Aubrey Headon, age 14 from Rochelle, Illinois stopped in to visit us here in OKC while attending the Endeavor Games. She is in the preparatory events for the Paraolympic team. She holds the world record for the long jump and is on her way to London next for more events. Aubrey loves the Marine Corps! Her grandfather, SSgt Lyle Headon of 1st Amtracks '64-'68 inspired this love in her. She eats, sleeps and breathes the Corps and has since about age 3. She wears Marine Corps anything she can get her hands on. Aubrey ran on 7 June 2014 at the games in honor of LCpl Alec E. Catherwood, KIA from Darkhorse 3/5, Afghanistan 10-14-2010.
Aubrey we salute you for your honor, courage, and commitment to conquering the games, and continue to stand tall and proud as any United States Marine. Oorah!
Sgt Grit Call Center COO
Every year on Nov 10th there is a huge Marine Corps B-Day celebration in Philadelphia and they close off a major street and about a thousand Marines show up. It last all day at a Marine owned bar called Cookie's Tavern. Guys come from all over. Joe Curry was a Captain in the NJ State Police and is my neighbor, and this is me with his wife a couple years ago. I have now lost 129 lbs so I looked much younger and skinnier now. The other picture is me and my buddy from high school talking on the blocked off street. His name is Wayne Parker, and he buys stuff from you guys too. I love the spinning EGA's but I can't figure out how to do it.
Joseph A. Curry Jr.
Marine Way Of Doing Things
Made some landings off APA-44 USS Fremont. Remember re-boarding up the nets once. All that gear, tired, dirty, wet, and they want me to go up that net? I wondered, if I make to the top... how in the heck am I going to get on the deck. Well when I got to the top I felt myself being lifted up and gently being set on the deck in an upright position. In someone's infinite wisdom they had stationed two Sailors at every column of Marines coming up the nets. Sometimes you win. I know I was not going to look good if I would have had to try to get up on that deck by myself. Those Sailors made a bunch of points with us that day.
This post is in reference to the post about being lifted up in cargo nets. I think the way we did it was more in a Marine way of doing things. Just sayin'.
Cpl. E4 183xxxx
C-1-8 1958 - 1962
Marine Corps History Buffs Quiz
I had a fun time putting it together and I thought a lot of our brothers and sisters might get a kick out of passing or failing this test.
Semper Fi, my friend.
OK, Marine Corps history buffs and those who don't like history, but do like to play games, here's a list of famous sayings about Marines and or the Marine Corps. See if you can correctly link the quote with the author. No cheating (which, of course, Marines wouldn't do anyway), but the answers can be found at the end.
1. Who said, "Uncommon valor was a common virtue?"
a. Gen "Howlin"' Mad Smith, Okinawa, 1945
b. ADM Chester Nimitz, Iwo Jima, 1945
c. Col Chesty Puller, Guadalcanal, 1942
d. ADM Yamamoto of the Imperial Japanese navy, 1945
2. Who said, "The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle?"
a. Gen Lemuel Shepherd, Commandant of the Marine Corps
b. Gen Douglas McArthur at Inchon, 1950
c. Gen John Pershing, World War I
d. Unidentified German officer at Bellleau Wood, WWI
3. Who said, "I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes. If you f-ck with me, I'll kill you all."
a. Gen Chesty Puller, Pelilieu
b. Gen Al Gray (later Commandant), Vietnam
c. Sgt. John Basilone on Iwo Jima
d. MajGen James Mattis to Iraqi tribal leaders
4. Who said, "We're not retreating, H-ll! We're just attacking in a different direction."
a. Gen Oliver Smith, CG, 1st Marine Division, Korea
b. MajGen John Lejeune, WWI
c. SgtMaj Dan Daly, WWI
d. Gen George Patton, enroute to Bastogne, 1944
5. Who said, "Casualties many; percentage of dead not known; combat efficiency: we are winning!"
a. Col David Shoup (later Commandant), Tarawa
b. Capt Henry Crowe, Guadalcanal
c. Gen Charles Krulak, Vietnam
d. Lt Clifton Cates (later Commandant), WWI
6. Who said, "The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest minds, the highest morale and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!"
a. President Harry Truman, 1952
b. Jonathon Winters, comedian and former Marine
c. Gen Douglas McArthur, 1945
d. Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, 1st Lady, 1945
7. Who said, "A Marine is a Marine... there's no such thing as a former Marine. You're a Marine, just in a different uniform and you're in a different phase of your life. But you'll always be a Marine because you went to Parris Island, San Diego or the hills of Quantico. There is no such thing as a former Marine."
a. Gen James Jones, Commandant
b. Gen Chesty Puller
c. Gen Al Gray, Commandant
d. Gen James Amos, Commandant
8. Who said, "C'mon, you sons of b-tches! Do you want to live forever?"
a. John Basilone on Iwo Jima
b. GySgt Dan Daly, Belleau Wood
c. Maj Joe Foss, air battle over Guadalcanal
d. Lt. Audie Murphy, WWII
9. Who said, "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."
a. President Harry Truman
b. Gen Douglas McArthur
c. Gen Mark Clark, U. S. Army
d. New York Times reporter, reporting on Marines in Afghanistan
10. Who said, "I have just returned from visiting the Marines at the front and there is not a finer fighting organization in the world!"
a. Gen Norman Schwarzkopf, U. S. Army
b. Gen Douglas McArthur
c. President Ronald Reagan
d. President Lyndon Johnson
11. Who said, "The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years."
a. Joe Rosenthal, photographer on Iwo Jima
b. James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 1945
c. President Franklin Roosevelt
d. Gen Lemuel C. Shepard (later Commandant), 1945
12. Which Commandant said in 1978, "The wonderful love of a beautiful maid; the love of a staunch true man; the love of a baby, unafraid, have existed since time began. But, the greatest of loves, the quintessence of loves, even greater than that of a mother, is the tender, passionate, infinite love of one drunken Marine for another?"
a. Gen Louis Wilson
b. Gen Al Gray
c. Gen Robert Cushman
d. Gen Charles Krulak
Answers: (1) b, (2) c, (3) d, (4) a, (5) a, (6) d, (7) d, (8) b, (9) c, (10) b, (11) b, (12) a
Semper Fi and I hope you had as much fun answering these questions as I did researching them.
Land Of The Morning Sun
I am sure you or your staff do not remember a year ago my asking you to forward my email address to a Tom Tilson a Marine that I thought I knew that was actor George Kennedy's brother and I hadn't seen for nearly 35 years from a name in your newsletter. Being here in Tucson, and tied up with medical problems myself, and Tom being in Florida, we never got to see each other in person, but we emailed each other on a weekly basis.
Tom served as a swim coach at PI, and I had the chance to thank him for nearly drowning me. Tom got the news from his Doc that the cancer treatment that he was getting wasn't helping, and he was down to a few months left. Tom went out like a Marine. He and his wife flew to California, Japan, Korea, China, Australia and Hawaii to visit friends for the last time, and he enjoyed every moment of the trip. A few weeks after he returned, Tom passed away and I lost another dear friend. Thank you for your help in getting us together after all that time.
I try to read everything that is written about the early 50's Korean service and there is one thing I have yet to see anything about in your newsletter. On my second tour in the winter of '52/'53, while with the 7th Marines, the Army had these search lights set up a number of miles behind the MLR. They would shine them on the common low hanging night cloud cover and light up the reverse slope of the MLR. We called it "Artificial Moonlight". The Marine Corps, not to be outdone, set up one on the first hill (1000 yards) behind the MLR that 2 battalions from the 5th Marines were holding. As we found out later, their 3rd battalion was in reserve. Anyway, the 7th was in regimental reserve at the time, and intelligence indicated that because the Korean's couldn't determine where that light was by artillery fire that they sent an infiltration team to locate and knock it out. Cpl. John (last name withheld to protect the innocent), myself and four PFC's were volunteered to man a protective perimeter around the light.
The purpose of the light was for night air strikes on the enemy MLR. The Corsairs would fly in on a radio beacon and radio the light crew they were on station, and then they would turn the light on the enemy lines the planes would make a run with napalm and bombs. The first strike we had that night, I think was set for 0030 hours. Both John and I thought that as soon as they turned that light on we were going to get blown off the hill by the enemy artillery which didn't happen. When the last plane finished its run, the light was quickly shut down, and we had a two hour wait until the next strike. Shortly after the first strike, John whispered to me someone was coming up the hill. I could hear voices but couldn't make out what they were saying or the language. We had M-1's, a bandolier of ammo each, and a number of grenades each. I lined up three or four of the grenades in front of me on the edge of the little trench I was lying in. Then I heard a curse in English and just about the same time, the head of a 2nd Lt. popped up in front of me with his nose about 4 inches from the muzzle of my rifle. I yelled freeze and I have to tell you that the Lt.'s eyes went from slits to pie-plate size in a nanosecond. Turns out they were a group of Marines from the 5th on a training patrol and evidently lost. I think we shook the h-ll out of them because they left in what can only be described as hastily. Just another fun night in the land of the morning sun.
Perhaps there is someone still alive out there that remembers this type of operation.
Sgt. J. Davis
Marine Corps Ranked Worst... Or Not?
Marine Corps ranked worst service branch to join, and I love it!
This article on Yahoo written by Ron Johnson completely made my day. The writer was asked to rank best military branch to serve in.
He ranks them as:
2. Air Force
4. Coast Guard
5. Marine Corps (Worst Military Branch)
And here's what he had to say about the Marine Corps:
"Of all the military branches, the Marine Corps ranks as the least attractive choice for this author. Technically part of the Navy, the Marine Corps are the elite war fighters of the United States military. The leathernecks of the USMC are truly fearsome fighters, tough as nails and ready and willing to fight all comers. The Marines turn recruits into stone-cold killers and they make no secrets about that fact. Marines live tough lives, sleeping on board Navy ships, charging through the surf and crawling in the sand with one goal in mind: engage the enemy.
Unfortunately, when Marines fulfill their obligation and exit the service, they seem to find difficulty in turning this Marine Corps attitude 'off'. Whereas an Army or Navy veteran will likely adjust to civilian life over time and become softer, Marines stay Marines. Visit any neighborhood in the United States and you will find a USMC flag flying high over someone's house. You will rarely, if ever, see a person flying an Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard flag. While veterans of other military branches tend to relax a little bit as they transition into civilian life, any Marine will be quick to remind you of their unofficial motto, "Once a Marine, always a Marine." I don't know what those Marine Corps drill sergeants are doing to their recruits, but whatever it is, it works.
"Is that a bad thing? Well, that depends on your reasons for considering a military enlistment. If you have a strong desire to kill the enemy, the Marine Corps is for you because that is what the Marines do. Either you want that or you don't, plain and simple. If you simply want a challenge, any other branch of the military will provide you with plenty of opportunities to test yourself. Army Rangers and Green Berets, Air Force Pararescue Jumpers, and the Navy Seals all offer extreme physical and mental challenges outside of the Marine Corps. So if you are considering joining the Marine Corps, think long and hard about what that means before going to a recruiter and signing up."
Here's the full article and in my opinion the guy is mostly dead on about everything he wrote: The Best Military Branch to Enlist In; A Veteran Ranks the Military Branches.
Best Military Branch To Enlist In
And why is it I'm mostly proud of what he said about the Marine Corps? Are we that messed up in the head? : )
USMC Ranked Worst Branch To Join and I Love It
Keep the faith,
Stan R. Mitchell
Sgt USMC, Author
Gold Star Mom Converts To Cycles
By Staff Writer
An old adage says, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks", but Mary Wyscarver, THS teacher, begs to differ with that. For years her friends have told her of the joys of motorcycles. Finally on Memorial Day she joined almost one thousand bikers for the 15th annual "Ride to Remember" in West Texas to honor the fallen heroes. Her son, Marine SSgt. Joseph Fankhauser (KIA Afghanistan 2012), is her hero and was recently featured on Fox Sports Warriors Among Us â€“ Honor the Fallen.
"I haven't been on a bike in over 30 years," said Wyscarver, "but I think Joe would have been proud of me." Her cousin, Peggy Riemenschneider Neinst, in Andrews invited Wyscarver to join her, A.L. Smith, and Walter Braumley who have been riding for years. Smith wanted to get there early as he said, "There are three things you don't mess with: a man's bike, his woman, and his place in line." The bikes travel in pairs and from the first to the last it takes about one hour to get them all on the road.
The ride started at the West Texas Veterans' Memorial at the Midland Airport with a short program of speeches, wreath laying, posting of the colors, poem, prayer, bagpipes, and the playing of Taps. Then the drivers embarked on a one and one half hour tour with police escorts through Midland and Odessa, Texas and ending at the Veterans' Memorial in Andrews.
Despite the threatening weather, patriots of all ages lined the route with flags, waves, salutes, and horn honking. "It was a moving experience," recalls Wyscarver as she tearfully remembered an older vet saluting until all the procession had passed.
Donned in a black leather vest with a large Marine logo (from Sgt. Grit) on the back, Wyscarver rode in style on Braumley's special made fire engine red Harley Davidson bike complete with the fire fighter emblem. In fact, Braumley rode the bike to West to honor his fellow fire fighters after the 2013 explosion.
As an unofficial Biker Chick, Wyscarver stated that there were all types and colors of motorcycles in the procession including three wheelers and spiders. "Each owner was as unique as his or her bike," Wyscarver continued, "but they were all united in their love for America and appreciation of the service and sacrifice of current and former military personnel."
Wyscarver has already told all her friends and family about her trip. "I guess I'm like my teacher/WWII vet Daddy who liked to fish. Every time I tell the story it gets bigger and better," she laughed.
1965 Before Leaving For PI
Going through some old stuff found this. This is from 1965 given to me by my recruiter before leaving for PI.
To applicants reporting for active duty:
Dress neatly, with shined shoes, and a short neat haircut. Coat and tie is desired.
Take The Following Items With You:
Wallet and SS card
Alien registration card if foreign born
Not more than $10.00 cash
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Do Not Take The Following Items:
Medicine or remedies for ailments
Photos that do not fit your wallet
watches, jewelry, and camera
You May Take If Desired:
You will be aboard the Naval Base in Philadelphia for the better part of the day, with the official Oath Of Enlistment being administered at 2:30pm. You will arrive by bus at Phila International Airport at 4:00pm. You will depart at 5:20pm on a National Air Lines jet flight. Here your family and friends are invited to see you off.
When you arrive at Parris Island you will receive all items that are necessary for your well-being and everyday living. All men are issued the same items and you must wear them. The clothes you wear to PI will be returned to your home, Express collect within a few days.
You have chosen your Nation's Finest... The United States Marine Corps. Give your best and you will receive the best. The men that will train you are experts in their field and will give you the benefit of their years of experience. You as a Marine are the main controlling factor in your future as a Marine and throughout you entire life. Keep your Marine Corps proud.
Best of luck to you, and remember... "SEMPER FIDELIS"
D-mn Kentucky bourbon
Today, June 6, 2014, the 70th anniversary of the invasion at Normandy during WW II, is a particularly appropriate day to further write about my conversations with young, active duty Marines during Memorial weekend. I don't think most young people today understand or appreciate the sacrifices that were made by the young men and women of the WW II generation who are now mostly in their late 80's and early 90's. The exception to that statement, I believe, are the young Americans serving today, especially Marines. They are taught history and traditions, lessons that aren't taught in schools today.
During my talks with the two young Marines over Memorial weekend, one Marine goaded the other into asking me a question while I was obtaining another adult beverage. The question was - "What was the leadership you had on active duty like way back then?" I wasn't real fond of the "way back then" part, but I guess it's a matter of perspective. I answered the question this way. "Most of the senior leadership I had were veterans of WW II and Korea. Almost all of the senior SNCOs were veterans of one of those wars when I was a Pvt. in 1964. All the field grade and general grade officers were veterans of WW II or Korea. My leadership "way back then" was at times funny, at times really hard on us young Marines, and at times very concerned about our welfare. But they also didn't tolerate misconduct in any way, shape or form."
The young Marine's comment to my answer to his question was interesting to say the least. He said - "Those Marines from WW II and Korea set the standard, set the pace for you with their dedication to duty and courage. You accepted the responsibility and served honorably. You set the standard, set the pace for Marines who served in the Middle East and other places after you left the Marine Corps. They also accepted their responsibility and served honorably. Those Marines set the standard, set the pace for us. Now, it's our generation's turn to set the standard, set the pace. I don't expect the challenge to be an easy one. We have a tough legacy to live up to. I can just say I'll do my best."
Needless to say, the adult beverage the bartender mixed for me was quite strong, and I'm sure that's what was causing my eyes to tear up. D-mn Kentucky bourbon.
"A Former Hat"
GySgt, USMC, (Ret)
Vietnam Campaign Ribbon?
Last night, I was watching the Military Channel. The program had to do with the Nuremburg trials, and the Nazis that WERE NOT charged for their crimes... such as von Braun, and other scientists, and business administrators. As they were showing photos of U.S. Army personnel, (enlisted, I believe), and German High-Command prisoners of war, I was looking at the Army escorts ribbons... and then I had to rewind the photos. The Army escort's ribbons included the Vietnam Campaign ribbon, and the Vietnam Service Ribbon. I was so flabbergasted, that I didn't pay any attention to his other ribbons. (I don't know most of the Army ribbons anyhow). BUT, he was wearing period clothing.
Sgt. Denny Krause
P.S. I will be looking for that program again.
We Love A Parade
Semper Fi and thanks Sgt. Grit for the newsletter. I look forward to it every week.
I was just reading the latest newsletter and enjoying some of the stories written by my brother Marines, young and old. Half way through it one of my co-workers came into my office and noticed my desktop U.S. Flag and Marine Corps Flag. Hence the conversation went from my being a Marine to Boot Camp, Hollywood Style to; MCAS El Toro, Camp Pendleton, Okinawa to Treasure Island. He was curious about Okinawa. While sharing some of my experiences. One hit me that I thought I would share with you. Side note; In 1964 Marines had to wear uniforms while on liberty. Although many evenings were spent on base at the E Club Chesty at Sukiran (later Camp Foster), as that is where we were stationed, 3rd FSR.
While at the club, every time the band would play, "California Hear I Come, Right Back Where I Started From." My buddies and I could be found sitting on the floor under our table drinking our 10 cent mixed drinks. Only because, when that song played, the place would turn into a real clustered mess. You could even call it an animal pit. There would be bottles and glasses flying, chairs and tables being toppled and the occasional fist of cuffs brawl. Once it would subside, we would go topside and enjoy the rest of the evening, unless the MP's arrived. At that point the party would end. Do to the fact the Club Chesty was unpredictable, we enjoyed going to off limit bars. They were a real get away from the usual action at Club Chesty. One Saturday a group of us decided to go to Naha. Once there, in uniform we decided to explore the surrounding area. Well, we managed our way off the beaten trail and found a few watering holes and commenced to partake of the fruit of the native vine. Once fully tanked up and nearly blind, we decided to go back to the main strip and catch a cab back to Camp Sukiran. When we arrived on the main Strip, there was a parade in progress. Well as you know, being Marines, "We Love a Parade"... So the 4 of us fell-in the ranks at an opening. We are swaying from side to side, following the rest of the crowd, and chanting right along with them. When out of nowhere came an brother Marine Sergeant yelling over the noise of the crowd, "What the H are you guys doing"? Not being of sound mind nor balance we invited the Sgt to join us. That is when he yelled, "This is a Communist Anti-American Parade Rally"! We all sobered up in a heartbeat. We thanked the nice Sergeant, who we didn't know. So if you are reading this, thanks again, I owe you one. That evening, our biggest concern was, if anyone took our picture and it would be published in the newspaper. Peace came a week later when we returned to the off-limit saloons, off the beat trail for more fruit of the native vine. That was one among many experiences I will never forget.
Cpl Frank Santangelo
A while back, GySgt. Rousseau wrote an interesting article about the music that Marines listened to during the WW2 era. When I was in, the music was quite different. The Beatles and the British invasion had not yet arrived in America, Elvis was King, and our music was pretty much Elvis, various R&R and Doo-Wop groups, and an occasional ballad by the likes of Sinatra, Jerry Vale, Four Aces, etc. Today one of the hottest shows on Broadway, and now a movie, is Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Prior to 1962, nobody had ever heard of the Four Seasons. That was about to change.
In June 1962, the 6th MEU, consisting of reinforced Bn. 1/6 and supporting elements, set sail from Norfolk, VA, aboard the USS Boxer, LPH-4, along with various other amphibs. For the next 3 months, we would be, in Naval-speak, the Caribbean Force in Readiness. Our job was to sail around, show the flag, look tough, and be prepared to kick any butts that needed kicking. Headquartered in Vieques, we did several landings and maneuvers, and sailed around to different liberty ports.
At that time, (don't know if it is still in operation), there was a radio station broadcasting out of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. It was WIVI, the Lighthouse of the Indies. They played great music, all the latest R&R hits. One day as we were cruising around, word went around ship that there were some good sounds being heard up on the flight deck. We all went up there and gathered around anyone who had a transistor radio. We arrived topside just in time to hear Frankie Valli wailing out Sherry. It sounded great, and it seemed like almost at once, every Marine, and half the ship's crew, were moving and grooving to Sherry. Everyone was having fun. But, as we all know, Marines on board ship are not allowed to have fun. As we were enjoying all the R&R songs, the ship's loudspeaker system announced "Now hear this. All personnel not on duty clear the flight deck and lay to your berthing spaces at once." We went, but at least we got to hear the Four Seasons for the first time. Who knew the Jersey Boys would still be singing into the 21st century.
We never did get to kick any butt on that cruise, but did perform a few "crisis interventions" (more Naval-speak.) We went to Haiti because the Dictator Papa Doc Duvalier and his secret police, the TanTan Macoute, were threatening all-out revolution. After things quieted down, we were allowed liberty in Port au Prince. What a rat hole. We went to the Dominican Republic because the military was threatening a coup against the democratically-elected president. No liberty allowed. We went ashore in Gitmo because Castro had been harassing the Navy base there for several months. We pulled some great liberty in many places, including Antigua, Barbados, Martinique, and Trinidad.
We arrived back in Norfolk in Sept., and not much more than a month later we all went back to Gitmo for the Cuban Missile Crisis. Once again we did not kick butt. A good time was had by all.
Cpl. Paul Lindner
After The Rush
By Lanny Martinson
After the Rush represents author Lanny Martinson's debut into the literary world. His gritty, tell-it-like-it-is style leaves little to the imagination in his no-holds-barred account of a young man's journey into manhood. Although the book is fiction, it's based on actual events experienced by the author or his fellow Marines who served in the Vietnam War.
You can find this book at: After the Rush
Lieutenant Of Marines
By Bryan J. Lash
The sixties brought us many things: women's liberation, free love and draft dodgers. More importantly, America was involved in helping the fledgling democratic Republic of Vietnam withstand attempts from the Communists of North Vietnam to conquer them militarily. America sent its bravest and brightest to assist and train the Vietnamese. Unfortunately, history will probably show that most Americans opposed this action. This is a story that chronicles the experiences of one man's journey to be a U.S. Marine during this time in history. It covers his time as a boy, through college, to leading the world's finest fighting men in combat. He discovered many life lessons along the way, not the least of which was the real meaning of the famous Marine motto: Semper Fidelis.
You can find this book at: Lieutenant of Marines
Gonna Get It Now
Recruits who needed "extra" training, the overweight, the slow learners, the weak, or those with an "attitude" were set back to the STU (Special Training Unit) platoon. This was the equivalent of a death warrant to us as we never saw a setback recruit again. We had a guy join our platoon late in boot camp after he had been set back from another platoon and spent a month or so in STU. It was his first night in our squad bay at taps and we were all in our racks at attention, waiting for the Drill Instructor to turn out the lights and hoping he doesn't decide to PT our azzes for some slight, when this STU recruit screams out:
"Sir! We Wish To Thank The Drill Instructor For Another Glorious Day In The Marine Corps Where Everyday's A Holiday and Every Meal's A Feast. Gung Ho, Gung Ho, Gung Ho!"
I thought, oh sheet, we're gonna get it now. But the D.I. just stood there a minute, said "Bullsheet", "Goodnight ladies", and turned out the lights. Every night after that we had to recite this same prayer to the Corps while at attention in our racks. A few years ago I found this brother Marine on the internet. And shared a few e-mails back and forth with him for a while. He was a bad gang banger from New York City when he joined the Corps. He did have an attitude he told me, but STU knocked it out of him. After he got out, he went back to New York City, became a cop and retired with honors to Arizona.
Plt. 374, August 1960
From The DISBURSING CHIEF
(Vol #6, #2)
I went to the barracks and took a quick shower. Then I went to chow. I returned to my bunk and laid down for a well needed rest. At 1800 I waited for a call from this gorgeous woman. By 1845 I had decided that she would not call and went to sleep. But at 1900 the Duty NCO came into the squadbay and hollered "Sgt Freas. Miss Kitty would like to talk with you." I rushed to his office. You should have heard what my bunkmates were saying: "Miss Kitty? I thought the girl in your locker was Mary"; "Does Mary know about Miss Kitty?" "Is this going to mess up your marriage to Mary?", etc., etc., etc. Well, anyway this was the first time I knew her name.
When I went into the Duty NCO's office he told me that he was going to walk his rounds - so that I could have a little privacy. I picked up the phone and said, "Sgt Freas speaking." She replied "This is Kitty. Do you remember me?" (Boy, did I remember her). I said "Yes." She said she had three questions to ask me. #1 was "Would you be willing to drive us to Washington, D.C.?" I answered "That all depends." #2 was "Can you drive a tank?" I said "What do you mean?" She told me "My car is a tank, a 1949 Lincoln Cosmopolitan. I used to call it a battleship - but have since decided that was a bit much. I told her that "my car was a 1949 Hudson, not too much smaller than her car; certainly I can drive your car." and #3 was "When can we leave?" I told her that goes back to your first question. "I am reenlisting for six more years Friday afternoon and going on a 15 day leave afterwards. I had thought you wanted to go in my car and I have to take it on my leave. That would prevent me from driving your car to Washington. But I think I can get over that hurdle - in fact I am almost certain I can. If you will give me a call tomorrow evening I am sure I can give you the answer you want." She said "That sounds good, I will call you tomorrow evening."
The next morning I called a hometown buddy that often rode with me on weekends. I asked him if he would like to drive my car back home on Aug 4th. He said "Certainly!" And the problem was solved. When 'Miss Kitty' called again I could tell her that everything was a 'Go'. She called again - at 1900 - and someone hollered "This must be serious" She said she had one question that kept nagging her - "Are you certain you can drive my tank?" I responded "That is no problem at all. I am at a loss as to why you think it would be a problem." She answered "It is such a long car!" I told her "How about a school bus? You get behind the wheel and everything behind you goes where you want it to. If it will make you feel better - I drove a tractor-trailer six months between high school and the Marine Corps." It was agreed that she would meet me behind Bldg#1 on Friday, Aug 4th at 1500.
See you next week. The old, real old, real, real old (85) Master Gunny.
Harold T. Freas, Sr.
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #9, #5 (MAY, 2019)
I'd like to continue from Vol, #9, #4 by saying that I survived my first 200 MPH flight in a CH-53 by relying on what I believe to be a sound engineered and built aircraft that was designed for a max speed of 194 MPH. I'm sure you're wondering why would someone want to push the limits of the design characteristics of the aircraft only to say that they did, what they did. Plus I didn't recall anyone asking for a vote count. All of a sudden we were there. I was just glad that he (the Test Pilot) didn't want to attempt a loop or a roll that day. He also called me forward to verify that we had attained 200 MPH. I was satisfied with the results and grateful that he was also.
Now, In the preceding issues I talked about Operation ENDSWEEP and my little piece of the pie from my viewing place at Cubi Point in the Philippine Islands. Also, remember that the dates of this Operation were from 6 February 1973 to 27 July 1973. This was after the Vietnam War peace agreement which was signed on 23 January 1973. It was also tied to the release of the prisoners of war and of course the removal of the mines in the harbors and shipping lanes.
Since all this took place after the War in Vietnam there have been many discussions concerning those that were there and questions have been raised as to why there were no ribbons for those that participated in the operation. Although many involved drew small arms fire in the performance of their duties Congress refused all requests for awards stating that the war had ended on 30 March therefor no awards were warranted. No campaign, expeditionary, service ribbons or medals. The fact that Saigon didn't fall for another year and fighting in one form or another continued to that time and beyond and didn't enter into their heads. The fact that these personnel were receiving combat pay made no difference.
Several Sailors from the Mine Sweepers sent letters to the NAVY Dept. and Senators. They rec'd the response that the Navy considered a special ribbon for Operation ENDSWEEP but, decided against it. To this day, not many people know what ever happened. Even now I'm trying to find out why our unit HMM (C)-164 (CH-53 Section) was not even included as having been a part of TF-78.? Oh Well, one of these days We'll learn why!
My tour of duty with the 53 Section was coming to an end and I boarded a C-130 for my trip back up to MCAS Futenma, OKI. I still had about a week left on my overseas tour and I needed to get at least 1.5 more Flight hours for my Flight Pay. Well, I signed on for more than likely my last flight in the Corps and climbed on board a 53 that was going out for a flight up to the Northern part of the Island with the Maint. Officer. We talked back and forth while we were heading North and the fact that this was going to be my last flight in the Corps prompted him to tell me to sit down and strap in and with that, he kicked that '53 in the tail and requested a Low High speed pass of the Field, and the tower. Once past the tower he laid that 53 on it's side and made the turn back down the field and abruptly came to a high hover stop and landed. Once landed, he taxied up to the front of the Line Shack, he told me to de-plane and he saluted me as I was walking away from the AC. I will never forget that! SEMPER FI!
Don't Look Up
Ah, the nets... always the nets. There was a time when older hands taught minor, but important, rope work (only, they would have called it 'line', not 'rope'), and that was just a couple of knots, half-hitches, etc., used to hand lower crew-served weapons over the side. A piddlin' detail... unless you wanted to go ashore without your mortars or machine guns... or had an orangutan or two who could just swing down the net with a base plate in one hand. Along with "keep yer hands on the verticals, dumbazs", would be frequent reminders from up at the rail to "don't look up". Pretty good advice, since the pizzpot (helmet) would usually do a better job of deflecting any item of stray gear gone adrift from the rank above than would a face... although I have known some Marines who at first glance might be suspected of having ignored that advice at some time in the past. I recall a freckle-faced feather merchant from Comm Platoon (H&S 2/1/9) who was packing, besides his field marching pack and M-1, a AN/PRC-10 back-pack radio, starting down the net... and somehow managing to fall, from nearly the top, to the gunwale (pronounced "gunnel") of a Papa boat (LCVP... or since all the WWII movies, "a Higgins boat"). He hit on his back, and tumbled into the boat. Didn't do the radio much good, but other than that, he was OK. This was probably from the USS Okanagan, but could have been from USS Lenawee, or some of the other APA's in the far east at the time... may have been when we were going ashore at Numazu for training at Fuji. Had he gone into the water, with all the gear on him... it wouldn't have been pretty...
The Corps has gone through several versions of 'load-carrying' gear since my days (packs... I will never get used to the doggie term "rucksack", or 'ruck') and since the day of the M-1941, which could be made up into five versions. Most of those incorporated the suspenders, which hooked into eyelets at the top side of the cartridge or pistol belt (magazine belt for the BARman and his assistant. The suspenders served two purposes: one was to retain the belt, which was to be un-buckled and open when on the net, and the other was to ride the belt up to the bottom of the rib cage, providing maximum discomfort when humping along the trail. (If you see a picture of a Marine with a field marching pack on, and if the belt is around his waist, covering his web belt... will guarantee you that he hitched up his pack and down on the suspenders/belt just before the picture was taken) The open part was to assist in quickly shrugging out of the pack if one fell into the water... which, by the way was also the reason that for many years, boots (not boondockers, the lower quarter field shoe) for Marines had a combination of eyelets and hooks... the eyelets held the laces from the toe to the instep, but from there to the top of the boot, the laces hooked on open hooks... the idea being that the arrangement was much faster to get undone, and boots shucked, if one fell into deep water (usually was, (deep) around the sides of an APA). Any salt worth his PFC stripe could show you how to lace up the hook part with one hand... even though it still took two hands to tie...
Having been exposed to lots of WWII and Korea vets, had always heard that particularly before a landing, the Navy went out of their way to harrass, annoy, vex, and bully-rag Marines so that we'd be really p-ssed off and ready to fight anything or anybody when the ramp went down... and always dismissed that as just more sea stories. And then came the day when we (K/3/5) were to shift from our APA (Pickaway... 222) over to a LSD (Alamo, LSD 33) to marry up with the platoon of amtracks that would be taking us ashore the next day. This, by the way, was for real... and we had drawn a full BA of ammo, including for the 60MM mortars, 3.5 rockets, etc. It was a hot, sunny day, a glassy calm sea, and not so much as one of those little round VietNamese fishing boats in sight. Pickaway had her companionway rigged down on the starboard side... and Alamo not only had her companionway rigged, she also had her stern gate open. Our transport from one ship to the other was to be a Mike boat (similar to a LCVP, but quite a bit larger, and steel, rather than plywood)... Now, one would assume, that in the absence of likely hostile activity, that we would be invited to descend the companionway, step into the Mike boat, cruise over to Alamo, and ascend via her companionway, or alternatively, just motor into the well deck, drop the ramp and walk out. Nope... no way... not to be. We left Pickaway via the nets, crowded into the Mike boat, and motored over to Alamo... to climb up the nets, with gear... under one of the ships' boats that had just been lifted, and was hanging out on the davits, dripping salt water onto us. At that point, I became a believer in sea stories...
SGT. Bernard is now serving guard duty in heaven. He died May 28, 2014 while being treated at Bay Pines VA hospital age 93. He served WWII in the Pacific theater for almost three years.
Bernie returned to Indianapolis, in and operated G.G. Fisher's Garage and Auto Body Shop with his dad and brother Delmer D. Fisher (also a Marine who fought in the Pacific Islands).
David A. LeVine, Cpl.
Nephew 169-----, 2531
The last of the WW II code talkers, Chester Nez died today in Flagstaff, AZ at the age of 93. He served in both WWII and Korea. I'm sure this great American hero is now guarding the gates of heaven.
"A Former Hat"
GySgt, USMC (Ret)
On June 1, 2014 the USMC lost a buddy, Brigadier General Jim Hall, USAF [Ret.]. He crewed on 20th Air Force B-29's during WWII, on missions over Japan. In March 1945 he crash-landed on Central Field, the Iwo Jima Emergency Airfield, aboard one of the first aircraft to use it. He never missed a chance to speak of his debt to the Marines, living and dead, who secured Iwo Jima. He took every opportunity to personally thank the Iwo Jima veterans for saving his life (and the lives of his fellow airmen). He served 3 wars, in combat: WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Among his many decorations and awards, he wore silver Parachutist Wings.
He originated the television series "Ripcord." He tested man-rated parachute systems for the USAF. He created the "Buddy System" and the "4-line cut." He designed and filmed the survival instruction film: "Passport to Safety." Jim always repaid his debts; he saved countless lives. Semper Fidelis, General Hall!
Looking at the photo of the 2ndMarDiv out for a run either the Commanding General is out of step or 9,999 troops are.
Just asked a young Marine friend (helicopter gunner, fire control officer etc.) who is still in and he says they can still get military hops. Have no idea how our illustrious leaders managed to miss having this ended. But they probably don't even know it exists.
Sgt Don Wackerly
Ddick could not have said it any better. Just substitute BLT 1/5, first operation as "Jackstay in Mekong Delta March '66, & also were airlifted by squadron as well on any operations (I was aboard USS Princeton) which after the war was dismantled in my home town before my eyes in Portland, Oregon. Everything else remains the same (we disembarked at Chu Lai around Apr '66.
"Without liberty, law loses its nature and its name, and becomes oppression. Without law, liberty also loses its nature and its name, and becomes licentiousness."
--James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1790
"The clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him."
"Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism."
--George Washington (1796)
"Among those who dislike oppression are many who like to oppress."
"What you owe yourself is to work for your living; what you owe your neighbor is not to interfere with his work."
"The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a MARINE CORPS for the next 500 years."
--James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy
"Come on, you sons of b-tches! Do you want to live forever?"
--GySgt. Daniel Daly, USMC
"The Navy was our mother,
The Marine Corps was our father,
They were never married,
I am one proud b-stard."
"Lean Green Fighting Machine!"
"Big Green Fighting Machine!"
"Missions change... Warriors don't!"