I found some Marine Recruiting ads in a program from the 1942 Annual College All-Stars vs the Chicago Bears. Thought you might be interested. You could tell it was war time. Lots of ads for the other branches also. Ads for War Bonds, scrap metal drives and such. Maybe some of our WWII Marines will relate to them.
No Greater Honor
In response to PVT PT,
If none of us ever made mistakes, we would not have needed fire breathing, spit spewing Drill Instructors to shape us into Marines. Instead, as we exited the bus a L/CPL could have handed us the Marine Corps Manual and told us to read it and commit it to memory. Sent us off to the range to learn to be an accurate Marine Corps Rifleman. Fitted us for a uniform and sent us to our duty stations. But we all make errors along the way. Some errors got us push-ups, some haunt our memories. If that Marine you wrote about would have been an average recruit, and if you had treated him as any other average Marine, he would today be a name on a black granite wall. But because of his differences, and your recollection of the past, he is remembered. Today as the newsletter hit countless inboxes, his story is being read, and he is remembered for never giving up, and being the one to respond to downed Marines.
From your story, he sounds like the type that would tell you, "It's been 44 years Brother, you need to heal." And, as of the reading of your story, the rest of us don't look at him as a goofball. We look at him as a Marine who laid down his life for his friends... no greater love, no greater Honor.
Family Day At MCRD San Diego
In picture 1, stands three sons who are all Marines, with Jim being the oldest. He is standing on the left. Next is Fred, standing behind Mary Ann, was 19 when he enlisted. Then there is Steve, whom Mom and Dad had to sign for him to enlist due to him being 17 at the time. Steve served in Iraq.
In picture 2, there are 5 men and 1 young woman, this is from Family Day at MCRD San Diego 9 May 2013. Pictured from left to right is Gunny Steve, PFC Clint (grandson to Mary Ann), Fred Jr, Jim, and Step-Dad Ron. All the guys except Ron are Marines, but Ron is very proud of all of them.
In picture 3, Mary Ann has her Wall of Honor that holds pictures of all 4 of her Marines.
LCpl Jim Lehner served 1983-1987 + 2 yr Reserve.
Cpl Fred Lehner Jr. Served 1983-1987 + 2yr Reserve.
On the left: GySgt Steve Lehner Served 1984-2005.
On the right: PFC Clint Lehner Graduated 10 May 2013.
Mary Ann writes that her sons really miss the Corps, especially Steve. He says he was the happiest when he was an active Marine. PFC Clint Lehner says he was born to do this. Gunny Steve, Fred Jr., and Jim's dad was Army, so according to Mary Ann, you can imagine the teasing that went on. Their dad passed 21 years ago.
Sgt Grit Staff
Removed The Salt
It was early fall 1963 at MCRD San Diego. Platoon 249 was on the 11th week of training, on the grinder, in fresh starchies, covers starched and blocked, boots saddle soaped to a soft glow, boots bloused and blouses unbuttoned at the collar. We were practicing for the final drill evaluation. Palms were popping on M-14 stocks, heels were pounding out the cadence... we were sharp and we knew it.
"Flip-Flop, Hippity-Hop, Mob Stop..." bellowed our Jr. DI, Sgt John Lincoln. He raced to the rear of the platoon and go in PVT. "X's" face. "What are you smiling about, sh-tbird?" PVT "X" was in the rear rank because he was the one in our platoon who was always a half step behind in everything... drill, manual of arms, everything. I was in the rear rank because I had been demoted from squad leader, and as punishment, had been assigned to mentor PVT "X" to try to square him away.
After the first week of boot camp, the DI's realized that they couldn't do anything with PVT "X", and just sent him to sick bay when we had any kind of drill evaluation or test. The only thing he could do was shoot... high sharpshooter. Anyway, when asked why he was smiling, PVT "X" replied, "Sir, for the first time I did it right!" At this reply, there were several audible snickers from somewhere in the platoon. Sgt Lincoln gave the command, "Order Arms. Ground Arms. Unblouse Boots. Button Collar Button. Pick Up Arms. Order Arms. Reverse Right Shoulder Arms. Mob Walk." There we were with what seemed like every platoon on base on the grinder staring at us. Sgt Lincoln walked us over to a platoon in yellow sweatshirts and tennis shoes and offered us to their DIs. We were dismal looking bunch. He then walked us back to the platoon area and asked, "Do you old salts feel like snickering now?" Needless to to say, this removed the "salt" from us for the next two weeks, 'til we graduated.
Sgt. John Stevenson
Fired A Perfect Bullseye
Sgt - in again;
While serving at the rifle range at Cherry Point, we found that filing the sear down on the M-1 would cause it to fire "full automatic". The only problem was that the rifle would jam after about three rounds. We also had a Rising (?) that had the "flash hider" edged up about a 1/32 of an inch. This produced a sharp "Twang" when fired as the bullet hit the flash.
Each of these weapons were passed out at the start of each re-qual session with some interesting results. Even to the point of dropping the weapon. This was accompanied with the usual command as to what to do with the weapon.
Had one re-qual complaining about his weapon not being any good. "Can't hit a thing with it." We were on the 600 yard line at the time. Willie S..., his instructor took the rifle, loaded it and "offhand" fired a perfect bullseye. That night I asked him if he could do it again? His reply, "D-mn right - given the same amount of luck."
Old Jarhead Rotorhead
Simply a visit from an old Jarhead Rotorhead. Active '68 - '74. Marble Mountain, I Corp, RVN Dec '69 - Dec '70. Flew with HML-367. Scarface. Off to show respect by visiting the RVN Wall. More next week.
Civil War Marine
I sent you this Ingersoll family information last year and would like to add a correction and addition per a recent VFW magazine dated May 2013.
The correction was made in the article that you printed - rank Capt was actually Cpl. Per VFW magazine article "Boys In Battle" - Medal of Honor.
"James Machon displayed bravery during the Battle of Mobile Bay, Ala., on Aug. 5, 1864. His vessel, the USS Brooklyn, was part of an 18-ship squadron attacking Fort Morgan. The 16-year-old remained steadfast at his post in the immediate vicinity of the shell whips, devices used to lift artillery shells up to the gun deck. The area had been cleared twice of men by bursting shells. Wounded and sent below for treatment, Machon returned to his post and took charge of his gun until he was wounded a second time. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions. Sadly, his wounds left him totally disabled."
Please note: the last sentence of the attached 100 year old, hand written piece of paper recently found in a leather bound case belonging to my Great Aunt Ida May Ingersoll - Mother's side. Her husband, Absalom Nelson Ingersoll of Shrub Oak (NY), served as a Marine on the United States Brooklyn throughout the Civil War.
This is the original Transfer Card of my great Grandfather, mother's side, Marine Capt. A. N. Ingersoll from Ossining, N.Y. dated 2 February 1903.
He joined the Marines in Westchester County, New York, on April 4th 1862 as a Private, and was discharged as a Captain on April 4th 1866 after 4 years of honorable service during the Civil War. After he left the service he was a guard at Sing Sing Prison, Ossining, N.Y. He is buried in the local cemetery there along with other members of our family.
I was a Marine from 1964 to 1968, having served in Viet-Nam in '66 and '67 with H&S Co., 3rd Srv. Bat., FLC - Alpha at Red Beach north of Danang, and then at Phu-Bai. For my great Grandfather to join the Marines in 1862 at the age of 22 as a Private, and be discharged in 1866 at the rank of Captain is something that I am very proud of. I wish that I knew more about him. My brother Tom was also in the Marines from 1963 to 1966, and we hooked up over in Nam at Chu Lai and Danang during the war. We were both fortunate enough to come back in one piece, and I will always be grateful for the adventure of a life time.
Dana H. Theis - Sgt.
My Brothers And I
I was eleven years old when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor... I'm 81 now. I had five brothers at that time, two are now deceased. My oldest brother Otis, was drafted into the U.S. Navy in Sept. 1944 and served aboard the LST-272 in the Pacific, but no war zone. He was married at the time and had two children. He was honorably discharged Sept. 1945. My next oldest brother Al, enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in Nov. 1942. In 1944 he was assigned to the LST-70 and in Feb. 1945 participated in the invasion of Iwo Jima. In Apr. 1945 he participated in the invasion of Okinawa. After that, LST-70 participated in troop and equipment movement from island to island. He was honorably discharged in Sept. 1946. My next oldest brother Glen, enlisted in the U.S.M.C. in Dec. 1943. He entered boot camp in San Diego in Jan. 1944. After boot camp he was assigned to Tank Training Bn. at Camp Pendleton, CA. After completing training at Camp Pendleton he was transferred to Hawaii for further training. After completion of training in Hawaii in Jul. 1944 he embarked on a ship to the Island of Pavuvu where he was to participate in further training and staging for the invasion of the Island of Peleliu. In Aug. 1944 he was assigned to the 1st Platoon, "C" Co. 3rd Armored Amphibious Bn. (Provisional), 1st Marine Div. On 15 Sept. 1944 he participated in the invasion of the island of Peleliu (1st wave) driving a LVT(A). On Oct. 22nd he departed Peleliu and returned to Pavuvu for R & R (?) and further training and staging for the Invasion of Okinawa. On 1 Apr.1945 driving a LVT(A) he participated in the invasion of Okinawa. On 15 Oct. 1945 he departed Okinawa. On 1 Dec. 1945 he was reassigned to the 5th Motor Transport Bn., 5th Mr. Div. and participated as an occupation troop in Sasebo, Japan and drove an amphibious tractor. On 1 Jan. 1946 he was honorably discharged at Camp Pendleton, CA. Glen passed away on 22 Feb. 2001.
My fourth brother Bob, enlisted in the U.S.M.C. in Oct. 1945 at age 17. He went through boot camp at San Diego. After boot camp he was assigned to the MCAS at Cherry Point, N.C. for training (Aircraft Hydraulic Mech.). In Jan. 1946 was temporarily assigned the USS Mindord (Aircraft Carrier-CVE 120) for Naval training maneuvers in the Caribbean. After completing his tour on the USS Mindoro he was reassigned and returned to Cherry Point, N.C. and was honorably discharged there in Oct. 1948. Bob passed away on 23 Mar. 2007. As for as myself, I graduated High School in June 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea about two weeks later. In Jan.1951, I enlisted in the U.S.M.C., went through boot camp at San Diego, CA. (D.I.'s Sgt Petty and Cpl. Duval). After boot camp was transferred to Ord. supply School, Camp Lejeune, N.C. On 19 Jul. 1951. Completed training at Camp Lejeune and was reassigned to Maint. C., Supply Depot, Camp Pendleton, CA. On 7 Jan 1952 I was assigned to Guard Co., Ord. Supply Depot, Camp Pendleton, CA. On Feb. 1952 I was assigned to 2nd Bn., 1st inf. training regiment, T&RC, MB, CJHP for combat training. On 28 Mar. 1952 I completed training. On 29 Mar. 1952 I was assigned to the 20th replacement draft, 1st Marine Div. On 17 Apr. 1952 I embarked aboard troop ship USNS Gen. John Pope (TAP-110) at San Diego, CA. 5 May 1952, we arrived at port in Inchon, Korea. 6 May 1952, I was assigned to Ordnance Supply Co., 1st Ord. Bn., 1st Mar. Div. Our Bn. compound was located just south of Munsan-Ni. 4 May 1953, we departed Inchon, Korea. 17 May 1953, arrived at the port Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA. 3 Jul. 1953, I was assigned to and reported into Ord. Supply Co., Marine Corps Supply Depot, Camp Lejeune, N.C. 11 Jan. 1954, I received an honorable discharge at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
My Younger brother Jack, enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in Aug. 1951, after training he was assigned duty aboard Coast Guard Cutter USCGC Pontchartrain. In Jun. 1952, he started radioman training in Groton, Conn. After completing training he had radio duty stations at Point Vincente Lighthouse, Long Beach, CA, Coast Guard Station, Honolulu, Hawaii, Coast Guard Station at Lorsta, Saipan, Coast Guard Station on Guam Island, and Coast Guard Station, Alameda, CA.
On 22 Sept. 1954, he was released from active duty and transferred to reserve status to complete a total of 8 years service. If anyone that should read this that knew and served with any of my brothers, I would appreciate hearing from them.
Sgt. Ken Cutright,
Supply Co., 1st Ord. Bn. 1st Mar. Div.
May 1952-May 1953
Send Me On My Way
I am responding to Sgt Grimes' request for stories about Navy dentists. My experience was amazingly positive. My family has always had issues with being born with our mouths being too small to accommodate all of our teeth if we allowed the wisdom teeth to grow in. As a young 19 year old Marine I decided to get my wisdom teeth pulled on uncle Sam's nickel, so I scheduled an appointment with the Navy dentists at Camp Lejeune. It took them all of about 20 minutes to shoot my mouth full of Novocain, pull all four wisdom teeth, give me a no duty chit for the rest of the day, and send me on my way. I never had any problems, other than a slightly sore mouth for a couple of days. I was quite impressed, actually.
Many thanks to Bill Wilson for a clear explanation of the term "Gung Ho" that we used up until 1970 when I retired. I, too, never heard "Ooorah" until just a few years ago. Been checking around quite a bit trying to find its true origin and meaning which seems to be somewhat undecided or unknown. However, I am glad the young Marines of today have something they can use to bind them together as "Gung Ho" did for me from 1947-1970.
May God Bless Them ALL,
C.R. Scroggins, GSgt. USMC (Ret.)
A little help, please.
My son has a summer internship in the Public Affairs section of the U. S. embassy in Panama City, Panama. I told him to, first thing, make friends with the Marines in the security detachment and tell them that he is attending college with the help of the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation grant, and that his father is a USMC Vietnam Veteran. He hasn't done that yet.
To pique his interest, does anyone out there have any stories about embassy duty? I send him this newsletter each week and I think he would be interested.
Tks and Semper Fi,
Regarding MSgt Fuller's letter about the seven digit serial numbers. I joined the local USMCR unit in Nashville, TN, 30 March 1949 and was assigned a seven digit number (104xxxx). I had been told that the seven digit numbers were allocated to the Reserve, and that if I had joined the regular Corps, I would have been assigned a six digit number.
It would be interesting to hear from your readers about the six and/or seven digit numbers assigned in 1949. At what point in time did the six digit numbers run out?
Semper Fi (and all that good stuff!)
James R. McMahon
GySgt of Marines (1949-1970)
My 17 Year Old Mouth
I joined the Marine Corps immediately after HS graduation in 1966. I was 17 and Nam was heating up. Being the descendant of generations of Veterans, many of them Marines, I knew what was expected of me. I was still 17 when I joined up with my unit, L CO. 3/26, in Feb. of 1967. It was the middle of the monsoons and we were in the bush for several weeks. During that time I was accepted by my unit as an asset, and was told so by my Lt. and Platoon Sgt. Upon returning to Camp Evans to re-fit and regroup command placed me on mess duty. I'd never been on mess duty, in Boot Camp I'd been on range duty during Duty Week. My unit was going back to the field and command wouldn't release me from mess duty. (I found out later from an office pogue that there was a rule that no one below 18 was to be allowed in country, and because I was soon to have my 18th birthday command decided to keep me out of harm's way until I was old enough.) I didn't know that at the time so I was angry and humiliated that I wasn't returning to the bush with my new brothers. The field mess hall where I worked was knee deep with mud and the cold rain blew in from the open tent sides.
One morning a Lt. Col. came down the chow line and said, "Son, I want a couple of eggs over light." I did the best I could under the conditions but the eggs weren't to his liking. He lit into me asking me if my mother had never taught me how to cook? That was the straw that broke the camel's back. My 17 year old mouth wrote a check that my asz couldn't cash. I looked him in the eye and said, "Sir, I came to this country to kill gooks, not cook eggs for officers!" Everyone who heard this jaws dropped. This man virtually had the power of life or death over me. To his credit and my everlasting gratitude looked me straight in the eye and after a long minute said, "Your wish is my command!" I rejoined my unit on the next re-supply chopper. Whoever that Lt. Col. was, probably the Reg. Ex. Officer, I want to thank him for not sending this young Marine to the court martial I probably deserved.
Sgt. of Marines, ret.
1966 to 1973, RVN: 1967 â€“ 68 and 1971
The only instance of 'drumming out' that I personally witnessed was at Camp Lejeune in 1957 when I was a new Marine was in 1st Battalion, 10th Marines. One morning we had a battalion formation in front of the 2nd battalion messhall, and it must have been the 'winter' season because we were in 'greens'. A hapless individual was marched front and center by a chaser and halted. His court martial was read to the battalion probably by the Sergeant Major, the buttons were cut off the uniform and his emblems removed. The battalion was called to attention and commanded "About Face!" While our backs were to him he was marched off, placed in a vehicle and driven away. I do dimly recall a muted drumbeat in the background.
To a new PFC, it was a sobering experience. The term was "Six, six and a kick" Six months confinement, six months forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and a kick out the hatch.
Mustang Major of Marines, Retired
(MOS: 0800 / 2531 / 2511 / 6406 / 3060 / 6602)
In 1969 I was with HQ, 27th Mar. as a 2841 Radio Repair Tech. One of the men in the tech shop was a Korean War Vet, C.E. Johnson. He told us about the drumming out process as he lived it in the early 1950s.
The person's name and offense were unknown to him, but the subject was dishonorably discharged and was "drummed out."
CE was a young PFC at Pendleton and he said that the entire division formed a well-spaced line along each side of Vandegrift Blvd., facing the road, all the way to the main gate.
The discharged person walked the length of Vandegrift escorted by four men armed with rifles. He wore a blouse with the buttons, insignia, and rank all cut off. Ahead of him and the escort were several drummers taking turns drumming a cadence. CE said as the drummers approached a squad leader, (or Plt leader?) the leader called the unit to attention, and had them about face. When the next squad in line went to attention and about face, each leader would return his men to face the road and put them at ease. This was done all the way down the line so that as the discharged person walked, he only saw the backs of the men lining the road.
CE thinks that after the discharged man was several hundred yards past a group, they were dismissed so they didn't stand there during the entire event. It didn't occur to me until years later that some of the men closest to the main gate must had stood there for a long time. CE wasn't at the main gate so he didn't know what happened there, but there must have been some kind of simple "boot him out the gate" ceremony.
Listening to CE describe the event, it was obvious that it made an impression on him.
Maybe one of your readers was also there.
Cpl Daniel Pozarek
I read with interest some of the comments about "drumming out of the Corps" and want to add one more:
I was the Company Commander of an Engineer Company at Camp Talega/Camp Pendleton. The 1st Sgt told me that a Marine was coming out of the brig and had received a bad conduct discharge (BCD). I ordered the Company Gunnery Sergeant to form up the company. When the soon-to-be ex-Marine arrived he stood in front of the company. I took a razor blade and cut off everything on his utility uniform that had any identification to the Marine Corps: Buttons, shirt pocket, whatever. I gave the command, "Gunnery Sergeant, give the order!" GySgt Ringer ordered, "About face!" The company turned around. The soon-to-be civilian was loaded in a jeep and driven to the Christsianitos gate and removed from the base. Now I know what General Amos has said about "there is no such thing as an ex-Marine", I contend that this fellow is/was an ex-Marine. If I were to do this today, I'd probably be in the brig!
Maj USMC (Ret)
Golden Bear Platoon
At the end of the day at the induction center in LA they put all the guys from California on a bus to Sacramento. We were a Special Platoon requested by then, Governor of California, Ronald Reagan. We made a fast trip up, were in a Parade and then a bus down to MCRD San Diego. Off the bus, onto the Yellow Footprints and then the Hair Cut.
We were a Great Platoon. Always reminded we were The Golden Bears. We kicked butt as you can see by the Competition Ribbons. It was a Great time in my life and I will never forget it. I was even a House Mouse. That was quite an adventure. We all went to ITR at Camp Pendleton. Most of us went to Vietnam in late 1968. I was assigned to Hotel Co., 2/26 BLT, 9th MAB, where I stayed my 13 months.
My high school sweetheart and I went our separate ways. We found each other 43 years later and are loving life. We have a Ranch in New Mexico were we raise American Black Belly Sheep, Chickens, Horses, Dogs and Cats. I have a large shop that I build Coops and Cages and whatever I want. In our small business I meet a lot of Military, mostly Marines. They can see the Flags in our shop from the road.
Here are a few pictures that should show you what I am talking about. The one of the Mustang was taken in May 1967 of my sweet Lady and Myself. Wish I still had that Mustang.
Sgt David Wells
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
The Parris Island, S.C. Books I have on hand are:
Platoon 329 sometime in 1962 to 1963.
Platoon 114 March 6, to May 17, 1963.
Platoon 144 July 15, 1963 to Sept. 18, 1963.
Platoon 178 Oct. 1 to Dec. 12, 1963.
Platoon 353 June 29, 1964 to Sept. 9, 1964.
The San Diego, C.A. books I have on hand are:
Platoon 1023 July 18, 1967 to Sept. 9, 1967.
Platoon 188 May 6, 1968 to July 4, 1968.
Platoon 1034 March 3, 1969 to April 29, 1969.
Platoon 3139 Aug. 4, 1969 to Sept. 30, 1969.
Platoon 3152 Aug. 18, 1969 to Oct. 15, 1969 Honors Platoon.
Mr. Pilgrim has many more Platoon Books. We will list them in groups of (5) in each future newsletter until all have been listed.
I use to take apart my c-rats. Trying to carry "light". I would keep all my fruit cans, my spicy beef (the best) ham, pork slices with their own juices, and get rid of the big cans of hot dogs with beans and stew. All cheeses we would keep in a pile along with our spaghetti's and when we would have a large group of cans we would get a couple of helmets, clean them out real good (or the best we could do) and mix all the cans of spaghetti with the cheeses for a nice spaghetti dinner. I have to tell you it wasn't too bad.
Maybe we were just that hungry. Then we would have our pound cake with peaches. You could make it work. As for heating them, I have to say I ate a lot of them cold. When you could, you heated them with your heat tabs. But you better not have done that in your tent! For those who did... you know what happens.
Former SSGT. Ron Hill
Though I've had to become used to the 'new' MREs (now serving in the National Guard) my preference still strongly leans toward the C-Rations and needing to guard your 'John Wayne' with your life.
"How did you heat them"... good old noxious solid fuel heat tabs or a little C-4 for the more adventurous.
"What'd you do when no heat was available?"... ate 'em cold. I still eat Spaghetti & Meatballs, Beans & Franks, Beef Stew and Spam cold, right outta the can. My friends are disgusted and ask me how I can do it. I just reply, "Just stir up the coagulated grease... when the sh-t hits the fan you ain't waiting for the maitre de to set your table... and Never Open The Fruit Cocktail!"
Brian Hipwell, (1443)
RVN 67-68, 11th Engineers
Actually favorite of mine was "balls (meat) 'n beans, and we heated with little balls of C-4.
Personnel Manager: "What is your greatest weakness?"
Old Marine: "Honesty."
Personnel Manager: "I don't think honesty is a weakness."
Old Marine: "I don't really give a sh-t what you think."
Old Marine Tanker
Last I Saw Of Him
I and another fellow from one of the other Platoons in our Series were sitting on the Runners Bench outside the Company office waiting for a message to deliver, and just passing the time of day. I was glad to get a break from the harassment at the Range. The other Runner began griping about the Corps. I just sat there and listened as he vehemently dumped on the Corps in general and his Platoon and Drill Instructors specifically.
This went on for about five minutes. Suddenly the screen door or the office flew open and the Company Commander, a Captain, stood there glaring at the hapless private. He ordered him to go back to the company area, pack up his Seabag and return in 5 minutes. The Captain went back inside and five minutes later the private returned. The Captain ordered me to hoist the Seabag up on my shoulder and he marched us over to the fence along the highway back to San Diego. He ordered me to throw the Seabag over the fence, and then he ordered the private to follow it. He said that he didn't want that sh-tbird in his Marine Corps. The Captain used a lot more colorful language to describe what he thought about the now AWOL Recruit. The last I saw of him he was walking over to the highway to hitch a ride back to San Diego. I was wondering what his chances were of getting there with so many current and retired Marines and other Service members driving along that stretch of road.
Needless to say I was a very impressed young Marine, and if I had any negative thoughts at all about the Marine Corps... I kept them to myself!
Sgt. Air Detachment, V-1 Division, USS Princeton, 1961-63,
HMM-770, "A" Co., Tank Bn. Camp Elliot
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted by MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #5, #6, (JUN., 2015)
After the word got around the Squadron about "Pineapples" actions and exploits with the VC Prisoners, she was sought after to be a Crew Member on many of the flights, no matter what they were for. But, she was John's charge and where John went she went also. Now, that was a good thing because Johnny was a real good gunner, and later a Crew Chief. He could fly with me anytime. And, he normally did. It was a normal site to see the three of us loading up to "go out and, get um! Somewhere along the line, it was decided by one of the Pilots to start a SRB (Service Record Book) on our new found "Flight Crew" member. If I recall, I think it was Major (Batman) Blakemen. Following his lead, we started to record all the events that affected her life. This included classes in counterinsurgency operations, escape and evasion plus certain medical classes, one of which was how to prevent Venereal Disease. The more that I think about that one, I think that we should have also included our pet Female Monkey, "Alice". What a Sl-t! But, that didn't hurt Ho Che's feelings. They were hard to keep separated! But, let's move on! I was too, at that age!
Now, I now that what I'm about to say doesn't mean anything to most of the guy's that'll be reading this, but I'll keep it simple and straight forward. The Helicopter that I took in Country was an older model (144645) and it didn't have a big step to get into the cabin area, like the later models did. This caused problems from time to time, so we were assigned a later model. It had a large step whereas troops, or anybody could get in and out without waiting in line to use the one little step on the older model. I've got to tell you that this made life a lot easier for everybody, us included. Especially Pineapple, because she could jump out of the Helicopter when we landed, but couldn't make the jump back in because of the height. Her little short legs just didn't have what it took to do that, but she certainly had the spirit. Now, when we started to go out to the bird she'd run in front of us and jump up into the Cabin area and just sit there waiting for us to pre-flight and get air-borne. Everybody was getting to know her, and to say that she was well liked would be an understatement. She was always excited about getting off the ground. Hell, we all were! Can you imagine some of the stories that she could tell tell pups, WOW!
Now, getting the larger step provided an added feature that we hadn't planned on, but was a welcomed addition. It allowed the crew chief to actually step out on the step and swing the machine gun forward instead of just out to the side and slightly to the rear. The field of fire at that point was increased from about 50 to 60 degrees to about 150 to 160 degrees. These are guesstimate figures. But, you had to remember to tuck your weapon under the landing gear strut to get the weapon pointing almost in the line of flight with that of the helicopter. This is a point that you didn't want to forget, especially in the heat of a fire fight. I might add that this was not always the best approach to a situation, but you've got to do what you've gotta do, when ya gotta do it!
Noted Gy Rosseau's comments about weight of rounds from the .50 cals in the B25J models... the J variant was an interesting piece... looked sorta like a flying porcupine. Knew a gent name of Cunningham in Omaha who had been a pilot in one of the two squadrons that the Wing (s?) had in WWII... well worth the time doing some internet look up stuff for them as has the interest... the 'aviation' part is what rattled my chain. In '60, '61, Marine Barracks, Naha, had training allowance weapons stored up in Supply... for no particular reason, except that somebody in Fort Fumble by the Potomac, thought that a group of 57 Marines on a Pacific island (Okinawa), backed up by 2/3rds of the 3rdMarDiv (4th Marines were in Hawaii as the Brigade at the time) and part of the 1st MAW, should have these items in the Table of Equipment... so we did. We had one each of the .30 caliber, and .50 caliber Browning machine guns, along with an 81MM mortar (never got out of the crate, so far as I know)... Being the Assistant Guard Chief/Training NCO/writer of lesson plans Corporal, it occurred to me that if we could get something going with this stuff, it would be a cure for some of the boredom of un-ending guard duty, so a trip to the range became a project. I knew the .30 cal pretty well from three years in Ontos and H&S 2/1, but not the .50 cal, and we didn't have any manuals for it, so I hunted down an Air Force armory (we were attached to a NAF, on an Air Force Base), and borrowed the only .50 manual they had... which was for an aircraft .50 cal. It quickly became obvious that the two machine guns were similar in many aspects, and we got into practicing field-stripping, cleaning, etc., and with the help of the Guard Officer, we managed to arrange for an ammunition draw, the use of one of the Hansen ranges, and for Ordnance Maintenance Company at FSR to check the weapons out.
Since our raison d'etre was guarding nukes for the Navy, somebody had to watch the store, so we split range days between the Port and Starboard guard sections. At the end of the first range day, when we arrived back at the Barracks, I admonished the weapons cleaning crew to very carefully count down the headspace "clicks" on both weapons as they disassembled them. Now, normal headspace on the M1919 .30 Cal is going to be around 11 clicks... but on the M2, when you get past five clicks, it's time to condemn the barrel. Having been assured that the cleaning crew had been dillegent, and had set the weapons back as Ordnance Maintenance had left them, we went charging off to the range with the other section. We got three rounds down range out of the .50 before suffering a serious malfunction, with a ruptured cartridge, some bits of brass in the gunner, and some damage to the cover plate. When the investigation was complete, it turned out that the .50 had, had ELEVEN clicks of headspace on it...
To set headspace on a BMG M2 .50 Cal, the bolt is pulled out of battery enough that the spring pawl aligns with a hole in the right side of the receiver... this will allow the barrel to be rotated, and the other side of the pawl engages the 'click' notches on the chamber end of the barrel. The best guess was that in handling the 85# gun into/out of the truck, that one Marine had hold of the barrel, and another the receiver, and they had managed to rotate the barrel... without realizing that they had just changed the headspace setting... and the changed setting was what they had recorded and put back 'on' the weapon... since the number was about the same as on the .30 Cal, it all seemed good (never, ever, in the next twenty years set up an M2 without using the headspace/timing gauge that comes with every gun... lessons learned, etc).
I think the barrel was condemned by Ordnance Maintenance when they couldn't get the ruptured case out without severe damage to the chamber. The Barracks CO wasn't too keen on our later project to get the 81MM out and fire it...
I have enjoyed all of the products I have ordered from you, and the newsletter is always a trip back to some good and some not so good times. But, thought I would let you post our reunion in Aug. 20 at San Diego. We will go to see a graduation of Marines at MCRD San Diego while there and the CO of E Co, 2/7 from 29 Palms and 1st Sgt. will come and speak at our Reunion. Marines from Pendleton formed the company that shipped out to Nam in '65, and there were up to 69 when they left. I think my memory is not as good as it once was.
Cpl. G. Hemphill '64-'67 Nam '65-'66
Please place a notice of our reunion in your newsletter. VMF/VMA-211, Wake Island Avengers Reunion, Sept. 17th-21st in Toms River, NJ.
7 Elizabeth Sr.
Enfield, CT. 06082
Thank you very much for your help.
Lost And Found
I wanted to post this request out there to my fellow brother and sister Jarheads to see if anyone can help me find one of my Drill Instructors. I went through Parris Island from July to October 1981 in platoon 2063. Our SDI was a squared away, square-jawed, aviation glasses - wearing Marine named SSGT Krause (can't recall his first name) who wore his DI cover in the most imposing way. The front of the brim was slightly curled upward and the cover was pushed all the way forward so that it almost covered his glasses. Combined with his chiseled, square jaw, he was frightening when he was in your face. The second hat, was the ever-sadistic little SGT. Ishmail, whose primary weapon was his little "games" and mental torture. Both were outstanding, top-flight Marines, but the one I hold the highest form of respect for to this day is SGT James Mazenko. He was the youngest of the three and was an air-winger by MOS, as were the other two I believe, but he was one squared-away, poster-boy Marine in my opinion. He was frightening and tough, but he still had this boyish humor about him and there were times when we as individuals and as a platoon did some really stupid stuff forcing Sgt Mazenko to turn away from us lest we see him laugh and know he was a human! Something that we were not supposed to know at that stage in our development.
I came in touch with a few jarheads from my platoon over the years and sadly heard that both SSGT Krause and SGT Ishmail (their last known ranks to me) have both passed away due to cancer. If he is still alive, SGT Mazenko would probably be in his mid to late-50's. If anyone knows SGT Mazenko personally and has contact with him, please tell him that CPL. Mike Kunkel from 2063 sends him a hearty OOH-RAH and many, many thanks for making me into a Marine!
CPL Mike Kunkel
0331, Lima 3/8, Weapons Plt.
Guadalcanal Veteran Chuck Perkins passed away on 28 May 2013. As a Veterans service officer I meet many former Marines. Chuck Perkins never forgot he was a Marine which included the Marine emblem on his casket. Chuck came home from WWII and married his beloved Minnie. Throughout his life he was always involved in Veteran causes. From help building a VFW post in Columbus, Ohio to being one of the founders of our local AMVETS post. Chuck spent many years involved in our local DAV as commander or whatever needed to be done. I got to see this Marine present a life membership in the DAV to an IRAQI Veteran. Think about it a 60 year gap in wars and it was two Marines celebrating each other. Chuck was responsible for his church erecting a flagpole and starting a Veterans breakfast once a month. His garage was always full of clothes, furniture and other items available to Veterans. Veterans in Jackson County, Ohio lost one of the best and I lost a friend. Fair winds and following seas my friend, rest in peace my friend.
View the Dedication of a Memorial Marker for Samuel Nicholas, First Commandant of The United States Marine Corps at:
Patrick J. Hughes, U.S.M.C., ChuLai '67-'68
Upper Darby Detachment #884
In ref to Cpl Doug Searcy, 1832XXX, 1960-1965, PI Plt.264. Ain't it grand to meet with WWII, Nam Marines or even a Boot? Heck fire just meeting one on the street is a privilege. Marines show their Pride because we were in the US Marines, not the Service. We all be Brothers till we die...
Cpl Waldo Searcy 1856666, USMCRD,
San Diego Plt 1008 ,1958-1964
"Private, you are about as squared away as a soup sandwich!"
Plt. 374, August, 1960
It seems the older I get (and I do give thanks to OUR FATHER every day for such good fortune) the more I now realize what and how my time in the Marines has affected my life. There is never a need to hang our heads except in reverence to those who gave all. Let us all stay vigilant, aware and true to our beliefs and our OATH. Keep your powder dry, remain calm, and FIX BAYONETS!
Semper Fi Bros,
Your newsletter is absolutely "OUTSTANDING". I enjoy it very much and it brings back a lot of memories.
Major Robert D Amos USMC (RET)
Just wanted to thank you for the stories that bring attention to my inner gung ho Marine days. When I read the stories, I get choked up knowing I was once a tough sort of guy in uniform. At my age, I still can do 20 pull ups and 35 pushups to keep the shape of the old body that wants to do it all over again. Semper Fi my friend.
To Capt. Tom Downey
I was at Camp Upshur in 1956. It was boot camp for officers back then. I think OCS moved to Camp Barrett now - still part of Quantico. They are remodeling Upshur now.
Cpl Jim Lael
In my day (WW II) the response to "Semper Fi" was "Do or die."
R. Peckham, Jr.
Former Cpl., WW II
While I was with the Marines, I knew several who were from Canada. I was also friends with several Canadians that were from different provinces that were Navy Corpsmen. These were some of the best men I ever served with. My thanks to them for service to my country.
Doc Davis, FMF
"If all that Americans want is security, they can go to prison. They'll have enough to eat, a bed and a roof over their heads. But if an American wants to preserve his dignity and his equality as a human being, he must not bow his neck to any dictatorial government."
--Dwight D. Eisenhower, Speech [December 8, 1949]
"America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand."
--Harry S. Truman
"When you men get home and face an anti-war protester, look him in the eyes and shake his hand. Then, wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she's dating a pussy."
--Gen. James 'Mad Dog Mattis"
"The further a society drifts from the truth the more it will hate those that speak it."
"Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness."
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832)
"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom."
"There is in most Americans some spark of idealism, which can be fanned into a flame. It takes sometimes a divining rod to find what it is; but when found, and that means often, when disclosed to the owners, the results are often extraordinary."
--Louis Dembitz Brandeis, Whitney v. California 
"Arrogance, My Asz, It's Pride, USMC."
"Maggot... if you don't get outta my sight NOW! We will need a 5-man funeral detail... two handles on the sh-tcan, two for road guards, and one to count cadence!"
"Make a hole and make it wide, part like the red f--------n sea!"
"This is my rifle. There are many other, but this one is mine."