Looking through your closeout items and I was glad to see a couple of bumper stickers from my era. The Cold War (1955 - 1959). Thank you.
I was p-ssed when I:
1. Got demoted from Sgt to Cpl (rate change structure).
2. Didn't receive a Fire Watch ribbon (National Defense).
3. Can't join the American Legion (on my own merit).
Don't get me wrong, I love the Corps.
Thank you for remembering us.
While a hard-charging L/Cpl at Marine Barracks, San Francisco Naval Shipyard (Hunter's Point) in 1963, I had to pass up our usual Friday noon chow, which was a choice between rib-eye steak or lobster tails. (Kudos here to SSgt Floyd Cook, our Mess NCO, who always delivered the very best chow to the 76 Marines at the Barracks).
My wisdom teeth were impacted, and it hurt like h-ll, so I called up the yard dental and told them what was going on, and they accommodated me that afternoon. My surgeon was a full commander, who volunteered to cut the offending teeth out. He joked that it had been a long time since he had done any extractions, but at that point with the pain, I didn't care. A few shots of Novocain, and as I was bracing for the extraction, he held one of the impacted wisdom teeth up in front of me. Virtually painless! I would have promoted the Cmdr. To Admiral if I could have!
I was Duty NCO that same night at the Barracks, and about 1900, the yard OD (a Navy JG.) called our barracks about something or other. My mouth was packed full of cotton and my jaw was swollen, so I mumbled-slurred "Marine Barracks, Lance Corporal Williams speaking sir."
The yard OD, thinking I was drunk, had me repeat my name so he could write it down, and ordered me to stay right there! He showed up less than 5 minutes later with a Master at Arms ready to slap me in irons for being drunk on duty, and after seeing me drooling blood on the desk, he then assumed I had been in a fight (and lost). It took some convincing to get the truth through his head.
Overall, my experience with Docs and Corpsmen were great (Shout out here to Corpsman Sandy Mott!) â€“ in fact, the only negative experience I ever had was when I got into a fight (and lost) at ITR and had the corner of my mouth split. I went to sickbay to get it sewed up and the dumbsh-t Corpsman there jabbed my cheek with Novocain... except he pushed the needle all the way through my cheek, so I got stitches in my lip with no painkiller, but a numb tongue.
S/Sgt D.A. Williams
'61-'64 USMC 0311/0141
'65-'79 USMCR 0141/7141 (Air Delivery Man)
That's All Well And Good
I served as a Marine Security Guard (MSG) in the mid-60s at the Embassy in Saigon, South Vietnam. One of the first things they taught us at MSG School in Henderson Hall was to be an Ambassador in Blue and to always stay alert. One of our duties was to relieve the two Army Sergeants guarding Ambassador Maxwell Taylor at 22:00 Hours until 0700 hours the following morning. One night a Marine was having trouble staying awake. He looked around and saw Ambassador Taylor's elaborate stereo setup. He turned it on and keep the music low as he went from radio station to station. A few minutes later he was surprised to see Ambassador Taylor enter the room dressed in his pajamas with his hair uncombed. He angrily informed the Marine Security Guard that he was messing with some expansive equipment. The MSG assured the Ambassador that he knew what he was doing and started to explain about the radio, the record player, and the reel to reel tape recording machine. The ambassador interrupted the Marine Security Guard by sleepily informing him: "That's all well and good, Marine, but I have extension speakers in my bedroom and you just woke me up!"
Cleo C. Bresett, Jr.
Knee On My Chest
Marine Corps Birthday, K-Bay, 1961. My wisdom tooth had been bothering me for more than a week, but I really didn't want to go to Dental (no one ever does). The morning of the Birthday I woke up with my jaw about twice its normal size and the pain was killing. Doc 'B' put me on sick call and told me to go to the hospital, immediately. A friend of mine was a Dental Assistant Corpsman and he led me to the chair. The Dentist took one look and said that the tooth (wisdom) needed to come out and right now. He told me that it was abscessed, and that if we waited any longer the infection would move down my jaw and all the other teeth would have to come out.
He started pumping Lidocane into me and it wasn't long before I was very, very numb. I was told to hold the suction with my left and since I had a hand free my friend handed me a mirror so I could watch the show! The dentist started cutting then brought a thing called an elevator into play, and began to rip and tear. At one point he even put his knee on my chest to gain more leverage. There was all kinds of stuff flying out of my mouth, water, tooth chips, blood, and the sound/smell was horrific. There was no pain only pressure so it was like I was watching the whole thing on TV.
After what seemed like hours, I was told to rinse and not to drink any alcohol for 24 hour or the clot would wash out and I would start bleeding. On the way back to the company area I stopped by the Gee Dunk and got myself a malt to soothe my feelings of being violated. A 2nd Lt approached so I changed the malt cup to my left hand and gave a very sharp salute (butter bars liked that), but I noticed that when he returned my salute he was laughing. I put the malt cup back into my right hand but noticed that the straw was missing, what the h-ll? Turns out it was stuck in my still numb mouth with a very large glob of ice cream that was now all over my utility jacket. I had missed the big parade and was told to report to the First Sergeant's office. He held up some papers and told me that I was in big trouble and he was giving me Office Hours for reporting to sick bay rather than stand the parade. I showed him the huge tooth that they had just pulled which still had blood and pus all over it. He said, "holy sh-t, get that horrible mess and yourself out of my office." (I got no office hours!)
Later when everyone was getting ready for the ball I was feeling pretty low, I wasn't going because the dentist had told me "no drinking". The ball was being held in one of the old Navy seaplane hangers, and the drinks we only fifteen cents! I told myself "what the h-ll, if I bleed then I'll just bleed," then got dressed and went to the ball. I'm not sure how many drinks I had, but later I couldn't find the hanger door (100, maybe 200 feet wide). I had stopped bleeding after the second drink and it never bled again.
Many of you know I bleed Garnet and Gold, but before I became a rabid FSU fan I was and still am a very patriotic person. As an Army brat I was taught from the get go just what it meant to be an American, and just what our servicemen went thru to make sure all our US citizens could live free. Then in the 60s, Vietnam happened and not only did my Daddy go to Vietnam (twice, got a Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for saving his whole group of men he was in charge of), but friends I went to HS with and many other young men including my U.S. Marine Corps husband.
I have always flown a flag at my house but when we finally got our land, we bought a real flag pole. I have been looking for years to "post" a U.S. Marine under my flag pole and yesterday I finally found him! It's just made my day! Just sharing my patriotism and love for our Soldiers protecting us. Can ya'll see the "Globe and Anchor" on the hat and button? Ooohrah and Semper Fi!
(Sorry Daddy, I'm a Marine wife, now).
Post from Sgt Grit Facebook page.
I was surprised to see your note about visiting MSgt Alfonzo Burris in the 16 Aug 2012 Sgt Grit Newsletter (I've fallen a little behind in my reading, but still enjoy these newsletters so much that I don't want to skip any!). The surprise is because I've just finished reading an excellent book, written by (2nd Lt) Joseph R. Owen. The name of the book is "Colder Than H-ll: A Marine Rifle Company at Chosin Reservoir" which I picked up at a gun show last month. The book follows the exploits of Baker-one-seven in Korea. Then corporal "Pat" Burris is one of the main characters in the book, as a squad leader in the mortar section of Baker-one-seven, until he succumbs to frostbite during the break-out from Yudam-ni and the attack south to Hagaru-ri.
Next time you see him, give him a "Semper Fi" for me. He is a hero.
Ken Miller, SSgt of Marines 1975 - 1981
MCRD San Diego 30 June - Sep 1975;
H&HS MCAS El Toro '75 - '77;
Marine Barracks, Rota, Spain '77 - '81
Got Into A Fight
Re "Drumming Out" - was in Japan H&S/3/3/3 in '53. One of the Marines as I recall got into a fight with a Second Lt over a Japanese woman. We were all marched to the parade field. They cut all his buttons from his green uniform & removed all insignia & identification. We were turned about face. The drummers began drumming & he was escorted off the drill field & we never saw him again. Very sobering & sure had an effect on me!
Jerry Mccandless Sgt of Marines
I don't know when the practice of Drumming Out of the Marine Corps was discontinued - but I can tell you it was alive and well in late 1955 at Camp Pendleton.
I was stationed in the 256th replacement draft at the old Tent Camp 2 (San Onofre) awaiting a ship to 3MarDiv. On Sunday mornings, we would usually witness a detail of two Marines from 1MarDiv in dress Greens (an armed Prison Chaser, plus a solitary snare drummer beating a slow roll for cadence) as they marched their prisoner down the coast highway, past us to the main gate. Our tent was in the second row, hardly 25m from the road, so this ceremony was front and center as it passed Tent Camp Two. The prisoner(DD/BCD), in dress greens, had been stripped of all rank, decorations and ornamental buttons earlier that morning before his BN, which had then been given an "About Face" command as the prisoner was drummed out of his outfit, and to the Gate. "Drumming Out" served its purpose and was a sober, chilling sight and sound - one that has stayed with me for 58 years! Like the old "Red Line Brigs", I believe this practice should have been preserved as a disciplinary measure for the good of the Corps.
Folklore had it that as soon as the prisoner crossed the line into Oceanside, he was arrested by the O.C.P.D. for vagrancy - but there is no evidence that was anything but wishful BS.
Underwood, James S.
Sgt. 1497560 USMC
I was with G-3-9 at South Camp Fuji in the Summer of 1957 and saw a prisoner "Drummed Out" of the Corps. One difference in this case from others described in this newsletter was that the man was dressed in a seedy civilian suit. His offense was that he had raped a Japanese woman. I'll never forget what Master Sergeant Trope (yes, that Sergeant Trope who was featured in a 1951 Life Magazine story about a D.I. taking his platoon through Parris Island) had to say afterwards.
It put the fear of God into me and I knew that I never wanted that to happen to me. I often wondered what happened to that man after he had served his time. I don't think I could have lived with the shame. But I guess that's the idea!
This might sound like a silly question, but I have never heard an explanation of it: We say "Once a Marine, always a Marine," but what happens when a Marine dishonors himself and is discharged under less that honorable conditions? I said it was a silly question.
Paul E. Gill,
I can remember "DUCK WALKING" all the way to chow from the Quonset Huts next to the airfield. You want to talk about "PAIN", try it - squat down as low as you can get and "DUCK WALK" - But the DI let us moan and groan all the way. How many others out there remember doing the "DUCK WALK"? I never hear anybody mention doing it.
I cannot thank SGT. GRIT enough for this newsie - newsletter each week - I devour it - "Gung Ho" and "Ooorah"
PFC Larry Lovett
Plt 354 MCRDSD 1500xxx
June '54 to Sept. '54
Many Years Ago
I enlisted in 1957 at age 18, never been to the dentist in my life. I went to the dentist for an a checkup with the rest of my platoon at Parris Island, however no treatment provided, there was no time for that, as full time was devoted to making this ragtag heard Marines.
At my permanent duty station, Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, VA, I had extensive dental work done by Navy dentists. I always tried to get an appointment on Friday mornings to get out of inspections before liberty call. Since Marines were famous for missing dental appointments, it became mandatory that all appointments be kept or you had a "visit" with the 1st Sgt. Fast forward about 40 years, I went to my dentist upon checking my teeth he asked me who filled my teeth. I responded, "a Navy dentist many years ago." He stated I only needed a cleaning as the work done so long ago was some of the best dental care he ever saw. Thanks Doc where ever you are.
Rope Yarn Sunday
RE SGT Wells, 'Golden Bear'...
On 9OCT56, I 'abandoned' my childhood, while as a BRAND NEW 17yo High School Senior, I went to school, cleaned out my locker, turned in my Football Uniform and playbooks(?) etc., went to the Principal's Office and 'submitted my resignation' in regards High School, and in effect, Civilian Life as I knew it. Upon completion, I went to the USMC Recruiting Office in LA and was (not so) patiently waiting outside the closed office of the Recruiter. In short, a USN CPO magically appeared in the passageway (still a hallway, BUT I was a quick learner) and asked if he could help. I replied I was waiting for the Marine Recruiter as I was interested in joining.
The CPO offered to 'help' and said that while I was waiting I should come into his office and enjoy a cup of coffee, and he would let me eyeball the 'entrance exam' as both Services used the same. I thought that to be an expedient way to spend my time and before long a pencil (or pen) mysteriously appeared and I started filling out the application. Well to make a long tale short, the Marine Recruiter stuck his head in the doorway and asked if he had any messages, the Chief looked up, pointed at me, and said "I sure hope you enjoyed your lunch, as this young man WAS waiting for you but he will be joining me as a member of the "Los Angeles Rams" Company. I was informed that if I wanted to change my mind, it would be fine and I sat there, a skinny, smallish 17yo with these two 'warriors' wanting me to join. Very Impressive for a lad from a small town in NY with a Graduating Class of 32, whose mother transferred him to Glendale, CA where (probably) more people lived on my block than the previous town.
Anyway, I was recruited into the Navy and on Veterans Day, I and perhaps 85 or so other 'yutes' were marched to midfield of the LA Coliseum where we were sworn in before 100,000 screaming fans. Very Impressive. Turns out it was a 'fake' swearing in (being a Sunday and all) and we were gathered at the RTC the following day, re-sworn and loaded on buses for the trip South to San Diego. On that day I 'lost' the only 'Best Friend' I had in California, the CPO whose name escapes me as it was his job to call me daily and reaffirm I was willing to wait the approx. 30 days between 'my signing' and being sworn in. I had commented to him "That wasn't so bad 'Harry (?)'" and he replied "Harry? Harry?, that is Chief to you azshole, now get over there in line!" He did shake my hand and wish me well.
So, that bright day I had set out to "Join the Corps" if for no other reason to help prove that "Sgt McKeon was right, 'Pay attention and you won't get hurt", Jack Webb's "THE DI" basically convinced me I had made the right 'choice'...
Anyway, I do have an Official Enlistment date of 10NOV56, which â€“ I shouldn't have to remind y'all â€“ was the USMC Birthday.
Regrets? â€“ Not Really... especially when while at Navy Boot Camp when looking over the fence and seeing the MCRD San Diego types going through their marches and drills while we were 'enjoying' 'Rope Yarn Sunday'.
George R. O'Connell
RM2 (E5) USN 1956-64
Spring Of 1950
By your leave Sgt Grit...
Pittsburgh (PA) trolley, around early spring of 1950. I was 8yrs young then. Read the nose of the trolley.
Does anyone remember the Laundry Trucks (Lejeune) in the mid-60's. Trying to recall prices, like a set of utilities, a buck an' quarter ($1.25).
Stephen PAULOVITCH ('65-'69)
You Guessed It
I recall hearing the story of the Marine Comm 'guy' falling through the overhead on to the Colonel's desk while he was holding Office Hours.
The story goes that comm. was re-wiring an old building. To do so, they had to carefully walk in the ceiling space on the wood trusses between the roof and the wallboard ceiling. You guessed it! While the C.O. was holding office hours, a Marine was standing at attention in front of his desk. The Sgt. Major was at attention beside the accused. When the C.O. started to give the accused his punishment, a jarhead joined them from the ceiling above the desk. Besides the unauthorized Marine joining in, the place was filled with a white chalkboard dust, including all in the room. The Sgt. Major supposedly went ballistic, and the C.O. left his office with his coffee cup. His uniform had a white chalk covering. He got a cup, and had a grin on his face. I did not hear how the matter was resolved. Anyone on here know about this?
Foolishly Raised My Hand
I arrived on Parris Island in the early morning hours on the 29th of June, 1964 after graduating from high school earlier in the month. There were four from my hometown on the same bus. The other three were all older than me. Two of them had attended college briefly before joining the Marine Corps. As things turned out, we went to different platoons. I was assigned to a platoon in 3rd Battalion (341), and SSgt J.J. McGinty III was my SDI.
SSgt McGinty called me his sh-tbird. "Where's my sh-tbird", he'd yell when he needed a recruit to berate, and he did it very well. On Monday of mess and maintenance week, he ask if anyone knew how to drive a truck? Seeing as how I had a job as a delivery driver before boot camp, I foolishly raised my hand. "OK, sh-tbird, you'll do," he said as he pushed me toward the rear hatch, a hatch we were never permitted to use. That's where I learned never to volunteer. I spent the next five days pushing a wheelbarrow around 3rd Battalion, lining the grass (sand) areas with white painted rocks.
The other two Drill Instructors for the platoon were Sgt D.A. Davis and Corporal A.J. Sexton. We had another SSgt for a brief time, but I don't remember his name. I now believe that he was a new "hat" in training. Cpl Sexton was also, I believe, relatively new. He didn't really brake hard on us. Sgt Davis on the other hand was pure meanness. He did his best to make our lives miserable. I'm sure I'm not one bit different than my brother Marines in the respect that I learned many valuable lessons that have served me well throughout my life. Boot camp was brutal, both physically and mentally. I did see SSgt McGinty again. In 1966 during Operation Hastings in Vietnam I saw him leading a platoon from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment. I was with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. I believe he retired from the Marine Corps as a Captain and currently lives in California. I also know that he was awarded the Medal of Honor as a result of his heroism during Operation Hastings.
I find it hard to believe that I will, on the 29th of June, celebrate the fact that it's been 49 years since I arrived on Parris Island. The memories seem like just yesterday. I will celebrate my 49th Marine Corps Birthday this coming November as well. And, I can assure you that I have celebrated all 49 of them, hoping to celebrate many more.
A Former "Hat"
GySgt, USMC (Ret.)
First Real Experience
Sgt. Jim Grimes's experience with the Navy dentist reminded me of my own. I joined the Corps through the Platoon Leaders Class (officer candidate) Program and reported to Camp Upshur sometime in July of 1963 for the six-weeks "Junior" session. (Those of us who survived the Junior session would return to MCB Quantico during the summer before their senior year in college, for the Senior. For me, that would be the summer of 1965.) As part of our in-processing, we were checked out by a dentist - the first time I had ever even seen one. They must have been conducting some kind of research related to regions, because each of us was asked from which state we were coming. Mine was Texas. They didn't do anything about our teeth - just inspected our teeth and conducted their survey.
I graduated from college in January of '66 and reported to The Basic School in March. Again, I was sent to the dentist for an exam, and he found a badly decayed tooth, which he pulled. That caused me to miss some kind of night problem (land navigation or tactics, I don't remember). I was not sad to miss out on that experience, but the space where the tooth had been managed to fill itself with an equal-sized accumulation of dried blood. I returned to the dentist to have it checked, but was never scheduled for a filling. (Remember, this was my first real experience with a dentist.)
After my five months at TBS, I next had a week of travel time to Ft Sill, for two months of Artillery Officer Basic Class 5-66, then home to Texas. I had been married just three weeks before graduation from TBS, so my wife and I found a house to rent for her to wait for my return from my 12 and a half months 'Nam tour with 11th Marines (FO for Lima 3/7 from India 3/11 and FDC watch officer for 3rd 8-Inch Howitzers). My next assignment was with H&S Bn, HQFMFLant aboard old Camp Elmore in Norfolk, VA. With my EAS date approaching, I was sent for a dentist eval. That Navy dentist asked about the missing tooth and said that he would replace it, but I never got an appointment before I was released from active duty. I still have an unfilled spot where the third from the left upper tooth once was.
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine
1963-76 "for pay purposes)
This stuff about six and seven digit serial numbers is an old hat, lots of things happened with serial numbers. The six digit ended in 1946, that doesn't mean someone didn't get a six digit but they were an exception, as they say, the Exception Rules. During and maybe after WWI into the Korea War we used to know who was an old Salt by his serial Number going back, and I think I saw one starting with "1" but not really sure, know I saw lots of others. Now we knew that six Digit serials starting with "9" were Draftee's ... BUT, so did Somoan Marines.
I know this because the first Recruit Platoon I had when I returned from Korea had a Samoan Marine who brought his Marine Sarong (not the right word) and that meant he was always going somewhere to show off his Uniform. I didn't finish as a DI with that Platoon because I almost died from poison the Navy Gave us... to h-ll with the internal worms. Found a picture of the two ways they dressed, (in Google) you might like them, the one is Mrs. Roosevelt Inspecting Samoan Marines. The second is the other uniform!
Also, when I got out of the hospital I went to Recruiters school and ended up in Detroit on Recruiting duty. The CO had been relieved of duty in Korea because he wasn't aggressive enough which is like a drumming out procedure for Officers. However... Officers aren't drummed out and until they decide what they can do with them The powers that be, give them jobs where they can do as little damage as possible. Well, things don't always work out as HQMC wants and two of us had been in ranks when he was relieved of duty. The end result, we were relieved of Independent Duty and it took me about six years of Inspector General Meetings to get my Jacket cleared of that crap.
Now I know I opened a can of worms with this "9" six digit serial numbers data and I'm going to plead "The Exception Rules".
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
My Rifle Is Dead
Summer 1966, Rifle Range â€“ Camp Pendleton.
We left San Diego for Camp Pendleton to qualify at the range and we stayed in a building that held two platoons. Directly in front of our building was another one just like it with another two platoons. All with boots qualifying at the range.
One morning we were called out on the road and one of my fellow privates was seen by the Drill Instructor holding his M-14 by the barrel and dragging it across the deck. When we were assembled on the grass in front of the building the DI informed the entire platoon that this one private had a rifle that had obviously died during the night in spite of the fact that we had been on our knees that previous night praying to Jack Webb as I remember.
That evening after chow all four platoons were assembled in the space between the two buildings. They asked for a bugle player and assembled a formation of about six privates with their weapons. We were going to have to bury this rifle that had died. The caretaker of this weapon had to dig a grave in the dirt about 1.5 feet deep and about 6 inches wide with his bayonet. Then while everyone was at attention and taps was played (no bugle of course) the dead rifle was lowered very carefully into the grave. The private stood at attention at the head of the grave. A rifle salute (with no rounds in the weapons) was given and the grave was covered with dirt.
That night the private had to stay at the grave all night on his knees wailing "oh, boo hoo, my rifle is dead."
One of the most meaningful and emotional experiences of my active duty. Thank God it was not me.
David B. Singleton, CPL
1966 â€“ 1972
Civil War Marine
Camp 22, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War had a brief Memorial Day Ceremony at the GAR plot, Old City Cemetery Sacramento, Calif. It was decided that the stones were in dire need of cleaning, so the following Saturday was spent cleaning the headstones. As I scrubbed away the mold, one revealed the inscription U.S. Marine Corps. What a surprise, a Civil War Marine.
William Mcloed. He passed away 3 Jan 1890. I got that information from the local newspaper.
If anyone has any idea how find out his military record, I sure would appreciate a direction to take in finding a little more about him.
He will not go unnoticed in the future.
Serial or Service Numbers
Thought y'all might be interested in some information I found some time ago regarding serial numbers/service numbers. You'll note at the bottom, this came from a HQMC web site.
Background information on the origin of service numbers for Marine Corps Personnel and the method of filing office and enlisted cases:
1. Effective 1 July 1905, each enlisted man's file case was assigned a number and the file case filed numerically. The first, or lowest number assigned was 20,000. The numbers from zero through 19,999 were reserved for Headquarters "general files" correspondence.
2. Previous to 1 July 1905, the enlisted men's cases were filed alphabetically and when there were two or more cases with the same name, the cases were filed by date of enlistment.
3. Circular Letter 432 of 15 February 1941 directed that beginning on 1 March 1941 the file case numbers became the identification, or serial, number for each enlisted man in the Marine Corps or Marine Corps Reserve. Enlisted men in the service on 28 February 1941 were assigned file (serial) numbers by the Commandant of the Marine Corps and their commanding officers informed. Each number was identical with the file case number then used to identify the man at Marine Corps Headquarters, and remained the same during the man's entire enlisted service. Each man enlisting in the Corps at the recruiting offices on and after 1 March 1941 was assigned a serial number by the recruiting officer immediately upon completion of the enlistment contract. The Commandant of the Marine Corps assigned blocks of numbers to recruiting districts for the purpose. A man enlisting at a Marine Corps activity other than recruiting, was assigned a serial number by Marine Corps Headquarters upon receipt of the enlistment paper, and the commanding officer of the man concerned was informed of that number. A re-enlisted man was re-assigned the same serial number used to identify him during a previous enlistment.
4. In the early 1920's a number was assigned to each officer's file case from an alphabetical listing, thus an officer whose name began with "A" was assigned number "01", etc. The system of filing the cases alphabetically was continued. The number was preceded by an "0" to distinguish it from an enlisted number.
5. On 7 October 1943 the Commandant of the Marine Corps directed by Letter of Instruction 551, that the system of using officers' file case numbers for identification purposes and on correspondence concerning officers would be instituted, effective immediately. The number was shown immediately following the name of the office wherever it first appears in the correspondence.
6. Identification numbers were first designated serial numbers. On 3 May 1950 Marine Corps Memorandum 45-50 was published directing the term "service number" will be used instead of the term "serial number".
7. On 10 November 1950 the method of filing enlisted cases numerically was converted to a double terminal digit filing system.
8. On 5 June 1953 the method of filing officer cases alphabetically, although identified by a service number, was converted to a triple terminal digit filing system.
9. On 1 January 1972, the SSN replaced the service (serial) number as the primary means of identifying service personnel.
The last serial number was 2,787,444 issued to Miumea F. Salevao, Agana, Guam.(6 Dec.1971)
HQMC Serial Numbers History
In reply to six or seven digit serial number I also enlisted in 1949 went to boot camp at P.I. (Plt. 87). I was NOT U.S.M.C.R. I was U.S.M.C and my serial number was 111xxxx.
S/Sgt Rene Wattelet ('49 - '53)
Troop And Stomp
For what it's worth, I was sworn in at the Post Office Bldg. in Milwaukee, WI on 8 July 1952 along with three other recruits. We all had seven digit serial numbers beginning with 131XXXX. We were put on a train to San Diego for recruit training. Sometime in training a bunch of us got to discussing the serial numbers we had and determined that serial numbers seemed to be allocated in blocks of numbers to the various recruiting offices. We were all "regulars" and not reservists.
Our serial numbers were freely bantered about and stenciled on our sea bags etc. for everyone to see. Can they do that today and still protect one's SSN?
During my tour there were no Gunnery Sergeants, no Lance Corporals and had we ever heard an OOORAH from the other room we would have thought someone was having s-x.
To be honest, in 1955 just before I was mustered out they talked of converting all of us Sergeants (E4) to the rank of Lance Corporal (E4). There were only seven enlisted pay grades the highest being Master Sergeant. That was until early 1955 when they came out with a new one (Sgt. Major?) at grade E8. A problem for some was that our Master Sergeants who were technicians etc. were not eligible for the promotion. This resulted in a number of them leaving the Corps and going to work often for government contractors "down the road".
I'm told all Marines today must have a full set of dress blue uniforms. During my tour the closest I ever came to a dress blue uniform was the one the Captain who swore us in was wearing. While drawing our initial uniform allotment one recruit asked when would we get our dress blues to which the Officer In Charge responded, "We only issue those to the peace time Marines." But, we did get the green Ike jacket as well as the green wool shirt both of which we were later told we could no longer wear in public.
Then there was the weird "troop and stomp" they came out with in early 1955. Trust me, you don't want to go there. It was not pretty.
In retrospect, the early fifties were some tough times for the Marine Corps but I've been assured all has gone well since.
Semper Fi! and Gung Ho!
Sgt. T. W. Stewart
1952 - 1955 and still proud to be a Marine
My Marine Service In A Nutshell
Hi M/Sgt. Fuller,
I read your piece in Sgt. Grit's catalog and decided to write and try to get in touch with you. I answered your note and Sgt. Grit sent me this email address and I assume it's yours. I went into the Marine Corps along with my brother July 28, 1942, he was a Reserve, and I a Regular. He got out a couple months after the war ended and I had a year to serve for my four years and spent it at the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, between Chicago and Milwaukee.
We both went into Service and Supply instead of the Raiders like half our platoon did. Glad about our placement after we saw several of our boot camp friends were killed with the Raiders on Guadalcanal. We spent about two years at New Caledonia supplying the Marines at Guadalcanal, then went to the Canal before Okinawa. Landed on Okinawa D-day + 20 and got a star for it. That was the only combat we saw, continuous air raids day and night with Kamikaze planes sinking ships.
That's my Marine service in a nutshell, I'm pretty active in MCL now doing fundraisers, etc. and turned 90 March 8, pretty good health after 30 some surgeries through my life, but get around fairly well.
I'll look for a phone call or email or maybe both!
Better Than Nothing
My compliments to you & your folks on your great Newsletter & the quality gear I've purchased from your catalog.
Also, one of the things that Ddick mentioned. C-Rat butts, old but better than nothing, they'll choke you to death until you get used to them, if ever. I had the "luxury" of smoking many in the (2) tours I was over there. For the Sgt's information, the Lucky Strike's did have a green ring & also on the Camel packs, the camel only had one hump, not two, like on the "newer" packs. If you'll check out the attachment included with this e-mail, you'll see what I mean.
Well Sgt. Grit, hope this info helps some folks, keep up the good work & I'll continue to enjoy reading them. Thanks Folks.
Jim "Ziggy" Isley
Cpl., U.S.M.C., 1962-68
Semper Fi & God, Please Bless America & Our Troops
Painted Our Own Camouflage
I went through Parris Island Platoon #963 from November 12, 1942 thru January 15, 1943. We trained with the Springfield Rifle, and upon completion of Boot Camp, no group photo in those days, I was transferred to FMF Camp Lejeune, NC. Joined the 7th Replacement Battalion and troop trained to Camp Linda Vista, near Camp Elliot, San Diego, CA. We then surveyed our Springfield rifles and were issued the new Garand M-1. Spent two weeks field striping and getting acquainted with the M-1. From there on, I carried my M-1 throughout the southwest pacific and into the Bougainville campaign. But, during that campaign, our rifle grenadier in each squad had the Springfield rifle because we did not have the M-1 rifle grenade adapter. Also, while training on the Island of Tutuila, American Samoa, we were issued buckets of brown and green paint and painted our own Camouflage on those herringbone dungarees.
Joseph R. Goddard USMCR
1942 - 1945
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 email@example.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 March 12, 1968 to May 9, 1968.
Platoon 128 March 22, 1971 to May 24, 1971 (2 Copies).
Platoon 336 April 19, 1971 to June 22, 1971.
Platoons 8-A & 8-B Aug. 15, 1971 to Oct. 9, 1971 (Women Platoons).
Platoon 395 Sept. 11, 1972 to Nov. 28, 1972.
The San Diego, C.A. books I have on hand are:
Platoon 3204 Nov. 10, 1969 to Jan. 13, 1970 (2 copies).
Platoon 2025 Feb. 23, 1970 to April 28, 1970.
Platoon 1071 July 20, 1971 to Sept. 22, 1971.
Platoon 1002 Jan. 24, 1972 to March 30, 1972.
Platoon 3006 Jan. 18, 1973 to April 12, 1973.
Mr. Pilgrim has many more Platoon Books. We will list them in groups of (5) in each future newsletter until all have been listed.
It is with intrigue when I read the post "Send Me On My Way" pertaining to an experience with dentists. I'd like to offer a few of my own experiences.
First was after boot camp. My first two wisdom teeth were coming in, so I want to the dentist "clinic" at Del Mar, Camp Pendleton. The dentist said he wasn't sure he could get them out and may have to set me up for surgical removal. So he shot me up and went to work on those suckers. One assistant held my head while the dentist pushed and pulled for about 10 minutes a tooth, but "popped" 'em out.
Well... later at El Toro, the next two wisdom teeth decide to come in, so back to the dentist. This time, though, they set me up with a "specialist". He was a Captain in the Navy, and they said his specialty was pulling wisdom teeth. Okay. So, once again, they shot me up and got me all good and numb. But then the assistant came in to blindfold me. Yes, blindfold me. He said it was because it gets kinda messy and they didn't want anything in my eyes. Hmmm, wouldn't those plastic goggles they had sitting there work? So... on went the blindfold and I couldn't see anything until they reclined me way back, and I could peak right out the bottom of that blindfold just enough to see the dentist approach with his tooth removing tool, and that's when I thought to myself, ahhh, now I know why they put on the blindfold. This old guy had a pair of vice grips! Yep, just like the kind you find in your toolbox. He stuck those things in my mouth, adjusted them a bit, and then clamped down on that tooth. The assistant held my head fast, and BAM, he had that tooth out in 30 seconds. Clamped on the other and the same thing.
Also at El Toro a female dentist had to fill a molar of mine and shot me up, but I wouldn't get numb. She shot me up again and again and again, and I was hardly numb. That's when she informed me that the latest shipment of xylocaine was "weak!" and I'd just have to bear with it. She went on to not just fill that tooth, but actually create a new one and years later my civilian dentist said he had never in his years of practice seen a filling like that, so he polished it up real good! But, back to that weak xylocaine. Yeah, hurt like hades and she worked on that for well over 90 minutes.
Down at San Diego once I broke a tooth on a Saturday. Dang! So I went to the dentist at MCRD SD and there was a female dentist on call. She debated whether to fix it or tell me to come back Monday, but then decided to go ahead and fix it, and I have to say, she did some of the best work I had ever experience and when she put that needle in, I didn't feel a thing.
Well... my civilian dentist I mentioned, I've had him for that past 24 years, and he's a great dentist, takes his time, does good work and when and where did he begin his dentistry practice? In 1958 (yep, '58) at MCRD San Diego as a Naval dentist. He has a thriving practice at 80 years old!
Former SSgt of the Marines
Private First Class Vincent Smejkal
For Father's Day I received this picture from my son. He is stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Currently he is training in the martial arts and mentions that if something happens to his weapon he has to be able to take out the enemy with his bare hands.
Proud dad on Father's Day of a United States Marine.
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #5, #7, (JUL., 2015)
Keeping everybody (Pilots and Crew members) current with the most up to date information and requirements consists of a lot of reading, and flying, just to get all the new info into the proper corners of the brain. So training is at the top of the daily schedule for all. This includes what was called Cross Country flights which were primarily designed to hone certain navigational skills to perfection.
We engaged in this type of training when I came back from Vietnam in the latter part of 1966, and they are still part of our training curriculum, today. We also had just received the first CH-53A helicopters in early 1967, and we as a training Squadron (HMHT-301) had the responsibility of transitioning pilots into the newest aircraft in our inventory. I should also clarify the fact that there was already one operational squadron which was on station in Vietnam, and that was HMH-463. About 30 CH-53A's had been delivered, and were being used for training, etc.
Somewhere around the first part of 1967 while I was stationed at MCAF (Marine Corps Air Facility) Santa Ana, I had the need to buy a Motorcycle. So, during one of my shopping sprees my eyes fell on a 1966 BSA Lightning that I just had to have. Well, this bike was red and man, was it fast! I just had to have it. You know how it is! You just can't do without it! So, that said, I bought it! I rode it everywhere, and had more fun then Ho Chi and Alice, Yea!
Anyway, I was still mostly working out on the Flight Line, and I was also doubling as the NATOPS (Naval Aviation Training and Operational Procedures Standardization) Instructor. So, I was flying almost everyday, in one capacity, or another. I might add that I was single at the time, and I didn't mind taking some of the longer or over the weekend flights, that came up. Well, one day I was in the line shack and heard there was going to be a Cross Country flight that weekend, with the first leg to Yuma and the second to Las Vegas with two RON's (Remain Over Nights). I thought, "what the h-ll", so I signed up to crew one of the aircraft, out of the two. At the same time, I thought what an opportunity to get my new motorcycle some flight time. I asked the Line Chief who the pilots would be and found out that one of the pilots was going to be the Skipper (Squadron Commanding Officer). I went back in the hanger and went up to the Skipper's Office. I asked the Sgt/Maj if I could speak with the Boss. He went in and asked the C.O. If I could come in and he said yes, whereas I did, and asked the Skipper if I could take my Motorcycle along in the A/C, to which he replied. Sounds like fun to me, No Problem!
The next morning, I loaded up the bike and tied it down and off we went on another adventure. We had no problems until the second day at Nellis AFB when we got stopped going out the gate for not having any helmets on. The A.P. said that he was gong to give me a ticket and I asked, "Where does that go?" He said, "to your Commanding Officer!" To which I answered, "why not just give it to him, he's sitting on the back." That's the last we ever heard about that ordeal and we continued on our merry way. But, a smart salute was in order. We of coarse laughed about it, later.
Have A Nice Flight
Was commuting from CA, (2004) and still working whilst building the retirement home... got to Nashville every couple weeks to check on progress, make decisions (colors, etc.), all the things involved with the general contractor... got on the internet one night with the laptop at the motel, was sure I had changed my airline reservation by one day... got to the airport, went to check in, and the CSR advised that my res was for the day before, and the plane was full, and basically, I was scr-wed... (feeder airline for United). The Station Manager happened by, must've noted my cover, wanted to know what the problem was? A few keyboard clicks later, he had created a seat on a full flight for me... and told me he was never a Marine, but was a Master Guns' dependent... and pointing to the flag hung in the ticket gallery, said "that flag's up there because of guys like my Dad and you... have a nice flight!" True story... I hope some poor travelling salesman didn't get bumped... but wasn't going to ask...
Doc Perez was the K/3/5 Senior Corpsman, and there is some Company legend about the Doc decreeing the Officer's head unserviceable... so he had it burnt. (the building... never mind the barrels)... wasn't there at the time, so my info is sketchy and second-hand, perhaps embellished from the intervening 45 or so years... the other picture, however, which could have been taken at any number of hills, positions, cantonments, etc. is sure to bring back memories for nearly all who see it...
Lost And Found
I would like to get in contact with my Platoon Brothers From Platoon 114 Parris Island, Feb. to May 1, 1973. It's been 40 years since we all graduated with all Honors... contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (620) 521-1492.
Thank very much.
William E. Pilgrim Jr.
U.S.M.C. '72 TO '81
Hi Sgt. Grit,
This is in reply to M/Sgt. Howard J. Fuller, who asked if there are any other older Marines left out here, I was in from 1942 to 1946.
Yea, there are a few left. I for one turned ninety March 8th and still get to our Marine Corps League meetings each month in Elk Grove, CA. Had a Flag Burning ceremony yesterday, I also attend our fundraisers and enjoy that a Lot. We also have two people older than me, plus two ladies who will both be ninety this year.
Sgt. Billy E. Fox
Thanks for all the stories. I never seen combat, but I did my job 24/7 for 14 mo. and then I came home. Lost a lot of good friends. When I was there, all we knew about was from the Stars & Stripes. The scars are gone, but I will never forget what happened after we landed at Travis AFB near SF. I had no idea that the American citizens hated us so much. The Vietnam Vets never received a welcome home. Now as we meet our age gives us away. Always shake hands and say welcome home. A lot of people are doing that now. It feels good and that's all I ever wanted. Thanks for letting me vent. I will not take up anymore space.
"This Marine, sir. He neglected to salute me as we passed and I've ordered him to salute one hundred times."
"You're right, Lieutenant. So right. But you know that an officer must return every salute he receives-now let me see you get to it, and do your share."
"Timid men prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty."
--Thomas Jefferson, 1796
"When wealth is lost, nothing is lost. When health is lost, something is lost. When character is lost, all is lost."
--Rev. Billy Graham
"Lest I keep my complacent way, I must remember somewhere out there a person died for me today. As long as there must be war, I ask, and I must answer, 'Was I Worth Dying For?'"
"I prefer peace. But if trouble must come, let it come in my time, so that my children can live in peace."
"The United States does not need a Marine Corps mainly because she has a fine modern Army and a vigorous Air Force... We [the Marine Corps] exist today--we flourish today--not because of what we know we are, or what we know what we can do, but because of what the grassroots of our country believes we are and believes we can do."
--Brig. Gen. Victor Krulak, USMC
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
--American journalist H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)
"I pulled mess duty at the last supper."
"I was assigned to the Marine Detachment on Noah's Ark."
"I have more flight time jumping out of the back of six-bys, than you have in the Marine Corps."
"Marines show their pride. We were in the Marine Corps, not "the service."