Sgt Grit Newsletter - 23 JAN 2014

In this issue:
• Because He Was A Marine
• Benefits And Charm
• Rifle Is Just An Extension

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Newsletter Archives

Cpl Still at 2 years old

Cpl Still at 23 years old

This is me at age 2, 1968, and me at 23, 1989. I never thought of joining the Marines until 1983 when I signed early for delayed entry. I left for Boot Camp on the Island two days after graduating from High School. Best 8 yrs. of my life!

C. L. Still

Because He Was A Marine

Marine Henry Billert

In the Jan. 8, Sgt. Grit, Gunny Rousseau's letter concerning leggings prompted me to submit this old photo. The photo is of my Uncle Henry Billert, as a young Marine at Quantico from 1935, wearing his greens and leggings. Talk about one squared away Marine! I wasn't born when the photo was taken. The only time I ever met him he was already out of the Corps, having served around 8 years. He traveled from Rockford, IL to Boston to visit his sister (my Mother) back in the fifties. I was around 12 or 13 at the time. I always looked up to him because he was a Marine, the same as John Wayne, Randolph Scott and others, who portrayed hard charging Marines on the big screen. What kid back then at that age did not eat up all those movies about WWII?

Since my uncle lived so far away, if it were not for the old family photos, I would not have known that he had been in the Marine Corps and had served as part of the Marine contingent aboard the U.S.S. Constitution. Back in the thirties the Constitution actually visited different ports-of-call up and down the east coast. Other old photos show my Uncle at the White House with the President and aboard the Constitution during a Presidential tour when the Constitution went up the Potomac River. President Calvin Coolidge was the Commander-in-Chief at the time.

My uncle was part of the motivation for me to become a Marine. In 1964 while I was home on leave after Parris Island, my uncle phoned to congratulate me. To this day I treasure the memory of that call and still feel the pride I felt when he told me how proud he was of me.

Here's to you Uncle Henry, after all these years. Semper Fi.

Ed Barewich
North Reading, MA
Cpl. of Marines

U.S. Marines Mardi Gras Bulldog T-Shirt Special

Leggings In 1951

This is a photo of me with my leggings in 1951. The high top boon dockers were not issued until 1953.

Rudolph Kunzelman

Rudolph Kunzelman in leggings

Benefits And Charm

Semper Fi, Sgt. Grit,

There's been a lot of talk about "Which is better?" the M-1 or M-14 and occasionally the M-16. I've fired all three. Back in High School, I was on a DeMolay (Masonic Boy Scouts) rifle team. We fired heavy stock, military supplied 22LR small bore target rifles. As a side note, 4 of us on the team were chosen to compete in an International DeMolay competition and we won the World Championship. Anyway, at one of our local matches at the Indian Hill Police Range, we were given the chance to fire big bore (M-1) rifles - at military targets at 300m. I wasn't given a score but got a little trophy for putting all five rounds on target. I was impressed with the rifle and thought the M-1 was an excellent weapon, but I was only 15 or 16 at the time.

In Boot Camp at San Diego in '66, we were issued the M-14. It was actually a little lighter than the small-bore rifles we had used in DeMolay. I found the M-14 to be an excellent weapon, especially since I qualified Expert at the range at Pendleton.

Then came Nam where we were issued the M-16. My first 7 months in country, I was stationed just about a hundred yards off the air strip at Da Nang and had no occasion to use my weapon, but I kept it clean, oiled and in inspection condition. I know everybody referred to the M-16 as the Mattel gun or toy gun, but when I was moved to Hai Van (Hill-826), the M-16 saved my life. So I can't say anything against the M-16, either.

I cherished and enjoyed any and every weapon the Cr-tch gave me to use. They were all different but each had its own benefits and charm. And, best of all, the ammo was free.

Cpl. Bill Reed
'66-'69; Nam '68-'69

I Loved The Greens

I agree with Mike Benfield. Dress Blues are gaudy. Too many colors involved when the blouse is worn. The undress blue uniform for recruiting and sea duty is not bad, but the full dress blue uniform is too much. I think if they went back to the navy blue cover and belt, it would not be so clownish. A senior NCO with four or five hash marks is sporting too much yellow. I loved the dress green uniform and felt comfortable in it when I meshed with civilians. Blues also single out those who don't have the red stripe down the trouser seams.

In another matter, wearing my Third Marine Division patch on a field jacket I bought from an air force retiree got me out of a parking ticket during our solar vortex here in the Detroit area. I had bought the patch on Okinawa in the late 50s. I wanted to show my Marine pride on the jacket, so I had the patch sewn on the left shoulder. The cop recognized the patch and told me to get the h-ll out of the space. I wouldn't have expected anything less than his "friendly" cussing out.

James V. Merl

Rifle Is Just An Extension

Sgt. Grit,

In 9 January 2014, DMcKee wrote about the fog and light mist at Camp Matthews wonderful Rifle Range. But I must make some comments about his worries about the M14 Rifle. I was the Chief Armorer for the AR15/M14 project commanded by General Walt a Navy Cross Hero. The amount of Qualified shooters was greater than that of the AR15, later when we compared them to the scores fired by M1 Qualifiers was just a bit better with no logical conclusion as to why. Later during rifle qualification with the M14 I listed the score of the shooter with each rifle, and the problems always arose with the final score on Qualification Day. It had to be the rifle, the Armorer or the Instructor, and the funniest part of this is that during the Western Division, Eastern Division matches and the Marine Corps Matches the same complaints came. I picked an M14 out of the box at Camp Lejeune and fired Expert with it, no problems. I heard complaints and heard Wows at the same time.

When we went from the 1903 Springfield Rifle to the M1 rifle the curses were rampant and the shooters swore mightily but d-mned if we didn't win a war with it and comments like "The most Dangerous thing in the world is a Marine and his M1 rifle". Marines still carried their "03's" and claimed this was the best, most accurate rifle in the world, other Marines almost cried as they pried the M1 out of their hands when they sent them home after the War and when they dump the "Black Rifle" as it has been called, there will be screaming and swearing at the loss of another rifle... BUT... the Marines got back to winning Battles and cleaning up his brass.

The world belongs to the Marines and their strong belief in themselves and their Corps, the rifle is just an extension of that Pride!

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

The Real Military

Sgt. Grit,

Been away and so I'm catching up on all the letters sent, but the one from Cpl. Norm Spilleth was to funny and brought back a memory. We were to entertain, I mean train some weekend warriors at Camp San Mateo on the very north of Camp Pendleton. We were supposed to be the enemy and had a hilltop and the weekenders had to come and take it from us all at night. Well kind of like Norm we didn't really follow the rules LMAO, first off some of us were using Starlite scopes and as they came up the trail any one of them that put his arm in the air and gave orders was shot. But what made it real fun was on their final push to take the hill, our grenades were snuck out of the chow hall in the form of eggs. Yes we plastered them and got our aszes chewed, but it was blast and worth it!

Reading Sgt. Wanamaker's note about his dad being a Seabee and he joining our beloved Corps brought back a memory I just have to share. Me and my brother were Air Force brats, my "pops" was a lifer in the Air Force. On the day myself, my brother and cousin, yeah all three of us signed up, he asked why and we replied that we wanted to be part of the real military. His reply was "You'll see". The funny part of all of this, when the three of us graduated from boot camp, the ol' man threw a big party and during the course of this celebration, he told us for all to hear "That he had more hair on his asz then the three of us had on our heads." I will never forget that. Semper Fi!

Sgt O.

Mr. John Wood

Mr. John Wood

I just wanted to send along our sincerest appreciation for all the AWESOME Sgt. Grit items you donated to our benefit auction. We were absolutely blown away by the items you sent, especially the Marine t-shirts that depicted the state of KY. All the items were a big hit. We have raised in excess of $10,000 for our Textbooks For Troops program from the auction. Every dime of that money will go to buy textbooks for our military students and their family members attending classes at WKU. Thank you for making a huge difference in the lives of our students.

Your donation also impacted one local Marine in a big way. We are blessed to have a very special Marine in our community, Mr. John Wood, a survivor of both the battle of Pearl Harbor and Midway Island. He celebrated his 93rd birthday just before the auction. We presented him with several of the goodies you sent. When he opened the package he shouted, "OH, Sgt. Grit!" He knew exactly where those goodies came from. Thank you for helping us make his birthday very special. He treasures all of the Marine Corps items from you all. As you can see, he wears his Marine Corps gear with pride.

Sincere thanks,
Tonya Archey

Sgt. Mom

Sgt Evelyn Moore

Sgt Mom thanks you Sgt Grit! She absolutely loves her bumper sticker. She said, "oh, cute. That's cute!" One of the reasons mom has such a huge smile here is because she can actually see the bumper sticker and read it for herself. Her vision is poor but the bumper sticker being so vivid she can actually see it. So she got all excited.

MaryAlice Moore

Note: Yes, two blatantly capitalist-pig plugs. Just shameful I know.

Sgt Grit

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Nothing To Write Home About

Sgt Grit,

As for leggings we were not issued those in boot camp but after we got to Pendleton, for infantry training, leggings were used through the Korean war and up to '52 or '53 we were then given hi-top combat boots, plus we kept the old boon dockers as part of clothing issue.

As far as chow in the Corps, there were only a couple of times in my enlistment that the chow was what a person could say was good, one was Pier 91 in Seattle, WA. Other than that it was just fair... nothing to write home about.

One more thing I never went through or experienced was an inspection by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Not any base or time in my enlistment did he inspect the troops or bases that Marines were stationed at. I'm not trying to start any cr-p with the Sgt, it's just that I have a real time remembering some of the things he has written, I stand corrected if what I'm writing is not correct in what I remember.

Sgt Hoyle B. Worth
USMC '46 to '57

Mickey Mouse Boots

As always, clarification. I got to Korea in Oct 1951; 15th replacement draft. We were issued boots that were 'rough side out'. I was rear echelon so we had shoe shine boys using dog tag chains to 'un-rough' our boots and put a shine on them. We also had "Mickey Mouse" boots as it did get cold where I was and traveled to. Yes, I remember leggings, but never in Korea in 1951 and '52. Chow was a different story. A lot of pony peter and cheese, especially on the weekends. And hard boiled eggs! Yea gotta be hungry to eat at the mess hall on the weekend, or be d-mn broke. General mess was, I guess, nutritional, but not very attractive. Then I made Staff Sgt! Wow! Staff mess was unbelievable! Hard to describe, but very memorable. And I was 20 years old, off the ranch and 13 months in Korea! Korean chow was something else, too. Grab your mess kit and see what someone was going to toss in it, and hope for the best.

JLM Major (ret)

Old, New, These Guys

I joined the Corps in '53. Seems I remember the terms Old Breed, New Breed, and then 'these guys'. The later referring to those boots who came after us. I can proudly say I always thought I was part of the New Breed. If I remember, that term was used for the Marines of the Korean War. Especially for those of the First Div. and those of The Frozen Chosin.

Both terms were used to identify Hard Corps troops who were really tough. One saying I recall is the Chinese saying that "you can beat the leather, but not the canvas'. Canvas referring to the leggings the Marines wore at Inchon, etc. (I figure Rousseau will straighten this out if I am wrong - he called me a young Marine once... since I am only 78).

Old Breed... those Marines who served so valiantly in WWII, and some who saw combat in the 30's in the Banana Wars, etc. I am proud to say I served with some of them. New Breed... those of us who came after the Old Breed, but that had the same attitude, pride, etc. though years younger.

These guys... boots who would never measure up to us. Anyway, have these terms disappeared?

Semper Fi,
B. Morenz - Sgt (3 times) USMC

Green Or Dress Blues

Enjoy your newsletter and catalog. In regards to Dress Blues, I never owned a set until 2005. My first. I wear the uniform for all special occasions where we do flag presentations. I also do rifle volleys at funerals. I belong to an organization called Semper Fi 2. We are the sharpest unit in the area and are highly requested for military functions. The Marine Dress Blues are the sharpest uniform. I served Sept 1959 to 1963. H&S comm 3-1-1 and 2-9-3 H&S comm. Great 4 yrs. The Marine uniform greens or dress blues are the best looking in America. My opinion.

Richard Raker L/Cpl.

The Marine Corpsmen

Devil Docs and Why We Love Our Corpsmen

I'm an old Marine admin clerk, and never heard a shot fired in anger. But, I did have the honor of serving alongside some outstanding Corpsmen when I was on deployment. A few months back I visited the Wounded Warrior Detachment in San Antonio and met a young Marine Corporal who I didn't even know at first was part of the wounded. I thought he was one of the staff since he was in full digi uniform and standing tall. It wasn't until he took his leg off at lunch that I realized I was in the presence of a hero. At least that's how I think of all our troops, no matter when they served.

After lunch we went outside for a smoke and I had a conversation with my young friend, Corporal Miller. Sitting with us was our Doc from my Marine Corps League Detachment. Corporal Miller wasn't shy about expressing his love (yes love) for all our Docs. In fact, the word he used was Angels. I had to agree, as I saw the sincerity in his eyes. A few days later I was still thinking about what my young friend had said. It inspired me to attempt to put into words his feelings about our beloved and honored Corpsmen. I know my effort needs more work, but I thought I'd share.

The Marine Corpsmen

This is my Corpsman. There are many like him, but this one is mine. My Corpsman is my savior. I must guard my Corpsman as I must guard my life.

My Corpsman is my angel of mercy as he watches over me.
He runs to my aid when he hears the call, "Corpsman up! He goes into battle only armed with courage, commitment, fortitude, and honor.

I must protect my Corpsman as he protects me.
I must follow his example and go into danger, not run from it.
My Corpsman, without me, is useless.
Without my Corpsman, I am useless.
We will become part of each other.
Before God, I swear this creed.
My Corpsman and I are the defenders of our country.
We are the masters of our enemy.
We are the protectors of life.

So be it, until victory is America's and there is no enemy, but peace!

J. H. Hardin
'78 – '84

Unsophisticated Tastebuds

Sgt Grit,

This post is in reply to Gunny Rousseau's chow story in the last newsletter. His story made me laugh and as most of the stories posted, they make you immediately recall something similar that happened to you while in the Corps. I was in from 1981 to 1985 so I had the opportunity of experiencing the transition from C-Rats to the MREs and I must admit that while I had little to complain about the MRE packaged meal, I missed the C-Rats big time. For one thing, I missed using my John Wayne, but the C-Rat meals just seemed to taste better. I know that sounds crazy to most of you Jarheads reading this, but that's just how my taste-buds worked. H-ll, I put mustard on my French fries and there are a lot of people who think that is just plain weird so I guess I would not be a good candidate for the litmus test. I even liked the eggs and ham and I also loved the powered eggs that the cooks brought out to us in those green insulated containers when we were in the bush. The one complaint that I did have about the MREs is that the packets all had a slight chemical taste to me. The peaches were my favorite and I used to eat them dry.

As for Chow Hall chow, I was stationed at Geiger when not out on a Med cruise and I liked the meals they served. I don't recall EVER tasting any meals at Parris Island because, quite frankly, how the h-ll can you taste anything when you only have 5 minutes to shove it in? However, my primary complaint about the Geiger Chow Hall was that they always seemed to serve two different types of meat, but when you went through the line, they only let you have one type of meat or the other, but never both. That used to always irk me, since I was always hungry and even though my eyes are often bigger than my stomach, I never felt the helpings were large enough to fill everyone up. Of course, I did understand that they planned their meals so that there was enough to feed everyone, but there always seemed to be plenty left over, and then of course what was left over went into the trash and was wasted. Every once in a while they would serve a meal that was dry or needed a bit more seasoning and while it was not my mom's cooking, I just did not think it was all that bad. It sure did beat going to the E-Club or the NCO club and eating those frozen burgers they served.

Navy Chow on the ships was pretty good too, and they always let you take what you wanted and you could go back through the line as often as you wanted as long as everyone had gone through the line once. Plus, they had mid-rats for those going on night watch and even if you were not going on watch they would feed you. I was on the Inchon and the Nassau and both ships had good cooks... or was it that my unsophisticated tastebuds just did not know bad food from good food? I think I mentioned this a while back in one of my other post, but I recall that one ship (I think it was the Inchon) served surf and turf fairly often. As for Marine Corps and or Navy chow – while it ain't a four star restaurant meal, it sure beat eating fast food along Highway 17!

Semper Fi,
Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima 3/8 Weapons Plt

Mercy On Our Souls

My niece joined the Air Force in 2009 and graduated from basic training with two ribbons, the National Defense Service Medal and the Air Force Training Ribbon. That's correct. She received a ribbon for completing basic training. Let me say that this is in no way intended to diminish her accomplishments and I am very proud of her. We went to San Antonio for the graduation and I was very impressed by the ceremony. The Air Force was good for her and she has decided to continue her military career with the Air National Guard as a full time member.


A ribbon for completing recruit training? It boggles my mind. May God have mercy on our souls.

Cpl. Jerry D.

Old Corps. New Corps. There's nothing like the Marine Corps.

From Wikipedia:

"The Air Force Training Ribbon was authorized by the Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force on October 12, 1980. It is awarded to U.S. Air Force service members on completion of initial accession training after August 14, 1974. Initial accession training in USAF is defined as Basic Military Training (BMT) for enlisted personnel, Basic Cadet Training (BCT) at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), or commissioning through Air Force ROTC (AFROTC), Officer Training School (OTS) or other specialized USAF officer accession programs."

Cure All Medicine

I was a plane captain in VMA 212 at MCAS Kaneohe from '61 to '63. One day on the flight line, while I was pre-flighting my A4 Skyhawk, I slipped on some oil on the top of the wing falling off the trailing edge and landing on my back with my left arm twisted under me. I actually heard a snap like a broken twig. Figuring I had broken my arm, I rolled over and lifted my arm out. It seemed OK and there was no pain except from the hoots and laughter of my panyos who witnessed my acrobatics from the line shack. So I continued working the line until later that night. By the time the last plane taxied in, I was in serious pain and my wrist was swollen and discolored. Stopped in sick bay on the way back to the barracks and was given a bottle of APCs by the Navy doctor (not Corpsman) on duty, who told me to come back the next day if it was still bothering me. The next day I found out I had a broken wrist. I was in a cast for the next three months. APCs were the "cure all" medicine disbursed at sick bay back then, but they did not cure a broken wrist, nor did they cut the pain very much.

Cpl. Norm Spilleth

Blind, Cripple, And Crazy

What influenced me to go in the Marine Corps was the uniform. The Dress Blues is the finest looking uniform in the military. When a Marine comes into a room he has everybody's attention. When my 17th. birthday came around, I tried to join. My Mother in tow, had to sign. The Corpsmen said I had an issue with my eyes that prevented my enlistment. This was in 1965, I was heart-broken at the time. Time went on, chasing women and enjoying their company. Had a good job, nice car, 1965 GTO convertible.

1968 rolled around, Vietnam was getting most of the news. I received a draft notice, I wasn't too concerned. At this time of my life, the last thing on my mind was military service. Back then, I thought to myself they didn't want me back then. I reported for the physical and all the tests. At this time the Military wasn't picky, they would take blind, cripple, and crazy to fill their quota. I was feeling down in the dumps, two weeks later the induction papers came in... the Army was drafting me. I thought to myself again, I'll just go down and join. I wanted to join the Marines, because of the uniform. During my 2 years on active duty, with a tour in Nam. I never ever wore the Dress Blues. So in order to fulfill that dream, I will be buried in Dress Blues.

Semper Fidelis
Donald W. Burrell
1968-1970 L/Cpl.

The Best Chow

In 1963 I was in HMM-261 at DaNang, S. Viet-Nam participating in "Operation Shu-Fly", then classified! We lived in the old French Foreign Legion compound and worked out of their old hanger. At the time the USAF was building a nice A/C series of barracks and a mess hall on the north end of the field. Our actual barracks reminded me of the hog barns I often saw in central Illinois as I grew up. Our cooks cooked on two of the old small 2-wheeled towed cooking trailers in the open air behind the mess hall (this was of course before the mandatory referring to them as "Dining Facilities") and they utilized hired locals to do the normal work "messmen" were assigned to do. There was always at least 3 of the locals sitting near those field cooking trailers turning the hand cranks of old fashioned ice cream churns. So we always had at least 2 flavors (they varied) of good old fashioned ice cream at meals. On Sunday's they cooked steaks on charcoal grills outside. You picked out the steak you wanted and they put it on your metal mess tray. There was always plenty of cold cuts, bread and condiments laid out at all hours of the evening and day time for quick sandwiches. It was the BEST CHOW that I ever ate anywhere in the Corps or in the many other service "dining facilities" I later ate in across the states! I found out that our mess hall drew double rations and every morning we sent out a helicopter to pick up fresh fruits and bring it in for that day's supply. Our chow was so good that Air Force and Army Officers would routinely attempt to get an invitation to chow, even from our PFC's because it was do good!

I recall on one occasion LtGen Krulak flew in for a brief inspection. Our Group Commander came down from Okinawa to greet him when he landed in his spit shined C-130. All us working stiffs had been told to continue working in the Hanger and to stay out of sight as much as possible! When the rear ramp lowered out roared LtGen Krulak's jeep with his 3-stared flags flying and he standing up holding onto the windshield. As he swiftly drove by the formation, our Group CO and the Color Guard he saluted the colors but never slowed down zipping around the end of the formation and straight into the hanger where he immediately got out and began talking with the mechanics and other enlisted workers of the Squadron. At evening chow (we had steaks) he slipped into the chow line wearing only a T-Shirt and utility trousers unbloused like us and was sitting down enjoying his meal and chatting with a table (we actually had picnic benches) of troops before the Mess Sergeant (a GySgt) realized he was there. Later on that evening we assembled in the building we used for briefing and at night as our "movie hall". We were sitting on folding chairs waiting for the flick to start when the General came in and greeted us. As his entourage sat down he asked if there was anything we needed. One of our enlisted Marines said "popcorn"! The General said he'd look into that and the movie started. We saw one of his junior aides leave the theatre and shortly after that his C-130 took off. The next night we had a popcorn machine like they have in theaters and boy was that popcorn ever good. Seems that the aide had flown up to Futema and removed the popcorn machine from their theater and had flown it back down to us!

The conditions were not the best, rudimentary but those Marine Cooks turned out the best chow I've ever eaten anywhere, meal after meal! I've always regretted not taking the time to tell them before we departed!

Semper Fi
DB Wright '59-'74

Brother You Have One Now

Cpl Jack DeLeeuw

Dear Sgt. Grit,

I was touched by Henry Hisel's story. He like I, was a reservist 1962–1968. I wonder what boot camp he was in? I was in 1st BN, Plt. 118, MCRD SD.

The thing I wanted to tell was, during a recent static display of uniforms and memorabilia from our time in duty, I set up a clothes rack with my Dress Blues blouse and EGA NCO Guard Belt along with some other items with my Marine buddy Steve Goodman (we were in boot camp together back then...) anyway we have a senior (older than us LOL) Marine who was a Corporal (buck Sgt.) in the 6th Marines who was in the fight on several islands of the Pacific in WWII, and one of them was Okinawa. In his collection was a Samurai Sword he took off a Japanese Soldier who when I asked our friend about it, I was told "well, he didn't need it anymore". Jack is about 5'6" tall and weighs about that much, but he is the "real deal" and is a great friend.

Anyway when he came by our little display including my blouse (maybe the sleeve would have fit me... now. LOL) he stopped in front of my coat and stared at it; "Gee, I never was able to get one of these... and look! It has hash marks and... Corporal Chevrons... just like I was." I took it down off the hanger and said, "turn around Jack!" and helped him into it. It FIT! Like a glove, it fit... He got smoke in his eyes as I turned him around and hooked the neck gear together fastened my brass buckle of the guard belt, and grasped him by the shoulders and stood him back. I looked at him... up & down and d-mn that smoke... anyway... I said, "...well brother you have one now!" I can't tell you the pleasure it gave me to give that blouse to my Marine buddy. Jack Deleeuw. 6th Marines - Okinawa - Class of '45. Semper Fi Marines we are what we are and nobody understands us... except us.

Semper Fi,
David H. Selvy
Marine Corps League, Adjutant
Mount Diablo Detachment 942, Lafayette, CA

Dropped Off By Aliens

Dear Sgt Grit,

Have some feedback on a few articles in the last issue!

Shoes and Boots!

Remember shining dress shoes and the tips we picked up? Lighter fluid to get polish off and re-shining shoes and boots! Boon-dockers and safety shoes (shining them to a glass like sheen!) Little tube of Spit-shine! And the Sh-tbirds who never shined shoes or boots or they looked like a soup-sandwich at muster!

Dress Blues-Uniform!

I never got dress blues, but my uniforms always were with knife-edged creases, and starched shirts, and squared away always! It was pride in oneself and what the uniform represented! Not having dress blues did not make me less of a Marine!

Following Orders!

We had officers that were egg-heads and asz-holes, and some who were really great leaders. You saluted the Uniform and what it represented - and sometimes you respected the man behind it!

Some staff NCO's were strange and not able to convey what they wanted to say in a acceptable manner. Some Staff NCO's were eloquent and cool to serve with. The old salt expressions they used are attributed to them on a personal basis.

One Gunny was losing his patience with a L/Cpl explaining how something should be done. The poor slob could not do what he was told to do and in what order it had to be done. A certain amount of liquid was to be mixed with other things to get to a certain consistency? Too much of any ingredient would cause a problem. The dummy would look into the large gallon container to see if any liquid was slow coming out and usually get it over his utilities, and the Gunny would yell at him, "I don't think you were born on Earth? You were dropped off by aliens to p!ss me off and screw up my Marine Corps you idiot! Why didn't you join the Army or the Coast Guard? Why is CHESTY mad at me? What did I do to deserve you? Do you have any other brothers or sisters who are as dumb as you are? Or are your parents retarded?"

The classic answer that a Staff NCO would give is - "Num-nuts! If you do not do this as I tell you to... it won't work?"

Then one Captain told 2 privates after watching them for a while - "I am recommending you for action behind enemy lines, because if you are caught - the enemy will die laughing at your stupidity, and we will win the war - because they will die of laughter?

In all seriousness - I really think looking at the humorous side of Marine Corps life made most of us survivors, and got us home in one piece!

Bruce Bender
CPL 1963-1967
Vietnam Era Marine

Marine Corps BOOT CAMP

There It Goes

This week's most popular post on the Sgt Grit Facebook page featured a photo taken of a bird taking off from San Diego International Airport (Lindberg Field) ascending above recruit barracks of MCRD San Deigo. The text around the image reads, "Marine Corps BOOT CAMP, The Mental Stress the Sound and Sight of a Bird In the Sky Causes a Young Recruit... Good Times!"

Below are some of the comments received in reference to this post.

Thomas Bingham - Nothing was worse then the DI giving instructions exactly as the plane is taking off, knowing well that you can't hear them, expecting you to know what they said and quarter-decking you for failing to pay attention. Its funny, I hated this place when I was a resident. Now I can't wait for my nephew to graduate so I get to go back!

Jerry Havens - PI recruits say they had it tougher... I think us SD guys were tormented by watching those planes take off all the time. Thomas the only thing worse than that was on a PT run at the end of the runway when a plane was right overhead.

Scott Thibodeaux - Grrr... Taste the sand cause you really can't hear the DI... Hell, he couldn't hear himself an you paid for it...

MCRD San Diego take off

Howard W. Kennedy - Sept. 1956... MCRD SD... Our platoon barracks and obstacle course was along the fence next to the runway, and it was always heartbreaking to see a plane takeoff for back home...

Steven W. Petree - I hated runs along the perimeter fence. When they would land you could see the pilots faces. Not to mention looking up into the hills and seeing houses and such.

Sean N. Goins - Those planes were the sole reason I didn't give up the first couple weeks! When we were running along the fence next to the runway, I would just imagine being on one of them in the near future, and it would cause me to go harder trying to catch up to them. I know, I'm weird... but it was my motivation!

Derek Canute - I swear the DIs would wiat to utter commands right as the planes were taking off... I hated seeing those stupid things flying out withou me! That and the Amtrack trains rolling by the barracks at Edson Range. Spent many a night staring out there at the highway and railtracks wondering just how far I'd make it... Stupid Recruit Me!

Scott Thornton - Our Drill instructor would stop us on a march and make us watch the planes! All he would say was "freedom bird"!

Billy Simon - I saw a plane fly over PI once. I looked up at it. The DI caught me and made me run after it yelling, "da plane boss, da plane!" That went on for a few miles. Long after the plane was gone.

Read more of the 261 comments made about this post on the Sgt Grit Facebook Page.

Not Look Like A Marine

In regards to the letters concerning Dress Blues. I must agree with Sgt. Hisel, I worked my azs off (just like every other recruit) to have the privilege to wear the Dress uniform.

My opinion is there is not another uniform in the world that matches our Dress Blues, especially after you receive your "blood stripe". I have been medically retired since 1976, and when I have been around other vets of different branches, they all ask the other guy's what they did in their branch of service, but NOT Marines. Once I have said I was in the Marines all the questions stopped. Nobody cared what you did in the "s-ck" being in is just good enough for them. I will NEVER give up my blues. I can no longer fit into them, but still... these are my dress blues, there are many like them, but this one is mine. (I could not resist).

My son who is stationed at Camp Lejeune has been told to "NOT LOOK LIKE A MARINE" when on leave. They do not want you to even fly in them. As I told my son since it is only a suggestion that you do not fly in uniform I would. I worked my azs off for the privilege to wear the Marine Corps uniform either blues or greens and I am d-mn proud to show off what I accomplished.

I would think this "suggestion" had to come from some desk jockey General who has no idea what a recruit goes through to receive that privilege.

Bob Rutan
Sgt. 1972-1976 (ret.)

Permission Was Granted

Enlisted March 1950. Leggings were issued with 782 gear. They had two types, (short) which came just above the ankle bone the other just below the knee (I was lucky I got the short ones). The other ones looked like h-ll tucked. Permission was granted to tuck with a rubber band if you got the long ones. We were required to tuck when in the field in utilities, in Korea we had to wear them at ALL times. The first time I saw boots was the replacement draft before my draft came in. Never was issued boots had boondockers the rest of my enlistment.

M.L.Gregor S/Sgt. USMC


Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #7, #12 (Dec., 2017)

Issue # 11 of this Volume didn't really contain any surprises because if you ever worked on this particular aircraft you always had to consider surprises on a daily basis. I know that's kind of a general statement, but they made life interesting to say the least. Now, having said that I'd like to document in writing that while I was working for the State of Wash. that we only had one engine failure in the field that I recall. The tasks involved in getting the aircraft flyable again were a little unconventional, but they were a success in everyone concerned eyes.

What follows are the events that transpired concerning the failure. Initially the aircraft was dispatched from it's base in the central part of Washington State from the town of Ellensburg to what was described as a "lightning strike". The location of the strike was in the mountainous terrain near the States north central town of Loomis and, the Canadian Border. The Heli-attack team launched and were directed to the location of the strike, once there, they found that it could easily be extinguished by dropping several buckets of water on the base of the blaze. Now, I have to clarify here that the bucket that I mentioned is a 300 gallon plastic bucket and not the type that you can easily carry. Our fire crews were well versed in the locations of sources of water throughout their individual districts and the source for this fire was a place called Wannacut Lake just to the South of the site. I won't go into the whole chain of events that transpired in dumping off the crew and all the other things that went on, but the Pilot, while dipping the bucket in the Lake experienced a certain amount of power loss, and his gauges backed up his decision to not fill the bucket and instead land in the flat meadow next to the lake. The landing and subsequent "Shut Down" were UN-eventful and the next thing was that we got a call at the hanger from "Fire Control" and the dispatcher and they described the basic problem. Our contact with the Pilot was a little more technical and we were all to agree that an engine change "in the field" was in order because we had no way of recovering the aircraft in the same manner as we would have done in Vietnam. WOW, I just looked at the bottom of this issue and I hope I have enough space to complete this! What the Hell, Let's go for it! On second thought, I'd better not!

This whole story is starting to sound like a day in Nam where we'd get a call, gear up, get out and get it, (bring it home). This is just like an after action report and I don't want to leave out any details, but at the same time I don't want to interrupt the flow of the story, but I'm going to have to. So look for a continuation in Vol. #8, #1.

Right at this point, the non-flyable Helicopter is sitting along side Wannacut Lake in an open field about a quarter mile from a pretty rough logging road in upper Central Washington about 2 or 3 miles south of the Canadian Border. I sure hope no-body messes with it while it's there. The crew was picked up and trucked back to the Ellensburg District Office.

Spandex Inspection

For Gy J. MacMahon... yeah, my time too was before "ooorah"... and while you might think you're the saltiest dog anywhere near Long Hollow Pike, I have to tell you that this morning while backing up Medic 15 (county ambulance unit... comes from Big Station Camp Road fire station), I ran into an old friend who can call either of us 'boots'... a China Marine, of the post-WWII China Marines. Jim (I can't use his last name or address, as those would be HIPPA violations... thanks to the previous gubbmint intrusion into health care) is now 85, and was feeling a bit peaked this morning... recognized me right away when I came in the door, and I told the Paramedic that we had a special case here... a China Marine... and that I knew him from the gym... and when I mentioned I hadn't seen him around there lately, he (Jim) advised that he still was there three days every week, first thing in the morning. ("Oh," said me... since I have slacked off, and go in the afternoons... mostly for Spandex inspection)... we convinced him to ride on over to the Regional Medical Center to get checked out. It's a little surprising sometimes to encounter Marines who don't know that there were quite a few Marines in China right after WWII... and oddly enough, sometimes part of their duties involved protecting Japanese from the Chinese (cf. the latter part of Eugene Sledge's book, or the companion book to "The Pacific") "Jim" will be fine... I'll be checking on him.

Re the 'leggings"... dunno about Gy Rosseau, but Papa Company, 2ndITR in the late fall of 1957 had one salty troop handler, name of Sgt Gaines, who wore not only leggings, but a brass NCO whistle on a chain... hooked to his herringbone utility blouse... there used to be some comment about 10 percent types and 'having his leggin's laced on the inside"... or something like that... doing so would guarantee getting fouled up and tripping (hooks and eyelets, and a strap that went under the arch of the boot... laces gotto go on the outside of the ankle... which brings me to the new Lt briefing a night raid... "the signal to attack, and also to lift the suppressive fires will be whistle blasts"... "Uh, Lieutenant...?" "Yes??" "Uh, Sir, uh... how are we going to tell which whistle is which??"... Simple, Platoon Sergeant... we will paint the whistles different colors..."



Jack A. Hagins
1930 - January 7, 2014

Jack A. Hagins passed away peacefully in Brentwood, CA on January 7, 2014.

Jack dedicated his life to the service of his Country. He Joined the USMC on November 7, 1947 and is a Veteran of the Korean war. Jack ended his military career as an Investigator in the Depot Marshal's office, CID. Jack retired from the USMC as Gunnery Sgt. on March 31, 1968 after more than 20 years of service.

Jack is survived by his five children, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his Sister Ruth.

All my husband wanted for Christmas was a USMC license plate and the Marine screws to attach it. I had wrapped for him, when he passed away on the 11th of Dec. So, I had it unwrapped and put it on his truck. I ordered the Marine casket for him and had the Marines stationed at Fort Knox as his Pall Bearers. I can't tell you how proud I was when I saw them that morning. My husband was a well decorated Marine who served in Vietnam and Santo Domingo, he loved the Marines as well as I do. He received full Military honors and was transported from the church to the grave site on the back of his truck which had a Marine decal in the back window. It was a beautiful tribute to one who served his country so faithfully.

Emily Downs


2009 Reunion

The 1st Marine Division, 1st Tank Battalion, Bravo Company, 3rd Platoon, will gather once again for their reunion, May 14th in ST. Charles, MO. This is the 3rd time the Viet Nam Vets have met as a group since 1967. The first time they had seen or heard from each other was in 2009. That was the first time any of them knew who was still alive, or where they were all located. Cpl. Ronald Davidson said, "we have lost a few brothers along the way, and still have a few "strays" to locate".

Contact: bravo34[at]

Sgt. Grit: Would you please put an entry in a future newsletter for our reunion.

USMC Bulk Fuel Association 26th reunion is to be held May 1 - 4 at Sidney James Mountain Lodge in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Please contact Howard at for more details.

Thank you,
Howard Huston
Semper Fi

Lost And Found

I was at MCRD on May 11, 1960. In Plt.#238. Would like to hear from you.


Israel Zamora
Cpl. 1909xxx

Short Rounds

I was in Korea in 1953 during and after the war. We did tuck our trousers inside our boots. However if you knew a Corpsman and could get some surgical tubing from him it worked great as you could tuck your trousers outside your boots with this tubing.

Sgt Dick Pelley

I was in L/3/22 on Okinawa and in China for 2 years, then back in for Korea 1950-51 and we wore leggings with dungarees and Greens. They were issued.


Many of cold nights we spent on the shores of Norway and Turkey chowing down on our "sea Rats" while out on a NATO exercise. We use to take the cans that the ham came in, bend over the lid, use the cracker can to drop a heat tab in, set the bent lid over the heat tab and fry up are ham slices. Yum! Went great with crackers. Stay away from the chocolate discs and the pound cake. Now a days you just add water!

Pat Moore
USMC '78-'84

Ladies, even though you won't see this, you both have our most sincere condolences for your loss.

J. M. "Mike" Jeffries
Capt. USMC Ret.

In reference to Doc Finch's story in the Wednesday, 1/15/14, newsletter, I never met a Marine who didn't feel the same way about the Corpsman they were with. We considered "Docs" Marines. They took care of us & put themselves in harm's way when doing so.

John P. Sitek

Legging were worn with utilities at Camp 1950 and Korea 1950.

Norman Grossman
Sgt USMCR 1947-1953

James Kanavy states that MGYSGT W. Wolf received 2 NC, one Korea, one VN. Only record is for a W. Wolf, TSgt, Korea, none in VN. Just correcting.

I enjoy the weekly newsletter.

Rev. M.K. McKay, RN
(USN, 70-72, HM3)

Semper Fi Sarge... There are only two uniforms recognized worldwide when alone or in a crowd of other uniforms. One being The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and of course the other our Beloved Marine Corps Dress Blues.

Forever a Marine
Frank Rigiero '56/'59

I was in Korea from 1951 to 1952 I think. We landed at Wanson and were a part of the First Replacement Draft... I was going to lose my leggings because we did not have to wear them. When I said that I was told that if I did I would just look like any Army peon. I thought about it for almost 30 seconds then I put them on. I wore them all the time after that. Yes Dress Blues are the best looking uniform. I had a set stolen when we put our seabags in storage on the way to Korea and another set blown up on a truck leaving Koto-Ri at the Chosin.


We were issued leggings in boot camp 10/49 and we were wearing them 8/2/50 when we landed at Pusan. Captured North Koreans would ask, "Who are the yellow legs they don't eat and they don't sleep?" At that time the Army was serving hot chow on the lines the North Koreans would wait for chow to arrive then attack. I can still remember almost one year of 1942 and 1943 C-Rations. When the wearing of leggings stopped I can't remember. I still have two pair.

Sgt. Charles Hennings
1949-1953 Chosin Few


"Marines know how to use their bayonets. Army bayonets may as well be paper-weights."
--Navy Times; November 1994

"Why in h-ll can't the Army do it if the Marines can. They are the same kind of men; why can't they be like Marines."
--Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, USA; 12 February 1918

"The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history. Whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite."
--Thomas Jefferson

"The United States Marine Corps, with its fiercely proud tradition of excellence in combat, its hallowed rituals, and its unbending code of honor, is part of the fabric of American myth."
--Thomas E. Ricks; Making the Corps, 1997

"Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence; true friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks and adversity before it is entitled to the appellation."
--George Washington, 1783

"I have more flight time jumping out of the back of six-bys, than you have in the Marine Corps."

"Marines show their pride. We were in the Marine Corps, not the service."

"Leader of men, teller of tall tales, legend in his own mind, U.S. Marine extraordinaire, stream fordable, air droppable, beer fueled, water cooled, author, history maker, lecturer, traveler, freedom fighter, defender of the faith. Wars fought, tigers tamed, revolutions started, bars emptied, alligators castrated. Let me win your hearts and minds or I'll burn your d-mn hut down."

Gung Ho!
Sgt Grit

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