Sgt Grit and Staff would like to wish everyone a very safe and blessed Thanksgiving. It is at this time of the year that we, as a nation, reflect on the things that we are thankful for in 2013. Here at Sgt Grit's we are all thankful for the freedoms and privileges that our Marines, Servicemen and women unselfishly defend at home and "in the snow of far off northern lands and in sunny tropic scenes". We also are thankful for each customer and friend that we have gained over the 25 years that Sgt Grit has been in business.
One Shot... One Meal!
Beautiful Marine Mailbox
I wanted you to see the most beautiful mailbox I have ever seen! It is made from Sgt. Grit materials and lots of love from my son!
My son worked with Theresa at your shop and she helped with the items and information, and he came up with the rest. It is awesome!
We are loyal customers of course, but our son came up with this idea and spent hours on it, and lots of love. It is for our new house. We call it our last purchase and retirement home, since over the 23 years I spent in the Marine Corps, we moved so many times, this is the last one!
Don and Sandy Brack
Get this same mailbox sign at:
Lest Ye Be Judged
Upon returning to the US from RVN, I had heard the stories of vets being spit on by activists. Being young, full of p-ss and vinegar, several of us decided to travel together, and woe be to anyone who attempted to spit on, or in any manner treat us in any way other than, at worst, just leaving us alone. We encountered no one willing to accept our challenge. This was in May of 1969.
The only person who ever said anything negative to me was a priest who taught an evening English class at the college that I attended. He made a "baby killer" comment to me. I quickly let him know that I had never, and no one that I served with had ever, nor heard of anyone killing babies. Then I told him, "judge not lest ye be judged". He didn't say any more, but I failed his class. The following semester, I took the class again with a different professor, and the first night took the final and aced it.
My perspective is this. We did the honorable thing. The nation called, we answered. The greetings that we receive now Bruce, attest to that. I often wonder about that priest. I don't think that he can look anyone in the eye and be proud of his actions.
Sgt of Marines
RVN 1968 - 1969
Oldest Marine At 105
Marine Corps League Detachment 1198, Harford County Maryland celebrated the 238th Marine Corps Birthday with Marines living at Oakcrest Village in Parkville, MD. Richard Rhinehart is the oldest Marine at 105. Richard served as an aviator in Nicaragua during the Banana wars. He served with Major Smedley Butler.
Note: Now that is TRULY Old Corps.
Telegram From President Kennedy
President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. May he Rest In Peace! I was in the United States Marine Corps from 1960 to 1966. In June of 1962 I had just graduated from the Marine Security Guard School in Arlington, VA, right behind Arlington Cemetery. Out of a class of about 60 of us, 50 or so had already left for their posts in London, Paris, etc. There were 10 of us who were still waiting for Visas or some other type of paperwork before we could leave. In June of 1962, President and Mrs. Kennedy were on their way to Mexico and they sent the 10 of us Marines down to augment the Marine Security Guard detachment there at the American Embassy. We all wore civilian clothes and carried our concealed weapons under our jackets. Some of us guarded President Kennedy - which I did - and some of us guarded Mrs. Kennedy during their stay. When I got back to Arlington my orders were in and I went off to guard the American Embassy in Seoul, Korea for two and one half years - 1962/65. Several months later while I was in Korea I received a letter from the American Ambassador to Mexico, Ambassador Thomas C. Mann, enclosing a telegram from President Kennedy saying: "I want to thank personally, on behalf of Mrs. Kennedy and myself, those members of your staff who helped to make this visit so fruitful." John F. Kennedy. I have these two letters framed and hanging on the wall in my den. This was the highlight of my Marine Corps Career. Here I was, just 20 years old, with a Top Secret Security Clearance, guarding the President of the United States. Quite an honor for a high school graduate from Newark, New Jersey.
On November 22, 1963, just a year or so later, I was asleep in my bed in Seoul and, as usual, fell asleep with my radio on listening to the Armed Forces Radio Station in Seoul. We all knew the radio DJ very well and he would often dedicate certain songs to "the Marines down at the American Embassy." This was at a time when so many of the great groups were coming out - the Beatles, etc. Anyway, somehow or other I woke up and he was playing very somber type music. I thought that was strange since he has always been playing rock and roll type music. A few minutes later, around 4am Seoul time, he said that "It has been confirmed that Kennedy is dead." I thought that he was talking about President Kennedy's father. A few minutes later he said that: "It is now confirmed that President Kennedy has been shot and killed in Dallas." I was shocked. A few minutes later the phone rang and it was our Top Sergeant, Thomas Larkin McHugh, on the phone telling us to get all of the Marines down to the Embassy right away. All of the Armed Forces around the world went on alert. For the next few days we had set up an autograph book at the Embassy and thousands of Korean people, including the President of Korea, Pak Chunk Hee, came to the American Embassy to sign the book. President Pak Chung Hee then left for the United States to attend President Kennedy's funeral.
It was very sad all around the world during that unfortunate time. I am very happy that I had gotten to meet President and Mrs. Kennedy for the short time I had. May they Rest In Peace.
Sgt - USMC 1960/66
Trade Places In A Heartbeat
Just a short story for Sgt. Spoon:
A few years back I stumbled across a name on the net I recognized from boot camp. I made contact with an email and a few days later Dennis answered. We emailed back and forth a few times and found out he was now living in Texas, just 30 miles outside of Dallas. As luck would have it, I had previously made plans with my nephew to ride along on his truck to Dallas. Dennis and I made plans to meet in a parking lot of a large restaurant. Everything turned out as planned and I recognized Dennis as soon as he got out of his truck... same slow movement and same "aw shucks" attitude. But, within a minute I could tell something was missing. We talked of old times, where we went after boot camp, and how our lives had turned out. Dennis got a job after the Marine Corps, got married and had a couple kids. Couldn't keep a job so he thought it would be better to leave Pa. and move to Texas. Same problem in Texas. After a few years he had no job, lost his house and his family. Then, right in the middle of the conversation he told me he had been severely wounded while on patrol and "saw the rocket coming and knew it was meant for him". Then continued on with the conversation about living in Texas! We went into the restaurant for our planned steak and beer and over the next hour or so, Dennis would again make a point of seeing the rocket and knew it was meant for him. He made the same statement 3 or 4 times over the hour, and each time continued on with whatever the conversation was at the time. I sadly realized, after 40 years, Dennis was still fighting the war... every 15 minutes. And I'm sure it seemed the same to his family.
So, Sgt. Spoon, the next time you feel compelled to feel sorry for yourself for not seeing combat. I bet Dennis would trade places in a heartbeat!
Cpl. Williams (Will)
Vietnam 65, 66, 67, 68
Never A Fan
In response to James V. Merl's inquiry in the 14 Nov. newsletter, the last time I was in San Diego, there were still 15 Quonset Huts standing. They are also still there in the latest Google Earth photo I have seen (adjacent to the old hand to hand combat training area). They are 15 out of a cluster of 20 which along with another 30 on the airport side of the old heads and showers served as the home for K Co, 3rd Bn. when I served as a Drill Instructor in them in 1970 and 1971. I certainly hope they will be preserved for their historical value as a reminder of what MCRD SD was like before the transition to the hotels.
When I was a Recruit (08 May 1967) all three Battalions were in Quonset Huts. By the time I returned as a Drill Instructor (01 May 1970), First Battalion (or possibly Second) was in the new barracks and by the time I left I think only part of 3rd Bn. (K and L Companies) were still in the Quonset Huts though we to had transitioned to the new Chow Halls. I never became a fan of the new barracks or chow halls.
S/Sgt. Nick Hayes
08 May 67 - 09 July 71
2340319 - 6244 / 8511
Military Channel - Peleliu
On the Military Channel Saturday night (Saturday 16 Nov. 2013) was about the Invasion of Peleliu, and this one was one I haven't seen before because of the book said to be a detailed account of the Marines Battle at Peleliu. According to the Narrator, this record was in one of those "Vest" pocket bibles that many carried during the war. (They even advertised and sold some with a steel plate on the cover of the bible that was tested to deflect bullets. In reality they defected some low velocity bullets, but any high velocity bullets would not only penetrate the steel plate but bring along with it all the things the Battle Surgeon and/or his nurse must remove before sewing him up, like pieces of the steel plate, pieces of the paper from the bible along with uniform pieces, and any other debris the bullet carries with it).
According to the pictures that showed some writing on pages of this bible they appeared to be ink like and we must remember that there were no Papermate pens at that time, just plain fountain pens. With the heat (Averaging 100 degrees daily) the fountain pen would be dry in no time and not only that, but it would carry through the thin paper these bibles had to be printed on. So he must have used a pencil and a No. 2 pencil. Now the pages were about 3X4 inches and even with small writing, keeping a daily journal would be difficult. What with daily fighting, sweat, blood and all the other noxious elements of battle it would be difficult to read.
Now some of the things they said Marines did during the battle were a bit farfetched, of course Marines and all the other services search dead bodies for information as well as souvenirs, but not during the heat of battle, leaving D2 to search for info. Later when the battle has passed or the Marines were pulled back for a rest, they usually don't spend time searching dead bodies but finding a hole and resting their bodies. At Peleliu there was a disturbing shortage of water, what water they had was contaminated with fuel oil as some was shipped ashore in diesel fuel drums that hadn't been washed clean, something that was fairly common during World War II in the Pacific. Peleliu was a terrible battle that was staffed with some of the Finest Marines available, like LtGen Rupertus, Brig. Gen. O.P. Smith and Chesty Puller, and fought with Marines that had fought at Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester (where falling logs were a Danger, as well). The Japanese had prepared this island for future battles by digging caves, tunnels, escape routes and anything to make it more difficult for the Marines to dig them out. Their strategy was used on Iwo Jima, Okinawa and even mainland Japan, as we found out after the War.
They say there was no reason for the Battle of Peleliu and who knows the facts, BUT, I know the facts of this Television show lacked honesty and not showing Marines as they are.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau USMC Retired
Another recruiting story, from Philadelphia.
Back in mid-1956 there was an RSS located in NE Philadelphia at Castor and Cottman streets manned by two recruiters. MSgt (E-7) Joe Monaco and TSgt (E-6) Gordon MacPherson. As the story goes, TSgt MacPherson was participating in an assembly at a local high school where all four services had the opportunity to make their 'pitch' to seniors. For some reason, I think everyone at that event was male. The Army recruited said, in essence, "join the Army and we'll send you to this school or that school". The Navy recruiter said "join the Navy and see the world." The Air Force recruiter said "off we go into the wild blue yonder, etc." TSgt MacPherson sat more or less patiently waiting his turn. Finally after some 45 minutes, he stood and marched out the edge of the stage and snapped to the position of Parade Rest, and said absolutely nothing. By this time there was a lot of bored boys talking among themselves and paying little or no attention to the stage. MacPherson spent about 8 minutes, saying nothing, but looking every boy in the eyes. Now the auditorium had gone dead silent. Finally, MacPherson said... "I don't think any of you clowns could make it in the Marine Corps" and turned, walking off stage. Chaos ensued. He subsequently had a line perhaps 20 long at the RSS. MacPherson would ask "what do you want?" Upon being told that the individual wanted to join the Marines, he was told "go get a haircut then come back and we'll see."
MacPherson retired from the Corps and worked for AAA for a number of years until he passed away. MSgt Monaco became a life-long friend, served as NCOIC of the 'sword detail' at my wedding back in 1961 and moved to Vista, CA where he lived until his death in September of 2006. I am still in touch with his family. Both of these Marines were exceptional men and made lasting impressions. They recruited my brother, several friends and did it professionally.
Mustang Major, USMC, Ret.
Most Interesting Man
Just had a chance to read your last newsletter (great as always!) and have a couple of comments:
B. F. Overton's article with regard to M-1 Carbines in WWII showed the "gung-ho" picture from Iwo Jima. Veterans Day I was in Longmont, CO, and had the great opportunity to visit with Jack Thurman who is on this picture.
He is on the far left with his helmet in the air and directly behind Ira Hayes. Jack mentioned that he was crawling in some caves and traded his M-1 for a carbine with a fellow Marine to better navigate the tight quarters of the cave, and liked the carbine so well he said "I'll kept it". Jack is one of only 4 surviving members of "Carlson's Raiders" and at 88 is very sharp mentally and a good speaker. He does a number of visits each year to schools and other speaking venues. Jack told of being close to John Basilone when he was hit and killed, and also had stories of Ira Hayes. Jack is quite a "national treasure" and has put together his story in a book titled: "We Were In The First Waves Of Steel Amtracs Who Landed on Iwo Jima". A most interesting man.
LCpl Darvis Rupper mentioned that he was in Plt 285 at MCRD in 1960 for the 185th Marine Corps Birthday and did not recall the menu at the mess hall. I was in Plt 281 at MCRD for the 185th Birthday feast and had to dig through my "seabag" and found the menu from the MCRD mess hall and believe me it was a feast!
"Trust Everyone - But Brand Your Cattle"
I don't know what ID cards look like today, but here is mine from "The Old Corps".
Cpl E4, VMO-1
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Permit Me To Comment And Clarify
In the 7 Nov 13 Newsletter, there were several references to the M1 Carbine and bayonet lugs. As a long-time collector of 782 gear, USMC uniforms and weapons, permit me to comment and clarify:
First of all, the famous flag raising photo does not show a carbine but an M1 Garand so there's no "proof" one way or the other for the source for DeWeldon's sculpture.
However, the M4 carbine bayonet was authorized in early 1944 and in manufacture by 10 May 1944, about 10 months prior to the invasion of Iwo Jima [February 1945]. The M4 Carbine bayonet was not a post-WWII item.
The letter from 'Bob R' observes he was issued the same leather-grip carbine bayonet for his M1 (Garand) circa 1957. This would be incorrect, as the M5 bayonet for the M1 Garand, while having the same 6-3/4" blade and M8A1 scabbard, has a completely different attachment mechanism. The M4 and M5 is not interchangeable. The M4 has a muzzle ring and the M5 uses a stud that inserts into the gas cylinder lock screw of the Garand.
I might also disagree with Bob R about the Marine only attaching a bayonet when out of ammo for hand-to-hand fighting. Not so, as there are myriad photos of WWII, Korea and Vietnam showing Marines with fixed bayonets and obviously with ammo. While there are always exceptions, I never saw any Marine tie the belt-mounted bayonet scabbard to their leg.
C. 'Stoney' Brook
1961-65, 11th and 12th Marines
Wiser and Friendlier
Dear Sgt Grit,
I remember on the rifle range one guy was a real character, unfriendly, not liked, no friends, and a weirdo too! Did not take commands well, and tried to menace the weak ones we served with! Others really not weak - but felt intimidated by this a-zhole. This mental midget had a problem on the rifle range, and one D.I. knew this guy needed some squaring away, but in a friendly way to show the other members of our platoon that tact and diplomacy was needed in this situation. The D.I. asked this private to report to him in the center of the squad-bay with his rifle - had the platoon gather around and had him positioned in the middle of us, then the D.I. explained how he would improve this persons marksmanship on the rifle range. Asked him to get in prone position for a lesson and then the D.I. closed the bolt of the rifle on the guy's nose?
Guy went to sick-bay and we later found out that he told docs he had an accident. Came back a day or two later - a lot wiser and friendlier to others. I guess now I am an old softie - but at that time of my life when you were lectured by Marine Corps Instructors who had - "been there, and done that" - it behooved you to listen - as they said to us countless times that, "Our lives depended upon our listening to them and could and would help keep us alive later on".
I found out that a lot of Marines had to have three things to survive:
2. common sense
3. desire to survive
Some had none of the above, and Good Marines took others under their wings so to speak and mentored others. I made some good friends - and e-mail about 3 or more now - only saw one Marine who lives in Pennsylvania, but still stay close with Marines I meet all the time at work and in general. I even have one or two Army and Navy pogues I like too! Marines are not prejudiced - just a little outspoken I guess!
Sgt. Grit - recently learned that Tarawa was an atoll not an Island - Island was Betio - surrounded by an atoll called Tarawa. Learned Col. Carlson was instrumental in developing the so called fire team as we know it today - and Gen Lejeune was into improving amphibious warfare. At 68, I am still learning and am proud to say I am glad I enlisted 50 years ago - it changed my life and I am happier for it as it seems we dig deeper to confront the things to make us stronger in our trying times that we face every day.
CPL 1963- 1967
CWO 3 Delaricheliere,
You served as a D.I. and were not a Vietnam veteran and ask where I got the idea that it was necessary to be a Vietnam veteran to be a D.I. This was from '74 to '76. I was assigned '75-'76. I was informed by the Marine in D.C. who handled my career file-MOS. I do not recall their official name, but I believe we called them handlers at the time because they set up our duty stations/transfers, career designated assignments, Sea-Duty, D.I. duty etc. As I spoke with him about my orders he advised me of that bit of information. I never questioned it. I just accepted it as the way it was. Because all of the D.I.'s serving were not Vietnam veterans does not necessarily mean that having this as a requirement was not the case. Requirements are amended for the needs of the Corps shortages etc. If I was misinformed then I stand corrected, and I thank you for the information. If I am not misinformed then so be it. It really does not matter now. I served on the field you served on the field. We both did our job of turning street kids into basic qualified Marines. They were prepared to go on to schools, ITR or wherever to continue their quest to be fully trained Marines.
I look back on my time on the field and I am proud of having been a D.I. I also think I would have liked to done some things differently, better, and that I would have fought harder to stay in the Corps and on the field instead of being discharged with a disability. Thinking that I had a small part in the life of these young men being changed from street kids to Marines and a small part in starting their life in the Corps as a career Marine or a four year Marine means a lot to me.
Thank you for the correction if that in fact is the case. It would not be the first time I received bad information while I was in the Corps, most likely not the last thing I will find out I was misinformed about while in the Corps. No matter what, it is still the Corps and I am thankful for the nearly 7 years I was able to serve my Country and my Corps.
SSgt Joseph E. Whimple
U.S.M.C. 2-70 / 12-76
In A Bar
I read your quotes at the bottom of the newsletter and always get food for thought there. One you might - or might not want to add:
"The Marine Corps was started in a bar. What kind of people do you THINK it would attract?"
We had a good birthday party on the 9th this year. Every year, we have a Marine Birthday Ceremony here in Clovis, on the Saturday closest to the 10th. We have Marine veterans of many major operations show up. A few (just a few) that I remember from this year are Bougainville, Okinawa, Iwo Jima, and the Chosin Reservoir. Of course there were some younger vets, too, from places like Khe Sanh and Fallujah. I missed them all, but I'm a Marine and always try to show up. I keep kidding though. I tell them I need a nametag that says, "Hello. My name is Pog Remf"! Never been brave enough to do that one!
Hope you all had a happy birthday, Sgt Grit. Semper Fidelis and God Bless.
We Were Awestruck
MCRD San Diego memories. November, 1963.
It was at the end of that third week that our platoon was marched back to the barbershop to receive our second of many haircuts. Of course, haircuts are not free. We had to pay for them out of our book of "chits" which had already been taken out of our pay. A roll-around cash register had been placed outside the barbershop and we were standing in line to pay for our haircuts before entering the barbershop. While we were waiting, one of the barbers came running out of the barbershop and spoke to the drill instructor. I overheard him say, "Kennedy's been shot!" In my usual mind numbed state, it didn't register to me who he was talking about. The drill instructor went inside with the barber and didn't return for several minutes. We continued getting our haircuts and came back outside to stand in formation until everyone was finished.
As we were returning to our platoon area, we were marching down the middle of the "Grinder", which was the large parade field in the center of the Recruit Depot. In the center of the "Grinder", on one side was the main flagpole, flanked on each side by a pair of Navy cannons. When we had marched up, even with the flagpole, our drill instructor commanded: "Platoon Halt. Right Face." We were now facing the flagpole. The drill instructor bellowed: "President Kennedy has been assassinated! Your new Commander In Chief is Lyndon Baines Johnson! Left Face. Forward March."
We were awestruck! As we marched back to our platoon area, each of us contemplated what the implications of this event would have on our immediate situation. We had just witnessed what must have been the shortest "Change of command" ceremony in history. The world political situation was in the middle of the "cold war". Would a new President mean increased tensions or conflict? Our status as members of the military suddenly took on new meaning. The relative peacetime condition might suddenly change to one of active participation for us. We were filled with questions. When we arrived at our platoon area, we were dismissed but then immediately the drill instructor called us back out onto the platoon street where he discussed what had just occurred. Never before in the history of Marine boot camp had recruits been allowed to watch television. That night, we were all crowded into one of the Quonset huts to watch news coverage of the assassination on a small television that someone had brought in.
The nation was in a state of shock. What would happen next? We knew that there had been foreign troops training here from a country called Viet Nam and that President Kennedy had sent some "Advisors" over there. What had been just news coverage about a faraway place now took on a new meaning. Things could be heating up and we could become directly involved. Our training took on a new flavor as we wondered about what the future would hold for us.
Sgt Frank Everett
The Senior Drill Instructor
This week's most popular post on the Sgt Grit Facebook page featured an image of a Senior Drill Instructor addressing his platoon of recruits. The text around the image says "The Senior Drill Instructor... The One D.I. That You Will View as a Father... The Last D.I. You Want to P-ss Off!
Below are some of the comments we receieved in reference to this post.
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Tony Rosa - I genuinely cared for each and every recruit, but I could never, ever show that. It was all scripted - each DI had a specific role and you played that role. My true self is to be a motivator and coach (that's what I do now) so it was challenging to play the role of hammer all the time. The SDI is critical to the success of a platoon. The ideal situation was where you had a DI team where everyone was in sync - A strong, strict disciplinarian, father figure for a SDI and pitbulls for the DI's. Most of the platoons I worked with had that type of structure, but I did work with one SDI who was a total jerk and the platoon suffered because of it.
Jose Punch Rodriguez - Lol my Drill Instructors would tell us "the Senior is the only who cares about you, I dont know why but he does" his IT sessions were horrible...
Jeff Griffin - I never believed in roles and I didn't want them to think of me as their dad. They are becoming Marines and should be told that up front. I graduated 100 percent once, because I made them understand that they were going to be Marines.
Agustin Last - I remember Our Senior taking off and throw his black duty belt and chucking it across the the quarter deck... then he came out furious with the "GREEN BELT" on! LOL That was the end of us for about a week into hell LOL.
Michael Lopez - What if you're SDI is your real biological father? Lol!
Read more of the 135 comments made about this post on the Sgt Grit Facebook Page.
This Is DISCIPLINE
My twenty six years of service in the Marine Corps there was one "possibly" onerous situation that was always there, like the sword of Damocles, it could be used by an officer against a Staff NCO. All it required of an Officer was to file charges against an Staff NCO that he was Incompetent and the Staff NCO might have to go in front of a "Competency" Board where he could be discharged as Incompetent.
I was sent to Staff NCO Leadership School, while there I was to follow those rules set down by the Staff NCO Leadership School. To have been through two Wars (at that time) and trained into my present state of being a Marine by mostly Old Corps Marines I felt it wrong to have junior NCO's Teaching at this school. I felt at least a Staff NCO should be the Instructors in this school, but there were at least three Instructors that were Sergeants with a power over the Staff NCOs attending. The Captain Commanding was a Reserve Officer with no Overseas or Infantry Training. Like so many officers I knew his main objective was to make Major and go on to better things than being a Staff NCO Leadership School Officer.
When Junior NCOs were rating the Staff NCOs as if they were incapable of keeping up with troops in Scouting & Patrolling, School Lectures, and such, I'm afraid I rebelled a bit. We were instructed to give Lectures that were informative and "Cool" as it would be called today. My speech was on Leadership and Discipline, my Lesson Plan was simple, using the USMC model, I proceeded with my instruction. At the end of my talk I said, "What is Discipline?" then shot off a blank (under the dais) while a compatriot in the rear hollered; "ATTENTION" and everyone, including the member of the Instruction staff, jumped to attention. I said this is "DISCIPLINE"! Cheese Louise, you would have thought I spit on the Captains shoes. He took me to the Colonel for Incompetence.
Who was sitting there but one of the finest and Decorated Colonels in the Marine Corps, Colonel Henry P. (Jim) Crow, Veteran of Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, and was famous for saying, "You'll never get a Purple Heart Hiding in a fox hole, Follow me!"
He looked at the charge sheet and told the Captain, "The charges against this Marine, I find him Innocent and want no follow up, Understand Captain!" Dismissed said the Sgt. Maj. As I did a left Face, Col. Crow said sit down Sergeant, that's all Sgt. Maj. Then I had one of the greatest times of my Marine Corps Career. Col. Crow gave me his feelings on Convictions and doing what you think is right against irrelevant rules and regulations. Just to be in the same room as this man was an Honor, and to hear him tell me how one could live or die by their convictions was way above Honor. His words follow me today and the Honor still exists.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
We Were Never Attacked Again
In the early 60's, MAG 13, consisting of two A4D squadrons, one F8U squadron, and a helo squadron of H-34s plus support squadrons was part of the First Marine Brigade at Kaneohe Bay on Oahu. I was a Plane Captain in VMA 212, one of the A4 squadrons, from '61 to '63. The First Brigade had two distinct factions, The Air Wing and the Grunts. Each had its own part of the base and had little or no interaction. We didn't mix well. Even though we wore the same uniform, utilities, you could tell at a glance the difference because grunts bloused their boots and air wingers didn't. You might say there was a bit of animosity between the two groups. Grunts thought air wingers had it easy and wingers thought grunts were, well, grunts.
In October of '62, the 1st Brigade went on maneuvers to a place called Dillingham. Dillingham Air Force Base in 1962 was an abandoned, single paved runway in Northern Oahu. There was no infrastructure to speak of besides the runway. It was basically out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by hills and jungle on one side and ocean on the other. It was a perfect spot to simulate a forward combat base.
To make things real, the grunts were assigned roles as guerillas and had the task to attack and harass the air wing and disrupt operations. This they did exceedingly well, even blowing a hole in the middle of the active runway one day. Although they couldn't actually blow up any airplanes, they did infiltrate the flight lines and would hang signs on the planes stating that this plane is now blown up. Rules of the game would take that plane out of service. They would also "capture" pilots from the flight line and march them into the jungle, blindfolded, and turn them loose to fend for themselves. We were all armed, although with blanks. The grunts had weapons able to fire on full auto while we wingers had our M1s and only three rounds apiece. Part of our job was to stop the "guerillas" anyway we could. If we captured one, we were told, we could get a promotion. The Group even had a POW camp set up for them. It got very physical at times, and people got hurt.
We lived in eight man tents with dirt floors which turned to mud when it rained. The heads were at the end of the company street and consisted of two p-ss tubes and a row of toilet seats, all out in the open, exposed to the elements. And it did rain in buckets, which meant that the company street became our sewer. Adding to the misery, the "guerillas" would pop into our tents in the middle of the night, weapons on full auto, and machine gun everybody there. They always got away. Me and Doon decided we were going to do something about that.
Doon was from Cincinnati. Nobody knew why, but he got the nickname "Doon" from the cop character "Muldoon" on the old TV sitcom "Car 54 Where Are You". Doon was a funny guy. He talked so fast you couldn't understand what he was saying most of the time. I would say "Doon, slow down, I can't understand you". He would say "I'm not talking too fast, you're listenin too slow".
So, one day, me and Doon cooked up a plan. There was a hill with a lot of jungle type foliage between our tent and the head. This was the place the guerillas used for camouflage before attacking us. Our plan was to wait until late at night, sneak around behind this hill, stealthily crawl to the top and charge down the other side into their midst. Luckily, the rain had stopped, so our route which took us crawling past the head would be less odiferous than usual.
That night, after lights out, me and Doon became ninja warriors, out to get ourselves a go-rilla, although we had no idea exactly what we were going to do with him, so we armed ourselves in case we had to kill him. We stealthily left the tent while the rest of the troops were asleep. It was a dark night and we blended into the shadows until we got to the p-ss tubes which were more or less out in the open. This is where we went into a low crawl. Those of you with field experience can imagine what a low crawl would be like anywhere near a p-ss tube. Marksmanship is a revered skill in the Marines â€“ except when it comes to this necessary piece of field hygiene, especially if you are aiming uphill at night. But me and Doon were on a mission. We were going to get a go-rilla.
Continuing on, our low profile crawl brought us up to the recently flooded line of toilets which we had to pass in review below grade if we wanted to maintain stealth. The toilets faced the aforementioned jungle covered hill. We had to get on the other side of that hill and crawl over the top so that we could be above what we thought was the go-rilla staging area. During this leg of our approach we encountered several obstacles that would have deterred lesser men. Toilet paper, as an example, becomes hard when wet while it is still in the roll, and can become attached to you if you happen to crawl over it.
Finally after enduring extreme hardship we reached our jump-off rendezvous on the opposite side of the hill, and paused to prepare for the final assault. This took several minutes of white streamer removal inadvertently picked up during our stealth approach. Also we needed to make sure our weapons were unclogged from the overflow. Now began the long crawl up the steep hill. The higher we got, the steeper it got, pulling ourselves uphill hand to tree, until we reached the top. Here we again paused, catching our breath and listening for go-rillas.
And then we heard a metallic sound at the base of the hill. They were going to shoot up our tent! We started the attack, crawling downhill, but it grew steeper. We started sliding. Rocks started falling around us. We rolled into each other, bouncing off trees, using the vocabulary we learned in boot camp to describe each other on the way down, until we landed on top of where the go-rilla should have been.
We beat around the bushes for several minutes, yelling our war cries and bumping into trees and each other until we managed to wake up the whole company. The sh-thouse go-rilla was long gone! Next day, we went back to investigate the suspected go-rilla hideout from where the metallic sound originated and found a pile of C-ration cans; our squadron dump. Somebody must have thrown an empty can on the dump just as we reached the top of the hill which made the metallic sound that brought us charging through the jungle and down the hill.
We crawled through odiferous slime, climbed the highest hill, ran through the jungle screaming our war cries and attacked a coconut tree and a pile of C-ration cans. We may not have captured a go-rilla, but we were never attacked again.
Japanese Held His Village
Being a Marine Part Two:
While I wore the Uniforms of our countries military my first thank you came just a few years ago when I was in the Philippines and not in the US. I always have worn a US Marine cover wherever I have gone. One day walking through a mall on Mindanao in the Philippines an elderly man came very quickly towards me saying Marine, Marine, Marine. I thought maybe he had a problem with me wearing my Marine cover. Just then a beautiful young lady came behind him and called grandfather, grandfather, come back. I said to the young lady it's ok. Does he have a problem with Marines or is it me I asked? She said oh no sir. I am his great-granddaughter. The elderly man began saying continually thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. He is 97 years old kind sir the young lady said. He was here in (World War II) when the Japanese held his village captive and it was the US Marines that liberated his village and freed them from their captors. She said growing up she heard this story nearly every day and when he saw your hat it brought back the happiness that he felt when he saw that US Marine name on your hat.
Many have called the US Marine foul and despicable names till they need them and then they think they are the greatest thing since bread. The Army, Navy, and Air Force is needed, but it is always the Marines the country depends on to help and the first to be called when cr-p hits the fan.
Never Intended Any Disrespect
Camp Lejeune in late spring 1969, my company was in training for a float. It was warm and we had been doing small unit movements all day. The C.O. called out myself and another Marine and ordered us to report back to our area for reasons that are not important now (or then). As this Cpl. and I were walking back, we realized that we were in no danger of being fired upon so we decided to carry our helmets under our arms and put our M-14 on our shoulders which turned out to be a mistake on our part. Being typical Marines, we started sharing stories as we nonchalantly walked along. Just as we got to the road, General Wheeler's car past by us and we were not able to salute because our weapons were on the wrong shoulders and our helmets were under our arms. At first, we thought we got away with it because the car didn't even slow down when it passed us.
Those who served under General Wheeler are laughing right about now and rightly so. It took us less than ten minutes to reach the company area and "Top" was waiting for us. General Wheeler's office had called our company and told him what we had done. I mean to say, the General knew who we were and where we were going within those few minutes. My b-tt hurt for a week after the azz chewing we got from the 1st.Sgt. and, once again, I was restricted to the barracks (I don't recall for how long).
It's now the fall of 1973, I'm riding in the passenger's side of this truck (I'm now a Sgt.) trying to help this young Marine to drive this thing. For reasons, he was having trouble changing gears. I think he was OJT as a truck driver. Anyways, the General's car passed us heading in the other direction and, once again, I didn't salute him. The difference this time is that I have five years in the Corps and experience with this sort of thing. As soon as we reached the company area, "Top" called me in for my azz chewing. I explained that "I was providing instructions to the PFC driver, and if I allowed my focus to be diverted it might have caused an accident". As I remember it, the 1st.Sgt. just smiled and dismissed me. As we all know, you can put sugar on it and call it a cookie, but it's still B.S. That's part of my Marine Corps experience that always helped me out here in the world.
I never did figure out how General Wheeler knew who we were and/or what company we were with. For some reason, Marines training and waiting for their floats to start seemed to get into a lot of trouble back then. I wonder how it is now? I should say that I had a lot of excellent officers and a few bad ones, but I never intended any disrespect to any of them because they're still Marines.
Semper Fi Marines!
Robert H Bliss
Fox Co, 2nd Bn., 2nd Mar. Reg, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, N.C.
2013 MC Birthday Toast
On this occasion we recognize the 238th birthday of the United States Marine Corps; a military enterprise that is at all times prepared to extinguish our nation's enemies.
It is important, today, that we salute those Marines who now find themselves in harm's way. It is important that we champion those Marines who presently stand ready to do their duty at the firing line. It is important that we pay tribute to those former Marines who returned to civilian life. It is important that we appraise munificently the sacrifices of those Marines who have suffered agonizing wounds on and above the battlefield... and at sea. It is important that we remember in prayer and deed those Marines who are recorded as missing in action... or who may at this moment be imprisoned by vile tormentors. And... on the birthday of the Marine Corps it is correct that we reserve our highest expression of reverence and veneration for those Marines who died at their posts and thereby re-affirmed three of the defining Marine Corps ideals: Strength, Courage and Honor.
Ladies and gentlemen I propose a toast to the United States Marine Corps: Semper Fidelis.
I made this Toast at the Marine Corps Birthday celebration at VFW Post 577 in Tulsa.
Pry My Fingers Off
To: Jim McKeon USN '63-'67,
I just read the newsletter, and need to ask you about the date when the Boxer took the Civilians from the Dom Rep. I don't know if the Boxer did that in '65, but I was there when the Boxer did it in '66 after that terrible hurricane. I worked in the Butcher Shop, with the Ships Butcher... he was "one Big Man"... I worked with the Navy Butcher for over 24 hours straight... boneing 60 FROZEN hams to make sandwiches for the Marines that went ashore.
Before the hurricane, the Ship's Captain took a picture of me and hung it in the Hanger Bay after I returned from Liberty from St Thomas, with the caption:
"I NEVER want to see another Marine come on board ship in this condition again!"
I was a wee bit under the weather... and did not see the pic for 3 days, due to being 'out of it'. When we rode out the hurricane, the waves came over the flight deck, I saw that because, like the stupid young Marine I was at that time... I went on the flight deck and it took three Navy guys to pry my fingers off the chains that were holding the one chopper on deck.
Happy Thanksgiving to one and all...
L/Cpl Mark Gallant
USMC '66- '69
Chu Lai... Mini Tet... '68
I was stationed at Los Pulgas with the 11th Marines as 3371 (Cook) also from 1972 to 1975. I have been meaning to take a drive back there and take a look around. After reading More of a Salt I pulled Pendleton up on the computer and took an aerial view of Los Pulgas. Wow! How it has changed and grown a lot.
I too lived in a Quonset hut for the first two years there and had the old oil heater. At the time there I did not want to be a cook and tried everything that I could to change my MOS but could not. So I made the best of it. I left Los Pulgas in 1975 as an E-5 went to Security Det. in Charleston, S.C., stayed there for three years. Got married, picked up SSgt., and then went to OKIE. Stayed for a year and came back and decided to get out and start what I went into the Corps for and that was to be a cop.
Been a cop now for 30 years still on the street as patrol Sgt. and still married to the same woman for 37 years now.
If anyone reads this that I served with drop me a line. As soon as I retire I plan on getting on my motorcycle hitting the road and going to Los Pulgas. And see if they still throw spaghetti on the ceiling to see if it's done.
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #7, #4 (APR., 2017)
On our last get together we talked about "Junk on the Lawn", which was conducted outside of the Line Shack at MCAF Santa Ana. Calif. sometime in 1966. It was at a time when a lot was going on and the squadron (HMMT-301) was in an every changing build up phase. Everyday saw new faces of both pilots and new crew members there for training for the next assignment, which was Vietnam. All I remember is being very busy flying and fixing and when we did get some time off, we were partying just as hard as we could. I remember that I bought my motorcycle about this time, because I figured that I was living in the barracks and I was single and "what the h-ll" I just thought I needed one. A treat for myself, if you would! This went along the line that several of my buddies had "bikes" and they were always riding somewhere when they had the time so, I bought a 1966 BSA Lightning, dual carb's and a go getter. I also had the sudden urge to spend a lot more money than I had, so I also bought a new car. A 1966 Pontiac Gran Prix, Hardtop with a 421 Cu. in engine. Talk about a sweet looking and running ride. It had a red bottom and a white interior and white vinyl top, Mag. turbine wheels, duals and all the whistles and bells. What a ride! I remember thinking that "Money was no object" at the time and that I owed these two items to myself for just getting home safe from Nam. See, that just goes to show you how misled I was!
Anyway, I didn't ride my Motorcycle very much except on some of the weekends, I'd take off with Mac (Milt McFall) and A.T. (Warren Atwood) and we'd ride somewhere in Calif or Nevada. Also Remember my good buddy Ron, well he would often ask me during the week if he could borrow my Motorcycle to go over to his wife's apartment to which I would say yes, because as I said before, they were on the narrow path to a divorce so, I guess in my mind I was somehow helping them stay together. What a dumb azs I was.
I've got to stop here and include the fact and statement that one of a MARINES pride and joys are his highly polished Dress Shoes. He normally spends untold hours bringing those shoes to a point where they reflect the same as a mirror. I had done the same as many MARINES before me and had my Dress Shoes honed to perfection and then put in my closet up in the room that I told you that Ron Whitcomb (my buddy) and I shared (on occasion). My recollection get's a little fuzzy about here, but I do remember that we were going to have a General's Inspection and, Whit Lambright the Maint. Chief asked jokingly, OK, which one of you guy's has got the uniform to stand the inspection. Well, we just laughed it off and, then I thought I'd better just check and see how my dress shoes looked because I hadn't even looked at them for several months. Well, I went to my closet to find them and, they were not there? I asked Ron if he had seen them and he said their out at the Wife's place. I said could you bring them back the next morning, to which he replied "Yes" . Well, he did, and they were damn near ruined. He'd used them to ride my Motorcycle and the kick shift was accomplished by lifting the right toe in an upward move. Guess what the toes on my shoes looked like. Ron just laughed. So much for spit shined shoes!
We Still Had Our Cans
Been keeping an eye on news from the typhoon recovery efforts in the Philippines... and wondering how they are packaging/delivering potable water from the ships? In the bush in '66, other than local water and halazone tablets, our water mostly came in five-gallon cans delivered by helicopter... which meant the cans had to be humped to the platoon's positions, contents poured into 90 or so (45X2 each grunt), and the empty cans returned to the LZ. (we once got a frag order to sneakily move a couple clicks to form a blocking force... at night... taking along with us our empty cans, because the helos had not come back to pick them up... oh, we were stealthy, all right... a company (K/3/5) moving in single file, on rice paddy dikes, in pitch black darkness. Every now and then, somebody carrying an empty can might slip off the dike... any noise made by the metal can would be accompanied by varying amounts of whispered profanity, coming both from the slippee, his squad leader, his platoon Sgt, and assorted others in the command structure. It was a several hour slow movement, but we were set in position come the dawn, sleepless, eyes seemingly full of hot sand, but ready. Whoever was 'pushing' the VC unit our way eventually joined up... with no contact... but we still had our cans... and they were going to get returned to the water point, come h-ll or no water.
During another op (maybe Hastings... it's been 47 years) there was an experiment using artillery powder cans and 'elephant rubbers'... plastic bag tubes inside the cans. Powder cans seal really well, are consumable, and could be kicked out of a moving helicopter... do recall that the guys at the water point were not stinting with the chlorine... opening one of those cans would just about guarantee you bleached eyebrows... but it didn't mean nothin'. The advent of the Evian bottles for Desert Shield/Desert Storm was a sea change in logistics... delivered to the consumer in a light, one-way, disposable container... huge change. Time to fill my two-liter Lexan water bottle and head for the gym (Spandex inspection duty at the Y...)
Just saw a photo on MSN 'news' that answered my question about distributing potable water in the Philippines (granted... a very small sample of a very big issue...) Sailors on flight deck loading water into a helo... in the ubiquitous 5-gallon water can... have to suppose the empties come back on the return of the next delivery...
Newsletter of the 13th, Sgt Grimes describes an 1971 incident with a 2nd Lt "between our Quonset hut and the PX' at 29 Palms, Gotta call BS on ya, there Grimes... weren't no Quonsets at the Stumps in 1971, either at Mainside, nor out at Camp Wilson, which today is the ESB (Exercise Support Base) next to the EAF (Expeditionary Air Field... got a piece of the runway here on my desk, gift from Det MABS-11 when I retired). The PX at that time was in a concrete 'flat-top barracks type building', to the west across a north-south street that ran along the west side of the field you describe... the field is still there... and it's bigger than a hundred yards square. The EM club was on the south side, the SNCO club on the north, and by the late 70's, the modern PX (properly, 'MCX') had been built on the west side of the field. The Protestant Chapel is across the street from the field on the south, the Catholic Chapel is across the street on the north... find a kid that knows how to use Google Earth and take a look... (BTW... 'the day I squared away a Lt' story is about as common as 'they fed us WWII C-rations' story... and both are usually real strong memories... but still BS...) Full disclosure... by '71, was well into the second tour (of three) at 29 Palms... at the time, dual-hatted as the OIC of the Base Magazine and the OrdO on the FMF side... fixin' to be reverted to GYSGT (didn't happen, but that's another story) BTW... them things you will see at the ESB on your Google Earth tour that look sorta like Quonsets... ain't... they're K-span huts, built in the '90's or later... interesting construction in that the metal arches are rolled on-site, and the concrete floors are poured last...
Quonsets are so called due to their WWII origin with a SeaBee base at Quonset Point, RI... an adaptation of a Brit thing known as a Nissen Hut... fast, cheap, sturdy... but you just can't put a standard wall locker up tight to the wall in one... lived in one for 18 months at Marine Barracks, Naha, but we had custom wooden lockers, built to fit by Okinawan carpenters... window high, and with electric warmers, which, when working, kept your dress shoes from turning green with mold...
"Maggot... I been to three world's fairs, two hundred twelve night baseball games, four South American revolutions, a buzzard convention, two windmill greasing's, a hog nuttin', and fourteen watermelon plugging's, seen olives pitted and diaphragms fitted... and I have NEVER seen anything as f-cked up as you..."
--SSGT Jim Scott, Motivation Platoon, MCRD SD, circa 1965...
Lost And Found
Marines, I am looking for any Marines that served on the USS Taconic as a Marine radioman. We are planning a 2nd reunion at Parris Island the 1st weekend in May of 2014. We are looking for all Marines that served in this detachment at any time to attend. You can e-mail me at reniejohn[at]roadrunner.com. The more Marines the merrier.
John E Lyford
Sgt USMC '65-'69
P.S. Sgt Grit, Keep up the great work. Thank you.
Sgt. Robert (Bob) Chandler was all Marine to the end. He left us Oct. 31, 2013.
Semper Fi to my Marine!
In response to Lt. Dodd's question. I served with the 9th Marine Anti-Tank Co. (Tanks and Ontos) 3rd Mar Div at Camp Hansen in 1956 and in 1957 we moved to South Camp Fuji. I don't know what happened to the outfit after South Camp.
In 1958 and 1959 I was with Co. A, 3rd Tanks, again at Camp Hansen. I am currently reading a book "Marine Corps Tank Battles In Vietnam" by Oscar E. Gilbert. So far it goes into great detail about 3rd Tanks. Also am a member of Marine Corps Tankers Association. Perhaps if you contacted them (email@example.com) they could fill you in on the history of 3rd Yanks.
Sgt. C.J. Oudendyk 1811
I think I know the Marine who wrote the story, Sorry Hon. I worked for a Mr. Button who ran the motor pool for Special Services. I was FAPED out from Bravo company, 1/5 and assigned to Special Services motor pool. Here I was, a grunt, 0311 and driving tour buses for Special Services. What a gravy, cool and great job.
Mr. Button made that job so much fun. He always brought in his John Wayne pistols. What great memories. I have a ton of stories to last a life time because of that duty.
Sgt of Marines
"You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth - and the amusing thing about it is that they are."
--Father Kevin Keaney, 1st MarDiv Chaplain, Korean War
"Marines are about the most peculiar breed of human beings I have ever witnessed. They treat their service as if it was some kind of cult, plastering their emblem on almost everything they own, making themselves up to look like insane fanatics with haircuts to ungentlemanly lengths, worshipping their Commandant almost as if he was a god, and making weird animal noises like a band of savages. They'll fight like rabid dogs at the drop of a hat just for the sake of a little action, and are the cockiest SOBs I have ever known. Most have the foulest mouths and drink well beyond man's normal limits, but their high spirits and sense of brotherhood set them apart and, generally speaking, of the United States Marines I've come in contact with, are the most professional soldiers and the finest men I have had the pleasure to meet."
--An Anonymous Canadian Citizen
"There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion."
--Gen. William Thornson, U.S. Army
"These boys are going to war, and some of them won't be coming back. They're working like h-ll all day and half the night to get ready, most of 'em at least sixteen hours straight. What they do with their off hours is their own business, and if they want a couple of beers, Lieutenant, they're going to get 'em."
"Better to die fighting for freedom than be a prisoner all the days of your life."
"Private, you got a Maggie's Drawers."
"2nd Fumble, Stumble, Stagger and Gag."
"Lean back... dig 'em in... heels, heels, heels!"
"Pvt sh-t stain if u don't get squared away, I'm gonna recycle your azz back to the block, and you'll be suckin' fartz outta hospital sheets for a livin'."
Semper Fi, Mac!