Sgt Grit Newsletter - 26 DEC 2013

In this issue:
• In The Audience
• Undress Blues
• Home For Christmas

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Sgt Grit and Staff would like to wish all of customers a happy and safe New Year! May 2014 be a great and prosperous year for all of you and your families.

Semper Fi

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In The Audience

Al Pasquale contributed the piece about Bob Hope doing a Show for troops in the South Pacific before an invasion in 1944. The Show was on Pavuvu in the Russell Islands and was put on for the 1st Marine Division before they landed on Peleliu on Sept. 15, 1944. My dad was in the audience. He was a Forward Observer with E Battery, 2nd Bn, 11th Regiment. They were the only Artillery Battery operating on D-Day of the Operation. I still have his Ka-bar that he killed 2 infiltrators with the first night ashore. Also 3 rice bowls and 4 sake cups he took from a hut on the edge of the airfield. He had 10 but gave some to friends.

Tom Teuscher, GySgt ret.
Orlando, Fl.

Clearance Items

Undress Blues


In Boot Camp, Dress Blues were not issued in 1955. Our platoon #256 MCRD San Diego had 100% purchase Blues and we all graduated in Undress Blues. Cost at that time as I recall was around $100.00.

Tom Schwarz 1497XXX
USMC 1955-1959

Christmas Dinner 1966

No presents, no Santa Claus, just rain and more rain. Christmas day December 25, 1966. Convoyed from Dong Ho to a site that later became Camp Evan. Spent the afternoon digging in and laying our howitzers. Instead of Santa, we got mortared and the grunts, a ground attack. Then the rains came. Wet powder, swollen ammo boxes and fiber containers. The call for illumination coming from every direction. Then a night move that put us in a river bed. During the night The dry river bed became a river. Morning found my section on an island. Some positions were flooded. Unfortunately the Howtar (mortars mounted on pack howitzer chassis) had been located below us, but no one knew that an earthen dam was there and since water seeks its own level, the battery was completely submerged.

Christmas packages from some schools in California were delivered and soon as they were opened, the stationery and envelopes were soaked. The candy and other goodies were added to our Christmas dinner of Turkey Loaf, Ham and shrapnel, Meatball and beans, crackers and cheese without the benefit of fire to heat anything. HO! HO! Merry Christmas!

Albert Dixon, GySgt, USMC, Ret.

A Little Luck

I was blessed with perfect timing when it comes to spending Christmas while in the Marine Corps. In 1966, we finished ITR a week before Christmas and my mother lived an hour from Camp Pendleton so it was home for the holiday. My first duty station out of A School was MCAS El Toro, so I was even closer to mom's house. Even being on mess duty didn't dampen things. Christmas of 1968 was spent at Phu Bai (someone put the Christmas tree mom sent face down in the GI can) but, due to a little luck, Col Winchester wanted to spend some time in Thailand so we took the old C-117 to Ubon. Had a great weekend, loaded up with all the hard liquor we could carry and flew back. New Years was even better as you can imagine. For the last Christmas, my duty station was LTA, yet even closer to mom's house so all turned out well.

Wayne Stafford

Home For Christmas

21 Dec 1965, I had just finished my specialist training at Schools Bn, Camp Del Mar, Camp Pendleton, Calif., and was given 25 days leave before reporting to 2nd AmTracBn, Camp Lejeune, N.C. I caught a ride with a classmate up to the Los Angeles area where we stayed the night with his Grandmother, then we're given a ride to LAX to get a flight home for Christmas.

Most military flew stand-by, so I signed up on as many flights that were going to Kansas City. Of course flying out of anywhere during Christmas was a challenge.

After being in the Airport for 2 days, I was able to get a paid ticket to Kansas City on the 24th, but leaving late that night. I couldn't wait, I had a girlfriend waiting and was in a hurry to get home. A stand-by opening came up and I took it, only it was going to Denver, Co., I didn't care it would get me closer to home than L.A.

During the flight, an attendant came around to take my ticket and saw that it was a paid ticket to K.C. and asked the stupid question why not wait for the direct flight, and how was I to get to K.C. from Denver? I told him I don't know but would find a way. He said I would have a refund coming and would take care of it. (I did get the refund while home on leave).

Landed in Denver around noon, the 23rd, carrying my sea bag full of my earthly belongings, thanks to the Marine Corps. While wandering around the airport looking for flights to K.C., I heard my name being paged and hurried to the gate I was to go to and found a stewardess there waiting and told me to hurry that a plane was waiting for me to take me to K.C. The engines were running and the door was closed as soon as I was seated, down the runway and off I went. Sat in 1st class around a table telling people how great the Marine Corps has been.

I was from Topeka, Kansas, which was an hour drive from there to K.C., but my parents and girlfriend made it in an hour and half after I called them, telling them that I was in K.C. waiting for them. I flew United airlines and was very thankful for the airlines helping this new Marine PFC to get home for Christmas.

B Co., 2nd AmTracBn, Camp Lejeune, N.C. 01/66-09/66
A Co., 1/9 Vietnam 10/66-02/67
CAC-P, Cam Lo, VN 02/67-10/67
I&I, MARMTD, Pasadena, Calif., 11/67-08/69
MACS-23, MARTD, Buckley Air Base, Aurora, Co., 04/71-10/79

Semper Fi, Marines and Merry Christmas,
GySgt Larry Schafer

Health And Comfort From The Red Cross

Sgt. Grit,

My Youngest Son gave me a Birthday card that was as Nice a card as this eighty six year old has ever received. Pinned to the card was a Large pin back button that said, "I've Survived D-mn Near Everything". I mounted that pin on the back of my desk. I looked at it today, thinking back to when I was sent to the Pacific during World War II. I landed on Guam after the island was secured and remember this seventeen year old that had never left the state of Colorado and was now on a tropical island where the enemy was still being hunted down, captured or killed.

There was hardly a tree standing, shell holes everywhere and Japanese equipment laying all over the place. Not realizing the danger, I and some friends crawled into Japanese fighting caves and climbed onto the light tanks used by the enemy, we pried open the top hatch and the stench drove us away from the area. Close by was a bridge over a stream that had a sign that said, "Built by the 123rd SeaBee's". We went into the town of Agat and were stopped by Marine MP's that told us to leave. To this day I do not know where the Jeep we were driving came from. Driving back to Agana we passed by a spit of land that stuck out into the ocean, the road went right by that spit of land and an old sign pointing to the 3rd Marine Division Headquarters.

Later we were put on working parties and were used to raise tents and Quonset huts. At evening chow, standing in line while sentries checked the line for possible enemy soldiers, we were told they sometimes snuck into the line hoping to get food. In one area we worked were great piles of supplies, all covered with tarps. When pulling a tarp off of one pile, the boxes of rations had been opened rations removed leaving the boxes to maintain the tall pile without seeing anything removed.

During times of downtime, we swam or went to places we were allowed to go, there was a dance being held at one of the towns (unbelievable) but because we weren't 3rd Marine Division Marines we couldn't go. Later I saw in a Leatherneck Magazine pictures of that dance. Then came another exciting adventure, we were loaded on a C47 (Douglas DC3), we sat on cold aluminum seats with no safety straps available. The plane took off, my first airplane ride, I looked at the wide expanse of ocean and talked with a friend who was also having his first airplane ride.

We came to an island, it didn't look big enough to land a small plane on the runway that ran from one side of the island to the other. I believe we were told we were landing on MogMog, Ulithy Atoll. Tents were being pitched, slit trenches and p-ss tubes were being made larger and more abundant... with our help. Ulithi was the largest natural anchorage in the Pacific and was used to stage out the ships being used in Invasions.

The Philippine Invasion had happened without our help, we still wanted to run into battle even after viewing the vast Grave Yards of American Marine Dead on Guam. When you enlisted you were ready to go, but had to attend Boot Camp where you learned to be Military and obey commands, to shoot, to march. Then you had to learn battle tactics because you can't go into war without knowing how you must do this or that in tandem with 4, 13 or more men. Your body aches, you have headaches, and your legs don't want to work but you make them work. Now you are overseas where the enemy is and you don't have to do that, Then someone says, "The time is coming, then I'll watch your crying faces wishing you were back home." We all say, "You'll never see us cry or want to go home until the War is over!" "Yeah, Yeah", he says.

There's a ship with smoke coming from it and no one is helping some Sailors unloading boxes of ammo. My friend and I go over and help, the guy is wet from head to toe with sweat so we go aboard and I go down into the hold and put ammo on something I was told to and people above take it up, and I last about 15 minute or so and I come up and someone else goes down. An hour, more or less, goes by and we are on the flat floating dock with the ammo we have brought up and out. A Navy Lieutenant comes on the dock, compliments us, takes our names and leaves. We later get a letter of commendation and we hear the Navy Lieutenant got a Bronze Star, we hadn't seen him until he came down and got our names.

Later all our records were blown up, we were declared Missing. It took me 6 months to get my back pay, during that time I got $5 Health and Comfort from the Red Cross (when I could find them).

Sometime later, I got called into the Office and showed a Letter of Indebtedness from the Red Cross. With my explanation I was told the office would inform someone who would straighten out the mess. Well, truth be told, I was suckered into accepting Office Hours which would inform the higher ups of the problem (how dumb can an 18 year old be?) So I did, I lost a stripe and soon everything was honky dory except I was minus a stripe, and I had to pay the Red Cross their d-mned $15.00 for all the trouble they caused giving me Health and Comfort for three months (when I could find them). If you didn't know it, we still had to buy our two cans of beer daily and cigarettes (unless you wanted to smoke those old ones from the C-rats with the black spots on them).

Any way it took forever to get my Pay Records and all the junk they needed to move us about when they wanted to. H-ll! I came over here to Fight a War not borrow Health and Comfort from the Red Cross, so I could have a Beer now and then, maybe General Sheridan was right after all; "War is Hell!"

GySgt. F.L.Rousseau, USMC Retired

This was Guam when I arrived in 1944!

Future USNS Lewis B. Puller

Story Number: NNS131105-20
Release Date: 11/5/2013 3:32:00 PM

From Naval Sea Systems Command Office of Corporate Communications

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- General Dynamics NASSCO held a keel-laying ceremony for the U.S. Navy's third mobile landing platform, the future USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP 3), Nov. 5.

A keel-laying traditionally represents the formal beginning of a ship.

Although the fabrication of ship components often begins months earlier, authentication that the keel is "straight and truly laid" remains a key shipbuilding and ceremonial milestone.

The keel of MLP 3 was authenticated by Elizabeth Glueck, wife of Lt. Gen. Kenneth Glueck, commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command.

"This keel laying is the first of many major shipbuilding milestones in the life of this ship," said Capt. Henry Stevens, Strategic Sealift and Theater Sealift program manager, Program Executive Office (PEO), Ships. "Lewis B. Puller will bring tremendous capability and operational flexibility to the Fleet."

The ship's name honors Lt. Gen. Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller, a distinguished combat veteran of World War II and the Korean War. Lt. Gen. Puller is the only Marine to have been awarded the Navy Cross on five separate occasions. Each MLP has been named in honor of pioneering Marines. USNS Montford Point (MLP 1) is named for the 20,000 African-American Marine recruits trained at Montford Point Camp, N.C. USNS John Glenn (MLP 2) honors Marine combat aviator, astronaut, and retired U.S. Senator John H. Glenn.

Lewis B. Puller is planned to be the first MLP afloat forward staging base (AFSB) variant, further enabling the capability to transfer vehicles and equipment at sea while meeting AFSB operational requirements such as airborne mine countermeasures and special operations forces missions. At 837 feet long, each ship displaces more than 80,000 tons when loaded. The ship will have a maximum speed of 15 knots and range of 9500 nautical miles.

The Lewis B. Puller is expected to deliver to the Navy in 2015.

As one of the Defense Department's largest acquisition organizations, PEO Ships is responsible for executing the development and procurement of all destroyers, amphibious ships, special mission and support ships, and special warfare craft. Currently, the majority of shipbuilding programs managed by PEO Ships are benefiting from serial production efficiencies, which are critical to delivering ships on cost and schedule.

Closely Controlled By DoD

In the Mid/late 60's I was involved with inventory management of clothing for the Corps. The dollar value of the initial issue of clothing to recruits of each of the services is closely controlled by DoD. By that I mean, the cost of the initial issue to a Navy recruit or Airman is very close dollar wise, to that provided to Marine recruits. Even back at that period, there was a desire on the part of HQMC to issue Dress Blues as part of the initial issue, however the cost of the Dress Blues would require removing other items of clothing that were felt to be more critical.

As the price of the items in the initial issue has changed, and the total value increased it became possible to add the Dress Blues. Remember at that time boots were in $12-15 range, now I understand they are in the $70 range. By issuing Dress Blues to all new recruits, the cost per set comes down as the buy quantity rises.

That assignment with the clothing branch remains one of the most interesting of the 22 years spent in the Corps, 1960-1982.

Semper Fi and Merry Christmas from Orlando, FL.

Lou Spevetz

Old, Fat And Busted Up

I was in Nam for all of 1970. Made Sgt at age 18 due to doing well in boot camp and ATR. I was in charge of a weapons platoon, M-60s and 60 MikeMikes.

We all have stories from boot camp. Stuff we will never forget. WWII Marines telling the same tales today's privates experience. Ain't it great watching some poor bast-rd in the airport heading off to San Diego or P.I.

The story I want to share is from the trip I made to London several years ago. I was 60, limping around from old wounds and getting fatter by the year. My wife and I went to the theatre district to see "War Horse." During intermission, we went out to stretch in the lobby. A young Brit around 26 years old came up to me with his gorgeous date and asked if I had been a Marine. It really caught me by surprise. I told him yes and I had served with many great Marines in Viet Nam. I asked him what tipped him off. He said he was SAS and had worked with some Recon Marines in the desert and that there was something special about how Marines carried themselves and he could recognize it. I can tell you I stood a little taller at that moment. After the play he and his date insisted on taking us around the center of London for a little tour and some champagne. It was a great night.

So, there you have it. Once A Marine Always a Marine, even when you are old, fat and busted up.

Sgt RA "Hog" Hougher

Christmas 1966 Was The Best Ever

Dec of 1966, I had been assigned to FMF Combat Medical School Camp Pendleton. I reported in and the Chief on duty was Chief "Gunny" Lou Legarie. A picture I will never forget hanging on the wall above his desk was of him. Captioned "War is Hell ". As more Corpsman were reporting in for the first class of Jan 1967, the Chief assigned us to a Holding Company. There were twelve of us all together. The Chief appointed the most senior Corpsman in charge. Our duties were to mow the lawn, rake the dirt and paint the rocks lining the road white. This was the high light of our day including playing cards for entertainment. Christmas was nearing and the Chief had called us into his office. "Men," he said, "get the h-ll out of here. Go somewhere, see you after New Year's." He wrote a leave chit, signed it for a seven day leave. While waiting for a class to begin we also were issued our Marine Greens prior to Graduation.

With little money in hand my fellow buddy who also was from the Chicago Area had heard about military "hops" or space available out of Norton AFB Riverside, Calif. Why not, as we looked at each flight. Packed a light sea bag to include our Marine Greens. Donned our Navy Blues. Hitched a ride to Norton and signed a manifest on a C130 going South anywhere. Spent the night in the terminal and low & behold our names were called to manifest.

The plane was going to Georgia. We sat in the swing seats knee to knee. The plane was full. Some blankets were issued as it was freezing cold. A long day ahead of us we tried to catch Some Z's despite the noise from the prop engines. Five hours or so we landed in the middle of nowhere. Ft Stewart Georgia. A long way from Chicago. Someone drove us to the highway. Now what? We counted our money and thought we had enough to fly standby Commercial. The closest airport... Louisville, Kentucky. We stuck our thumbs out with hopes of a single ride in that direction and had no clue of the distance. Still dressed in our Navy Blues. Finally a ride. The gentleman, a trucker, was heading in our direction but went out of his way to drive us to the Louisville Airport. Upon arrival we counted our money and had enough for two one way tickets to Chicago O'Hare Airport standby on Eastern Airlines. No guarantee the attendant stated, so wait we did. While waiting we decided we would freshen up in the restroom. Here we decided it would look 'cool' and changed into our 'Marine Greens'. Exiting the restroom a Naval Officer (reserve) spotted us and questioned the uniform change. He had seen us go in the restroom wearing Navy Blues. Exiting Marine Greens. His comment was "What is this Halloween!" We proudly advised him we were FMF Combat Corpsman all the way. Showed him our patch on our sleeve. We returned to the terminal no luck, plane after plane was full. We scraped up enough money to finally get a sandwich. The gate Ticket Agent advised us that with the amount of holiday travelers, Eastern was bringing out another plane to accommodate standbys. One problem the plane would be making a pit stop in Indianapolis and no guarantees to re-board.

Our lucky day or night time was of no essence. Two names were called to re-board. We were on our way to Chi-Town, and for me grandma's meatballs. We arrived at Chicago O'Hare Airport and we parted ways with a promise to meet back in time to get back to Pendleton with assurance our families would purchase a regular ticket to return. I arrived DT Chicago with seabag over my shoulder. The beauty of the Christmas lights. Boarded the first of two city buses to the South Side and knocked on my aunts door. Time approx. 0200 hours. "Surprise" My aunt warmed the coffee, probably the 3rd time during the day. Racked out and ate and slept for two days. Christmas Eve Mass, Food, drink and sleep. Time to leave, a big snowstorm in Chicago... my buddy was nowhere to be found. After boarding the plane, sat on the Tarmac for an eternity dressed back in Civi's I bought. De-iced the plane two or three times while waiting for takeoff. The pilot announced we were no 70 something in line. Finally up, up and away. Slept most of the way to LA. Bussed back. Arrived on time. The Chief Lou "Gunny" Legarie asked for my leave papers and where The "F" was my buddy? No response sir, don't know. The Chief took my leave chit tore it up and said "Welcome Back" and your buddy when and if he returns he is confined to the base and I was in charge to see to it. Low and behold my buddy made it back, snowstorm or whatever. The Chief all smiles tore up all twelve Corpsman leave chits and said in 4 weeks you would be on your way to the Republic Of Vietnam. The Chief who we all know, a highly decorated career FMF Corpsman.

I am thankful for him and his guidance to transitioning to the FMF Marine Corps. My buddy, I re-connected for the first time two years ago by chance in Wisconsin. We spent two days laughing Sheepishly about our escapades. Our wives who by coincidence were both nurses just smiled.

We survived Nam somehow. The Christmas 1966 was the best ever and memorable indeed.

Thank You Chief "Gunny" Lou Legarie for making it possible.

Merry Christmas to All!

"Doc " Frank Morelli
Nam, '67-'68

To Be The Same

Dress blues--Enlisted in 1950, no blues in my sea bag either. Only ones getting them were recruiters and sea school. Mine were tailored and issued in recruiters school. White cover, white belt, blue cover blue belt. We were the first to be issued tropicals with the long sleeves. Our summer uniform during office hours were complete blues for special events otherwise blue trousers with tropical shirt and white cover and (WEB BELT)? Shoes were our choice of either black or Cordova, black had to go with the complete blues.

After my discharge I remember seeing PFCs on boot leave in blue trousers, tropical elbow length shirts and white cap covers. Blues must have come back late 60's early 70's. I remember the DI told us you have your choice of dress shoe color, but they all have to be the same. Then he made a point of looking down at his... they were black.

S/Sgt M.L. Gregor 1180XXX

Bob Hope At Freedom Hill

I was with 7th Comm. Battalion on hill 10, just outside Dogpatch, Christmas 1967. We all made plans to see Bob Hope at Freedom Hill. We were looking forward to all the "Eye Candy" he would bring to our part of the world. We made the trip along with about twenty thousand other swinging D-cks. We were so far up the side of that mountain all we could see was Mr. Hope's red baseball cap.

Always a Marine, Old Corps!

Sgt. Hodge
1965-1971, PLatoon 394 PISC

A Whole Family Of Blood Stripes

Just wanted to email Sgt Grit to let you guys know that the Marine Corps Tradition is living on in my family. My Uncle was the first in our family, after making LCpl a few half dozen times he settled eventually as a Sgt when he finally got out after a rather lengthy career in war, active duty and reserves. I met my wife in the Corps and after a decade she hurt her back and was forced to get out as a Sgt. I was a Cpl and got out after only 5 years though I wish I hadn't. Today my little brother, 12 years my junior, looked up the scores and is going to be promoted to Cpl on the first of the year. A whole family of Blood Stripes!

(Soon to be) Cpl Vasko was pinned LCpl by the same chevrons my uncle wore in desert storm and I was pinned with when I pick up LCpl - once was enough for me. He is in the middle of a PCS away from 8th and I and his first order of business will be to check in and get promoted at his new duty station. Congrats little brother! I promise when I see him I will pound him good to put the blood stripe on straight and squared away.

Cpl Joshua Basarab
1999 to 2004

If Santa Claus Was A Marine

Santas Sleigh In Night Vision

This week's most popular post on the Sgt Grit Facebook page featured an image of a CH-53E Super Stallion being view through night vision. The text around the image reads "If Santa Clause Was A Marine... This Is What His Sleigh Would Look Like!"

Below are some of the comments received in reference to this post.

Rex Waltersdorf - and he would come equipped with his own squad of Marines to "open" doors, and help him drop in gifts here and there to good little boys and girls. Just not quite the pitter patter of feet on the roof you envisioned though!

Jeffrey Hirsch - Santa always flew in on a phrog when I was a kid living at the air station New River.

Ron Edwards - Santa is to fat to be a Marine. Most likely would have been in the Navy. Haha!

Salvador Zavala - I love stallions... Unless you're close to where it lands and then you're sand and gravel blasted.

Dave Ludke - Only because he retired his CH-46...OOH-RAH!

Ramon 'Bubu' Morales Jr. - I don't think Santa could do a 20/80 P.F.T. SO he better stay on the pouch & KEEP his old sled.

Read more of the 55 comments made about this post on the Sgt Grit Facebook Page.

Goody Button

All I can say is that I went through boot camp in 1970 and the only Dress Blues issued were to the Plt honor man and the series honor man. No one else received an issue of Dress Blues. In 1975-1976 when I was a D.I. it was the same thing only the honor men received Dress Blues. I know that I purchased my Dress Blues in 1973 when at M.C.A.S. Yuma, AZ, after I had shipped over from the grunts. I had on Sgt stripes, a goody button, and no hash mark. In Dress Blues a Sgt without a hash mark did kind of stand out. That's all off point. I never saw or heard of Dress Blues being issued at any time other than the honor men. I was in from '70-'76.

Semper Fi!

Merry Christmas and a great, joyful and a bountiful New Year to all past present and future Marines.

SSgt Joseph E. Whimple
U.S.M.C. 2-1970 / 12- 1976

Where Is The Pike?

Sgt. Grit,

Dec 19th newsletter from Bill McDermott has our start date at Parris Island wrong--it was Oct 5, 1958. I know because I was the right guide. Which brings me to this story.

Long about the 3rd. week, I was in my Quonset hut when S/S Truax called for the right guide to report. As fast as I could I pounded on the side and shouted, "Sir, Pvt. LeVine reporting as ordered Sir!" S/S Truax yelled center my hatch--which I did. He bent over and said where is the pike?

"The chrome spear atop the staff"... I froze... as I could not move while at attention--I knew I was in for it. I had left it on the staff and another recruit from a platoon in our series who was a right guide snuck in our area and took it... giving the pike to his senior DI. At that point S/S Truax said left face and started kicking my shins and asking me if I would ever do that again?

At rack time I had to use a bayonet to pry up the eyelets to unlace my boots. A week later I saw the other right guides staff with the pike on it outside the mess hall--pay back was great--S/STruax was avenged and I made PFC upon graduation.

David A. LeVine 1690XXXX, 2531, Indianapolis

In The Real World

If I recall, we graduated on the 20th, base liberty, and the next morning we were put on a bus to Camp Geiger, arriving on the 21st. My recollection is we were checked in, stowed our gear, and given Christmas leave. I and everyone else left either that day or no later than the next morning.

What was bizarre, and I still remember it, was the night I got home... flat out exhausted, I laid down on my bed (not rack) for what I thought would be a few minutes and practically passed out.

I was woken by a siren, e.g. fire engine or cop car. It was pitch black in my room, and groggy with sleep shuffled over to the window and looked out.

I didn't have a clue as to where I was. Part of me knew not in my former barracks, but not grasping home.

So imagine my absolute wonder, because what I saw out my window was a lit up fire truck with a Santa Claus in all his glory, waving & waving.

I couldn't get my mind around this as I watched with jaw gaped the truck slowly come up the street. I was thinking WTF! In Parris Island, Geiger? Where? Eventually I woke up fully and figured out I was in the real world, not PI.

I suppose this is not just a Christmas story, but also one about having a rapid fire change, whipsawed from PI one moment, and without any adjustment to not being there anymore, thrown right into civilian space.

I never asked anyone what they did immediately after graduation. Did you get leave right away too, or go through ITR? Then go on leave?

But, in my case it was as if ole Santa came Ho Ho Hoing into the squad bay one night. My gray matter couldn't handle what it was seeing.

Cpl Don Harkness 1961-65

Cpl Harkness,

I graduated Plt 2070, Hotel Co, 2nd Bn, MCRD San Diego on 1 Sept 2000. I went back home to grandma's house for 10 days boot leave. Once we arrived home I was exhausted as well. I changed over to my civvie PJs and passed out. At about 0300, my grandparents thought it would be funny to play a little joke on me and hit the lights and began yelling get up Marine! Now, since I hadn't been any more than 24 hours leaving the MCRD my reaction was still just as pristine as the day before. I hopped up and stood at the postition of attenion next to the bed (just as you stated, back home it was a bed). My grandparents just busted up laughing and were like, "Boy it is 3:00 in the morning go back to bed." To late, I was already up, and still being in a boot camp mindset it just seemed to be unnatural to go back to sleep. So, I changed into my PT gear and went for a run.

Once the sun decided to rise I made some chow and brewed some coffee for my grandparents. As they awoke, and finally joined me at the dining room table, they began to chuckle and said that it was awesome to see how I re-acted to their prank. They said that they remember when I was still at home and they would try to wake me up for school often times they would have to tell me to get up over and over again for school. I then told them that for the last 13-weeks I was only give the command once to get out of the rack. Failure to do so immediately would be met with some form of painful consequences. I am sure many of you know these words to be very true.

Semper Fi to all of my Marine Brothers and Sister!

James Williams
Sgt 0151
2000 - 2007


Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #7, #7 (JUL., 2017)

This is a continuation of the events that transpired on the 25th of Feb, 1012. I'll continue my ramblings about the Flag Raising on Iwo Jima remembrance in the town of Sacaton, Arizona.

In my previous offerings about this event I indicated that there were no musical groups such as marching bands or Drum and Bugle Corps, and this event was no different. Although I did hear a tape player or something playing a tape emulating from one of the vehicles coming down the street, but that was the extent of the sound.

Now, in my original rendering as to the units in the procession I mentioned that fact that there was only one horse pulling a decorated wagon. Well... I was later informed that this was not only a decorated wagon BUT, a Memorial Wagon in honor of U.S. Navy, FMF HN (a Corpsman) Robert Nathaniel MARTENS of Cave Creek who left this earth on Sept. 6, 2005. This Silver Star recipient was assigned to the 2nd MARINE Div., at Camp Lejuene, N.C. Also in the line-up was "Soldier Boy" a memorial Pick-up depicting the life of Lance Cpl. Alejandro Jay Yazzie from the small community of Rock Point on the Navajo Nation. "Sonnie" (as he was known) passed from this life on February 16, 2010 while supporting combat operations in the Marjah Offensive, in Afghanistan, assigned to the 1st MARINE Div. at Camp Pendleton.

After the parade there was an all Services, Tribal and State Flag raising in the Courtyard of the Commemorative Park and there were several Speakers. A brief Prayer Service was conducted at the Military Order of the Purple Heart monument and the day was concluded with a gourd dance and social Pow-Wow at the Gila River Indian Community District 3 Baseball field.

The crux of this entire affair is the fact that one of their own Native Americans was involved in this world renown event and they want to continue to recognize and celebrate that fact. The reason that so many other MARINES are in attendance speaks volumes as to the brotherhood of the CORPS. It also endorses the pride that the Native American community has for the U.S. Marine Corps.

In conclusion, I have to say that I have been to and participated in a lot of parades in my life and I have never witnessed a celebration or gathering like this. Having said that, I would encourage anybody that has the time to travel to Sacaton, AZ. next year to come and witness this unique event for themselves. Bring a jacket, it gets a little cool in the morning. But, You'll enjoy the day.

Heated, But Dull

Recall being really impressed with the automated warehouse(s) at Al-beny... back in the mid-70's...

Had an I-I staff Corpsman at the Reserve Center (solo Marine... in the day when centers were usually Navy & MC)... Doc didn't have a lot to do... shot records, etc. for around a hundred or so draft-dodgers, but he kept sick bay neat/clean, and the paperwork up to snuff... one paperback Zane Grey novel was usually enough to keep him occupied for most of the week. He slipped by the Sgt Major (nothing like a Capt with his own Sgt Major... and mine tended to control access to the corner office) one day with a problem... he was out of ETOH with which to swab arms prior to injections... so I told him to fill out a requisition (1348-1, 6-part), and I would sign it. He did, and I did... a few days later, UPS dropped off a small cardboard box... for sick bay. Doc took the box, and went to his domain to open it... and soon was down at my end of the hall with two white plastic pint bottles... and he had a problem with them! Said he'd never seen any like this, and that something was wrong with the order. As it turned out, the difference was the multi-colored strip of tape over the bottle cap... as the ultimate fount of all knowledge in that organization, I quickly perceived that Doc had never seen a tax stamp... and what we were looking at was two US Gubmint pint bottles of 190 proof pure grain alcohol! Now, if you think getting something out of the supply system is tough, you ought to try getting something back in!... so I told the Doc to go check his NSN again, and bring me another requisition... and to leave the 'incorrect' containers with me...

Lesson learned: one guesstimated shot of 190 in one cup of coffee... is not nearly enough dilution. One quick snort of said coffee produced a sensation that might be likened to being stabbed between the eyes with a heated, but dull, ice-pick. Trust me... BT, DT...


Short Rounds

I just read a obit on a WWII Marine. It mentioned he was in the 3D Program and when finished went on to 2MarDiv.

Does anyone know what the 3D Program was?

Sgt Grit

I do not care WHEN you served, I do not care WHERE you served, I do not care about your MOS, I do not care about your UNIT... to ALL MARINES (including my daughter who went Army later in life)... I wish the Happiest of Holidays!

Peter Andrew Dahlstrom 1965-1974

Here's one I remember from my time in Nam: "I'm so short, I've got to stand on a nickel to p-ss on a dime."

Melvin D. Kingery, SGT
USMC '67-'71
I Corps, '69-'71

Sgt. Grit - Serving with 1st Recon Bn in Chu Lai and DaNang, Feb '67-May '69, I was fortunate enough to catch the Bob Hope show twice. In '68, I won a raffle for a seat near the stage. During that show, I made eye contact with Ann-Margaret and she flashed her brilliant smile at me. I've been hopelessly in love with her ever since. Merry Christmas, and Semper Fi!

John Clary
Sgt of Marines
Alpha Co, 2nd Plt, 1st Recon Bn

In ref to E K Pennington; I graduated PI early FALL of '52; no dress blues issued to anyone... too showee for me anyway. I was one of 3 throw away kids in Brooklyn, NY; 17 years of age and needed to belong somewhere. Marines offered us three meals, a rack, and a rifle... not bad. The best issue was green wool battle jacket and p-ss cutter. Of course shirt and trousers... neatest uniform for my 10 day leave after boot. DI told us dress blues were for sea going and embassy. Fine, didn't want dress blues.

WALTVC '52 to '60
Korea '53
Semper Fi to all and to all a good nite!

I read where the Marine Corps is now issuing dress blues for recruits. I was a recruit at Parris Island on January 5, 1954 and they did not issue dress blues then. I was one of several selected to go to Charleston, South Carolina in 1955 to welcome President Eisenhower. One catch. You had to have Dress Blues and I did not have the dress blues. At that time I believe the dress blues cost $125.00 which amounted to almost two paydays.


Marine Corps 238th Birthday Ball. No sword to cut the cake. What better to use than a Ka-Bar. One guess as to where it was obtained.

Earl Herrington
Southtowns Det 1136 MCL
Cpl 1958-61

God Bless you Bob Hope! Semper Fi!

Davis Smith

"Least amphibious of all the Corps' major installations, Two-Niner Trees."

I'd argue that the either Albany, GA or Kansas City, MO would be a better base for that designation.

Kevin J. Sullivan

Sgt. Grit,

While cleaning out a locker up at the Veterans Home of Calif. (Yountville, CA) we found three Boot Camp Graduation Books. After a search, we are unable to locate the original owners. If anyone that was in the Platoons would like to have them, we will send them. Second Battalion Plt. 2048 - 16 May 1974 - 2 Aug. 1974, Plt. 2063 - 2 July 1974 - 18 Sept. 1974, Plt. 2110 - 8 Oct. 1975 - 24 Dec. 1975.

Vince Rigoni USMC 1950-1954

Contact Sgt Grit: info[at]
or Dennis Frye at: djf5665[at]


"If the public are bound to yield obedience to laws to which they cannot give their approbation, they are slaves to those who make such laws and enforce them."

"The deadliest weapon in the world is a MARINE and his rifle!"
--Gen. John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, US Army

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
--George Orwell

"The day the soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership."
--Colin Powell

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
--Theodore Roosevelt

"May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us in all our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy."
--George Washington (1790)

"The battle of Iwo Island has been won. The United States Marines by their individual and collective courage have conquered a base which is as necessary to us in our continuing forward movement toward final victory as it was vital to the enemy in staving off ultimate defeat. By their victory, the 3rd, 4th and 5th Marine Divisions and other units of the Fifth Amphibious Corps have made an accounting to their country which only history will be able to value fully. Among the Americans who served on Iwo Island, uncommon valor was a common virtue."
--Admiral Chester W. Nimitz

"You silly people think you're tired, do you?"
"Yes, sir!"
"Well, I've got news. You're gonna practice to be tireder!"

"You people are making me very unhappy! Just because the sand fleas get in your noses and your ears and crawl down your necks, you clowns think you have the right to kill them. I don't care how much they bite, you will pretend that you do not feel it! Do you hear me?" "Yes, sir!"

"You can slap a sand flea in the jungle and if the enemy sees you slap or hears you move, you'll be dead before you get your hand down. You can knock a bug off your shoulder and be dead before that bug hits the deck."

Happy New Year!
Semper Fi
Sgt Grit

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