench and heading down the hill.

Chuck refused evacuation to get replacement dentures but selected only C-rats he could mash into a paste and "gum" them to eat. Chuck "GUMS" Reed got new dentures after the siege ended 15 April 1968, but his nickname remained with him until his death on 17 Oct 2009. Now GUMS and Clarence are immortalized at the Marine Corps Museum.

L Gore, Cpl
India 3/26

Such An Uproar

Sgt Grit,

Please allow me to submit my reply to Marines who have written to you about "drumming out" ceremonies in the Marine Corps. First, being a history buff, a bit of history on the ceremony.

The first military man to be "drummed out" of the service was Lieutenant Frederick Enslin from the U.S. Army on March 15, 1778. His crime - sodomy. His coat was stripped of all insignia. His coat was turned wrong side out. He was marched across the bridge that afforded access to the fort, as the tune "Rogue's March" was played by drummers. As a result, "Rogue's March" became the traditional music used for such an event. This is one of those traditions we inherited from the British.

Down through the glorious history of this great country, numerous instances of "drumming out" have been recorded. Typically, the errant man's head was shaved, all military insignia was removed, stripped from his uniform, "Rogue's March" was played by at least two drummers, and he was marched to the closest gate or exit point by armed guards. However, the practice lost favor after the Korean War.

The Marine Corps used the ceremony many times throughout our proud history until the practice was terminated in April of 1962 by General David M. Shoup who was the Commandant from 1960 until 1963. He was also awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during WWII.

Colonel William C. Capehart, Commanding Officer of Marine Barracks, Norfolk, Virginia, revived the tradition when a Marine in his command committed larceny and was found guilty by a General Court Martial, and was sentenced to a Bad Conduct Discharge. The X-Marine was marched before four platoons of Marines in dress blue uniforms. The discharge proclamation was read, the Marines were given about face, and the X-Marine was escorted off the post as drums rolled the "death march". Numerous civilians, Sailors, and dependents witnessed the event. Several hundred letters were written to the President, Congress, and the Commandant. There was such an uproar concerning the event that General Shoup believed he had no choice but to terminate the practice. He did so by Marine Corps Order in May 1962. Accordingly, no Commanding Officer should have ordered a "drumming out" after that date. However, knowing Marines as I do, I suspect there are instances when some officers assumed the initiative and ordered a "drumming out", although there are no records of the ceremony being used after that date.

One more comment, please. I, like you, have pet peeves that simply annoy me. You, rightfully, insist that the word Marine should always be capitalized. There is a statement made by many that I have the same opinion about. Some Marines say, "I joined the Marines". No one joins the Marines - period. You join the Marine Corps. It would be the same as saying "I joined the Soldiers", or "I joined the Sailors". Everyone who joins the Marine Corps is a Marine if he/she completes boot camp successfully, and they are called Marines. But, they can't be joined. You must join the Marine Corps.

Thanks for allowing me to "sound off".

Semper Fi,
A Former "Hat"
GySgt, USMC (Ret)


Sgt Grit,

I was looking forward to a nice peaceful 4th of July weekend while the wife and I were out shopping and running errands this past Friday when I ran into my first "in public" faker P.O.S. (my only other occurrence with a faker was with a female co-worker several years ago). Anyway, we were in a mall clothing store check-out line and I am standing behind my wife as she is paying, wearing my black "Marine Corps Veteran" cover, when this guy looks at me and says, "nice hat". I replied, "thanks" and turned back around. He steps around in front of me and says, "I was a Marine too – I ran two recon platoons. I was in from '87 to '90 and was stationed on Okinawa, the Rock." He stressed the word "Rock" as if I was supposed to be overly impressed with someone who was stationed there like it was equivalent to climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. At this point he has my attention. I still did not pick up so much that he said the word hat instead of cover, but the guy just did not pass the eye test. He was barely about 5'2", and not that I am tall at 5'8" but he was just weak looking and puny with little rounded shoulders and a sunken chest with spindly little pale arms and legs. He just looked like a dweeb and I never saw a recon Marine, or any Marine for that matter unless he was very old or very sick who looked like this cat. H-ll, the visor of his little baseball HAT was all twisted and warped and he just did not look the part. But, I was willing to look past all that at the moment and probably so because at that moment looking back I was still unsure of what I was dealing with, and I was standing in a crowded store.

Then, he asked me where I was stationed and I replied, "Camp Geiger", to which he replies, "oh yeah, isn't that somewhere in North Carolina?" BAM, the antenna really goes up and the blood starts filling the neck veins! Then he says, "yeah, I did my infantry training at Camp Lejeune." My wife must have seen my neck veins bulge and my face contort because at that moment she grabbed my forearm and turned me around to leave the store. The jerk, at that point still had the gall to shout, "Semper Fi" as we turned and walked out. My wife got me outside and asked what that was all about. I told her the guy was a faker and she asked how I knew. I replied that the guy claimed to have attended Infantry Training School at Lejeune, when it's held at Camp Geiger and then he did not really know that Geiger was located right next to Lejeune where he supposedly attended ITS. And, to top it off he said, "nice hat", instead of "nice cover". At this point, even she got upset and said, well, he sure did not look like a Marine. And to boot, he was claiming to be a recon Marine! The odd thing was that he obviously read up on or studied Marine history because he knew just enough to bullsh-t someone from another branch of the service or a civilian, but to bullsh-t a Marine about that is just too brazen. Where do these dumbazses get the balls to do this cr-p? My guess is that he probably served in another branch of the service and has served with recon Marines at some point. Where do these guys come from?

Semper Fi,
Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima 3/8, Weapons Plt.

Luck of the Draw

Sgt. Grit,

In the 1960s around the escalation of the Vietnam War the Marine Corps had two ways to deal with promotions:

1. If you had a unit where the Marines you worked for were from the Old School - they insisted you should have time in grade for a promotion.

2. In Headquarters Marine Corps, and areas where retired Marines were now GS high ranking - like 13 and up - they told the Captains and Majors how to run their respective units? When a Marine was eligible for promotion... some promoted them from a situation where, in a 4 year period, we had Staff Sergeants in three to four years on their first enlistment?

I guess it was luck of the draw in some circumstances. I am a Marine and found this hard to deal with! Most of the time a Corporal like me would be asked by a Sergeant or Staff Sergeant to help out due to their lack of experience - not overall ability to execute duties properly?

I believe that the main goal is to accomplish the mission - and as a Marine I did my duty out of respect to the Corps - "You respect the rank of an individual not the person of that rank"!

Bruce Bender
CPL 1963-1967

It Was An Eye Opener

Sgt. Grit,

I just buried my father at the Riverside National Cemetery. His name is Calvin Prescott. He served during WW2 in the Corps. All my life all he ever told me was that he was on Iwo Jima. Never heard him talk about the Corps other than that. I went into the Corps in 1970. Still he wouldn't talk about the Marines. I had seen and played with his uniform as a child and haven't seen it for the last 50 yrs.

Last week while taking care of his estate I found it. Got to looking up the patches on it and finally got the whole picture of his time in the Corps. He was in the 5th Marine Div. They were the first in on Iwo and had the most fatalities and wounded. I won't go into all the history of the 5th, but it was an eye opener for me. His medals were all earned while in the 5th. Just wanted to report the passing of another one of our Marine brothers. Thanks for the time.

Semper Fi
Dean Prescott
USMC/ 1970 - 1973

I You Have To Spit

Sgt Grit,

I served nearly two years in Japan and the dental care was hard to come by. When I was transferred back to Cherry Point one of the first things they did was a complete dental exam. The x-rays showed two of my wisdom teeth coming in wrong and needed to be removed. The first and easiest one was done by a new LT and he was a very recent graduate of dental school. So, I thought I was lucky as he was up on the latest methods, boy was I wrong. The tooth was coming in to hit the one in front of it so it was pulled. I was given codeine for the pain and told to get ice from the mess hall to keep the swelling down, and to rinse with salt water. Needless to say it hurt, it swelled up and bleed.

The next tooth was the bad one, as it was hitting my jaw bone. The dentist that did that extraction was a Captain and had to use a hammer and chisel to cut away some of the bone. I can still feel my head bouncing off the head rest. When he finished I asked for codeine and he said I wouldn't need it. I asked about the ice and he said no, and when I asked about the salt water rinse he said "If you have to spit then spit." To prove that experience trumps new education it never hurt, swelled or any other problems.

Semper Fi

Worst and Best Posts

Sgt. Grit,

Your letters have been about food, Doctors and Dentists, Posts served at, and aircraft flown. I would like to tell you about the Worst and Best Posts that I have Served.

The Worst was U.S. Naval Prison Terminal Island, San Pedro, California. The Naval Prison had 3 huge cellblocks. One post was inside a cell in the cellblock, inside along the wall of each cellblock was the cat walk where a guard could walk and see what was going on inside each cell in the cellblock. The cellblock guard was inside with at least 50 prisoners, he carried a night stick by the way. His job was to prevent any illegal activities like fighting or escapes. The Guard reported in every 15 minutes and the Guard Sergeant checked from time to time, not scheduled. In 1949 the U.S. Government took control of the prison and the Military personnel stationed there were to escort Military prisoners to Prisons closest to their homes.

One of the Prisoner escorts I made was to El Reno, Oklahoma. One of the prisoners we escorted had been involved in an escape from Yerba Buena Island Naval Brig by knocking the Marine Guard down, taking his M1893 Winchester 12-Gauge Shotgun, tried to jack a round in the chamber, held it to the Guard's head and pulled the trigger. It didn't go off, so he pulled the Guard up and made him and the other three prisoners try to hide and/or get away from the island. Marines from Treasure Island and Hunters Point were sent to YBI to search for and capture the Prisoner. Three more times he tried to shoot the Guard, but it failed to fire, finally he was captured by some Marines and was finally sent to a Naval Prison, Terminal Island (the reason the shotgun failed to fire was the Brass 12-gauge shells were bent from loading and unloading to count before each tour of duty). So I went to this Prisoner, handcuffed from his left hand to the left hand of the prisoner in front, his right hand to the right hand of the prisoner behind, leg chains the same. Then I told him that I was there at YBI trying to find him, so I knew who he was. If he intended to try to escape I was going to have to shoot him. When we arrived at El Reno and the prison door slammed shut he collapsed.

We delivered prisoners all over the western United States including Alcatraz. My Best Duty Station was, as I have said before, Bermuda. My house was next to the smallest draw bridge in the world. We competed in rifle and pistol matches with American Forces and British Forces in which we won most of them. Note picture, I am on the right, this was just the small bore championship. On most summer days, when training and guard was posted, the Captain Commanding would call and find out if the base fishing boat was available, and liberty call was blown about 11 AM.

Three great years there, the only flaw was my wife wanted to return to the states on the Queen of Bermuda ship and we're pulled off at the last moment and had to return on a Beautiful Connie aircraft.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

Really Easy 'Til

Thanks Sgt. Grit for your newsletter. I enjoy reading all the "sea stories." Seems like everyone has some story about what happened in the Corps. Nothing ever happened to me – 'til I was standing on the yellow footprints! Seems like it started before I joined and told other people about my plans to enlist in the Marine Corps. All your gunna hear is: "I can't hear you." No matter how loud you yell. Well, I figured yea – yea, you're just telling me things to scare me and make me think twice about my decision. I know what I'm doing. So, along I go up to Los Angeles to the induction center (where people would come in to look at me because I did so well on the entrance exam, and yet was still planning on joining the Marines)!

Bus ride down to San Diego with about 8 other future Marines and the rest of the bus filled with people going to the Navy boot camp. The bus driver said he would drop off the Marines first so the Navy guys would see what it's like to be treated like people and not animals! What does he mean? I don't know and I'm not going to worry about it. The bus pulls into MCRD and the bus driver warns us not to hit our heads when the Sergeant comes aboard, then gives instructions. Here he comes, looks pretty serious. "All you sweet young things that seems to think you've got what it takes to be a Marine and signed your name to the paper stating that... I now own your pathetic body, stand up, get off the bus and stand on the yellow footprints." I could hear heads banging on the overhead luggage holder as we got off and stood on the famous yellow footprints. The bus left and there we were. The Sergeant started barking out additional orders and then said, "I Can't Hear You." Apparently, I must have smiled. Because in 1 microsecond there was this ugly, mean, gnarly face about 1 inch in front of my face spewing questions at me about what I thought was so amusing. I couldn't come up with a satisfactory answer and that's where I learned how to do the limbo with the back of my head nearly touching the pavement.

Like I said, it was real easy 'til I was standing on the yellow footprints.

Semper Fi,
Sgt. "Andy" Anderson
1968 - 1972

Nearly Choked to Death

First off, wanted to say to Jim (the Ole Gunny) McCallum thanks for the great story about AV-8-ers. I was sucking on some pogey-bait at the time and nearly choked to death laughing. At first I was really into the history lesson because it's one of my favorite subjects, and I've read a few books about Genghis Kahn. About 2/3rd's of the way through I caught on. I realized I've flown with quite a few Phu Khen AV-8-ers and even one Phuc Dup AV-8-er (he broke the skid on a Huey one day landing a bit too hard). Love your stuff Gunny. Keep 'em coming, please!

To Mr. Rader, sorry if it sounded like I was complaining (or even whining). I didn't mean to sound that way, but sometimes what you write loses a lot in the translation since you can't hear a person's tone, see his facial expressions, etc. I re-read what I typed and it did sound like complaining. I was really venting frustration as I was typing that post. As I stated, like most Veteran Marines, I love the Corps. Like others, I'm sure, not always some of the people in it. True for any organization in my view. Anyway, thanks for the suggestion about the Marine Corps League. I will definitely check that out. Sgt Grit, I attached a couple of pics of my new Jeep with some of your products on it. Hope you've got the room to post 'em.

Respectfully Submitted,
J. A. Howerton II
SSgt USMC (Ret)

Naval Doctors, Dentists, and Corpsmen

Sgt Grit,

Most Marines today haven't seen the Dental drill used by the Dentist's working the Islands during World War II, and the Dentist's working the Korean War specially during the beginning of the War. The Dentist's drill was pump actuated by the Dentist while he ground on your teeth as can be seen in the picture. My first Dentist after I retired had been an Army Dentist, he told me about getting out of Dental College and going in the Army, then he was set up with several other Dentists and they worked from dawn to dusk on Soldiers going overseas, getting experience. Then he was supplied with a Jeep and trailer and a driver. He landed at Normandy on "D" plus 5, then followed units of his Division across France and Germany. He would go to the unit selected by Hdqtrs. set up his pump actuated Dental Drill and go to work. He told me how good he got with the pump machine, nothing like a powered Dental drill but it worked good.

When I went to the Dentist and saw him working on a Marine, I went back to my unit and waited until the power units were working in the rear areas. I never had a bad Naval Doctor or Dentist. I heard all kinds of horror stories during and after my career, always wondering why a Naval Doctor. As an example in Vietnam, a Marine was hit by a M80 grenade and it was inside his body, the danger of it exploding is always there, but he went ahead and operated, removing the grenade and transferring it to a EOD man behind him who was advising.

I saw a Dentist who was working on a Korean Vet that had been hit in the jaw with a .45 bullet that had come from a Chinese Soldier. The Dentist had to remove what teeth he could so they could operate and bring his face back into semblance. I treasure my memories of the Naval Doctors, Dentist and Corpsmen I served with, mostly remembering when I ingested radiation and the Naval Doctor told me they had no training for this, but gave me his idea of what he thought best I do. I did as he told me, within days my white blood count went down, my hair stopped falling out and my finger nails went smooth. Woman Dentists you say... what a treat that would be.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired.

Break My Jaw

Been reading several issues about Dental care in the Marine Corps and decided to tell about my experiences with Naval Dental Clinics.

I had been going around base (MCAS, Cherry Point, NC) getting checked out for retirement. Went to the Dental Clinic in back of the base hospital for my final dental check. Had it done by the Chief of the clinic and he told me that since all my teeth in the lower portion of my mouth were in need of braces to realign them, that if I agreed to stay on active duty for another 6 months, that they could straighten them out. I asked what it would entail and he explained that I would be sent to the Navy Dental School in Orlando, FL and that they would break my jaw in five places and then realign them, and I would need to wear some type of apparatus to keep them in position while my jaw healed. I told him that for 23 years I would have a dental check and teeth filled, but no one even mentioned having my teeth realigned, and that if he thought that I would be willing to have my jaw broken in several places when I was retiring that he could just as well forget it.

Had my teeth straightened with braces years later and they didn't need to break my jaw to do it.

Robert Otto

Bizzare For Boot Camp

When I was a kid I had reasonably good dental habits or so I thought. That meant I brushed my teeth. But, unfortunately my mom had a morbid fear of doctors and dentists, especially dentists. I didn't realize that normally kids saw dentists on some regular basis. By the time I was a Sophomore in High School all this came home to roost with an abscess and upon examination, a treasure trove of cavities, singles, doubles, and triples. My dentist hit the jackpot.

My parents weren't flush with money so they addressed this spread out over time. It took me until I was a senior before I got back on track. After graduation when I started working I kept on top of it. I don't recall the details, but after I enlisted I didn't go back the very next day. I don't recall the lag time, but I had time to take care of "my affairs" e.g. selling my car, telling incredulous people I joined the Marines, and have a going away party.

My older brother was in the Navy prior and when he found out I enlisted he shared one piece of advice... "stay away from the Navy dentists" with some horror stories to drive the point home. I got the point... so I did one more thing to get ready. I went to my dentist & told him to make sure I didn't launch off with ANY teeth problems. And I didn't.

When do they take you to the dentist in boot camp? Not long after you get there if I recall. Here's what I vaguely remember. We were marched to wherever the dentists hang out. I think it was spacious enough to either get us all inside or at least a couple of squads at a time. But, you don't see a dentist... you see dentists. An assembly line of them. The first dentist checks you out generally and does triage. X-rays? Don't remember any or if done, it was only for more serious procedures.

Dentist number one then determines if you need fillings, extractions, or both after which they start sorting you into sub-groups. Who then go off to the extraction guys, or the filling guys, or others. In my case I turned out to be unique. Like everyone else I was apprehensive about what these guys would do. But to my great relief, I didn't need anything done. My dentist did his thing well. So it was my fate to go back to the assembly area (inside) in front of the various rooms, and spend the entire day there. DIs and recruits were going to/fro having their work done with the DIs keeping a jaundiced eye on me. They didn't make me stand at attention at least, but parade rest for hours on a hard floor was a mixed blessing. And, I may have had my Marine Corps Guidebook handy as well. Because as the day went on, they progressively finished with boots who needed work and over time we were re-assembling, all with idle hands.

This seemed like a bunch of eternities. Yeah it beat the alternative for sure, and being ignored for a change wasn't half bad. So, I had this bizarre birds-eye view of the whole process, but not really being part of it. Bizarre for boot camp that is. Watching them move from station to station, the DIs helping them along etc. And like some other people mentioned. One guy had every tooth in his mouth yanked... in one day. And seeing that made me very very glad I went in, completely caught up.

This is one of those deals where you only move as fast as the slowest member or in this case whoever needed the most work. But, all good things come to an end and we finished up and were marched off to the next item in the schedule for the day.

Cpl Don Harkness

Some Hot Water

Sgt. Grit,

Thanks for the T-shirt, greatly appreciated. I have read your newsletter since I bought my first item from you and it seems to me that there has to be some way to get things done without all the f'king paperwork. I'm talking about our Marines who were in combat. Seems to me that there is a lot of red tape to get what they have earned, unless you get a Senator involved. I know from personal experience, got myself into some hot water while I was in and if it wasn't for my family reaching out to a Senator I would probably be behind the walls of Levenworth. Young and dumb! Love your newsletter... Sgt. O or that probably is Pvt. O now LMAO. Semper Fi.

The Greatest Family on Earth

Sgt Grit,

I realize that I am preaching to the choir on this, but we Marines are Blessed to be a part of the greatest family on earth. Two brief examples: A couple of weeks ago I was riding my motorcycle from Houston to Denver and stopped in a main street diner in a very small town on the High Plains, where the only other customers were a couple of recent Marines riding their motorcycles home from a Veterans motorcycle rally up in the Dakotas. We got to talking about our Corps and our experiences, though they were separated by about 30 years, then thanked each other for the service to our country. After they left the waitress came over and said that the departing gentlemen had paid for my meal. I was quite touched.

This past week while at the doctor's office getting a tune-up we got to talking about our recently graduated children when I casually mentioned my own service in the Corps right out of high school. It was a great conversation, and after about 20 minutes a patient being treated in the room next door stuck his head in and quietly said "Semper Fi" before wandering out the door. I have been tripping the lights fantastic for days now over both incidents.

Semper Fi, my brothers and sisters!
Bob Dickerson
Corporal of Marines

Platoon Books

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

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

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

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

--8th Release--

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

Platoon 1020 Nov. 11, 1975 to Jan. 27, 1976.

Platoon 322 March 8, 1976 to May 24, 1976.

Platoon 224 March 15, 1976 to June 1, 1976.

Platoon 149 June 9, 1976 to Aug.25, 1976.

Platoon 154 June 23, 1976 to Sept. 8, 1976.

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

Platoon 3054 June 4, 1976 to Aug. 20, 1976.

Platoon 2084 Aug. 23, 1976 to Nov. 10, 1976.

Platoon 3007 Jan. 14, 1977 to April 1, 1977.

Platoon 1044 June 1, 1977 to Aug. 17, 1977.

Platoon 2066 July 29, 1977 to Oct. 14, 1977.

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

Down On All Fours

Sgt. Grit,

Reading the 'duck walk' stories always bring back fond memories from PI. Duck walking, air raid and flood, close order drill in the squad bay, and 'watching TV' were several of the fun games our DIs enjoyed. While at the rifle range we would pray to the sun god not to go UNQ. This required the inside of the legs to be on the deck, knees bent while leaning back so that shoulders and back of head also were on the deck. It was hard at first but became very restful, but we still moaned and groaned to make it look good otherwise we would lose this rest opportunity.

Funniest moment (now, but not then because of the embarrassment) was when we were 'marching' back to the barracks from the 200 yard firing line when our DI halted us. Obviously the DI felt we were marching like a herd so... he had the us turn our covers around, sling rifles on our back, get down on all fours and moo. Platoon 160, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion was then herded to the barracks in this unmilitary manner in front of the all the other platoons still on the range area! Great fun!

Sgt. Mike Blackwell
Jul 1964 - Sep 1968
RVN '67 - '68

That Dentist Made An Appearance

I was stationed with MASS-3 on top of a ridgeline at MCB Pendleton. I went down for my routine 1 year dental checkup because it was due and my OIC said "DO IT". While sitting in the chair, the LTCMDR looked at my record book and noted that I was assigned to 5th MAB, which was a 72-hour reaction organization, as an alternate. He also stated that he noticed that I had all of my wisdom teeth. He then proceeded to tell me (a 2nd LT) that it was good preventative dental practice to extract those teeth while they did not cause any issues so that they didn't impact any of us if we were deployed as part of 5th MAB. He then proceeded to have his assistant prepare me for a 4 wisdom tooth extraction, and all I did was go in for a checkup and cleaning. Two hours later, I was walking out of clinic with a bottle of extra strength Tylenol, a no duty chit for 2 days, and a mouth full of cotton to stem the blood flow from the four open wounds in my mouth.

I drove up to the unit and reported to my OIC. He took one look at my face and after remembering where I went that morning, growled his approval for me to leave for the day with a vicious flicking of his hand. When I came back the next day (am not one to let a little bit of sore mouth keep me away) I heard that my OIC went to the Sergeant Major and then they both went to the XO before all 3 went to talk with the CO. It seems that this Dentist had invalided about 2-dozen folks using the 5th MAB rational. I was the latest and the most blatant example. That Dentist made an appearance that day in front of the CO and from what I heard, he had to put a pillow under his seat for the next 3-months because he didn't have any b-tt remaining when he left the CO's office.

Robert J. Vandenberg PMP (Bob)

Sense of Humor

Dear Sgt. Grit, it has been a while since I submitted anything, but I read each issue faithfully. I want to submit in regards to heating "C" rats that when we ran out of heat tablets or "C-4" we used to mix our insect repellent with our peanut butter, and it would burn long enough to heat our food. Secondly, I remember we were picked up from a long patrol. Our last day was spent sloshing thru rice patties. After pickup, a Marine next to me tapped my leg and motioned to my helmet. I gave him my bottle of insect repellent and looked down to see an approximate 4-inch leech attached to his leg. It was quite fat and getting fatter by the minute. He applied the repellent and took the leech off. A machine gunner on the chopper had been watching us. The Marine took the leech and snapped it in half with blood flying all over. The gunner saw the blood and almost passed out. I had to use an ammonia capsule to bring him back. We of course, could not stop laughing. We did stop of course when he threatened to toss us out one by one and use us for target practice. Some Marines did not have a sense of humor.

Doc B. Stevens
C Co 1/26

Water Bull Vice Water Buffalo

Sgt Grit,

Every now and then, I'll read about a Marine mentioning "AWOL." In my Marine Corps career, 7 years active and 26 years reserve, we always said "UA." Another term used improperly, as far as the Marine Corps I'm familiar with is concerned, is "re-up." We always said "ship over". I imagine some of the terminologies are changing in today's Marine Corps, e.g., water bull vice water buffalo. However, the Marines graduating from boot camp today are just as squared away, courteous and well-disciplined as Marines of previous decades. I notice it whenever I go to the exchange at MCRDSD on graduation day.

Semper Fi,
Tom Kano

Passed Inspection

Having arrived at PI in July 1959, I was placed in 3rd Recruit Training Batt., Plt 348. Our Sr. DI was E-5 Sgt. Harris, a little guy but was loud. Things went pretty good until a storm hit Beaufort a few weekss before graduation and we were sent to help clean up the area. As two weeks went by most recruits were becoming p-ssed off because we still had to go the ITR for 4 weeks, and that would make us late for Christmas leave.

The day before we had our final inspection I was on my foot locker polishing my shoes for the 500th time and this guy walks by and put his boot on my shoe and drags the sole across the toe... taking all of the polish off to the leather... at which time I went crazy. He was walking away smiling when I hit him at about 30 mph from the rear. As we crashed through the screen door and lattice work behind the door entrance, we were in the street and was almost ran over by the Jr. DI Sgt Vandewater. He almost had heart failure and was yelling at the top of his voice. When everything cooled down, he wanted to know how we wanted to resolve the issue, one of which was to get into a Demsey Dumpster and fight until only one was able to climb out. This seemed to be the best option of all the choices given. We agreed and he marched us to the nearest dumpster and told us to get in and have at it. We got in and he closed the top. I told the guy that there was no use in hurting each other and that I would take the fall. He agreed and we started banging and kicking the inside of the dumpster for about 5-minutes. He then crawled out with all kinds of slop on him and a bloody nose from the earlier confrontation. I lay there for about 5 more minutes to make it look good... then came out. Vanderwater took us back to our area and made us repair the damage and nothing more was said about it.

The shoe looked like h-ll but passed inspection.

Pemberton Tom
"Zippy" L/Cpl
187xxxx 1959-1963

I Can't Hear You

I went through Parris Island in 1961, so as you may suspect duck walking has a history. I confess, before I joined the Marines and went to boot camp I'd never heard of it, nor would imagine anything other than a duck doing it.

Those who enjoyed their training at PI know that in September it's still on the warm side generally referred to as hot & humid as H-ll. We were quartered on the 3rd deck of a 3-storied barracks. Great place for a DI as you're less likely to be disturbed. I don't recall air con. either, but I could be wrong on that.

As I recall it, the Sr DI took offense at how someone's rack was made up (or not), & having noticed that he decided there was a lot of room for improvement in the Platoon as a whole, and worked himself up into quite a hissy fit.

I don't know what time of day or night it was, but suffice to say the DI found room in our busy schedule for some extra attitude adjustment.

So he scrambled our aszes ordering post haste to roll our bedding, including the mattress, up, hoist it on to our heads and assume the duck walk position.

Then left face, and left right etc. And off we go, round and round the perimeter of the squad bay in front of our bunks. And H-ll to pay if you let anything touch the deck or drop anything. So it took the fun out of it if you did a crappy job of making that bedroll.

Round and round we went with him calling cadence. Sweat! God it's hard to describe it as I'm one of those types who perspires like a horse. This went on for what seemed like an eternity.

Until... one of the guys, a recruit from Philly by name of Smith or Smitty, saw the humor of it, and let out a snort/laugh, which hit the DI's radar like a laser beam. He descended on him like a duck on a bug and pulled him out of the line, to attention (we continued to waddle on). In DI language he asked him if he found this funny. NO SIR! Well it sounded like you were having a good time! I like my recruits to have a good time. Tell you what... follow me. And he led him back to the rec room. This is the room that by design is where recruits kick back, do recreational stuff like ping pong, or cards or such. Right! It's the room that recruits never set foot in, has a water fountain that only DI's use, and which recruits clean when we have a field day.

We heard his instructions. Squat down, put your bedroll on your head, Good! Now I want to know you're enjoying this, so I want to hear you laugh. LAUGH! And, then it started. Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha... etc. The DI said, "I can't hear you." Ha Ha Ha Ha... I can't hear you Ha Ha Ha Ha.

Now through all this we've continued to waddle under the watchful and critical eye of the Jr DI. And the Sr Returns and we go into Eternity Act II. Try and imagine this... 79 recruits waddling around a tight perimeter, bedrolls on their heads, sweating like hogs with the constant accompaniment of Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha with a frequent "I Can't Hear You"! This goes on like another forever.

And you may have guessed it. If it didn't strike someone as funny before, it did now and in a while someone else couldn't hold back a laugh. I served with some Gunnys who served as DI's and one told me the two hardest things he had to personally struggle with was... really losing his temper... or trying not to laugh. He said sometimes he'd have to leave the squad bay, go out of hearing and laugh his azs off and get back his control. And we had this problem now. It's so hard to not laugh... and before long there were two guys, back there, then, three, then four, up to five. So before this ordeal ended we were waddling around with a chorus of Ha Ha Ha Ha in the background.

I think he went this course when the day's training schedule or SOP said the DI had run out of time, as he finally had us stop, restore the bedding and move out.

So when I hear the words duck walk, this character building exercise comes right to mind.

CPL Don Harkness
2nd Amtracs
1st MAW
9th MEB

November 10, 1966

November 10, 1966 (yes, the Marine Corps birthday) is one of those days that lives in my soul, so embedded there that nothing can ever remove it. It was the day I left for Marine Corps boot camp. This was an all-California platoon, put together by a poster board recruiter who worked feverously the whole time to collect this mob from all parts of the state. Prior to leaving for San Diego, the platoon was to honor one of the Hollywood legends, who had made a life of giving his time and energy to our men and women overseas by putting on a "Bob Hope" type of show (music, women, humor, etc.). His name was Johnny Grant, the unofficial mayor of Hollywood. An extremely generous man.

The venue for honoring Johnny Grant was a live (LIVE!) TV show on a local channel in Los Angeles which would feature guest speakers, shorts of some of Johnny Grants overseas show, and would be hosted by a local TV broadcaster, who himself had been a Marine. Because I had grown up as a child in a military school, I already knew saluting, the manual of arms, marching, etc., and the recruiter chose me to end the program with the Marine Corps prayer – a simple, Christian-God oriented spiel that was harmless enough, thanking the good Lord for various things and begging Him for guidance. I memorized this piece until I knew it backward and forward, in Latin, Spanish, Greek, and Farsi. I KNEW this prayer!

But first, a pre-visit to the Johnny Grant afternoon TV show - a live (LIVE!) daily show in late morning that would feature a movie, with breaks where he would sling commercials, small talk and the like (LIVE!). He would be talking directly to me and the recruiter about this coming show which was to honor him. On that day, I was dumped into the make-up room where some sweet young woman applied tan make-up to my face so I would actually show-up on the TV screens of the vast viewing audience. To me, it was to cover the color of death on my face, a face which had been drained of all blood and looked 3-days deceased. Marching to the wings of the set, I watched Johnny Grant in action, noting his smooth talk and motions, his sense of humor and over all professionalism. A cold wave of adrenaline flowed throw my body and then I felt a numbness overcome my demeanor. Johnny signaled the good Gunnery Sergeant and me to come forward onto the set. I marched in as one does to a firing squad.

"This is Gunnery Sergeant Hegberg of the United States Marine Corps who is here to blah, blah, blah...". As Johnny blathered on about the reason for this visit, my eyes were looking down at the stage floor, searching for something, anything that might mentally rescue me from this descent into a personal h-ll. "So", says Johnny, "Why did you pick the Marine Corps (is he talking to me?), did the peace marches have any effect on your decision to enlist, and... (and? three questions, all at the same time?)... what do you say to the mothers of the recruits in the platoon?" I looked at the camera for a fleeting second, that big red light glowing in defiance of me and my soul, and then quickly cast my eyes back to the floor where they lived in relative comfort. "Well... why the Marine Corps? Because it's the best! (what a suck-up!). And no, the peace creeps (peace creeps? How many people did I just insult? Many of my friends for sure!) did not affect my decision. To the mothers... I am sure the Marine Corps will take good care of us (yeah, Mom, like kick our b-tts when we screw up, teach us how to pick off a guy of at 500 yards with an M-14, how to stick a human being with a bayonet, and how to use the "F" word as your one and only adjective)!! Johnny goes back to the movie and we were dismissed. As we walked off the stage, I muttered to the Gunny, "I screwed that up!" He said, "No, you did fine." Well... there was real h-ll to come on the actual show a few days later.

Before the actual live (LIVE!) TV show honoring Grant, I had to visit the studios once again and say the Marine Corps Prayer for a full Colonel, why there I don't know. I was sitting in the seats which were part of some stage on the television lot. I was just going over the prayer in my mind when a voice behind me started to introduce himself. I turned in my seat and I was staring at about 27 rows of ribbons and full birds flappin' on his shoulder. From my days in military school, I leapt about 10 feet into the air and come to full attention with feet at a 45 degree angle, thumbs along the seam of my trousers, eyes straight ahead! "Relax", he says. "Say the prayer for me." Done and done.

As the morning arrived for the live (LIVE!) TV show, I was, to be sure, nervous and had to call upon myself to be calm, cool and collected. Not happening! I arrived at the studio and entered the bldg. with all its lights and cameras. The show progressed with all its pomp, flair, and ceremony while the group of us stood together in some kind of formation. The time came for me to say the prayer at the end of the show. I knew this thing cold. As I was reciting it aloud, a second level of my mind was complimenting myself on how well I was doing. Bam! I froze, forgot where I was. The guy with the cue cards was pointing frantically to the next word, but like a dummy, I didn't have my glasses on (egotistical) and could only see a blur. I muttered a soft "Oh SH-T" on live TV. Finally, it came to me and I rushed through the rest of the d-mn thing. The show's host, a former Marine himself, says "that was Robert Imm, who, without use of a cue card, etc. etc..." The guy lied for me. I owed him big time.

About three weeks into training, we were waiting in formation on the grinder for a giant parade because the good Commandant, Wally Green, was coming to inspect the base. While waiting for the parade to begin, all of the series' DIs (about 12 to 15 of 'em) were gathered out front, jaw-jacking in a circle. All of a sudden one of them yells "where's that clown that screwed up the Marine Corps Prayer on TV?" My blood went cold and my life flashed before my eyes: "Sir, Private Imm here, sir!" And I ran out to the group and stood at attention. The circle of death formed around me. Besides the usual "good natured", I received a punch in the gut from each and every one of them – some at an acceptable level of pain, others knocked the bejabbers out of me. I staggered back to the platoon. That was the last I heard of it. Not another reference was ever made."

Well, that's the story. All in all, quite an experience. My 15 minutes of fame on TV, however, and its aftermath was a disaster. Thanks for listening.

Bob Imm (rhymes with slim)
Sgt (how'd I get that far?)
MCAS Yuma '67 (Bombing Range)
Quantico – OCS (DOR'd)
MCAS Beaufort VMFA 251 '68
H&MS 13, Chu Lai '69-'70


Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #5, #10 (Oct., 2015)

I was just sitting back in my chair and trying to think of some more of the events that took place when I was in the Corps and specifically while I was in the Air Wing. As it happens, I couldn't get my brain to sift anything out, but I remember a story about when I was in Pioneers in the late 50's and early 60's. Now, Pioneers were still engineers except a different name. I never have figured out the difference, but that wasn't my job.

I was the right guide of the 3rd. Plt., "A" Co, 3rd. Pioneer Batt, and we were on an LST at Subic Bay in the P.I. and we had somehow been assigned as the Ships Party. Now, don't get the wrong opinion because, it doesn't mean what you think. Hell, we didn't really understand it ourselves until after our brief indoctrination exercise. Apparently, the Sailors on board the ship didn't want to get their hands dirty lifting and loading, so I guess they thought, why not enlist the aide of a bunch of MARINES to do all the heavy work? As I was to find out later, this was nothing new. Well, I also think that our Platoon Leader got caught up in the excitement of the moment and said "My MARINES would more then be glad to help in whatever way we can." D-mn, but, it had it's benefits. Well, at least one that I remember.

While in Port we were staying in some very old and dilapidated Quonset huts that must have been there since Korea, and they were up on the hill at Cubi Point. One day the Platoon Sgt said that we would have a 20-man working party (there's that party word again) and that we'd be loading stores onto the LST. Not a problem, so we went down the hill and started loading boxes of steaks from the truck that was parked at the end of the pier, and then out to the "gang plank", and then up, and on. It didn't take long to remember that we didn't have steak for a long time so we thought that it would be a treat for us to have a steak, or two, and not on the ship. While this was going on, the Lt. came by and parked his weapons carrier next to the "line of Ants", that was moving groceries towards the ship. Someone said something that made sense, and that was, every once in awhile drop a box of frozen steak in the back of the weapons carrier or P.C. After doing that they would return to the truck and get another box of goodies. I don't know off hand how many boxes were re-routed, but the Navy never knew what happened and we all got to enjoy a real good steak for a change.

Short Rounds

I had never heard of the Combat Action Ribbon until 1998, and from what I know, it wasn't started until 1969. Furthermore, record keeping back then was so sporadic. There were many things that never were in my records unfortunately. Luckily I had a meritorious promotion that listed me in combat and I contacted Headquarters Marine Corps and they updated my DD214. Suggest you contact them to get it straight.

Joe Henderson
Sgt. USMC, 1963-1967

Sgt. Grit,

I am currently trying to finish reading the latest newsletter, but I am somewhat hindered by the tears in my eyes (from laughing). I just read the latest submission from The Flight Line's "old gunny."

Semper Fi, Gunny!
Tom Downey
Once a captain, USMCR; Always a Marine

Correcting one item in my letter you published concerning the CAR and other awards... the best info source is SECNAVINST 1650.1g NO9B13 7JAN2002. Chapter 7 730.d(3) deals in specific with Vietnamese awards to U.S. troops. It is available online... most people don't know they are eligible.


I haven't heard the phrase "cut me a huss" since 1970.

LRG '66-'70 2323xxx

Hey Grit,

During my time in Nam it was "Cut me a Huss." What the h-ll was a "Huss" anyway?

Skip Seyer
Corporal, USMC - RVN March '68 - April '69
2nd Bn / 9th Marines


"Why in h-ll can't the Army do it if the Marines can. They are the same kind of men; why can't they be like Marines."
--Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, USA; 12 February 1918

"The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible."
--George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

"These days it looks like time for America to get realistic instead of starry-eyed. Whoever they are, whether they have atomic bombs and rockets or not, we can lick'em if American gets hard, and American fighting men are trained to march 30 miles a day with a pack, and hit whatever they shoot at with any weapon they're trained to use. "Just as long as Americans have the will to fight, we'll be all right."
--Chesty Puller

"Liberty is not collective, it is personal. All liberty is individual liberty."
--President Calvin Coolidge (1873-1933)

"They define a republic to be a government of laws, and not of men."
--John Adams

"The United States Marine Corps, with its fiercely proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of American myth."
--Thomas E. Ricks; Making the Corps, 1997

Microphone clearing sound. Weird whistle.

Then... "Now hear this! Now hear this!
All Marines topside go below.
All Marines below go topside.
All Marines forward go aft.
All Marines aft go forward.
All Marines in the middle stand by to direct traffic!
That is all!"

Gung Ho!
Sgt Grit

©2012 Sgt Grit Inc
7100 SW 44th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73179
You are receiving Sgt Grit's weekly newsletter.
Unsubscribe from just the newsletter ...OR...
Unsubscribe from all Sgt Grit Emails
To Submit a story - Email info@grunt.com.
Subscribe to this newsletter.