Dear Sgt. Grit,
In your January 30 newsletter, Mike Benefield asked if anyone knew the meaning of FMF. It is "Fleet Marine Forces", a combination of Navy and Marine Units, as I was told, "ready to deploy on a moment's notice!" When I transferred to 1st Marine Air Wing, Iwakuni we were allowed to take only what would fit into our sea bag.
I have attached a photo of Platoon 190, MCRD, San Diego. I don't remember the date of the photo, but three of us from Big Sandy, Texas enlisted June 6, 1956. DI's were SSgt. J. W. Scrivener, Sgt. J. W. Angle and Sgt. M. E. Russell.
Phil Urquhart, LCpl '56-'59
Great Deal Of Suction
Concerning issue of the K-Bar, it was issued to anyone whose T/O weapon was a pistol, rifleman had a bayonet.
The "bulk C-rations" as referred to were "B"-rations, large cans issued to the Mess Sergeant who would turn powdered eggs, powdered potatoes, canned meats and fruit into a "tolerable" hot meal served either in a mess tent or on wooden stand up tables outside. They weren't much but after a couple of months of "C's" three times a day... they were welcomed. They also made hot soup, split pea and French onion weren't bad. Powdered milk had a great deal of suction to it if you get my drift. "A" rations were fresh food either shipped in under refrigeration or procured locally.
I arrived at MCRD San Diego mid-January of 1959, there were NO yellow footprints at that time.
We were advised by our Drill Injectors that the proper term was Leggin's not Leggings, don't know why, just a Corps tradition I reckon.
L. H. Marshall 1854XXX '59-'89
Never Saw It Again
I have been following the stories about Ka-Bars in your newsletter. I thought one more story might be appropriate.
In September 1967, my best friend, LCpl Colin Keith Hipkins and probably one of the finest Marines ever, "fell" in Vietnam. True to the Marine Corps motto, he would not leave a fellow Marine behind and was killed. He was with Bravo Company, 1/5. After his funeral, I immediately joined the Marine Corps, something he and I had planned to do after graduating college. I left college and went to boot camp (180 day delay program to finish my semester) in February, 1968 (Platoon 229 - Honor Platoon). Prior to leaving I visited his parents. They surprised me with a Ka-Bar inscribed down the blade with my name on one side and my service number on the other (E. S. Warren - 24343xx). They had given Keith one before he left for boot camp, also. They also gave my high school buddy one, we enlisted on the buddy program.
Fast forward almost exactly one year later. I was wounded 362 days after Keith was KIA. During the medivac, my Ka-Bar became separated from me. I never saw it again. Keith's was likewise never seen again. When I talked to Keith's father about it, he put the matter in a different light. I asked if it bothered him. He said, "No, someone else obviously needed it to do their job". It made the loss of my Ka-Bar easier to understand. However, I would still like to have it returned. I am appealing to any and all. If you know of this knife, I would sure appreciate having it back. I hope it served you well.
Sgt. Grit, thank you for letting me tell this story.
Cpl E. S. Warren
Vietnam 1968- 1969
Worst Uniform Ever
Mike Benfield asked if anyone wanted to talk about "trops". In 1959 at P.I. we were issued two sets of trops, 2 sets of khakis, and one set of greens. (1 pair of trousers and 1 blouse). We wore the trop shirt with the trop trousers and the greens. Miserable uniforms. They held a crease until you took them off the hanger, then sagged and bagged. Looked like sh!t and were very uncomfortable. Supposed to be for tropical temperatures. Didn't work. Sweat your butt off. Worst uniform ever.
Cpl. 186xxxx '59-'63
Slick Sleeve Comments
This was taken when I was home on leave from ITR in March of 1970.
These are the blues I bought at San Onefre. I was a PFC but they were out of stripes so I had to endure a lot of "slick sleeve" comments. My father John Grimes, in the center, was a 3rd Armored Division Combat Veteran from WWII who fought in every campaign in the European theatre. My great Uncle Chester Schank was a WWI Veteran.
In the second photo I am standing with my grandmother Mabel Rostock one of the last Spanish American War Widows. Note the photo of my uncle Jake Rostock on the wall. My brothers John, Roy, and Sam were all in the Corps. My brother Asher was a graduate of the U. S. Coast Guard Academy and served in the "Knee Deep Navy".
Armed Guards And Lawn Chairs
My dress blues still hang in the closet where I put them 43 years ago. I had proud times wearing them, like at the roll-out of the 747 in Boeing's Seattle hangar where we carried the colors for the ceremony (lots of stewardi in attendance). They also have sad moments of too many funeral details for brother Marines we paid last honors to that were from the West side of Washington state.
While on I&I at the old NAS Sandpoint we were detailed with all the Marine funerals from Olympia, North to the Canadian border; and from the Pacific coastline, East to the crest of the Cascades. Good memories and some not so good memories, but all proud memories of wearing them as a Marine!
As far as Gunny McCallum and his engine change in Ellensburg area... must have been nice. We had to do an engine change on one of our UH-34's in a civilian's backyard in Kent in '69 when Ol' 352 dropped jugs 5 & 6 and seized up tighter than a tick 2,500 feet over Kent, WA. Pilot set it down in the biggest open area he could find, a backyard of a sand crab. When the rotors stopped, only 6 shingles were removed by the rotor tips. Three days later and about 600 feet of PSP matting used for access over a swampy area and the engine was swapped out. Twenty minutes later the bird was sitting on the flight line at NAS Sandpoint, as if nothing had happened. We wound up replacing half of his roof, all of his sod, and most of his fence. But he got to sit in a "real Marine Corps helicopter" and see how we guarded our equipment with armed guards sitting in his lawn chairs. Fun and games in HMM-770 Rotorheads Rule!
Swing with the Wing!
Thanks to Cpl Davey Platoon 244 MCRDSD in 1965, I now have verification that Staff Sergeant Elmore, Platoon 277 MCRDSD also in 1965 was my platoon commander. I remember distinctly asking SSgt Elmore permission to speak to him while we were PTing in the sand. I asked permission to speak to the drill instructor and he asked me "Do I look like a drill instructor Private Hays? Get down and give me 20!" While doing the push-ups I suddenly remembered he told us that he was the Platoon Commander and that the black belt he wore instead of the OD green cartridge belt signified he was the platoon commander. Other former DI's have told me that I must be mistaken because the platoon commander was an officer. Now I have verification of what I was told.
Chu Lai RVN 1967-1968
I'm not on your Facebook page, so I am late coming to the conversation on the photo of Marines in berets. It brings back memories of one of the many times I was TAD to Korea (Team Spirit and others) from 1st Radio Bn, KMCAS, HI. One time on liberty I had an opportunity to purchase a camouflage beret from one of the many street vendors (you could buy almost anything). Because there were a few libations involved, it seemed a good idea to wear it rather than our usual cover. Since Murphy's Law is never to be mocked, I chanced upon a 2ndLt who was suitably outraged. "Gunny," he said, "What the h-ll are you wearing?" "A beret, sir, a uniform modification being tested by HQMC," I replied. "Well, I don't like it!" was his rejoinder. After 30 plus years, it's still behind my bar with the other treasured, regular Marine covers from my father, father-in-law, mother-in-law, and even a couple of mine.
I wonder if your readers remember the difference between a 2ndLt and a PFC? The PFC has been promoted once.
George M. Button
MSgt USMC (Ret)
KA-BAR Is Retired
In response to the question of FMF meaning, I know it was Fleet Marine Force in 1942-1946 when I was in the Corps, never heard of the Mother explanation, but would have agreed to it also.
SSgt. Robert E. Reeves has his Ka-Bar displayed with Japanese blood still on it. My Service and Supply Company, 1st Base Depot, was stationed on Guadalcanal while waiting to go to Okinawa and my Ka-Bar saw action hacking open coconuts 'til I got sick of them. Arrived at Okinawa D-Day plus 20, saw only air raids continually including plenty of Kamikaze planes and a 125 mph typhoon after the war, 9 days before going aboard ship to come home in Nov., 1945.
My Ka-Bar is retired on the top shelf of my desk right now.
Sgt. Billy E. Fox, 423xxx
After reading many stories about the Corps I thought your readers might enjoy another...
I arrived at Yemmasee on Dec. 15, 1946. There were about 40 recruits waiting for our cattle truck to ship on the Island. The roads were all dirt and dust, the local movie was a large tent at the end of the street. We were sent to a one room barracks that had only a screen door to enter. The Marine in charge kept us falling out every 10 minutes to see how fast we could line up, that is until we broke the screen door off the hinges. We were finally packed in the open truck in the pouring rain to the Island and our wooden barracks.
(no yellow line or footprints, just dirt and dust)
Our DI was named John Yetsko, he was a Carlson raider and wore the skull & cross bones shoulder patch. One tough Marine, but he trained us like we were going into combat, and he must have remembered every day what would be required of us.
Having signed up at 17 and having spent a year in the Sea Scouts at 16 (prepared us to go in the Navy) I had plenty of drill time which helped me simulate.
Visited PI about six months ago on my way to the Keys from New Jersey and very disappointed as the entrance is guarded by a civilian cop, drill fields all paved, barracks looked like garden apartments and the Marines were all dressed in desert utilities and looked like Army troops. I'm sure there well trained and I honor them as Marines, but remember PI when it really looked like Parris Island...
Sgt. William P. Schmal
46' - 51'
1st Replacement Draft (Korea)
I always liked the use of call signs in Vietnam. Here are a few I remember.
I know we would change them periodically. So over the course of a tour you could use several call signs.
Sgt Grit 2531
From the 1 January 1944 issue of the Marine Corps Chevron
Seabees attached to the Fourth Marine Division were warmly congratulated Tuesday on the second anniversary of the founding of their organization. Following is the message of the Division's Commanding General:
"On the second anniversary of the organization of Naval Construction Battalions it is a pleasure to compliment you on your excellent performance of duty in this Division and to wish you well in the days ahead. Your organization now numbers some 262,000 officers and men, more than 10 percent of whom are now overseas. Your reputation of being able to do the impossible in short order has made you a favorite of the Marines with whom you work shoulder to shoulder. The record of the Seabees on Guadalcanal, Bougainville and all through the Pacific has been one of proud accomplishment and hard work under most extraordinary and trying conditions. I know that the officers and men of the Seabees in the Fourth Division are ready and eager to carry on such a proud tradition. The Marines are proud to have you wear their uniform and I am proud to have such a fine group under my command."
H. SCHMIDT, Major General, USMC, Commanding, 4th Marine Division.
Note: We used to trade excess radio equipment with the Seabees for various building supplies that were hard or impossible for us to get. They had pretty good mess halls to eat in after the trading/exchanging was finished. You could get ice cream if I remember correctly.
I am responding to Rev. M. K. McKay's Short Round in your January 23rd issue stating that MGYSGT Wolf received only one Navy Cross for action in Korea and he did not earn a Navy Cross for Viet Nam. The second award for Viet Nam was given 18 May 1963 by Gen. M Taylor in a letter for action on a secret mission for the Joint Chiefs Of Staff. General Maxwell D. Taylor writes that the recipient was at an outpost and 5 miles away and the message had to be delivered "to the intended person". A patrol consisting of two Army Green Berets and 11 Republic of Vietnam soldiers and Wolf, described as feeling uneasy of the Vietnamese soldiers looking around, moved from his center position, the rear. It was an ambush, one of the Vietnamese soldiers shot the lead Army Sergeant in the back. In the ensuing fight, Wolf and the other Sergeant killed seven of the enemy before the Green Beret was killed. Taking the last rifle, Wolf killed the remaining attackers. Unfortunately, Wolf was alone in the jungle with 13 dead around him. He continued on his mission and delivered the message. In Taylor's letter, Wolf was cited for displaying "extraordinary heroism... while accompanying a patrol southÂ¬west of Saigon." However, "due to the nature of your duties," Taylor continued, "the presentation of the award will be delayed for an indefiÂ¬nite period of time."
It has probably yet to be declassified. His family donated his awards to the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen, Texas. These awards include a Navy Cross with GOLD star. The Pentagon should really declassify this and other awards so the recipients can be honored. I am sure the families of the two Green berets would like to see their loved ones recognized for how they died. I hope this helps Rev. M.K. McKay.
Cpl. J Kanavy
That Other "Plus"
As I've said before, since I'm a high school teacher, I'm sometimes delayed in reading your great newsletter for more than one week. This weekend (31 January/1 February), I got to read two, both of which contained comments about the "blues". I'd like to put in a few words, and close with a "plus" that I haven't seen mentioned, yet.
I once informed my wife that I wanted to be buried in mine. I may amend that to have them given to one of my grandsons, if he wants them. My only son (two daughters came into the world ahead of him) has his own set, so one of the other three grandsons might get mine.
My most-remembered experience while wearing mine occurred sometime between August of '70 and October of '76. My wife and I had bought a home a few blocks from the junior high school where I started teaching, a year after my release from active duty. I had joined the nearest Reserve unit (aboard NAS Corpus Christi, TX--about a 2-1/2 hour drive one way) just before I started my new job, so on-or-about 10 November of every year, I wore my blues to school (with the principal's permission) and took the day off from the curriculum to share my 'Nam experiences with my students in memory of the OCS and Basic School classmates, among others with whom I served, who didn't get the chance to share theirs. I also had my students write a "to-whom-it-may-concern" letter to a Marine serving with either Lima 3/7 (for whom I had "FO-d") or India 3/11 (my initial "parent battery" for eight months--my last 4-1/2 months were with the headquarters of 3rd 8-Inch Howitzers--until I learned that they had returned state-side.
On one of those days, I was walking home afterward, when a car approached me from behind. The attractive young woman who was driving rolled down her window to whistle and smile at me!
That other "plus" for the blues, that I referred to above: it's a "chick magnet".
Once a Captain, USMCR; Always a Marine
1963-'76 "For pay purposes"
Plane Captain Of The Month
Found this picture of an F9F-8T Cougar from H&MS 13 that was probably the same one I flew in the back seat in '63 when I made Plane Captain of the month. Although this pic was taken at Chu Lai, it's still the same H&MS 13 that my squadron, VMA 212, was a part of at Kaneohe Bay in 1963. They only had one Cougar trainer. That year, my squadron established an award to be designated "Plane Captain of the month" and I happened to be lucky enough to be the first one. Before I could actually fly, however, I had to take pressure chamber and ejection seat training at NAS Barber's Point. After that initial training I was ready for the flight. The pilot was a Captain from H&MS-13 and the hop was about an hour long. We did all the maneuvers including a loft bombing where he put it in a power dive from around 30,000 ft. and pulled back on the stick at about 6,000 ft. climbing back to altitude and flipping over, simulating special weapons delivery. I was watching the G meter climb to about 7 G's. I could hear the wings creaking like rusty hinges as my G suit filled up with bleed air. After that maneuver he let me take the stick. "Put your left wing down", he said, and I eased the stick left. Same thing with the right wing. So now I get a little confident and asked if I could try an aileron roll. "Go ahead if you think you can" says he. Now I'm feeling very confident, even though I wasn't a pilot (did that years later as a civilian), and I just whipped that stick over in my right lap. I didn't know that you have to give it a little nose up before entering an aileron roll. Nobody mentioned that part. Anyway, we were up around thirty thousand when I started the maneuver. I was looking straight up at the ocean getting closer and the airplane was not coming out of the roll. It was falling towards the water upside down. I still had the stick all the way over in a death grip, looking up at the ocean, watching the waves turn into whitecaps. The Captain said "Let Go Of The Stick". "Are You Sure You Got It Sir", says I. "Let Go Of The Godd-mn Stick" says he with more emphasis. So I let go, and he rolled out to level flight before we got wet. He didn't say a word to me after that all the way back to Kaneohe and after landing he got away from that plane post haste and left me in the fuel pits. At any rate, there was only one PC of the month after me. They discontinued it after that guy because he puked in his Oxygen mask. Made a h-ll of a mess so I hear. They discontinued the award after that.
I was just reading the latest newsletter when I come across What's Up Sarge by Jim Eggers. I started to read it and said to my wife this is about my platoon in Boot Camp. As I read the story I began to chuckle as I do remember how Sgt. Kennedy had a way of expressing himself. He was an outstanding Drill Instructor. I remember his mean little grin which we all about witnessed as a full blown laugh during our first Series Commander's Inspection by Lt. Hayes. We had a Private in our platoon Otto Klaus Knoll who was in my squad next to me as we stood waiting nervously for Lt. Hayes and Sgt Kennedy to inspect us. Lt. Hayes stepped in front of Private O.K. Knoll and asked him his name. Private Knoll forgot his military bearing for a brief second and shouted out OTTO KNOLL! The bewildered Lieutenant must have thought Knoll said I Don't Know! as he said that he didn't know his name either but that the private better remember his name very quickly as he was holding up his inspection of platoon 1097. Knoll quickly repeated Sir Private Knoll Sir. I had my eyes locked straight ahead and Sgt. Kennedy had been writing notes on a pad was staring straight at Knoll with his patented bird fed cat grin but it was much wider than usual. He kept his cool but I am sure had a good time at the NCO club exchanging maggot stories with fellow D.I.s.
I too had finished watching the late Sunday Football game when 60 minutes aired and as I watched a story about racial tension on the police force in northern California I saw Sgt. Kennedy I quickly called another member of our platoon Terry Jensen (we both live in the same town) and asked him if he had seen the story. Things are great here in Blackfoot, Idaho. I enjoy reading the newsletter weekly. I hope Sgt. Kennedy and Jim Eggers are living the good life. I think about my active duty fairly often while enjoying a COLD ONE or TWO. Semper Fi, Carry On, aszhole to belly button and get rid of the Irish Pennants.
Corporal Blake H. Patrick
Setting Me Straight
Two weeks ago I was at the VA hospital for my weekly visit. I was early by a long time so I could get a parking place and decided to go to the Patriot Cafe for a soda and a croissant. I was sitting there having a pity party with me as the host wondering why the meds weren't working and the therapy was seemingly a waste of time and doing the usual "woe is me" routine.
A few tables away a man in a motorized wheelchair came up to a table. In his lap was a snack and a bottle of Orange juice. He seemed to be moving in slow motion. He took a few bites of the snack and then reached for the orange juice that he had put on the table. He tried to open it but his hands seemed to be stiff and he could not grasp the bottle or the cap. After a few moments, he just set the bottle down and continued to eat his snack. I sat there and watched. I then was so embarrassed by my reaction, I got up and went to the table and reached for the Orange Juice. I looked at him and while opening the bottle I just said: "these things are such a pain in the asz to open". He slowly looked at me and slowly said, "thank you sir... Semper Fi."
I was sort of ashamed of myself for not reacting to his plight sooner but what he did for me was remarkable. He managed a semi smile, a courteous "thank you" and a brotherly "Semper FI". I thank him for setting me straight to remember how good I have it.
My Fellow Marine
It was early 1966. We were on a routine, daytime patrol in I Corps, Viet Nam. It was rough going in the terrain we found ourselves and to make matters worse I was new in country. I found it hard to see very far with lots of ups and downs, crisscrossed with streams, and hot as could be. There was a silent signal to stop and, as was our habit, we all took a low profile remaining on alert. It seemed like we were there for quite a time. I had to "go" badly and so, being on a slight grade I turned to my left side facing downhill and proceeded to do so. There was another Marine at about 15 feet from me and facing away. He turned his head long enough to see what I was doing and told me he was not too happy about it. As I was offering my plea that I either "went" or busted my bladder his focus shifted to farther behind me.
I wrapped up my business and was about to turn uphill when I noticed that my fellow Marine's face had changed. He seemed frozen, his eyes straining to see deeper into the brush. Suddenly he brought his rifle up and fired followed by the entire patrol opening up. I turned and rose to a crouch instantly spotting the dead VC on the ground. We both rushed in the direction the enemy had come from on impulse and found ourselves quite by accident flanking what was left of a small group of VC. They were already under fire from the main body and we added to the assault.
Even as a cease fire was called the noise and smell of gunfire seemed to hang in the air. Tension had injected itself into us and it was a slow release recovery. Everyone was frozen. After a while there was some soft talk further up the line among the others. Me and my friend just stared out into our surroundings. What had just happened? Where did the VC come from? How had we got the drop on them? My guess was our extended rest stop had converted us into a daytime ambush. If we had pressed on we may have missed the enemy all together.
When we got back to our perimeter we talked about it and I had to point out that there could have been another outcome. I had been facing away from the VC that my friend had shot in the beginning. He had turned to scold me and spotted the approach of the enemy. As I have said I was new but lucky enough to have lived to learn a lesson that day thanks to my fellow Marine.
My boss for most of my years in the Corps was Colonel Walter R. Walsh. He headed Marksmanship Branch of the Marine Corps. He was a Former FBI Agent, serving them during the 1930's. WWII came along and he served in the Marine Corps, he killed a Japanese sniper at 90 yards with a M1911A1 pistol at Okinawa. He was an Olympic Champion as well, participating in at least six Olympic Games as shooter or as Team Coach/Leader.
I shot alongside SSgt. William "Bill" McMillan in 1950, "Bill" McMillan became National Pistol Champion, Olympic Champion several times. He Retired from the Marine Corps as Colonel, living in Southern California. He now has the Marine Corps Shooting Trophy named after him.
I was in Ordnance and Marksmanship during most of my career. International Pistol Shooting was my Favorite but few Marine Corps Rifle ranges were so equipped during my years of service. When I was at Camp Lejeune I was able to get both Rapid Fire Pistol Range and Slow Fire Pistol Range in. Problem was the Marine Corps did not issue International Pistols at that time so those interested had to buy their own and we held un-official matches. Olympic style pistols are more expensive than regular pistols and most armorers can't work on them.
Pistol shooting was always a problem with most shooters and just qualifying was difficult but with concentration any Marine can shoot top scores with rifle or pistol. I learned that watching "Bill" McMillan shooting a Rapid Fire match. An ejected case went down the neck of his short. He never wavered continued shooting until the last round was fired, He laid his pistol down and then went nuts as we all did when a hot case landed on us. Lesson learned and I never fired less than high Expert from then on.
I brought up leggings and just thought I might bring out the memories of those of us that wore them. But I have a different story to tell about Marine Corps Base, MCRD, San Diego (as it was called then) I was pushing recruits and the base at that time still was to the beach. The U. S. Air Force had just become the Air Force (was U. S. Army Air Corps, and late in WWII it became U.S. Army Air Force) they were flying a new type plane over San Diego, had a loud motor. I was; "Left, Right, Left, Right", across the grinder when one of those d-mn planes came over a little lower than usual, sounded just like the Hari Kari planes at Okinawa and I ducked down and almost hit the deck. I looked over at the Recruits and saw they were looking at me, "EYES FRONT" People! and felt dumb the rest of the day. Told the SDI about it and he laughed and said, "So take a dive and tell them; Whoops wrong Plane!"
It had happened at home when I got back after the war but I thought I had gotten over it. Car exhaust bangs and such had me looking around to see who fired. I was over it when I went to Korea because one of the greatest things you could see in Korea was the Marine F4U's skimming over head with the pilot waving.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
Now Available - IN GARRISON by J. H. Hardin - A Service Memoir
J. H. Hardin is a "service mutt". He's an Air Force brat who spent his early childhood on military bases. In high school he joined the Army JROTC unit and spent each summer and many weekends at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In 1978 he entered the Marine Corps where he served for 6 years. During that time, he spent 7 months deployed to an Army post, and 3 years aboard a Naval Base. He had his fingers in all the Armed Services.
In his own words:
I have great respect and reverence for those who've felt the sting of battle. I hold in high honor those warriors who've born the burden of front line serviceâ€”no matter when they served. But, there were no wars for me to fight. I never found myself on a landing craft assaulting a beach head, or in a trench defending my perimeter. I never heard a shot fired in anger. My place was behind the lines. My specialty had me supporting the combat Marines and their missions. I was behind a desk shuffling paperwork.
To order your copy go to: IN GARRISON by J. H. Hardin
Medal of Honor Pacific Assault
For Christmas a few years ago, my children gave me the Medal of Honor Pacific Assault game by EA. I am not into Xbox, Nintendo or Play Station games, but I started playing with this and now I am hooked. It is a first person shooter game set in WWII Pacific battlefields. The music is great, the animation is great, but what I like best is the history and WWII videos. It begins with boot camp with a Marine by the name of Tommy Conlon and weapons qual and then progresses to Dec 7, 1941 in Pearl Harbor and continues with some of the other battlefields. It is compatible with Windows 2002 up to Windows 7 and 8 and it is very inexpensive at Amazon.com. The story line and action is true to the actual battles and I feel it is a great tribute to all of our WWII Marines including my father who served in the Pacific under General Holland M. Smith. Check it out!
My Man Cave/Office is where I spend most of my time during the day, I have an on-line marketing business that I am working on.
All of the items that I have collected, I try to keep as original as I can. For example my Dress Blues in the glass Display case, the field phone I have on my wall is the same as the phone I used in Vietnam in a village we patrolled when we were not attached out on assignment. One day myself and another Marine were surrounded in the village at Chu-Lai, and still don't know today why they just turned around and walked away. We had the phone set up in front of their Buddhist temple and I called headquarters and they sent 3 truckloads of Marines, we searched the huts, but they were all gone. That is the story on the phone.
On my table with items I used in Vietnam are, Helmet, M-14 Rounds, C-Rations that we used in Vietnam and a Figurine of a Flamethrower that my wife made for me, since you cannot find any like that anywhere. Another wall I have the canteen, ammo box, bayonet (for the M-14) and Grenades, again I try to keep everything as original as possible to what we used in Vietnam.
Wall plaques such as Marine Corps Emblem and 1/4 Unit Insignia again was sculpted by my wife for me.
Sgt E-5, 1/4, 1963-1967
Wanted To Go Regular
I am an Old Fart, way back in 1939, I learned that there was a Marine Reserve Scouting Squadron located on Grosse Isle, Michigan. VMS5R. I was at that time winding down on a 3 year enlistment in the Michigan National Guard. I talked to the First Sergeant and told him I would like to enlist, but that I had a problem. He asked if it was criminal and I assured him it was not, that I still had seven months to go on a National Guard enlistment. Back when I joined in 1936 at 15 years of age, I had fibbed about my age. He was relieved and asked when is my next drill night and I said this coming Monday. He said just go in and ask for a Special Order Discharge to enlist in the Marine Reserve. Frankly I thought he had been smoking something, but Monday night at 1900 I asked the C.O. for one and he said come back at 2100, I did so and was handed my Discharge. The following Saturday I enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve. Because it took longer in an aviation outfit for drills we met once a month for the entire day and most of us stayed over for Sunday. Seven months was enough to tell me that I wanted to go regular. So again a Special Order Discharge, but with an angle (upon being accepted, no waiting as today, I was sworn in before noon and told to be at the Michigan Central Depot at 2100, the train took three nights to get near Parris Island, assigned Platoon number 28, Drill Instructor was Sgt. Robert Taylor (not the movie star). He was assisted by a Cpl. Coleman. Twelve weeks later we graduated... if memory serves me correctly that is what they called it. The only recruit I can remember by name was Lloyd Harris. Lloyd had just finished a four year hitch in the Army, having served at Scofield Barracks in Hawaii. Our Drill Instructor of course knew that Harris had served in the Army and that I had joined from a Marine Reserve outfit, so the only openings he had were Navy Yard Guard Detachments, day on day off. He did say that there were 2 openings for the Sea School Detachment, and he ended up sending Harris and I there.
It took me forty eight hours and I knew that spit and polish was not what I would like. A visit to the Sergeant Major, and I was told that no one was ever transferred out of Sea School, unless the Skipper decided he was not fit to be a Sea Going Marine. Forty-eight hours later after morning roll call I was directed to the Sergeant Major's office, and here was a letter from me to the Commandant requesting a transfer. I was told not to bother with any gun drills or inspections that my transfer would be coming thru in a few days. I was smart enough to know that the Commandant would never see my letter, but four days later I was transferred to VMS-1 at Quantico. A week later someone asked if I knew a Lloyd Harris, and when I answered yes this party told me, he was in the HOSPITAL there at Quantico, I visited him and he told me he also decided he was not interested in becoming a Sea Going Marine. That he was transferred into Headquarters Squadron and he immediately broke out with a problem and they were treating him for it. There is another story about Lloyd and I... but that will be later.
On December 5th, something told me that if I wanted to see some relatives who lived in New York I had better get up there, so I phoned and took a train up there Saturday morning. Sunday Morning after Church they drove me out to Long Island so I could visit an Uncle. The next door neighbor's Boy came running in and told us that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor, they wanted to know where that was and I told them Hawaii. I should have mentioned earlier that my Cousin Joan, was disturbed because I had not worn Blues. I tried to explain that most aviation Marines did not buy Dress Blues.
Ten days later we were at North Island Naval Air Station, San Diego, California.
M/Sgt. Howard J. Fuller, USMCR Ret.
The picture of Camp Talega brings back many fond memories. First, a careful look at the map will show that Talega is not in San Diego County as the rest of Camp Pendleton is, but in Orange County. It's just a rectangle carved into Orange County! A careful look at that picture will show on the extreme left side a row of Q huts. That was Charlie Company, my first engineer company. B and A Companies were in the rows to the east (right). H&S Company was next, next to the mess hall. The Battalion headquarters is up the hill. Off the picture to the east (right) was Support Company and its motor transport, engineer equipment, and such. That was in (about) 1957.
I had just come off two years of sea duty, was promoted to Captain then reported to the 1st Pioneer Bn. Years later, I finished the Army Engineer Career Course and reported to the 1st Engineer Bn. I was first the S-3, then when Maj George Bartlett came aboard (he retired as a BG - we are still in touch), I moved to the S-4. Then took over Support Company, where I stayed for over two years - a record at that time. We mounted out and headed for Okinawa then into Vietnam. When we came back to the States, the engineers had found a new home at Camp San Mateo. Just a bit of trivia and history!
Maj James Murphy (Ret)
Marine Corps Push-Ups
This week's most popular post on the Sgt Grit Facebook page featured a photo of Marine and a civilian preparing to do Marine Corps push-ups when the civilian asked, "Uh... How Many Push-ups Are We Going To Do?" The Facebook fans were asked to caption the Marine's response.
Below are some of the responses submitted:
Adam Gant - all of them.
Tom Kaiser - Until we have done as many as the National Debt...
Kevin Henry - Until Chesty is tired.
Tim Lewis - We're just going to do 10, 8 count. Counting as we go. In Cadence EXERCISE.
We're going to be on ONE all day, until you start doing them right!
John H. Melton - One for every Marine killed in action, then 1 more for the Commandant, then 1 more for Chesty, Then 1 more for God, and finally, 1 more for the Corps. Any more stupid questions?
Don Smith Jr - Do what you can then climb on my back and I'll finish mine.
Dave NaDell - Push ups? This is just a 10 minute leaning rest before a 5 mile run! Then we'll do push ups!
Mike Dougherty - Ok ladies do 'em Forever!
View more of the 500 comments made about this post on the Sgt Grit Facebook Page.
Marine Corps Gear
I served from 1958 to 1961 Parris Island and Camp Lejeune. I moved to California 1966. Last weekend I was in Gilroy, California to watch my grandson play college baseball for College of the Siskiyous (Northern Ca). Of course I was wearing my Marine cover. A gentleman in the stands said that he had been a Marine. Turns out we entered PI about the same time in 1958 and we were both stationed at Lejeune though we did not meet. He said he was at the game to see his grandson play. Turns out his grandson is a catcher and mine is a pitcher. To top it off, we discovered that they are roommates at college but did not know each other before.
It is a small world and it is one reason I wear Marine Corps gear from Sgt. Grit as I have made many friends.
Jim McCuen Cpl
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #8, #2, (FEB., 2018)
If you've been following this story you'll remember that we're enjoying the scenery up at a place called Wannacut Lake in Central Washington, north of the town of Loomis and we just found out that the a local herd of cattle have been using our "downed aircraft" as a scratching post and unbeknownst to them, they have rendered our helicopter un-flyable in it's current condition, but did they care? I doubt it. Now, we had some extra work to do.
I contacted the airport back in Olympia and asked Doug to send over what we'd need for the repair on the Beechcraft flight the next day, and I'd make a run into the airstrip at Tonasket and pick up the parts. Everything was going smoothly and we only had one problem, and that was how we were going to lift the engine off the Aircraft once we got to that stage of the repair. Well, while I was driving into the local airport the next day a "gyppo" logging truck passed me heading to the "Log Scales" just outside the entrance to the airstrip. A gyppo (gypsy) logging truck has a lifting boom at the back of the cab and can load logs on it's own without a yard-er or crane. They're used in a lot of the really remote locations where getting extra equipment to the site is difficult. That's when it hit me. "I thought, if I could hire one of these guys to come up to the site, and provide the lift, we could be on our way to success in short order." Well, that idea stuck in my mind and when I got to the airport I talked to Harold Clark, the chief pilot and he said that he would let "Fire Control" know about our scheme and they would contact me on the truck radio. Well, our luck was with us and the next day a gyppo logger showed up at the site up by the lake and after a short briefing we commenced with the engine removal...
Once everybody knew what we wanted everything went along without a hitch. I have to confess that we had to run some of the cattle off because they started to gather around the helicopter once they heard the logging truck starting to work. We surmised that they were drawn to this sound because they were fed in the winter time by the local rancher when he drove his truck loaded with hay up to the side of the lake to feed them. Keeping them away was an ongoing concern. We lifted the old engine out and proceeded to sling the new one in without any major hiccups. Alignment of the mounts was a little tricky because logging booms do not have a "finesse mode" and neither do loggers. We'd get it close and then have to push and pull as best we could without damaging anything, just to get the mount holes to line up so that we could get the mount bolts in. Once that was accomplished it was a matter of hooking up lines, electrical connections and torquing bolts, etc. This part of the installation was a breeze for us. Now, I also failed to mention that when we got the repair materials on the Beech that Harold also brought our "test pilot" up to the site so that when we were ready that we could get the "test hop" in and return the aircraft to "home plate" in Ellensburg. All went as advertised, and the mission was completed in record time.
Not Part Of The Gingerbread Man
For Corporal Jerry D... Ka-bars (issued ones, anyway) fell into the province of one's Table of Organization weapon (always thought that should have been the TE... Table of Equipment... not to be confused with TAM items... those were "Table of Authorized Materiel"... from memory, bigger stuff, and the 'TAM number' was a four-digit alpha-numeric code)... anyway, if you carried a pistol, instead of a bayonet, you had an issued Ka-Bar. Mortar men, machine gunners, tankers, SNCO's, Officers, etc. etc.. The Ka-Bar has probably put more Marines on the binnacle list than any opposing force's bayonets, due to the propensity of bored dumbazses for playing 'stretch'... a game similar to, or adapted from "Mumbledypeg"... in which, using either one or two Ka-Bars, the players stand facing one another, and throw the knife, sticking it in the ground. The opponent then has to stretch a foot out to touch the knife (and keep it there), and then gets his turn to throw. He who, at last, cannot reach that far, looses... and has to 'mumble the peg'... this being a small stick (peg) that has been driven into the ground with only about a quarter inch showing. The looser has to pull it out, using only his teeth. I will bet that one or more Corpsman reading the newsletter, especially the older farts (like me) will report having had to deal with an injured foot that had a thrown knife injury to the instep. BTW, ammunition used to have codes, too, although only an ammo tech might be familiar with them... there were two that I recall... "DODAC", for Department of Defense Ammunition Code, and DODIC, which ended in "Identification Code". My hump-busting ammo guys at LSU-1 (An Hoa), in checking requisitions, would sometimes have to advise the lad from a S-4 shop come to draw ammo that "a DODIC is not part of a gingerbread man... either raw or baked"...
It is with great sorrow I report to you that Robert "Bullet" Daley has gone to guard the streets of heaven. Bullet was a WWII Marine who fought on Saipan and Tinian as a BAR man in 2nd Bn, 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division. He was so motivated to join our beloved Corps that at 16 he convinced a half blind priest to sign a forged baptismal certificate attesting he was 18 years old. He landed on Saipan on his 17th birthday, June 15th, 1944.
Bullet was a former Marine Corps League Marine of the Year (MOTY) and Commandant of post 726, South Hills Detachment in Pittsburgh PA.
To KM concerning GySgt Gross, I served in the Marine Corps in the 80's and 90's. Gunny Gross was one of my recruiters in 1983 so I doubt he is the same man. Perhaps his son.
Lost and Found
I would like to know about any reunions from anyone who was with 3rd Marine DWKS at Camp Delmar 1953 & '54 or Mt Fuji 12th Marines 1955, or 3rd Marine DWkS, White Beach Okinawa, 1955 to May 1956.
Sgt. Wayne Pittman
My Thai language instructors said that the Thai word for Marines actually translated as "khaki-colored soldiers". Sorry but I can't spell the English version of that any longer.
SSgt USMC '67-'73 2841
I was an 0331 with 3/7 & 3/5 in 'Nam - FSB Baldy & Ross. Machine gunners were issued 45's & Ka-Bars.
John P. Sitek
Thanks for the photo of Camp Talega. Spent three years there with the 1st. Pioneer Battalion (1957-1960). We stayed in shape just walking (or running) to the PX. It was a mile away from camp. Remember having guard duty at the ammo dump which was in the boondocks, no lights very dark and almost shot a cow that wondered in. So sad the Pioneers are gone (now 1st Combat Engineer Batt.)
Bravo Company, 1st. Pioneer Batt.
If you haven't already read "Road of 10,000 Pains" by Otto Lehrack, it's a must read about the summer of '67 in the Que Son Valley. I felt like I was there. Even has some interviews with VC and NVA who were there.
Once again, you have given us a wonderful walk down Memory Lane. Thank you for your outstanding newsletter and for the walk.
Take care and have a great and wonderful day.
Gary L. COON
"Let it be known that he who wears the military order of the Purple Heart has given of his blood in the defense of his homeland and shall forever be revered by his fellow countrymen."
--George Washington, 1782
One quote from a German soldier on leave gives an idea of what horror they lived under, yet grew familiar with.
"I am restless. I hate the kitchen table at 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 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."
"The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest 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!"
--Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States, 1945
"The liberty of going wrong is the seamy side of the priceless privilege of going right by free choice rather than by compulsion."
--William Ernest Hocking
"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem."
--Ronald Reagan, President of the United States; 1985
"I will not believe our labors are lost. I shall not die without a hope that light and liberty are on a steady advance."
"Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweiler's or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They're aggressive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They've got really short hair and they always go for the throat."
--RAdm. "Jay" R. Stark, USN; 10 November 1995
Winston Churchill's exchange at a party.
Bessie Braddock: Sir, you are drunk.
Churchill: Madam, you are ugly. In the morning, I shall be sober.
"The liberty of going wrong is the seamy side of the priceless privilege of going right by free choice rather than by compulsion."
--William Ernest Hocking
"Head and eyes straight to the front, heels together, feet at a 45 degree angle and thumbs along the seams of your trousers. Suck in that gut."
"What's your ninth general order, maggot?"
"A Marine recruit is a green amphibious animal that thrives on Horse Sh!t!"
Semper Fi, Mac!