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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 29 AUG 2013

In this issue:
• Butter Bars
• Legendary At Quantico
• Appropriate Off-Duty Attire

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Back in the day (1970s), short-timers kept track of their time left by filling-in their hook. "Hook Day" was the day you left active duty and returned to "the world." On Hook Day, you would see a hook marked on a car's rear window. When we did training with the French Foreign Legion at Camp de Canjeurs, France, the legionnaires marked their time left using the outline of a coffin.

Is this tradition still around? My hook day was 01 June 1975. 1/10 made me complete a full duty day; I got my RELACDU at 1630.

Joe Kerke

Butter Bars

Both the Commandant and I were once 'butter bars'.

We were taught, trained, and sent into the fleet by Marine SNCOs. They taught us to keep our eyes and ears open and our mouths shut while we gained experience. They taught us to lead by example... an expectation that is laid at the feet of virtually every Marine, E-1 through O-10.

I know of no wise Sgt. Major who would publicly humiliate a junior officer, whether deserved or not, by pointing to his hash marks as an excuse to not render a hand salute. It would be an affront to all things that Marines demand of their Corps... discipline and good order. 'Tops', more than any other rank, set the tone for a unit and, in many ways, have an even greater influence than the commanding officer.

My Marine Corps career was spent as an aviator in an F-4 squadron where the mission requirements and duties made saluting impractical. However, that didn't lead to a loss of military discipline. Our SNCOs insisted that away from the hangar and flight line that our Marines 'behaved' like Marines. They 'led by example'. That included the courtesy of a hand salute and a 'Good Morning, Sir' with the returned salute and a 'Good Morning, 'Top'.

It's an accepted behavior that consistently separates the Marine Corps from the other branches. It's what we do because we're Marines.

R.M. 'Zeb' Zobenica
Capt. USMC (Ret)

More Than Enough Evidence

To L/Cpl Brown

In answer to your comparison of the conditions of the grunt vs. airdale, I, too, was an airdale up at Phu Bai. We had the unheated facilities, cold showers, long hours and 7 days a week. Yes, there was grease, oil, hydraulic fluid and grime. The mortars never reached us but the rockets did, though not often. Even with all this, I knew the grunts had it worse. When I started flying as a part time gunner on an H-34 it was confirmed. Roaming the area around Vandegrift hauling grunts from LZ to LZ or pulling those wounded out of the jungle was more than enough evidence. Picking up a fresh load of young Marines right out of Staging Battalion and dropping them in the mud of LZ Russell as replacements for those lost after the hill was overrun makes an impression. At the time I felt honored to have the opportunity to do what I could for those grunts and still do today.

Wayne Stafford
Phu Bai 68-69

Legendary At Quantico

In reference to the post by Captain Gordon in the August 14th issue, I too served in Okinawa at the same time as he did. My unit, G-3-9, had been transferred from South Camp Fuji in the Spring of 1958. I knew the Captain Holmes of H-3-9 when he commanded a unit at Schools Demonstration Troops, my older brother's unit. He was legendary at Quantico - unmarried, head shaved, drove a Marine Corps Cadillac, spent lavishly on his men - was totally dedicated to the Corps. The Lieutenant Walker, Captain Gordon referred to was his protege in Okinawa, tried to out-do Holmes whom he apparently idolized. I had heard that Captain Holmes was forced out of the Corps for undisclosed reasons. I do know that Holmes refused to be promoted, believing that Captain was the last rank where he could personally interact with his Marines. Perhaps Lieutenant Walker fell afoul of the higher-ups for similar reasons.

Paul E. Gill
S/SGT 1954-66

Appropriate Off-Duty Attire

This is sort of a follow-up to Santos Juan Salinas' story, All I Can Say, about Captain Hiram Walker. While stationed at Camp Pendleton in 1964, we used to see Captain Hiram Walker running and running and running, early in the a.m. I heard several stories about him. I don't know if they are true, or not, but certainly interesting. I heard that he served, or had served, in Force Recon; that his personal vehicle was Marine Corps green with camo seat covers; that he was once invited to an informal officers get together by the base commander, a major general, and that he showed up in his dress whites and received a direct order to return to the BOQ and return to the "party" in appropriate off-duty attire. Of course we also understood that he was a member of the famous Hiram Walker liquor family. His reputation of being a bit strange was wide spread, but there is no doubt that Captain Walker was All Marine.

Sgt. Dan Bisher
RVN 1965-1966

Cockroaches Had The Mosquitos Beat

Read the note from CPL Norm Spilleth (newsletter 8/15/2013) regarding the Marine base at Kanoehe Bay. I was there from early 1959 to late 1960. I was a Corpsman with the 1st Marine Brigade with a 105 unit. Also spent a number of months in the sick bay, doing medical records and also on the flight line and in the emergency room. Sewed up a number of Marines who won or lost fights with other Marines and Sailors, bar windows, etc. Left in 1960 for a cruise to Okinawa and the far east. I think the cockroaches had the mosquitos beat, with what the food brought into those barracks they outnumbered us 10 to 1. I enjoyed my tour there, also took the Police exam in Honolulu and passed it. But the future bride wanted to stay close to her family in New Jersey, and nixed it. I do remind her about it every winter.

Tom Pierce
FMF Corpsman

Infantry / Grunt Names

A few weeks ago I asked for other names for infantry. Here's the list from you.

Hill Humpers
Ground Pounders
ASVAB waiver
Bullet Sponge
Cannon Fodder
Knuckle Draggers
Meat Shields
Gator Navy
Mobile Sandbags
Trench Monkey
Grim Reapers
Shock Troops
Butt Plate
Mickey Mouse Club
Hard Charger
Bullet Magnet
Straight Legs
Widow Maker
Gun Bunnies
Weed Wigglers
03 dumdums

Get the newest addition to our t-shirt platoon:

USMC Grunt T-Shirt

Did Not Get Any Liberty

Sgt. Grit,

I was with a replacement Co. that stayed at Camp Hauge a few days until we went to Da Nang. This was Mar. 1966. At that time those Marines coming back from Viet Nam were staged there. I can still see about what amounted to a squad of men lined up for morning formation. We had about a company. I started to wonder if their ranks would be our ranks in 13 months.

When I did return I was at Camp Hanson; there for a week before a flight home. Spent almost all my money in those 4 days. The second time I came home we were at Camp Hanson, but we were in and out in about 24-hours. I was a little upset we did not get any liberty.

Cpl. T.C. Mosher
0331, VN 1966-1967

Never Had A Problem

Sgt Grit,

I was with 3/8 and stationed on Camp Geiger from '81-'85 and tried to go home as often as possible. I am from Baltimore, so there never seemed to be a shortage of guys swooping up 95 heading to Maryland or points north every weekend, and as such I never had a problem catching a ride. However, there were several 72's or 96's where I could not find a ride home out of Geiger so I caught a ride over to Lejeune to "Swoop Circle" since Geiger really did not have one that I was aware of. I thought the recent articles on swooping were interesting because I often wondered if there still was a Swoop Circle and if Marines still referred to heading home as "swooping".

Anyway, as I said I never had a problem catching a ride and one winter even rode in the back of some guy's El Camino most of the way up 95 because he had his wife and son up front with him as he was taking them home. I used his sleeping bag and just bundled up and reminded myself that it was "mind over matter". Most of the time I caught rides with guys in my own unit, but every now and then I caught a ride up 95 with one rider who might not be returning that weekend or for whatever reason was not able to give me a ride back, so I would get my dad or girlfriend to drop me off at the Trailways bus station in downtown Baltimore on Fayette Street and there always seemed to be at least two or three Marines who would stop by there looking for someone who needed a ride to Geiger or Lejeune and to split the gas money.

One Sunday night, a buddy named Eric DiNenna who I often rode with, stopped at the Trailways station to look for at least two more Marines to split the gas. He had a fairly large car so he could easily fit three guys in the back, but on this night there happened to be four Marines looking for a ride. We already had another Marine with us that Eric knew, who was a cannon cocker over on Lejeune but he did not want to leave any of these other Marines behind and it was getting late. So we jammed three in the front, three in the back on the seat and one laying on the floor across the feet of the guys in the back! Every so often the four in the back would switch up so the poor bast-rd on the floor lying across the hump in the middle would not suffer for too long. We used to make that run in eight hours, so it had to be miserable for them, but at least they got to their barracks in time for reveille and were not UA. So, as I mentioned before, do today's Marines still refer to going home as Swooping, and is there still a Swoop Circle over on mainside at Lejeune?

Semper Fi to all my brothers and sisters!

Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima, 3/8 Weapons Plt

Paid Attention

I have read with interest these last few years, comments, not always complementary, about "Butter Bars". Having been one in 1957-1958 (It was 15 months to turn the Gold Bars into Silver) I would like to tell a story from the "Butter Bar's" side.

I finished Basic School at Quantico in February, 1958, and received orders to proceed to Camp Del Mar, California for M48-A1 tank school. This lasted for 30 days and then it was to 2nd Tank Bn at Lejeune. Once there I was assigned 1st Platoon, Bravo Company. I went to the Tank Park and met with my Platoon Sgt., GySgt. John Harrington and before meeting anyone else, he and I had a private chat. Basically I told him this was my platoon now and that I had total responsibility for anything that might go wrong. He had only two jobs, run the platoon, and teach me to be a tank officer. Once I felt I had the knowledge to take over, I would let him know. He agreed and we were together for 14 months. The reason it was so long was that we were gone nearly all the time being assigned to one BLT then another. See, this "Butter Bar" paid attention in school on who runs the Marine Corps, as did most of us.

Ed Dodd, 1st Lt, USMC
Semper Fi


Re: Warren P.

Warren, I don't know which years you are referring to but in the 60's and 70's the PFT consisted of three events. Pull-ups, sit-ups, and a three-mile run. Max score was 300 points. Twenty pull-ups was good for 100, 80 sit ups in two minutes was good for another 100 and three miles in 18 minutes gave you the third 100. There was a minimum for each event. Three pull ups, 30 sit ups and I think a 30 min run. However, the minimum for each event didn't pass the test. You had to do better in another event if you were weak in one. Passing score was a sliding scale according to age. I remember doing well enough on the pulls and sits that I only had to cruise through the run.

J. M. "Mike" Jeffries
Capt. USMC Ret.

900 Miles One Way

I was with 2nd Amtrac Battalion the summer of 1971. For some reason we had a three-day weekend, so someone cooked up the idea of swooping to Balageren's home near Brunswick, Maine. There were six of us in the car, but I can only remember LCPL Swartz and LCPL Balageren. It was Swartz's car but we took turns driving. We left on a Friday afternoon and started driving up the eastern seaboard. I remember we dropped one guy off in Hartford, Connecticut, one guy in Boston, and one guy in New York City. Each had strict orders on where and when we would pick them up for the return trip. We drove all night and most of the next morning. Finally Swartz, Balageren and myself ended up in Brunswick, Maine a trip of over 900 miles. We spent no more than a day there, it was Balageren's home town and then headed back. We picked up the guy in Boston at the Airport and the guy in Hartford, but the guy from New York was never seen again.

We made it back with time to spare. It was my only swoop as shortly afterward I was transferred to MCAS in Kaneohe. I had never traveled that far in one day before and had never been in that part of the country. It was interesting, but I would not want to do it again.

Jim Grimes

No Hash Marks

I have been reading the Sgt Grit Newsletter for the last two Years. I graduated from High school in 1951, I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in July of 1951. Boot Camp P.I. I was in Platoon 308. My drill instructors were Sgt. C.B. Roberts, S/Sgt. W.E. Livermore, and Cpl. F. Napolitano. They were Korean Vets. From P.I. to Jacksonville, FL, N.A.S., then to Memphis, TN, N.A.S., then on my way to Korea, via El Toro Air Station on the 21st replacement draft. Shipped out on the U.S.S. Pope, and on to Japan. From there to Inchon, Korea, where I was assigned to HMR-161 Helicopter squadron. At that time we were T.A.D. to the First Marine Division. After we became organic to Division. My first base was Acom city our rear maintenance section. Then transferred to Division Command Post First Marine Div. in Munsan-ni also had the privilege of flying to Pamunjom to the truce talks with Admiral Joy. We also flew wounded Marines out to the Hospital Ship Repose. Then I volunteered for 1st Marine Division Non-Commissioned Officers School. I was a Sgt. when I attended NCO School. The other Marines came off the front M.L.R., and I was the only one from the Air Wing to attend that school. The Mud Marines called me Airdale. I happened to score very high on combat tactics at that time while I was in School, the Temp. dropped to -20 below, Korea is a cold place in Nov. - Dec.

Upon graduating from N.C.O., a month later I was promoted to S/Sgt. Needless to say made S/Sgt in 18 months, so when I stood I.G. Inspection I had no hash marks and the I G. Officer made a comment to me about the Marine Corps has been good to me! And my answer was, Great Sir! The squadron is now HMM-161. I am now 82 years old. At age 73, I attend the Army War College in NJ. with my son-in-law who was an Army Bird Col. There I met four Marine Col's that had just returned from Iraq, who were in HMM-161, Great Guys! If anyone from my outfit HMR-161 is out there please contact me. On my return to the states, I was sent to Cherry Point to HMR-261.

God Bless All Troops where ever they may be!

S/Sgt. George S. Archie

How Company

Former Sgt of Marines John Lefker mentioned in the August 22nd newsletter that he was with How Company 3/9 and how he could not find his old company anymore. I would like to correct him on that as there never was a How Company in 3/9. During the Vietnam era and before, the Marine Infantry Battalion consisted of 4 line companies and a Headquarters and Service Company which also kept the heavy weapons such as 81 mm mortars, recoilless rifles, and .50 cal machine guns. Sometime after Vietnam, I'm not quite sure when, the Marine Corps Battalion changed to 3 line companies, a Heavy Weapons company and a Headquarters and Service Company. Back when there were 4 line companies, the 'H' designated letter company or Hotel (not How) company was in the 2nd Battalion of the infantry regiment. An example would be from the movie Full Metal Jacket where the infantry platoon depicted was out of Hotel company 2/5. The 'H' letter company along with the Delta and Mike companies were dropped from the Battalions when they went to three line companies.

John, perhaps you were in Hotel 3/9 or perhaps some other battalion in 3/9, I can't be sure. But you were never in How 3/9. Hope this clears things up for you and Semper Fidelis.

Shawn Kane

A Flood Of Memories

I was stationed at Camp Hauge, Okinawa, from September 1958 to early December 1959. I was in disbursing, which meant we took care of the pay records for the 3rd and 12th Marines along with associated units. When I arrived on the Rock, Marines were spread out over 22 different camps. My favorite camp was Awase Meadows where 1/3 was.

If we went off base, we always told the cab driver upon return that we wanted to go to Nepunja. The village near Hauge was called Chibana. I don't recall any West Camp Hauge, but right across the road from Camp Hauge was Camp Kinser. Hauge's football team was the Royals; Kinser's was the Streaks. 2/3 was at Kinser and 3/3 was at Camp Bishigawa.

I don't recall any of the SNCOs by name, but we were allowed to pay them every day as long as they had pay on the "books". Some of them would come up to the office dressed in utilities with shower shoes. Some would seem to have the DTs!

My first Quonset hut there was right next to the brig. Some of the sounds from that place was a little scary.

On Friday nights, we'd head over to Kadena AFB to the Airmen's Club. It was as nice as any civilian club I've ever been to. Fridays was two-for-the-price-of-one night. That was for drinks and food. Our EM club was good, but it was a lot more primitive. A friend of mine from high school worked for the EM clubs delivering booze. His grandson played basketball at Butler and now plays for the Utah Jazz. His name, Gordon Hayward.

Reading the other comments about Camp Hauge sure brought back a flood of memories.

Semper Fi
James V. Merl

Hot Chocolate and C-rats

Boot officers are an interesting thing in the Corps. I was in the Corps a little over a year and was a Lance Cooly, and we had a brand new butter ball assigned as our Plt Lt. This guy was like a kid who knew everything, but could do nothing. We were at Mt. Fuji, Japan, for cold weather training and the first 2-weeks there we were at the base camp. No snow no rain just beautiful weather and pretty good liberty. We went out in the bush for the first part of the training and the first night around midnight it started snowing and about 3-feet came down. Over the next few days we continued the training. Then we got word that they were trucking out some hot chow for us, but we had to be a the Company HQ before 1700 hours. This LT got the map out to chart the fastest way back to HQ. He was showing this to the Plt. Sgt. when the Sgt. said, "Sir see these lines and how very close together they are... this is a very steep terrain or a cliff." The LT said, "I know how to read a map," and we moved out. Needless to say he was wrong and the Sgt. was right. We had to force march about 4-clicks back and around the cliff area and we got to the Company HQ at 1900 hours. All they had left was hot chocolate and c-rats.

After that I was on outside armory guard duty and this Lt would come by and I would not send a high ball his way. I could see his arm jumping to return the salute he thought was coming but it did not come. The LT stopped and asked me, "Lance Cpl., do you know that you are supposed to salute officers even when you are walking your post?" I replied, "yes sir," and continued on my rounds. A few minutes later the skipper had me report to him and he said the LT told him I had failed to salute him several times even after the LT advised me I was supposed to do so and asked if this were correct. I said, "yes sir it is." The skipper asked me why and I told him the LT was dumb as a bag of rocks and no one in the Plt. had any respect for him due to his lack of knowledge and his lack of leadership ability. I went through several of the things the LT did that had negative effects on the Plt. The skipper said, "I understand what you are saying and I understand your feelings along with why you have not saluted the LT." He then said, "remember this when you salute an officer, you are not saluting the man you are showing respect for the rank. That I needed to show this respect for the rank." Then the skipper told me the LT had in his required 6 mos. TIG and was being promoted to 1st LT. However with that he would be transferred to another duty station.

Just a story of a boot officer who in the end actually turned out to become a real good grunt officer. I was station with him again at the same camp, but not in the same unit and he had really grown up and learned a lot. He was a good officer that took good care of his men and watched out for them all the time. I felt kind of bad that I got p-ssed and did not do what I could do to help the LT out some, but man he made it so with the many ways we got scr-wed over because of his mistakes it was just to dang hard to try or care. Well I had some growing up to do as well and had to do some learning about being a good Marine... and I did.

Semper Fi!

SSgt. Joseph E. Whimple
U.S.M.C. 2-70 / 12-76

Camp Butler

I was stationed at Camp Butler for two years. Worked out of the Carpenter Shop as a 1371. I worked along with civilians in addition to my normal shop duties. During that time they were building new living quarters for the Marines on Camp Courtney. They were a long way from my living quarters on Camp Butler. We lived in small metal buildings, with the head about 30 yards away. The new buildings were made of concrete blocks and the head was in the same building. A lot has changed since I was there over 49 years ago.

SgtMaj Mowday Retired

A Vietnam Immigrant

It looks like we did some good after all! On Saturday, July 24th, 2010, the town of Prescott Valley, AZ, hosted a Freedom Rally. Quang Nguyen was asked to speak on his experience of coming to America and what it means. He spoke the following in dedication to all Vietnam Veterans. Thought you might enjoy hearing what he had to say:

35 years ago, if you were to tell me that I am going to stand up here speaking to a couple thousand patriots, in English, I'd laugh at you. Man, every morning I wake up thanking God for putting me and my family in the greatest country on earth.

I just want you all to know that the American dream does exist and I am living the American dream. I was asked to speak to you about my experience as a first generation Vietnamese-American, but I'd rather speak to you as an American.

If you hadn't noticed, I am not white and I feel pretty comfortable with my people.

I am a proud US citizen and here is my proof. It took me 8 years to get it, waiting in endless lines, but I got it and I am very proud of it.

I still remember the images of the Tet offensive in 1968, I was six years old. Now you might want to question how a 6-year-old boy could remember anything. Trust me, those images can never be erased. I can't even imagine what it was like for young American soldiers, 10,000 miles away from home, fighting on my behalf.

35 years ago, I left South Vietnam for political asylum. The war had ended. At the age of 13, I left with the understanding that I may or may not ever get to see my siblings or parents again. I was one of the first lucky 100,000 Vietnamese allowed to come to the U.S. Somehow, my family and I were reunited 5 months later, amazingly, in California. It was a miracle from God.

If you haven't heard lately that this is the greatest country on earth, I am telling you that right now. It was the freedom and the opportunities presented to me that put me here with all of you tonight. I also remember the barriers that I had to overcome every step of the way. My high school counselor told me that I cannot make it to college due to my poor communication skills. I proved him wrong. I finished college. You see, all you have to do is to give this little boy an opportunity and encourage him to take and run with it. Well, I took the opportunity and here I am.

This person standing tonight in front of you could not exist under a socialist/communist environment. By the way, if you think socialism is the way to go, I am sure many people here will chip in to get you a one-way ticket out of here. And if you didn't know, the only difference between socialism and communism is an AK-47 aimed at your head. That was my experience.

In 1982, I stood with a thousand new immigrants, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and listening to the National Anthem for the first time as an American. To this day, I can't remember anything sweeter and more patriotic than that moment in my life.

Fast forwarding, somehow I finished high school, finished college, and like any other goofball 21 year old kid, I was having a great time with my life. I had a nice job and a nice apartment in Southern California. In some way and somehow, I had forgotten how I got here and why I was here.

One day I was at a gas station, I saw a Veteran pumping gas on the other side of the island. I don't know what made me do it, but I walked over and asked if he had served in Vietnam. He smiled and said yes. I shook and held his hand. The grown man began to well up. I walked away as fast as I could and at that very moment, I was emotionally rocked. This was a profound moment in my life. I knew something had to change in my life. It was time for me to learn how to be a good citizen. It was time for me to give back.

You see, America is not a place on the map, it isn't a physical location. It is an ideal, a concept. And if you are an American, you must understand the concept, you must buy into this concept, and most importantly, you have to fight and defend this concept. This is about Freedom and not free stuff. And that is why I am standing up here.

Brothers and sisters, to be a real American, the very least you must do is to learn English and understand it well. In my humble opinion, you cannot be a faithful patriotic citizen if you can't speak the language of the country you live in. Take this document of 46 pages - last I looked on the Internet, there wasn't a Vietnamese translation of the US Constitution. It took me a long time to get to the point of being able to converse and until this day, I still struggle to come up with the right words. It's not easy, but if it's too easy, it's not worth doing.

Before I knew this 46-page document, I learned of the 500,000 Americans who fought for this little boy. I learned of the 58,000 names scribed on the black wall at the Vietnam Memorial. You are my heroes. You are my founders.

At this time, I would like to ask all the Vietnam Veterans to, please stand. I thank you for my life. I thank you for your sacrifices, and I thank you for giving me the freedom and liberty I have today. I now ask all Veterans, Firefighters, and Police Officers, to please stand. On behalf of all first generation immigrants, I thank you for your services and may God bless you all.

Quang Nguyen
Creative Director/Founder
Caddis Advertising, LLC


Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #6, #3, (MAR., 2016)

Like my remembrance that I recorded in the preceding issue of the Flight Line, (Vol. #6, #2) this also took place at the Naval Powder Factory, in Indian Head, Maryland sometime in 1957.

John Mullins (Sgt. John J., Jr.) and I were in-separable and were always looking for something different to do. Now, that's not to say that life in Indian Head was a little on the slow side, but it was not the center of the known universe and we often went up to Washington, D.C. and the bar across the street from the MARINE Barracks, at 8th & "I" Street for some more intense excitement. There you could park the car and get out and you could feel the sidewalk move under your feet as you walked towards the door. Plus, it was where a large number of women gathered in hopes of snagging one of those good looking MARINES that they saw that day in a parade somewhere. It's h-ll being saught after following a hard day of parading in Dress Blues, but somebody had to do it, and we swore to carry the spirit forward. And, I'm sure the tradition has been carried forth over the past years.

Now I'm sure that we're all the same as far as wanting to get something to eat after a hard night of dancing and trying to pick up some girls ends. The question always used to come up as to where to stop and get some chow after a workout on the dance floor. Most of the time John and I would want to head South of Highway #210 towards Indian Head and get out of the D.C. area as soon as we could. Certain parts were really not safe at night even if you were a MARINE and in a car. But, it was just a matter of playing it safe.

Getting back to the Barracks meant that we could finally relax in the comfort of our room. We also had a small refrigerator and a hot plate, but it was broke. We had some small Sandwich steaks in the freezer that really needed to be destroyed, or eaten if you prefer. The question as to how to cook them came up and it was suggested by John that we take them down to the laundry cage in the basement of the barracks, and once we got there we found an iron that the troops used to iron their HBT's (Herring Bone Twills). Wow, what a find! We turned it upside down and blocked it so that it wouldn't fall and turned it on and put a steak on the heated surface, Wah la! Steak, steamed with Starch! And then we tasted it! Let's just say that was the last time we did that! NOT GOOD!


Besides Hauge... haven't seen any mention of McToureous, Butler, Torii Station, Courtney... transients, by spring of '66, were at Hansen... When 2/1, as the second 'Trans placement Battalion' arrived on island in April of 1959, Ninth Marines were at Sukeran... 2/1 became 2/1/9 for 13 months... I think 1/1 had proceeded us, replacing 1/9 (long before they became known as "The Walking Dead"... today they are at Lejeune. Sukeran, Sukerian, Zukeran... the place has had several different spellings over the years... Kue was nearby, and mostly for the big hospital.

Those of us headed for 'in-country' on individual orders in '66 processed through Hansen... the 'stuff' you weren't going to need (e.g. Greens) Down South (RVN) was stored at Hansen... theory being that you would collect it on your way back through enroute to the land of the big PX... seabags, mostly, Staff and Ossifers would have a wooden footlocker (still have mine)... going South via a short detour to Schwab and K/3/5, and travel by APA (Pickaway... APA 222) as a SSGT, and knowing that at some point, a temporary commission, along with the fickle finger of fate was going to fall on me, knew that if I made it back to Hansen, would have to buy officer uniform items. And so it was... got a World Airway flight out of DaNang, expecting steak and champagne, got a green weenie on a stale bun and a cardboard cup of coffee that was similar to making love on the banks of the Mississippi (think about it... operative part is 'near water')... no biggie, on the way home, had considerable back pay, knew I would have to buy, among other things, dress shoes. This was in the earliest days of Corfam... real shiny brogans, no Kiwi required, would cook your feet in about half an hour, and no fixing scuffs... just go buy another pair. Hansen MCX had my size, although not in either a sling-back or stiletto heel style... and the first pair off the shelf in a box marked 11-1/2, D width, looked pretty good. They were brown... but then, we had been buying brown shoes at Cash Sales for years after the Corps went to black, and dying them black with good ol' Feibing's shoe dye (which actually dried to a nauseous greenish tint, but would polish up just fine)... so, I also bought a bottle of dye... and since, after a year in boots, the idea of dress shoes had a certain novelty, decided to lace 'em up, and wear my new ossifer-type kicks back over to the BOQ room and then dye/polish them... upon arrival at the room, and having opened the shoe box to get out the old shoes... and the Feibing's dye... I happened to note a slip of paper, extolling all the virtues of this miraculous DuPont Corfam product... and a product warning. "Do NOT dye this material... etc." Since the soles were marred from the short trip back from the exchange and, the chances of returning/exchanging the brown pair for a black pair were not good, it was back to the exchange to purchase a similar pair... in black. My guess is the brown shoes were stocked for those of the Naval persuasion... and once again, the wisdom of "RTFI" became apparent... Had a pair of spare brown shoes in the closet for many years... until the stacked heel boots of the disco era came along...

Boots/boondockers in the day (1957) were: brown, rough side out, not polished... today, some 56 years later, having survived changes to black, smooth side out, highly polished, we have arrived at: brown, rough side out, not polished, boots...

Have noted in recent months the word, or term, or acronym "DILLIGAF" appearing on motorcycle attire... usually embroidered on denim... Those who sport it most likely think it is a newish term, but I recall first hearing it from a 17 or 18 year old Sailor, in 1973, who had briefly been a POW in North Vietnam. When it became apparent that POWs would be released, many of us were appointed as escorts... not necessarily for a POW himself, but perhaps for a family member, etc. This involved training programs... things to say, things not to say, how to conduct oneself with either the former POW and/or his family. Part of the training involved us listening to a young Sailor, who the NV government had released after only a few months in captivity, due to his age (and probably as a bargaining chip, as well)... the occasion of his capture involved the fact that as a crewman on a destroyer, whose duties kept him below decks, he had decided one night to go topside to see the big guns fire... and was blown overboard. He himself said that he was never quite sure if he had been captured or rescued, but in relating his time in prison, he told us of the pranks the prisoners pulled on some of their guards... one of these was sacrificing a rare apple... which they soaked in urine, and left it where this guard was sure to find it. This particular guard always had a supremely bored expression on his face, and seemed less than diligent in his duties... so they named him "DILLIGAF"... for: Do I Look Like I Give A F-ck? So, Wild Hog Riders... "sorry 'bout that"... as we used to say.

My assignment was Lt.Col Edson Miller, USMC (aviator)... total duties involved Sgt Major Max Hildebrand and me driving up to Clinton, IA, picking up his step mother, and delivering her to her flight from the Moline (IL) airport when she flew out to California to greet the returning POWs, and getting her safely back to Clinton when she returned.


Lost And Found

To All My Brothers,

I'm looking for a buddy of mine. Mark Luce from Ohio, not sure where he may be now. We were stationed at MCAS El Toro in the 80's. He was with VMA-211 and I was attached to VMA (AW) 121. If anyone out there might know where he is can you let him know an old friend is looking for him.

Thanks & Semper Fi,
Kurt Hoffman
Sgt. MCAS El Toro '80 – '89

Short Rounds

Time for some Corpsmen stories. Marines love their Corpsmen.

Send them to me at:

My one pick is HONOR, that is my core, it gives me integrity, strength and character. USMC - Once and Always. May God bless them all. Those that were, those that are and those that will be.

Semper Fidelis
Brian Stack

I just got off the phone with Sgt Tommy T. He used the phrase "high pucker situation" to describe a misfire in the old 4 deuce mortars. I hadn't heard that term in a long time. Cracked me up.

Sgt Grit


"Here [America] men would attempt to build society on new foundations. Applying for the first time theories either previously unknown or deemed inapplicable, they would stage for the world a spectacle for which nothing in the history of the past had prepared it."
--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America [1835-1840]

"A Constitution is not the act of a Government, but of a people constituting a government, and a government without a constitution is a power without right."
-–Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791

"The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!"
--Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, 1945

Drink from the mug that displays this quote:

Eleanor Roosevelt Quote Mug

"If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy."
--Thomas Jefferson


"Liberty is sounded for NCOs and PFCs with hash marks! Good night!"

"Rough seas, headwinds and a bunk in the bilge."

"... heart breakers and life takers", who believed we were all John Wayne reincarnated."

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

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