It was on Sept. 4th about 25 or 30 of us were waiting to be sworn in to the Navy when the Chief said he needed to smoke cigarette and go to the head. When he walked out a Marine Staff Sergeant walked in and said they did not have enough going in to the Corps. Then he started to ask who was married. Those that who were married, when they said no, he would say "you're in" and if they said yes he would say, "we want men not married men."
When he had picked 13, he said, "you all just volunteered for the Corps. Of those 13, we all finished and there were only 32 that finished out of the whole platoon.
Promise of a Good MOS
You asked if there were any Marines that lived west of the Mississippi and went to Parris Island or vice versa. Well, I did not personally but when I was in 2/5 I had a friend there that did. He was from Beeville Texas and went to boot camp at Parris Island. The reason was because he went to visit his sister in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania who happened to be married to a Marine who was on recruiting duty at the time. While visiting his sister, his brother in law talked him into joining the Marines with the promise of a good MOS. I can't remember what the exact promise was. Time has erased that from my memory. Well, he joined, got a date to report and went back home. When it came his day to report in, because he was recruited out of Pittsburgh, he had to fly to the Pittsburgh MEPS station and then proceed on down to Parris Island for boot camp.
Needless to say, getting stuck in the grunts was not his idea of a promise of a good MOS. He was always talking about getting back to see his brother-in-law and settle the score!
Day Before Competition Drill
I reported with my detail to MCRD San Diego January 6, 1953. A short phone call by the designated records holder to the base and we were soon on our way to the receiving barracks. We all know that experience, but as I have told many since, there were no yellow footprints in those days, just a yellow line or lines to which we all placed our toes on as we began to stare, intently as possible, on that spot on the wall as the Corporal in charge at the Recieving Barracks walked down the line stopping only at those that stared back at him instead of through him at that spot on the wall. Fortunately, I was lucky he Corporal's attention was diverted by one recruit halfway down the first row who followed the Corporal with his eyes instead of looking straight ahead. That unfortunate fellow went sailing through four rows of recruits into the water fountain and broke it off the mount creating a stream of water from the broken water pipe. The water began to shoot straight up and ran all over the floor of the room until someone found the shutoff valve. But, that did not end the torment of that unfortunate recruit who began to receive even more treatment for "breaking the Corporal's drinking fountain". That was the moment when I and every other recruit in that room said to ourselves "what the h-ll have we just gotten ourselves into?" It turned out that it was to be the very next morning, the first day of our assignment to Platoon 7 in the recruit training battalion, which was at the time all we knew or needed to know. Thirteen weeks later and a succession of drill instructors assigned to our platoon culminating with two Buck Sergeants both Korean Veterans with chests full of medals, who finally squared us away into contention for honor platoon by the day before our final Competition Drill.
It was to be a day I will never ever forget. Primarily because my head was screwed on incorrectly that day. We had just completed the last close order drill and we could hear our two D.I.s commenting that we finally looked good and they felt we had it in the bag or words to that effect. They then marched us to the Quonset Hut... called us to a halt, then the usual right face... oh horrors, everyone was facing the barracks but me... I had executed a left face and instead of looking at the Quonset Hut with the rest of the Platoon, I was looking at two very surprised Drill Instructors, whose countenances suddenly changed from total surprise to incredible anger (or at least it looked that way to me). The Senior D.I. then crooked his finger at me motioning me to approach and quickly. No one in the platoon actually saw any of it except the three of us. I ran to them with rifle at trail. Stopped at attention and before I could say a word was grabbed by my collar, which was quickly and chokingly twisted into a knot at my Adam's Apple, followed by the Senior saying to me, "do you know your left from your right by now boy?" I said in response, in my best croaking voice which was all I could muster with that choke-hold still in effect was, "Yes Sir!" The Senior let go of my collar, punched me in the stomach, spun me around and kicked me back to the ranks saying, "sometimes I just have to wonder..." He then dismissed the platoon without another word.
The next morning, as he inspected our platoon just before we were to start our part of the Competition Drill, he stopped beside me, and just stared at me. I looked straight ahead and did not return the look. But, I knew then that I was his only worry that morning, and I was determined not to miss a single command, or step, or fail to remember my left from my right. It turned out we actually performed flawlessly and indeed won the competition drill.
We did not win honor platoon however because one of the other three platoons had one or two points higher than we had at the rifle range. That is another story at which I had an impact which to my dying days I will never reveal. Suffice it to say I qualified, but blew high point man so badly at the 500 yard line that I thought the D.I. was going to take my rifle and shoot me right there... some would say he would have been justified.
Strangely, I have a platoon photograph, but cannot remember the names of either of those really great D.I.s... to my everlasting regret.
Richard E. Nygaard
SSGT USMC 1953-1963
Memories Flooding Back
Greetings Sgt. GRIT,
Reading the newsletter and as usual brings the memories flooding back. I have the privilege to attend the Battle Colors ceremony at Camp Pendelton tomorrow (15 March) and like last year I know the Corps and America are well represented by her Marines.
Haven't written in sometime, but my thoughts are with you and brother and sister Marines everywhere.
Sgt. Jeff Wolven
Sense of Deja Vu
RE: The letter by Keith Brownmiller, GySgt USMC Retired. Asking about how many Marines went to boot on the opposite coast? I was recruited in Pontiac Michigan on November 10th 1981 and was actually given a choice of where I wanted to go. I chose California because I had two brothers who had moved there, and I wanted them to see me graduate. I went to Military Police school at Fort McClellan in Anniston, Alabama (The Army did MP school for the Marines back then. Boy was that an adventure mixing Jarheads and Army doggies). The fun part was when I graduated MP school, I was stationed back at MCRD SD. So I got to cruise around and watch all the recruits go through hell. Sometimes when I was off duty, I would just sit and watch the boots drilling on the parade deck, listening to the various cadences of the DI's. There was something especially peaceful about the almost empty grinder on Sunday mornings. I used to wonder about the thousands upon thousands who went before me, trying their best to NOT be the one who got out of step and incurred the wrath of their DI's.
I distinctly remember during boot camp being on the parade deck drilling one afternoon, when I had this overwhelming sense of deja vu came over me, and It felt like I'd been there before in some other time/life?, very very powerful. Did any of you other guys ever feel anything like that?
I liked Okinawa and Korea, I tolerated El Toro, but I Loved MCRD San Diego.
Semper Fi, Do or die Brothers!
L/Cpl Lapointe, Louis U.S.M.C.
Went through basic at MCRD San Diego in the fall of 1959. One of my fellow recruits was actually named Joe Marine. Said he joined up because it just didn't fell right going to another branch with that name.
Sgt G.W. Mathes
RE: Short Rounds by Sgt C.
My recollection from many shipboard experiences:
"Sweepers man your brooms... clean sweep down fore & aft... empty all trash and garbage over the fantail."
As I recall from my days on sea duty, it was: "Now hear this. All sweepers man your brooms. Clean sweep down fore and aft. Sweep down all decks, ladders and passageways." I'm not sure if there was more. It's been 60 years. I was assigned to Commander Carrier Division 20, and was aboard USS Lake Champlain, USS Intrepid, and USS Randolph.
Semper Fi, my brothers,
Tom Balash. Cpl. USMC
LCpl. Wilson posted in the last newsletter that one of his platoon mates had a long Polish name and the DIs called him "Alphabet". I bet most of your readers here had someone called "Alphabet" in their platoon or unit. I did. Plt. #201, MCRDSD, almost sixty years ago.
Bob Rader #140XXXX
Funny, I was in Paltoon 2061 MCRD in Oct 1956. My name is Thomas A Leigh-Kendall, and my DIs called me ALPHABET. Also by special order rather than a name stamp with my name. It had just TALK, and as I grew into my skin they started calling me TARZAN, the alphabet man. Still a Marine 1649003, 1956 to 1963 Gung Ho!
L/Cpl Thomas A leigh-Kendall
I believe it went: "Sweepers, sweepers, man your brooms. Have a clean sweep down fore and aft. Dump all trash over the fantail."
Michael P. McManus
For Sgt C: I was a sea going Marine having spent a full tour on an amphib. In fact, I was the only Marine ship's company! To end his question: "Sailors, Sailors, man your brooms, clean sweep down fore and aft." There was more about cleaning out stuff, but that's the basic message. There was more, but the Boat's on call seldom gave the rest of the order.
(Then) Lt James Murphy USMC
Combat Cargo Officer
USS Henrico (APA 45)
It goes, "Sweepers, sweepers man your brooms. Sweep down all decks, ladders, compartments and passageways. Empty all trash receptacles over the fantail." The smoking light is lit in all berthing spaces."
J. M. "Mike" Jeffries
Capt. USMC Ret.
Sweepers sweepers man you brooms, give the ship a clean sweep forward and aft, sweep down all lower decks ladders and passageways, polish all topside brightwork, empty all trash receptacles clear of the fantail. (pause) restricted men muster with the duty master-at-arms on the quarterdeck (pause) yep that about covers it, unless you want mess call and wakey wakey.
3rd herd Golf 4th Marines
Oct '68-March '69
Listen Up! The rifle range at Camp Pendleton that recruits from MCRD went to for marksmanship training is named Edson Range. NOT Camp Edison. Also, Marines do not get "week-end passes" We got "Liberty". From "Cinderella" to "48 hour". Get squared away and turn to!
L/Cpl. J. Barnes ('64-'68)
RVN '65-'66/ 3rd 'Tracs.
Being Set Back
I've seen it mentioned but not discussed in depth. That feared and unwelcome extension of one's stay in boot camp... being set back. I hit Parris Island at about 9:30 PM on Sept 28, 1961, picked up by Platoon 376, Company Q, 3rd Training Battalion, but graduated on Dec 22, 1961, with Platoon 383, Company R, 3rd Training Battalion. So yes, I was set back.
There's many paths to it, likely many for common reasons. But, how you ended up taking that detour, what went on taking that route, how you came out the other end and how it affected you, is likely a somewhat different story for each recruit. Here's my story.
I guess I can say it's the story about a blister. A crappy little blister on my left foot! Or, maybe it's the story about just how important boots are to a Marine. Our DIs picked us up on the 29th and about the first place they herded us to was supply. You got your gear, utilities and boots. I remember we had to walk along a wooded platform where some guy in supply measured your foot, or looked at your foot, and determined your boot size from his vast experience, after which he flung a couple your way. You put them on. I told him they were too big. He did the usual snarl, or some wise azs remark, which basically boiled down to... "Shut the F'up, this is your size, move on."
In about two days a blister about the size of a quarter developed. I suffered through it about a week with it getting worse by the day. It hurt in the mornings, but the pain went away with use of the foot. The blister got really ugly. When we were in the shower a couple of guys would tell me I should tell the DI. But, I thought I could tough it out. Finally tossed it in and showed it to my Sr DI when red lines were starting up my left leg. He took one look and told me to get my shaving gear and sent, or took me to sick bay.
I hit sick bay at about 10 days after I hit PI. We were just beginning to have "fun". From the reaction of the doctor, blisters weren't rare. He propped my foot up and cleaned it (by scrubbing it hard with some kind of antiseptic soap). Probably gave me a pill or such, but primarily the treatment was to stick me in a bed, stay off my foot as much as possible, have me wash it four times a day with Phisohex soap, give me a little cooker that kept a little pot of water hot, and every 20 minutes I was to put a fresh piece of hot gauze over the wound. All day long until lights out.
Attached is a sketch of what the majority of my day looked like for a week.
Sick Bay wasn't like the hospital. There's NOTHING to do, to read, to see (e.g. TV). Relative to the new normal of boot camp training, it was limbo la la land. You were in PI, but you weren't in PI. And God, time crawled. The only constructive thing I could do was write and read letter. I had way more time to write an actual letter than in the barracks, so I did do that.
What was really on my mind, was the fear of getting set back. Somewhere in the process, someone explained the rules of engagement. If you lost more than 72 hours of training you could be set back three days. But, weekends didn't count as they weren't considered training days. So it was my healing blister racing the clock. I started healing up right away, and by three days, so well if I was at home, Dr. Me would have slapped on a band-aid, gotten a pair of boots that fit, and dived back in. But it wasn't up to me. It was maddening. If one Doc had a say, I might have made it out of there and stayed on track. But, there were two Docs. A general guy, and a foot guy.
The former was ready to let me pop back into circulation at the end of three days, but the foot guy kept vetoing him right past the deadline. Also on the table was a possible transfer to the hospital... for a blister! The other general rule of thumb is, if you didn't get released in three days back into training, they'd transfer you to the hospital. A mixed blessing. As the hospital was "good duty", you weren't a recruit there, but a patient, and they wanted patients to be happy and comfortable... good food, reading material, TV, perhaps movies. I didn't want to go there. You only have to be in PI for a day to learn you want to leave in good standing ASAP.
This side tour was like sensory deprivation. From hump busting 12-hour days to instant laying in bed most of the time doing squat. From screaming, hollering, noise, and hard azsing to mostly being left alone. I mean really! For a while, the sick bay population at times was just me and a Corpsman. I say mostly left alone as most of the Corpsmen were decent guys just doing their jobs. And they didn't consider playing DI to be part of their job. But one guy did, pontificating on how little he gave a sh-t about the DIs, while trying to imitate them with ball busting or name calling. I remember one evening he got all excited. The optimum word in Parris Island is Island. And, as boots, we were often warned that no matter how well you thought you could swim, don't try to "escape". First you had to get through the swamp and quicksand to get to open water, and the open water had strong currents and tides... and even if you got through that... someone would pick you up on the other side. I supposed someone(s) making a break for freedom wasn't uncommon. On this one evening, this Corpsman heard through the grapevine or an alert that two guys made a break for it. That guy was thrilled. Calling his friends etc. f-cking ghoul.
All good things came to an end. After 8 days, 6 training days, Doc 1 talked Doc 2 into releasing me. Doc 2 must have been a low risk guy. He appeared to want me to have skin like a baby before letting me go. But Doc 1 prevailed. He told me I was his "experiment"... that's to see how I'd fare with some healing to go. Or would I return?
I don't remember exactly how I got to sick bay in the first place. Walk or was driven? Or, how I got back. I just know they practically kicked me out when they finally decided to release me, before I had a chance to shave. I recall getting back to my old barracks and I think reporting to my Sr. DI. Just me and him. To us boots, he exuded fear. His voice would darken the sun. I braced myself for his undivided and worst attention. But, he didn't hard azs me. He just calmly said that I'd missed too many days and he couldn't take me back, and to get my stuff together. I think he would have kept me if I missed by a day over the limit. They never packed my gear, which is what they do when you aren't returning. I assume they get some kind of status reports too. I think I asked if I could shave before I moved on explaining why. He said OK, again with no hassle.
I also don't recall how I got to my new platoon, if I was picked up or delivered. The two DIs and platoons blur in the baton pass. I remember getting a look behind the veil. That DIs were people. After he picked me up, the first order of business for my new Sr DI was getting me a new pair of boots, ones that fit. So he drove us to supply. But, his wife had some place she needed to go, so he picked her up and for part of the way it was them up front with me, a wart on a log, sitting in the back seat, silent and at attention. Weird. Surreal in recruit world. At supply I got re-fitted, except this time my DI personally saw to it, to his satisfaction (and mine) that the boots were the right size. They were. I never had a problem again.
The bad thing about being set back is the underlying fear, and one leveraged by the DIs, that you're viewed as defective or worse, as a sh-tbird. And, be treated accordingly. That no matter what, you did not want to get set back. That's one reason I wasn't a happy camper about reporting back to duty unshaven. I could see how that wouldn't help my cause, and to this day, I wonder if some b-stard of a Corpsman refused me my shave thinking it would cause me some grief. There's all kinds of reasons why people get set back... and if attitude is one, yeah, perhaps you'll catch some heat. But, in my case, neither DI burned up any energy or time to give me a hard time. Besides, screaming and hollering at someone in a vacuum (absent of other recruits is a waste of their time, as no other recruit is there to get the message.
My new Platoon-mates as far as I can recall were decent too. Business as usual. And the timing was such that I'd already done more training-wise than they had because I'd gone further into the cycle. So I wasn't the source of some grief because I screwed something up. You just had to adjust to a new DI's rules. Like in Platoon 373, proper approach to the DI's hut was to slam your hand on the bulkhead HARD, TWICE and scream as load as you could to request to speak to the Drill Instructor, Preceding and Ending with the Sir. When I did that in Platoon 383 the other recruits looked at me like I fell into the barracks from Mars. They had a different ritual that didn't include the opening slams and bellowing. So if the concept of being embarrassed exists in boot camp, you could be embarrassed by looking like some kind of idiot.
In sum, getting set back offered a slightly different boot camp experience, but one I'd rather have skipped. It does affect you. Think about it. First you start boot camp, yanking you into another world, which turns your previous world upside down. Just when you begin adjusting to that, your chain gets yanked again, throwing you into some other world and you're off balance again, then you're spit out of that into another change. Bizarre as it sounds, I always related to my first platoon more than the second. And I don't think I ever got completely back in balance until out of boot camp into ITR which hit the reset button for everyone.
There was one upside. Platoon 383 was on an accelerated schedule to get us out before Christmas. So I didn't lose any calendar time. I left PI just about when I would have had I stayed put.
Heads Up Would Be Nice
My Corps mate, Cpl. Sentell and I are heading to Camp Lejeune this summer. It will be the first time we have been back since we left the Corps in 1966. Just wondering if anyone else has made a trip back there and if there is anything special we need to know to get on the base or visit the NCO Club or our old barracks. It will be fun I am sure, but any heads up would be nice. Next Okinawa!
Cpl. Andre 1962-1966
Cpl. Sentell 1961-1966
Tank Battalion Flame Platoon
Camp Lejeune Late 1965-Oct. 1966
The Big Truck
My name is John Ross Jr. I have ordered a lot of stuff from Sgt Grit, as you can see on my truck, I also drive the big truck and you can see that too.
I was in the Marines from 1972-1974. I also have a lot of stuff from Sgt Grit in my house. I like the stuff from yaw. You can see how proud I am to be a Marine.
I have attached some pictures of my truck. I hope you like them.
John Ross Jr.
In Charge Of The Detail
In this week's letter, there was a request to hear from those who went to basic across the country from where they were recruited. I signed up at a recruiting station in New York. Part of my enlistment contract, was an option of which basic site I wanted to go to. I chose MCRDSD because, while sand fleas and gators both bite, the sand fleas leave a smaller hole in you!
When I reported for travel to the west coast, there were seven of us there who had taken that option. Because I was the only one of the seven who had a college degree, I was handed my first "command", when they instructed the group that I was "in charge of the detail" (like any of these others would follow any order that I might give). What it really meant was that I was responsible for carrying the folder that had all of our orders and airline tickets in it. My "command" ended as soon as I handed that folder over to the Marine who drove the bus to pick us, and a group from Chicago, up at the airport in San Diego.
I don't know if that is still an option that recruiters can offer or not. This, of course was during Nam, and recruiters probably had more options then, since most eligable men were being drafted at that time. My draft number was 18, and I got my draft notice during the second week of basic training. This was one time (of many) that I let my smart mouth out run my slow brain by telling my SDI, SSgt Barr, that the Army said that I had to go. Needless to say, I paid dearly for that, starting with having to eat that draft notice, and then having to do PT until I "gave it back in the proper condition to respond to the Army"!
Phil "Akabu" Coffman
Sgt '72 - '82
Assigned As A Sweeper
Have seen several references in the newsletter that recruits from East of the Mississippi went to P.I. for training and those West of the Mississippi went to San Diego. That was not correct in my case. I enlisted at Ypsilanti, Michigan and reported for induction at Detroit on 6 January 1958. After induction, 40 of us were taken to the old Willow Run Airport and loaded on I think a DC-9. We all figured we were going to P.I. but instead were flown to San Diego for boot camp training. I was in platoon 303 and as I recall all others in this platoon were from West of the Mississippi, except us 40 guys from Michigan. Never made sense to me but the way it was.
To "Short Rounds" about Sweepers aboard ship. I was aboard the USS Breckenridge in August 1958 headed to Okinawa for my 14 months tour. As we boarded in San Diego, we were assigned duties while aboard ship. I was assigned as a "Sweeper." About every 2 to 4 hours each day they would announce over the loudspeakers for sweepers to man our brooms. It went like this; "Sweepers, man your brooms, sweep fore and aft, dump all trash over the fantail." Dumping trash over the fantail is a big no-no now but that's how we did it back then.
Cpl E-4 John F. Wilson
Re: Marines Brownmiller and Benefield comments regarding opposite coast boot camp, I was privileged to attend the Marine Corps' Parris Island 13 week finishing school Oct '72 out of the Denver MEPS. When I was handed the paperwork to carry for myself and fellow Plt 2018 member, Mike McCoy, we were told 48 other prospective Marines were heading to San Diego. The admin folks were less than responsive to my plea to attend San Diego boot camp, as my father had. I think half of my boot camp platoon came out of Texas. I know that, when I graduated in Jan '73, my response to a DI command was "YES, SUH."
My father, until he passed, would always refer to me as his "Pogey-bait" Marine and, I, of course, would ask if he forgot his sunglasses.
George M. Button
MSgt (Ret) USMC
Legendary Okinawa Summers
Your newsletter is one of the highlights of my week. I especially enjoy Ddick's articles about his adventures at various posts and stations around the globe. I had intended to write earlier when I realized we were both at Camp Schwab around the same time. "Life" just got in the way. Anywho, I was on the â€˜Rock' from January 1977 until January 1978 and served with HQ Company, 9th Marine Regiment (Col. Robert "Runnin' Bob" Thompson was the 9th Marines C.O.). As a First Lieutenant I worked in the regimental S-3 office for Major Harry Jenkins (he retired as a Brig Gen I believe) followed by a couple month tour as the HQ Company C.O. prior to rotating back to CONUS.
I do not recall ever making it down to the track ramp area during my time at Schwab but I'm sure that Ddick and I were "dining" (and drinking beer) at the Schwab Officer's Mess/Club. It was the ONLY air-conditioned space at Schwab that I knew about. I'm a native Floridian and thought I knew a little about heat and humidity, but nothing can prepare one for the legendary Okinawa summers.
Consequently, I spent most of my off duty time seeking comfort there before returning to my sweltering BOQ room to sweat myself to sleep. Met many good Marines in that club. One of my all time favorites was Captain Sheldon J. Bathurst (retired as a Colonel). He was awarded the Silver Star as an enlisted Marine in Vietnam, selected for the Enlisted Commissioning program, served a tour as an 8th and I platoon commander and was the best 'yarn spinner' I have ever met. He would frequently 'hold court' in the bar and have all us young lieutenants hanging on his every word and/or laughing to the point of tears. Good times. I might recognize Ddick if we ever met today. I'm sure he tossed back a brew or two in that club while I was there. Keep the stories coming Ddick!
United States Marine Corps (RET)
Sgt Morse's Cookbook
Here's one for Sgt. Morse's cookbook.
To a canteen cup, add:
1 Can c'rat boned chicken
3 John Wayne crackers, finely crumbled
1 Packet dry coffee creamer
2 Oucnes of water
Stir and warm over a heat tab stove.
Heaven in a cup.
J. M. "Mike" Jeffries
Capt. USMC Ret.
Brain Housing Group
To all you Sea Going Marines the following should be in-bedded in your "brain-housing-group" for life!
"Reveille, Reveille, Reveille, Sweepers, man your brooms, sweep forward and aft, all passageways and ladder-wells. Empty all GI cans on the fantail. The smoking lamp is lit."
Brig Turnkey and Sgt. of The Guard
USS America CVA-66 1970-71
Presently still seagoing aboard, M/V Sgt. Jiggs.
Homeported at Camp Lejeune.
From a civilian friend who was at the Iwo event at Marine's Memorial (hotel) in SF... thought you'd be interested in some of the items on the table... Col Starling is the CO of 23rd Marines (Reserves), with HQ in the SF area...
Big Sand Pit
Thank you Sgt Wong for 3 pictures of MCRD summer '68. Our quonset huts sat on the edge of the big sand pit and across the street from the obstacle course. Platoon 364-K Co. March 'til June 1968. I'm pretty sure they were in his pictures? The O-course looked long and narrow from the height he took it, but I had just told a friend the day before about my drill instructor making me come to attention while hanging upside down on a rope from the platform to the ground. As in "you maggot-eyed SOB and much worse language said". "When I call your scumbag scrawny azs to attention you assume the blankety blank position of attention." OK, I let go of the rope tried to assume the position and my scawny 18 year old butt ended up falling b-tt back and head first all at the same time on the sand covered ground, jumped up and assumed the position. Naturally he ripped into me cause I was to slow and then said, "what in the hell are you doing off that obstacle you maggot piece of sh-t!" You guys get it, you were wrong no matter what if they said you were wrong.
Oh yeah, in the close combat area I screwed up and ended up in a 1-hour 1-on-1 pugil stick event with the other screw-up while large groups of misc DI's were watching for fun. We couldn't quit fighting each no matter how exhausted we were. They all made sure to encourage us to keep fighting. We beat each other bloody... spent time looking out the earhole of the helmet during encouragement part. I didn't screw-up the same way again.
As to the sand pit, it was their favorite place for us to crawl in formation on hands and knees like cattle because thats the way we marched! Cattle stampede was very amusing I'm sure. My all time favorite was coming from the showers still wet and then we went swimming in the sand, being sure to throw sand on the other guys cause we were supposed to be doing the breaststroke with a few rolls thrown in for fun, and to be sure we were covered in it. Shortly after we hit our racks we were dragged awake and out of the huts with them screaming, "who the hell got sand all over my Marine Corps racks?" What kind of pukey pigs ____ blah ___ would get sand in their racks. Field day the whole quonset, and sometimes would be done just in time for revillee to be sounded. I wanted to go home to Mom. It didn't kill us and prepared many of us for much worse times. They did a great job. Time on the grinder... from totally useless to a sharp trained platoon, unbelievable! Thank you to the three wise men the Marines sent us.
Source Of Pride
With the recent talk about Jack Lucas, No one has commented that he has a biography - INDESTRUCTIBLE. Most of the online book stores have it along with ebay. Jack Lucas is a source of pride in my household, since we determined he was a cousin of my father-in-law. The book has the complete story along with several pictures. An interesting read for those who enjoy WWII stories.
E. H. Munn
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #4, #5, (NOV., 2014)
I'd like to take a minute of your time and fill you in on how far we've come in the past 4 years. That is, if you don't mind hearing some of the same ole stuff. I started this offering to help educate or enlighten some of my fellow MARINES in the MARINE CORPS League Detachment that I was affiliated with at that time. In the approximately 8 months that I had been promoting and writing it we had gained some ground. I provided the Flight Line for at least three Detachments and I was willing to branch out from there. It's a known fact that it's not easy to get something new started, but I'm gaining. So, if you know of any Detachment that might be interested, please contact me through this Detachment. This does not cost anything, and I will do it as long as I can. I might add that I don't even type very well, so I'll say the same thing that I said when I started this, and that was, if you find misspelled words, don't blame me. Blame this d-mn computer, OK!
All the time that I've spent fooling around here and there's still a war going on in Vietnam, so I'd better get back to it.
Let's pick up from where we left off in Vol. #3, #8. Remember In July of 1965 a Detachment of 10 UH-34D's from HMM-161 (including me) mover from Phu Bai to Qui Nhon in II Corps to await the arrival of the Army's 1st Cavalry Div.
MAG-16 moved from Da Nang to the Marble Mountain Air Facility (MMAF) on 7 Aug. All MAG-16 Aircraft were operating out of MMAF by the beginning of Sept. 1956. The first all-MARINE night helicopter assault took place with BLT 2/3 and HMM-361, HMM-261 and VMO-2 in Elephant Valley on 12 Aug. In September a Detachment of 6 CH-37C's (Deuces) from HMH-462 were attached to H&MS-16 at MMAF. On 12 Sept. all O-1B Pilots from VMO-2 were sent to Okinawa, and the O-1B was parked at the Da Nang airstrip. VMO-2 lost their "V", becoming an all-helicopter squadron for the first time.
Between 18 and 24 Aug., Operation Starlight was conducted on the Van Tuong Peninsula, 15 miles south of Chu Lai by the 7th Marines and the SLF (HMM-163), and supported by MAG-16 Helicopters (HMM-261, HMM-361, and VMO-2) This was the first significant contact with major VC units (1st Viet Cong Regiment). The tactical success there led many to believe that the U.S. Forces would achieved victory and hence, we would be all soon going home.
MAG-36 arrived of the coast of Chu Lai on Sept 1st to join the III MAF. They consisted of MABS-36, H&MS-36, HMM-362 (H-34's), HMM-363 (H-34's), HMM-364 (H-34's), and VMO-6 (UH-1E's).
Stuff prompted by the 3/14 newsletter
For Sgt C... "Sweepers, sweepers... man your brooms, clean sweep down fore and aft, carry all trash to the fantail... the smoking lamp is lit in all authorized spaces"... the usual at reveille, and soon followed by "mess call, mess call... stand clear of the mess decks until pipe-down." Never did know what the h-ll 'pipe-down' was... or sounded like... just went and got in the chow line...
(Don... will run this by a bud who was sea-going on the Hornet (picked up Astronauts on their '69 return from the moon), and see what he remembers... old salts used to refer to the Bo'sun's pipe as "a Link trainer for c--ksuckers"... and since you're younger, will advise that "Link" was the company that made the WWII trainers... cockpit on a gimbal base, no outside vision, etc... precursor to the zillion buck simulators in use today... AA may have some there in OKC).
For Bob Rader and 'Alphabet'... that was a common term of endearment for some who had mostly consonants in their name... knew a CWO of the name of Anaschweitz... more commonly referred to as "Gunner A to Z".
Bob Bliss and I have been in touch, have both been involved in volunteer fire departments (in fact, Gy J. MacMahon lives just down the road a piece, and was one of the founding fathers of our Fire & Rescue operaton. Bliss named SSGT Peniston, as the Plt Commander, with Sgt Cablay and myself as the juniors... SSGT Peniston is an American Indian... have no idea of his tribe... we were way out on Foxtrot Range at Camp Matthews, the furthest from the tent area, and Cablay and I had marched the platoon out there, SSGT Peniston following along later in his POV, said POV being a big black Ford sedan... maybe a 1960 or so, but in the days when many cars were barge-sized. SSGT Peniston needed something from the duty tent (being a Plt Commander there was NO way it was something he had forgotten... just not happening!), but he hauled out his car keys, gave them to me, and bade me Godspeed in his Big Black Ford. I got in the car, turned the ignition on, and from the radio there came blasting "Hy-A-HY-HY-UH", with drum beats to match! I wasn't sure if it was time to draw small stores (nautical, nay, Navy expression there... usually used to describe someone in a quandry... the whole thing is, didn't know whether to sh-t or draw small stores')... finally decided just to turn the volume down. When I got back to the range with the item, I asked SSGT Peniston, "How'd you do that?"... "Do what?"... "You know... that thing with the music!"... "What music?"... "You know... that war dance music!" He had no idea what I was talking about... and didn't believe me when I tried to explain. We finally came to the conclusion that he might have left the radio on some college station that was an early adapter of diversity/multi-culturalism... but it was weird... really weird for 1963.
Sgt Cablay was known amongst the other series DI's as 'zactly, proximately'... as he would halt the platoon in the street by the head and, looking at his wrist watch, tell them, "You Privates got 'zactly... proximately! three minutes to make a head call and be in the platoon street!"
In reference to the Korean Marines... we did an operation ('66) with a company of Korean Marines south of Chu Lai for a few days... at the end of the day's hump, we would set in, dig, set up fields of fire, etc... and mostly just cr-p out until dark. The Koreans would do all that too... and then they'd get out a football from somewhere, and play tackle football without pads for a while. Come the dawn, as we were scratching whatever, heating coffee, etc... the Koreans would be in formation in a rice paddy, doing Tae Kwan Do (karate) drills... tough little SOB's, and could be mean on top of that... I have a lot of respect for the KMC...
Hi, my name is Emma and I am the granddaughter of a Marine/ Vietnam Veteran. My grandpa was an incredible man, and instilled in all of us the wisdom and courage of the Marine Corps. It has been a big part of what shaped my grandfather as a man and made him the amazing man that he was. The Marine Corps and the rest of us lost a wonderful man on March 3, 2013 named Jerry Logan Young. RIP Grandpa
a Proud US Marine
Lost a good friend this past week. Gysgt ret'd Paul Vissinger in Dayton Ohio. He was a "China Marine" 1946 variety and had time at the "Frozen Chosin" - earned a Bronze Star w/combat V among others. He died from many things - heart, pulmonary, etc. I am truly sorry to learn of this.
Edwin H Tate Gysgt ret'd
1944 - 1965
"A rigid economy of the public contributions and absolute interdiction of all useless expenses will go far towards keeping the government honest and unoppressive."
"A government big-enough to give you everything you want, is big-enough to take everything that you have."
--President Gerald Ford (1913-2006)
"In observations on this subject, we hear the legislature mentioned as the people's representatives. The distinction, intimated by concealed implication, through probably, not avowed upon reflection, is, that the executive and judicial powers are not connected with the people by a relation so strong or near or dear. But is high time that we should chastise our prejudices; and that we should look upon the different parts of government with a just and impartial eye."
--James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1791
"It is infinitely better to have a few good men then many indifferent ones."
--President George Washington (1732-1799)
"Arrogance, My Asz, It's Pride, USMC."
"Rise and shine, another day to serve the Corps!"
"Attack! Attack! Attack!"