Sgt Grit Newsletter

Sgt Grit Newsletter - 21 AUG 2014

In this issue:
• Scrounging in Vietnam
• Weapons In Enemy Hands
• What Is The Difference

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Buddies at Under Water Swimmers School

Force Recon dive mission in Hue 1968

Sgt. Grit,

About the UWSS reunion in the 14 August Sgt. Grit Newsletter, I went through underwater swimmers school in Key West in August 1964, then served in Force Recon '67-'68 and Recon Bn. '68-'69 and various Force billets after that. I can't make it to the reunion but I just wanted to brag a little.

First picture is at the school after my swim buddy and I were awarded the hawser of shame for getting separated. The second is from a Force Recon diving mission in Hue in '68. The third picture is of the whole Force team that went into Hue. We were the first to cross the Perfume River - under water and under mortar fire! Picture taken at the MACV Compound in Hue. First Force - First in War, First in Peace, First in the hearts of our countrymen!

Semper Fi!
Fred Vogel

Corpsman Of Marines

I just received my Corpsman of Marines ring. All I can say is it is fantastic and really good looking. I am very pleased with the looks and overall construction of the ring. Thank you for making this available to Corpsman.

Thank you!
Joe "Doc" Garcia
India Co 3/9
Viet Nam '65-'66

Get this ring at:

Corpsman Of Marines Ring

Corpsman Of Marines Ring

1st Engineer Bn

1st Engineer Battalion Liberty Bridge in Vietnam

1st Engineer Battalion Camp Faulkner in Vietnam

Sgt Grit,

I was in country about the same time you were. Sent you a scan from 1st Engineer Bn yearbook. If I remember this is Liberty Bridge. If you got oil on your feet it was probably my fault. I drove a 5000 gal. tanker and oiled the roads all over I Corps. This was to hold dust down and be able to see if anyone had planted mines. Most of the time I was alone, but sometimes had a shotgun riding with me.

Sometimes I would run the sweep truck (2nd truck in the convoy loaded with engineers) to An Hoa. Not sure about my spelling. The Bn rear was Camp Faulkner, located next to the Navy hospital, near Marble Mtn.

Art '69-'70

USMC 239th Birthday Items

Scrounging in Vietnam

Alpha Co, 1st Recon Marine's Artwork in Vietnam

Sgt. Grit

During my Tour in Vietnam there were many things that we modified to help us with our missions. I wish I could remember this Marines name, he was with Alpha Company 1st Recon. Top Barker ran "A" Co. and the sign painted was one of his works of Art. 1st Recon's motto was "Swift, Silent, Deadly", Top Barker added Surrounded to the motto as you can see.

One of the things we found handy was the Pilots Emergency Kit and as any Good Marine is handy at scrounging, we scrounged these Pilots Emergency Kits and used the wrist compasses as you can see on this Marines wrist alongside his watch. There were a lot of other things in the Pilots Emergency Kit, Food, Vitamins and other useful items, but they also caused some problems because some Marines came home addicted to Amphetamines. But patrolling around boulders as big as cars and houses, you had to keep alert.

The Camos he is wearing were just being issued, the Korean Camos were neat as were the Korean dry rat's, some of their spicy ones were better than Mexican food. Open it, pour some water in it, close it and put it inside your utilities next to the skivvy shirt. Eat at the next break.

Ah Well those were the days.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

Weapons In Enemy Hands

There was an incident back in 1964-1965 when I was with Bravo 1/9 at Camp Hansen. I can't remember the names, but wouldn't say out of respect for the Marines family.

Our Battalion Armory clerk fell in love with one of the local gals (hard to believe I know), but first timers did that more than most know if you get my drift.

Well, one day she was found murdered, myself and two others Jarheads were picked up by the CID and questioned. We were like WTH! Didn't even know her. After some hours of questioning we were taken back to Camp Hansen and were cleared of anything to do with her.

However, the CID wasn't done searching for her murderer and the questioning of other Marines continued. Apparently they were getting close to making an arrest and he knew it so. One evening the clerk went to the armory wrote a note and took a .45 cal pistol and blew his head off.

The note read: How do I look dead.

As the investigation continued, it was learned that he had been supplying M-14's to his sweetheart as well as other items. We also figured he was probably the one that gave our names to investigators.

I figured that these weapons were going to the VC.

To this day I still feel sorry for his family for what they must have been through realizing what he had done to betray his Country and Corps and obviously taking his life.

Joe Henderson

The New Teacher

A retired (never former) Master Gunnery Sergeant in the Marine Corps, took a new job as a high school teacher. Just before the school year started, he injured his back. He was required to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body. Fortunately, the cast fit under his shirt and wasn't noticeable.

On the first day of class, he found himself assigned to the toughest students in the school. The smart-aleck punks, having already heard the new teacher was a former Marine, were leery of him. He knew they would be testing his discipline in the classroom.

Walking confidently into the rowdy classroom, the new teacher opened the window wide. He sat down at his desk. A strong breeze made his tie flap. He picked up the desk stapler and stapled the tie to his chest.

Dead silence.

The rest of the year went smoothly.

A Jarhead's Journey

A Jarhead's Journey Book Cover

A book written for my children and grandchildren that I was planning to put on disk or flash, but decided to publish due to renewed interest in the Vietnam War and donate all royalties to the Wounded Warrior Project.

A Jarhead's Journey takes the reader through Marine Corps officers' boot camp in Quantico, Virginia, the Fleet Marine Force where a young lieutenant led the first platoon off the USS Guadalcanal during the Panama riots of 1964, the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam, and back to Quantico as an instructor before returning to civilian life. An epilogue chapter relates the treatment of Vietnam veterans after honorably discharged from military service and frustrations experienced in dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs today.

The source documents and photographs used were discovered when a plastic container stored in their attic for four decades was retrieved for Sandy, his bride of five decades. In there was a shoebox containing pictures and every letter 1st Lt. Jim Lowe had written to his young bride during his tour as an advisor in Vietnam (detached from the Marine Corps, living in the Vietnamese culture and fighting with the 1st Division of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam along the DMZ), in the original envelopes, carefully arranged and sequentially numbered in the exact chronological order received.

Get the paperback form at "A Jarhead's Journey".

Semper Fi,
Jim Lowe

I Still Have My Cane

Sgt. Grit,

I am always amazed reading about Boot Camp for the Modern Marine. When I went to Boot Camp and when I was a Drill Instructor (I was a DI at MCRD San Diego and Parris Island) none of this stuff happened. I was drilled (and Drilled my Troopers) until I thought I would drop and the DI always had another GO Round of some sort. In those days, San Diego (wasn't MCRD until the 1950's) the base was larger and went to the bay. We dug fox holes at the beach and fired Rifle Grenades into the bay, and we fired them from our shoulder, we were instructed what would happen if you didn't hold the rifle tight against your shoulder.

I wasn't physically abused, I was Drilled and Trained until I became a Marine. I fell asleep on my rifle during snap-in and an Instructor picked me up and dropped me on my rifle, that wasn't abuse, it was a Learning experience. It is hard for me to believe all this abuse is and has been going on when I know there are Former DI's in Prison for mistreating their troops.

I want to say something about this Disrespect issue, anyone, regardless of size, position and/or s-x will be quickly dropped to a level that they Know NOT to make any Disrespectful Remarks about me or my Marines. Christ, I am 87 years old, not exactly in top form of any kind but I still have my Cane, my feet and my arms which can be used to make a point. To allow anyone, ANYONE, to make a Disrespectful Remark about Your Marine Corps, is making a Disrespectful remark about you and your family. He/she is saying you are incompetent to make a decision about your Life and your Family, he/she is saying the battles we have fought, YOU have Fought, haven't happened. The Bravery of Marine's, never happened, The Flag Raising at Iwo Jima Didn't Happen, Chosin Reservoir was a Walk in the Sun and you are allowing it to happen.

If someone told you the United States of America was not a Free Country, you'd have something to say. They are down grading the United States when they make disrespectful remarks about the Marine Corps. What the H-ll is the Matter with anyone that doesn't stand up to someone that downgrades a period of his/her life. No one pays me to say this, only the Dignity and Honor the Marine Corps Installed in me.

When you stand up for the Marine Corps, you are standing up for yourself, the United States and the Dignity of our History. Think back to what your DI said to you and taught you, about the History of the United States of America and the Marine Corps. Stand Tall, You are a United States Marine.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

Hearing Aids

About 2 years ago I first learned via the Army's Retired Newsletter about a program at certain military facilities around the country that allow all military retiree's to purchase AT COST top of the line hearing aids. I contacted Ft. Gordon, Ga's base audiology unit at their base hospital and arranged an appointment. Drove down from Atlanta and they gave me a hearing test, very extensive, and found I met the guidelines of the program. We selected the hearing aids and they were ordered with my paying for them. I returned a couple of weeks later to have them fitted and programmed. The devices had just been priced to me at a civilian hearing aid store for a little over $6,000 and I got them, with all the bells and whistles, for slightly over $800. Below is a link to the story about this program.

Hearing Aids for Military Retirees

Semper Fidelis
DB Wright

What Is The Difference

What is difference between a Marine, a sailor, a soldier, and an airman?

(by Former Sgt. Nick Sparacino, 2/9, Viet Nam 1966)

Ask a Marine what's so special about the Marines and the answer would be "esprit de corps," an unhelpful French phrase that means exactly what it looks like - the spirit of the Corps, but what is that spirit, and where does it come from?

The Marine Corps is the only branch of the U.S. Armed Forces that recruits people specifically to Fight. The Army emphasizes personal development (an Army of One), the Navy promises fun (let the journey begin), the Air Force offers security (it's a great way of life). Missing from all the advertisements is the hard fact that a soldier's lot is to suffer and perhaps to die for his people, and take lives at the risk of his/her own. Even the thematic music of the services reflects this evasion. The Army's Caisson Song describes a pleasant country outing. Over hill and dale, lacking only a picnic basket. Anchors Aweigh, the Navy's celebration of the joys of sailing, could have been penned by Jimmy Buffet. The Air Force song is a lyric poem of blue skies and engine thrust. All is joyful and invigorating, and safe. There are no land mines in the dales nor snipers behind the hills, no submarines or cruise missiles threaten the ocean jaunt, no bandits are lurking in the wild blue yonder. The Marines Hymn, by contrast, is all combat. We fight are Country's battles, First to fight for right and freedom, We have fought in every clime and place where we could take a gun, in many a strife we have fought for life and never lost our nerve.

The choice is made clear. You may join the Army to go to adventure training, or join the Navy to go to Bangkok, or join the Air Force to go to computer school. You join the Marine Corps to go to War! But the mere act of signing the enlistment contract confers no status in the Corps. The Army recruit is told from his first minute in uniform that "you're in the Army now," soldier. The Navy and Air Force enlistees are sailors or airmen as soon as they get off bus at the training center. The new arrival at Marine Corps boot camp is called a recruit, or worse, (a lot worse), but never a MARINE. Not yet, maybe never. He or she must earn the right to claim the title of United States MARINE, and failure returns you to civilian life without hesitation or ceremony.

Recruit Platoon 2210 at San Diego, California trained from October through December of 1968. In Viet Nam the Marines were taking two hundred casualties a week, and the major rainy season operation Meade River, had not even begun, yet Drill Instructors had no qualms about winnowing out almost a quarter of their 112 recruits, graduating eighty-one. Note that this was post - enlistment attrition; every one of those who were dropped had been passed by the recruiters as fit for service. But they failed the test of Boot Camp, not necessarily for physical reasons at least two were outstanding high school athletes for whom the calisthenics and running were child's play. The cause of their failure was not in the biceps nor the legs, but-in the spirit. They had lacked the will to endure the mental and emotional strain, so they would not be Marines. Heavy commitments and high casualties notwithstanding, the Corps reserves the right to pick and choose.

History classes in boot camp? Stop a soldier on the street and ask him to name a battle of World War One. Pick a sailor at random to describe the epic fight of the Bon Homme Richard. Everyone has heard of McGuire Air Force Base. So ask any airman who Major Thomes McGuire was, and why he is so commemorated. I am not carping, and there is no sheer in this criticism. All of the services have glorious traditions, but no one teaches the young soldier, sailor or airman what his uniform means and why he should be proud of it. But - ask a Marine about World War One, and you will hear of the wheat field at Belleau Wood and the courage of the Fourth Marine Brigade, fifth and sixth regiments. Faced with an enemy of superior numbers entrenched in tangled forest undergrowth, the Marines received an order to attack that even the charitable cannot call ill - advised. It was insane. Artillery support was absent and air support hadn't been invented yet, so the Brigade charged German machine guns with only bayonets, grenades, and indomitable fighting spirit. A bandy-legged little barrel of a gunnery sergeant, Daniel J. Daly, rallied his company with a shout, "Come on you sons a b-tches, do you want to live forever"? He took out three machine guns himself, and they would give him the Medal of Honor except for a technicality, he already had two of them. French liaison-officers, hardened though they were by four years of trench bound slaughter, were shocked as the Marines charged across the open wheat field under a blazing sun directly into the teeth of enemy fire. Their action was so anachronistic on the twentieth-century battlefield that they might as well have been swinging cutlasses, but - the enemy was only human; they could not stand up to this. So the Marines took Belleau Wood. The Germans called them "DOGS FROM H-LL"!

Every Marine knows this story and dozens more. We are taught them in boot camp as a regular part of the curriculum. Every Marine will always be taught them! You can learn to don a gas mask anytime, even on the plane in route to the war zone, but before you can wear the E.G.& A and claim the title you must know about the Marines who made that emblem and title meaningful. So long as you can march and shoot and revere the legacy of the Corps you can take your place in line. And that line is unified spirit as in purpose. A soldier wears branch of service insignia on his collar, metal shoulder pins and cloth sleeve patches to identify his unit. Sailors wear a rating badge that identifies what they do for the Navy. Marines wear only the Eagle, Globe, and Anchor, together with personal ribbons and their CHERISHED marksmanship badges.

There is nothing on a Marine's uniform to indicate what he or she does, nor what unit the Marine belongs to. You cannot tell by looking at a Marine whether you are seeing a truck driver, a computer programmer, or a machine gunner. The Corps explains this as a security measure to conceal the identity and location of units, but the Marines penchant for publicity makes that the least likely of explanations. No, the Marine is amorphous, even anonymous, by conscious design.

Every Marine is a rifleman first and foremost, a Marine first, last and Always! You may serve a four-year enlistment or even a twenty plus year career without seeing action, but if the word is given you'll charge across that Wheatfield! Whether a Marine has been schooled in automated supply, or automotive mechanics, or aviation electronics, is immaterial. Those things are secondary - the Corps does them because it must. The modern battle requires the technical appliances, and since the enemy has them, so do we, but no Marine boasts mastery of them. Our pride is in our marksmanship, our discipline, and our membership in a fraternity of courage and sacrifice.

"For the honor of the fallen, for the glory of the dead", Edar Guest wrote of Belleau Wood, "the living line of courage kept the faith and moved ahead". They are all gone now, those Marines who made a French farmer's little Wheatfield into one of the most enduring of Marine Corps legends. Many of them did not survive the day, and eight long decades have claimed the rest. But their actions are immortal. The Corps remembers them and honors what they did, and so they live forever. Dan Daly's shouted challenge takes on its true meaning - if you lie in the trenches you may survive for now, but someday you may die and no one will care. If you charge the guns you may die in the next two minutes, but you will be one of the immortals. All Marines die in the red flash of battle or the white cold of the nursing home. In the vigor of youth or the infirmity of age all will eventually die, but the Marine Corps lives on. Every Marine who ever lived is living still, in the Marines who claim the title today. It is that sense of belonging to something that will outlive your own mortality, which gives people a light to live by and a flame to mark their passing. Passed on to a Marine from another Marine!

Semper Fi Brothers and Sisters!

Marine Ink Of The Week

This tattoo goes from right below my hip all the way down to my knee and covers the entire side of my left thigh.

Submitted by L. Weeks

Dress Blue trouser design on thigh

VA Claim Help

Ray Walker imparted words of wisdom concerning filing claims with the VA... Don't Go It Alone. I spent a decade and a half as a professional advocate for disabled vets; I was accredited by The Marine Corps League, the VFW, Arkansas Veterans Affairs, the American Legion, and even the WWI Veterans. One of the toughest things we had to do was square away claims which had been screwed up from Day One either by the vet or (worse yet) by a lawyer. Go get help and honest advice from vets who know what they are doing. You didn't serve alone, why go it alone now. Semper Fi is more than a slogan.

Pete Dahlstrom


(Vol #8, #3)

We arrived at their summer home in early afternoon. It was the first time I had ever seen it and it was quite nice. We were not there very long when Mary's parents said to us "Have a ball. We will see you later." And they were gone. Mary and I got into our swimsuits and headed for the beach - less than two blocks away. We spent the rest of the afternoon there and then walked down the boardwalk for a bite to eat. Then we returned to the house to change clothes and went down to the amusement area until we decided to call it a day. I shall digress for a moment to tell you that Mary and I had agreed a couple of years earlier that we were going to live a Platonic relationship - until we were married - and her parents knew of this and welcomed our decision. They expected that we would be sleeping together and had told us to use their king size bed unless they would be using it themselves. They had seen us 'napping' occasionally on their sofa and said it was 'beautiful' how we wrapped our arms around each other to sleep. (I would wrap my arms around her body and she would wrap her arms around my neck.) And that is how we slept most every night of this vacation. Most every day was spent down at the beach, on the boardwalk or at the amusement park. Both of us were well tanned when this vacation was over.

Late on Labor Day, September 4th, we headed home. We had not gone very far when Mary's mother asked "Well, what did you decide about going to college?" I replied "The subject was never discussed." She was somewhat surprised at this. Mary said "I have given it a great deal of thought. I know quite well how you and Dad feel about it - and I know that when I first went to N.Y.C. to live with Aunt Jen and try to do some modeling it was to be for a one year break between high school and college. I soon found out that I had chosen a rather sleezy profession. But when I was about to give it up I struck paydirt - with the Prince Matchabelli contract. The one year quickly changed to two years. Well, now they have asked me to dye my black hair to either red or blonde - and with no guarantee of a contract extension. And I am not going to do that. I have decided to go to college." There was a long period of silence. Then her Dad asked "Do you have any idea which college you would like to attend?" Mary replied "Whichever one I can get into at this late date." (Getting into college in those days was a lot easier than it is today. All you had to do was register and pay the required fees.) There was a great deal of silence for the rest of the trip home. All were thinking of what Mary's decision would cause - and what her choices of a college would be. When we got back to Mt. Holly I decided to leave them alone to figure this out. I pretty much kept out of it. Mary's Dad said he would check in the morning to find out if he could get her sponsored by one of the companies with whom he was affiliated. He thought he could. He was lucky. The first one he called said they would sponsor her. They recommended Earlham University in Richmond, Indiana and I said "I know Richmond well. It's a beautiful little college town."

'til next week. The old, real old, real, real old (85) Master Gunny.

Harold T. Freas, Sr.


Will be heading to Parris Island the week of 11/10/2014 for Friday's Graduation Ceremonies. This will be my 50th Anniversary of Graduating from Parris, and being called Marine for the first time.

If you were in Platoon 379 of the 376 series that started on August 18th, and if memory is serving, we graduated just after the Marine Corps Birthday and just before Thanksgiving. Sr. Drill Instructor was Sgt. Wells, about 5'6", 150 – 160 lbs. of coiled stainless steel. Asst. Drill Instructor was Sgt. Ricker, about 6'2", 170 – 180 lbs. of running machine.

Will be driving up from Florida on Wednesday, looking around the base on Thursday, to see if anything is still there besides the PT Fields and Drill Quad in front of the mess hall that I can remember.

If you would like to join me, chat over memories of Boot Camp, where we went from there, etc. I haven't made any reservations yet, but there are several motel/hotels just outside the base that look reasonable with nice facilities.

Chuck Reardon
Project Material Coordinator
Email: chuck.reardon[at]

DFW Marine Corps Alumni

The wrong contact email was posted last issue. Here is the correct info.

Contact: Joe Silva
Cell: 972-822-0581
Email: jas369[at]

Lost And Found

I'm trying to contact GYSGT Bob ("Mac") McCulley. He was my Drill Instructor with platoon 2078 in San Diego in 1974 and went through Recruiter's School with me in 1981. If you could put this in your Newsletter he may see it since he did a product review on the same product just after I did. Thanks Don.

Semper Fi!
Julian Etheridge


On August 2, 2014, Marine Henry Jarrel Terry, 73, went to his new duty station to "guard the streets of Heaven". He served from 1958 to 1962 with 3rd battalion, 8th Marines, becoming a squad leader.

J Kanavy

Short Rounds

What great Pictures and letters. Thank you! You have great looking Grandsons, I only have 2 Beautiful Granddaughters, and one Marine Son that is now a Firefighter. I was in 6/68-6/74 PLT. 289 in Boot Camp.

Semper Fi-OORAH!
L/Cpl Fernando Hernandez Jr

Witness the historic unveiling of The Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Monument.

Texas Vietnam Veterans Monument

Semper Fi,

I am former Sgt Jordan. I out boarded Parris Island on August 8th, 1968 platoon 179. I went to Viet Nam on July 12, 1969 to July 1970. I was a combat engineer serving 1st Engineer Battalion - 1st Marine Division attached to the 7th Marine regiment at L Z Ross Que Son Valley with 1/7, 2/7, and 3/7. And I am proud to be a U.S. Marine.

Semper Fi


"Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence ... the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake; since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of Republican Government."
--George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But the Marines don't have that problem."
--Ronald Reagan, President of the United States; 1985

"They told (us) to open up the Embassy, or "we'll blow you away." And then they looked up and saw the Marines on the roof with these really big guns, and they said in Somali, "Igaralli ahow," which means "Excuse me, I didn't mean it, my mistake."
--Karen Aquilar, in the U.S. Embassy; Mogadishu, Somalia, 1991

"The Army and the Navy are run like traditional military services. The Air Force is run like a corporation. But the Marine Corps is a religion."
--Navy Admiral

"A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy."
--Samuel Adams, 1779

"Europe wondered how America could train men so quickly. Well, when you only have to train them to go one way you can do it in half the time."
--Will Rogers

"zero dark thirty - rise and shine, hit the deck leatherneck, grab your boots 'n socks, get in your trousers, bail out of that rack, make your mark for the day!"

"I eat concertina wire and p-ss napalm, and I can shoot a round through a flea's azs at 300 yards."
--Gunny Highway, Heart Break Ridge

"You people are lower than whale sh-t... and that's at the bottom of the ocean!"

Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

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