Sgt Grit Newsletter

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 01 MAY 2014

In this issue:
• Operation Back Pack
• Visiting Camp Lejeune
• Treasured Addtion To My Office

Online Store TShirts Men's Headgear Patches Women's

Flags   Family Member   Ka-Bars   Auto   Headgear  Jackets  ALL CATEGORIES  

Request a catalog
Facebook Twitter Sgt Grit Blog Sgt Grit's RSS Feeds
USMC Life is Tough John Wayne Shooter Shirt USMC Life is Tough John Wayne T-Shirt USMC Life is Tough John Wayne Tank Top
Feature Product

Mesh Toque With Eagle, Globe, and AnchorMesh Toque With Eagle, Globe, and Anchor

Vietnam War Era

Vietnam Veteran All Gave Some T-shirtVietnam Veteran All Gave Some T-shirt

See More Vietnam War Era Items

Men's T-shirts

Marines Eagle, Globe, and Anchor Vintage Red T-shirtMarines Eagle, Globe, and Anchor Vintage Red T-shirt

USMC OD Green T-ShirtUSMC OD Green T-Shirt

Semper Fi Marines Black T-ShirtSemper Fi Marines Black T-Shirt

USMC Gray T-ShirtUSMC Gray T-Shirt

Attitude Black T-ShirtAttitude Black T-Shirt

See All Men's T-shirts

Women's T-shirts

Ladies Love Of The Corps T-ShirtLadies Love Of The Corps T-Shirt

Ladies Neon Marines Beach ShirtLadies Neon Marines Beach Shirt

Ladies USMC Burnout Racerback TankLadies USMC Burnout Racerback Tank

See All Women's T-shirts

New Items

USMC Gold Survival KitUSMC Gold Survival Kit

USMC Silver Survival KitUSMC Silver Survival Kit

Marine Corps Boot Camp Graduation Gift SetMarine Corps Boot Camp Graduation Gift Set

See All New Items

Sgt Grit's Catalog

Browse our digital catalog.Take a look inside our newest catalog.


Print this newsletter
Newsletter Archives

Marine Corps Barn Quilt

Marine Corps Barn Quilt close up

A barn quilt was made for the garage of my home. One of a kind. Semper Fi!

Only in Wisconsin.

Weapons Plt, Golf Co, 2nd Bn, 8th Marines, 2ndMarDiv.
Camp Geiger, NC '78-'86

No Docks Or Wharfs

Had no problems, but wasn't easy with sea bag. Arrived at DaNang harbor July 1966, no docks or wharfs. From troopship, down rope ladder to landing craft, then on to the beach. No weapons, no one to meet up with us. About 1 hour after arrival we were all picked up and taken to DaNang. Same day went by 6x to Chu Lai where I was finally issued my M-14. By the way at the armory there were about 50 Thompson Sub-Machine guns hidden by a curtain on the back wall, I wanted one but got the regular instead. Recollections of an Air Wing Tech.

Thanks for the newsletters Sgt. Grit.

Patrick Lally 2141xxx
Former Cpl of Marines
VN 7/66-12/66, 3/67-8/67

Marine Corps Statues

Operation Back Pack

Reference Cpl Ken Scheim's question, "when was the last amphibious landing?"

As a member of 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, 3rd Marine Division, one day in February 1964, during Operation Back Pack, Taiwan, Republic of China, I went over the side of the troop ship and down the landing net (cargo net) with full pack, rifle and helmet. The sea was rough. The landing craft was rising and falling along the side of the ship. Above me, they were lowering a .50 caliber machine gun, and it slipped out of the rope and went flying by me and just missed a Marine already in the landing craft.

Cpl Scheim's story brought back memories of the cargo net experience.

Stan Ammons
1961 to 1965

Tried To Watch My Language

Sgt. Grit,

I really don't remember how I got home, plane, train, or bus but just as I was to return to MCRDSD my MOM had a dinner for me and all my family, mom, dad, sister, brother, brother-in-law also a Marine. Everything went fine for most of the dinner until I asked for the butter to be passed, you can guess how I requested the butter, "pass the f'in butter please." Nobody said anything but the table got very quiet for a moment or two, but I did say please. After dinner my brother, (later Army and VN) came up to me and asked if I knew what I said. I said that I didn't, and then he told me. I later went to my mother and apologized to her. I have to admit I really tried to watch my language while I was home on leave, especially in front of family. That was my one F' UP.

On another note after I was released from active duty I visited my last duty station, NAS Glenview, Ill. I think it was a year and a half later and you will not believe what I heard, I heard one of the Marines call a Sergeant "sarge" and the Sergeant didn't correct him. Yeah, I know. This was in 1965.

Cpl Bob Reiseck
Once a Corporal, Always a Marine

M-1 Thumb

Only the older Marines will know what a M-1 thumb is, and most were coordinated enough to not experiencing one.

I only had one in my life and it was the worst place and time for it to happen. It was during a boot camp inspection. I was confident my rifle was clean but still a little nervous that the DI would find something. Then there he was in front of me, waiting for me to go through the motions of making sure there were no rounds in the chamber. We both knew there were no rounds in the chamber because the M1 came out of storage a few weeks ago.

I brought the rifle up to port arms pushed back the Operating Rod and looked in the chamber as if I was checking for a round. I released the Bolt and caught just enough of my thumb to peel a little skin off. I stood there like nothing happened thinking it wouldn't be a problem. The DI snatched the M1 from my hands and inspects my rifle. Then I noticed the blood on his tie. He must have seen something on my face because the DI's expression changed into that look that no recruit wants to see. He looked at me and followed my eyes down to his tie. I have never seen a man's face contort so much out of place and still able to speak some very unpleasant words.

The rifle was thrust back into my hands. The butt of the rifle caught the upper part of my right leg to cause me to flinch a little. That seemed to please him a little. He marched off but I don't think he inspected any more recruits because I didn't hear rifles coming up to Port Arms. I heard him talking to the recruits in the row in back of me and was sure he walked past. I felt the kick that almost brought me to my knees. It didn't hurt, but did make me break ranks that caught the eye of another DI that was standing off to the side.

I didn't think the DI forgave me for the blood on his tie. I found out later that he liked me a lot. He told us, after graduation that he was only hard on those Marines he liked.

Government Bucks

I can relate to Ddick's and Sgt Grit's suit memories. Sort of.

As I was preparing to leave the Republic of Viet Nam in 1966, I decided I needed one of them there B-spoke suits. Don't remember the exact circumstances (h-ll it's coming up on 50 years ago so fast it sometimes makes my head swim) but it had to come out of Da Nang because I was on Monkey Mountain. It was one sharp outfit. The suit was made of what I believe they called "Sharkskin" back in those days, and the color was a kind of gray/green with a bit more green than gray. Why I chose that color, I don't know, because green has never been a favorite color of mine.

Now this may seem like a digression but it's all part of the story. My plan when I got home was to go on unemployment and lay around on my butt for six months before seeking gainful employment. So one bright sunny September day, I trots myself down to the Unemployment Office to sign up for some of those freebie government bucks. Well, I thought it was the Unemployment Office. Turns out it was the Job Service office and they sent me down to NCR (National Cash Register) to apply for a job. Being youthful, naive and a dumb azs, I thought this was all part of the procedure. So I get all dressed up in my B-spoke gray/green sharkskin suit with white shirt and tie and present myself to the folks at NCR and they said "ya gotta take a test to work here boy." Holy cr-p! Most difficult test I had taken in my life. By the time I was finished I was sweating like I was back on the mountain, filling sand bags. When I got back to my parent's house, I started stripping out of that suit and when I pulled off the jacket, "what the f-ck?" The armpits of my white shirt were dyed gray/green. The materials in my custom made suit were not top notch as advertised.

I don't recall the suit costing a bunch and now I knew why. Threw it in the trash along with the shirt and that was the end of that. Oh, yeah. Got the job and ended up working for NCR for a total of about 15 years.

Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.
Jerry D.

P.S. I remember making the switch from brown to black at MCAS Cherry Point in December of 1964. Being a bit on the lazy side, I didn't strip off the old polish. I just started using black over top of the brown.

Visiting Camp Lejeune

Marine Melissa Apodoca All Marine Wrestler

Captain Kevin Knightly

What a pleasure it was to meet the Marines of Camp Lejeune N.C. as I attended the Marine South Expo. I had always been west with my husband so this was my first time experiencing the East Coast and I have to say I loved it! Here are a few pics of some of the people I met.

Melissa Apodaca, only female on the all Marine Wrestling team Capt Kevin Knightly, WWBN-East, IDES Atty... originally from Oklahoma City. He shared with me that he had attended a Gritogether of ours and had intended on coming last year, but that is when the tornadoes hit and his home and the daycare his wife ran, were completely demolished. Luckily everyone survived.

I also humbly shook the hand of this Iwo Jima survivor and 2 time Purple Heart recipient. Each Marine was an honor to stand in the presence of.

Semper Fidelis and OOrah!

Kristy Fomin (Marine Wife)
C.O.O. Customer Relations

With All Due Respect

Gunny Sixhash had a work detail just outside Lejeune digging for artifacts to add to Marine lore. After a while the Mother Superior called the Gunny aside and admonished him.

"Sergeant, these are very youthful ladies here who will hear, live and fight with all the devil has to bring their way in the near future. In the meantime I am trying give the blessing of a clean mind for a short period of their innocence. Please see that your Marines pay attention to their language for the remainder of the day?"

Gunny: "Mam, with all due respect. These men have trained hard and are hard men. They call a spade, a spade!"

Mother Superior: "No they don't, they call it a f-cking shovel!"

God Bless America and the U.S. Marine Corps

Unaccompanied Honeymoon

Sgt Grit,

In late July 1962, after returning from a 1 year Okinawa Tour, I married the girl next door. Well actually she lived across the street and was my play-mate girlfriend when I was 5 and she was 4. Soon after the Wedding my leave was up and I departed for Camp Pendleton to report in, and in my SPARE TIME look for an apartment. Being a youthful Marine PFC I had heard the old adage "if the Marine Corps wanted you to have a wife they would have issued you one." I had no Idea what the Corps had in mind for a Wedding Present.

Soon after my wife arrived in September, we made plans to have my buddies in Weapons Platoon over for a little serious beer drinking. We were involved in accelerated field exercise training at the time, so after 4 grueling days running the hills around Camp San Mateo, we were all planning to disembark for my apartment and begin the weekend festivities (10/19/1962). Next thing I knew the Company Gunny came through the Barracks as we were cleaning up our gear and shouted out "married personnel have 1 hour to get home, get your extra gear/clothes and kiss the wife good-bye, it's Mount Out Time." We were the Ready Battalion Landing Team (BLT).

I went home and told my new bride the Marine Corps was sending me on a Wedding Trip Honeymoon. Unaccompanied! I didn't know where or for how long. I did as I was ordered, kissed the wife, grabbed my gear and left for the base. As usual it was hurry up and wait. We didn't leave from El Toro Naval Air Station until late at night on Oct 20, 1962. We were in the air and finally told that we were heading for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. All along we had thought this was just a training exercise, until they started issuing ammunition and as we were landing the civilian dependents at Gitmo were boarding the planes and leaving.

On Oct 22, John F. Kennedy gave his famous blockade speech to the Nation. Those of us that had transistor radios heard the speech and I finally found out what my Marine Corps Honeymoon Trip was all about.

We were standing up to the Soviet Union and telling them to get their Nuclear Tipped Ballistic Missiles out of Cuba. The Cuban Missile Crisis was underway and the Cold War just got Hot. Second Bn, 1st Marines, was the first unit to land and reinforce the Marine Guard that was stationed at Guantanamo Bay. It took 2 more weeks for the Marines on Gitmo to reach Reinforced Regimental strength. The Naval blockade ships started to arrive with more troops and aircraft. At the height of the hostilities there were 5,000+ troops on Guantanamo and 45,000 more troops floating around Cuba.

We were deployed on Gitmo until the Russian ships turned back and the rhetoric returned to a mild roar. In true Naval tradition we boarded already crowded troop ships for the long trip back through the Panama Canal to Camp Pendleton.

I was reunited with my new bride in Dec 1962 and we have been married for 51 years even though the Marine Corps did not issue her to me. After the Berlin Wall fell and we learned more about Soviet intentions and plans in Cuba in the 1960's, the U.S. learned that Russian Commanders on the ground defending the Soviet Missiles had full authority to use tactical nuclear warheads, if U.S. troops invaded Cuba.

L/Cpl Darvis Rupper
A/1/5, A/1/9, E/2/1 1960-63
1st Recon Bn 1963-64
Semper Fi

Wanted To Dissolve The Marine Corps

Sgt. Grit,

I was reading about a German Soldier during World War II who wrote while on leave from the front; "I am restless, I hate this kitchen table which I am writing. I lost patience over a book. I should like to push the landscape aside as if it irritated me. I must get back to the front. I must again hear the shells roaring up into the sky and the desolate valley echoing the sound. I must get back to my Company... live once again in the realm of Death." How many times have I heard this basic statement from Marines after Leave? I remember returning from the Pacific at the end of WWII, I was lucky, I was frozen in my job because of my "Spec Number" (now MOS) which came under the heading of Supply. All "Spec Numbers" of Admin and Supply were frozen. You were discharged, counting time in service, time overseas and battles fought with medals you earned a number they used to send men home.

Also after your Serial Number you had Either USMC or USMCR, if USMC you had to wait to the end of your enlistment, but USMCR you enlisted or were drafted for 2 years or the end of the War. When the War ended if you had your two years in you were discharged however within a few months they allowed discharge to almost every Reserve. It was about this time that Harry Truman wanted to dissolve the Marine Corps, but Congress wouldn't allow it, so Harry Truman had Congress set the Marine Corps total Serving Marines at 75,000 (which didn't include the Marine Reserve) in 1946 all Married Men with Family Allotment (under the rank of Sergeant) would be discharged at their own request, the Marine Corps never reached the 75,000 coming in closer to 70,000 Marines.

So Harry's Hatred of the Marine Corps which came from his service in the Army in WWI... showed its ugly head when the North Koreans pushed across the 38th Parallel and General MacArthur asked for a Brigade of Marines. Old buddy Harry said, "The Marines are nothing but the Police of the Navy, and as long as I am President they will remain that." Well! The hue and cry of the Public had Harry running around apologizing to the entire country, the Marines and all the Services in general, and he sent a Marine Brigade to MacArthur... BUT... the Reserves were called up and the Recruiting Stations drug in all the men they could, going as far as offering the same rank you held in another service if you re-enlisted in the Marine Corps. We had some offbeat Corporals and Sergeants in those days... some not worth their time, few measured up. I had an ex-paratrooper who upon graduation from my platoon of Recruits at SD would become a Sergeant, and I ground his azs into the sand and made him more of a Sergeant than he would have been otherwise, this was right after the War just before Korea.

The Navy Bases were stripped of the Marine Guard Detachments and we mustered a Brigade with some old hands, but mostly men who had come in after WWII. As usual we did it again, and with some help, we ran the North Koreans back across the 38th Parallel.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC, Retired

Treasured Addition To My Office

Custom Shadow Box in office

Custom Shadow Box close up

Late in 2013, my son, James Wolter Jr. (Jimmy) had started a project with the help of Sgt. Grit to create a shadow box of medals for my birthday in April 2014. I had no idea what he was doing, but with my wife's help, he was able to get pictures of my medals and other USMC item that I display in my office along with those of both my sons.

On 8Feb14, Jimmy was killed. It was a blow to my family and especially to me. He survived two tours in Afghanistan without a scratch. It fell to me to deal with his affairs and in doing so; I received an email, via his email address from a customer service representative, T'Keiah, at Sgt Grit. She was asking Jimmy how he wanted to proceed with some changes that he had requested. I reached out to her and explained the situation. From that point on, the level of support, compassion and customer service provide by T'Keiah and others surpassed the levels of what we have come to expect these days. I am a Manager for Home Depot, and while we do not always hit the mark 100% of the time, I pride myself on my customer service. What your company did went so far above the expectation, it was wonderful. We exchanged calls, emails, texts along with the calls and support from Christen in productions to make Jimmy's final present to me, the best I have ever received.

The shadow box is a treasured addition to my office. My office has developed into a shrine to The Marine Corps. In 2009 or 2010, Jimmy bought me a glass blown Emblem that sits atop a marble base that he purchased from Grit. All of my MARINE attire has come from Grit. But this gift went far beyond.

I want to congratulate T'Keiah especially for her tireless efforts to pull this together. And kudos to Christen in production for getting it done. I am sure that there are others whose names I don't know, but thank them just as much. My son's untimely death as well as that of my father 8 weeks to the day later, put an enormous strain on my heart but trust me, this gift has restored my faith in the kindness of mankind. You people are my heroes. Thank you so much.

Jim Wolter
Sgt. 1969-1974
Semper Fi


In 1982 when I was a Sgt at MP Bn, MCB Camp Pendleton. We got word that we would have to pee in a cup, before getting our pay check. I got an unused specimen cup from one of the dog handlers and filled it with apple juice. The real one I had peed in, was in a cargo pocket. When I came out of the head, I started to hand the one with the apple juice to a SSgt, but instead, I held it up to the light and said, "There doesn't look like there are any drugs in this and it doesn't smell like drugs." Then I drank it. The looks on the SSgt and Lieutenant's faces were priceless.

Dave Benson
1964 – 1967
Retread 1980 - 1983

My Seabag Uniform Issue

Location MCRD Parris Island, SC, Plt 277, Kilo Company, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion.

Issued sea bag allowance 3 Oct 1961. Shoes, barracks cap leather, and two pair of ruff side out boots. All leather was brown. Current leather in the Marine Corps (1961) was required to be black. Solution: All smooth leather was dyed black. Brown buttons on barracks cover were em-nued (Black lacquer in bottle). Brown ruff side out boots were polished numerous times with copious amounts of black saddle soap, and by the end of boot camp they also were smooth and shiny.

The manufacture of ruff side boots was stopped because of their ability to locate trip wires. The boots had exterior lacing eyelets and snagged everything.

My guess is the black policy started Jul. '61 (Fiscal years started in July back then). Drill Instructors were all Staff Sergeants, pay grade (E-5). They had two years to make Staff E-6, or revert to E-5 with Staff NCO privileges. Most went on in Viet Nam to be temporary officers and retire at E-9, Captains or Majors.

The Brown leather was issued and dyed, as to not waste clothing that was already in the Marine Corps Supply system. When I was promoted PFC through SGT my First Sergeant gave me chevrons to sew on my seabag uniform issue. Today you get the privilege of paying ten bucks a set not to mention hash marks.

Semper Fi,
Martin D. Smith
MSgt USMC ret.
Oct 1961- April 1986

Shaking The Platoon Down

Sgt. Grit,

I would like to share with you some possible violations of the UCMJ while in boot camp in 1955. These violations were by our Senior Drill Instructor for brutality and shaking down the platoon for money.

I enlisted in the Corps for four years in March 1955 and was assigned to Platoon 123 at MCRD, San Diego. The first morning in the receiving barracks the DI's stormed in the squad bay and tore all the platoon's bunks apart, which was no big deal. However, the senior DI literally kicked the sh-t out of a black recruit from Detroit. About two weeks later the platoon was marching and I had my hands with my palms rearward and thumbs inward, instead of my palms parallel to my body and thumbs forward. The senior DI ran into the ranks and kicked me with the toe of his boot on my tail bone. It hurt like holy h-ll and was fortunate he did not fracture my coccyx.

The next instance of brutality was during the evening routine of watering and raking the sand around the platoon Quonset huts. The platoon, including me, got into a water fight with our issued buckets. The senior DI ordered the platoon to "fall in" on the platoon street. He came into the ranks and asked me "Private Pennington who threw water on you?" I replied "Private Pennington does not know Sir." He then slugged me three times in the stomach me with all his force. He then gave the platoon "stationary double time" for about 15 minutes. He then again said "Private Pennington who threw water on you?" I replied "Private Pennington does not know Sir." Again he then slugged me three times in the stomach with all his force. Again he gave us stationary double time. This occurred four times and the feather merchants at the end of the platoon were yelling "Tell him, tell him." I did not know who threw water on me and decided if I did I would not tell the SOB of a Senior DI the name of my fellow recruit who threw water on me and consequently receive the wrath for being a rat.

The instances of shaking the platoon down for money happened many times. About every two weeks, during the 12-week boot camp, the platoon's right guard would tell the platoon that "The senior DI's mother is in the hospital and he needs money for her hospitalization." Therefore all of the platoon would contribute a dollar or so into the right guide's bucket. The next time the senior DI's friend was in jail and needed bail money. This continued with a different reason each time. At the time our pay was $78 per month. Did this happen to other platoons and was this the norm? I'm quite sure these occurrences' were in violation of an article of the UCMJ, but none of the platoon was going to rat on the senior DI and endure the resultant consequences for being sent back to another platoon. Evidently these two issues of brutality to me did not affect my standing with the senior DI because I was awarded Honor Man of the Platoon 123 and promoted to PFC at graduation from boot camp.

Sgt, E.K. Pennington 153XXXX
USMC 1955-1959

Brown to Black

There were many changes made in the Marine Corps during the early 1960's, including the "Eight Man Squad Drill," reverting back to the "Regular Landing Party Manual," to drill as we know it today. Other changes made: removing the emblem from the collars of long sleeve shirts, and changing from brown to black leather. One must remember that even though we called it brown leather, it was really dark brown. After hours of spit-shinning the dark brown leather, it took on a lustrous glow between brown and black, which separated we Marines from the other Armed Services. The changes were made with the recommendation of the 1959, Staff NCO Symposium.

The most prominent recommendation was to change the colors of the brown shoes, boots, visor of the frame covers, and gloves to black. The change of the leather became effective in 1963, with directive of HQMC Message, March 1963, signed by General David M. Shoup: stating that all leather will be dyed black. Then all brown leather will be phased out, and only black will be issued effective in 1 January 1967. Brown leather was issued to recruits up to the end of 1966, requiring them to dye their leather black before shinning it.

Herb Brewer
1st Sgt, USMC, RET

Haven't Lost My Set Of Ethics And Values

Dear Sgt. Grit,

In the Marine Corps they cut your hair - give you new clothes, and rebuild from the bottom up - so we can be one out of many that will think and act as one when it really counts! Some recruits are weeded out by being sent home - go to POU for a psych evaluation (and sometimes returned to complete process), or sent to STB - for motivation to drop weight or gain weight or be motivated by carrying buckets of wet sand around a track - the Marine Corps tries to help us all to reach the title of a Marine!

We go to a duty station and get more training - we get morals - pride - and an old concept that is streamlined to our new way of life - We see bullying and some good Brothers stop this - we serve and eventually become civilians and mingle with the mobs of humanity - Here is where I am taking you - After the Corps - and civilian life!

I served - got an honorable discharge - was reinserted with the masses - and found a mate - got married - had a family- And Was Still A Marine.

I joined a beach club - one little girl always played outside her cabana and smiled to all who passed her - she was friendly and a good kid - one of the bigger girls would pass by and call her "Shrimp Boat" and other classless names. No one ever said anything about it to this bigger girls parents? One day I told the girl she was wrong and she stuck out her tongue to me and ran to her mother - so the next time I told her she was wrong and I would make her stop! I approached the mother and told her that her child was wrong and the mother said kids are kids, and she wasn't interested. I approached the father (as you now know the little girl was MINE) The father said he didn't care either - I now told the father I would not let any child bully mine - and told this sorry piece of sh-t - that the next time his kid said something nasty to mine I was going to kick his Asz - and see how he would feel about this - father went ballistic yelling and I told him it was his choice - next his cabana partner approached me (a big dude) and I politely told this ape that I was a United States Marine and I spent 4 years protecting his sorry asz and his useless cabana partners butt in the service of my country, and I would not let him stand in the way of what I thought was proper, and if he decided to stick up for his friend I would go through him to get at the wimp he was defending. He said I was a lunatic and avoided me - but the bullying stopped - Ya Gotta do what Ya gotta do!

Life goes on and we still are present in conflicts that some of us question, but a Marine is a Marine and we stick up for the right things. Maybe I got out in 1967 a long time ago, but I still have not lost my set of ethics and values to this day.

Bruce Bender
Vietnam Era Marine

2500 Marines And 500 Soldier (doggies)

To: Ken Schweim, Cpl, USMC and others,

In January 1967 I took a troop ship to Vietnam ( Took 22 days with a quick stop at White Beach on Okinawa for 4 hours at the EM club (we reportedly did $10,000 damage). We anchored in DaNang harbor, off loaded onto to some type of landing craft (I don't remember any problems with the rope nets) and left the landing craft via a concrete ramp to a nice park where we waited for our transportation to the airfield, and my first plane flight to Chu Lai. Never got my feet wet, but I've made an amphibious landing! I cannot even imagine what it was like to land on the Pacific islands during WWII. Glad I didn't have to.

The voyage from San Diego went quickly as my staging battalion was volunteered for mess duty. We worked every other day, ate first and had passes to go to the head of the never ending line for chow. Usually had most of the dessert eaten before the others came through. The unlucky ones were the 500 soldiers (doggies?) on board with 2,500 Marines. We piled all the doggies' food on top no matter what it was. The few complainers quickly got through the line as several of the larger Marines on mess duty asked if there was a problem.

Anyone else take the 'Walker' anywhere?

Jim Harris
Former Lance Corporal
Always a Marine
Semper Fidelis to God, Family, Country and Corps

Badazs, Salty Marines

Just read Cpl. Schweim's note about the landing net. I was on a med cruise in '61-'62. We made a number of landings, all via the nets. We were on an APA (The Chilton, APA 38) I recall exactly the situation he describes; the ship sitting relatively still and the landing craft going up and down as you climbed down. You'd glance down to see where you were and the Mike boat would be way below you. Next look it was right there. You step off the net and fall a few feet into the boat, or it comes up under you and knocks you off. And just climbing down with all your gear plus a Mae West was a treat in itself. Climbing back up at the end of your exercise was no fun either. The Navy guys solved that one for us. They had a cargo net on a boom and would lower it into the boat. A bunch of us would grab on and they'd raise us up and deposit us on the deck. Very cool! I think I even have pictures of this in my cruise book.

Between going down the net and actually landing there was often a time waiting for everyone to get off the ship and into their landing craft. So the boats would circle while we waited. The pitching of the boat plus the diesel smell made a lot of guys sick. It was a relief to finally get ashore, although your boots were full of water and running across the beach on the soft sand seemed impossible. We made 5 or 6 landings if my memory serves me, Libya, Sardinia, Greece, etc. As you would expect we got better with practice and the nets were less of a challenge.

By the time the cruise was over we were badazs, salty Marines! :-) That first one, though...

I have to admit, I enjoyed my time aboard ship on the Med cruise. It was definitely the highlight of my four years. And it helped that we were in at a peaceful time; no one was shooting at us!

That article brought back a lot of memories. Thanks.

J.D. Hannum
Cpl. 1960-1964

Roi Namur, WWII

Explosion at Namur

Sgt. Grit

Many times things didn't go as planned during Invasions of the Islands in the South Pacific for the Marines. One such incident was at Roi Namur in the Kwajalein Island group. Roi Namur was the target of the 4th Marine Division in the Battle for Kwajalein. There isn't many references to this so you'll just have to rely on the memory of an Old Marine who got the story from one of the Marines who landed on Roi Namur, later information of this was given reference to in articles and stories of the Invasion.

Roi and Namur are two separate islands, Roi to the West and Namur to the East. The islands are connected by a causeway on a narrow strip of land with the total land mass of only about a square mile. Namur, if memory serves, had a building that had been hit hard by Naval Gunfire. The building which was a strong concrete structure, after the Naval gun fire there was just a large concrete foundation like a blown up building leaving ample spaces for Snipers, etc. Marines had fairly well cleaned up Roi of the enemy soldiers and crossed the causeway intending to eliminate any snipers in the building.

A Marine was given the task of putting a satchel charge in the building hoping to blow a large hole in the building giving access to any hidden snipers. As the Marine was creeping and crawling toward the building he was oblivious of noise of battle going on around him and couldn't hear an Engineer calling out to him telling him to stop and not put his satchel charge in the building as it was a Torpedo Warhead storage building, and none of the Torpedo Warheads had gone off during the Naval Gun fire. The Marine crept up to the building and pulled the primer on the satchel charge, throwing it into the building and running back, diving into a hole about 50 or so yards from the building.

There was a terrible explosion, an airplane flying over the area at the time was tossed high in the air and damaged to where the pilot had to limp back to the carrier and land his plane. Blocks of concrete were thrown way out to sea, I don't know if any landed on ships or not.

Twenty Marines were killed and dozens more wounded.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

Canal Photo, who Are You

Marine Pilots on Guadalcanal

The Captain in the Pith Helmet in one of the photos from W.O. Robert Woodworth's collection is Captain Joseph Jacob Foss. The other pilot standing next to Capt. Foss might be 2nd Lt. Roy M. Ruddell. These Marine pilots along with 2nd Lt. Roger A. Haberman, 2nd Lt. Cecil J. "Danny" Doyle and 1st Lt. W. P. Marontate formed the backbone of VMF-121 on Guadalcanal.

Regarding Robert Woodworth's inquiry about the photograph of the two unknown Marine pilots on Guadalcanal, the one on the left appears to be Joe Foss. Foss was an ace with 26 kills, who was a recipient of the Medal of Honor. After the war he returned to his state of South Dakota where he joined the Air National Guard. He served as a Colonel with the Air Guard in Korea and was subsequently promoted to Brigadier General. He eventually was elected as South Dakota Governor.

Scott Kroeber, Squid

Those are three excellent photos of Marine aviators and the F4F Wildcat they flew off fighter One on Guadalcanal. From what I was able to see due to the limits of your uploads, I believe the pilots to be Captain Joseph J. Foss (on the left wearing the pith helmet) and First Lieutenant Arthur N. Nehf Jr., both F4F Wildcat fighter pilots with VMF-121. Both these pilots were part of VMF-121 first combat tours that arrived on the canal in Oct. '42 until Feb. '43. Joe Foss would be the top USMC ace of WWII and the first to equal Eddie Rickenbacker's WWI score of 26 aerial victories. He would receive the Medal of Honor for his leadership and flying on the Canal. Art Nehf would survive the bloody air battles of Guadalcanal with 3 air victories including a force landing after a dogfight against the top Japanese ace of WWII Hiroyoshi Nishizawa. Art's father was a former MLB pitcher with 18 seasons all with National League teams (Braves, Giant, Reds & Cubs).

I hope this helps.

Semper Fi,
Mike A.


(Vol#5, #1)

The Korean War, like WWII, started on a Sunday morning, June 25, 1950. President Harry S. Truman immediately ordered all branches of the military to activate their reserve components. The Marine Corps completed this task the very next day, June 26, 1950. By June 28th, the Transportation Department at HQMC had made arrangements to move the 1stMarDiv from Camp Pendleton, CA to the west coast for further transfer by the U.S. Navy. Moving the 2ndMarDiv to the west coast was a much different ball of wax. But on June 30, 1950, HQMC placed the biggest order ever on the railroad system. This called for 21 trains - at 2 hour intervals - to arrive at CLNC beginning in 30 days, on July 29, 1950 at 0800. Knowing that the government could shut down the entire railroad system, if need be, the railroads made every effort to comply. Within just 24 hours the railroads agreed to this request.

The specific request called for the following consist for each train:

2 Steam Locomotives with tenders (There were no diesels back in 1950) 'Pullman' cars for 600 personnel, with a minimum of 2 bedroom cars and a minimum of 4 'Roomette' cars, plus 'Parlor' cars as needed for the 600. Dining cars as deemed necessary to feed the 'Pullman' car passengers. Between the above cars and the coaches there were to be an assortment of freight cars (flat cars, boxcars and others as requested for each train) Coaches for 2400, with 3 sets of 2 boxcars interspersed among them (For food service personnel. One was to be insulated for food storage and the other to have the wood floor covered with bricks and sand to prevent any fires when the field kitchens were in operation (almost constantly) 1 or 2 Cabooses, as needed, for railroad personnel. (It was to be noted that no train could be longer that 6000 feet). (Most were between 5000 and 5500 feet).

'Pullman' cars were an invention of a man named 'Pullman'. His company designed, built and owned all of these upscale railroad cars. He leased them to the various railroads.

A 'bedroom' car usually had 8 or 10 bedrooms per car. Each was designed for 2 adults, a 'nanny' and a child. They could easily be converted to have 3 adults and a child or 2 adults and 3 children. For this purpose they were mainly for the use of field grade officers (If there was an odd number of such officers the 1st bedroom went to the Troop Train Commander and then 2 to a bedroom. If an even number, all were assigned 2 to a room. If any bedrooms remained, they were assigned to company grade officers 3 to a room. 'Roomettes' and 'Parlor' car seats were then assigned to the company grade officers and staff NCOs. Usually most company grade officers were given a 'Roomette' and staff NCOs a 'Parlor' car seat (this can best be described as a deluxe coach seat that reclined).

See you next week. The old, real old, real, real old (85) Master Gunny.

Harold T. Freas, Sr.


Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #8, #11, (Nov., 2018)

Allowing just one issue of the Flight Line is just not enough space to cover all the adventures that I had at the MARINE Barracks Naval Gun Factory in Wash. D.C. Although I wasn't involved with Aviation at the time, I still wanted to include these experiences in with my career in the Corps and this is just about as good a place to cover it as any.

This is a big and unique place and if you watch NCIS you can sometimes see certain parts of the facility because that's where it's filmed. I say this because every once in awhile in a scene filmed in the Crime Lab where "ABBY" works, there is a shot of a Half Round window at ground level and you can see the legs of people walking by on the outside of the building. Well, that same style window was above my NCOIC's desk in the maintenance shop, and it was in the basement of one of the buildings on the campus, just like the show depicts.

Now, just the name of the place conjures up visions of lots of guns being manufactured on the premiss. Well, that's true, but one doesn't think about the size of the guns that are made there. I'll enlighten you to the fact if you don't already know, that the largest guns aboard our Navy's Ships are what is normally called 16 inch-ers. These are normally employed on Battle Ships, and the only place in the world that they're made is at, "you Guessed it", the "Gun Factory" in Wash. D.C.

I will admit that I didn't know any of these facts when I first got there, but I was thoroughly informed and that meant that I was soon to take the guided tour of the factory. Again my tour guide was my good buddy and fellow Sgt. To accomplish this, I hitched a ride with him one evening on the Guard Truck and accompanied him on his rounds to the different Buildings. We made several stops and we finally arrived at the building that housed and made the 16 inch-ers. It was a very tall building with several rail road tracks inside and a very deep pit above which was a labyrinth of gantry cranes.

These were used to stand a "blank barrel" vertically while the boring process could be performed from the top via a large boring bar. There were roller assemblies that were positioned around "the blank" to support and provide alignment after the "barrel blank" was in the vertical position with the breech portion of the blank on the rotary base plate in the pit on the floor. A large gear is lowered and attached to the "barrel blank" to allow for rotation while the machining is in process and later removed after the bore is machined. A gear for driving the gear that was affixed to the "barrel blank" is on a track and it moves forward to engage the gear on the "barrel blank". The "blank" is then turned while the boring bar is lowered into the bore cutting a smooth finish. Once the process of machining the bore is complete, the entire "barrel" is again lowered and placed on a specially made flat car and it's moved to another area of the shop where it's stored. This process is not accomplished every day because of the low demand for "a new" 16 inch gun barrel... I never saw the entire process, but it had to be really interesting and it took several days to accomplish!

Interesting Times

Had dang near forgotten about that thing... don't recall that we were issued one in 1957, although there is some faint memory of having worn one in a sort of ascot style with starched utilities (sateens) at some point... for a parade. At the time the doggies were big on the ascot thingy... had different colors for each 'branch'. The Army is big on that 'branch' thing... blue for infantry (see: CIB or Combat Infantry Badge), yellow for cavalry, red for artillery, and so on... (and yes, the thing would come alive and try to slither away when laid out for a junk on the bunk). In '67, between tours, got sent to a week-long preventative maintenance indicators course at Fort Knox... Army school, actually very well done... for example, the lecture hall was theatre seating... and if the subject of the hour was the M-54 5-ton truck, cargo, 6x6... they had one on the stage... a real one... and not just sitting there... it was on a rotator, so when the instructor (mostly civilians) wanted to point out something to be checked on the underside of the truck, they just flipped the thing ninety degrees, so we were looking at the underside of this beast from our seats. Breaks were taken out in the lobby (freebie donuts and coffee, always...), and when it was time to go back to our seats, there would be a voice on the PA... movie and TV stars! I particularly recall Phyllis Diller with that cackle, telling us it was time to get our butts back in our seats. Met an Army tank company XO there, was invited to visit his troop, squadron, (whatever...) office. The guy was a former Marine Tank Officer, and really 'into' tanks... said he figured out that in the Corps, once (if) he made Captain, he would never see the inside of a TC (Tank Commander's) turret again. (he was right...) and so he had left the Corps (sort of...) for the Army. The office was AJ-squared-away... none of that doggie 'day-room' cr-p... this place was a quarter-deck!... highly polished brass canisters with dummy rounds, white lines (in the chandler's store it's rope... once aboard, it's a "line"). You can take the Marine out of the Corps... etc...

The other memorable part of that week (I was the only Marine there at the time...) was the Army's 'Plan of the Day'... that sort of thing all branches used to use to promulgate stuff like what to wear, and what's going to be going on, and etc. for each day (probably done by 'tweet' or something today?)... anyway, after seeing the many Army 'get-ups'... from the different 'branches'... like the cowboy hats for 'the Cav' (that part in Apocalypse Now" is factual)... I came to the conclusion that under the heading for "uniform of the day" for any given day, it read: "First three things out of the closet... and no fair peeking!" Kinda like seeing some REMF coming down from DaNang to An Hoa... wearing a boonie cover (with crossed flechettes from a bee-hive round stuck in the hat band)... guaranteed to get the wearer a world-class chewing if the Regt'l six happened to see him... the Marines who lived there wore utility covers... or helmets... depending on what the S-2 determined the 'threat of the day" was (e.g. incoming mortars... or rockets... or?). For newbies... flechettes were essentially finishing nails, an inch or so long, with fins stamped into them... used in 'beehive rounds' (and good for a 27-page health record entry, ending in "closed', if you were on the receiving end... a thousand or two of these, packed in a projo, half point forward, other half point backwards... tumbled when the round detonated, made a sound like a disturbed bee-hive, hence the name. Long since, like napalm, decreed 'no fair'...

Oh, yeah... the Merlot interferes... along with the scarf was this bit of sea-story from 1957... when the raincoat was a new item. Platoon 281 MCRD SD, July-October 1957 (I am apparently the only correspondent to this newsletter who was not in an 'honor platoon') had gone through uniform issue for the serious stuff... and while a few had received the coveted raincoat, the bulk of us had gotten the 'horse blanket' wool kersey overcoat... and we had to go back to clothing issue another time. Sgt Tygart (our one 'Junior') told us on the second time through, to tell the clothing people (civilians) that we had received neither an overcoat nor a raincoat... his thinking was that probably more of the coveted raincoats would now be in stock, and we would be ahead of the game. And so... we did... lied... just like the DI told us to... and went back to our Quonset huts along the south side of the grinder... with a second overcoat. Will never know exactly why, or how... but the Senior, one SSGT J.A. Hollinshead, made some arrangement to have the surplus returned, without documentation. I can tell you that that many woolen overcoats more than fill the trunk, back seat and part of the front of a '51 Olds 88 coupe (black... belonged to Tygart...) Many of the civilian tailors (on contract?) who altered uniforms to fit in that era wore tattoos on the inside of their forearms... serial numbers, provided courtesy of Hitler's Third Reich... interesting times, those...



This message goes out to Marines who served in Vietnam with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines. A Lima Company reunion is scheduled this September at Quantico, VA. This reunion is not limited to any particular year served. It is for all Marines and Corpsmen who served with Lima Company anytime between January, 1966 to May, 1971. Those interested are welcomed to contact me for details: gharlan45[at]

By the way, the reunion hotel will be located a couple of miles from the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

Semper Fidelis,
Gary Harlan

A reunion will be held the for all Marines that were ever stationed at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, VA, the weekend of July 18-20, 2014. For further details go to FACEBOOK - Marine Barracks - Yorktown Naval Weapons Station. If you do not have access to FACEBOOK, email: marinebarracksyorktown[at] for further details.


Woman Marine Margo Baker received PCS orders on 4/20/2014 to pass in review before Almighty God.

Ms. Baker served in 1966-1969 at MCRD Parris Island, SC, MCAS El Toro, CA, and Henderson Hall, VA. She was lastingly and justifiably proud of her service in the Corps. She was a beloved mother, wife, grandmother, sister, friend and a rare human being.

She will be buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park, 3888 Workman Mill Road, Whittier, CA 90601 at 1100 hrs. on 4/30/2014.

With respect from her Marine brothers,
Edward J. Palumbo 2030368,
1st MarDiv RVN '66-'67

Short Rounds

Sgt. Grit,

The picture of the Quonset huts sure brought back some great memories and some not so great. Boot camp helped build the man I am today.

Plt.179, 1953. W.J. Pittman

I'm writing in regards to Ken Schweim asking if Marines still made amphibious landings. We made several landings while off shore in Vietnam in 1967. We (1/3) were part of a Special Landing Force (Alpha)... The landings were made off of the APA Henrico.

Semper Fi,
Ray Kelley
D/1/3 RVN 8/66-8/67

You can take a Marine out of the Corps, but you can't take the Corps out of a Marine.

(Once a Marine, ALWAYS a "Marine"!)

Semper Fidelis
Terry Graf


"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.

"The American Marines have it [pride], and benefit from it. They are tough, cocky, sure of themselves and their buddies. They can fight and they know it."
--General Mark Clark, U.S. Army

"They (Women Marines) don't have a nickname, and they don't need one. They get their basic training in a Marine atmosphere, at a Marine Post. They inherit the traditions of the Marines. They are Marines."
--LtGen Thomas Holcomb, USMC Commandant of the Marine Corps, 1943

"Bends and Thrusts Until I get Tired Girls!"

"What Are You Looking at Maggot?"

"Stay Green."


"Ooh Rah!"

"To All My Fellow Belleau Woodsmen..."

Semper Fi!
Sgt Grit

©2014 Sgt Grit Inc
7100 SW 44th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73179
You are receiving Sgt Grit's weekly newsletter.
Unsubscribe from all Sgt Grit Emails
Like Sgt Grit's e-mails but want less? Let us know.
Newsletter: Change to Monthly
Special Offers E-mail: Change to Weekly or Change to Monthly
To Submit a story - Email
Subscribe to this newsletter.