Sgt Grit Newsletter

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 17 APR 2014

In this issue:
• General Carl E. Mundy Jr
• Crafty Motivator
• The Reaper

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BGen Lewis B. Chesty Puller Uniform

Marine Corps Uniforms

Sgt Grit,

For the last fifteen years or so I have been a collector of military history. Now the "organized mess" has over a hundred uniforms on display.

So far included in the mess here are seven US Marine uniforms. The following pictures show five on temporary display at the Cherokee Military Museum located here in Toccsa, Georgia. Your catalogs always mention General Lewis "Chesty" Puller, and one of his Brigadiier General uniforms is included. The Mess Dress uniform is that of a Colonel and dates to the late 1940's. The white dress uniform is of a Lt. Colonel, and dates to the late 1960's. These uniforms I believe represent the US Marine Corps well.

Robert Von Leppelin

General Carl E. Mundy Jr

Funeral for Gen Carl E. Mundy Jr

This image was posted on the Sgt Grit Facebook page in memoriam of the 30th Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Carl E. Mundy Jr. General Mundy reported to his final post on 2 April 2014.

Ring The Bell

As much as I enjoy reading the stories of Combat Marines, I cannot contribute as I was a Marine 1974-1978. My story is as recent as last Feb. 28, 2014 when I returned to PISC for a look around (eyeballing). I just missed the Graduation ceremonies and headed over to My old barracks. Exactly 39 years ago, to the month, I graduated 1stBn "B" Co. As I stood there getting a little choked up, I started talking to a Marine that was jogging by. As we spoke I told him of my reason there. A big smile came to his face and he told me that 1stBn, "B" Co just graduated today! He identified himself as Commanding Officer, 1st Bn, LtCol (?). He insisted that I Ring the 1st Bn Alumni Bell. We headed over to his HQ. After I rang the bell he gave me a tour. He then called out to any Marines within to meet a 1stBn Alumni. Several Gunnies and a Major shook my hand and we talked about the Corps. They really made me feel special. I shared the story with my two older brothers, Both Viet Nam Marines.

I recommend if you're driving by PISC, stop in and ring the bell...

Sgt/USMC Caiado

2014 Marine Corps Memorial Day T-Shirt

Crafty Motivator

Just got out the VA after a month of surgery and rehab... with no Wi-Fi I was definitely cut off, but I came back to find multiple newsletters in my email... thanks. I noted several comments about "mistreatment" in Boot Camp. Here's my story: my SDI at MCRD/PISC was a sawed off ball of muscle by the name of D.P. Herker... at some point he ID'd three of us to be training tools... in the eyes of other recruits he beat the crud out of us... what we learned the very first time was that it didn't hurt and never left a mark... he never talked to us about it, but something in his eyes said "play along, it's good for the herd". After graduation he invited us to dinner (great steak and some smuggled bourbon) and thanked us for helping him look fearsome... although none of us made E-2 on the Island, we got to ITR and found out he had recommended us for promotion. I heard that he died shortly after we left... if true, the Corps lost a good Marine and a crafty motivator.

Pete Dahlstrom '68-'74

Bermuda Swearing

Sgt. Grit,

I was stationed in Bermuda during the 1950's, Captian Dunnagan Commanding. Bermuda had a Leatherneck "Posts Of The Corps" at that time with my picture in it. Now most Marines Stationed in Bermuda had some kind of transportation and most usually it was a bike of some kind. The Legal Limit for a bike on the Island was 125cc's but there were some spectacular bikes in the 125cc class. Like the Triumph, but there were other bikes like the Italian "Motom" and the German "Zundap" which were bikes you seldom see on a U.S. road. The speed limit was 15 MPH in town and 25 MPH on country roads (not many of those in Bermuda). My Motom needed some work on it so I took it to a shop and left it for repairs, returning a few hours later. The Manager said my bike was finished and the repairman was out on a trail run. So I sat down to wait and about an hour later I went to the manager and asked where the H-ll was my Bike. He said the repairman must be out joy riding cause he did that from time to time.

I saw a Cop Car and called the Cop over to tell him what was happening, hoping for a quick solution. So I tell the Cop the Bike Repairman was an SOB because He Had Freaking Stole my Bike for a Joy Ride and could he do something. He first sai,"Please Sir, Do Not Swear, Any More." Well I am an Agitated Marine and laid it on him; "How come you worry about my Swearing when some SOB has stolen my Bike and is Joy Riding somewhere?" Well the Cop said, "Sir, If you do not stop swearing I will have to arrest you." Some inner strength told me to shut up and get the H-ll out of there before my Marine Sergeant (Former Drill Instructor) mouth got me put in Jail.

Got my Bike back the next day and I don't remember how, but the memory of that cop threatening me with Jail for swearing, lingers on.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

Insane World

Recently my wife and I went to a concert that had as performers Rick Nelson's twin sons. The show was a rendition of their father's old hit songs and out-takes of the Ozzie & Harriet TV show. Watching the show and hearing those beautiful old songs so masterfully preformed took me back to Nam 1967. I was in a grunt unit working the mountains south and west of Phu Bai on search and destroy missions with the 26th Marines. On one occasion we stopped briefly at a CAP Unit for resupply. While there one of the CAP Marines produced a record player and a couple of Ricky Nelson albums. Soon we were all singing along to "Hello Mary Lou", "Traveling Man", and all of Rick's other hits.

For a short time, a squad of battle-hardened Marines reverted back into the 18 and 19 year old boys that we really were. For many of us it was the last opportunity to visit that golden past before the realities of war sunk back into our lives.

I was able to thank Rick's sons and relay that story to them at the conclusion of their concert and thank them for their Dad's ability to bring a little sanity into an insane world.

Gary Neely
Sgt. USMC, ret.

Made Morning Muster

The MCAS Kaneohe Bay "E" club had the best Mai-Tais in Hawaii back in the early 60's. At only fifty cents apiece they were also a great bargain. We had a drinking game back then we called "buzz/bang" that incorporated these rum lovelies. They had pineapple slices and little umbrellas which were discarded before starting the game for fear that we could poke out an eye, a distinct possibility during the course of the game. It was a counting game where every number with a six or divisible by a six was a buzz and every number with a seven or divisible by a seven was a bang. Whoever misses a buzz or a bang had to chug-a-lug his mai-tai. Usually about a half dozen of us sitting around a table would play, the first guy shouting "ONE, next guy "TWO, and so on until number six would shout "BUZZ" and seven would shout "BANG". Usually we got that far without a chug-a-lug, but things heated up fast by twelve and fourteen. We rarely got into the upper twenties in a sober state. It's a good thing we were within walking distance of our barracks.

One night after a round of buzz/bang a new guy we called "Stupid Smith" (for obvious reasons) became convinced that he could fly. After finding his way back to the barracks, he proceeded up to the two story high flat roof of our barracks which turned out to be a perfect launch pad for him. After getting a running start, he soared over the parking lot into a banyan tree where he spent the night. He made morning muster next day with nary a scratch. K-Bay mai-tais were magic.

Norm Spilleth
Cpl. E4

I Still Like It

Sgt. Grit,

GySgt Rousseau's reminiscence of music played during his USMC career mentioned Jo Stafford. That brought to mind the first time I heard her recording of "You Belong to Me".

During the Korean War there were two female radio propagandists on the communist side who aimed their persuasion at the United Nation troops on the Korean peninsula. They also played American music. Their names were Pyongyang Sally and Moscow Molly. As far as I could see they didn't have much (if any) effect on our morale, but we would tune in to their music every now and then.

It was Pyongyang Sally who introduced me to the Jo Stafford rendition of "You Belong to Me" and I liked the record right away. She said that it was just becoming popular in the States (which was why I hadn't heard it before). About two weeks later I heard it for the second time on the Armed Forces Radio broadcast of Honshu Hayride coming from Japan. Once in a while I will hear the song played on an "Oldies" radio station. I still like it!

Semper Fi!

Jim Quam
Sgt. of Marines, 1952-1955

Show My Saltiness

In the Summer of 1957, I was a newly minted Marine at ITR, Camp Pendleton. We were on some sort of field exercise when I decided to show my "saltiness" by rolling up my utility sleeves.

One of our observers that day was a Lt. Col., no doubt a WWII and Korean War vet, who approached me and asked if I had malaria.

"No, sir!" I replied.

"Then Roll Down Those Sleeves!" he barked.

The sleeves were not the only thing that rolled down that day.

Semper Fi,

The Reaper

Sgt. Grit,

I'm going through my stuff to lighten the burden of my follower's and found this bit of humor and I don't know if you've published it or not, so I'll send it along for when you have a spot to fill. It says a lot and does spit in the eye of the Reaper.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

The Reaper

I remember when my friends and I,
Thought that youth and games would never die,
We cherished the girls, grog and Laughter,
Ribald at night, meek morning after.

But now malts too strong and girls too young,
All our stories old, our songs been sung,
We mumble in search of long dead wit,
Bunor now is the daily obit.

Our high is sharing a friend's demise,
He was a fine lad, echo our lies,
While we gloat that it's him not me,
Knowing that they always fall by three.

Wallowing secure 'cause Sam was third,
Surely there's time 'fore my Taps are heard,
Then there's the news of the death of old Hugh,
Well, Hell, that clown never paid his due.

Nights alone you feel the Reapers chill,
then at dawn there's a fine undead thrill,
Check pulse, poke liver, no pain, no fear,
Hit the bars 'cause he's dead, you're still here.

No canes or taxis for you today,
On this fine and smogless first of May,
Jauntily out of the door to the street,
Gaily you greet all those that you meet.

Then as you stroll you think of old Hugh,
The wind sighs, "He was younger than you",
As a maverick tear rolls from your eye,
You know you gotta laugh instead of cry.

You've done some bad and you've done some good,
You wouldn't change things even if you could,
'Cause though the years you've run a good race,
The Reaper has chased and couldn't keep your pace,
So toast those that live and those that die,
And while you can, spit in the Reaper's eye.

Be In The Barrel

Sgt Grit,

Had a bunch of old t-shirts from Sgt. Grit that I slept in as they were a little ratty - but would not throw them out! Went to Club Med at Turks and Caicos Islands in December - and I ordered a few tees from the good Sgt. before I went away. I was stopped by all there to thank me for serving my country and made a few friends - one a Korea Vet - who had a wife buying a lot of gifts for the kids back home - and he and I hung out trading stories for the whole stay.

It seems that even in Korea things got out of hand? He was in tank supply and they were inundated with back orders for the tanks - and they were in need of tanks for support of our Marines. This poor guy was told to reorder parts and the Sgt. said put my name over yours and get the d-mn replacement parts here as soon as possible? The poor guy ordered what he needed - not aware of the line that says (Quantity). Let me explain as I was a supply pogue too! If you put down 1 it could be that the smallest amount shipped can be 100 or 1,000 - case in point cotter pins for airplanes are not ordered in quantity of one! Some come in sets, etc. He would end up with 100 heavy shocks for one class of tank - that would be in inventory until World War III. His Sergeant went ballistic - every Marine had the chance to "Be in the Barrel" - and get a good Asz Chewing at one time or another?

I wore my Sgt. Grit t-shirts all over the place, and it made me feel good to be recognized - and we had a good time being around each other - and had a great vacation.

Alas, I returned and was laid off after 24 years on the job - but my weekly newsletter and my e-mails to my Marine friends - keeps me going.

You cannot express yourself to the Wife sometimes saying - "that T-rd should be beaten within an inch of death - so he can appreciate life?" Or, "He deserves a blanket Party?"

But we have the good old Sgt. Grit to go to in our time of need to escape...

Bruce Bender
Cpl 1963-1967
Vietnam Era Marine

Cycling For The Corps

Cycling for the Corps participants

Cycling for the Corps road shot

Sgt Grit,

This is submitted a little late for last year, but in anticipation of this year's Cycling for the Corps. This event was the brainchild of Cpl Dung Nguyen (unassigned). This is a benefit bike race that benefits local wounded Marines and Sailors in the Bismarck-Mandan, ND area.

It was a 16-mile bike race on an 8-mile loop. That's twice around for those of us that are math impaired or use to looking in a straight line. We had support of the local Marine Recruiting office. They set up the finish line and finisher's tent. Sponsors provided t-shirts for participants and volunteer workers on the course. There were refreshments and tall tales at the finish line. Unfortunately, the organizer, Dung, also rode but had a flat tire with no spare within a half mile of the finish.

All-in-all, they day was beautiful, we had some press coverage, a great day was had. Six hundred dollars was used to help our local wounded Marines and Sailors in the area. Time for the Second Annual Cycling for the Corps. Date not set yet but keep watching the Facebook pages: Cycling for the Corps or North Dakota Marines.

Semper Fi,
Randy Lehmann

Letter Of The Law

I was in platoon 1002 in Oct. '65 at Parris Island. Our DI's never struck anyone, that I can recall. Their sometimes response to a screw-up was to punish the squad leaders. I guess that was our incentive to square away our squads.

Now, I developed shin splints about halfway through training. I had to get up a half hour before reveille and walk around the squad bay to break the calcium out of the cracks in my shin bones, just so I could walk normally. So, needless to say I had a hard enough time just doing the normal exercises, without doing an extra 500 side straddle hops.

There was a couple of recruits who liked to run at the mouth, and us 4 squad leaders were suffering for it. We were out at the rifle range, snapping in. I had already told this one guy, a number of times to knock it off. So when he was at it again, I looked at him and pointed to the head, which was about 100 yards away. The DI gave us permission to go, so I led the way. I entered first and as soon as he cleared the door, I turned and punched him a couple times in the face, then grabbed his neck and was chocking him to death in the urinal until a couple of other recruits pulled me off him. We straightened ourselves up and headed back. The DI never said a word, despite the fact that his glasses were in two pieces and he was bleeding. This happened a second time, while in the squad bay, right opposite the DI's hatch, (different guy). He had to have heard us but never came out.

I think this might have been their way of getting the job done while keeping within the letter of the law.

Sgt, W. Michell
'65-'68, '75-'77

I'm Slimy, I'm Slimy

I imagine everyone was as afraid of being set back in boot camp as I was. I entered MCRD San Diego with a platoon full of other t-rds from Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. We were not used to the humidity at MCRD San Diego so guys were coming down with all manner of respiratory ailments that October in 1969. I was determined to not be a slacker and get set back, so I never fell out for sick call until the day I collapsed in the chow line with double pneumonia. After a week in the Hospital I was set back and ended up in a platoon with a bunch of Cajuns. I hated being set back, but I won the lottery for Drill instructors.

The Senior Drill Instructor was an impeccable Marine, called the most musical cadence I have ever heard, and was one of the most honorable men I have met in my entire life. We maggots would do anything to avoid his displeasure because it just s-cked to disappoint that man with slimy behavior. One day we drilled so poorly that he had us untuck our shirts, unlace our boots, pull our covers down over our eyes, stick our hands into our pockets, stare at the ground, and shuffle back to the Quonset huts mumbling "I'm slimy, I'm slimy" all the way back. We NEVER drilled that poorly again! Our regular Drill Instructor had extremely high standards and was famous for saying "I will not accept anything half-azsed", and boy, did we ever do extra PT under his tutelage. The junior Drill Instructor was just a little bit nuts, having served in the Army for a full enlistment before shipping over to the Corps. He had some really peculiar ideas about things. These guys never thumped us, but they had many creative ways of getting our attention, such as pushups on our knuckles on the grinder, holding our rifles on the backs of our fingers with our arms extended straight out, and duck walking and squat-thrusts forever.

When we went to the rifle range our senior Drill Instructor informed us that we "owed him" 20 miles, meaning that we were going to run that many more miles while at the range than any of the other platoons. Having run cross country in High School I was always disappointed that he only collected 10 of those twenty miles.

I returned home on my first leave from boot camp with a Cajun accent picked up from my fellow recruits in that second platoon, something that really confused my parents. I may have hated being set back and spending an extra few weeks in boot camp, but I have never regretted the lessons I learned from those three fine Marines who were my new Drill Instructors.

Semper Fi Marines!

Bob Dickerson

Dangled Helplessly Against The Bulkhead

3dRTR, 3056, MCRD, San Diego: While going up the stairwell after noon drill, we were ordered to remove our boots, proceed topside and present ourselves for an impromptu inspection. Rather than wait around for the inevitable Chinese fire drill, the other two D.I.'s decided to be quiet while our senior D.I. herded our heels upward. On the way up, I whispered to my buddy, Danny, about a foul foot odor that was directly in front of me. As we both snickered quietly - or so we thought - Danny snorted and quickly glanced around for me. All I remember is that an unusually large hand, connected to a 6' 3" D.I., came out of nowhere, grabbed my sateen blouse by the front, slammed me into a bulkhead, and lifted me about six inches above the deck. Danny glanced at me dangling there, eyes wide with fear and surprised as I felt a myriad of hopeless emotions. The deep, sibilant hiss of "You got sumthin' you wanna share about humor?", reverberated through my ringing, throbbing skull as I dangled helplessly against the bulkhead. "Sir, no sir!" I croaked as the rest of my now-silent, shuffling platoon skittered past me.

After the last silent hog slid past, Sgt. P-----H, grinned evilly, let me slide down the wall and whispered in my ear, "Get the f-ck outta my sight you little effin' worm!"

I was privy to a few more "thumping" incidents, but this was my intro to "keep your mouth shut and get-along," seasoning. I didn't complain about the back of my head or my sore chest. And... I learned to keep my pie-hole shut, too!

Temporary Discipline

Sgt. Grit,

I have written about this subject before and was chastised by some of my fellow Marines. I wrote that as a Drill Instructor if I had to "thump" a recruit or use physical force on a recruit to instill discipline then the Marine Corps didn't need him. That statement offended some Marines who were subjects of that type of encouragement; however, I stand by that statement.

Leadership through fear instills temporary discipline. Once the fear is gone, so is the discipline. Now, there are a number of reasons that Drill Instructors resorted to "thumping" recruits to get the desired discipline and platoon unity. First, back in the 1960s recruit training was shortened from 12 weeks to 8 weeks because bodies were needed for deployment to Vietnam. Drill Instructors were still required to teach recruits the same amount of information and produce quality, disciplined Marines. All recruits learn different ways and at different speeds. Out of frustration, Drill Instructors frequently resorted to the "easy" methods. "Thumping" became an accepted form of instilling discipline. Secondly, "Power corrupts, Absolute power corrupts absolutely." The unquestionable power held by Drill Instructors can be and sometimes is intoxicating. That power must be controlled. After some injuries and deaths, the SOP was developed and company grade officers were assigned to every series to hopefully prevent those incidents from happening again.

My first tour as a Drill Instructor started in the spring of 1972. "Thumping" was still an accepted if not encouraged method of discipline. I was thumped as a recruit by an assistant Drill Instructor. To this day, I have no idea why he knocked me off my bucket, bleeding profusely from my nose. My first platoon as a "hat", the Senior Drill Instructor taught me three rules to "thumping". (1) Never leave any marks, cuts, or bruises. (2) Never "thump" publicly (no witnesses). (3) Always make sure the recruit knows why he is being "thumped". I never used that particular form of instilling discipline.

My second tour as a Drill Instructor began in 1980. By that time, "thumping" was no longer acceptable, either overtly or covertly. I believed then as I believe now that if and when a recruit develops discipline because he or she wants discipline, then that discipline is permanent. If the recruit is unable or unwilling to develop discipline then send him back where he came from. Drill Instructors are carefully chosen, talented, intelligent Marines who have many different means at their disposal to train recruits. If they patiently use their brain instead of "thumping" they can, do, and will continue to produce quality, disciplined Marines. I occasionally meet and talk with (for lack of a better term) modern day Marines. I know that today's Marines are carrying on with the best traditions of the Marine Corps. I believe the Marines of today have and will continue to make us proud.

Finally - It's not my intention to offend any of my fellow Marines. Many of us were "thumped" when we didn't perform as the Drill Instructor thought we should. I don't mean to imply that Marines who were "thumped" as recruits are any different or less of a Marine than those who were not "thumped". It's my intention to support the SOP and the methods of training used today. Drill Instructors are still graduating outstanding Marines and will do so for generations to come.

Semper Fi
A Former "Hat"
GySgt, USMC (Ret)

Rocky J

Sgt Grit,

9 April 2014

What a great ida your wife had to call your company Sgt Grit! First, I would like to thank you for developing a company where Veteran Marines can obtain great quality products!

I love the story about how you received your nickname and carried it on to your business. I served in 1st Recon Bn and ran point for the majority of my tour. The men in my team, Texas Pete call sign, gave me the nickname Rocky J. As a LCpl forth way, I climbed over the rocks in the mountains of Nam, west of Da Nang. As I increased in rank to Sgt, the men who served with me carried on my nickname and called me Sgt Rock.

Stay safe and God's blessing to your and yours!

Sgt Rock

Theodore S. Williams

He was a great hitter for Boston Red Soxs. He was also a Marine Aviator in WWII and Korea... Ted Williams.

WWII and Korean War Aviator Ted Williams

Honoring 3/25 Iraq

3rd Bn, 25th Marines Wrapped Vehicle front view

3rd Bn, 25th Marines Wrapped Vehicle rear view

Thought you would like to see our military wrap vehicle. It was designed to honor the Marines from 3/25 that were killed in Iraq in 2005. I am a Proud Parent of a Marine Corporal from the 3/25 unit from Brookpark, Ohio.

Jeff Hlavaty

A More Salty Appearance

Vietnam Era Green Utility Cover

Sergeant Grit,

I want to thank you for your well-done newsletter. Every Thursday morning, hours before reveille, along with my mug of coffee strong enough to clean silver, I set aside this one time a week as my quiet "Marine Corps Hour".

About two weeks ago while cruising the internet I stumbled on an ad for a "Vietnam era" green utility cover so I bought one (right photo). I still have one that I was issued in 1963 and it has long since passed the stage of being unserviceable (left photo). My wife is a wonderful companion but she is like a First Shirt when it comes to cleaning house. Once I caught her just in time, my old utility cover in hand, heading towards the sh-t can with obvious intentions of throwing it out. When I tried to explain why I couldn't part with it, she only stared at me blankly. Suffice it to say, I just explained you don't sh-t can old warriors, you stow them away. My new cover has the "first day of Boot Camp" look to it, but that doesn't matter; it will gradually take on a more salty appearance.

I would like to address a comment to GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired. In nearly every newsletter for several months I have noted you have commented on various subjects. When I was just a 17-year old snot-nosed, bald-headed maggot recruit in F Company, 2nd Battalion, Platoon 275 at MCRD San Diego from September through November, 1963, we attended many classes throughout Boot Camp. At that time, there was a Corporal Rousseau, (soon to be Sergeant Rousseau) who instructed classes on the UCMJ if I recall correctly. This Sergeant Rousseau was quite a dynamic instructor who was his own PA system, clearly audible to even those recruits in the back of the room. Our first introduction to Sgt. Rousseau when we entered the classroom and were seated was when he suddenly leapt off the stage screaming at one hapless Private in the front row; "You Just Smacked That Other Private In The Gourd, Didn't You! I Saw You Do It!" Sgt. Rousseau's act in doing this was to bring home a point about our rights under the UCMJ. It scared the hell out of the private whom h-ll bellowed at, but it was effective. I have often wondered if you are the same Sergeant Rousseau? If you are, I have to tell you that I was impressed by your method of teaching and long ago adopted many of your methods when I was a teacher in various schools and circumstances (toned down, obviously). Just wondering.

J.P. Wise


HML/HMLA-167 dedicated a memorial to our fallen comrades at the Marine Corps museum on the 29th of March. A very bright spot in an otherwise somber weekend was the reuniting of three roommates from Marble Mountain in 1968/1969.

Mike J.

HML-HMLA 167 Memorial Reunion

Only Thing With Wings

MGySgt Blaile Sr with handle bar mustache

Several weeks ago I read an article about mustaches and it reminded me of when I was a Sgt (E4) in 2nd Bn, 3dMar in 1958, we were stationed at Camp Kindser across the road from Camp Hague On Okinawa. At the time I was the radio chief for 2Bn/3d Mar, there was no SSgt in Comm at that time. I worked for a 1st Lieutenant and I do not remember his name. I was very proud of my mustache and the handle bars. I usually wore them turned up on the ends. Our Bn Commander put out the word no handle bars were allowed, so during work time they were not waxed, but on liberty I waxed them. This particular evening about 7:00 pm I was walking from my tent area to the main gate about a half mile, at that time Camp Kindser consisted of mostly tents with wood floor and Quantic huts, the sidewalks were made of wood and every time it rained they floated and you could never walk any place without getting into the muddy water.

Back to my walking to the main gate, a car passed me and stopped in front and as I walked past the back window rolled down and the Col asked me where I was going, I said to town and he said get in. As we proceeded to the front gate he asked me what I was going in town for, and I told him going to the Judo club to work out, the Col asked me what unit I was in and I said yours Col. When we got to the gate and I was getting out of the car the Col told me "The Only Thing With Wings In My Unit Are My Birds. Cut Yours Off." I replied, "Yes sir," and closed the door and went on to my Judo Club.

Attached is a picture of me at that time with my handle bar mustache, it was taken in the room my Judo buddy and I rented next to the Judo club. We paid $5.00 a month with dinki (lights). If you enlarge the picture a little you can see the handle bar mustache better.

Reading your newsletter sure has brought back good old times in the Corps.

Semper Fi,
Joe Blaile Sr. MGYSGT.

Locked Horns

Sgt. Grit,

I haven't read this week's (10 April 2014) issue of your great newsletter, yet, but I just received an email from a Basic School classmate of mine that sent me looking for the story, sent by Cpl. L. J. Sullivan, about a Junior DI at "PI," named Norman Centers, back in 1958.

When I knew Norman Centers, (around 1974) he was a "mustang" Captain, serving as the I-and-I Officer for my reserve company (C/1/23, aboard NAS Corpus Christi--the unit had been C & D 4th Recon for several years after I joined in August of '69).

I didn't know that Centers was once a drill instructor, but that explains some things. He tried to convince me that he was my boss (I was the CO of the unit at the time). I told him that my boss was that Colonel up in Houston, known as the Battalion Commander, and he (Centers) was there to advise me from time to time, if needed, and to make sure that when we came aboard once a month, that we had what we needed in order to train. Needless to say, we locked horns more than once.

Although I'm sorry to hear that he's no longer among the living, I don't miss him.

Semper Fi!

Tom Downey
Once a captain, USMCR; always a Marine.
1963-76 "for pay purposes" (joined through the PLC program
for officer candidates)
Vietnam: 4Dec66 - 18Dec67 (MOS: 0802--FO for L/3/7 for
almost six months, Fire Direction Officer for I/3/11 (my
original unit in 'Nam), then four months with 3rd 8-Inch How.)
Stateside: Asst. S-4/EmbarcO for H&S Bn, HQ-FMFLant,
Norfolk, Va. ("?"Jan68 - 31May69)

Goony Bird

Thought I'd weigh in on the so-called "thumping" by DI's. Most of our experiences (in my platoon), were of the mass punishment type. An example:... when issued our rifles (M-1's) there were no slings attached. After giving us specific instructions, and at least two, or maybe three demonstrations, we proceeded to carry out our orders to attach the slings and place the keepers in their proper positions. The Sr. DI and our Jr. DI then went through the ranks to inspect the results. Of course... you guessed it, a couple had at least one keeper wrong... but one had neither right. When questioned why everyone else had completed the task, but got it all wrong, and he was the only one who had done his right, he told the Sr. DI that all of the rest just didn't get the word. Henceforth he was immediately promoted to be the platoon's first Goony Bird. This allowed him to flap his "wings" (arms) and sound in a loud voice... "I'm a Goony Bird", while standing on his bucket... with his rifle in one hand.

Now this lead to many giggles and some - "So you think it's funny", comments from the Sr. DI. As a result more Goony Birds began circling the platoon flapping their wings. When this ended after what seemed an hour, and because our huts were in the immediate vicinity of the obstacle course, our rifles were put under guard (by a lucky few), not including me, a couple of trips through the course were done to show that when one screws up everyone gets a taste.

Moral: what's good for a few is surely good for all!

While at the range (Camp Mathews) (sp?), about the third day, after a fiasco while snapping in, we had "mail call in the valley". This entailed the Sr. DI standing atop Big Agony and the platoon on the other side with the Jr. DI. Along the valley floor were the squad leaders and guide. If you had mail your name was called and passed over. You then ran, from our side, up Agony and retrieved your mail. Should you be fortunate enough to get more than one letter you got to go across more than once. If you got no mail, somehow your name was mistakenly called so you could make the trip too.

Moral: you are all in this together, and don't ever forget it!

Sr. DI... S/Sgt. Minnick
Jr. DI... Sgt. Johnson

Mac twice a PFC eventually a Cpl now unattached!

1130374... 0311
1/9 3rd... 1/5 1st

I Was Losing It

Sgt Grit,

I do realize that we are getting older. I wrote in a few months ago about the new M-16 I was issued at China Beach in 1970. It was made by "Hydra-Matic Div G.M. Corp U.S.A". A few weeks later I was "corrected" by another Marine. He said only the dust cover on the ejection port was made by G.M. That has bothered me since I did feel I knew my rifle well. If you google "M-16's made by General Motors" guess what pops up? All sorts of pictures of M-16's with "Hydra-Matic Div G.M. Corp U.S.A" stamped on the mag housing. I really was worried I was losing it. Lol!

Keep up the good work.

Cpl J. W. Hornsey
RVN 1970

Marched Us To The Grinder

I was in platoon 379 in San Diego. Our first day was 14 September in 1965. We started with three drill instructors and a few weeks into the program we picked up a fourth, a Sgt. Howard. Some days later, we were taught inspection arms by one of our original drill instructors. The next day Sgt. Howard had the duty and marched us to the grinder. He spread us out and went from recruit to recruit doing inspection arms. When he got to me, he was not very impressed, and after standing there a few seconds looking at me he hit me square in the mouth with his fist. I stood there bleeding for a moment. He then ordered me to a nearby head to wash off the blood. I remember being in this head thinking if the platoon this head belongs to comes in while I am here, I am very likely to get my azs beaten.

Fortunately, I got out before anyone saw me there. Nothing more was said. A few weeks later, the good Sgt. hit a recruit on the head with a pair of binoculars while we were on the rifle range. A full Colonel was standing right behind him when he did it, and that was the last we saw of Sgt. Howard.

Dale R. Rueber
VN '68-'69 with 11th Marines at An Hoa
Sgt. of Marines

Imagine The Guts

Reading the stories about physical punishment at boot camp reminds me of one about a good friend around 1964, maybe, or 1965. He was a reservist. One of the DIs beat a guy in his platoon. There was a stink about it and an investigation was to ensue. The DI told the platoon that no one saw anything. He told them to lie for him if they knew what was good for them. My friend was a very strong Christian. He was built like Charles Atlas, a high school jock who had trained by running, swimming and other stuff, punishing himself to get ready for PI. When he got there, he was ready, and when they were told they would all lie for the DI, he went to see the DI privately, and because of his Christian ethics, told him that he would not lie for him. Can you imagine the guts THAT took?

Well, the day of the investigation, they found some detail for him to be on and he did not get interviewed. And the best part of it all was that he was offered OCS straight out of PI. And if my memory serves, he was also named honor man of the unit. (Later, when back in his reserve unit, he was offered OCS again. Both times, he turned it down).

Robert E. Hays, Corpsman
D Co, 1/4, 3rd MarDiv, RVN, '68-'69

Change To Black Shoes

To CPL. Selders: In the late 1960's or perhaps 1970, by order of DoD, all services (with one exception) were ordered to change to black shoes. Not sure, but I think the CMC was Gen Chapman. My Colonel blamed him and never forgave him! The exception was and still is, naval aviators who still wear brown shoes, hence the term "brown shoe Navy."

I was there.

James Murphy
Pvt to Major with a stop at WO 1 and CWO 2 enroute.

My Life Thus Far

Last week Cpl. Selders asked: When did we go from brown dress shoes to black? All I remember is that we were given detailed instructions how to change to black, but most of us just went to cash sales and got a new pair of black ones along with a new frame cover.

I went through MCRD San Diego, Third Battalion, Platoon 362, starting in August 1962. We were issued brown dress shoes and brown frame covers.

Around the halfway point of our time in boot camp, late one evening we were given black leather dye and black polish and advised that the next morning our shoes and frame covers will be black and spit shined. The next morning what was brown was now black and spit shined.

Adapt, Improvise, Overcome; worked then and has worked throughout my life thus far...

I Would Have Felt Cheated

Sgt Grit,

I just finished reading the latest newsletter while eating my lunch here at work and the stories on boot camp brutality were particularly interesting. I went through Parris Island in the summer of 1981 with platoon 2063 (July to October) and our three DIs were SDI SSGT Krause, Sgt Mazenko and Sgt Ishmail. Sadly, I heard that both SSGT Krause and SGT Ishmail (last known ranks) passed away. However, I had the great fortune of locating and talking to Sgt (retired as a Captain) David Mazenko a few months back for about an hour. I must have thanked him a half dozen times and I told him that to this day, I respect all three of them immensely and credit them, at least in part and together with my own father, for helping to make me into the man, the husband and the father that I am today.

All three of these guys were great DIs in my opinion, and all could be classified as sadistic if an outsider or non-Marine type would want to so judge them. However, I would have felt cheated if I had received any less of a tougher training regimen. To me, these men where and still are Gods of some sort. Personally, I was never punched, but if I had been hit it would have been because I deserved it. Yes, they did have to be creative in the way they punished us and to this day I nearly crack up laughing at some of the stuff they did, although I never thought it was funny then. But I did, even back then as a stupid-azsed 19 year old, recognize that it was all necessary and I challenge any Marine to say otherwise. Those DIs had 13 weeks (less in some eras) to turn a bunch of stupid-azsed, knuckle-heads from all walks of life with all sorts of personal issues and traits into a United States Marine. How else are they supposed to do it and still turn out Marines who carry themselves in the same likeness and character of those Devil Dogs of WWI, WWII, Korea and Viet Nam? I would not want to be a "modern day" Marine and have my training any less than what those maniacal warriors of past wars received, and I call them maniacal with the utmost respect.

These men and women had and have a job to do and a responsibility that most of us could not hold up to. In today's society of "Just Culture" where the t-rds of this world run the show and control what the good people of this world can and cannot do, it is getting ever harder to toughen people up to the point that we can defend this wonderful country of ours without wondering if we are being "politically correct". I will forever be eternally grateful to the United States Marine Corps and to my Drill Instructors for making me a Marine, and I would never, ever challenge the training methods, except to say Thank you!

Semper Fi,
Mike Kunkel
Corporal, USMC
0331 Machine Gunner
Lima, Company
3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment
Camp Geiger, NC


Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #8, #9 (SEPT, 2018)

We attempted to start this beast several times only to be UN-successful, so we thought that we better take the time to step back and further evaluate the problem. Actually the problem was in the "Start Fuel" portion of the fuel control and that was a "no brainier". Not having an extra fuel control to put on the engine did present a minor problem, but we were all Former MARINES so the solution was simple, "Improvise".

I know that sounds easy, but it might just take a little more thought than what we had given it. It was at this point that someone suggested that we go to lunch and get a break from the "Snow Storm". This gave us the time to develop a plan of attack. We went into the village and the little lunch counter in the General Store and had a "cold beer" and a sandwich. This seemed to stimulate the "thought buds" and on the way out we bought a 12volt Electric, Automotive Fuel pump that was sitting on the counter of the General Store. I have to tell you that this General Store had one of everything that was ever made, and the food was good also. Really a neat place to go!

The more I think about this episode in my life it's just, almost like a ferry tale because of it's uniqueness. People just don't have these experiences, one right after, another. People just look at you because they just can't imagine that you did all these things in your lifetime. That's one of the reasons that I felt that I had to write about them. Hence "The FLIGHT LINE" and my Auto-biography.

Mean while back at the Welding shop, no-body fixed the "No Start" Problem, but once we got back, I had an idea I thought might work... We drained some Jet Fuel from one of the aircraft's fuel tanks and then fabricated a long fuel line and stuck one end in the bucket and the other we connected to the fuel start port on the fuel control after running the line through the fuel pump for pressure. We pulled a pick-up truck up and hooked some jumper cables to the trucks battery and that gave us the power needed to run the pump. Needless to say that we did have a little fuel squirting all over the place, but we got it started and then switched to "Run Fuel" and recapped the open orifices at the fuel control. The problem was solved but the customer would have to call Lycoming and get another Fuel Control for about $65,000.00. Wow, the fun of owning an airplane!

Now, it was a thorough ground check of all the systems, followed by a "lift Off" and a quick "Flight Check". Punching through the low Cloud cover brought some tense moments and then it was out of sight but, not out of hearing range. A short time went by before the bird found the same hole that it went out of, and returned to the parking lot outside the welding shop. A hearty and enthusiastic "Thumbs UP" from the pilot indicated a successful test flight. And, that he was happy with the results. The only problem was the Lack of a "Start Fuel System" and that wouldn't take too long to fix, once we had one! Plus $65,000.00!

My Withholding Would Pay A LCpl

Once got 'flapped' to catch a helo from DaNang back down to Chu Lai for an accident investigation. (1st Tanks had recently moved Bn HQ, H&S, Bravo and Charlie Companies up to the DaNang area, leaving Alpha 'down south filling in as 3rd Tanks moved further north... late '66, early '67'). The accident involved a mishap that, thankfully, remained relatively, emphasis 'relatively', minor. A tank crewman had been assigned, for whatever reason, to some crew maintenance task that involved removing, or at least disconnecting, the batteries in his M-48 tank. These are secured in the hull bottom, under the turret floor, and accessed thru a removable turret floor plate This hard-charger, half-inch combination wrench in hand, had loosened his first cable, and flipped it up, out of his way. It was a positive cable (not the 'ground' or - side), and it promptly arced, welded itself to the nearest 90MM round seated in a floor rack. The propellant charge flashed, probably in what might have been classified as a 'low-order' detonation, and the actual projectile was stuck, pointy end first, in the ceiling of the turret... which is what the EOD techs who had cleared the vehicle prior to my arrival reported. The crewman received severe flash burns, but survived. I doubt that having gotten the batteries disconnected, that lifting them out would have been much of a problem... much of the 'glamour' of 'armor' comes cleverly disguised as hard labor... The Alpha Company Commander at the time was known to use a torsion bar as an impromptu bar bell... forget what the thing weighed, but it's a hunk of spring steel, around four inches in diameter, and at least six feet long... ideal for what used to be known in the gym as 'a five and ten'... that's a guy who spends five minutes doing bicep curls with way more weight than is reasonable... followed by ten minutes of admiring his 'guns' in the mirror. I think as of a week or so ago, the utility sleeves can once again be worn rolled up for gun displays... or not, if there's a sleeve tattoo involved?

Those suits... at $35 or so... came out of a $160/month pay... don't recall if there was W-2 withholding, but from memory, 'they' got a bit for FICA... Many years later on, realized that my withholding would pay a LCPL... and if I ever found out which one, he was in a world of hurt...

Had related recently about Lt's being assigned to investigations... missing/destroyed property, accidents, etc. Recall being called over to the XO's office at 1st Tanks, and told to get my hindquarters over to an LZ by Hill 327 for a trip down to LZ Baldy to do a 'line of duty' investigation. (was subtly advised, without any 'command influence' whatsoever, that I WOULD find the incident to be 'line of duty"). After interviewing the ammo techs at the LSU (Logistic Support Unit... I forget the number) at Baldy, and the injured party at the hospital, I did find that the mishap was indeed 'line of duty"... The injured was a 2ndLt., Motor T MOS... who had commanded his first supply convoy from DaNang down to Baldy. Having been told by some 'old salt' (had been 'in-country' over twenty-four hours) that grenade rings made excellent key rings, he had gone over to the LSU ammo area while his trucks were being unloaded. The accommodating ammo tech had walked the Lt. to the area where the Grade III (defective, or questionable) ammunition and/or components were kept, and pointed out a small, open cardboard box containing fuses that had been removed from fragmentation grenades (M-26... from memory... similar to illum grenades in shape, but without the tell-tale seam)... the Lt. picked up two or three, examined them for relative condition, and having picked the one he liked the most, tossed the extras back into the box. He then held the fuse, spoon, pin, and ring in his right hand, and with a "twist... and pull..." as he had been taught at TBS, using his left hand, removed the ring and pin (actually, the pin is just a common cotter key). The only problem was, he let the spoon fly, and continued to hold the rest of the fuze assembly in his right hand... until the fuze (roughly equivalent to a #6 blasting cap) detonated. It cost him his pinky and ring finger... but he got to keep the (key) ring... and he got a set of orders back to the land of the big PX when he got out of the Navy hospital over by Marble Mountain. Don't recall the rationale I used, but found it to be a 'line of duty' injury... have wondered about the guy from time to time all these years, don't remember his name, but will confess to surreptitiously glancing at hands at reunions. Have also wondered if he got a Purple Heart... or, in cases like this, better known as a "DFM". (if you can't figure that one out, write your address on a twenty, mail it to Grit, and he will forward it to me for translation and a written reply...)


Short Rounds

Sgt. Grit,

I have read a number of articles in the Newsletter lately; seemingly trying to date issuance of the "Battle Jacket." So, I will just enter my two cents to the time era in which they may have first been issued. When I entered the Corps in December 1947, I was issued one Green Blouse along with one Green and one Khaki "Battle Jacket." How much sooner than that, I have no idea.

C.R. Scroggins
GySgt. (Ret.)

The worst detail ever had to be burning the 1/2 drums in the 4-hole sh-tter. 2-gallons of fuel and a match after hooking and dragging it 20 feet.

Cpl M.R. Jackson
Semper Fi

I remember in boot camp at MCRD San Diego that we had to strip the dark brown polish from our covers and our shoes, die them black, and then put the spit shine back on them. I was there from June to August 1963.

Sgt. C. Jones

I was in ITR at Pendleton in Oct. '63 when we were issued black dye to make the change.

Sgt. C T Roper
RVN '65-'66

I remember falling out for mandatory Sunday church services while on Parris Island in 1957. It went like this "Baptists at ease, Methodists ay ease, all other Protestants at ease. Catholics in place double time HAA...

Bob Lake

The MARINES went to black shoes in 1963.

Former SSGT. 1962-1973

The following member has unsubscribed from Sgt Grit Special Offers and Newsletters:

First Name: Karen
Reason: Hate that my son will be with you for the next 4 years.


"Being ready is not what matters. What matters is winning after you get there."
--LtGen Victor H. Krulak, USMC April 1965

"The Marine Corps has just been called by the New York Times, 'The elite of this country.' I think it is the elite of the world."
--Admiral William Halsey, U.S. Navy

"I still need Marines who can shoot and salute. But I need Marines who can fix jet engines and man sophisticated radar sets, as well."
--General Robert E. Cushman, Jr., USMC Commandant of the Marine Corps, 17 May 1974

"I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude."
--Thomas Jefferson

"As You Were!"

"I'll be out of the area all day!"



"Expect the unexpected."

"Semper Fi!"
Reply: "Forever and one day"

God Bless the American dream!
Sgt Grit

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