Your newsletter is GREAT!
I was at Camp Fuji McNair Japan in 1954 to 1955. My outfit was K-4-12, 3rd Marine Division and I drove a 2-1/2 ton truck. We conducted maneuvers all over that area. At that time, McNair was all tents except for the quonset huts which were the head and showers. All roads leading to Camp McNair was dirt, and we supplied fuel to Fuji View Hotel in 50 gallon drums.
We gassed up our vehicles by hand pumps and boy it was very cold in the winter. We also were not allowed to have the potbelly stoves on overnight. The story goes that someone fell asleep in a sleeping bag and the tent burned down, he died in that fire, so the stove was out at taps and you could only put the sleeping bag over the top of you and use it as a blanket not get into it!
I have attached some pictures that I took with my (Box Camera) hope you enjoy them and that someone out there remembers Camp McNair!
CPL. USMC (the old Corps)
Richard D Tobin
Marine Corps Heritage
I was in from '89-'94. I was an 0311 by trade and enjoyed every minute of it. My wife was asking me the other day, why I still felt so strongly about my Marine Corps Heritage. I promptly went to YouTube and pulled up a video called "Army Drill Sergeant vs. Marine Corps Drill Instructor". Now you know, the video was only six minutes and the first half was Army. After about 40 seconds of watching our team, she gave me my phone back and said that she could not take that anymore.
After a moment I told her, "That's why. I earned it"
Cpl Britt, C. F.
Senior Class Trip
Plt. 103, MCRD 1967, Honor Platoon. The amazing thing is, our platoon was made up of reservists and a group of Marines from Peru. All the drill instructors were Spanish speaking, so most of our commands were in Spanish. I went on to spend my senior class trip in Viet Nam (18 months) with 1st Marine Div., 7th. Com. Support Co.
Sgt. Michael O. Crowe
I enjoy reading the newsletter. To H. W. Kennedy: I was in the Corps from 1962-1965. I remember and fired all of those weapons. The Quonset Huts at Parris Island had wooden floors that were always too noisy to the DI due to the creaking sound they made when the fire watch was on patrol. I was lucky I didn't get the M-1 thumb. At that time, we had footlocker drill also, which was discarded due to all of the injuries. Although things have changed, more mentoring etc., the United States Marine Corps will always be a Brotherhood in its own right.
Semper Fi Devil Dogs
We Ain't Stayin' Here
Speaking of our first Marine Corps breakfasts on PI, this was my fondest memory. After the long overnight train rides to the bus trip arrival in the pre-dawn darkness to that forever unforgettable moment when we heard those earth-shattering screams welcoming us to h-ll. It was all a blur from the point we set foot on PI. Shots in both arms, haircuts (just a trim please), boots being thrown at your head while getting all of your utilities, and attempting to get it all stuffed into your sea bag. Like cattle being driven to slaughter and most of us still in shock, we followed each other for fear of being lost or worse. Finally, the mob of recruits dragging their gear were herded toward the mess hall. At last! We're going to be fed after enduring starvation all this time.
I normally like to eat everything, so that's what my plan was right up until the hollering started right behind my newly lowered ears. My once all-you-can-eat, overfull tray was no longer. I was ordered to put all of that food back because "Sweetheart! We ain't stayin' here all d-mn day to watch you eat that! Put it all back, grab a carrot and get your azs out that door into formation!"
Sgt. Dave Charbonneau
USMC 2571 1966-1970
An Old Chief and An Old Gunny
An old Chief and an old Gunny were sitting at the VFW arguing about who'd had the tougher career.
"I did 30 years in the Corps," the Gunny declared proudly, "and fought in three of my country's wars. Fresh out of boot camp I hit the beach at Okinawa, clawed my way up the blood soaked sand, and eventually took out an entire enemy machine gun nest with a single grenade. As a Sergeant, I fought in Korea along side Chesty. We pushed back the enemy inch by bloody inch all the way up to the Chinese border, always under a barrage of artillery and small arms fire. Finally, as a Gunny, I did three consecutive combat tours in Vietnam. We humped through the mud and razor grass for 14 hours a day, plagued by rain and mosquitoes, ducking under sniper fire all day and mortar fire all night. In a fire fight, we'd fire until our arms ached and our guns were empty, then we'd charge the enemy with bayonets!"
"Ah," said the Chief with a dismissive wave of his hand, "all shore duty, huh?"
Marine Hada in the last newsletter raised a question about emblems, specifically why one of his emblems has a banner. I can't answer that, but how many of you Old Corps readers remember that our emblems featured unfouled anchors?
Bob Rader #1405---
I wanted to leave a comment on your story about Cyla Barron Huber. This is my beautiful daughter. Everything in the article is so true... but they didn't say what a wonderful daughter she's been. A true patriot!
I don't know if this will get through to y'all. Anyhow, it is 01:59, can't sleep and am reading Sgt. Grit. I saw the entry about SSgt "Rigor" Mortis. If this is the same Marine, I served with him in Viet Nam in '65. 3rd Marine Amphibious Force, Amtracks, LVTP5A1s. He said he was a DI.
We had some good times, not counting getting hit with mortar fire or my track hitting a landmine. I think Mortis picked up a purple heart from mortar fire.
Sgt. Michael H. Semones
Got the Baby Onesies for my new grandson, who is also the son of a Marine. The "Shhh, I'm on Crib Recon" brought huge smiles to my wife and I. We've been together since I was a Lance Corporal in '75. Most likely we'll see a third generation Marine, if we keep this up!
Response to "The best D.I. cadence I heard". In Aug. and Sept. of 1970 at MCRD there was a black DI who would call a cadence that everyone heard on the parade deck". I can remember the name of that Drill Instructor. His name was SSGT James and I had the pleasure of becoming a Marine under him.
Sgt P. Smith
While deployed to GTMO (B-1/10) with the Special Mission Force (SMF)in 1973-'74, every newly-arriving Marine Officer was assigned to the JAG investigation of the wrecked PC. Near as I remember, that PC was involved in an accident in 1969 (maybe earlier).
We left that PC at Camp Bulkeley when we returned to CONUS in January 1974. I wonder if that PC is still there and if the investigation was ever closed.
No problem getting the 10 percent discount (max purchase of 500 dollars, each checkout). Present your active duty/reserve/retired ID, or take your discharge certificate (DD 256 MC): get it reduced to wallet-size and laminated at (Staples, Office Max, Office Depot) and present it for your 10 percent. I never had any problems at Home Depot or Lowes.
Joe Kerke, 1972-2011
Cpl. Huber: the "best" pic I've seen! Ya'll didn't even have a newsletter when I started shopping at Sgt Grit.
Just a reminder that the 68th anniversary of the landing on Iwo Jima took place on Feb 19th, 1945. I was a member of the 5th Marine Division at that time. I am 90 years old and still a United States Marine. I hope that on Feb 19th, 2013, Iwo Jima gets some well needed recognition.
PltSgt A.D. Winters
He Stopped Me
Recently I was stopped in Mississippi by a city cop. He had an Eagle, Globe, and Anchor tattoo on the middle aspect of this right forehand. I'm proud of my Marine Corps Service 1972-121279. He stopped me because my AZ lic. plate. Yet, when I asked him about the Corps? He replied that he was a Sgt. in the Marine Infantry? I told him that in my Marine Corps there was no infantry. Result: He gave me a ticket and stripped my truck inside out.
1st BN, 8th Mar, 2nd MARDIV.
CPL. Mendana, J.
In March of 1963, Twenty-nine Palms was my first duty station after boot camp, ITR and Construction Electrician school at Port Hueneme, CA. After reporting in and getting 41 days of FNG mess duty I was assigned to Charlie Battery, 2nd LAAM Bn. I hated "The Stumps" (and working on generators). I wanted to go to Okinawa but I didn't get the billet that came available, so I extended a year for Basic Electronics School at MCRD San Diego.
The Corps and I were not really compatible, but when I thought about two more years at 29 Palms or three more years in the Corps, the decision was an easy one. H-ll, at the time, I was only eighteen years old. When anyone asks me what 29 Palms was like, I always told them it was 998 square miles of 998 square miles. I've since discovered the base is only 931.7 square miles. I've talked to Marines who loved it there, but for me it was the azshole of creation.
Jerry D. 5912/1141 2020286
Emblems for both Blues and Greens added the banner as official production sometime late 50's or 1960.
Your gold emblem appears to be for the barracks cover. My boot camp (Oct-Dec '61) issued green cover emblem was w/o the banner. I believe the supply system was just purging items out of the system, vice dumping emblems. Most uniform changes have a phase in or out date.
All this occurred when L/Cpl was a new rank. SSgt's were E-5 pay grade, and the enlisted had two new E-8 and E-9 pay grades. A few years later the Corps did away with tropical summer uniforms.
MSgt USMC ret
In response to Howard Hada's question about the streamer with "Semper Fidelis" inscribed on it on the Marine Corps Emblem. The emblem itself as is was adopted in 1868, but the emblem as worn on uniforms is without the streamer. No explanation is given. They are very rare but you can find emblems as pictured in Howard's picture, but they are not for use or wear on uniforms.
Coach Gary L. Murray Sr.
Next To My Father
I know all Marines think their Senior Drill Instructor was the meanest, toughest, and best of them all, but when it comes to great cadence calling I'm sure that the late, great Sgt. Francis Xavier Muldowney had 'em all beat! It was a beautiful song that inspired all the members of Platoon 235 (July-September '65) to pick 'em up and set 'em down!
Sgt. Mul also had refined cursing to an art form! He went on to distinguished service as Platoon Sgt. and Company Gunny with India 3/9. Next to my father he was the most influential man in my life! RIP!
The Marines Had Landed
You may have heard by now via the news, but a member of our church, Elbert Wood's, a decorated WWII Marine, house was broken into while he was at the doctors a few days back. The cowardly thug p-nks (they caught 'em) trashed his house of 55 years, and spray painted the inside and generally just made a mess of it. He just buried his wife this month, and being 92, sure plays havoc with your emotions and health. I just live down the street, and like I said, he is a member of our church, our pastor called us to let us know about the incident. I hopped on my Harley and rode over to see if an old, deaf, dumb, and blind man could be of any assistance. I needn't have worried, the MARINES had landed!
There were about a dozen or more active duty Marines inside his house, as well as the media and a dozen contractors, all there to help. I made my way into the house, and it was wall to wall Marines. I saw Mr. Wood sitting in his easy chair talking to a LtCol, active duty. I nodded to all the Marines in uniform, and decided there was nothing I could contribute. One of the Marines stopped me, he was a Chief Corpsman. He noticed my "COLORS", American legion Patch, US Navy patch, Patrol Squadron 31 patch and Patriot Guard Patch, and wanted to thank me for my service. I thanked him for his service, and we jawed awhile about the Navy and Marines. I was in and out of the Navy, before he was born, '65-'69. Most of my friends are retired Marines, my stepdad was a Marine in WWII with Chesty Puller in Shanghai.
I believe we are all where we are supposed to be, and things turn out for the better, but I always have this hollow feeling knowing I wasn't a Marine! I did serve in the Navy, and did my job in support of, but there is no finer branch than the Marines. One of the Marines at Mr. Woods' house said, what all Marines say, "he wasn't going to leave this Marine behind".
So, all told, the contractors are going to rebuild Mr. Woods house from the studs out, he will have a whole house generator, new ac, new wiring, everything. One of the bathrooms had been inoperable for some time, plus the ac hadn't worked in years. (Don't know how he could stand it, but then he is a Marine after all). And while the job is being done, he will be staying at a retirement home, no charge, plus a limo service has offered to take him anywhere he wants to go, anytime! The radio station 740, has collected more than 50,000 dollars in just a few hours, and I suspect it is still pouring in.
Just thought I'd pass this along, the Marines take care of their own, so does the community.
Marine Nightfighter Association
Hey, all you former nightfighter personnel, the Marine Nightfighter Assoc. is having their annual reunion May 22 - May 26, in Springfield, IL, at the Springfield Hilton. All nightfighter personnel are welcome, might meet some old buddies.
For more information contact Rene Wattelet at (217) 325-3576 or Frenchflyer[at]msn.com.
S/Sgt. Rene Wattelet (1949 - '53)
Korea VMF (N) 513 (08/1950 - 11/ 1951)
Battle of the Blimp Hangar
Upon returning from Viet Nam, I was sent to the base nearest my home of record which was MCAS Santa Ana (known by some as LTA, Lighter Than Air) for discharge. I was sent to MABS 56 and re- enlisted. As there was no billet for me, they had no idea what to do with me.
While waiting for orders, I had been given busy work which included guard duty. I thought to myself, how hard can this be? Who would steal a helicopter or a hangar, especially in the middle of Southern California?
LTA has two of the most massive wooden blimp hangars in the world and I was picked to guard the inside. I was given a shotgun, four rounds, and four hours (midnight to four) to make sure all was well. There were no aircraft in the hanger at the time so I was content to walk my post from flank to flank and take no sh-t from any rank. Both massive doors were closed at each end of the hanger so it was quiet.
About fifteen minutes into my stint, it happened. The realization that this building was the same size as Cowboy Stadium or Darth Vader's Death Star. Little noises started. The wood frame was contracting making unsettling noises. Birds in the rafters were fluttering wings. I was alone and not happy. Everything had an echo. Then a screech! It echoed loudly, I hit the deck, shouldered the weapon, focused, urinated, and was ready for the onslaught. It was an owl in the rafters. The little bast-rd was dead if he ever came down. I got up shaking, sweating, slightly wet, but alive. I focused on doorways, staircases, anything next to a wall, anyplace to slither into and assume a prone position to fire from. I now knew what the definition of anxiety was.
Sometime later then the little bast-rd (or one of his relatives) swooped down on me and grazed my cover. He was gone in a matter of seconds. I had not finished my vertical butt stroke, horizontal butt stroke, and the flailing of the shot gun by the barrel yet. I did it all but scream. Thank God there was no round in the chamber. And I did not wet my pants. For the next three hours, I assumed the prone position, the sitting position, offhand, and my favorite that night... the hide in the doorway position. I had to respect the little bast-rds resolve.
When the Sergeant of the Guard drove up to relieve me, he asked if all was well and I responded in the affirmative. He asked if any birds had made me nervous and of course I said no. I had survived the battle of the blimp hangar losing nothing but bodily fluid and my dignity.
Referred To the C-177s as Hummers
I was NCOIC metal shop MWHS-1, Futenma, Okinawa Dec.'76 â€“ Dec.'77. General Noah C. New had taken command of the 1st MAW in 1976. He came to our flight line in early '77, looked over our C-117s and choose one to be his bird every time he wanted to log some hours. I was in SOMS, MCAS Beaufort '74 â€“ '76 before MWHS-1 and we always referred to the C-117s as "Hummers". A term I rarely see in articles about Marine C-117s? We also called them Tail Draggers and Tilton Hiltons (when you spent the night in them).
It was a custom for plane Captains to name their birds, which was then painted on both sides of the nose fuselage. I was informed by Maintenance Control about which bird the General had chosen and that he wanted us to name it. After much thought I decided on "Noah's Ark". It was mentioned to me by my superiors that Noah's Ark might be too risky? I painted it on the bird and decided to take our chances with the General. It would be easy to change if necessary. He absolutely loved it! (to my relief).
I was also on the flight crew (1st mech.) on a trip to Korea. We happen to be flying Noah's Ark. Checking in at Customs we had to fill out Ration Cards. One of the questions was which "SHIP" we were on? We wrote Noah's Ark on the line, which seemed hilarious at the time and had a great laugh! (tears) The Korean girl working Customs had no idea why that was so funny!
This is the first story I ever wrote. I was mad at what the Marine Corps had written about Kingfisher and I wanted the first hand truth told. I sent it to a Col. Summers, who used to be the editor of Vietnam Magazine and he accepted it first shot. He told me I needed about 200 more words so I e-mailed my BN CO. and he helped me with things that a L/Cpl Machine-gunner was not privy to. They published it in the Spring of 2001. I tell it like it was! Semper Fi!
A Show of Force
July 28-30, 1967
Up to this point in the war, the DMZ had been largely off limits to U.S. ground forces because of the political sensitivity back home. Operation Kingfisher an operation that would take us all the way to the Ben Hai River would be a major change in thinking for the Third Marine Division. However, Division Command decided that the Operation would go forward.
The NVA had to know something was going on by the buildup of men and equipment at Con Thien. The NVA weren't sure what was going on so they just blended into the woodwork and waited. We were a reinforced battalion with a platoon of tanks, three Ontos, and three LVTE's. The brass billed Operation Kingfisher as a "spoiling attack" into the DMZ. Our leaders thought we would just march up to the Ben Hai River, flex our muscles, and return to the south... no problem! It is rumored that LBJ and his cronies sent us up there to show the American public that we could, hopefully bolstering his failing administration. The NVA had other ideas.
We started the day going north on Route 606, heading toward the Ben Hai River. All the "salts" were scared sh-tless, and that was saying something because almost everyone had a case of dysentery. We knew this was Charlie's home area and that we would probably be in deep sh-t sometime in the near future. The company I was in (Echo) and Golf Company were on the flanks; the main body of the Operation and the tanks, Ontos, and LVTE's were on the road. Hotel Company was held back waiting until the rest of us were almost to the river.
We hardly made any enemy contact on the way up to the Ben Hai River. The only contact I remember is an NVA soldier shot a Lieutenant in the helmet. The Lieutenant was lucky; it only knocked him out. An M-60 gunner blew the NVA away. Near the Battalion Commander's CP, we discovered an NVA field hospital that had been hastily evacuated as we approached. That really made us edgy. We knew that on the other side of the river, were all the g--ks in the world. We also knew that they would not let us this far north without hitting us.
The terrain was thick and very hard to move through and that made us move more toward the roadâ€”just what Charlie wanted. The enemy knew that we had to leave by the same road we came in on. They were containing us, making us bunch up, just what they tell you not to do in training. We found out later that the NVA were already moving units into positions already dug in and they were waiting for us.
When we had almost reached the river, A-4's laid down a smokescreen to the west between the high ground and us. Hotel Company was then Helo-lifted into a zone at the river. My Battalion Commander said it looked like something from Quantico it was so perfect. We set up defensive positions and dug in the best we could. I had my machine gun facing south, the way we would be leaving.
A couple of hours after dark a few other Marines and I began hearing noises, talking and digging. That's right, digging! We didn't sleep a wink all night. I reported the sounds to our Platoon Leader. He came and sat in our hole, and he listened for himself. I think he was scared too. He reported the noises to our Company Commander. After all, we had to walk down that road the next day.
We heard on the radio that Hotel Company was hearing loud truck noises and hollering from across the river at suspected crossing sites and on Hill 73. There were no confirmed sightings though. Artillery was fired at suspected sites; damage was unknown. Our Battalion CO received a radio message from the Ninth Marine Regimental CO stating that five NVA battalions were en route to engage us and to get the h-ll out of there. Our CO told him we had gotten in here... we would sure as h-ll get out.
The next morning at first light the engineers in Golf Company's area checked out the stream crossing on the road parallel to the Ben Hai river heading northeast the direction we intended to go. The engineers determined that the M-48 tanks would bog down, which could mean trouble with Charlie so close. Our CO called Ninth Marines Headquarters and informed them that we would be heading out on Route 606. The NVA were concentrated along the river road anticipating that our tanks would bog down and that they would crush us.
We made a break for it around 10:00 AM. We broke through the mines on Route 606 and started south. The NVA pressed and they never broke contact with Golf Company. Hotel Company was supposed to be rear guard, but Golf Company never broke free from their contact with the NVA. Hotel Company was ordered into the line of march. My Company (Echo) took point; I believe second platoon was point platoon. It took us a long time to move hardly any distance. The terrain was thick and the number of men and the amount of equipment moving down that little dirt road made our progress very slow.
After we had been moving for about an hour or so, we heard a loud explosion. Marines screamed in pain, and every Corpsmen in the area was there. The NVA had buried a 250-pound B-52 dud in the road and an NVA soldier leaning up against a tree had detonated it. He was killed by the blast and he took a squad of Marines with him. That must have been the digging we heard!
Cpl. Bill Underwood a Squad Leader in 3rd Platoon, Echo Co. said he was standing next to a tank talking to a Marine and decided to go back to his squad. When he returned to his squad he heard a loud explosion and turned around and the Marine he had been talking to was gone, he was d-mn near vaporized. He said all that was left of that Marine he put in a poncho and put the poncho on the tank.
We walked past the place where the bomb went off. There were entrails in trees. There were heads and legs and arms, and feet still in boots! There were Marines all over the place, picking up body parts. I guess somebody got the job of figuring out whose parts were whose. It was not something a young man who had just turned 20 years old wanted to see. The history books say five Marines wounded. That is bull! I was there! There were dead Marines all over.
Just a short distance from the first explosion the engineers found another bomb, also command detonated. The engineers detonated this one saving a lot of lives. The moment the second bomb went off, the NVA hit us with machine guns, rifles and mortars. They dropped the mortars right on the road, making us dive to the sides of the road to avoid being hit with shrapnel. A lot of Marines were stabbed by Punji stakes placed by the NVA. Some other Marines were killed or wounded by booby traps rigged on the roadside.
From then on it became a running battle south with them trying to break us up and close their horseshoe ambush. There were NVA on both sides of the road. I said to my A-gunner, "I saw a bush move." He said, "You're scared, and you're seeing things." I shot the bush; it fell over dead!
From that point on, nothing was sacred. We riddled every bush, every tree, or anything that might have an NVA in it with bullets. Anything and everything was fair game. I walked faster than I'd ever walked before. There's an old saying among Marines: "Marines never retreat, they advance in an opposite direction". Bullsh-t! We were retreating, getting the h-ll out of there!
We started to notice troops off to our right and left. I recall someone saying, "Friendlies on the right, Friendlies on the left." I remember someone else saying, "There are no Friendlies on the right or left." We had no flankers out. At least a company of our men opened up on the NVA, who were wearing U.S. flak jackets, jungle utilities, and helmets, and carrying M-16 rifles. I think we killed between eight and ten NVA. It's hard to count or remember when you're firing and moving. It's not as though we could stop and take a careful body count.
I really believe that if we had not had the spotter plane calling in air strikes, I wouldn't be here today writing this. The NVA were smart and they knew the only way to survive our supporting arms was to stay as close to us as possible. That meant that when the spotter plane called in the Phantom Jets, the napalm was dropped so close to us we could have roasted hot dogs. The Phantom pilots were good; they came so close to the tops of the trees that we could see the pilots waving at us. One of my best friends and Air Wing Marine (Wing Wiper) John Caruso told me that he and his Bro's used to clean tree branches out of the landing gear of the Phantom Jets... That's Close! We saw NVA on fire, running out of their bunkers. That was a h-ll of a way to die. I will never forget two smells... the smell of burning flesh, and the smell of death.
We started to round a bend in the road, and an NVA let loose with an RPG and disabled the lead tank. Soon after that tank took a round in the turret, an Ontos was also hit with an RPG. Another Ontos came up to aid the first Ontos and tank. It opened up with its machine gun, and suppressed the NVA fire long enough to get the wounded loaded and to get the h-ll out of there.
I remember that after that, track vehicles were flying down that road. They almost ran over my A-gunner and I just as we hit the dirt from another mortar barrage. Thank God we were young and could move, or we would have been "road pizza". The Corps valued the tanks and the Ontos more than they value us grunts. That really sucked. Steel over lives, Weird way of thinking. Instead of the tanks' reinforcing us and giving us support, they turned into our liability. We had to protect them from the RPG crews, and we used them as ambulances to transport dead and wounded. We lost two tanks and two Ontos.
In the official history of the Operation, there is only mention of three crewmen in each tank crew being wounded. That too, is bull. I personally pulled a dead Marine out of his tank. He was blown nearly in half. An RPG round went through the tank, through the Marine, and bounced around inside the tank. It made a really nasty mess! I remember that well, because it was 100 degrees or better, and he had been in the tank for about eight hours. He had swollen up to double his size, rigor mortis had begun, and he had turned black.
I helped carry a lot of dead and wounded to CH-34's and 46s. I recall thinking how bad it had to be if we were using 46s to transport dead and wounded. CH-46s were big and could carry a lot of cargo.
Most of my company got out of the ambush, but we left two squads in there. That night after we set in, our Colonel informed us that in the morning we would be going back in and getting our guys. We liked hearing that; Marines don't leave anybody behind. Being the kind of CO he was, and not wanting to wait, our CO decided to try to link up with Hotel Company and the rest of the Battalion that night. He took operational control of a company from Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, and a section of tanks. Once Marines started back in the NVA realized they could not defeat us in detail and they broke free and ran. They had already done enough damage as it was.
The linkup was delayed until daybreak in the interest of avoiding a mistake. We could hear an Echo Company Platoon Leader, a Lieutenant on his radio who was caught inside the ambush telling us not to resupply them anymore. His Marines were fighting so fierce he said, "They'll go to Hanoi." They were just doing what they had to do to survive.
The next morning at daylight we moved out heading north tracing our route from the day before. When we finally rejoined the rest of our Battalion the NVA had vacated the area. The Lieutenant whom we had heard on the radio and several of his men had been caught in the open and were captured. The NVA hog-tied them with comm. wire and bayoneted them and eventually murdered them in their attempt to draw Corpsmen and Marines into their killing zone. We had heard their screams the night before but passed them off as an NVA trick. All the time it was our own men being tortured to death.
Most of the dead had died the day before. Others died from lack of medical treatment because there was no medevac the night before. We medevac'd the rest of the dead and wounded and were out of the DMZ by around 12:00. We had Third Battalion, Fourth Marines watch our backs until we were clear of the area. This "Show of Force" cost the lives of 23 Marines and wounded 251 others. Of the wounded, 191 had to be medevac'd. I believe Marines died and were wounded because of poor reconnaissance and over-zealous Commanders. I do not mean to say that my Commander made poor decisions... I mean that poor decisions were made in the planning stages at Third Marine Headquarters. I again say, that if it had not been for our supporting arms and their pinpoint accuracy on targets, my unit, Second Battalion, Ninth Marines might have been annihilated.
The NVA had everything in place that day to achieve that end. I believe someone was watching over us that day!
Stand At Far End of the Grinder
The last entry on today's board was about a DI who could be heard all over the parade deck.
If this was MCRD SD, it may well have been Staff Sgt. Spiller, Platoon 2090, Plt. Commander. He was known as "The Voice". He would stand at the far end of the grinder and give commands and call cadence to us at the other end.
As an interesting note, we were one of the platoons that was used in the filming of the boot camp movie Tribes. Staff Sgt. Spiller can be heard for a significant portion of the drill sequences. We spent many hours getting our drill just right before filming.
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted by: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #3, #10, (OCT., 2013)
Right now, your more then likely wondering what the h-ll I did with all the beer that I was buying. Well it just so happened that we, excuse me, (The Army) had a small empty building on the Qui Nhon base that they said we could use, but it was in a state of dis-repair and that was just up our alley. We always had a couple of guys that weren't flying as much as some of the others and they were all in favor of "Sprucing Up" the old building and turning it into a club of sorts. I ended up at being the Club Manager because of my prior experience with Clubs and Bars. We even had some of the "Hootch Maids" double as waitress when we were open. If I remember, we sold ice cold beer for a quarter a can. We had Carling "Black Label", Lucky Lager, Pabst "Blue Ribbon" and of course Budweiser.
I remember that we disassembled pallets to get wood and built the bar out of what we salvaged. The ARMY also contributed some tables and chairs from their mess hall (tent). It wasn't long before we qualified as a first class "slope chute", and we made money doing it. Not very much, but we turned around and put it back into the facility in the form of wages for our waitresses help and other "slope chute" related items. No Dancing Girls, but then again, the Commanding Officer wouldn't have approved anyway. This venture by the unit took our minds off some of the daily flight schedule and horrors of the conflict that we were involved in.
It wasn't very long after the warehouse opened that we were involved with transporting undamaged pallets of the "Elixor of Life" out to the different outposts and fire bases. The biggest problem we had was getting the beer from the warehouse out to the club because we didn't have a truck. That problem was solved when we got the old French fire truck running that was sitting on the base and next to where our tents were. We talked to the MP's on the gate and explained what our plan was. They told us that what we wanted to do was not a problem. Now, you have to understand that we didn't use the fire truck every time that we needed beer, but only every once in awhile. We finally talked to the ARMY and they said we could borrow a two-and-a-half ton truck from them except we had to use their driver and Machine Gun Crew. OK, not a problem. Let's go get some beer!
There also was an old French motorcycle that Sgt. Milt McFall found over by where the fire truck was found, but it didn't run. That was all Mac needed to get him interested in working on the beast. And yes, it was a beast. The handle bars were bent and we tried to straighten them, but we never did get them straight. When you rode it, you would be better to have one arm about 4 inches longer than the other, otherwise, you'd be continuously going around in a circle like one of those old motorcycle shows that they used to have at the fairs.
I'm going to tell you about a night med-e-vac that was over the limits of insanity. It all happened when we got a call from the 7th Marines which were entrenched all around Qui Nhon for Security. It was for what was perceived as an emergency night med-e-vac, so we launched soon after the call came in and went to the coordinates that were given. We landed and a Marine walked out to the A/C and got in. I leaned over and asked him if he was OK (because he didn't appear injured). His reply was "Yea, I have a dental appointment out on the Hospital Ship in the morning." You can imagine my remarks after he told me that. The pilot was naturally upset also, and we both wanted to fix this guys dental work.
I Am A Yankee
Technically, I suppose I am a Yankee... or worse yet, a d-mn Yankee (one who came south and stayed) in a Corps that has a strong Southern heritage. Having grown up, (at least part-way) in Illinois, I was familiar with hominy... that being field corn (grown for animal feed) that has been soaked in lye water until the hard outer part of the kernel is gone, and the remaining starch is swollen to three, four times its original size. We had it for a side dish occasionally, and then as now, it came out of a can.
Fast forward to life in the 50's FMF... where you'd hear something like "let's go to the mess hall and get some grits"... they never had them, nor hominy either (the real name of grits is 'hominy grits'), so I came to assume that 'grits' was just slang lingo for 'food'... any kind...
Fast forward even more, to the summer of 1968, when then Lt. DDick was shipped to Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, AL, to attend the Army's "Ammunition Officer" course... the school included a trip over to Anniston, AL, to the huge Army Depot, where they had 1,199 magazines (used to have 1,200... until one full of deteriorating rifle powder blew one midnight... they claim a Delta pilot lifting off from Atlanta radioed in that the Ruskies had just nuked us)... anyway, they filled a bus with Lts in the early dawn, with a pre-arranged breakfast stop at the Anniston Holiday Inn. We filed in (smartly, in the case of the only Marine) and took seats at a long table. The first waitress came by with a tray of small dishes, and plopped a small bowl of what I took to be wallpaper paste in front of each of us. I had not ordered anything beyond coffee, yet, and certainly not this 'stuff', so I demurely asked this gum-snapper... "Miss?... what is this? (pointing to the dish of grits)... She looked at me as though I had just arrived from the far side of the moon (which, if you're from Anniston, ain't too far) and declared: "Why... those are gree-its!" Being my usual suave and deboner self, I managed a gentlemanly (act of Congress, etc...) reply of "You're sh-t-n' me!" Turned out, she wasn't... tried 'em, liked 'em, been eatin 'em ever since... cheese is good once in a while, but for an excuse to consume butter and salt, grits beat even popcorn... Grits is just the ground-up version of the expanded corn kernel...
Lost and Found
Just wondering if there are any of my old buddies around yet that were at Parris Island in 1948 (Plt 148) and Cherry Point in 1949 and 1950.
Guarding the Gates Of Heaven
MSgt Hiahwahnahi, Richard Neal, Machine gunner, went to be with his Lord, 07:55, 20 Jan 2013. Just in time for colors.
"We've backed off in good faith to try and give you a chance to straighten this problem out. But I am going to beg with you for a minute. I'm going to plead with you, do not cross us. Because if you do, the survivors will write about what we do here for 10,00 years."
--General James "Mad Dog" Mattis
"Panic sweeps my men when they are facing the AMERICAN MARINES."
--Captured North Korean Major
"What, then, do they want a government for? Not to regulate commerce; not to educate the people; not to teach religion, not to administer charity; not to make roads and railways; but simply to defend the natural rights of man -- to protect person and property -- to prevent the aggressions of the powerful upon the weak -- in a word, to administer justice. This is the natural, the original, office of a government. It was not intended to do less: it ought not to be allowed to do more."
--Herbert Spencer, "The Proper Sphere of Government" 
"It's hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong."
--Thomas Sowell, Economist, Marine
"Teufelhunde! (Devil Dogs)"
--German Soldiers, WWI at Belleau Wood
"Good people don't need laws to tell them to act responsibly... and bad people will find a way around the laws."
"Do not attack the First Marine Division. Leave the yellowlegs alone. Strike the American Army."
--Orders given to Communist troops in the Korean War; shortly afterward, the Marines were ordered to not wear their khaki leggings.
"2nd Fumble, Stumble, Stagger, and Gag"
"Lean back... dig 'em in... heels, heels, heels"