Sgt Grit Newsletter - 06 FEB 2014

In this issue:
• Hard Corps
• Tangled Mass Of Humanity
• Young Navy Wave

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Quonset Huts at Camp Pendleton

Camp Talega at the northern end of the Camp Pendleton is filled with Quonset huts built in the 1940s and is used to facilitate deployment processing and reserve support.

Photo Courtesy of Camp Pendleton.

Hard Corps

Sgt. Grit,

Just thought you would like to know, I still have my WW-ll issued Ka-Bar, and it still has dried Japanese blood on the blade. I have it on display in one of your display cases, in my living room.

S.Sgt. Robert E. Reeves
USMC Retired

It Adds Class

Sgt Grit,

Thought you would like to see some of your stuff on my truck. It adds class.

Semper Fi!
JE Bock SgtMaj USMC (Ret)

Angled rear view of truck


Camillus and sheath KABAR

Sergeant Stewart, Terrance W.

The Ka-Bar (1219C2 MK-II Knife, Fighting and Utility) was designed and first issued during the early portion of WWII. The MK-II was manufactured by several cutlery companies which in addition to Ka-Bar (Union Cutlery Co.) included Camillus Cutlery, Pal Cutlery and Case to name a few. Regardless of the brand name, they became consistently referred to as the "Ka-Bar" (similar to Kleenex).

Camillus continued to make 1219C2s under government contract long after WWII ended, certainly up through the 1960s, while production of the famous Ka-Bar ceased with the end of WWII and wasn't revived (for the civilian market only) until 1975-76.

It was my experience (I was not a Grunt) that in the units I served with, "Ka-Bars" were generally issued only to Sergeants and above. Those who served with other units may have had a different experience regarding the issue of "Ka-Bars".

The 1219C2 "Ka-Bar" in the attached picture was made by Camillus.

Cpl. Jerry D.
Old Corps. New Corps. There's nothing like the Marine Corps.

Smile From Ear To Ear

Sgt Grit,

Thank you for your newsletters and all the memories your column brings back.

In the 30 Jan. 2014 issue, GySgt. P Santiago talks about leggings and dungaree cap. If this is the same person who was TSgt. P Santiago at MCRDSD, that was then the Senior DI for 1st Battalion, Platoon 1004 which graduated the 1st week of January 1959. If so, I would like to thank him for making this 17 year old Attention Deficit Hyperactive Deficit misfit into a Marine. It took a lot of work, but your team of S/Sgt. C.E. Pritchett, Sgt. L. H. Evans, and Sgt. K. W. Britt, was able to convert me into a Proud Determined Marine. I can still remember the Eagle Globe and Anchor you gave me, sitting in my hand on graduation day. I had a smile from ear to ear.

Semper Fi,
Roy Gillard

Tangled Mass Of Humanity

Sgt. Wong's picture in last week's newsletter showing jets landing and taking off from the San Diego airport brought back some memories for me. I arrived at MCRDSD on July 6, 1966 and for the next couple of days the noise from Lindbergh Field was deafening for a country boy from Nebraska. Then on July 8th the airport went silent. An Airline strike had started on that date and would continue until August 18th. As recruits, we never thought much about it and I'm sure the DI's loved the quiet as they could now instruct us maggots in a calm and collected manner. I don't remember the calm, collected manner.

Since planes were no longer landing and taking off, whenever Platoon 3059 would screw up (In my opinion, our DI's were nitpickers) we would be marched down to the end of the obstacle course, given the order, "Forward March" and march directly into the cyclone fence that divided MCRD from the airport. We would continue to march up against that fence until the entire Platoon was on the ground in a tangled mass of humanity. But I digress.

About the first of August, the topic of most concern wasn't how tough boot camp was or when are these 3 mile runs going to stop, but "how in the h-ll are we going to get home on leave?" Then on about August 18th we heard the roar of jet engines, everyone was eyeballing the sky for our first glimpse of an aircraft in many weeks. The entire Platoon was absolutely giddy as a PSA 707 roared in for a landing. I think the DI's were also happy as now they could shout and yell at a much higher octave. Platoon 3059 was no longer at the fence, hung up in the wire.

Even though we had all that quiet time, we could always count on the Navy/Coast Guard to fire up their PBY out in the bay. Every night at zero, dark thirty...

Semper Fi
L/Cpl Kim B. Swanson '66-'69

They Came In After I Did

I was 17, five feet six inches tall and weighed just 136 pounds when I joined the Corps in January 1953, Platoon 7, MCRD San Diego. After enduring my first introduction to the Corps at Receiving Barracks (which I have written about several times back when Sgt. Grit first started his newsletters), we were awakened for our first real day as recruits. We fell out in the dark, marched to chow. It turned out my second meal in the Corps was the introduction to SOS (my first was while we were still in Portland, OR awaiting transportation to boot camp at one of the most expensive restaurants in the city, but that is another story). All I can say is I loved it, always have and even today all these years later still eat it every chance I get. That means I get it once a year every morning while on vacation in Virginia Beach, VA. It is almost as good there as it was in the Corps. As for the rest of the chow, I still say it was the best chow I had after I left home, and beat everything with only a couple of exceptions up to the day I joined.

When I graduated boot camp I was at just a quarter of an inch shy of six feet and weighed 156 pounds. That was in spite of all the running, duck walking, obstacle course and other strenuous efforts to mold us into Marines. I loved it all. I loved it even more when I went back to SD for Radio Telegraph Operators School and did not have to go through a line with other recruits. I loved the Chicken Ala King and yes, even the H.... C... (cold cuts) on Fridays.

The worst chow I ever had in the Corps was in Korea to which I was sent in January, 1954 in the 41st draft. We had mostly Navy supplied chow which included some of the worst dehydrated and reconstituted potatoes I have ever eaten. I do believe most of the chow we were served in the mess hall they set up for us was in fact provided from bulk C-Rations, although I have to also say I liked most of those as well. The absolute best chow served up during my ten years was while I was stationed in Quantico during three different tours. It was always good, lots of it and I somehow managed to stay at 156 pounds for the entire ten years I was in. I did not get the opportunity to eat MRE's until years later. I have to say, they were and are much better than the old C-Rats we had, most of which were left over from WWII I do believe.

On another note, I did not receive leggings, was not issued dress blues, and there were no yellow footprints to stand on in the receiving barracks – just a yellow straight line. I served as a docent at the Marine Corps Museum in Quantico which has an exhibit featuring the yellow footprints at the start of the tour. When I told my fellow docents that there were no yellow footprints when I joined, they just looked at me like I had lost it. Most of them did remember them which means of course they came in after I did. Someone posted a picture of the Quonset huts they had back then and I can almost identify the exact one I was in while there. Mine was right on the edge of the parade ground three or four down from the mess hall which I believe is the last one in the photo also on the edge of the parade ground.

Richard E. Nygaard
SSGT USMC '53-'63

Young Navy Wave

Sgt Grit,

First off I would like to say than THANK YOU to ALL of the VETERANS before me and after me, "For My Freedom".

I am just a "BOOT" and always will be a boot, as there will always be a MARINE OLDER than me. I went through BOOT Camp at MCRD in San Diego starting back in January 1960 Plt #109. While in boot camp I came down with the measles. I was in the Hospital at MCRD San Diego and our platoon #109 was getting ready to ship out to Camp Mathews for the rifle Range. I begged the Navy Corpsmen to let me out of the Hospital early so I could go with my Platoon. Back then if you missed going to the rifle range with your Platoon you were set back two weeks and no one in their right mind wanted two extra weeks in Boot Camp.

They let me out of the Hospital after two and a half days, and I ran all the way back to my Quonset Hut, grabbed my sea bag and ran to Cattle Cars as we called them, as they were already pulling away from loading up the Sh-t Heads. Someone opened a door and I hopped on as it was moving. I was One Lucky Sh-t Head. Had I been thirty seconds later I would have spent two more weeks at Boot Camp with another Platoon and any one that has gone through Boot Camp knows that would have been REAL H-LL to pay.

As things turned out I ended at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Second Marine Division. I was in Motor Transport, Service Company, Headquarters Battalion, for 30 months. I was one of the fortunate ones, I never left the States, except for the Cuban Crisis.

The last nine months in the Corps, I was at Marine Barracks, Charleston, South Carolina Naval Ship Yards. I met a young Navy "WAVE" while there. I got out of the Corps on January 17, 1964. I married my young Navy "WAVE" Bride on January 18,1964. We celebrated 50 years together this past January 18, 2014. She is still my YOUNG BRIDE.

Yes the MARINES and NAVY can get along and MARRIAGES can last even longer with TRUE LOVE.

Just A Young Boot
1960-1964 L/Cpl
Kenneth L. Chappell

Meaning of FMF

Mike Benfield, my understanding of FMF was Fleet Marine Force.

This was the suggested answer to Mike's question from several of you and is technically correct. But... what Mike was looking for or suggesting was the more colorful... Fighting MotherF--kers!

Sgt Grit

Sticky Stuff

For Shawn Kane:

Just wondering when you were in because Weapons 2/9 had a Gunny Gross who was legend. I still remember the day (just one of many) he fell us out for an asz chewing because we'd been skipping chow a lot and eating hot dogs and other cr-p at the Middle Camp Fuji Service Club.

Gunny's exact words were, "You need to go to the chow hall and eat that good, sticky stuff that sticks to your ribs." He was a legend back then (this was 1957).

S/F and Gung Ho!


Call Them OUT

A previous story mentioned a Marine running into a guy claiming to be a "Black Beret". The only "Black Berets" I'm familiar with are Saddam Hussein and Monica Loewinsky.

I'm sure all of us have run into our fair share of posers. When I got out of the Corps in '72, after (2) combat tours in Nam, I ran into lots of guys who claimed to be Green Berets, SEALS, or Force Recon.

I never heard one say that he was a truck driver, office pogue, or supply clerk. Almost all of these guys were posers, although some had actually been in Nam. I guess they wanted to fabricate a false history not only to impress bystanders but to make themselves feel better about their actual past. A few years ago I had stopped at a local bar for a drink and some take-out wings. Standing beside me at the bar were (3) guys. Two of them were running a line of BS on the third about how they'd been SEALS in Nam and all their combat adventures. At the time my son was in SEAL Team 2 so I asked the two some basic questions, like what was their class number when they graduated from BUDS and what Team they were with in Nam. Neither could come up with valid background info. So, I told the third guy that these two were wantabes and had watched too many Rambo movies. Man did those two get hostile! They must have been in Nam because they used some Vietnamese phrases in the heated argument that followed. I assume they were some rear echelon types who associated with the native base workers and told them so. When they saw that I wouldn't back down one of them pulled out a hunting knife and showed it to me. I asked him how he thought that would feel going up his azs. Fortunately the bartender saw the fight brewing and told the two that he'd called the cops. They left and a few of the people at the bar bought me a beer and the wings were free. When you run into posers call them out on it. It doesn't take much to discover the truth and their BS dishonors all of us. Be proud of your service and tell the truth as to what your job was. We all did our part.

Semper Fi.

Gary Neely / Sgt. USMC
1966 to 1972 (0331)

Old Corps

Old Corp Facebook Image

This week's most popular post on the Sgt Grit Facebook page featured a photo showing a clothing experiment conducted in 1951 at the Marine Corps Clothing Factory in Philadelphia, PA. In the experiment they were testing the possible use of berets for the Marine Corps. The text around the image reads, "OLD CORPS, Just Because It Happened Before You Were Born or Before You Earned the TITLE, Doesn't Mean That It Didn't Happen."

Below are some of the comments made about this post:

Jimmy Pilet - Thank God that never became a reality. Give me the utility cover and p!ss cutter any day.

Shawn N Martha Williams - Kind of reminds me of the the Blues Cover they were trying to push, you know from the Ladies Department!

John Pitchlynn - Well I disagree. A Beret would be a great addition to the uniform if it replaced the Garrison cover which I never much cared for as it was well, not much of a cover. The other service versions were even worse. But if I remember correctly this Beret Idea came from the idea of getting rid of the Garrison cover and replacing it with the beret such as the Royal Marines have.

Our brother Marines in England have worn the Beret for a long time... they have earned it by getting through the Special Boat Service Commando school (SBS). In the 1970s there was another move to do away with the garrison cover after some of our Marines graduated from SBS and were awarded their Berets from that school... but in both of these instances the Commandant said no. End of story.

Don Winans - Leave the Berets to the Army.

Dino James Flores - Doesn't look like it happened at all. 5 Marines pictured in a factory and only in a factory looks like the idea died there, thank goodness. Those stupid berets look horrible. Want to wear a baret? Go be all you can be.

View more of the comments on the Sgt Grit Facebook Page.


Sgt Grit Marine Corps Cover

Sgt Grit Dress Blue Rubber Duck

Dear Sgt. Grit and fellow Marines:

Just because I'm not big on Blues doesn't mean I'm not big on the Corps. I have a Marine Corps emblem on my car, various Marine covers, a desert cammie utility jacket and a boonie hat, among other things.

I even have a Marine Corps Zippo and coffee cups so don't think I'm not proud of being a Marine. H-ll, I even got our new grandson a rubber ducky in Dress Blues for his bath from Sgt. Grit. He tries to bite the head off, just like a real Marine.

The one and only time I ever visited Starbuck's, I wore a cover that says "Marine Veteran" and was thanked for my service by a complete stranger.

I also enjoy making iron-on shirts as a hobby and my favorite subject is the USMC. They're not professional-looking but they get the message across. My brother was also in the Corps and I've sent him at least a dozen. By the way, he's also not big on Blues, but proudly wears his homemade USMC shirts nonetheless.

How many OLD NAVY shirts have you seen lately, dozens maybe? I came up with OLD MARINE as a counterbalance to that hooey.

So far, the best comment I've read about Dress Blues is from Sgt. Jim Grimes who said he only wore his 4 times but wouldn't trade them for a million dollars even though alas, they no longer fit. That's good enough for me.

Anybody want to talk about trops? If so, RSVP ASAP. I have some good stories about trops and would love to hear yours.

Mike Benfield
Old Marine

Get the mentioned cover or rubber ducky in Dress Blues at:

USMC Khaki Cover/Hat
USMC Khaki Cover/Hat

USMC Dress Blues Rubber Duck
USMC Dress Blues Rubber Duck

I am Retired MSgt Ron West (Member Sgt Grit).

Dress Blues are the greatest. I wore them for the last 8 years of my Marine Corps Career as a Career Recruiter. The blues landed more recruits and opened more doors than you could ever imagine. Nothing like a Hotel full of Marine Recruiters and their beautiful wives celebrating the Birthday in their finest uniform.

Just wanted to update everyone on the issue of blues in boot camp. I retired in March '85 and they had just started issuing blues in boot camp again. They stopped sometime after that and are now issuing them again. I volunteer at the museum 2 days a month at Parris Island, I was there just today and the recruits are in fact being issued blues as part of their "sea bag" now, only one set of class "A" greens and the blues as their other class "A". There was a question about this recently in one of your newsletters.

Semper Fi

I know we've almost beat this topic to death over the last month or so, but I thought I'd throw one more story in anyway.

While going to school at MCRD San Diego in '66, I bought a set of Blues. My first occasion to wear them was at the Memorial service for those killed in the fire on the USS Oriskiny. They needed a Catholic NCO with Blues to serve as an Altar Boy for the Mass. I guess I was the only Catholic who qualified. (I had trained to be an altar boy, when I was in school, not that I remembered any of it). Anyway, I managed to drip some hot wax, from the candle I was holding, on the front of my blouse. Didn't notice it until I got back to base, and was not a happy camper.

I managed to get the blouse squared away by the time the Marine Corps birthday rolled around, and wore it proudly at the Ball. I wore it to a cousins wedding in '68 and I didn't get to wear it again until I joined the active reserves in '75. It still fit.

After I left the reserves in '77, I hung the Blues in my closet, all ready to go if needed. I tried them on a few times, over the years, just to see. Well, you know, just to see.

Fast forward to 2013. Every Marine Corps birthday, four of us old Jar Heads, get together with the wives and go out to dinner to celebrate. Last year I thought I'd surprise them and wear my Blues. While I could still get into them, I would have had to stand up all evening, and not eat, and worse yet, not drink. So no Blues last year.

But in true Marine fashion, I was determined to improvise, adapt and overcome. Instead of dieting, I chose the easier way and went to a tailor. It was obvious to both of us that the blouse is designed so it can be taken in, but not let out (much). There are five seams in the blouse. One down the back and two on each side. None of them have more than a 1/4 inch of material, on each side of the seam, to work with.

The tailor had to open all five seams to give me the extra inch and a half I needed. But six weeks and $85 later, he had worked his magic. Now $85 may sound like a lot, but since a new blouse cost over $400 (yes I said $400) it was the cheap way out.

At my age, one doesn't usually look forward to birthdays. But I'm looking forward to next November 10th.

Sgt. W. Michell
'65-'71, '75-'77

Christmas... Nineteen Fifty Eight.

I'm home on a ten day holiday leave. Being a 2533 in the Air Wing advancement was rapid, and I'd just made NCO and entitled to a red stripe Dress Blues. I went downtown one evening for some shopping and to show off knowing I'd be bumping into friends. Crisp snow on the ground... Christmas carols and excitement in the air... And this gorgeous blond behind a display counter in Woolworths.

There's something about Dress Blues that are irresistible. I asked her for a date, and got it... and more to come with every 96 hour pass I could wrangle!

Years slip by. I flip open to the center-fold of Playboy... and there she is, as gorgeous as ever, and just as I remembered her!

Carl Berry, 1662xxx

I don't know if this will go through or not, but here it goes. I am a Marine once and always. I served from 1955-59 during the non-shooting cold war. I was proud to be a Marine then, proud of the Corps, and am still just as proud. The letters above brought back a lot of memories.

I bought a set of dress blues from a Korean War Veteran who was being discharged for $5.00 (A lot of money on $121.00 a month). I can attest to no girl refusing a date with a Marine. A girl who was graduating from LA General Hospital school of nursing asked me to go to the ball with her. I wore the blues. I was the only one there in Blues let alone any other service. Just a tidbit from 1957 from then a Cpl.

Lloyd L. Ryan, USMC, Ser# 1515xxx

Semper Fi #1 Marching in formation

Semper Fi #1 Funeral Detail

Sgt. Grit,

I would like to add a few words about the Dress Blues issue that has been discussed in the last few newsletters.

I belong to a group called Semper Fi #1. We are committed to rendering military honors for veterans and their families at Riverside National Cemetery here in Riverside, Ca. We have approximately 60+ members and have done thousands of services in our 16 years of existence. We are at the cemetery 3 times a month and do about 20-25 services each month.

We have members from the Korean War, to include every era up to the present. Most of our members never had a set of Blues until joining. We buy them at our own expense, and I can assure you that not one Marine here thinks they are gaudy, or not a good representation of the Marine Corps.

In addition to our service at the cemetery, we have parades, color guards, etc. that we are part of. I can't tell you how many times we are told that we have the best looking uniforms of any branch of the military.

The families are thankful and impressed when 20 Marines march up in Blues to render military honors for their veteran. When I report to my last duty station there is only 1 uniform I will be wearing, my Dress Blues.

Semper Fi.

Steve Fisher

Note: Common tread in a lot of the Blues stories is getting the girl. Just an old guys observation.

Okay, we have beat up the Blues subject pretty good. So this will end this week.

Great contributions. Thank you!

Sgt Grit

But No Bended Knee Was Offered

When I enlisted in the Corps on November 20th, 1947 with my best friend, all Marines were issued leggings. I cannot remember whether or not we were issued them in boot camp, but I see no reason why not, as they were part of our 782 gear, packs, cartridge belts, etc. I believe that they were issued on a NAVMC 782 FORM, hence the name "782 gear".

Anyone looking at photographs of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Clifton B. Cates, standing with his Marines alongside their ship, ready to board with the 1st Marine Brigade for the Pusan Perimeter, would see that all the troops were wearing their leggings. I was aboard the USS Alshain (AKA-55) (CARGO SHIP) and left with the 1st Marine Brigade for Korea. Even though the leggings and ankle high field shoes called "boon dockers" continued to be used, they were set aside later in favor of Shoe Pacs, better suited, to some degree, for snow and cold weather. But when a cemetery was dedicated in Hungnam at the end of the Chosin campaign, Major General Oliver P. Smith, the Division Commanding General, wore his leggings.

In Korea we quickly became known as the Americans with the funny looking legs. If they meant to use this as humor, the humor quickly wore off as in the 39 days the brigade was in the Perimeter, the North Korea Army lost three North Korean Divisions and a motorized regiment to those guys with the funny looking legs and an Infantry Regiment with only six rifle companies, vice nine. The other three companies, would not arrive at the Pusan Perimeter until early September in time to mount out for the Inchon landing.

Army inspectors dispatched to Korea to find out why the Army kept falling back in the Pusan Perimeter, summed up their problem with three things. Untrained, ill equipped and ill prepared to fight a war. They were untrained because their job in Japan was to get the country back on its feet and into the community of nations.

Some units received training, but by and large they were exactly the way their inspectors described them. In 1943, only half way through WW2, the Army formed a special, top secret committee to determine the make up of the American Military forces after WW2 was over. That committee consisted of only Army and Army Air Force (Air Corps) personnel, no Navy or Marine personnel were invited to attend, and the Marine Corps was not even mentioned during the discussions. And as all this was going on, the Marines, destined for the dust bin of history, were losing their lives or limbs on islands across the Pacific Ocean. But when the war in Korea was turning out badly, Army General Douglas MacArthur knew who to call on for help... (911 - USMC)... asking for a Marine Division. But the Marine Corps, cut back so severely by the second Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson, had only two regiments of Marines, both minus three rifle companies.

But no bended knee was offered.

Only one Marine Brigade was available, with the 5th Marine Regiment, minus three rifle companies, as its Marine Infantry nucleus. But that regiment was well trained and had even spent the months of November 1949 to February of 1950 in Kodiak, Alaska, training during a Willawa, the equivalent of a Siberian Blizzard, while little knowing that their Marines were training for a place called the CHOSIN RESERVOIR in North Korea twelve months later.

Every clime and place are not just words in our Hymn.

MGySgt Robert E. Talmadge, USMC, Retired

I'll Be Watching You

The letter from Cpl. Harris about finding a pair of leggings in a surplus store reminded me of doing the same thing. Around '63 we were operating our Amtracs in the back country of Camp Pendleton. My tractor was being used as the command tractor for the grunt company we were hauling. I had been issued a pair of safety shoes with steel toes and since you can't blouse them I was wearing the leggings I had purchased (very stylish I thought!). That night I noticed a Butterbar from the infantry company giving me the once over, he finally took me aside and pointing to the leggings asked, "what the h-ll are those and why are you wearing them?" I explained about the low cut steel toed safety shoes and the fact you couldn't blouse them. I added that Marines always wore them with their Boon Dockers. Not sure that he bought any of it but he gave me that "I'll be watching you" look then returned to the CP.

I was also wearing my herringbone cover that my cousin had given me that he had worn at the Chosin (2-5). I always wore it in the field because it gave me a link to those Marines. In '60 some of us in Boot camp were issued a pair of boots and a pair of Boon Dockers but ordered not to wear the Boonies.

Heating chow with the charge from a "Klacker" (claymore) was very interesting and reminded me that the increment bags on the mortar rounds made a great fire for heating your "C"s. Every time we hauled mortars we stocked up on the bags. Shavings from a block of C4 also made a nice hot fire so we carried a couple of sticks of that in the compartment on the tractor. The exhaust manifold worked fine for heating "C's" but you had to remember to make some "vent" holes in the can with your P38 or you would be cleaning the engine compartment for a week.

I never had a set of Dress Blues but think they are the most distinguishable uniform on the planet, and the fact that they haven't changed very much forever is a point in their favor. Seems the Army is changing their dress uniform all the time and hanging sh!t all over it. Looks like they are trying to imitate the Dress Blues but they always seem to miss the mark by a mile.

Speaking of claymores, does anyone remember the round ones? In '63 while going through NBC School at Pendleton there was a demonstration using Claymores and they were about 8 or 9 inches across and concave. Is my memory finally going south?

CPL Selders


Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #8, #1 (JAN., 2018)

This is the continuation of the previous episode involving the H-43 helicopter "field engine change" at Wannacut Lake north of the town of Loomis, Washington. Remember that we had an aircraft sitting there next to a wilderness lake with an almost dead engine and "no Security". As remote as this location was, we never even had to worry about anybody messing with our bird. Our goal was to somehow get another engine installed and then fly the bird back to Ellensburg. Putting a plan together in as short a period of time as we did was amazing. I also decided that I'd take Al Martel with me as he was retired Army and had some experience in working in the field. Plus, I wanted to leave things at the hanger in good hands also and that meant Doug Rosenbalm would be holding that fort down so I didn't have to worry about it.

I had two other Mechanics to cover the rest of the operation. I had spare engines in the hanger that were sitting on carts that I had Al make, so that was not a problem. As far as I could see, we were as ready to go as we could be. We loaded an engine in the back of a 4 wheel drive State owned pick-up and we headed out to Ellensburg which was about 150 miles from Olympia, once there, they gave us directions as to how to get to where the aircraft was sitting. They also gave us directions to Bert Coles (the States Land Commissioner) hunting cabin, for a place to stay. This was a surprise bonus! Their description was that this was an old line cabin at about the 7000 ft alt. level and, it slept about 8 ranchers at a time. One of the rules was before you left deposit some groceries for the next group. We had to walk about a quarter of a mile to get there from the logging road. Just us and the elements and it was beautiful. Our thought was that places like this only exist in movies but we were wrong. The key to the door was hanging on the back side of a tree out by the log that provided the seat for the outdoor toilet. This was rustic living to say the least. On arrival we made some supper and looked around and then went to bed. I failed to say earlier that my wife went along with us and was there for the cooking support, otherwise Al and I would have starved. Morning came and we finished breakfast and drove back down to the Lake where the local cattle were also having their breakfast. The sun shining on the lake with the cattle scattered around presented a picture that was etched in our minds for a long period of time "Beautiful", but it was time to go to work.

We drove out across the pasture to the aircraft and when we got close to the parked bird we noticed some damaged vertical stabilizers on the tail section. These fins are manufactured using light fiberglass and if I were a cow I wouldn't mind using them to scratch my back on, well that's exactly what happened, several cow's took the opportunity and used the tail fins as rubbing posts. Now, we didn't prepare for this kind of repair because we didn't bring any fiberglass or Mat with us. That meant that a call had to be made back to the hanger in Olympia and they would have to send us some. We worked on getting the engine loose for the rest of the day and then went back to the cabin for a "cold Beer" and a bit of relaxation. I have to say again that this place was just "Beautiful and Peaceful".


Think it would be interesting to solicit input from anyone who was ever sea-going on the Jacona? (flush out some BS artists...)

(full disclosure... the Jacona, a YFP, or 'yard class' bottom, was laid down about 1919... technically, a power barge, i.e. not self-propelled, although she looked like a ship with a bow, stacks, a stern, etc.) For several years, she lived in 'the Jacona Basin'... on the west coast of Okinawa, close by Sukeran (or Zukeran, or whatever the current correct spelling is), and did what power barges do... provided a whole bunch of electricity... not something that Cpls in the Ninth Marines spent a lot of time thinking about back in 1959 or 1960. Our Lt, one T.B. Lecky, (106RR BAT platoon, H&S 2/1/9) bought a speedboat with trailer when we got to Okinawa... and whoever was licensed to drive one of our M38A1C jeeps, might get to pull the boat and trailer down to the Jacona basin for some water-skiing for Wednesday afternoon "Organized Athletics" (more commonly known in nautical circles as 'Rope Yarn Sunday", or in our case, 'grabazz')... Did it once... uniform of the day was swim trunks, tee-shirt (white... no Grit inventory to choose from back then) and a cover then in style... flat, like the toque in past catalogs, only with a little belt and buckle in the back, and shower shoes, AKA 'flip-flops'. Other participants were all other Lts and maybe a Capt, so it wasn't all that comfortable being the only peon. Considering that today to drive a tactical vehicle at Pendleton the driver must have his Kevlar brain bucket on and buckled...

For nomenclature purposes, have learnt from squids of my acquaintance that to tell the difference, just remember that you can put a boat on a ship, but you can't put a ship on a boat... which brings to mind the brand new Chinese junk purchased by one of the ships officers when we were in Hong Kong harbour... he had gone over to Aberdeen, purchased this thing, made almost entirely of teak (teak = really big money today), had it brought out to the ship (LPH-5) Princeton, and hoisted onto the hanger deck, where it rode back to CONUS... last known, it was in the yacht harbor at Newport (CA). (note: at the time, 1960, Hong Kong still belonged to the Brits... hence "harbour" with an "u"... Newport, however, speaks American English... mostly...)

Some of that electricity from Jacona served to illuminate streetlights at Sukeran... including the one that shone directly into the window of the 106 platoon's Cpl's quarters on the lower deck of building 520, and disturbed the slumbers of one of our number, who I will call "Clyde". Clyde was pure and simple, a hillbilly... a man of pragmatic, and direct action, and on a previous occasion, had been dissuaded by a roving sentry from using a rock to break through the wire cage and glass dome protecting the light bulb, having shinnyed up there with the rock in one hand... and the rest of us, persuaded him to hit the rack and sleep it off. There were eight of us, all told, counting Clyde... some E-3 Corporals, some E-4, but a protection agency of our own for anything short of a capital crime. The barracks buildings had been built for Army style companies... each having its own galley on one end of the building, and this part was only one story, and the roof was easily accessible from one of the outside stairways. We kept our M-1's hung, muzzle down, from the stay rod on the inside of our wall locker doors... and ammo was just no big deal back in the day... might have come back from the range at the end of the day, could well have wound up in a GI can... or... in Clyde's locker. Since liberty secured at midnight, it was probably well after that when the light went out... as a very direct result of Clyde having assumed the prone, with just a hasty sling, on the roof of the galley. Not too challenging a shot, probably no more than 30-40 yards. That was probably a world's record for hasty cleaning of an M-1 rifle... which was hanging inside Clyde's locker, redolent of Hoppe's #9, by the time the OD and Commander of the Guard arrived and woke up the whole building (106's, Comm, and Flame platoons)... we few, we happy few, stood by our bunks and lied through our teeth... it could've been the inspiration for Sgt "I know nodding" Schulz on Hogan's Heroes... I think we may have convinced Clyde that henceforth he might try hanging a towel on his mosquito net...

Have had a long and mostly interesting life (so far), and in retrospect, think the few years in barracks were the most fun... or, at least, of all the times when I had all my clothes on...



Subic Bay Marines 22nd Annual Survivor Reunion

Where: The Town and Country Resort Hotel, 500 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA.

When: 02 SEP 14 - 07 SEP 14

All Marines who served at Marine Barracks Subic Bay R.P. (1899-1992) are welcome to attend.

Contact John Laccinole at:
Tel: 818-591-8916
E-mail: johnlaccinole[at]

Or you can contact the hotel at: Tel: 800-772-8527
E-mail: res[at]

Or visit our website at Subic Bay Marine Barracks.

John A. Laccinole
Public Affairs Officer
Subic Bay Maiiiirines

Lost And Found

Sgt. Grit

I have never seen any mention of "Regimental Honor Platoon 244" which graduated from MCRDSD on September 8, 1965.

Is anyone out there that may have been a recruit of this platoon?

I would appreciate hearing from anyone about reunions, etc. and especially knowing the history/whereabouts of Sgt. K. V. Davis, Platoon Commander, Sgt. J. W. Brasher, Drill Instructor and Sgt. R. B. Goedert, Drill Instructor.

They may reach out to me personally at:
Email: usmc_tanker[at]

Thank you for everything you do for all of us!

Semper Fi
Philip Davey
Corporal of Marines

A few years ago I think someone asked if anyone had a picture of the graduation of Platoon 215, I Co., 2nd battalion, P.I. February 1959. I found an extra one that I will give to any member of that platoon. Send your request with your name and address to:

Charles Walters
27135 Swartzwalder Rd.
Millbury, Ohio 43447

Or E-mail me at: corkandshirl[at]

Short Rounds

I wonder if the sandfleas have a VFW and they talk sh!t like "yeah I bit ole Chesty Puller once"!

Blake Miles

Many thanks to Captain Tom Downey. I worked for Tom and Top Arrington in S-4 as the Embarkation NCO (0433) at Camp Elmore during 1968-69 on my return from Vietnam. Top Arrington was head of the pistol team there and had great patience working with Marines like Tom and I.

Semper Fi,
Jim Donegan
3rd Amtracs, Vietnam '67-'68
Honorably Discharged 1972 with rank of Staff Sergeant.

Dear SGT. Grit,

Upon reading the family history in your closing about the Mother and Father of the Corps (which I had never seen before), I now have a great way to mention the name given to my combat unit, 2nd Bn, 4th Marines.

Thanks so much.

Tom Moore
2/4, '67-'68

I think the newsletter is great and fun to read!


Every day I love the Corps,
A little more than the day before,
Where every day is a holiday,
And every meal is a feast!

Sgt. Drury D.C.
"Papa Smurph"


"Never think of pain or danger or enemies a moment longer than is necessary to fight them."
--Ayn Rand

"Marines don't know how to spell the word defeat"
"Demonstrate to the world there is 'No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy than a U.S. Marine."
--General James Mattis

"We have two companies of Marines running rampant all 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?
--Gen. John W. Vessey Jr., USA, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the assault on Grenada, 1983

"OHHHHH!!... Daddy's gone now... were gonna play!"

"Get online with two sheets and a blanket... Move!"

"Get on my quarterdeck... NOW!"

"Scuz brush bulkhead... Move!"

Semper Fi!
Sgt Grit

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