If you are having trouble viewing this issue, see it on our website:
http://www.grunt.com/corps/newsletter/9469/

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 19 SEP 2013

In this issue:
• 20,000 Feet
• 1953 Old Corps
• Looked Like Beetle Bailey

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

Sgt Grit,

I know there may be no category for this, but as a long time Sgt Grit fan and customer, maybe you can find a place to stick these so I can claim bragging rights.

Thanks,
S.D.
SOG

Get this item for the little Devil Pup in your life at:

Dress Blues Baby 2 Piece Set


20,000 Feet

I love the stories, keep 'em coming. I can't tell my favorites because... well, just "because". I do have an observation though that you can always tell what branch of the military somebody was in by the way their story begins... Air Force, "there we were at 20,000 feet and..." Army, "we were up to our b-tts in mud and..." Navy, "we were coming back to the ship drunk and..." The Corps, "this ain't no sh-t, but..." (except for officers, "you may rather doubt this sh-t, but...").

My daughter who is in the Army, following 4-in-the-Corps and is married to an AF type, has a problem though... her stories start out, "there I was, up to my butt in 20,000 feet of sh-t, when...".

Sneaky Pete Dahlstrom '68-'74


1953 Old Corps

Check out the two DI's. Buck Sgt and a PFC. They are the only two with the 'salty' bowed covers. I wonder what the deal is with the three Marines in utilities in the middle?

The group picture. Look at the socks on the third from the right. Several on the front row appear to have high-top dress shoes. Doesn't appear to be a spit-shined pair in the group.

Outstanding Old Corps pic.

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit


With One Lung

I was saddended to see, in the September Leatherneck, the death of SSgt. Edward L. "Knobby" Walsh. He was the Senior D.I. of our recuite platoon, Plt. 249, MCRD San Diego, in the summer of 1963. He enlisted in 1945 at the age of 16 and retired in 1966. He was with the 7th Marines in Korea and lost a lung to frostbite at the "Frozen Chosin". His idea of recruit training differed somewhat from that of the USMC. He said if we could run and shoot, most of the rest was pretty unnecessary. For instance, on pre-qual day at Camp Matthews, we fired in the morning, then went to noon chow. When we returned to the platoon area, SSgt. Walsh broke out a radio, lit the smoking and talking lamp, and said, "Holiday routine 'til evening chow." We cleaned rifles and our 782 gear, wrote letters, polished shoes and boots, and conversed in low tones all afternoon. All around us, we could hear the other platoons in our series catching h-ll from their D.I.s - P.T.ing, being screamed at, etc. It worked - we relaxed and had an almost 100 percent qualification rate.

Towards the end of training, when things loosened up a bit, someone asked him how he cam to be on the drill field with 16 years in the Corps (we were his first platoon). All he would say was that he got crossways with the wrong person, and when his unit was tasked to send someone to D.I. School, he was sent. Even though there were many younger volunteers. The man could run us all in the ground, with one lung, running backwards most of the way. He was 84 when he died.

Sgt. John Stevenson
USMC 1963-1967


Looked Like Beetle Bailey

Sgt Grit,

Never forget the '59 boot camp experience at MCRDSD. I wonder sometimes if I was the biggest dumb-ss in our platoon. Like getting the bucket issue, I hold up two pairs of jock straps. The Cpl. says, "you got two sets of balls boy, put one of those back."

Like when we were told that if anything didn't fit to bring it back and get it exchanged. My tennis shoes were way too big, so off I go, zig-zagging thru lines to the front for a smaller pair. Unfortunately, when egressing back in, I had forgot to remove my utility cover and had gotten away with it until on my way out. I encountered two DI's and after the loud "By Your Leave Sir" and a quick hand motion from one to proceed, I didn't make it too far. "Get Back Here Maggot" and I had no idea what the problem was. Did I touch one of them on the way by?... no idea. Then, the one DI just reached up, grabbed both sides of my cover and pulled it over my ears in one motion, grabbed me by the seat of the pants, led me outside and kicked me square in the azs sending me skidding down the sidewalk. I had to look like Beetle Bailey with that cover over my ears and tennis shoes tied together wrapped around my neck...

I could go on with other examples, but I'll save them for another time.

Semper Fi
D.McKee Cpl '59-'63


April 1968

I'm living in the Philippines enjoying retirement. I read the newsletter every week and enjoy reading the stories. Let me tell you, it brings back a lot of memories, mostly good as I am from the Vietnam era. Keep up the good work, it's worth hearing from the Old and the New, because, we all are Marines, we paid our time in h-ll, and can look back at it with a smile and still hear the words of our DI's on graduation day, that each and every one of us have earned the Title of being a United States MARINE. Semper Fi Marines! The words seem as if they were uttered yesterday, but yesterday was in April of 1968.

Semper Fi! Sergeant you bring a lot of happiness to all of us.


1865 Marine Emblem Buckle

Found a company that offers a lot of Civil War era memorabilia and replicas. Bought a brass puppy paws buckle that has the 1865 Marine Corps emblem on it. A puppy paw, the belt is attached by way of three hooks on the back. Also it wraps around your waist right to left.

Anyway, I'm making a decorative belt for it. Some minor booboos that won't show when done (my eyes). Belt has U S Marines in the Middle and Semper Fi on either side. Will stamp EGA in when it gets here.

Semper Fi
Choo Choo
1968 - 1974
RVN 70 / 71
Sgt

Correction - Story originally posted with buckle dated for the year 1859. The correct year is 1865.


Enjoyed My Time

I was station at K-bay from June '61 thru June '63 in "I" Company, 3/4, and didn't see any cockroaches or any rat problems like Rich Gleason had in the late fifty's. So, they must have cleaned up quite a bit. Matter of fact I enjoyed my time spent in Hawaii. The HASP, where he talked about, if you messed up they were to take care of the problem. We did spend time on other island (big island Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai) and didn't see problems there either. The only thing that was bad, was that we as Marines couldn't afford to live there except on base. We could get four to five us and rent a place (as I did). Had a lot of fun. I didn't spend the whole two years there because we were sent to other places on ships in the Pacific Ocean.

I would love to go back for a visit and go back on base and see all the changes, but if I understand correctly, they won't let you on the base to visit. That is what I was told anyway.

Moe LeBlanc Cpl. E-4

P.S. I want to take a minute and thank you and your staff at Sgt. Grit for our newsletter and all the Marine gear that I have purchased from you. Take care and God Bless America, and Semper Fi!


Skivvies In A Knot

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I faithfully read the newsletter every week, and it is exciting, but I must take umbrage to an item on page 9 of the 9/5/13 issue, entitled, "Honesty of Marines." I know there will be those who read this who will more than likely get their skivvies in a knot. But, since when does being a good Marine and representative of this great country and of the Corps mean we need to be remembered by the "profane language that is promoted?" Where is the honor, pride and integrity in that kind of conduct. Even swabbies, (Corpsmen excluded) can manage that! (and I was always told, Marines were supposed to be better than swabbies?)

In the forty plus years since I have been out of active duty, I have worked in the field of counseling and social services. During those years, I've spent a considerable amount of time, counseling and visiting, in mental health institutions, hospitals for the criminally insane as well as numerous prisons; one of the common elements in all, is their ability to say the same meaningless things over and over again, and use "a lot of swear words" that give no definitive substance to any conversation.

What a sad day, when we must take delight, as proud Marines, to say that our "Honesty" is rated along with the mentally ill, the criminally insane and the prison populations. Where is the Honor, Pride and Integrity in that. I served with distinction and I am still proud to be Marine, but one with Honor, Pride, Integrity and Esprit de Corps.

Like I said, I am sure there will those who get their skivvies in a knot over this, but where is the Honor, Pride and Integrity of a Marine in that?

Dan G.
USMC Corporal
Viet Nam Vet


Remember This Period Of Time

Sgt Grit,

Wanted to relate the new rank structure back in the 1958 period.

I went through boot camp while in the reserves in June '55. A new program, boot camp, back home to finish your reserve obligation. In Jan. I enlisted in the regular Marine Corps as a PFC. I was considered a re-enlistee in ITR? In Nov. '56, I was meritoriously promoted to Cpl, the old two stripper. In May '57, I was meritoriously promoted to Sgt. In 1958, they came out with the new rank structure. At that time I was a Buck Sgt senior NCO three stripper. Then I became an Acting Sgt E-4... later I was a Sgt E-4 and a senior NCO. While on I-I in New Rochelle, NY, I was promoted to Sgt E-5 in May '60. Guess what, I was still a senior NCO. The old SSgt E-5 maintained their staff status, while the new E-5's were still senior NCO's. One thing I remember, while in Okinawa, I could go to the Air Force Base and get in the Staff Club, but not the MC Staff at Camp Hanson.

Just some old memories from the past, and I'm sure there are those that remember this period of time.

Semper Fi
Jim SIMMONS
Sgt E-5
USMC '55-'64


Tarawa Intel

Having been a Varga collector, I'm familiar with that "intel" the Marines were studying in the landing craft. In fact, that is the very Varga gatefold out of the August 1943 Esquire that I have framed, and decorating the wall front and center above my headboard.

The paintings were painted by Alberto Vargas, of course, and next to the beauties were verses written by Phil Stack. The verses usually offer glimpses of what the popular mindset was at the time. The verse accompanying that Varga Girl going to the landing was as follows:

Vacation Reverie - It seems so strange to be here all alone, And yet I dream that you are by my side...
I'm really proud, Sweetheart, the way I've grown to think of all you do with so much pride...
You know the way I used to be at first - All fears because our plans had gone astray, All tears because a shining bubble burst - But now I see things clearer ev'ry day;

You're making sure that we will hold this land And keep the simple things that mean so much...
Vacation days... love letters in the sand...
And summer nights when hands and hearts can touch...
And we can watch a misty moon ride high
And laugh beneath our own star-spangled sky!

Yes, Sir, that was the intel those Marines were studying on their way to Tarawa.

T. Graf, E 2/23, '82-'88


Remembrance Table

This old Marine served, 1 Oct. 1961 to 2 Feb. 1966, and am very happy that I did. I look back on those years with very fond memories as I'm sure most Marines do.

I just wanted to say that Ole Gunny McCallum is absolutely correct, the Iwo Jima Flag Raising Event aka the Ira Hayes Days in Sacaton, Arizona, is held each year near the end of February. It is very honorable the way the Indian people treat their military veterans, both past and present.

I am a member of the Scottish American Military Post 48 that has had the great honor of demonstrating our "Remembrance Table" that some folks refer to as the POW/MIA Table. We have been doing this for the past few years in Sacaton, and each year I see many of the same faces time after time. They come from all different Tribes around the country and there are Marines that make this a special trip each year. I hope that you too will get a chance to see this celebration.

We made the name change for it a few years back to update it and to be sure that we were honoring ALL that have served in our Nation's Military, both past and present. It has received a lot of response from many in the Veteran Community, and we are privileged to do this on many different occasions throughout the year for various organizations, even schools, where we hope to instill in the children the significance of what our military men and women have done and are doing for America. The name change was not to show any disrespect for the POW's and MIA's, but only to be sure to include ALL who have served, therefore we call it the "Remembrance Table", and we are very proud to be able to do this to honor one and all.

Anyone wishing to find out about our presentation, please notify the current Post 48 Commander at akerstetter@q.com.

Semper Fi
R. Collis


Certified Crazy

Sgt Grit,

Marines are, by their very nature, dedicated to God, "Corps", and country, not necessarily in that order. But, that dedication does not negate the fact that a few Marines are, by their very nature, a bit crazy, and I use the term crazy in the most respectful way. I have been reading about some of those crazy Marines in your newsletter. Although I haven't met or served with any of the crazy Marines that have had comments made about them in your newsletter, I have, as I suspect many Marines have, served with at least one Marine that could easily be certified crazy.

After my first tour of duty in Vietnam, I had the pleasure of being assigned to Marine Barracks, Treasure Island, San Francisco. OH - What great duty that was. At that time, T.I. was the location of "ships registration". Every naval ship, boat, that had a number that designated its class was listed, identified, and marked on a large map that hung on the wall of the main room in the building. Additionally, a 12 foot fence with a double apron of barbed wire surrounded the building, and there was an armed (locked and loaded 12-gauge Remington shotgun) Marine walking the no man's land between the building and the fence. All Marines who stood guard duty there had to have a clearance. I was always fascinated by the great detail that the civilian employees took to keep the map updated concerning the location of every U.S. vessel.

There was an extremely interesting Marine stationed there at the same time who was of above average intelligence, extremely dedicated, but just a bit crazy. His fellow Marines called him "animal". I will withhold his real name to protect the guilty. "Animal" was 6'6" tall with a traditional "high and tight" haircut, muscles in places that I didn't even have places, and a rough, deep voice that most certainly gave people pause. Now, unknown to the Sailors attending school there or the Sailors stationed there, "animal" was not prone to violence. I absolutely loved going to the Navy mess hall with "animal". He would casually go through the mess line, get his tray heavily loaded with everything being served, and take a seat as near to the middle of the mess deck as he could. He would give a very bleak stare to anyone serving who didn't give him the quantity he expected to get. Of course, the messmen would immediately increase "animals'" portion to the desired amount. What really made the meal interesting was that "animal" never used utensils. Knives, forks, spoons, and napkins were readily available at the end of the chow line, but "animal" never used them. As he stuffed mashed potatoes or green beans into his mouth, I would watch the Sailors move away to give "animal" a wide birth. And, no one dared to say a word to him concerning his eating habits. I asked him why he did what he did. His reply - "Sailors expect to see crazy Marines. I don't want to disappoint them." I will also say that "animal" was, by far, one of the best Marines I have ever known. When I think about him, I can't help but laugh. He frequently said that he unintentionally intimidated people because of his size. He used that attribute to his advantage because it had kept him out of many fights. What a Marine he was!

Both of us, along with a few others, got orders back to Vietnam. Tragically, "animal" was killed in Hue City during the Tet Offensive of 1968. He was awarded the Silver Star for the heroism that took his life.

Thanks for allowing me to "sound off".

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


Ignite The C4

Hey Marines,

I suspect the "sun photo" was a sunrise, rather than sunset. Notice that both Marines are wearing what appears to be Field Jackets. Also, their posture suggests they're tired, weary from their couple of hours on watch. When getting into positions at night in R.V.N. our guys were not slouched and worn looking.

Atop Hill 1467, the nights would get quite cold. Field jackets came out, if you had them. If you packed a second "jungle jacket" you'd likely layer your shirts. Having a bunch of C4 on our mountain top, I'd pinch off smallish pieces on cold nights, put on my poncho, and ignite the C4 with my Zippo. Nearly instantly my "teepee" would get nice and toasty, with the neck of the poncho being the "chimney". Very satisfying, if only to relieve the cold and damp for a short time! Of course this was only done in a way such that the flames could not be seen by "the other side", even in silhouette.

MPC. MSgt Hays' story took me right back to those days of using the Funny Money. While home on Emergency Leave one of the exchanges was executed. I arrived home to 11th Marines to find that I now had a nice crisp $10 souvenir MPC bill in my wallet. [was not allowed to exchange it after my return]. It makes a nifty, if expensive, memento in one of my scrapbooks.

Thanks for the memories, Top!

Loved the flashback to the Short Timer's Countdown calendar. A version which went around our area [Comm. Section, H.Q. Battery, 11th Marines] was of a similarly naked lass, seated, with legs up and spread. You can easily guess where the Final 1 was situated. Creating the number pattern was a good, temporary diversion from other things. As I recall, doing so required more than one Bullsh-t Session to arrive at consensus. I may still have mine buried among my RVN things.

Sgt. Grit e-newsletter is a great way to enjoy my morning coffee and wakeup time!

Semper Fi,
Doug "Junior" Helmers
H.Q. Battery, 11th Marines, Viet Nam
Aug. '68 to April '70


The Looney Farm

The first thing I learned in Boot Camp was that I didn't want to be set back for any reason! There were a number of ways this could happen, you could be sent to the "Hippo" platoon if you were huge and couldn't cut it, to "Motivational" platoon if you were one of the ten percenters and couldn't get with the program, the hospital if you were sick or lame, but worst of all, to 310, the "Looney Farm" because no one ever came back from there!

The only person in our platoon that was sent to 310 was a guy whose Mother came with him to the induction center in L.A. to watch him take the oath. He was found wandering around one night at 0-dark thirty far from our platoon area. This happened around the third week and made a huge impression on all of us especially motivating those who thought it might be a way out.

We had two "retreads" toward the end of our 12-weeks and they both came from Balboa Hospital. Since we were in First Bn., we would see the "Hippos" from time to time double timing everywhere they went and the "Motivators" doing their thing, usually "squat jumps" or other PT. The only time I remember seeing the "310'ers" they were moving to chow as a herd. Our Jr. DI would always march us to Building 310 on our way to the "shot hut" and order "eyes left" as we passed. About the second week we were marched to a building, halted, right faced and told to stand at ease. A Woman Marine came out onto the porch and told us that this was the Chaplain's office and if we wanted to talk to him to fall out and form a line on her left. About half the platoon started to fall out when she added, "except for hurting feet". We all got back into formation and marched off to our favorite destination, the "shot hut".

Cpl. Selders
Plt. 181, Aug. 1960


More Camp Hauge

I got to Camp Hauge 3 Dec 1960. Btry "K", 4th Bn, 12th Mar. No liberty till the Division indoctrination. The following weekend was the end of overnight liberty for Sgts and below. Monday it would be Cinderella liberty. As you entered the Gate on your right was Regt. Hq., on the left was Heavy Artillery rocket Btry (honest John). Next to Regt. was the slopchute (E-club). On up on the left was the PX, on the corner was the Post office. Turn left the theater, further down the street was 3rd 155 howitzer Btry, then the gun park and motor pool. Then 4th Bn., further up 2nd Bn. At the corner, Staff NCO Club. Across the main drag Staff NCO qtrs. To the left Officers Country.

Across from Camp Hauge was Camp Kinser. How come nobody mentions BC Street, Gate 2 street, 4 Conors? At the end of '61 the Regt. moved to Camp Sukerain (Army Camp), 9th Marines were there. After Viet Nam, the 12th moved back to Hauge. In '72 / '73 it was to be turned over to Japan (they wanted all the buildings to have A/C.

During '61 Kilo Btry shot all the Artillery for the movie "Let's Go Marines" for 20th Century. I went back to the "Rock"... going to Nam in '65 & '68... again in '72 / '73.

S/F
Jim Leonard SSgt Ret.


Nothing To Be Desired

Apparently there was little change in MP Company, MCB Camp Lejeune between the departure of Sgt. D. Wackerly and my arrival in March, 1957. Duty in downtown Jacksonville was nothing to be desired unless you delighted in cracking drunken skulls in order to maintain the peace. Driving a patrol on base was far more pleasant, except for an occasional domestic violence call from officer's country. A bruised and bleeding wife would answer the door with her irate husband shoving her out of the way in order to tell you what your reward will be for showing up at his quarters. Duty at the Main Gate was always a relief, as was dispatcher duty. As Sgt. Wackerly mentioned, long weekend liberty was a regular option and on occasion, I could catch a ride with a car owner headed home, beyond the 250 mile limit.

One driver lived in Philadelphia and we agreed to meet up on Sunday at the bus station there for the return to Lejeune. I was well on my way to Providence, RI. Luckily he gave me his parent's phone number, as he was not at the appointed place on time. I phoned his home and his mother advised that he had already left, but she would bring me bus fare. God bless mothers. Needless to say, I was four hours late and caught h-ll the next day from the First Sergeant, but no disciplinary action was taken. Catching a ride on Friday was easy, but getting back to base on time was not always a piece of cake!

Spike Berner
Sergeant of Marines


Talk About Great Trips

Sgt. Grit,

I arrived at Camp Lejeune on June 7, 1966. I drove there in my 1962 Ford Galaxy 500, painted root beer brown from Redondo Beach, California. I did the whole trip by myself, at 19 years of age! I bought the car after coming home from Vietnam. During my time at Camp Lejeune we pronounced in Camp Lejeune not Camp Leg urn like they do today. I was with 2nd. Tank Battalion, and took many weekend trips. As far south as Spartanburg, and as far north as Long Island. I also took several trips to Columbus, OH. A fellow Marine had attended Ohio State, talk about great trips! There were lots of OS coeds hanging around his girlfriend's apartment, so the 600 miles through the hills of West Virginia was just part of the fun getting there.

I also remember one trip out to Nags Head on the Outer Banks in North Carolina. We drove up from the south, taking the ferry boat from Moorhead City. A beautiful place, and a lot of fun riding those ferry boats for 3 hours.

When I got back to Redondo Beach in September 1968, I had put 40,000 miles on my old Ford, and I never heard the term "Swooping". Guess that was after my time.

Semper Fi
John M. Hunter
Cpl. E-4
1964-1968
RVN 1965-1966


PFT & CMC Test

Interesting reads on the PFT, and CMC test during recruit training during the 1960s. And the PFT for active duty Marines thereafter. In recruit training the recruit had to take and pass two test during the final phase of training — the PFT test, and CMC test. Most of this information comes from the MCRD, San Diego, SOP, November 1971; and the MCRC, CHEVORON paper 1963.6.

During the first week of training the recruits were given an initial PFT test to determine their physical ability to continue training. A score above 125 was acceptable to continue training, a score below was considered physically unfit to continue. On the initial test the recruit had to do pull-ups, sit-ups, push- ups, leg-lifts, and run a wind sprint of about 300 yards on the small parade deck, near the airfield. During the final phase of training the recruit was required to pass the Marine Corps PFT test, including a three mile run. On the final test the leg- lifts were replaced with bends and thrusts. The maximum score of 500 points. To pass the test, the private had to complete a minimum number of repetitions to pass an event, and a combined minimum score above 200 to pass the test. If the private failed the test during the final phase, and he passed all other test including academic test, practical test, inspection, and qualified with the rifle; more than likely he would graduate upon the recommendation of the Drill Instructor. Or, the Hat as some prefer to call it.

It would be interesting to note, that changes were made during the late 1960s; dropping a couple of events in the test, and adding a broad jump, and a vertical leap. The CMC test was implemented sometime around 1959.

The rules for the CMC, Commandant of the Marine Corps Test, was simple. You had to pass the overall test. Fail one event, you fail the test. There were five events, four with a full combat load; helmet, cartridge belt, utilities, boots, marching pack, and a 9.5 pound aluminum rifle. All five had a time limit to pass each event: Climb a 20 foot rope in 20 seconds; 45 eighteen inch step-ups in two minutes; 50 yard fireman's carry; fire and maneuver over a 175 yard course, including jumping an 8-foot ditch; and run thee miles with combat gear in under 36 minutes. The fireman's carry was the only events without a rifle.

The object of these test in recruit training was to produce a basically qualified Marine. As a Marine they were required to keep physically fit to meet both the Marine Corps mission, and keep the Marine healthy by working on his cardiovascular system. By keeping the heart, lungs, and blood supply working together, which also helped maintain the healthy weight standards in the Marine Corps. Therefore, the Marine Corps established the PFT test for all Marines. It also helped on the personal appearance and promotion to the next higher rank.

As for the CMC test: it was a paramount requirement for Marines to run three miles with a full combat load, and be physically fit to attack the enemy once they made contact. As said: adapt, improvise, and overcome the obstacles. To improve the percentage of qualified Marines, the first four events were completed first before running the three miles. The reasoning, after running three miles, some Marines would be too tired to successfully complete the other four events.

The CMC test fell by the wayside throughout the Corps, with the exception of the Infantry / grunt Marines. They would continue to conduct physical training to meet the mission of the Infantry Battalion: Including force marches up to thirty miles or more with more than the required combat load.

Semper Fi
Herb Brewer
1stSgt, USMC Ret


Me, My Wife, and the Corps

Just finished reading the article from Sgt Neely on swooping from Lejeune. It brought back a lot of forgotten memories. I was at Lejeune 6/68 - 5/69 (most time on a Med Cruise). I didn't have a car at the time, so I and my buds would head to the circle Friday afternoon for the swoop home. Mine was somewhat farther than Neely's, as I lived in Toledo, OH. I was probably another 4-5 hrs. farther than him. We would leave J'ville about 4:30 pm get dropped of exit 5 Ohio Turnpike about 5 am Saturday morning. Lots of hauling asz, and we went the same route as him, and we all got stopped. I had one guy go to jail in Fredrick, not enough cash, the good times, heading home to see my future wife, we are still together 42 yrs. now. My kids are all married and off, just the three of us now. Me, My Wife, and the Corps!

Semper Fi Brothers

Cpl Dave Evans, Grunt
Vietnam 2/7, Golf Co
1967-1968 USMC


He Only Asked One Question

Way back when Sgt. Grit first started printing these letters, I wrote a story about Captain Holmes. One of the finest and most dedicated Captains I had ever had the opportunity to serve under even for a very short time while stationed at Quantico, Schools Demonstrations Troops (SDT) in 1955. I had been in Korea and had heard of him, but never about his real combat until reading his story in the latest issue. I met him when he was assigned as the Company Commander of B Company, SDT, with additional duties as CO of the newly formed NCO school at SDT. I was one of many who had to stand tall in front of the man while he questioned why my wall locker was unlocked and my gear and uniforms thrown willy nilly in while I attended my first NCO class. My explanation resulted in two orders: get it squared away by the next morning (an all nighter), and get a haircut (my hair was already in a half inch crew-cut and get that done for him to personally inspect by 1:00pm that day. I got it cut to 1/8th inch reported back and he said good, dismissed. Every morning, he fell out the troops at reveille, and with his personal 303 Springfield rifle which any of us would have been proud to have, he led physical drill. That of course consisted of up and on shoulders 64 counts. And again the same until we could hardly lift our M1's over our heads. By the end of the NCO school, we all could do it right along with him until he finished leading us.

I had never seen any Marine with that many purple hearts. I do not remember now how many stars but I do remember at least one Gold one along with all the others. And the head wound talked about by the last SSgt. in your last issue contained according to legend resulted in a metal plate. The stories about his Marine Corps Green Cadillac were true, he did drive one and he was never seen on base out of uniform. It was said he did not own any civvies. The last story that I heard about him happened while I was still at Quantico. I was in the field providing radio telegraph communications demos to Basic School Officers when the word came that Capt. Holmes had been taken to the woodshed by Command for the way he was running a live fire demo with his troops from B Company. Seems as it was told to the troops that several tanks wanted to cross in front of B Company troops while the live firing mission was going on and Capt. Holmes radioed them to hold until he finished. The tankers said no they were going through so cease fire until they were clear. Capt. Holmes told the tankers to proceed at their peril he was not calling a cease fire and ordered his troops to continue with the live fire mission. When several rounds hit the tanks (obviously with no damage) the tanks finally stopped and Capt. Holmes was ordered to report to Mainside. We never heard from him again and indeed many of the Jr. Officers at least and some others who were not so Junior thought he was over the top. But believe me, the troops including myself would have followed that Marine anywhere, any time. My best Buddy whom I have long since lost track of was assigned as his driver on an exercise and was trying to make the ride as comfortable in the field as possible. The Captain said to him, "son do you know why they made these jeeps so tough?" And my bud said yes sir. The Capt. said, "well then drive it as it was intended to be driven." My buddy did not need any further encouragement and took off at high speed which the Captain seemed to enjoy.

Yes, there are many stories about how his troops would call him at 2 am to come bail them out of jail in D.C. for fighting. He only asked one question and that was who won? When the answer was I did Sir, he was there in less than an hour and bailed his troops out and brought them back to the base. No disciplinary action needed. Indeed he was loved, respected, admired and one of the finest as far as the troops were concerned. I finally after all these years got to read just how brave and cool he was under fire in Korea, I am not surprised. He was that kind of Marine and like that SSgt said, if they did survey him, it was the Corps loss.

Richard E. Nygaard
SSgt USMC 1953-1963


Re-Enlisting At Age 17

Is this Gil Holmes, Capt USMC. The same Capt Gilbert H. Holmes "B" company Schools Demonstration Troops, Quantico, VA, 1953? (9) Purple Hearts, bald head, did PT up and arms with A-4 A-6 .30 cal MG every morning with the company?

If so I thought he was a little over the top some times. However, he made some extremely positive impressions on my career. He was my first CO after Re-Enlisting at age 17, because, I was discharged a few months prior, for being under age, the discharge was Minority, under Honorable Conditions, after (9) months it was discovered that I was only 15 when I was sworn in and 16 when a Security Clearance background investigation discovered my real age. Capt. Holmes was, in my humble opinion, a great leader.

Semper Fi
Ed "Machete Eddie" McCourt
Mustang GySgt. Capt USMC (ret)


SeaKnight

Dear Sgt Grit,

While I was not a Marine, my son is an inactive air winger. Our family has served this nation from our great-great-grandfather who was a member to Co "E", 76th Reg of the PA Volunteers, Zoaves that landed in Hilton Head. I myself served in Korea landing in Inchon just as the phony truce was signed. Starting out as a member of Co "B", 502nd Reg of the 101st. I was transferred to 8th Army FWD in Korea, taking a cruise on the troop ship, TAP 114, William Mitchell going over and coming back! On board, 2,000 Marines and 3,000 Army!

I was the last of a long line of first cousins who fought in WWII. They all survived fortunately. One of my cousins, Gunny William Mowbray joined the Marines in 1937 and was one of the original Marine Raiders and survived the islands. I had two cousins at the Battle of the Bulge, one was shot down on a Polesti raid and was a prisoner of the Germans for three years, another was in the Merchant Marine Engineering Officer running through a few Wolf Packs. William is buried in Arlington Cemetery not far from Audie Murphy, Lee Marvin and Joe Lewis. You have no idea how disgusted I am when that what sits in the WH enters Arlington for whatever reason. Bad enough for Ted Kennedy being buried there disgracing the cemetery.

The reason I'm writing you is that I made a small contribution to the cause when I worked the original plywood mockups of the CH-46 SeaKnight & CH-47 Chinook Helicopters at Piasecki Helicopters in Morton, PA. I've attached a few pix. I started out as a bench mechanic and worked my way up to the pubs department where I made some of the master structural repair manuals for the CH-46.

If anyone of you jarheads are interested about the development of the SeaKinight, just contact me Jim Webb at jwebbartist[at]comcast.net, or at spiderwerks[at]comcast.net.

Regards,
Jim Webb


Walkabout

Phil Odom, Sgt, F 2/1, '68-'70 (left), Houston, TX.

Ron Bates, Sgt, F 2/1, '68-'69 (right), Canon City, CO.

These Marines came by the other day. Ron said they are on a "Walkabout" to see seven of their Vietnam buddies. They are making the trip in the motorhome pictured. I had a nice talk with both of them. It is great to get together with you buddies. I have a group from Vietnam and we have been getting together since 1987. Always great to see them.

Have an outstanding trip Marines.

Semper Fi
Sgt Grit


Provocative

Sgt Grit,

Regarding MSgt Gene Hays' excellent and provocative letter about MPC... the other overlooked and significantly more disgusting fact than some Marine or GI being clipped for 19 percent at that conversion rate was the next conversion into gold by the thugs behind the desperate people on the fence, and then the third conversion back to dollars in Cholon [Chinese area in Saigon] or Macao or Hong Kong. There the banks, which had a similar or greater spread on the international market because of the fixed exchange rates, made tons of money on the US. Talk about asymmetrical warfare not being understood... our national treasure in blood and money being spilled for sh-t. Save a level in h-ll for this scum... those who allowed it and those who at the second and third conversion executed it.

Respectfully submitted,
Don Carey
Marine '67----


The FLIGHT LINE

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

I guess if I asked anybody that served in the Corps if they knew of anybody that really stood out, or that they remember from their years while they served. They would, I'm sure say, you know I remember an old so and so that really made me laugh, or was always saying, or doing this or that. Well, if I was asked, my mind would automatically go to Willy. That would be MGy/Sgt. Williams, the first name escapes me because he never used it. Instead it was always Gunny Williams. Now, I know a lot of you don't remember the TV series called "F-TROOP", but some days I would actually think that Gunny Williams actually was a program reject because of some of the stunts he would pull.

Let me first describe Gunny Williams. He must have had to have a waiver to get in the Corps because he was really short and almost over weight, but he overcame those shortages with his harshness and a lack of tact. But, he made up for his lack of tact by trying to drown his actions with beer. Now, this story is going to take a little longer then I wanted so it may take several Issues. Plus, he smoked cigars constantly... Anyway here goes!

I can't remember the month but the year was 1967 or 68 and Willy was about to reenlist for his last time. Now, prior to this event he had (several years before) purchased a new Austen Healy Sports car and had darn near driven the wheels off of it, plus in that whole time he never washed it. Needless to say that everybody would rattle his chain about washing it to which he would reply "It belongs to the Credit Union, if they want it clean they can come up to the Hanger and get and take it in to get washed and pay for it". Well, you know that was not going to happen. Every thing was going along nicely when one day I guess the pressure from everybody finally sunk in and Willy took a day off. Now, this happened just a few day's before he re-enlisted. Apparently, Willy's wife Doris, drove him to work for the days preceding the big re-enlistment event. The day came, and everybody was waiting for Willy to show up, and when he did, it looked like he had bought a new car. His old beat up, and dirty Austen Healy pulled up to his spot outside the Hanger and it was a sight to behold. He climbed out with a big smile on this face, and everybody asked him, what happened to which he replied, "It's mine now, I've got to keep it clean." And, as I remember, he did!

He didn't even smoke his cigars while driving anymore. I asked him several times what it cost him to have the Healy detailed and all he would say is that he had to re-enlist to be able to afford it. It sure looked nice!


Lost and Found

Looking for anyone who knows the whereabouts of SgtMaj. John T. Allen. I first met him when he was a recruiter in Provo, Utah, and I was home on emergency leave to bury my young wife in October of 1968. He was a Gunny then. He really helped me keep it together. I returned to duty in RVN and we stayed in touch, kinda, last time I got a card from him, he and his wife were retired and living in Las Vegas, NV. I've moved around for the Fed and really lost touch.

Grit, if anyone knows of him, he really means a bunch to me, it's time.

Sid Lawrence


Was sadden to hear that MSgt Storey had passed. I worked with him at 2nd Bn, RTBn in 1974. I can't remember the Platoon number we worked together as ADI's or the name OD the SDI, but Sgt Searcy was another ADI. I was also a Sgt and MSgt Storey was a SSgt. I will admit when I first learned he was from Canada I was surprised. I never realized there were so many amongst our ranks.

Semper Fi Marines!

1stSgt D. Jones Ret


Short Rounds

I used to swoop to NYC, an eleven hour drive. The big speed trap, a notorious place for bogus tickets, was Snow Ridge, NC on I believe route 258? In route to I-95 in Rocky Mount, NC.

Phil Beckerich
Privileged to be an Officer of Marines and a helicopter pilot.
1969 - 1975 ( active duty)

Note: I got one of those famous tickets at Rocky Mount, NC. Cop says follow me, you pay cash to and old man in a dingy building. Too many years, but seems I remember some discussion about no receipt or ticket written. That is, no record, just cash exchanged. I must be wrong on that point, but I do have some vague memory of that.

Sgt Grit


In '66 after my return from Nam I had a Ford Wagon, so I could fit in 7 Devil Dogs and head north every Friday. Got stopped in some little berg too and the fine was the total of what we all had in our pockets. I think those southern JP's etc. must have had spotter cars outside the gate!


Black Smoke Belching S/Sgt. Gill - Thanks for the update on Capt Holmes and the "Runnin' O". I wonder at what rank he retired?

Bill McDermott


Quotes

"Nothing just happens in politics. If something happens you can be sure it was planned that way."
--President Franklin D. Roosevelt


"We have two companies of MARINES running all over this island and thousands of ARMY troops doing nothing!"
--Gen. John Vessey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs


"Retreat h-ll! We just got here!"
--Capt. Lloyd Williams, USMC


"We should never despair, our Situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new Exertions and proportion our Efforts to the exigency of the times."
--George Washington, (1777)


"Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either—but right through every human heart."
--Alexander Solzhenitsyn


"Take ten... expect five... get three... on your feet, outta the shade and into the heat... saddle up, move out!"

"Reveille, Reveille... heave out and trice up, clean sweepdown fore and aft, carry all trash to the fan tail, the smoking lamp is lit in all authorized smoking spaces, stand clear of the mess decks until pipe-down" - (never did figure out, or hear, any bosun's call that piped us down to chow... and only a squid would put tomatoes in SOS).

On the phone: "motor pool... two-bys, four-bys, six-bys, and big ones that bend in the middle and go pshew!... if you can't truck it..."

God Bless the American Dream!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

©2012 Sgt Grit Inc
7100 SW 44th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73179
888-NOV-1775
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.