Sgt Grit and Staff would like to wish our customers a very blessed and very Merry Christmas. May you and your families receive everything that you want or need. For everything else Marine Corps, visit Sgt Grit and we'll get you squared away.
1958 - 1969
Since you were at Da Nang during Christmas of 1965, you may remember Sir Charles blowing the bridge over the Han River just before Christmas. Little bast-rds cheated us out of getting to go to the Bob Hope Christmas show. We were on Monkey Mountain and scheduled to go to the show, but that bridge was our only link with Da Nang so we were scr-wed. We were resupplied by helicopter (picture attached) until the bridge was rebuilt, and ate a lot of C-Rats during that period. Getting to go see Ann Margret (picture attached), a few months later in the spring of '66, kind of made up for it. It's a rough life when you're attached to the Wing.
Cpl. Jerry D.
Old Corps. New Corps.
There's nothing like the Marine Corps.
60MM Mortar Squad
Christmas Day 1969 at Liberty Bridge, Quang Tri Province, RVN 60MM mortar squad, Lima Co., 3/5/1. We decorated our gun with Christmas tree balls.
Front row: Harvey and Sanchez
Back row: Cannon, McDonald, Acton, Martinez and Bruce
David Acton (E-1/E-5)
USMC 1968 â€“ 1970
RVN 1969 â€“ 1970
This is not the normal Bob Hope USO show entertaining our troops that we have been viewing in the past on YouTube, but actually a video by Bob Hope telling us WHY these shows were performed, and the effects the shows had on him, his performers and the servicemen who were in attendance.
This is really, really good. So many thoughts come back. Alan Alda talking about listening to the Bob Hope USO shows on the radio with his Dad.
Hope was asked to do an unscheduled show for a Marine base that was invading some place in the South Pacific in 1944. 15,000 men at that show, 60 percent would be dead in days. Don't miss this, it's just too good.
Bob Hope Christmas With The Troops Video
At this time of year, I am reminded of Christmas 1982. We were in Singapore aboard the USS Belleau Wood (LHA-3) on about month 3 of our six month float. Christmas celebration for myself and a buddy from upstate NY (L/Cpl MYERS ) was two tall Miller Lites that his dad had shipped to him in a care package. What times. Would not trade any of it. That year USMC stood for "U Suckers Missed Christmas!"
Merry Christmas to all those who came before me, to all who served with me, and all those that came after me.
Christmas In The Marines
My first Christmas in the Marines was at Parris Island December 25, 1960 and it was just like any other day in boot camp except the dinner (it was with all the fixings). Thinking back it was the third or fourth week of training which is where they break us down to rebuild us and make us Marines, and to this day I have never regretted it. They changed me and taught me to be a man at seventeen, and I have lived my whole life that way. (Those four years, looking back, was part of my life that I will never forget. I saw a lot of the world that I would have never seen.) I left my home the day after Thanksgiving from Boston in 1960 and I arrived at the train depot about 2 a.m., and that is where it all began. Loaded on a cattle car bus and drove to Parris Island. I will never forget that moment. I am sure all Marines lives started the same way either from Paris Island or San Diego.
Cpl. Maurice LeBlanc 1937250
Plt. 1006, P.I. Dec. 1960 â€“ Feb. 1961
Fiercest Fighters In The World
Good Morning Sgt. Grit,
I would like to relate to you what happened yesterday afternoon (12/11/13) as I was on an errand at "The Christmas Tree Shop":
I was wearing my Sgt. Grit digital camo Marine cover with my Corporal pin on one side and my Wounded Warrior pin on the other, absorbed in my own world when I heard a little voice behind me saying "Are you a Marine?" I had taken a few steps before it sank in that he was speaking to me, and as I turned and looked down and saw this little boy 6-8 years old, I wondered how would he know that I had been in the Marines? I looked at him and said, "Yes I'm a Marine." His father, holding his and his younger brothers hands said, "Thank you for your service." I told them, "You're very welcome," and left to go on my errand of picking up a baked donut pan for $3.99, as opposed to $16.95 in a baking catalog (baked donuts are healthier than fried donuts), and over my back I heard his father say to the young boy, "Do you know that the Marines are the fiercest fighters in the world?" Well, I'm almost 70 now, but I bet my chest never stuck out that far even on Parris Island!
I'm curious why all recruits in the Marine Corps have been issued dress blues uniforms in boot camp for the last several decades. I enlisted in the Marine Corps in March 1955 and no recruit was issued dress blues. Furthermore I was honor man of Platoon 123 at San Diego in June 1955 and was promoted to PFC, but was not issued dress blues.
I served from March 1955-March 1959 and never saw any Marines of this decade with a set of dress blues. Was the Corps going through an austerity period? In that time our favorite uniform was the green battle jacket (similar to the Ike jacket) and garrison cover (p-ss cutter). And no Marine went off base on liberty or leave in utilities. Only winter dress green blouse with barracks cover or summer tropical worsteds with barracks cover. When did the liberty, leave or transit uniform of the day become utilities/camos?
Note: I graduated boot camp Aug '68. I think our honor man was issued dress blues, but no one else. We could go on liberty in civilian clothes.
I graduated boot camp in Sept. 2000. At that time the Company Honorman and the Marines that graduated as the guide of their platoon were issued dress blues, and if he/she was a contract PVT or PFC then they were promoted to the next higher rank. They were not allowed to be promoted above LCpl/E-3.
During my enlistment and my time in the service, wearing of the camouflage utilities off base was limited to traveling home and to get fuel for your POV. Prior to the end of my enlistment the Commandant, Gen. James T. Conway, restricted wear of the utilities to "only on base". If a Marine had to leave base they were to change to civilian attire. Now this order did have one exception; if the Commanding Officer of a unit determined that his/her Marines needed to wear their utilities during an event or a particular mission, then it was allowed at the CO's discretion; i.e. community service of some form, humanitarian events, etc.
To my knowledge these orders have not changed.
Sgt USMC 2000-2007
In Today's World
I wanted to let you know just how great the Pistol Holster and bed mount is. In today's world you need a weapon handy it seems and there isn't a better set up than your Pistol Holster bed mount. The most amazing part of it is that it will fit almost any pistol. Trying to sleep with a pistol under your pillow can be a headache and stashed under the mattress hoping you can reach it in case it's needed. Just tuck this holster extension 'twixt the mattress and springs, Viola, you can reach it, when and if. I thank you for the great item.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau
Get this awesome accessory at:
Pistol Holster & Bed Mount
Box Of Doughnuts
On Easter Sunday 1966, I was in route to MCAS El Toro, CA, and had to change planes in Little Rock, AR. The plane was an old DC-3 (not really that old in '66.) The only seat available was in the very back. As the plane was taking off I had the pleasure of having the stewardess sit next to me as this was her seat during take offs and landings. She had a cold and her ears were hurting her badly, and she asked me if I would hold her hand as she did not feel well. Of course this young Marine obliged her. The flight was uneventful and we landed in Jackson, Miss at about 9:30 at night. We were told to off load and wait in the terminal. Little did I know that this was to be my room this night.
As 10:00 pm drew closer I noticed that the janitors were shutting the doors and locking them including the "snack bar" which was just a bunch of machines. I stopped a janitor and asked him if he knew when the next plane out would be, he said 8:00 am tomorrow. I was dumbfounded and asked if there was transportation to town to which he said no. At 10:00 pm the terminal was deserted and locked up tight. I looked around and saw sitting in a waiting section on benches a LtCol (Army), a Sailor, and an Airman. I approached and asked them what we were supposed to do and was told to sit down and wait as they were. Later we all moved the benches (just flat pieces of wood with metal legs no backs) and using our ditty bags (they had their versions) as pillows we spent the night on these rather hard beds.
The next morning a really nice janitor (this I guess was a regular occurrence) brought us all a box of doughnuts and some coffee in paper cups. My flight out didn't happen until 1:00 pm which meant I would have stayed almost 17 hours. When I finally got to board my flight to New Orleans I was very tired of the Jackson, Miss airport. I have never returned to this town nor do I wish to.
I am sure that we all remember situations where we have had to make a decision, and then later, reflect gratefully on the one we did make.
While attending electronics school at MCRD San Diego in the late sixties there was not much to do socially if you were less than 21 years old. Unless you ventured across the border to Mexico and the city of Tijuana. I had never been there but most of the guys in my class had, and especially one fellow who really knew his way around. One day after class he came up to me and said that he was heading to the border and he wanted me to go with him, so after some consideration I said let's go.
We hit so many bars that it seemed they all ran together, and at about midnight, I told my classmate that I was done and headed back to the base. He asked me to stay but I reminded him that we had formation and class first thing in the morning. He didn't care, so I said adios and stumbled back to the U.S.
Next morning we are assembling for formation and I am counting heads and coming up one short. Yep, my bud is not there. I reported him absent, and we proceeded to class. He did not show up all day and after class was over, we were told by an office pogue what had been reported to base officials.
It seems that about O-dark-thirty, my bud was staggering across a bridge in Tijuana trying to find his way to another bar or perhaps the border. He encountered a policeman who challenged him and he picked the cop up and threw him off the bridge on to the street below killing him. We never heard another word about him and I don't know if he was sentenced to Mexican justice or if they released him to the Corps for prison in the U.S.
I am just very happy that I made a decision to leave or I might have been in that cell with him. Good decision.
Marine Corps Birthday Party
My daughter and her fiance at the Marine Corps Birthday Party in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Hi Dad, believe me, we learned all about the Marine Corps on Saturday at the ball! I realized I had never been to one with you, Dad! You will have to come to Addis next year for the party here. It was quite the production.
A couple issues ago I related how my outfit, 3rd Marines, Reinforced, FMF was shipped out of Middle Camp Fuji on the Marine Corps birthday in 1956. Once aboard ship for a week we were told our destination, Saudi Arabia. At the time Egypt and Israel were fighting over the Suez canal. Our leaders thought that the oil fields in Saudi Arabia might get involved and thought it a good idea to send the Marines to protect them.
By the time we got to Karachi, Pakistan the trouble had blown over and our cruise now became a good-will visit to the area. As ambassadors of good-will we were allowed to have liberty at each port of call. We stopped at Karachi, Bombay and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) on the way back. My memory is a little sketchy, but I believe we had Christmas in Colombo, Ceylon or Trincomalee, Ceylon.
In Colombo we met some P&O cadets of the British Merchant Service at N.A.A.F.I. club and they invited us aboard their ship. I had parents that came from Scotland and my Mother's brother had been an officer in the P&O line and we hit it off right away. Needless to say we all were three sheets to the wind, invitees, and inviters. On board we were taken to the officer's lounge. It was about the size of a small cell but had a bar, stuffed chairs, and a piano. I suppose the Cadets told the Captain that I had an uncle who served as an officer in the P&O during World War I and he came down to talk to me and sing along with us.
We spent several hours drinking, telling sea stories and singing a bunch of English and American songs. It got late and we realized we had to get back to our ship. The Captain had his radio operator get in touch with our ship and ask that a boat be sent to pick us up. We were 3 PFC's and this was royal treatment. After about an hour the Peter Boat came along side. The Coxs'un got lost in the harbor among the dozens of ships anchored there. He was not happy when 3 Marine PFC's came down the Jacobs Ladder and got aboard his LVCP.
Naturally, because he got lost, we were late getting back from Cinderella liberty at around 01:30 instead of midnight. When we came aboard our ship, USS Telfair, APA 210, and saluted the OD he was somewhat puzzled expecting to meet Senior Officers being as a boat had been dispatched at the request of the Captain of a British ship. For some reason he didn't throw us in the brig, but just calmly told us we were technically AWOL and to get below to our berthing compartments. We were lucky, no office hours, no punishment, nothing. Maybe it was the Christmas Spirit that saved us.
In Trincomalee, our mail caught up with us. My parents had sent me a package for Christmas. I remember cans of sardines, Kippers, and hard candy. A welcome addition to the chow we were fed on the ship. Unfortunately, some of the package not in cans didn't survive the trip from the States or the 100 degree heat of Ceylon. We shared out the edible and dumped the bad stuff.
As I said, I can't remember which place was the actual day of Christmas, but it was only a couple days between the two harbors so it had to be one or the other.
1955 - 1959
3rd Generation Marine
On November 27, 2013 we journeyed to Parris Island, SC, to see Private J. R. Allen graduate from boot camp and become the 3rd generation Marine in our family. Needless to say, the dad and grandpa had their chests sticking out and strutting. The attached photo is a portrait that we had made (I don't think that I will be around for the 4th generation) in our customized GRIT gear. Thanks to your staff for their valuable assistance and advice in ordering the shirts. In the photo from left:
Sgt J. T. Allen, USMC 1967 - 1970
Sgt J. C. Allen, USMC 1998 - 2003
Private J. R. Allen, USMC 2013 - Present
Thanks again Grit for your newsletter and the gear that you make available.
You're Not A Marine
I dropped off the donations this evening at the Baltimore Station and as last year the Marines living at the station were grateful and full of "oohrahhs" to you. Funny story - while passing out the items the Marine in the picture wearing one of the gray hoodies you donated grabbed the last hoodie for another Marine who was not yet there. At that moment a resident who is a Navy vet walked over and said, "man if that guy don't come by soon I'll take that last hoodie." The Marine in the green hoodie said, "you're not a Marine." The Navy vet replied, I'm Navy and that's close enough." The Marine in the gray hoodie replied, "not unless you were a Corpsman it ain't!"
I had to laugh. Thanks and Semper Fi Sgt Grit!
Cpl. Jesse Menard
You asked for Christmas stories. This is in memory of Cpl. Jesse Menard and is excerpted from a letter his mom Barb sent to me several years back. At this time of the year if I find a few minutes left in a class hour (I sub teach), I tell this story to honor our fallen, young Marine:
Okay, the feather story. The first Christmas following Jesse's death, Holly held our celebration at her home on Christmas Day. When Rob and I arrived, Lilah who was then just 5 years old came running up to me holding out a zip lock bag full of white feathers which had written upon it in red marker, "To Nana and Papa. Love, Lilah." I couldn't quite understand what she was breathlessly trying to tell us with eyes as big as saucers. All I could hear over the laughter and sound of the other guests talking was, "He came, Nana. He came, but the feathers are white." I, thinking she was speaking about Santa, just smiled and hugged and kissed her saying thank you as I took the bag. She was just aglow.
After opening gifts and sending the kids off to play, we adults began setting the table with all of our Christmas feast. Holly began to tell me the story of the feathers. When she was tucking Lilah in on Christmas Eve, Lilah told her that Uncle Jesse was coming with Santa to see her for Christmas. Holly said that the look on Lilah's face was pure joy and wondrous expectation. Holly kissed Lilah and went into the living room, whereupon she began to cry uncontrollably. Danny comforted her asking why the tears. Holly repeated what Lilah had told her and they cried together.
Now, Holly thought a while sitting there on her new sofa with designer pillows knowing that Uncle Jesse had to visit Lilah that night, but how she did not know. Danny says that suddenly she stopped crying and picked up one of those goose down filled pillows and ripped it open. After she was sure that Lilah was asleep, she crept into her room and spread those feathers around her pillows, down onto the floor, through the door and all of the way through the house to the fireplace hearth and Christmas tree. She wondered if this was a wise decision.
Christmas morning she and Danny were awakened by Lilah jumping on their bed with her hands full of white feathers which she told them Uncle Jesse had left for her. She was just delighted and knew that he had indeed come to see her on Christmas Eve. She couldn't understand why his feathers were white because she just knew that Marines had red, white, and blue feathers in their wings. Holly cried, knowing that someday she would have to tell Lilah that she had left those magic feathers. Love will find a way.
Well, you guessed it, she gathered those Uncle Jesse feathers into two zip lock bags - one for her and one for Nana and Papa. She knew that they would make us just as happy on that first Christmas without Jesse as they had made her. She keeps her bag of feathers on her Uncle Jesse shelf and I keep mine on the top of Jesse's chest of memories in our living room. She and I talk about that Christmas and all of our Uncle Jesse's memories when she comes to our home.
Lilah expected him again this past Christmas, but she tells us that he left no feathers, just a kiss on her cheek. I know that she will be telling her own children about her Uncle Jesse someday and show them a zip lock bag full of Uncle Jesse's feathers. I hope that there is no one for whom she will have to bust open a designer pillow to gather feathers from.
I just realized that feathers seem to be a theme in our lives without Jesse. A lone dove flew over the plane which delivered him home, I see a lone dove each time I leave the house, and a child who loved Jesse beyond belief found feathers on her bed Christmas morning. Remember the feather floating in the movie Forrest Gump? There must really be something about feathers we need to remember.
via Bob Rader Sgt USMC 140xxxx
God Bless America and the U.S. Marine Corps!
'Twas The Night Before Christmas
Video: A Soldier's Silent Night.
'Twas the night before Christmas,
He lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of
plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney
with presents to give,
and to see just who
in this home did live.
I looked all about,
A strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents,
Not even a tree.
No stocking by the mantle,
Just boots filled with sand,
And on the wall pictures,
of far distant lands.
With medals and badges,
Awards of all kinds,
A sobering thought
Came to my mind.
For this house was different,
So dark and so dreary,
The home of A Marine,
Now I could see clearly.
The Marine lay sleeping,
Curled up on the floor
In this one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle,
The room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured,
A United States Marine.
Was this the hero
Of whom I'd just read
Curled up on a poncho,
The floor for a bed?
I realized the families
That I saw this night,
Owed their lives to these Marines
Who were willing to fight.
Soon 'round the world,
The children would play,
And grownups would celebrate
Bright Christmas Day.
They all enjoyed freedom
Each month of the year,
Because of the Marines,
Like the one lying here.
I couldn't help but wonder
How many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve
In a land far from home.
The very thought
Brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees
And started to cry.
The Marine awakened
And I heard a rough voice,
"Santa don't cry,
This life is my choice;
I fight for freedom,
I don't ask for more,
My life is My GOD,
My Country, My Corps."
The Marine rolled over
And soon drifted to sleep,
I couldn't control it,
I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours,
So silent and still,
And we both shivered
From the cold evening's chill.
I didn't want to leave
On that cold, dark, night,
This guardian of honor
So willing to fight.
Then the Marine rolled over,
With a voice soft and pure,
Whispered, "Carry on Santa,
It's Christmas Day, All Is Secure."!
One look at my watch,
And I knew he was right.
"Merry Christmas My My Friend,
May GOD Bless You This Night."
This poem was written by a Marine stationed in Okinawa, Japan. The following is his request. I think it is reasonable. Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S. servicemen and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us. Please, do your small part and pass it around.
Got an Honorable Discharge In August 1967 and am married over 40 years with a family. Thursday night wife goes out and the old guy stays home, peace and quiet, I can do what I want! Get to the computer as it is Thursday and Sgt Grit newsletter comes to me - do not get undressed from work - sit down and read newsletter first - then reflect on articles I can identify with, and next thing - I e-mail a buddy from 1963 that the GREAT Sgt. Grit Newsletter found us after 47 years ago. I wrote an article and my long lost forgotten Buddy Marine contacted Grit and we are together again! We e-mail each other daily and are worlds apart, but only an e-mail away. Life goes on and we get older, slower, and rely more on memory now, but Sgt Grit is priceless to me! You can never pick who will be the Marine on your right or left, or in front or in back of you, but you know that a MARINE has your fellow trust and you can rely on them in life or to the death!
Why today I used a Marine Corps Strategic Assumption in dealing with a Wacko Civilian. This guy definitely was bi-polar in actions, and I said to the gentleman on my right - that someone definitely should kick his asz! The answer from this friend who was First Air Cav in Vietnam was that you have to accept in NYC. Life goes on and we are older and wiser due to our Heritage of the Few and the Proud.
Was asked by Barnes and Noble to critique "Tarawa", as I read the book. I am gathering my thoughts before I put them down - not as a reader but as a United States Marine.
To all of you out there have a safe Holiday, and may the New Year bring good health to all for you and your families - especially the Sgt. Grit behind the scenes people who do a great job answering phone calls and just being there for all of us!
Parris Island Maggot
I love the story about Boot camp. It made me get out my old yellow page graduation book and think back to 1959 when I was a maggot in Parris Island. That was the old Corps and, the DI's beat the h-ll out of you for being out of step. But, after a while you did learn and on graduation you no longer had to call the DI Sir. The good times and the hard times in the Marine Corps shall remain with me for the rest of my days, and they will lay me to rest with a Marine honor guard and bellow taps over my grave.
Once a Marine always a Marine. SEMPER-FI!
Cpl. E. Y. Morris
8th Engineers & 2nd Marine Air Wing
Uncommon Act Of Kindness
Just read the articles about making phone calls in boot camp. While at MCRD San Diego in 1967 we had a competition with our sister platoon. We would field day our living areas and the platoon that passed the Drill Instructors inspection (like that will ever happen) would get to call their mothers. We turned to and when finished, the Drill Instructors then proceeded to tear both living areas apart. Foot lockers dumped in the sand pits, racks tipped over, etc... etc... Our platoon lost the competition and while doing squat thrusts (amongst the dumped foot lockers) for ever and ever, we watched our sister platoon march off to call their mothers. As soon as they were out of sight, our Drill Instructors had us fall in on the platoon street and lit the smoking lamp. We were kind of confused by this uncommon act of kindness until we heard our sister platoon calling out in unison "MOTHER". Even heard one of the privates getting his azs chewed because he wasn't yelling! "Sir, the privates mother isn't home Sir!" was his excuse.
Still laugh about that to this day.
Sgt. of Marines '67-'71
Marine Corps Humor
This week's most popular post on the Sgt Grit Facebook page featured an image of a Marine holding a urinalysis specimen cup. The text around the image reads "Marine Corps Humor, The Only Lottery That You Are Guaranteed To Be Randomly Selected To Participate In All of the Time."
Below are some of the comments received in reference to this post.
Salvador Zavala - That moment when you had just gone and they arrive to start tests and you can't go so they think you hiding something... lol
Dean Brooks - Every month my number came up!
Mark K. Crosby - The only lottery I ever won.
Mike Reeter - 20 years later I still participate.
Kent Mitchell - Do they still conduct "short arm" inspections?
Bill Hagestad - Those of you with a SSN ending 0-9 get line...
John Hardin - First time I almost failed... damn target was too small (and NO cracks about the size of my weapon). It may be small, but it shoots rapid fire, just the same :)
Danny Hernandez - Man, I remember back in the day when on occasion we'd have to go in the cup before we could sign for our paychecks...
Beatriz G Featherstone - Sh-t if I had to go for my paycheck I would never get payed. I hated having to go while being stared at, plus people want to have f-cking conversations about there life stories.
Read more of the 39 comments made about this post on the Sgt Grit Facebook Page.
Regarding the story Hollywood Marine, I had a similar experience. The day before heading to P.I, (3/10/58) my Dad took me to a luncheon for the then Senator John Kennedy (see enclosed photo). My Dad was a state senator in Mass. and knew JFK from earlier campaigns. We went over to meet him and shook hands. He asked me, "What are you doing now?" I said, "I'm leaving for The Marines in the morning." His face changed and he looked "hard" at me and said, exact quote, "You watch your azs with those people." End quote.
Off I go to the yellow footprints and all the fun and games that come with them. We were living in the huts in the Third Bn. I was made squad leader for second squad, so they had my name early.
Quotes from Plt 347 DI's - S/Sgt Truax, S/Sgt Sherman, and Sgt Baggett included:
"I'm from so far south, I call people from Georgia Yankees. Anyone here from a town of over twenty thousand is a "Hoodlum". You should have taken the four years from the judge. Did your mother have any children that lived? Are there any more at home like you?" And on and on and on, you all know the lines.
We had mail call every night during which the DIs had the letters opened and read after checking if there was quote "any pogue bait in this letter?" My proud mother had sent me a copy of the attached photo in a letter. I had to open it and when the D.I. saw the photo, he liked to sh-t.
Next A.M. after chow, "Sh-tbird McDermott, Get your azs up here". Same story as Hollywood Marine, except there was a Gunny, a Captain and a COLONEL!
"I spent twenty minutes basically repeating, I'm very happy I'm at P.I., I don't write letters to my Dad or Senator Kennedy, I don't know my Dad that well, etc. etc. I think what finally convinced them was when they asked why I had joined, I was able to present uncles and cousins who had served in WW II and Korea. As they were my heroes, I could speak in detail on their service.
I was finally dismissed with a look from S/Sgt Truax that this discussion was not really over. I still believe to this day that I set the world record for squat thrusts over the next week.
Two last points:
I did manage to leave P.I. as a PFC. My files (I forget the right name) included a stamp: P/I that I was told stood for "Political Influence".
The rain in Hawaii can be very intense; maybe that's why everything is so green. We invaded the island of Maui in '62, the first time the Marines had been there since WWII. Maui was in the middle of a drought (well by Hawaiian standards) but the day we landed it started to pour and kept on raining for the next two weeks we were there. The locals were happy, but we were miserable and soggy.
The night before we were to go back to K-Bay five of us decided we needed some R&R. We knew that Wailuku was around there somewhere and took off in that general direction. After a very wet hour we stopped a Jeep going our way to see if we were heading in the right direction, the Col. riding shotgun assured us that we were! A little while later an older local couple asked if we needed a ride and we replied that we did indeed! First they told us that we had about ten more miles to go then they talked about the "drought" and finished by telling about the U.S. Marines they had known during the war and how great it was to have us back. We were dropped off in the parking lot of a bar and noticed that there was a store nearby. There was an Army 3/4 ton PC parked there - we decided that because of the way were dressed (utilities) it would be better to send someone for the beer while the rest of us climbed into the back of the PC to get out of the rain.
The beer arrived and we started the party in our cozy, dry nest. After too many beers we decided that the trip back to the beach was way too long to walk and besides the Army had this perfectly fine transport at our disposal. When we got to the beach we parked the PC in a local neighborhood close to the beach and walked to the Company area. About two months after our return to K-BAY I was told to report to the maintenance building and noticed the other five members of our band were all headed in the same direction. We were told to report to Gunny 'O' and we were informed he was in a real foul mood. He started by asking if anyone had anything to tell him, we all said "no", he continued by asking if anything unusual happened in Maui, we all said "no". He began to tell a story about a local that had come up to him on the beach in Maui and said that there was one of our trucks parked in the middle of his lawn! Pappy told him that he would send someone over right away to retrieve the truck and apologized for his troubles. The man told him that everything was OK and had enjoyed the whole operation. "Does any one of you know what happened to that truck? "What truck" we all said. Well you're a bunch of idiots, have been riding in it back and forth to the tractor park for the last two months. Pappy had it brought to the beach, loaded it on the ship and brought it back to K-Bay. Maintenance had repainted it Marine Corps green, affixed the Amtrac shield, stenciled on the yellow numbers and put it in service. He made it very clear that if any part of the story came out there would be a huge sh-t storm that we wouldn't survive. We swore we would never utter a word and yet here I am spilling my guts. Does the statute of limitations apply? Over the years I have often wondered where they hid that truck during inspections, and what happened to those Doggies that had taken the truck to town!
Cpl. Selders (not my real name)
With regards to DDick's article on fighting holes. Here is a picture of a fighting hole we dug during a field problem around '61 on Maui. Before all you grunts out there get your panties in a bunch, this is an "Amtrac" hole! I know it's not deep or big enough, but we were use to using a steel box and a squad of grunts for protection. We had to dig three more because they kept filling up with rainwater. I was a nonsmoker, but had to have one hanging out of my mug 'cuz I'm a Marine.
The Title USMC
FMR Cold War Marine.
Thank you for your newsletters. I read them and know why I am such a proud Marine. Because of the men who have stood on those footprints long before I bend & thrusted, and hung like a slab of bacon on a pull up bar. You only know if you went through those portals what the word Marine means. The finest fighting men ever trained by a DI. A round goes off and a Marine runs to the crack looking to fight, feared by all, even the Navy Seals and Army Rangers wish they had the title USMC on their chest.
We all bleed the same, but we can't all be the Marines. The Few. The Proud.
FMR SGT '77/'81
Frederick M Kellogg 0311
Cold War Marine
Eyes Of A Gunnery Sergeant
When I first went into the Marine Corps my DI was a Platoon Sergeant, he was something akin to a God, Officers were beyond that because we only saw them once or twice. Then when we went to the Rifle Range at Camp Matthews and were snapping in with our M1 rifles. I'm afraid I still had some of that softness remaining from civilian life (from just a few weeks before) and fell asleep while snapping-in in the Prone position. I was awakened by being picked up by collar and seat to a great height and dropped. I landed atop my M1, my chin hurt, my chest hurt and I believe my knees hurt somewhat also. I looked up into the flaming eyes of a Gunnery Sergeant who had to be something between a God and the Devil, if I read those eyes right and the flow of language, I felt I was near Death. He then picked me up off the ground and set me to doing Off Hand with him watching my every move. When the rifle muzzle dipped I got a whack and I got madder, another whack and I got so d-mn mad I was going to lower my rifle and slug him.
"Want to hit me, HUH, take your best shot cause then you're going to die, Lad."
Later when I missed Expert by a few points, he came over to me and told me if I hadn't been sleeping while prone, I would have made Expert.
"Yes. Sir", I said swallowing the pride I had by getting the score I did. "Keep it up, Lad. You'll make a Marine yet. Still want to hit me?" He said smiling. I never knew his name only that Sweaty Dusty Campaign hat and the Gunny stripes on his sleeve.
The Gunnery Sergeant was created by the Marine Corps in 1898 and was the Highest Paid enlisted man, above a First Sergeant (this was corrected in about 1908 or so when the First Soldier was paid more than the Gunny, but the records about pay rates, rank status, and rank insignia are a bit fuzzy when you try to read about them. The Gunny had, in the beginning 1898, 3 chevrons, with a Busting Bomb in the center over crossed rifle and naval gun, then it went to crossed rifles. World War I seems to be the beginning of our present ranks structure. The picture shows what a Gunnery Sergeant looked like in WWI.
The Gunny was always like a God to me, there were only two ranks in the Marine Corps, Gunnery Sergeant and Marine Gunner, as I saw it during my Career. I made Gunny and Retired as a Gunnery Sergeant. (I've always hated that E7 bit). Back when I came in a Gunny was Grade 2, I believe, Private was Grade 7.
Making Rank was always who you were, where you were, and what you were. Electronics, and such got all the ranks. Infantry Weapons Armorer hung around and waited for someone to die or retire so they could get promoted, later I was in Research and Development for the weapons Marines used, and was the Chief Armorer for the AR15/M16 Rifle Project at Camp Lejeune.
Why did I become a Marine? The only Marine I ever knew before was the old man that owned the Duck Pin Alley in my home town who was a Retired Marine Gunnery Sergeant, Tall and he walked like he marched in the Marine Corps, always leaning a bit back. I worked there with his grandson setting pins in the bowling alley who told me that he was a Retired Marine. That was before the War and who cared.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #7, #6, (JUN., 2017)
It's Saturday the 25th of Feb., 2012 and not the date you see up in the upper right hand corner of this issue but it's the actual date of this event. The wife and I just returned from our annual injection of MARINE CORPS History and camaraderie held in the Arizona Native American town of Sacaton, AZ. So far, does anything that I've written sound, or look familiar? If not, lets start with the date. Actually the precise day was the 23rd of Feb. but, the 25th is close enough to remember the Flag Raising on Iwo Jima back in 1945. The picture taken by Joe Rosenthal spread instantly around the world and to this day is a symbol of Americas strength and character. It certainly symbolizes the tenacity of the United States MARINE CORPS.
Now that we have the first part of the puzzle figured out let's move to the second part. That would be the location of this remembrance, which is Sacaton, Arizona, at the (Mathew B. Juan - Ira H. Hayes Veterans Memorial Park). Sacaton is located on the Gila River Indian Community about 30 miles South of Phoenix and 15 miles North of Casa Grande, AZ. I guess that some of you would ask at this point, "Why hold this event out in the middle of "nowhere" when there are all sorts of other places?" Well, you're right, there are a lot of other venues, but Ira H. Hayes was born, raised and died in nearby Bapchule. OK, Now, if you forgot, Ira H. Hayes was one of the MARINES that helped raise the flag on Iwo Jima and his life took on a different heading following that event. He would later die and that too was after being somewhat of a spokesmen for the MARINE CORPS.
This is not the first time that we have been to this event and each time it seems to get a little larger. This info was provided by one of the Officials from the local American Legion Post #84. Today's parade consisted of approx. 90+ marching and driving units. These consisted of mostly Color Guards, ROTC Units, local and Nationwide Tribal Contingents and Veterans groups. The Patriot Guard Riders and several other Motorcycle groups. Many MARINE CORPS League Detachments from throughout Arizona were also in attendance. I even noticed (2) Military Helicopters parked in a nearby vacant lot. All in All, everywhere you went you were surrounded my MARINE veterans of all ages. There were even seven survivors from the Iwo Jima campaign as guests of honor and they were introduced and seated on the reviewing stand.
I'm going to make this a two part article so that all the info will be recorded. I have to tell you why and that is because I was chastised and ridiculed by the local MARINE CORPS League adjutant for not including some of the info regarding the preceding event when I submitted it to her for info only. She was armament about me including some facts that I thought did not need to be submitted. But, to her credit, she was correct so, I retreated and made the changes before my final submission.
Lost and Found
In Jan. 1967, I reported to 3rd MAW, MCAS El Toro, Calif. for schooling as an Aviation Mechanic. I cannot remember the squadron that I was assigned to, but it was in the same Group in which VMGR-352 was. After finishing the schooling, I was transferred to VMGR-352, to the Engine Shop. I worked their until the Spring of 1969, when I was given orders to be assigned to the 1st MAW. I was stationed at MCAS Futenma, Okinawa. At that air base, the Engine Shop for VMGR-152, was in a H&M squadron.
I did several short tours to MCAS Da Nang, assigned to VMGR-152 detachment in Viet Nam. In June 1970, I was ordered back state side where I elected to be discharged. I received my Honorable Discharge at MCRD San Diego, Calif. I am wanting to get in touch with Marines who served with me. My name is David A. Lynch. I enlisted in the USMC while living in Dodge City, Kansas. I moved from there to the Tulsa, Oklahoma area in the early 1970's.
Thank You very much for running this story. Currently I am a member of MCL here in Tulsa.
Plt. 361 from July 1964 will be having a reunion in Savanna, GA. The reunion will be the first in April 2014. This is as close to 50 years since we arrived at the gate to Parris Island. We will take tour of PI while there. We will be staying on the riverfront in Savannah where there are many restaurants as well as shopping for the wives. The date, as of now is firm. Join us for the fun!
For more info contact:
Tom Mintz at claybuster[at]me.com.
Please note that Col. Richard Rhinehart (age 105) who was in your November 28, 2013 Newsletter has reported to the Supreme Commander!
Again, great stories but Coast Guardsman Seaman 1st Class Douglas Munro touched me to the quick. I was not familiar with this episode and his MOH actions on that day. I hope there's a reception line in the hereafter and maybe given the honor of shaking his hand.
Semper Fi Coast Guardsman Munro... Semper Fi
Someone always knows how to make you laugh at the most inopportune moments... I remember being on a live fire demonstration of final protective fire, and at the end you hear cease fire!... cease fire...! The shooting dies down to a pop, pop, silence... Then from some clown down the line comes the "police up the brass and move back to the 500 yard line" and you hear a roar of laughter... good memories from old CamPen.
D.McKee, Cpl. '59-'63
"Sir, Private (Jones) request permission to speak to the drill instructor!"
"Sir, Private Joe (Jones) requests permission to make a head call, sir!"
"Is it and emergency head call Maggot?"
"Then sound your siren and go!"
"The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."
"If you were not there, you could not understand. If you were there, it is impossible to explain."
"They never even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left to live.
--Lt Gen. John Kelly
"Being ready is not what matters. What matters is winning after you get there."
--LtGen Victor H. "Brute" Krulak, USMC April 1965
"The Marine Corps has just been called by the New York Times, 'The elite of this country.' I think it is the elite of the world."
--Admiral William Halsey, U.S. Navy, WWII
"The Marines have landed and the situation is well in hand."
--Attributed to Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916)
"Attack! Attack! Attack!"
"The best part about being a Marine is that all the sissies were weeded out."
"Least amphibious of all the Corps' major installations, Two-Niner Trees."
"Every day is a Holiday, Every meal is a Banquet!"
God Bless the Marine Corps!