Went to the VA today for my monthly check up and sat two seats away from a Fallujah Corpsman. He lost his left leg.
"Two of my Marines went down with an IED, I ran to them and hit one myself. Left my leg in that d-mn place."
I sat listening, quietly, for about 10 minutes, stood up and walked over to him to shake his hand and thank him. He saw me coming, saw the Birdie on the Ball on my t-shirt and cover, he stood up, almost at attention, accepted my hand and pulled me in for a bear hug, then He Thanked Me For My Service and called me Marine... all before I had a chance to say anything to him. Then I couldn't talk, I was too choked up and had tears in my eyes.
After what seemed like an eternity, I composed myself and said that's why I came over to see him. That I was listening to his conversation with the Soldier sitting next to him and I was moved, as all Marines are by Corpsmen. He said that he is doing fine. It took a lot of work, emotional as well as physical, and he is now working on getting a non-profit started to help other amputees.
What an outstanding young man! And I was honored to meet him today.
GySgt "Rigor" Mortis
It was with great USMC pride that I learned our Senior Drill Instructor GYSGT Charles "Rigor" Mortis became SGT MAJOR later in his career. He exemplified everything that defined the term United States Marine. For all the Marines who knew him, we are also greatly saddened to learn of his final orders given February 11, 2011.
I was extremely proud to have had the opportunity to get my b-tt chewed out by one of the best. He gave me the chance to be squad leader, not because I was the tallest, strongest or largest in our platoon, but because I proved to him and myself that I was worthy of this honor. We all had felt like dropping out and quitting on those morning runs around the dust track in Parris Island, especially if you were back of pack eating dirt kicked up by the front of the platoon. The thought of giving in to those feelings wasn't going to let me fail the SDI. Not wanting to disappoint him pushed me beyond what I thought was possible.
Firing expert on the range and seeing that hint of a smile from the Gunny in recognition was the affirmation. The handshake from him on graduation day brought out a real smile, and much to my surprise, all of the emotion built up inside throughout my boot camp experience. Something that still has been unforgettable. Those Marines who served with him and raw recruits that were trained by him have special memories: cadence call, sarcastic wit, special nicknames (mine was alphabet) for our platoon members, humor during mail call, ability to scare the cr-p out of you at any opportunity and too many others. For all of those people commenting about their knowing him, I'm sorry for your loss and share these pictures.
Thank you SGT MAJ Charles "Rigor" Mortis, USMC.
SGT Dave Charbonneau
Platoon 353, 3rd Battalion I Corp
USMC 2571 1966-1970
MarSuptBn Co "K" Correy Station Pensacola ,Florida
NavCommSta Co "G" Sabana Seca, Puerto Rico
Fired On The Hucks
Ref: Newsletter 5/23/13 "Cold War" by Donald J Patterson. I too served in the Cold War era. Knowing my Marine brothers, I feel that few, if any, think lesser of those who served in the Cold War era.
I'm 76 years of age and still have vivid memories of the men I served with and the jobs we did. "Operation Strong Back" was a Cold War operation at the behest of the Philippine government. The 12th Marines went into the field and fired on the HUCKS (commies) up in the mountains. You will not find any written matter about it, but it did happen.
I'm proud to have served in the Corps and re-live some part of it most every day. I've attached a picture of Camp Hannah's (Olongapo Philippines) base camp snack bar run by the little girl ROSA.
Gene Lang 1611645
H&S, 1/12, 3rd Marine Division
Camp Hague, Oki 1956/58
Need some clarification here regarding the letter from Donald J. Patterson titled "Cold War MARINES" He stated:
"We Were the Cold War MARINES - We served after the Korean War and in between the Vietnam War".
I served after the Vietnam War, and before the Gulf War, and as I recall, the Russkies/commies were still considered a threat while I was in. What does that make me and the others I that served with during that time? I have always referred to myself as a Cold War Vet.
L/CPL Lapointe, Louis F.
Crazy Ride For A FNG
I heard a lot of squelch on the intercom when I was flying door gunner in the CH-46's. HMM-263, Gopher Broke. I really thought my very first mission was going to be my last. It was one of those deals where we had to land just the back end of the chopper on the ground, and hover the front.
The very first mission mind you. I was scared sh-tless when I heard the radio man tell the pilot, "Yeah, we have 32 wounded, and one KIA. We are taking direct hits with mortars. They have us zeroed-in. We expect another barrage of mortars the second you touch down."
All I could think about was I hope I die quick! But, the only thing we received was rifle fire. Lots of that. But we didn't take any mortars while on the ground. Talk about adrenaline.
By the way, Sgt, the Corpsman checked that dead Marine for a pulse, and found one! He got me to pump his chest while he did his first trake ever, and we got him to the hospital ALIVE! He blew air into his lungs through the little tube, and I pumped his chest. All that on my very first mission. That was one crazy ride for an FNG!
The Second Game
My daughter, her boyfriend, and I were attending the Angels vs. White Sox game on 18 May at Anaheim Stadium. Of course it was Armed Forces Day and they went all out. All five of the services were well represented and you could feel the emotion in the stadium. They saluted the current members and had all former members remain standing and recognized us as well.
It was a good day for the Angels as they won over my hometown White Sox. (I am an Angels fan). The Game was good, but it was the second game that was really moving. It was a game between the Wounded Warriors from Camp Pendleton and Fort Sam Houston. While we were sitting there at field level the players were introduced, and of course you could see the extent of some of the injuries. Those kids played well on prosthetics! Some errors occurred, but the game was fast paced. I explained to my daughter that some of the troops had brain injuries, and this was a way for all of them to receive physical therapy and play a team sport.
One of the stadium ushers noticed my Marine Corps T-shirt and asked me who I think might win. I told him Both sides! The old Army/Marine rivalry did not even come into my brain housing group as I was watching these heroes play. I added that I was rooting for both sides, and they all made me proud. They make America Proud! He agreed and went about his duties.
Troops on the field at Anaheim Stadium. And my daughter, her boyfriend, and me on the left. Hope you can maryy up the two emails for the newsletter.
The camo Angels hats were given out that day.
God Bless all our Troops.
Drive From My Wheelchair
I got paralyzed in the Marine Corps while rescuing a fellow Marine. Now I'm a quadriplegic and I drive from my wheelchair. Here are some pics of my 2010 wheelchair accessible Dodge Grand Caravan, which I customized to honor America and the Marine Corps!
On 3 May 2013, Bismarck, ND area Marines held their 3rd Annual Recruiter's Day. This was coincidental with Military Appreciation Month. This was started three years ago to show some support for the recruiters. As most recruiters are not stationed near their home of record much less a Marine installation of any sort. So they are really stuck somewhere between Stick and Stump. The closest military installation is Minot Air Force Base. Once again, this was a Marine instituted, hosted, and dominated event.
We cooked out for the area Armed Forces Recruiters. It was attended by the three Marine Recruiters from Bismarck and five Army Recruiters. The Navy and the Air Force were absent since they have relocated out of Bismarck. The rest of the crowd was Marines that dropped in for some chow and to fill up their "Esprit de Corps" tanks by hanging out with other Marines. By the way there was a token Army Viet Nam Huey pilot who ferried a lot of Marines into and out of the bush. There was a head count of about 25-30 people that showed up. Old friendships were renewed, and new friendships formed. The burgers were hot and the stories were tall.
Randy Lehmann/ Sgt/USMC
Photos: 1st: Cpl Dung Nyguen 2/9 cooking, SSgt Simonis RSS Bismarck, GySgt Dupnik RSS Bismarck in the background (L to R) Army Recruiters, Tom the Army pilot, Sgt Dave Shafer 1/3 (back to camera).
2nd Photo: (L to R): Sgt Dave Schafer 1/3, Cpl Dung Nyguen 2/9, GySgt John Dupnik RSS Bismarck, and an Army recruiter.
3rd Photo: (L to R): SgtMaj J J Hunt, SgtMaj Stacy Liebelt, Sgt Adam Miller RSS Bismarck (back to the camera), GySgt Ron Crouse.
4th Photo: (L to R): GySgt Ron Crouse, SgtMaj Stacy Liebelt, unknown Marine, GySgt John Dupnik RSS Bismarck, Cpl Dave Schlect.
A big thanks to Cpl Stephanie Belhovek-Gieger USMC/Unassigned; Cpl Dung Nygyen USMC/Unassigned; Sgt Brandt Bailey USMC/Unassigned; and GySgt John Dupnik, RSS Bismarck for their help, support, cooking skills and donations of chow and utensils.
Sgt Grit's 10th Annual Gritogether
Come join us for a day full of fun, free food, laughter, and memories this Saturday, 1 June 2013, from 1000-1400. The After Party will kickoff at 2000 at the Best Western Plus Saddleback Inn & Conference Center in Oklahoma City.
For more info, visit our Gritogether page.
Blue-eyed Soul Brother
As I said before, I was a 2841 MOS and had it pretty easy in Nam until I mouthed off to my CO, and he sent me to our outpost on Hill 826 (Hai Van Pass) as essentially a Grunt. Days were spent fortifying the bunkers and laying concertina wire around the perimeter (with the occasional patrol through the jungle), and the nights were spent on guard duty at the posts around the hill.
After two weeks or more of this, my squad got a night off from guard duty. Not being used to a lot of sleep at night, I was sitting on my rack in my skivvies loading magazines and making three-packs (two mags pointed up with one pointed down in the middle and bound with electrical tape). That way, with the M-16 on auto, you could zip through 60 rounds in seconds to establis fire superiority. I was just finishing up and set to turn in when it sounded like someone was throwing rocks on the tin roof of the hooch.
I went to the door to stop them and immediately heard bullets zipping by my head and smashing into the rack face behind the hooch. I immediately dropped to the ground, shouted out "ATTACK", jumped into my boots, flak jacket and helmet, and headed back out with my weapon. There was a small boulder about 30 feet from the hooch door where a member of my squad, LCpl. Gibson, was already returning fire to the enemy. I joined him and we both did what we could to hold off Charlie. I asked him how he was doing on ammo and he said he had about a half a magazine left. I had a half mag in my weapon and another full mag. I told him I had more back in the hooch and gave him my full mag.
I headed out from behind our rock as fast as I could in untied boots, grabbed the ammo locker and ran back. Charlie wasn't such a good shot. The muzzle flashes were coming from within 30 yards of our position, and I couldn't run too fast in untied boots plus I went even slower with the footlocker size ammo bo I'm 6'2" and was a bulky 220 lbs. then, in other words, a big target. The bullets were whizzing around me, but none hit home.
We first dropped two frags on Charlie, the first were so close that we got shrapnel blowback around the sides of our rock and then we both strafed the jungle with a 3-pack each. We then switched to semi to pop off more accurate shots. But, by then, we were receiving no return fire - we either wiped them out or scared them off. We remained vigilant since we had heard explosions behind us. A sapper squad got through the perimeter at Post 12 and killed the two Marines on post, and went about throwing satchel charges on anything standing. They took out a few missile launchers and a few sh-tters before they were either eliminated, out, or escaped (I never got the word on what actually went down).
On toward dawn, when there hadn't been any action for an hour or so, Gibson - a Brother from Chicago said, "Man, I didn't think you was coming back, and I was dead!" The thought had never even crossed my mind of not going back. He awarded me my unofficial award and named me an official Blue-eyed Soul Brother. It didn't appear on my DD-214 but I wear it with pride.
Cpl. Bill Reed
Hi Sgt Grit,
Just to let you know I have Platoon books that I have found and have bought. I collect them and give them back to who ever has lost theirs by flood, ex-wife, or fire. So far I have return 6 Platoon books to Marine and still have 138 Books left.
Please let tell your readers that read your Sgt.Grit newsletter online.
My email for them is email@example.com. I have information on our site about how to find there books. I would like to find them a home.
William E. Pilgrim Jr.
U.S.M.C. '72 TO '81
Parris Island Platoon Books
Platoons: 626, 267, 638, sometime in the 50's.
Platoons: 716, 721, 729, sometime in the 50's.
Platoons: 45, 77, 85, 129, 135, 142, 146, 154, 158, 161, 169, 172, 175, 177, 180, 183, 190, 198, 199, 207, 210, 224, 231, 235. These Platoons Graduated sometime in 1951.
Platoons: S-34 , S-35 , S-36 sometime In 51 to 53.
Platoons: 99, 100, 101, 104, 105, 107, Graduated sometime in 51 to 53.
Try calling Parris Island, they may help you (843)-228-1555.
San Diego Platoon Books
Platoons: 179,180,181, between 1952 to 1954.
Platoon: 209 between 1952 to 1954.
Platoons: 269 & 280 between 1952 to 1954.
Platoons: 321 & 322 between 1952 to 1953.
Platoons: 185, 186, (187, Honors Platoon) between 1954 to 1956.
Mr. Pilgrim has many more Platoon Books. We will list them in groups of (5) in each future newsletter until all have been listed.
I was wondering how many of you Marines still remember when they "drummed out" personnel who got BCDs?
I was in Area 22 at mainside Camp Pendleton in 1960 and participated in the formation on the grinder which went something like this:
The battalion was called to attention by the SgtMaj. and the Marine getting booted was escorted front and center where charges were read and the bad conduct discharge also announced. The SgtMaj. then ordered the MPs to "escort this man to the main gate" where he was to be "booted". The battalion was commanded at that time "about face".
It wasn't long after that, that this practice was stopped. Back then, that was the penalty you paid for dishonoring the U.S. Marine Corps.
(I'm 72 now and still mean, just not as lean).
Harford County Marines Have Landed
"Harford County Marines Have Landed". Visiting Walter Reed Hospital to Support Wounded Warriors and their Families.
The Marine Corps League, Harford County Detachment 1198, joined forces with Marines Helping Marines on May 15th at the Walter Reed, Bethesda Naval Hospital. The mission was to help Wounded Warriors and their families of all military branches have a good "home cooked" (grilled) meal.
Marine Detachment members not only contributed 1500 dollars, but also volunteered their time by setting up a cookout just outside of the Wounded Warriors' barracks. The meal included grilled steak, chicken, hamburgers and hotdogs to honor the brave men and women that serve and gave so much to help protect the freedoms that our citizens enjoy.
Cpl. Dave Franz '66 - '72
ShinolA Shoe Polish
When I graduated from boot camp, MCRDSD (1962), I remember having a choice of either Sea Duty or Embassy Duty. I talked to my Senior Drill Instructor (Gunnery Sergeant Venizia) and asked him what his thoughts were on my duty station choices. I remember very clearly his words to me. "Sea Duty is the greatest duty station the Marine Corps can offer you... now, YOU make the choice!"
I attended Sea School at MCRDSD during the early 60's... at the time, Sea School was located near the Southwest corner of the grinder... what an experience! Boot camp, ITR, and Sea School (all during my first 6 months in the Corps). Sea School was the CLEANEST facility I have ever been in. We had "field days" after every meal! And surprise daily inspections with different uniforms called out just before the inspections occurred... "Inspection in 30 minutes... uniform will be modified blues"... panic and chaos ruled! First thing we were instructed to do was remove the "quartermaster" from all your brass... we did this by soaking the brass in ammonia for a few minutes, then the Brasso came out. As I remember, the building's roof must be covered with brass! Anytime a Marine's brass was not up to par, it was YANKED off the uniform and tossed up on the roof. I know I am a contributor to that brass roof top! I thought I could pass one of the daily inspections by using a brand new tie clasp (with the quartermaster still on it)... surprise, surprise, it learned to fly... right up on the roof! DUH! I realized (that moment) that polished brass has a shine that is almost a white glow... and the "brand new" brass looked very yellow... that never happened to me again!
You could tell all of the Sea School recruits by looking at their index and middle fingers... stained by midnight brown ShinolA shoe polish! In those years, you polished the bill on your barracks cover and your shoes (including the soles and instep). I was told that, "If a Sailor ever looked up while a Marine was going up a ladder, he would see the spit shined instep and realize what a squared away Marine he was following..."
We actually stripped the wax off the tiled floor EVERY DAY. I remember using butter knives (from ??) to scrape the wax along the coved base bulkheads and around columns... and applying new floor wax... EVERYTHING was about spit and polish. Our classes included classroom study and "field work" too... we went to the Naval Training Center (NTC) close by and trained there as well. We had Naval Gunnery Classes, flight deck firefighting, structure firefighting, and damage control classes... some of these classes were actually fun as we (Marines) competed against the Sailors... of course, you know who won most of those "contests"... all of our liberties were Cinderella Liberties... we had to be back at Sea School by midnight. Liberty in San Diego was nothing to write home about... or maybe exciting things happened after Cinderella went back to MCRD!
Sea Going USS Princeton LPH5
Weapons Platoon K-3-1
Top Dog On OKI
Say Sgt Grit:
Saw Capt Tyle's letter and we are both talking about the same General. General Barrows was a terrific person, and so were most of the officers I met in the Corps. General Barrows primary driver was an Okinawan Security Guard, but when the General wen to an inter-service competition, his preference was a Marine driver. That was me and not my idea. Top Walker, my section chief volunteered me for everything. I was on duty 7 days a week. Col Wilson L. Cook was a China Marine and I loved that man. On the other hand, I did not like Maj General Wilson, and if anyone is wondering who made WestPac Commander, Lt Gen Jones flag disappear, that would be me. I figured there was only one General whose flag be flown at McTereus(sp) and that would be General Barrows. Maj General Wilson was pizsed that he wasn't top dog on OKI, and had Camp Courtney to command.
Sgt AJ Manos
What Good News
Yes I will always remember where I was at. A good friend and I along with 4 other recruits were taking our oath at the Indianapolis Reserve Headquarters. A reserve Captain had left his civilian job, put on his uniform to administer the oath, and when we swore allegiance to finish the ceremony - the Captain turned to the Gunny and said give 'em the good news and he departed. I asked, "what good news?" Gunny said, "the Marines just landed at Lebanon." I turned to my friend Jerry and said, "what the h-ll are the Marines doing in Lebanon, Indiana?" Shows just how little an 18 year old knows. Lebanon, IN is just 15 miles north of Indianapolis.
1690001 2531 1958 Oct-Dec
PI Platoon 347
Cpl. Bill Carey wrote about the Johnson Rifle and wanted to know if any one of us had shot it. Captain Melvin Johnson, USMCR developed the Johnson rifle and the M1941 Johnson Light Machine Rifle. I have fired these and also another of the USMC's weapons of WWII, the M60 Reising Sub Machine Gun. I have not only fired each of these weapons many times but I also helped destroy a great amount of these when the Marine Corps decided to get rid of them.
The Johnson Rifle was used by the Dutch and maybe by some other countries. I liked the rifle except it was too d-mn bulky to me The Light Machine Gun was pretty good, but nothing and I have to say it again, NOTHING could match the Browning Machine Guns. I heard stories from guys who used the Johnson in combat situations and preferred the M1. If the Johnson Rifle was held lightly in the hands at waist level the recoil energy was insufficient to operate the rifle. It had to be held tight to help the recoil energy to operate the rifle, and the magazine area could be dented with all the flopping down to fire, and that played h-ll with the feeding of ammo.
The Reising Gun jammed easily with sand and dirt. If you have ever fired the .22 Reising Guns in training, you held almost the same thing except it was .45 Colt Auto Pistol. The Marine Corps only had a few thousand and maybe more, but like the Reising Gun they were lined up on a concrete apron with a guy with a cutting torch at the top of the line cutting down the line of the barrels, and a cutting torch on the bottom cutting up through the receiver, then swept into a pile and sold for scrap.
The reason for no support was all the American arms factories were churning out all the M1's, Brownings, and Colt M1911A1's they could. Johnson's factory wasn't big enough to produce enough of his rifles to supply demand if they had accepted it.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau,
Proud To Be Marines
"Sir. Permission to speak to the Drill Instructor, Sir!"
"Speak, you F-cking skin head!"
"Sir, Pvt. Butler would like permission to get out of this chicken sh-t outfit. Sir, I want to be an Ex-Marine."
"You Candy Azs Boots just don't get it, do you? Volunteered Sh-tHead! You wanted to be a Marine? Why, you wouldn't make a pimple on a Marine's Azs. You can't get out. Your mine. You did this to yourself, you miserable mama's boy. You are my F-cking boy now. I'm your F-cking Mama."
Oh God! What have I done to myself?
"Now, here's the skinny. Square away or I'll have your Azs in simple city. Police this F-cking area. Knock off the F-cking grab-azs. If I catch anyone with pogey bait his azs is mine. Now, Butler here wants you all to have mail call on the mountains again tonight. Maybe Butler will trip over a locker box tonight and get a little bloodied up. 223 outside! Survive the eighteen weeks and you get to call yourself a Marine, and everyone else calls you a Marine. I must be a Marine. You are a Marine. It took eighteen weeks to change you into a Marine. You will never change back into non-Marines. It's inside you. It's all over your character. You can taste it. You are in the Crotch forever. The only classifications of Marines are, Active & Inactive. You see once you're in this wonderful, and proud chickensh-t outfit, you can't get out. And besides, who would want to? We are all proud to be Marines."
PFC Jerome Butler
4.2 Mortar Co. 3rd Marines, 3rd Mar. Div
Middle Camp Gotemba, Japan 1954-55
Camp Lejeune, 1943
I found a book sold in the PX at Camp LeJeune in 1943. I scanned a couple pages in case you would like to show them so Boots could see what we had in those Good Old Days. By the way I listed it on ebay in case any one might want it.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC
Old C-Rat Stories
When all else failed; we split open those unused powder bags from our howitzer to heat our meals; one or two pellets only.
Greg Ladesich 1st. 8" Howitzer Battery
Viet Nam '67/'68
We used a small amount of C-4 very often. Another alternative was to sit the chow on the manifold of a jeep, mighty mite, or 6x6 with the engine running! In a few minutes you had hot food.
2nd B, 1st Mar Div
Everybody seemed to like the beanie-w--nies (pork & beans with franks). I liked the scrambled eggs. Put some cheese from the little tin that came with the crackers, the little bread roll in the can... punch some holes on the top and add a little water. Being Tankers, we carried a whole lot of extra goodies. We had the old gasoline powered M-48's, so we cranked up the engine and put the C-rats on the muffler stacks and had hot chow, water for coffee, chocolate, or for shaving or drying wet clothes in minutes.
We had a CO that was a re-thread from supply or somewhere. He decided to go out with us on my tank. We had carried a whole case of C-rats on the gypsy rack and when we stopped for chow he asked for the C-rats case. I had my gunner jump up and bring it down. We all thought he would give us first choice (as any officer would do with his men), but he wanted first choice. He opened the case and rummaged through all of the boxes trying to find one with beans and franks. He couldn't find one so he settled for lima beans and ham... Aarrgghh! Bbaarrff! So when he opened his chow we all pulled out our beans & franks from the sponson boxes (equipment boxes on the side of the fenders), and all he did was just look at us with disdain, but didn't say a word. We all just about choked on our chow trying not to laugh.
By the same token, sometime later we passed this grunt column and a LT. flagged us down. We stopped, he jumped up on the tank and asked if we could spare some water for his men. He knew we carried (2) 5-gallon Jerry cans, so we filled up all of their canteens. Obviously, he had worked with tankers before, because he asked me directly... "CPL. I know you have some extra C-rats, chocolate bars, and peach cans on your tank. How about a few?" He knew we were scroungers and appreciated us, so I dropped inside the turret, reached in behind our radios, and gave him about three candies and three or four tins of peaches. He tapped me on my helmet and said, "Boy I know you f-cking tankers carry everything and anything... Thanks Marine!" Then he jumped off and passed out the stuff among his troopies.
CPL. (Tank Cmdr. Y-13)
H&S Co. Flame Tanker
1st. Tank Bn.
1st. Mar. Div. FMF
My favorite "C" rations were Ham and mothers (ham & Lima Beans) as they would always last longer in duration if we were on a long sweep than other rations, or beef spiced with sauce. Always a dash of Tabasco was of course added to give them the "just right" taste.
We usually always heated regular rations with a marble sized chunk of C4 placed in a B2 can converted into the standard Marine Stove with our P38 opener. Rations would cook in around 45 seconds rather than the regular 3 minutes or more. A canteen cup for coffee would require a ball of C4 an inch in size, sometimes a tad more, but it would also boil in short order, add 3 coffee packets and enjoy a great cup of coffee. Or, add a packet of chocolate to it for coffee / chocolate as we never heard of a Mocha back out in the boonies.
We always heated a Beef Spiced with sauce then drained the juices or spooned the contents (probably mostly grease) onto the crackers. Meanwhile, we would get a can of bread, make small openings in 4 corners of the lid, add around 1 canteen cap of water and steam it with a heat tab (Troxene) to cook it slowly rather than C4 so it wouldn't burn, or explode from steam expansion when the bread swelled and plugged the holes in the lid. We made the stove with the usual B2 can converted into a stove by cutting vent holes in it with our trusty P38. Man oh Man, were we proud of our Marine cuisine. Late at night I still think of the tastes.
Semper Fi, My Brothers!
When I was with 9th Engr. Bn. in 1967/68 I had a sundry pack in my C-Rations which had the cigarette pack. At that time, Hertz car rental had come out with camo buttons saying "We're No. 1" and Avis had camo buttons with "We try harder" which they had distributed to some of the troops in Vietnam. The cigarette pack which I had with three cigarettes was a green pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes. I thought they were doing the same type of thing as Hertz and Avis. Well, I smoked in those days and I lit up one out of this pack and it tasted awful. It was stale, dry and terrible, so I threw the rest of the pack away. Well, I should have kept it. The last time Lucky Strikes had been in a green pack was in 1943, when they had the slogan "Lucky Strike Greens go to war". The rest of the C-Rations were all right. I lived.
Norman (Mickey) Ryan
Favorite wieners and beans. My least favorite sausage, patties. Especially when there were no tanks around, because that was the only way we had to warm them, sticking into tanks tailpipe.
Nothing worse than congealed fat in the sausage.
Tabasco sauce is one fine addition to the grunt's rucksack. During the Nam War those pallets of C's were almost always accompanied by several cases of Tabasco sauce. And, when you are faced with the same 12 meals for months at a time, it helped us to add a little zest.
As the C's began to change, Ham and Lima's got even worse. The "ham" was some sort of whitish gristle, there was a tired name that soon appended to the ration. We never had enough heat tabs to properly heat the meals (I was never fond of a pinch of C-4, quick hot and tasted like plastic).
The MRE's seem like a good ration, but like all field chow, would get monotonous. MRE's are far lighter, three days, six meals of C's were danged heavy, and that after throwing out the cocoa powder and uneatable types like chopped eggs.
Being clever, I use to hoard those little flat cans of peanut butter and cheese for something to do on hole watch. I didn't do that often, couldn't stand the adventure.
Remember filling canteens from rainwater caught on our ponchos? Had a danged odd taste. Remember the little Hersey Tropical bars? Interesting concept, but not real good.
Lordy, but we were tough kids.
Dear Sgt Grit,
I occasionally heated my C-rations by sticking them in the exhaust of the tanks we were advancing with. I was a radioman assigned to a line company, and often was near the tanks. I remember once my C-ration got wedged in the exhaust. I watched it expand and finally blow. Not a pretty sight. I didn't know if the tankers would be unhappy that night or not, but I wasn't around to find out. Otherwise I can't remember how I heated C-rations.
Jerry McCandless 1430669 Sgt
3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 1st Marine div.
Relative to your request for comments regarding "C-rations" and or "MRE's". I was wondering why you didn't go back further and ask about we old salts that had to deal with "K-rations". I was in Amtracs with the 4th MarDiv in the South Pacific in WWII, and this is what we had to deal with. For you gyrenes who were lucky enough to move up the food chain, I will enlighten you.
K's came in what looked like an oversized cracker jack box with an olive drab wax paper to keep them dry and "fresh". They contained several different menu items plus a package of 3 cigarettes, a chocolate "energy bar" and a stick of gum. The menu items were in metal cans about the size of a small tuna can, and were easily opened with your GI can opener. Being a young Marine with no vices (at the time), I traded my cigarettes for sticks of gum.
However, I would like to focus on the chocolate "energy" bar. I think the reason they called it an energy bar is because that's what it took to consume it. It was so hard that a Ka-Bar would not even put a dent in it. Fortunately, being in Amph-tracs, I was able to put it in my canteen cup and set it on the muffler of the engine and hope the bar would melt before the cup! I will say that on Saipan, after the dogfaces moved in and set up a supply area, they had a new (at least to us) ration called 10- in-one. It is amazing what hunger will do to you, and contrary to my Christian upbringing, I along with several of my buddies was forced to do some "moonlight requisitioning". Thus enabling me to keep up my strength for Tinian and Iwo.
10th Amtrac Bn.
Leave The DA
I turned 17 on Nov. 13, 1953 and by Dec. 1, 1953, I was being screamed at, cursed at, and spit at. That is how close the DI's face was to my face. He called me every foul name he could think of, and some he made up as he went along. Everything we did was at double time. Filled out more forms, undressed leaving only our underwear (skivvies) on, and leaving our civilian clothes in a brown paper bag with our name and address printed on it so it can be mailed home. We ran through a very fast physical, there were a few Sgts. who took our measurements and yelled them out, the article they measured came flying over a wall that was behind a long counter. As we ran past this long counter we got hit with boots, jackets, trousers, and all the clothing we were issued was thrown over that wall and we had to gather them up on a run.
Picture this, about 76 scared, tired and hungry kids trying to stand at attention with both arms full of clothes. Remember we are still in our skivvies and we are going to get our hair cut. The first kid in line was asked how he wanted his hair to be cut, to which he answered, "trim the sides, clean the neck and leave the DA." Well you had to see all our faces when the barber put the electric cutter on top of his forehead and went right down to his neck leaving a ridge in the middle of his head, the barber looked at us with a smile and then cut off all the hair leaving him looking like a peach. Remember, this was all happening under a constant barrage of screams and in your face curses. That's when I said to myself, "What the h-ll am I doing here?"
Peter J Lazzaro 1423281
Trimeresurus, aka: Green viper, pit viper, bamboo viper... I don't care what you call them. I didn't like 'em, stayed clear.
On Of Many Memories
May 23, 2013 Sgt. Grit Newsletter.
The "Jungle Comic Strip" featured in you May 23, 2013 Newsletter about a Marine talking to his buddy who he thought was behind him, but was instead in the body of a python hanging from a tree brought back one of many memories that I'd like to share.
It was in the fall of 1965 during monsoon season. I was a PFC chosen to be point man to lead our company Kilo 3/9 through the rice paddies in I Corp Danang, South Vietnam to a new position. As we walked on the rice paddy dykes, there were punji stick traps to step over, and of course the VC to watch for as well.
Suddenly out of nowhere was the face of a very large python about 5 feet in front of me coming out of the rice paddy to my right and crossed the dyke into the paddy to my left. At that point I lowered my M14 and froze. I recalled the only time I ever saw anything like this was at the Philadelphia zoo.
Thoughts raced through my mind, do I shoot it? If I shoot it, will it come around and attack us? Will Charlie hear the shots? Do I step over it with the possibility that the Marines behind me might kick or trip on it? I decided to let it pass.
In the meantime, the radioman behind me with a PRC 10 got a call from the Skipper in the rear wanting to know why I stopped a Company of Marines. The radioman said snake, and passed the word back. The more the word was passed back you could hear snickers by Marines that did not see the snake. It seemed liked forever before the python passed, I kept wondering is it going to circle us and attack? It had to be around 20 foot long, and as wide as a tire.
When I read the cartoon I Googled pythons in Vietnam and saw what looked liked what I encountered. It was a Burmese Python, one of the 6th largest snakes in the world. They like to hang in trees, and rice paddies to eat the rats.
We finally got to our destination and our Skipper, Captain John Hart immediately approached me and wanted to know why I stopped for a snake and held the entire Company up. I explained to him what I mentioned above, and he said it was the right decision.
Captain Hart then ordered everyone to get settled in for the night. When he saw Marines getting in some pre-dug foxholes he ordered them to dig new fox holes. The Marines complained amongst themselves because they were tired and didnâ€™t see the point, but obeyed his command.
Once it was dark, the monsoon rain began to fall really hard, and all hell broke loose. Hand grenades were tossed into the existing fox holes by the VC and they attacked. Thank God for our genius Skipper Captain Hart, he saved many lives by ordering that new fox holes be dug that night.
Also, God Bless the Helicopter crew and door gunner that flew in to evacuate our wounded in a heavy down poor of rain under heavy fire from the V.C. It was a long night for Kilo 3/9, one of many we will all remember for the rest of our lives.
Cpl. Joe Matyasik
Plt. 150 Parris Island June-August 1964
Bravo Co. 1st Battalion 1st Marine Division
Kilo Co. 3rd Battalion 9th Marines 3rd Marine Divison
Stuck On Okinawa
Once again reading an excellent copy of the Sgt. Grit newsletter. I saw a couple of stories I wanted to respond to. First off Ms. Elizabeth McKnight, you are a part of the Marine Corps family now with your daughter being a U.S. Marine. You have raised her to do what she believes is right, and you suffered through boot camp with her as only a mother can. Stand tall and be proud.
L/Cpl Gose, when I went to boot camp in 1970 at MCRD San Diego within a very short period of time the entire plt was required to know the Marines' Hymn. We were required to sing it each night for our D.I.'s as we laid in our racks. It was their goodnight Hymn. Later on when I became a D.I. I also wanted all of the ladies to know the Marines' Hymn in total. My purpose was to instill pride in their young bodies for what they were becoming a part of for the rest of their lives. Any Marine should know all of the words to the Marines' Hymn, now being able to sing is a different issue.
Sgt. Mirable, I agree with you that every person who served during Vietnam signed that blank check to Uncle Sam and the United States Marine Corps. The one thing that still makes me mad as H-ll is that we were willing to sweat, bleed and die for our Country and Corps. We would serve anywhere at any time no matter what because we are Marines, and we said we were willing when we enlisted. The problem was the United States Government failed us. They left us out there hanging. They did not have our six. I was not able to get in Country, and like you spent some time on Okinawa and from there did a deployment off the coast of Vietnam. I wanted to be in Country and attempted to get there, but even as a grunt it was the wrong time. 1971, most were stuck on Okinawa and only a few went on through to Vietnam.
Semper Fi response Semper Fi â€“ do or die, Semper Fi - Ooh Ra Semper Fi - Semper Fi. There are a few generally acceptable response's to our greeting of Semper Fi. When I am told thank you for your service or something along those lines, I just simply say thank you. It is a personal thing we each need to respond to in our own way with whatever feels right. I make sure to say thank you for your service, and welcome home to the individuals I can ID as Veterans.
SSgt. Joseph E. Whimple
U.S.M.C. 2-1970 / 12-1976
A grunt at heart.
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted: by MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #5, #3, (MAR., 2015)
In mid Jan. 1966, HMM-363 was involved in operation VAN BUREN whereas they lifted a recently arrived U.S. ARMY's 1st Brg, 101st Abn. Infantry Batt. from Tuy Hoa area southwest at CQ0542.
Many of the helicopter units now in Country were involved in the deployment and re-deployment from one location to another during this time period. It seemed like just a matter of putting out fires where they would flare up, and of course, all the units wanted the "High Ground". From this shuffling came such operations as Double Eagle, Utah, and Texas just to name a few. Now, I might add that after each operation we had to fly medevac's, resupplies, and also extractions. So, our exposure time was pretty high up there.
The initial LZ for operation UTAH was on Rt. 527, about seven miles East of Rt. 1 and in the center of a five village complex named Chau Nhai. Despite a good prep from USAF and USMC jets, the first landing at 0900 was met with 12.7mm fire. Within 10 minutes, all four armed VMO-6 UH-1E's were hit, and one shot down. This crew was evacuated. Ten of the 20 UH-34's from HMM-261 and HMM-364 were hit. MAG-36 grabbed 16 UH-34's from HMM-363 and by 1030 the ARVN Batt. was in the zone. Reinforced by a squadron from MAG-16, three MARINE Companies were inserted by 1300. Several UH-34's were hit and one crashed in the LZ.
During the afternoon, infantry from the 7th MARINES made heavy contact with two NVA Battalions. The fighting was very intense for the rest of the day, and night. Numerous resupply and medevac missions were flown by HMM-261, HMM-363, and HMM-364 escorted by VMO-6 gunships. The NVA were especially active when a helicopter arrived to support one of the ground units.
I want to add here again, as I have in some of the preceding articles, that this information is from many sources and is not meant to be construed as totally from me. All of the info in this segment was recorded in the Vietnam Helicopter Association publication under the heading "History Information for HMM-363" and posted by a number of different authors.
Reading L.H. Marshall's comment on Pendleton barbers, brought to mind a couple of bits involving personal services... that being services performed on one's person... and there are no barbers in the world quite like the female barbers at far eastern tonsorial parlors like the ones at Campu Schwabu (northern most camp on Okinawa... not counting the NTA). Oki, having changeable weather most of the year, alternating between warm/humid, and humid/warm, the weekly high and tight was a welcome few minutes. First off, the barber shop at the PX was air-conditioned... at a time when little else, save the chapel, was, and secondly, after the barber shaved around the hairline with what amounted to a throw-away single blade razor, they would follow with rubbing alcohol, and a neck massage, in which they used the knife-edge of both hands, and managed to make a clapping sound as they lightly pummeled your neck and shoulders... brief period of bliss... the former tin-can ship's-serviceman barber who has been over-charging me on alternate Wednesdays for several years hasn't got a clue. (He claims part of his fee is based on the amount of time he has to spend searching for enough hair to cut). Which brought to mind the barber shop at the Stumps back in the 60's... four chairs, maybe six, but not a big place, and the head barber, first chair on the right, was Ernie. I think Ernie had been cutting hair on the base since it was an Army Air Corps glider pilot training base in WWII, and there was no point in asking Ernie where HE got HIS hair cut, because he didn't have any. He did, however, always wear a brown paper sack, folded into a flat-top, square cap... and his hands shook... all the time... and in the days before AIDS and who knows what, barbers used straight razors to shave round the ears and the back of the neck...
So you've drawn the first chair, and here's Ernie, with a freshly stropped straight razor, about to delicately scrape off hair and the top four molecules of skin in near proximity to your jugular vein, with sick bay being three blocks away... he would put his non-razor hand on top of your head... I guess the idea was that with both hands shaking at the same frequency and amplitude, that he could achieve syncopation... or something. Never did get cut... the current guy buys styptic powder in 40# bags...
Next to Marine Barracks at NAF Naha was a Dental clinic... Navy dentists, dental techs (Corpsmen), and for some reason, one female civilian dental hygienist. This young lady was a doe- eyed lovely Eurasian, demure, feminine as only such a hybrid can be, and unlike most of her sisters in the area, somewhat well- endowed in the superstructure area... and in pursuing her zeal to remove every last bit of calculus from the fangs of her patients, would naively have them rotate their heads in the general direction of those superstructures. (I think she was also dating one of the dentists, but mox nix). Preventative dental care was big on the Medical Department's list, and it was only necessary to walk over to the clinic and make an appointment for a cleaning. I would bet that the 26 Marines in the Port Section routinely had some of the cleanest teeth west of Hawaii...
A while back, I posted a story about Lorton Berry. He had been in the Navy, 1940-46. Was attached to the 1st Mar Div, communications, in the Pacific. Served at Guadalcanal, Tinian and Peleliu, to name a few. Knew "Chesty". When I met him, he said he was missing some medals and one was purple. I contacted Rep. Marsha Blackburn in TN. Took a while, but her office was in contact with his daughter. And, a gentleman from Memphis Honor Flights contacted me, via Sgt. Grit. Thanks, Sgt.
As luck would have it, he fell in the parking lot at a Dollar Store. Passed away a few months ago. He was 89, I think.
Saw him a few weeks before he passed. Said he got most of his medals, but was still missing some. His daughter showed me the frame with the medals that he had. She pointed out that he was most proud of "this one".
"This one", was a small plaque, about 2" X 3". An award for being a Codetalker. My jaw dropped! Never dreamt in a million years I would ever meet one. Didn't get a chance to talk with him about that. He was bedridden at that time.
Would like to mention, his daughter told me he saw the movie "Windtalkers". He didn't like that name. He said the part where the Marine was supposed to kill the codetalker, if captured, was BS. And the few times I did get to chat with him, he always said "the Japanese". Not like "J-ps" when I was a kid.
My hearty thanks to Sgt.Grit. Keeping Marines, Marines!
All the stories about Beirut (or the "Root") reminded me that there is an organization called the Beirut Veterans of America. Membership is available for anyone who served there between 1958-1984. I was a part of Operation Fluid Drive in 1976 when we evacuated all the US citizens out of Beirut.
I believe the correct quote by Army General J. W. Vessey, Jr. Chairman JCS was "We have two Marine companies running rampant over the northern half of this island, and three Army regiments pinned down in the southwestern corner, doing nothing. What the h-ll is going on?"
This, of course, was on the island of Grenada.
I was in the Corps from '56 to '59. When someone said Semper Fi, we answered, "Till I Die or Do or Die." Have I become so old that I am "remembering" wrongly.
I went through boot in Aug. 1956 at MCRD. We had to go to Camp Elliot (the Rifle Range) to qualify on the M-1. At that time, Camp Elliot was located inland from Torrey Pines.
'56-'62 (Thai/Laos 1959)
Here's to all our brother warriors, still with us and not with us. God bless them all and God bless America... Have a great Memorial Day, and hoise one for those whom we will always cherish in our memories...
John Velar WW2
I was just copied on an email and the following phrase was used. I have not heard it before, but it makes some since.
"49th Marines... (those of us that live above the 49th Parallel... in Canada)."
I know we have a lot of customers in Canada. This is just my own guess, but I imagine more Canadians crossed the border and enlisted in the Marine Corps during Vietnam, than cowardly Americans who escaped across the border the other way.
I am the author of 3 books and this page provides details about the content. All my books are based on non-fiction stories relating to the Marine Corps.
"Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them."
--Thomas Jefferson (1775)
"Find the enemy that wants to end this experiment (in American democracy) and kill every one of them until they're so sick of the killing that they leave us and our freedoms intact."
"Marines don't know how to spell the word defeat."
"Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."
--General James Mattis
"In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
"Close it up, close it up, azsholes to belly button, azsholes to belly button."
"You little maggot, I'm gonna screw your head off and sh-t in the hole!"
"YOU! YOU! Do I look like a female sheep boy!"
"You look like Alley-Oop with a head full of hair-er!"
"Are you looking at me boy?"
"Yeah you are, I think you like me" "Do you like me boy?"
(no good answer here so you say YES SIR).
"You like me?"
"Liken' leads to loven' and loven' leads to f-ck'n. "You want to
f--k me boy?"
(And round we go).