Here is a cute picture of my granddaughter Abby Smith at a 4th of July parade in Morgan Hill, California. Her daddy, uncle and Godfather are all US Marines. I thought maybe you would like it for your magazine. My family loves your magazine.
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The Eyes Of The 2-Star Brute
Once again I find Ddick and I share some common ground. In November of 1960, Platoon 181 was selected series Honor Platoon. We stood an Honor Guard for the Commandant, Gen. David M. Shoup at Main Side MCRD San Diego. We came to attention and as the entourage made its way down the ranks, one of the first persons to square in front of me was MajGen. Victor H. Krulak (not a tall man, I was shocked) then came Gen. Shoup (even shorter?) I came to inspection arms and he snatched my M1 in the convincing manner of a Drill Instructor. All I could see was the Quatrefoil on the top of his cover as he looked into the receiver of my weapon. When he handed my rifle back to me I looked directly into his eyes (glasses), God forgive me!
Hearing The Phantom Sounds
Just finished reading last week's newsletter finally and cracked up laughing at Gunny Rousseau's post on hearing loss. I think I accidentally deleted the website so I missed several weeks of newsletters and as such missed any earlier post on hearing loss, but have one of my own stories to post.
All Newsletters are archive at:
I was an 0331 machine gunner back in the early 80's and they did provide us with hearing protection, but being the dumb-azs that I was, I did not use them, or I should say I rarely used them. Upon discharge I received my physical which included a hearing test and the Corpsman or Navy doctor who tested me confirmed that I had frequency hearing loss, but had me sign a waiver and told me that in time, I would regain the hearing that I lost, but because it was not immediately noticeable to me I was not overly concerned and signed the waiver like the dumb-azs that I was. Anywho, after leaving the Corps I worked for about 5 years as an electrician and then got on with Baltimore Gas and Electric as an overhead line mechanic or "Lineman". Because we worked around loud construction vehicles and loud tools and equipment the company provided us with fairly regular hearing test. An Audiologist would come to the service centers in a mobile hearing test station that was equipped with three to four sound-proof booths. When it was my turn to be tested the very first time, I entered the booth and put on the headphones and picked up the two "plungers" in my hands and immediately I started banging away on the little buttons. The lady came back and opened the booth and said, "What are you doing, I did not start the test yet." "I will go back and restart the test and this time don't hit the buttons until you hear the sounds." I closed my eyes, gritted my teeth and concentrated like I was studying for a history test... and started banging away on the buttons. She came back again, but this time she was p-ssed and said, "what are you doing â€“ are you messing with me?" I replied that I was not and she told me she was going to reset the test one more time. This time I gritted my teeth and hunched up tight to really concentrate and must have looked like I was trying to get a constipated cr-p out... and started banging away on the buttons once again. The Audiologist came charging back and opened the door and said, "were you in the military?" "Yes ma'am," I replied, "the Marines." "What did you do in the Marines?" "Machine gunner", I replied. "Why didn't you tell me", she yelled. "I have to test you separately, you have frequency hearing loss and the sound you hear is not the test tones, but a constant ringing in your ears."
I learned from her that my hearing loss would never improve and that it would only get worse as time goes on. Eventually I realized that I could not even hear the tone from an alarm on a wristwatch and it's to the point now that I have to really concentrate to hear someone that speaks quietly. My hobby is wood-working and I do wear very good hearing protection at all times, but I suspect in time I will require hearing aids. My wife and daughter know I have hearing loss, but I sometimes think they think I use it as an advantage so that I can "pretend" not to hear them! LOL!
Semper Fi to all my brother and sister Jarheads and God bless all of you fighting for our freedom!
Lima 3/8 Weapons Platoon
The Marine Talk, The Marine Walk
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I remember the salty NCO's, Staff NCO's and the Officers who knew how to express themselves and the silver tongues that these bits of wisdom flowed off of.
One night after I was out of the Corps a few months - and on a blind date (the girl was a looker - but naive - and stubborn to boot - and opinionated as well.) She was driving me crazy arguing about everything - as she knew everything! I realized that this would be a one and only date with her - so in my best Marine Corps Tradition - I calmly told her that - she, "Was a lying sack of sh-t." My drill instructor would have been proud of me I am sure.
Another time I ordered something and had it delivered to my house, unfortunately my Ma was visiting me at the time and the wrong item was sent. I told my neighbor who had come over for a beer - (before my Ma showed up) Without realizing my mother was in my living room - I calmly told the my pretty next door neighbor - that the, "Dumb Dufus Mother F-cker sent the wrong item?"
Another time, I was at a local neighborhood bar and trouble was brewing around me - My fellow Servicemen friend - (from the U S Navy) politely told the clowns that if they were serious about fighting us - that maybe - "they should go outside first and practice falling down a few times to make it a fair fight!"
A Sergeant from my unit - was in Korea - and said when the sh-t hit the fan - all Marines were riflemen - the Mess personnel put down the serving spoons and picked up rifles and clips of ammo - for the M-1's. Mess Sgt told a Lieutenant - "Tubby you will not have the luxury of a jeep" - "and please Sir try to keep up with the us lowly enlisted ranked Marines." The Sgt. became a paper pusher with a load of stories about how cold and rough it was in Korea.
Amazing how the stories were told to me by many a Marine in harm's way - "The eyes were far away, and the expressions were a cross between catatonic and a hypnotic look - like they were reliving the moment. A few thanked me for listening to the stories - some guys in the squad bays had bad nightmares - we lived through a lot - and took care of each other. We Were MARINES!
Cpl. 1963-1967 (USMC)
The Marine Karate Kid
I have written a book "Mr. Miyagi and Me" available at Amazon.com in Kindle and Paperback.
I began my practice of karate as a young Marine in 1963 while stationed in Okinawa with the 12th Marines, and my teacher was and still is Mr. Takeshi Miyagi. So, in reality, there is a real life Karate Kid and Mr. Miyagi.
In his 60 years of teaching, Mr. Miyagi has promoted only three Americans to the rank of Black Belt and all are United States Marines. I was the first to be promoted to Black Belt and currently hold the rank of 9th Degree Black Belt, which I received in August 2011. The others were Len Neidert, my best friend in the Marine Corps who passed away in November 2000 and David Crull who received his black belt in 2001.
When I first approached Mr. Miyagi about joining his class he told me that I would be like all other Americans and quit. He said no American lasted three months in his class because he was much too tough, much too disciplined for Americans. He also said that even if I came to his class I would never be promoted to any rank and would always remain a white belt (beginners belt). But, if I wanted to learn and learn the right way to come back and he'd teach me.
I returned the following night and promptly found myself in Mr. Miyagi's version of Parris Island. I was put through a training program that was solely for the purpose of making me quit. Oh, I was learning, but I was being treated to some very brutal conditioning drills that most would walk away from. I stayed in spite of the treatment and finally earned his respect and that of his students.
To this day we remain friends and as teacher and student. I will be returning to Okinawa this month to train and take part in a memorial for two Grand Masters.
Get this book at: Mr. Miyagi and Me
A lot of Marines bought clothes, mostly suits and sport coats at a place like this around Da Nang. I got four. Three suits and a sport coat. Measured and tailored to my fit. They were made in Hong Kong. I had mine sent directly home. They fit perfectly and I wore them for years, all gone now as I've put a few pounds on. But my wife still remembers one of them and to this day kids me about the blue plaid suit. She didn't like it. She's probably right but I will never admit it.
If I remember correctly I got all four for about $250. Clothing like this, cameras and stereo gear were the largest purchases Marines made in Nam.
American and Marine Pride
The attached photo is at the 4th of July Parade, Centerville, OH and shows myself, wearing my Sgt Grit Black USMC Hoodie (I've purchased five of these this week from you) shaking the hand of Ohio Governor John Kasich.
Get the pictured hoodie at:
Black/red Zip Up USMC Hooded Sweatshirt
Marine Corps League Annual Picnic And Fundraiser
Your Customer Relations representative Kristy is superb! She outfits our Marine Corps League Detachment (#1335 Bellingham, WA) each year with our raffle and auction items. This is our major fundraiser each year. The "Regan Quote" K-Bar is going to be one of many featured SGT Grit items in the silent auction and general raffle. Of course you are invited if you happen to be in the area as is any other Marines or Corpsman who happen to be visiting the Bellingham area.
Your motto is right "If you don't have it, Chesty wouldn't want it." Thank you for all the fine items in your catalog, your generous support of Detachments like ours, other veterans organizations and your continuing "OOORAH!" spirit and that of your employees. Please extend a hearty "Bravo Zulu" to Kristy from a truly grateful customer and share this freely with all of your employees who make SGT Grit what it is.
Marines & FMF Corpsman (Current and Former), Wives, Significant Others, Families, Kids, Friends of and Supporters of Marines:
Saturday, 26 July, It's that time of year again for our League's Annual Picnic!
Start Time 12:00 Noon 'til whenever. This year it will be at the Bellingham American Legion Post 7, 1688 W. Bakerview Rd. (out by the Airport and over by Mykonos Restaurant).
Semper Fi and Thank You Again!
CAPT (0302) Mac
RVN (as a Corporal) '69-'70
Marine Ink Of The Week
Force Recon with jump wings with skull and cross KA-BARs.
Submitted by Rafael Ortiz
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It's Standing Up And Believing
(story from February 17, 2005)
This is the kind of thing that PMO! Did you earn it? Have you earned it! H-ll! I did twenty years in the Marine Corps, retired for Christmas sake, and I don't know that I've still have earned the right to call myself a Marine! Not when you think in terms of those that have gone before me and those that have come after me! I know, that each and every day that I crawl my azz out of the rack, I've got to go out and earn it again! I'm big on Honor and Integrity! You question my Honor, my Integrity, my honesty, my truthfulness, my fidelity, I get fighting Mad! You would have come out better calling me something else! That's the thing! Once you've made it through boot camp, that doesn't make you a Marine! What makes you a Marine is how you're going to get you're azz out of the rack every day for the rest of your life and live your life by what the Marine Corps taught you! Trained you to do, and to be!
Everything that you need to get through, to survive in this life, the Marine Corps has taught you! EVERYTHING! We can start with HONOR and INTEGRITY! It's called doing the right thing - in all things and with all things and with everyone that you come across in life! It's standing up and being counted for, and calling BS, BULLSH-T! It's standing up and believing in something greater and larger than yourself, if it's nothing else but the guy next to you! Forever more it's about sacrifice, and putting those less fortunate and weaker than you before yourself! It's about acknowledging that life is tough, but it's tougher if you're stupid! It's about growing, and about continuously learning, and about being tested! It's about never being complacent! Never satisfied! That your best is never going to be good enough! Perhaps to your parents, to your wife, to your children, but never to yourself! And before God! It's about never quitting, no matter how hard it gets! It's about not whining! No matter how tough it gets! It's about sucking it up, and giving 110% each day, every day! It's about living up to the standard! And the bar is set pretty d-mn high! It's meant to be! If it was easy, H-ll, everyone would be a Marine!
That's the thing that a lot of Soldiers and a lot of Sailors, and a lot of Airmen don't get! Once you become a Marine, the discipline is self-perpetuating! The discipline of the Corps becomes you're self-discipline! Many, and I mean many fall to the wayside! I truly believe, that the final and ultimate test as to whether or not you're a Marine, comes the day you report into Heaven with your PCS orders, and Saint Peter tells you, "Enter Marine!" To me, whether you did 2 years or 20 or more, the test of whether you're a Marine or not is how you live your life! Did you make a difference? Or did you lay your Honor, your Integrity, your spirit, your soul upon the alter of the almighty dollar, or (fill in the blank). Can you go to your grave and before God, and honestly say, "I did my absolute best! I gave all!" Can you stand before God come Judgment Day and say, "I am righteous and I did righteous, and I fought for righteous all my life!"
You need not lay your life down nor become crippled from the physical wounds of war! The fight to be fought, is the fight of righteousness! Did you do right! Did you do the right thing, in all things! Did you stand up for the down-trodden? Did you defend the weak? Did you defend the less fortunate?
It matters not that you did two nor twenty in the Marine Corps, what matters is that you applied that which the Marine Corps taught you! What matters is that you stood on the side of Lady Justice, and Righteousness! What matters is that you made a difference in your life and for being in this life!
The fact that you enlisted in the Marine Corps speaks volumes! Most young Americans these days don't enlist into the military! H-ll! They won't even enlist into the Army Reserves or even the National Guard! Let alone the Marine Corps! The fact that you did, speaks volumes thus far about your character! VOLUMES! But that is nothing more than a foundation for which to build the rest of your life!
Do you measure up? No! You don't! And the day that you believe that you do, you're done as a Marine! I did 20 years in the Marine Corps, retired! Guess what? I still don't measure up! Why? Because you're best isn't and never will be good enough! You do the 3 mile PFT run in 19 minutes, then you need to have you azz out on the road, working on 18:59! You shoot 245 on the rifle range, then you need to start working on 246! You get a noteworthy on an inspection, than you need to get working on "beyond noteworthy"!
Every day that you're in the Marine Corps is a "test"! I've seen Marines that had 12-14 years in the Marine Corps, and kicked back on their heels, thinking that they had it made! You Don't! Guess what? Those guys, got kicked out! You can do everything to perfection for 18 years, and you screw up one time and it's your azz!
That's the way it has to be! You don't get paid for screwing up! You don't get paid for saying, "My mistake! I forgot! I screwed up, nor My Bad!" Why? Because in most of the MOS in the Marine Corps, you screw up you get someone killed! Just that plain, just that simple!
But, you know what? That's the way it is out here in civilian life! Even more so! Either be part of the solution, or part of the answer or,... BE GONE! That's why Marines excel so well out here in civilian life,... we understand that!
Where I work at now, we've got two part-time college students working for us, in less than a week, I've heard from both of them, "It's not my problem, I'm not going to worry about it!" Well guess again Slick! It IS your PROBLEM!
Attitude is everything! Life is 10% of what happens to you, and 90% of your attitude! It's all about how you perceive it! How you look at it! It's not so much about what you've been through, nor what you're going through, it's about "What the H-ll are you going to do about it, and how are you going to handle it!"
That's the thing about being a Marine! Marines are renown for finding themselves in a world of sh-t! The thing about Marines is that they get off their azz and get busy doing something about it! It might not be pleasant, it might not be pretty, and it might not be fun, but they do something about it! They get busy! Marines aren't known for sitting around and holding "pity party's"... They get busy getting "BUSY"!
Marines aren't too big on "sympathy". If you're looking for sympathy, about the only place you're going to find it in this world or lifetime is in the dictionary! Get use to that fact and you'll do well in life! For every problem you've got, I promise you, someone has got it worse! For every trouble you've got, I promise you someone is worse off! You may be uglier than h-ll, I promise you! There's someone uglier than you! You may be dumber than a fence post, but I promise you, there's someone dumber than you! You may be dirt poor, but I promise you there IS someone poorer than you!
When you find yourself counting your troubles and your sorrows, etc., etc., etc. STOP! Count your blessings!
From the Sgt Grit Bulletin Board
Old Corps WWI Photos
I have attached some pages from a Marine Corps Manual from WW I era. It was given to me from a friend of mine (who happens to be a Captain USMC who no longer serves) and it was given to him by a neighbor whose father was in the Marines Corps long ago. Maybe you could pick a few pages to show. I know Ddick and Gunny Rousseau might still have theirs!
4th FSSG, 4th Maint Bn, 4th Marines
The DISBURSING CHIEF
(Vol #7, #3)
There was no Route I-95 in 1950. It was Route 1 to Washington, D.C. - and it wasn't much. We continued our conversation most of the time. Kitty told me that after she and Bette moved out it left two large rooms vacant and her mother decided to rent them and she was very selective to whom she rented these rooms. It seemed as though she only wanted well employed men that she thought were good choices to be husbands for her daughter - and maybe herself. (She had divorced her 2nd husband). That helped with her expenses. Kitty's eldest half-sister, Mary Claiborne, was well employed with the State Department, working at the U. S. Embassy in Algiers, and her room, too, was temporarily empty. The youngest of the 4 girls was Kimberly, a junior in high school.
I told her my parents had owned the 2nd largest egg producing poultry farm east of the Mississippi - until April 1945 - when it was put out of business by the O.P.A. If dad had been able to hold on for just 5 more months - when WWII ended - he would still have it. But as they say "That's the way the cookies crumbled." Dad was now a lumber broker - buying in the south and selling up north. I had two brothers that had been in WWII, one was a Captain in the Army and the other a 1stLt in the Army Air Corps; and a sister that had screwed up and married a 'swab jockey' who beat her badly.
Kitty told me "I was up quite early this morning and can hardly hold my eyes open. Would you mind if I took a short nap?" I told her "I would not mind at all. Make yourself comfortable." She got a small pillow from the back seat and put it between her head and the door. Several times either the pillow slipped down or her head fell off the pillow and she bumped her head on the door. Finally, I said to her "I have a suggestion that will stop that. You just slide over this way and put your head on my shoulder." There was some hesitation and she replied "I - don't - think - so." After her head hit the door a couple more times she asked "Is your offer still good?" I told her it was and she turned around and put her head on my shoulder. I put my right arm around her and she said "That is not part of the deal. Put your hands on the wheel." I told her that most of the time I am traveling with a beautiful woman my arm is around her. She said "I suppose you are right" and she went to sleep. When we approached Martha Washington Wayside - outside Fredericksburg - I stopped. She awoke and asked "What are you stopping for?" I told her "I am stopping for 3 reasons: To fix the flickering light in the dash, To clear your perfume from my head and to kiss you. Is that okay with you?" She said "The light in the dash has been flickering since we first got this car; I have never had a complaint about this perfume before; and as for the 3rd one - I - don't - think - so!"
'Til 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, #10 (Oct. 2019)
Part # 3: (VMO-6 cont.)
On the evening of Aug. 8th, 1952, the MARINE CORPS first night causality evacuation was successfully accomplished by a VMO-6 Aircraft and crew. OY-1's began another new MARINE aviation mission, psychological warfare by dropping surrender leaflets over enemy positions from their unarmed light planes. Both fixed and rotary winged aircraft were present at the Inchon Landings and participated heavily in the bone chilling cold during the Chosen Reservoir breakout too. Rescuing downed aircrew became a critical mission for VMO-6, the helicopters rapidly proved their worth in Korea. A series of improved Sikorsky HOS and Bell HTL helicopters arrived during 1950 and early 1951 expanding the Squadrons capabilities with longer endurance and increased capacity. The Stenson OY-1's were replaced with more capable Cessna O1-E "Bird Dogs" soon thereafter. Capt. Ed McMahon. later a well known radio and television host flew 85 Combat missions and earned 6 Air Medals during the last four months of the war flying VMO-6 Bird Dogs. After the fighting the unit moved back to California, they soon traded their Bell and Sikorsky helicopters for the more capable Kaman "HOK" Husky. Training with their mixed fleet of observation planes and helicopters continued at a steady pace, interrupted by a brief deployment during the Cuban Missile Crisis, in 1962.
Shortly after the deployment the squadron was tasked with exploring methods employing armed escort aircraft to assist helicopter borne troop transport and received some T-28C trainers configured as close air support aircraft. During the summer of 1964 the squadron received the first Bell UH-1E Huey helicopters which soon replaced all of the Kaman HOK's, Cessna OE "Bird Dog's" and T-28's with the Huey's. VMO-6 developed techniques for armed helicopter escort and landing zone fire support that would serve them well into the rest of the next decade. In 1965, VMO-6 was among the MARINE GROUP that sail to Vietnam. The next month, transport, gunship, airborne forward control and Med-e-vac missions were being flown on a daily basis. Using the call signs "Klondike" and later "Seaworthy". VMO-6 crews fought valiantly losing numerous Aircraft and men in the process. On Aug. 19th, 1957, Capt Stephen Pless and three other MARINES flew a rescue mission in their UH-1E gunship that earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor and the others "The Navy Cross" for their gallantry. The citation reads in part that "Under intense enemy gunfire, Capt Pless used his helicopter to shield four wounded American soldiers as the were assisted into his helicopter all the while beating back repeated enemy attacks." The over loaded helicopter then limped out to sea and escaped the enemy.
Customer Howard LePine wanted to say hello to you and let you know that you have been doing a great job. He is a China Marine and today is his 85th Birthday!
Returns and Exchanges Department
Sgt Grit Marine Corps Specialties
Corporal Walter T. Stevens was a 20 year old Marine from Scranton, Pennsylvania when he earned the Silver Star as a squad leader with A/1/9 on May 13, 1967. During this action he personally killed three of the enemy. He is mentioned in my book "Marines, Medals and Vietnam'. I also have a copy of the Silver Star citation.
Morning Sgt Grit,
Some great stories. Thanks for Sharing.
Sgt John Zing, 1963
Just wanted to follow up on the TV Ears for $129. If you are in the VA system and have a hearing loss, let the folks in Audiology know and they can have the same product issued to you free of charge. Semper Fi!
Did you ever want to know the history of Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego?
Check out this documentary:
What the h-ll is going on in the Marine Corps? In my days in the Corps ('66-'69) I have no doubt that the CG of MCRD would NOT let a Marine rot in a Mexican jail for over 100 days. This problem could be resolved very easily if the CG of Camp Pendleton and the CG of MCRD made liberty in Mexico off-limits.
Time for the Commanders to step up and take care of their Marines.
Kim B. Swanson
"Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure."
--Thomas Jefferson, 1823
"A nation which can prefer disgrace to danger is prepared for a master, and deserves one."
--Alexander Hamilton, Founding Father
"I have never been bewildered for long in any fight with our enemies â€“ I was Armed with Insight."
--General Jim "Mad Dog" Mattis
"Images flash through my mind â€“ and I speak from my heart of an Eighth & 'I' parade in honor of John Glenn who remarked that night: He had been a Marine for 23 years... but not long enough. That was from a man fought in WWII & Korea and was the first American to orbit the earth. His wingman in Korea, baseball legend Ted Williams, put it well when asked which was best team he ever played on. Without hesitation he said, The U.S. Marine Corps."
--General Jim "Mad Dog" Mattis
"On evenings like this most of us will remember the tragedy of losing comrades Beautiful Marines... And we remember them, everyone, who gave their lives so our experiment called America, could live."
--General Jim "Mad Dog" Mattis
"Because every Marine, if he was in a tough spot â€“ whether a bar fight, or tonight in Helmand River Valley, our fellow Marines would get to us, or die trying."
--General Jim "Mad Dog" Mattis
"A feeble executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever may be its theory, must, in practice, be a bad government."
--Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833
"Shoot - Move - Communicate!"
"Screw with the Best, you go down with the Rest!"
"Survive the eighteen weeks and you get to call yourself a Marine, and everyone else calls you a Marine. I must be a Marine. You are a Marine. It took eighteen weeks to change you into a Marine. You will never change back into non Marine. It's inside you. It's all over your character. You can taste it. You are in the Crotch forever. The only classifications of Marines are, Active & Inactive. You see once you're in this wonderful, and proud chickens - outfit you can't get out. and besides who would want to? We are all proud to be Marines."
"Every day is a holiday. Every meal is a banquet. Every night is a Saturday night. And every formation is a family reunion. Why would anyone NOT want to be a Marine."
God Bless the American Dream!