10 years ago I built the caboose as a yard ornament. Badly weathered it was time to be rebuilt. I decided to make it honor the Marine Corps. People seem to like the change from the former R.R. motif. I served in the Corps from 1946-1952.
Dog Tag Of The Korean War
In a recent letter, one lad asked about Dog Tags. But in the old, old days one of the Sergeants or Officers went back over the battle field to identify the Dead, or the Dead were just buried without concern for the identity. During the "Cold Harbor Battle" of the Civil War, men on both sides sewed their name and address on their coats so they could be identified and the family informed of their Death. I'm sure it happened more often than not.
The first Government issue Dog Tags during WWI were round. You were issued two round discs about one inch in diameter during boot camp. There was a metal stamp kit that had metal letters of the alphabet, a metal block and a small hammer. Each man had to stamp his name on the Dog Tags and hang them around their neck with a length of leather thong or shoe string.
Then during WWII the Government issued Dog Tags and I understand it started some time in 1930's. The Army had oval about an inch and a quarter long. The Navy/Marine Corps were a bit more than round as you can see by my Dog Tag from the Korean War (I lost my WWII Dog Tags when I got out after the War).
There was Tetanus Shot date, your Religious preference, and of course name and serial number, and during WWII it was marked USMC or USMCR. An interesting note on Dog Tags, at a Gun Show after I retired, a guy came to my table and handed me a USMC Dog Tag with the name on it and it had the fingerprint on the back. He told me he bought something from Japan and the Dog Tag was inside the item. He gave it to me to see if I could find the owner, so I believe I sent the data to "Leatherneck" magazine and they found the owner who had been a POW in Japan and somehow his Dog Tag was lost while there.
Here's my Dog Tag of the Korean War which is on my key chain along with my Vietnam War Dog Tag.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
The Reunion And A Wedding
The Marines of 1969 MCRD San Diego, Platoon 1066 met in Branson, MO once again for our sixth annual reunion on 4-8 June 2014. We were again joined by our two Drill Instructors and their lovely wives. In addition to excellent shows and camaraderie, the highlight of our five days together was my marriage to Denise on 6 June at the Stonegate Glass Chapel. At our wedding banquet on Saturday night all of the great items so generously donated by SGT GRIT were distributed to the attendees to everyone's delight.
On behalf of the platoon and this old Marine, I would like to thank you for once again being a very special part of our reunion. Everyone so looks forward to this each year. The two Marines with drawn swords in the attached photos are GYSGT Tony Gatling (my Best Man) and CPL Tom Rogers. Finally, one of our platoon members, SGT Kenneth Fielder shared with us photos of the magnificent shadow box display of his medals and awards that SGT GRIT had recently put together for him.
Bob Deal '69-'75 MOS 1371
Proud Member of PLT 1066 - "Honor Platoon"
Private - What was the best scr-wing you ever got? Be truthful numbnuts!
Sir, when I joined the Marine Corps Sir!
DI to disgruntled recruit at chow: "Senor Shitb-rd, do you understand the chow may not be fit for pigs, but it is sure fit for you Marines!
One recruit could not climb the rope - soooo the DI took a bayonet and poked him in the b-tt to motivate him. Eventually he got up rope, but one day he went to the hospital for a high fever and the doctors saw the bruised b-tt of his. He was asked what happened - the dumb sh-t told a Navy Captain it was Divine Intervention because he scr-wed up? Captain went to some Colonel and complained and the recruit was a hero of the DIs for not ratting them out! We had a few scr-w ups who got many free passes for keeping their mouths shut - they were worked harder and we helped them - as we all wanted to be Marines!
We were called girls all the way through boot camp - and on graduation day after we passed in review - our Senior DI dismissed us by saying, "Ladies fall Out!" My proudest moment!
Vietnam ERA Marine
It's The Only Thing
Regarding the question of WWII round dog tags, when I enlisted, in July 1951, I was issued round dog tags. We wore two round dog tags, one on a long chain and another on an attached short chain. At some point (can't remember when) we were issued the rectangular dog tags with a notch in one end. Later on came a similar dog tag without the notched end.
Being a Marine isn't everything... it's the ONLY thing.
Gerald T. Pothier
Capt. USMC (Ret)
60 Foot Jump
In recent letters, ship's "cargo nets" have been mentioned. I would like to tell you of a different "cargo net" story.
Sometime between Sept. and Nov. 1964, I was on the Navy ship, AGC-7, Mt. McKinley, cruising off the coast of South Vietnam in the South China Sea. I was with 1st. Comm. Supt. Co., Hdqtrs. Bn, 3rd. Mar/Div. (Rein). We were attached to the 9th MEB.
We had aboard a 2-star Admiral, (in charge of the flotilla), and a 1-star Marine General, (in charge of 9th MEB Marines). You Marines that have ever been on a Navy ship know of the stifling heat in the bunking areas where Marines are billeted. And you remember the scorching weather of the South China Sea during those years.
After many weeks of cruising up and down of the coast of South Vietnam, the Admiral, and the General, (probably with some staff input) decided that Marines, and Sailors, (not on watch), could go for a swim in the South China Sea. The ship dropped anchor, 4 life-boats with Marines and their M14s, were put on shark patrol, and cargo nets were put over the right side of the ship.
With the heat, the 60-foot jump into the ocean was so cool and fantastic!
The climb back up the cargo nets without pack and rifle was very easy for the first 6 feet... then it became a usual cargo net climb, six guys climbing parallel to you, the net moving back and away due to the ship's movement, and guys not in unison, and the fact that we were barefoot, and in our skivvies.
After the third jump, I said, "No way am I climbing up that net again", and I returned to the berthing furnace.
Sgt. '62 to '68
The Lieutenant Distinguished Himself
Hello, Sgt. Grit,
There was a 1st Lt. Brophy (sp.?) an Aerial Observer, who used to ride with those LOHs and spot artillery at H.Q. Battery, 11th Marines. The Lt. was quite excellent in his role, as I remember hearing. He distinguished himself in two ways which I remember clearly.
1. He would tote an M-14 with him on his missions. When the opportunity allowed, he'd have the pilot zip low enough to put M-14 rounds on the V.C. The Word had it, as I recall, that he'd radio back to FDC and report having dinged a VC, or two.
There was an officer in our FDC who was senior to Lt. Brophy, and he would accuse Lt. Brophy of lying about his M-14 kills.
2. Very soon after my arrival to 11th Marines, Lt. Brophy went up on a mission. Came across a VC or two, fleeing the chopper. Dove down, shot one, and radioed FDC about the kill. That skeptical senior officer, it was said, again called him a liar...
Down the hill in the Comm section word quickly spread: "Get up to the LZ and check it out!" Don't recall who all dashed up there, but just off the LZ lay the corpse of an unlucky VC, bullet holes very apparent (one of my first snapshots In Country!). The Lt. had been called a liar by that other officer, so the Lt. had the pilot set down his bird, lashed his latest victim to a skid and carted his dead self-back to 11th Marines for any doubters to see. Word had it that Lt. Brophy was never again accused of lying about his kills.
Memory says Lt. Brophy was shot badly while flying a mission early in the '69 Tet activities in our AOR. Perhaps you R.O.s had note of it in your Bullsh-t Log? I recall he was rumored to have had a tracheotomy during treatment pre-medivac, and in true John Wayne fashion asked for a smoke... the lit cigarette then was held over his open neck incision so he could inhale his smoke. Do any of you Lads recall hearing that?
Sgt "Junior" / Doug Helmers
I'm always up for military history in my travels. Several years ago on vacation with the family we found the USS Texas, now a museum ship.
Attached are a couple of photos about the formation of the 1st MarDiv. The 1st MarDiv. guys probably already know this and have been there but for the rest of us... a little more history.
Robert J. Bliss
'63-'67 in country '65-'66
Ended Up On Ulithi Islands
"What did you do during the War?" This was a title for a movie, books and stories that always come with an answer.
Let me tell you a story of something that happened to me during WWII. Because I was only seventeen and looked much younger I was often transferred. For some reason I ended up on Ulithi Islands awaiting transfer to somewhere else. There was an ship with smoke coming from it and people took off afraid the ammo aboard might explode. Now on the Ulithi Island of Mog Mog, you couldn't go very far. Due to my innocence or gullibility or what, my friend and I went to the ship, there were two men working on it and they were leaving. One was working in the hold loading ammo boxes on an elevator and sending them up. The other guy took the boxes from the elevator and then he removed the boxes so they could be placed on barge next to the ship. The smoke was coming from the opposite side of the ship where the ammo was so I went aboard with my friend and went down in the hold and started loading ammo into the elevator and sending it up to my friend on the deck.
It was hot as H-ll in the hold, not so much due to the fire as to being in the middle of the South Pacific where it does get hot and Ulithi is near the Equator so the guy in the hold came up for a breath of fresh air and to get cool in the 95 or higher temperature outside. A Navy Lieutenant came over and watched for a while and took our names, rank and serial numbers. Someone relieved us a while later and we went back to our tent.
The next day we were given Letters of commendation and we were thrilled to have done something we weren't punished for. Later things were not so calm and our records were blown up or lost or something and the Letters of Commendation became a thing of the past to talk about to our skeptical mates like we were weaving a tale of near heroism.
Like so much we hold onto and never, never tell anyone, this story belongs where it is, in my memory of long ago at an Island where people still say, "WHERE?"
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired
Jones Beach Marines putting the Poolee recruits through the paces... 6/7/14.
Thanks for the always interesting info and particularly the Dave Baker post r.e. USS Fremont (APA-44). I traveled on Freddy Fremont in the early 60's while a member of BLT 1/2. We were on the scheduled Med Cruise (6 months).