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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 15 MAY 2014

In this issue:
• 80th Year Of The Sunset Parade
• M-14 Eye
• The Lance Corporal Factor

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Thank you Sgt. Grit for supporting our Tri-County Leathernecks M/C Annual Event here in South Florida! Leathernecks from all over South Florida mustered at Port St. Lucie Florida for Tri-County Leathernecks M/C Annual Event.

Semper Fi,
Bob MacGillivray


Promoted In Australia

My son Cpl Matthew Giebudowski with 1/5 bravo Wpns platoon. Matt was promoted to Corporal last week in Australia.

Mark Giebudowski


My Friend

It's a pretty emotional day for me. I was at the VA this morning and one of my friends of the past two years walked out of the clinic and sat down in the lobby. He looked like he had just been hit by a truck and wasn't aware of anything around him. I walked over to him and asked him how he was doing, I thought maybe he just had a treatment and had to rest for a minute. He immediately started to cry... in a lobby full of veterans... he told me that the doctor just told him that his kidneys were shutting down and he probably wouldn't see next Saturday. I helped him call his wife to come be with him and to talk with the Doctor. He had the car and she had to find a neighbor to take her to the hospital. He was being admitted to the hospital and was not going home.

He has a bone marrow disorder caused by agent orange. I am not sure if the VA cannot, or will not, do anything for him any further. He and I shared a hearty cry, and I know there were some other tears in the lobby as well. He and I have shared lobby, lab and clinic time together for over two years. We've had transfusions and chemo for hours on end. Please pray for him and his family. He and I only know each other by our last names, his name is Adam. Although he is my age, I lovingly and laughingly call him Old Man Adam.

My Friends Are Not Supposed To Die!

WMD


Family Jewels

A quick 'response' to 'Most Harrowing Experience'.

I don't recall whether it was going off the 'tower' in Boot Camp or not, I thought we were instructed to do it that way when ascending the 'Tank' in New London for Submarine School. BUT I do remember the 'reasoning' they gave us for grabbing the cr-tch and nose when going into the water. I understood the procedure was used to 'trim' one's body so as not to resort to flailing ones arms while going up or down...

Makes sense to keep your hands busy to keep your arms still. (and if you thought you were 'protecting' the family jewels, you surely weren't going to let go).

George R. O'Connell
RM2(E5) USN 1956-64


80th Year Of The Sunset Parade

I am a Vietnam veteran (1966 - 1967 Khe Sanh, 26th Marines). I was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart. My Silver Star was presented to me by the then Commandant, General Leonard Chapman in his office while I was stationed at A Co., Hqtrs. Marine Corps at the old Henderson Hall across from the Navy Annex in Arlington, Va.

Recently, on Friday, April 25th this year, my wife and I had the honor of being invited to the Commandant of the Marine Corps Reception at his residence at 8th and I. The occasion was for the 1st night of the 80th year of the "Sunset Parade" at 8th & I. In the picture is the current Commandant, General James Amos, his wife, Col. Cabaniss, Commanding Officer, Marine Barracks at 8th & I and myself.

We had a great time at the reception who was also attended by the Asst. Commandant & about 6 other Marine Corps Generals.

Semper Fi,
Al Varelas


Pith Helmets In 1952

Interesting story about the pith helmets in 1952. I came in about the same time Sgt. Stewart did, also had a serial number beginning with 13... My drill instructors all wore the frame (barracks) hat - never saw a pith helmet. When I went on the grinder as a DI in 1956 as a Sergeant, we were still wearing the barracks cover. The smokey hat came in while I was a DI, I'm guessing around 1957. This was in San Diego, so if Sgt. Stewart went to boot camp at P.I., that may explain the difference.

S/F,
Sam Moyer
1953-1980


Clutching An Ammo Can

Comment on Amphibious Landing Problems.

Ken Schweim's comments on going down the nets for an amphibious landing are pretty much the way I remember it. It looked easy in the movies, but very tricky in rough seas. I am surprised more Marines did not get hurt just getting off the ship. But those who suffered from sea sickness did not care... they just wanted to get off the ship and on dry land. I will also add that going from the landing craft to board ship was just as bad. Grab the net when the landing craft was high... then before you could get your feet in the net you were dangling in the air. Grab the net when it was low... the net is bunched at your feet. Climbing up the net with all your gear was a bit harder than going down.

As to Ken's question, we did such landings in the early 1970s, the last I remember was 1974. I am sure others will contribute other dates. I will add one personal landing net story. While I was on Okinawa, a BLT had been at sea for some time; and for some reason had come in, but did not offload. Someone decided the Marines on board needed to be paid, and I got elected to pay on one ship. Pay was in cash. Basically, the pay officer went to some heavily guarded building, someone handed you the payroll, you counted it and signed for it, and placed the money in an ammo can. If you as the pay officer came up short, the missing money came out of your pocket. My driver/armed guard and I picked up the payroll and went to the dock. I naively thought the ship would be there. Oh no. The ship had sent a landing craft. The ship was within sight, but way out there. When we got to the ship they threw the landing net over the side so we could board. Ever try to go up one of those things with one hand (and the other hand clutching an ammo can with well over a year's worth of your pay)? We discovered another use for a web belt. Everyone was paid and happy. I did not come up short or drop all that cash into the Pacific. As I was about to debark down the net I really wanted to heave that ammo can as far as I could into the Pacific. Proper decorum dictated otherwise, so I carried it back down.

We also did landings by going off the back end of LPDs in LVTs. That is a whole different experience, and in some ways worse than over the side and down a net. Hope someone will write about that experience.

The attached photo: from my first landing 1970.

R. Boyer
1970-1975


No Overnight Liberty

I have a family member stationed at NAS Pensacola. Their liberty policy is as follows for students:

No overnight liberty. Must go on liberty in pairs, and be back in the barracks by 2200. The only family members that can check them out on liberty is a parent or guardian, and the return to barracks times are the same.

I know that I have been out of the Corps for some time, but this seems more like high school that the USMC. Any air wingers out there that can shed some light?

Tom A
Sgt of Marines


Death Warrant

The Marine barracks at NAATC Memphis were two story wooden buildings from the WWII era in 1960 when I went to aviation mechanics school there. This made it necessary to have a fire watch on duty after lights out for obvious reasons. This duty always fell to the new Privates right out of boot camp, like me. The staff NCO barracks was directly across the street from the MAD headquarters back then. Not only were the barracks dated from the war, but so were the staff NCOs who lived there. These were all old Corps, battle hardened vets who pretty much lived by their own rules. I was unlucky enough to pull the fire watch duty one night for these men. I had learned in Boot camp to keep a low profile in these situations (E-1 vs all ranks above) so my first pass through the barracks before lights out went pretty quiet. When I got to the first deck entryway the Officer of the Day, a young second Lieutenant, was waiting for me.

"Private", says he, "I was just up on the second deck and there is a Gunnery Sergeant up there smoking a cigar in his bunk. I want you to go up there and order him to put out that cigar." "Yes Sir" says I knowing that I just got a death warrant. Leaving the Lieutenant standing in the entry way, I went back up to the second deck, and there he was at the end of the squad bay propped up in his rack, in his skivvies, smoking a cigar and reading the latest Playboy. He also had a can of beer that he sipped on from time to time. I walked up to him, cleared my throat, and said, "Excuse me Sergeant, but the OD just gave me orders to tell you to extinguish your cigar."

In retrospect, this guy looked and acted a lot like Lee Ermey with the same vocabulary. He looked at me over his Playboy, took the cigar out of his mouth, and said, "What is your major malfunction Private?" "Just doing my duty sir," says I. "Now you listen to me boy, and you listen good. You go back down there and tell that pizz ant Lieutenant to suspend it from his rectal orifice," (or words to that effect). "And dump my ashtray on your way out." At which time he turned back to his reading matter and refreshments. After dumping his ashtray, I proceeded to the first deck entryway where the OD was waiting. I related, word for word, what the Gunny said. The Lieutenant told me to carry on, did an about face, exited the barracks, and we didn't see him for the rest of the night. The Gunny had another cigar and a couple of beers in peace before lights out. That 1960 Playboy would be a collector's item today I'm sure.

Norm Spilleth


11th Marines

Thought I would dazzle you with some of my Nam pics. Here is an aerial view of HQ, 11th Marine Regiment, near DaNang. The Comm Plt is the small group of about 8 hooches kinda by themselves to the left of the compound. We always felt kinda lonely down the hill by ourselves. Then again it did have some advantages, nobody bothered us. If memory serves me correctly, 11th Motors was across the road on the right. At the bottom of our compound we had an Army search light detachment, attached to 11th Marines. Apparently Marines did not have search lights so we borrowed from the Army.

At the top was HQ, 1MarDiv. The top left was 1st Force Recon. The road running through the picture south to Dai La pass, OP Robin, OP? To the left would take you to Dog Patch, Freedom Hill Exchange, DaNang Airbase and DaNang.

Feel free to correct me. It's only been 45 years and my brain housing group is not as tight as it once was.

Semper Fi!
Sgt Grit


M-14 Eye

The story about M-1 thumb in the May issue reminded me of an incident that occurred in the spring of 1962. We had turned in our M-1 rifles, and drew the new M14 rifle. After initial cleaning and familiarization, my unit Hotel Battery, 3d Bn, 10th Marines scheduled a rifle and personnel inspection in full winter service "A" uniform. The only thing besides my rifle and equipment was my identification card in my left breast pocket.

Prior to the actual inspection on that cold morning I decided to inspect the bore one last time. We were wearing dress gloves and when I raised the rifle to my eye to look into the barrel the gloved hand pulling the operating rod handle to rear slipped off and I pulled the barrel with the other hand into my eye. The eye began to tear up and it was painful. My nose began running and having no handkerchief or tissue I used the glove to wipe my nose and wiped it on the back of my trouser leg. As I recall the inspection was satisfactory. I never had M-1 thumb, but I am pretty sure I was the first and maybe only Marine to ever suffer M-14 eye.

George I.


Kiwi Cordovan Shoe Polish

I graduated from Boot Camp at PI in Jan. 1956 with Platoon 164. We spent countless hours spit polishing shoes and natural finish boots, which were never meant to be polished, with Kiwi cordovan shoe polish. I think I still have some. Although I can't ever recall correcting a 1st Sergeant when I served, I think I'm correct on this one. I always thought the cordovan color shoes and barracks hat visor was another great way to distinguish Marines from the lesser branches.

Roger Gibson, Cpl. 156xxxx


Painted Stripes On Dungarees

Sgt. Grit,

I don't know when we started painting stripes on our Dungaree sleeves, but it was after World War II. Some were so bad and some so small that one of the guys that made stuff for the Marine Corps made Stripe markers. The original was like a box, you put that part of the sleeve where your stripe was supposed to be, then pushed the inside of the box back in, inside the sleeve, and if everything came out fine you had great looking stripes on your dungarees.

It was during the Korean War that all kinds of metal stripes came out and were made in Korea. Big ones, small ones, colored ones... like I said, all kinds of them. Then the Marine Corps started to see which ones were best and who made the best and all that, and they came out with the metal stripes for the collars. Pfc., Corporal, Sergeant, Staff and above, and they were finally made constant and all were similar and we got uniform stripes to put on our collars.

The only question I have had for years is how did we get along all those years without the stripes for dungarees. I guess we believed Marines would remember who was who. Officers during combat in World War II wore their bars on the underside of the collar, and you had to be reasonably close to realize it was an Officer.

Here's a picture from WWII taken during a lull in combat and see if you can see who is what in the group.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired


Old Corps

Sgt. Grit,

My "Old Corps" mug arrived today in fine shape and will go into the rotation tomorrow AM. Rest of the order was also in fine condition. Thank you.

I wonder how many of the "Old Corps" are still around out there. I know it will be more than expected. And how many can pick out the difference between the Old EGA and the current model?

But like Chesty is credited with saying, 'Old Corps, New Corps. Makes no difference as long as they are Marine Corps,' or something like that.

Thanks,
Semper Fi
Larry Hudgens
Class of 1956


From The DISBURSING CHIEF

(Vol#5, #3)

These orders were worded in the following way (as best I can recall):

From: MGen Franklin L. Hart, CG, 2ndMarDiv, CLNC
To: LtCol Thomas M. C:_, 0xxxxx, USMC

1. As the most senior man listed on these orders you are hereby designated the Troop Train Commander of Troop Train #17 which is to arrive on Track #1 by about 1615 July 30, 1950.

2. You will take charge of the personnel listed herein and depart from CLNC at EXACTLY 2400 July 30, 1950. Your destination and route will be as scheduled by the Travel Office.

3. You will have all personnel listed herein at trackside when your train arrives and when it comes to a halt railroad personnel will direct each of you to your accommodations. The personnel listed on pages I through 12 should be lined up in the order listed starting at the rear of the locomotives and tenders. All personnel listed on pages 13 thru 60, junior enlisted personnel, will assemble near the rear of the train and will be assigned to seats in no particular order. The assignment of accommodations should be completed by about 1645 to 1700.

4. No one other than the personnel listed herein shall be allowed in the vicinity of your train until all of your equipment has been loaded and secured on the train. You will verify when this has been completed. Then, and only then, will dependents and friends be allowed anywhere near the train. This MUST be finished by 2300, when personnel shall begin to go aboard. Personnel may go aboard when loading is done.

5. Personnel will board the train in the following sequence:
(a) Junior enlisted personnel w/o dependents by 2315.
(b) Staff NCOs w/o dependents by 2330.
(c) All others, except the Troop Train Commander, by 2345.

6. At 2355 Sgt Freas from the Travel Office will give you a package and instruct you to get aboard the train. You are not to open the package until your train has passed thru the gates of CLNC and after you do open the package you are not to tell anyone the destination or routing of your train. This is for your safety and the safety of those in your charge.

7. I personally wish you Bon Voyage.

Franklin L. Hart

Commanding

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, #1 (JAN., 2019)

This is the first in the next series which will be Vol. #9. As I sit down to write this I'm not sure what exactly will be the topic, but I'm leaning towards an Award known as the Centurion. You more then likely have never heard of this award unless you have been on "Recruiting Duty" and the you may not have heard of it there either.

Let me fill you in on a little back ground and history on this particular topic. It goes without saying that Recruiting Duty is very much sought after especially after you've been in the CORPS for several years and it's time to re-enlist. In doing so you think that you'd like to change your job and that option has been afforded you as part of you re-enlistment package. Now, you start to think back about all the jobs you've seen MARINES doing and you opt for the job that you envied most, and that was your recruiters.

Remember, looking back, when you first saw him, he was just sitting in his office talking to people and drinking a cup of coffee. No P.T. (Fitness Training), No carrying a pack, just sitting around and talking about the Corps and immediately you thought, Hell, I can do that and I can do it better too. Well, now the CORPS will give you that opportunity provided, you possess the patience, fortitude and mental stability to show it what you've got! If not, it won't take long to find that flaw, and when they do, it won't be a meritorious promotion or a weekend in the Bahamas. Instead, you will more than likely be UN-ceremoniously relieved of your duties and returned to the job from which you left, where you will be grilled by your buddies that were all previously glad that you were moving up the "ladder of Life".

At this point, it can be said that Recruiting Duty is not all that it appears, but this is not the case for some that request the duty. Let's face it, the independent duty assignment can be a career enhancer if one is successful, and a real asset to those that excel in performance and production. Lets take a closer look at what I'm talking about.

A normal tour of duty for a Recruiter is approx. 36 months or 3 years. The normal goal for each recruiter/canvasser is 1 new enlistee (Contract) per month. A successful tour of duty for a recruiter is considered to have written 60-70%, or about 52 new contracts during his or her 3 year tour. And then there are those that excelled and enlisted over 100 new MARINES. Although there are very few that fall into this category they constitute a small number of the entire family of recruiter/canvassers. These recruiters are the recipients of the coveted Centurion Award.

This Award is somewhat elusive in the Recruiting world and there is not very much written about it. All I know is that, I was presented this award back in about 1972 for my accomplishments as a recruiter and in the last couple of years I've tried to get info... plus, ask questions about the award, but I have not been very successful. All I've been able to find out is that not many Recruiters know or care about it, and that bothers me. It would be nice if there was a Service Record Book entry and a device on the Recruiting Ribbon of the recipient. It was harder to get than my "Combat Aircrew Wings"!


The Lance Corporal Factor

Marines... you gotta love'em! Between the end of Vietnam, and before the beginning of Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the Corps discovered 'maneuver warfare'. We were still licking our equipment wounds, working on what today would be known as 'a reset', and trying to make chicken salad out of chicken sheit... at the time, it fell my lot to be the 'Head Wrench' (Maintenance Management Officer) at the Stumps. A Colonel, from HQMC, known (behind his back...) as "Rolling Roland" came out from HQMC with a grandiose plan to have a "Mobile Mechanized Exercise"... which would involve an infantry BN (1/4... first grunts to call the desert home), beau coup tracked vehicles (SP artillery, a tank Bn,, etc., gobs of trucks, jeeps, etc...) for a five-day, live-fire exercise circumnavigating the base at 29 Palms. In total, counting jeeps with trailers, it was going to be 1,008 pieces of equipment across the line of departure... had to be the biggest deal since Inchon, maybe Lebanon, for sure. After the unit commanders had all asked Rolling what he had been smoking (we, collectively, were on our azz, and knew it, equipment wise) he countered with "Well, you want me to go back to HQMC and tell the Commandant you can't do it?"... it was decided that it would happen.

One of the aspects of my daily duties was, that as a staff officer, from the highest headquarters on the base, I had "staff cognizance' over something like 32 different unit shops... the usual routine was to check in with the unit S-4, advise that I was in the area (kinda like... "I'm from the gubbmint... and I'm here to help", and then go to the various unit shops, and check on things"... Being from 'higher', I wasn't wildly popular, although I was in position to actually help... even had a little yellow Cushman three-wheeler from Base Motors, with a red/yellow sign on the front bumper, that read "ForTrps MMO"... and I scooted around the base, doing what I could, to help...

Then, one fine morning, we had a staff meeting... a "how's it going" brief, on the preparations for the upcoming exercise... and as the turn to speak went around the table, it seemed that all was going well, that we would be ready and able to really kick some hypothetical ('they' weren't actually shooting back...) azz. I had noted, in the perambulations about the base, that 'rope yarn Sunday' (old nautical term for Wednesday afternoon sanctioned goofing off), as well as early libbo on Friday was still being observed... and when it came my turn to speak, in the rotation around the table of unit commanders and staff officers, my (not well considered...) comment was "well, sir... (to the CG, BGEN Hal Glascow)... if we don't quit working a 32-hour week around here, this is not going to be a 'Mobile Mechanized Exercise"... this is going to be an exercise in vehicle recovery"... Seven Colonels and Lt. Cols all sucked in an extra breath... and suddenly, I was really, really glad I already had 'my twenty in"... the General said, 'thank you, D-ck... and I'd like to see you in my office after the meeting"...

Talk about your Major 'uh-oohs'?... not bad enough I had, as they say, stepped on my major 'reproductive organ'... but had chosen to do so while wearing golf shoes... went over there, prepared to do some Gene Kelley level rug-dancing... reported in the expected fashion, and was told to take a seat... The General said, more or less (it's been over thirty years... GMAFB)... 'D-ck... I agree with what you're saying... but... it's my job to chew Col's asses, not yours. So... you do your job, and I'll do mine"... and then he started to talk about MLB baseball... he probably still is a big baseball fan, and lives here, south of Nashville).

It was a great exercise... and at the end of five or so days, of the 1008 vehicles crossing the line of departure, fewer than 30 were towed across the finish line... the thing I had not taken into account, which I have ever since called 'The Lance Corporal Factor', is that given a serious situation, PFC's and LCPL's will do whatever it takes to 'getter done'... I recall finding five amtracks backed into a circle at 0300, with tarps rigged all over... so the crews/maintenance troops could weld something that seriously needed doing if they were going to meet mission requirements come the dawn... and this was just an exercise... God, you gotta love'em...

One other memory from the exercise... close to the finish... had acquired the sleeve from a case of C-rations... which, if you know how to use it, makes a serviceable 'seat' for a morning head call... and I had found a suitable place, sort of up a hill, in a sort of a 'V', in what used to be known as 'Alpha area'... and was comfortably, more or less, seated, on this cardboard circle, looking north... and into the eyes of an A-4 pilot... who probably was not more than 50' AGL as he passed over me... head on... one of the more memorable dumps of a 24 year career, afloat or in the field...

Ddick


Taps

Mike Decker has passed away. Mike was part of Bravo Battery, 1st LAAM Battalion - the first full combat unit into Vietnam. May his soul rest in peace.


Events

American Veterans Traveling Tribute

We can only have 20 miles of bikers bring the wall to town Wednesday, Oct 22 according to the wall folks, and we want to do this.

That Thursday we need volunteers to build the wall. Then we will put out 21 wreathsand recruiters will honor the POW's/MIA's, the Gold Star Mothers and 19 for the casualties from Okmulgee County, during Vietnam.

The Creek Nation will be posting our colors each morning and retiring our colors at night. 12 churches will be having services all through the week.

We are going to have the AVTT Wall, an 80% replica.
A traveling Vietnam museum.
A Helicopter from Vietnam era.
Another museum from several wars and numerous ceremonies and services during this week, under a large tent.

The Henryetta Historical Society is organizing all of this, we hope to make it the biggest thing to every hit town. We are asking for donations from corporations and individuals alike to help us carry this out in Henryetta, OK.

OSU Okmulgee is going to help us with the graphic designs, advertising ideas, and a DVD of the entire event, etc.

Come join us if you can, in this very solemn tribute to the casualties and all Veterans.

I was drafted into the Corps and served from Jun1969-Jun1971, did not make it to Vietnam, worked as a Training NCO at Camp Pendleton for 18 months.

Henryetta Historical Society
Tel: 918-652-7112
Email: docent[at]teritorialmuseum.net

Semper Fi,
Mike Doak


Short Rounds

Received your email "Attention Marines" and have been standing at Attention all day - please send out another ad titled "At Ease Marines" really need the relief.

Thanks,
Semper Fi
Jim Battistoni


During my tour at NAS Jacksonville we had a clothing and equip inspection. All gear laid out perfectly, and as I stood at Parade rest at the end of my bunk I put my heels together then spread them slightly awaiting the inspecting officer. As he stepped in front of me I came to attention loudly clicking my heels together as planned... he took one look and passed on... it worked!

Dennis DeEmo


You can always tell a Marine, you just can't tell him anything.

Gunny Jack


Quotes

"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving."
--Oliver Wendell Holmes


"Today, intelligence is neither recognized nor rewarded, but is being systematically extinguished in a growing flood of brazenly flaunted irrationality."
--Ayn Rand


"A Ship without Marines is like a garment without buttons."
--Adm. David Dixon Porter, USN in a letter to Colonel Commandant John Harris, USMC, 1863


"The Marines have landed and the situation is well in hand."
--Attributed to Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916)


"If I had one more division like this First Marine Division I could win this war."
--General of the Armies Douglas McArthur in Korea, overheard and reported by Marine Staff Sergeant Bill Houghton, Weapons/2/5


"No guts no glory, ooh rah!"

"Liberty is sounded for NCOs and PFCs with hash marks! Good night!"

"Rough seas, headwinds and a bunk in the bilge."

Gung Ho!
Sgt Grit

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