Recently I found some photos from WWII that need identifying. Here are two Marine pilots on Guadalcanal. I don't recognize them, but some of your newsletter readers might. I would appreciate any help.
WO Robert Woodworth
Your tire cover looks great on my Marine Corps scarlet '31 Model A. I'm building the car as a tribute to all my Marine brothers and sisters. It also has your remote control Marines' Hymn horn. Thanks for all the great products.
P.S. Check out the license plate!
Once a Sergeant,
Always a Marine
'Nam '69 - '70
Get the highlighted tire cover at:
Marine Corps Tire Cover
Maritime Pre-position Force
Regarding Ddick's article about the Maritime pre-position force, I wrote about this very subject back in 10-12-12. Ddick is correct, it didn't work as planned. If you go back and read my article, I described how the vehicles had to be off-loaded. The concept was good, but the reality of it was something else. During my 25 year career as a Field Service engineer Tech-Rep, I rode underway, and worked in drydock, on some of the RO-RO's, in Naha, Sasebo, and Diego Garcia. The ships themselves were good ships, built by Bath Iron Works in Maine. They were built with several very nice staterooms, which were to be used by wealthy people with lots of money and time, who would just go wherever the ships went to load and drop off cargo. Many ships today have this feature. When the Navy took over the ships, the Captain, XO, chief engineer, and others got the plush staterooms. One stateroom was designated "transient officers stateroom", and was used by any officer in transient. Every time I went on board these ships to work, I occupied that stateroom. It had carpets, a bathtub and shower, comfortable bunks, and was a very comfortable room. During my time in Diego Garcia, there was a Navy Captain whose official title was Commodore of the Indian Ocean Fleet. His stateroom was the plushest of all. Chow was excellent, but the work was brutal, hotter than H-ll. The company I worked for had a service contract with the Navy, and every 6 months, when the ships had a crew change, someone from our company would go to Diego Garcia and show the new crew how to operate things. We sent men to every location around the globe that had the pre-positioned ships, to train the new crews. Also at DG, there were underwater fuel bunkers with millions of gallons of fuel oil for the ships. These were the ships that carried the equipment to Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm.
As Ddick said, the ships carried enough vehicles of every type, and other equipment, to support a Marine Battalion Landing Team for 30 days in combat. He should consider himself lucky that he didn't get that assignment, Diego Garcia is truly the armpit, or a lower part of the anatomy, of the world.
Paul Lindner, Cpl. 1959-1963
Amphibious Landing Problems
When we returned to Camp Lejeune after the Cuban Crisis (Fall, 1962) we made an amphibious landing. Since I was a Ground Radio Repair guy (2771) and not a real grunt, I thought this was really a big deal and I am really glad to have had the experience. The war movies made it look easy. Although I kind of enjoyed the experience, the Navy guy at the top of the landing net with a huge bull horn did not appreciate my expertise. That little landing craft was bouncing up and down in heavy seas. If the landing craft was on its way up, the landing net would curl up in the bottom of the boat. Then when you jumped off you really had to hustle to get off the net before the boat went down again or it would leave you hanging upside down waiting for the boat to come back up again, and squash you like a grape against the big ship. If you jumped off just as the boat started going back down you could end up falling down into the boat.
This Navy guy with the bull horn "requested" I get off the net ASAP. I finally just tried to time it right and jumped right into the pile of troops below. A lot of the guys took the time to thank me personally. I have never been known for my athletic ability, but do not understand why no one else seemed to have that problem. Did anybody else ever have any amphibious landing problems with the landing nets? I know there were a lot of landings off LSTs and other amphibious vehicles, but I would like to hear about other landing net experiences.
I have talked to a lot of Marines since then and it looks like amphibious landings were stopped "Shortly" thereafter. My question is - when was the last amphibious landing (either combat or peacetime)? My definition of amphibious landing is, over the side of an APA type of troopship and down the landing net.
Aye Aye Sir
Just would like to talk about my experience at Parris Island. Left for boot camp one week after I graduated High school. I was only 17, at the time my parents had to sign for me against their better judgment, but I told them that's what I really wanted to do. My recruiter SGT Ebert was really convincing them that I would be ok!
I left for PI on June 25th, 1971 at 0500. Sgt Ebert picked me up at my front door and dropped us off at the AFEES building in Philly. We got sworn in and left for the airport by bus. To make a long story short we never got to Parris Island until about 0300 the next day. After going thru reception for an extended period because of the 4th of July holiday, we were finally picked up by our Drill Instructors and Marched over to 3rd Bn. I was in platoon 356, Sr. DI was Gunnery SGT Buttler, Staff Sgt Stiegert and Sgt Mulligan. After we went through all of the welcoming procedures like catching our sea bags off the back of a six-by holding our footlockers over our heads for hours, at least it felt that way, the Sr DI. called for a school circle in front of his desk. There he talked about recruits being abused and beaten and there was a big investigation going on in other battalions, that's when we were told about Maltreatment. Maltreatment "aye aye sir, Maltreatment is when the long arm of the Drill Instructor comes down upon the recruits head." And we were told anything else that happened to you was just part of our training. We repeated The Maltreatment saying at least 3 times a day until we got into 2nd phase and then we didn't hear it much after that. Everyone had their day some more than others, but we all survived and made it to graduation day in one piece. I will always be a Marine until the day I leave this duty station for the next one at the gates of Heaven.
Cpl. L Vena
RVN. Gulf of Tonkin 1972
FOX CO. 2/9
As Time Goes By
Just reading The latest blog and was remembering a story by Cpl. Sellers. I was in 3rd Batt. Plt 301 at Parris Island as a recruit. Actually I was in an earlier plt but contracted pneumonia at the rifle range in my first platoon, and they set me back I believe it was two weeks prior to the rifle range in this new platoon.
I remember the roughed out shoes, brown roughed out boots that we had to make smooth and then dye them black, then load them up with polish and spit shine. Also at the same time we had to emnew (sp) our collar, and other emblems. Then it was many coats of linseed oil on those stocks. I am now remembering the tie-ties and hanging our clothes on the line after using the concrete wash basin.
I am sure that other memories will come as time goes by and someone jogs my mind. Have a good one... for now and till then.
Thanked Me For Serving
Dear Sgt. Grit,
I am retired and do security work to keep busy. I am at a residence that does special functions in the lounge on the roof of a building in New York City. One night a group of European business people rented out the top deck for a party. I helped with the coat checking, and as they left they spoke with each other as to the lapel pins from various countries among themselves. I helped one lady into her coat and she looked at my United States Flag / Marine Corps Flag Pin (side by side), and said to me quizzically, "What Country is that Red Flag from?" I proudly said - "The United States Marine Corps" - She thanked me for serving and then the people behind her were very generous in tipping for their coats and bags that were checked!
One elderly French gentleman said he fought in Africa and said that we have lost enough good men in the "Hellholes of the World". I do not visit a lot of third world countries either, or fly in their planes.
Vietnam Era Marine
Gasoline Soaked Skivvies
I went through boot the summer of '81 S.D. and usually there are two thoughts of that era and thumping, #1 it never happened and if one says so they are embellishing the truth! Or #2 Yep, still happened. I'm in category 2, first incident was right off the bus when a t-rd did not get his feet on the yellow footprints correctly and the Receiving Sgt stomped the heck out of his foot multiple times. I can honestly say everyone in my Plt got thumped for something at least once, I saw (and was on the receiving end at times) body punches, back of the head slaps, hands & feet stepped on, and once saw a bloody nose and a light boot to the jewels when snapping in, in the prone... all of them in reality and looking back were minor & no serious or long term injuries, however it seemed like a nightmare when screaming & cursing and a bug eyed insane DI accompanied it!
My most memorable moment on this subject was at the end of boot camp when they had a LT ask us privately one at a time in the duty hut if we had ever been cussed at or thumped. Our Sr DI right outside the door would call the t-rd about to go in next everything thing in the book (in a low tone) and punch him in the gut and ask him if any of that had ever happened during his training in which we would sound off NO SIR! We were actually laughing about it while waiting our turn and would of followed him through h-ll in gasoline soaked skivvies if ordered to! This may not be the best way to train recruits, I have thought about it many times & it would not have been my way. We still had several in that Plt turn into sh-tbirds in the fleet, but I must also admit to this day I go back to boot (and my time in the Corps) to push me through any hard times I face, always motivates me to tackle whatever comes my way. I would not change a thing about my boot camp experience, honestly it was just what I expected and heard it would be, and I respect every one of my DI's. On a side note, my Jr DI did get busted for thumping his next Plt as a SR DI and was relieved. Thanks for the newsletter.
Dalton Sgt 1 ea.
Power Strips 4 Troops
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How We Answered Russian Aggression In 1962
The Russians are gearing up to take over the Ukraine. This is how we answered Russian aggression in 1962. Guantanamo Bay Cuba, 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
L/Cpl DL Rupper at gitmo '62.
Until Our Boots Were Spit-Shined
Sgt Grit: Platoon 277, MCRD San Diego, September 1965. Some members of our platoon were issued brown shoes and some with the old style boots with a leather knap on the toe. I vividly remember all of us being taken to the wash racks and we used our soap and brushes on every pair of shoes, brown and black, until we got to the white looking leather. From there we used black dye and then began the long process of rubbing Lincoln black shoe polish by hand until our boots were spit-shined. I may be wrong, but I think the first time we went from tennis shoes to boots was when we went to Edson Range for rifle quals. I also remember doing the PRT including the platoon run in boots. Please check out my latest book, an autobiography at Gene Hays - Author.
MSgt USMC Retired
New KA-BAR Sheath
Working off a typical design, here is a sheath I made yesterday for a friend for his KA-BAR. That is my display KA-BAR I got from you that I used as a model for the sheath.
Sgt of Marines (NLA)
I noted with interest the story of San Diego recruits suffering from the humidity there. All things are relative. They can thank their blessings on that score because PI's middle name is humidity, and sweat legal tender. I've lived in the San Diego area and aside from going through boot camp in South Carolina, visited on vacation not far from PI. I suspect the Marine Corps went looking for a place where you'd never dry off. And they found it in PI.
One of my Sr DI's would like to throw us off balance, not too p-ss you off, but to make you laugh. He knew that it's really, really hard to not laugh, but if you did... as many have pointed out... you'd pay.
So one day he wheeled around and got in the face of a nearby recruit who expected a usual reason, crappy posture, eye balling and such. Instead he screamed, "Do You Believe in Capital Punishment!"
This was so far in left field, unexpected, he just stood mouth agape... "Well Do You?" Finally, figuring that this being the Marine Corps of course you'd be all for Capital Punishment... that had to the be right answer... So he shouted, "Yes Sir!" Our Sr stepped back, looked at him and said... "So you believe women should be hung like men?" with a pregnant pause and the hint of a smirk.
Well a few of us nearby recruits who could see this whole setup thought it was funny and no matter how hard I tried, a snort or two got out... and I paid for the show.
Specified Uniform Regulations
There's been several questions and references to Marines wearing 'brown' shoes and describing when, where and how these were changed over to black.
Let's clarify: The Marines didn't wear 'brown' shoes or barracks cover visors, these were always specified in uniform regulations as 'dark brown mahogany shade' or 'cordovan' color. This is a much deeper and darker shade than 'brown' polish. Lincoln Shoe Polish even makes - to this day - a specific Marine Cordovan color polish. In reality, this color, repeatedly applied to leather gear (including the leather belt worn until 1942-43 with the green wool blouse) took on more of a black sheen than brown.
At least as early as 1937, uniform regulations show Marine officers permitted to use black patent leather visors.
The US Army used both a tannish brown and a 'chocolate' brown for their visors, boots, holsters, Sam Browne belts, etc.
I attended MCRD San Diego on 12 September 1961, graduating on 7 December (Platoon 371, SDI SSGT Polk, Sgt. Perry and Acting Sgt. (E4) Cole). We were issued cordovan barracks covers, cordovan dress shoes ('low quarters'), and two pair of rough-out 8" combat boots w/hook eyelets (not the WWII/Korea era "boondockers"). These items were then carefully dyed and re-polished black while sitting on our buckets. The rough-out boots, after being dyed, had a zillion coats of gloss black shoe polish applied and rubbed after each coat with the glass bottle in the clothing marking kit and water/saliva until brought to a glassy spit shine.
C. Stoney Brook
Little Moto Diddy
Here's a little moto diddy I just wrote. Throw it out there and see if anyone salutes. H-ll, it might even make a t-shirt... or a roll of sh-t paper.
The text reads, "Ignorance of the rules is the mother of all creativity. Tell a Marine a thing can't be done, and then stand back - we'll show it can."
John H. Hardin
Effective Deliverers Of Tough Love
During OCS, I developed the habit of tightly gripping the stock of my M-14 while at Port Arms. During a rifle inspection, my tight grip would not allow the Sergeant Instructor to take my weapon, so he used a unique, painful and effective tactic to break me of this habit. First he asked me if I knew what I was doing wrong as I stood in formation with my weapon at Port Arms. I answered that No, I did not know, so he said, "Allow me to show you." He then walked behind me, removed my metal canteen from my utility belt, walked back around in front, smiled wickedly, then said "Observe". He whacked me so "smartly" across the knuckles of my left hand that I almost peed down my leg. I loosened my grip immediately, and he took the rifle out of my hands. Then he told me that from now on, I was to loosen my grip, keep my fingers extended and joined, and just cradle the rifle and not try to strangle it.
Needless to say, from that day forward, I held the rifle EXACTLY as he had instructed. He knew that inflicting pain would teach me a lesson I would not forget. That incident opened my eyes to the reality that drill instructors were not cold, sadistic monsters as portrayed in the movies, but were serious, highly competent and effective deliverers of tough love - all designed to teach me the Marine Corps way, and to etch it so deep into my brain housing group that I would never forget it.
Once a Captain, Always A Marine
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #8, #10 (Oct., 2018)
I'm going to go back in time with this issue of the Flight Line and fill you in on one of the best and most interesting Duty Stations I ever had and it was in Washington D.C. At the Naval Gun Factory, just down the street from 8th and I. Now, I know that this has nothing to do with Aviation, but until my mind catches up with my fingers, I've got to do something, so this morning while laying in bed, I started to think about buying a model airplane to play with while I was down here at my Winter home in AZ. Plus, I'm always trying to recall different items of interest to write about when all of a sudden, "models" popped up, and then I remembered, that as a kid I built a lot of model airplanes and my Grandfather would hang them from the ceiling in my bedroom on Locust St... in Reading, Penn.
About now your more then likely wondering if I suddenly lost my mind and where was I going with this. Well, the thought of models also brought back memories of when I was stationed at the Naval Gun Factory in Wash. D.C.
Although I was not involved with the Guard Detachment or Security Watches other then being the senior Sgt. In the Barracks, I really didn't have to stand any watches or be involved as the "Sgt. of the Guard" because, I was a 1375 (Demolitions man) and the barracks was all 0311's (infantry). But, every so often I'd take the time and just for the fun of it, I'd make the rounds with my good buddy (another Sgt.), when he had the duty. And that wasn't very often, but just enough to keep my interests peaked. By that I mean that "one" of our favorite places on the Gun Factory Grounds was the "Model Shop". Yep, the factory had a complete "Ships Model Shop" where several craftsmen built models of the ships that you would normally see on display on a credenza in some Admirals or Executives Office throughout the world. This was in one of the Security Areas and the guards had to punch a De-tex Clock on their rounds. Much of what I remember is from back in 1957, but I will never forget the craftsmanship of some of the models that I saw there. From Aircraft Carriers, Cruisers and Destroyers to even small airplanes that went with the Carriers plus, Submarines. It was UN-believable!
I also saw small figurines for placement on the models to make everything look real, only in miniature. Now, when you think of models you normally think of something relatively small, but I've got to tell you that the scale on most all of the items in the shop was rather large. Some models were 4 or 5 feet long and the detail was extraordinary.
I don't know how many "model builders" actually worked there because I was only ever there at night, but all the time I envisioned having a job after I retired, where all you did was build models and got paid for it. Sounds like a dream but in reality someones dream came true especially if that's what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. Kind of a different topic for conversation... When asked, "what do you do for a living" you say, "I build models of ships for the Navy". Wow, that's heavy!
Japanese Have A Saying
Circa 1960-'61, just off Kokusai Hon Dori (which I think sort of equates to 'Main Street'... Japanese is not even my third language) in Naha (Okinawa) there was a big movie theatre. If one took the intersecting side street on the south side of the theatre, there was an entrance to (for the time and place...) an 'up-scale' coffee house... a home to University of the Ryukus students and assorted pseudo intellectuals of the Gajin (ferener) persuasion. The place was dark, had a bar, tables and booths, and continuously played, via vinyl LP records, naught but classical music. Being where it was, and a long way from the bulk of the Third Mar Div and 1stMaw units on the island, it saw almost no Marines... or other 'round-eyes' for that matter.
Now, if one was attired in a 'bespoke' (means custom-tailored) suit of fine English wool, and a crisp tailored English cotton broadcloth shirt, etc., and if one wore horn-rim glasses (today known as 'BC' glasses... for 'Birth Control'), and one was willing to pay ne-ju-go cento ($.50... or 'hifty cents' for a cup of coffee at a time when the same would buy a full liter of Kirin beer), one would be politely accepted, while listening intently with closed eyes and a finger along the nose, to the more moving passages of some war-horse piece of classical music. (probably some ballet numbers in there, Grit... think you can relate, if memory serves about your family).
The coffee cups were small... coulda be demi-tasse, cappuccino, espresso... whatever... fancy-schmancy at any rate. Now the real reason for a steely-eyed, bronzed, highly fit, suave, debonair Corporal with one tour on the Rock already behind him would be in this place was the demurely nubile o-josan (young lady) behind the bar. Cute, the epitome of femenity, quick to laugh (behind a shielding hand) and a candidate to become regular arm candy (Hey... at 21... a guy can dream, right?).
It was the custom at the time to provide a small plate with some native morsel on it for the customer... beer nuts having not nearly enough 'class', and while many Okinawan purveyors of the devil's brew served either dried green peas with wasabi seasoning, or quarter-inch square slices of tofu, with some soy sauce (Kikoman... a company in business for over 800 years), or slices of bok choy, this sweet young thing presented me with three green bow ties arranged artistically on the little plate. (The Japanese have a saying... 'you eat with your eyes first'... true, that)...
The things were possibly seaweed of some sort... slightly sticky, somewhat leathery, (maybe fish skin?) salty/fishy all at once, and left a perceptible film on the teeth. However, to be polite (said to help when trying to 'get over') and perceiving the 'honor' of the offering, I slowly consumed all three, hoping that I was conveying all the delight of being once again at my Mother's table. And then... I had to go to the head... things, not all good, can happen when you're in the head... especially since this was in the days before 'the wingman'... and when I came back, having overdone the 'delight' bit, I found that she, in the finest of 'make the customer happy' tradition, had replaced my empty plate... with another offering of 'green bow-ties'... don't recall the rest of the liberty, but it probably involved watching an American western with Japanese sub-titles... by myself. Suits and shirts came from 'Hong-Kong Tailors'... shirts, to individual order, monogramed, French cuffs if you wanted them, ran $36/dozen... Suits were $35-$45, for a three-piece. Sales people 'worked' the barracks... recall one of the bigger names was Hariella's... India Indian, not Chinese, but from Hong Kong... and they sold tons of suits, etc... all good quality.
Note: The ballet reference to me is that my daughter took ballet classes for about 10 years. I used to make mention of them. Now alas they (I have two) are married and gone.
I also got 4 suits made in Hong Kong. Don't remember the exact price, but it was just a couple of hundred dollars. Tailor made. Had them sent directly home, if I remember correctly. Ordered them from a vendor near Freedom Hill Exchange, maybe inside? I wore them for years back when people still wore suits to work. All very good quality and wore well.
Marine Edward Frank Blanco received PCS orders on 4/4/2014 to Marine Barracks, Heaven. Blanco served in the 1960-1964 time-frame in the Air Wing. He was originally from Carlsbad, NM and will be buried in Carlsbad on 4/22/2014.
Frank Briceno, Sgt, USMC /USMCR
Reunions - Events
Visit the Sgt Grit Reunions page occasionally... you may be surprised by the listings.
On May 14, 2014, active duty, former, reserve and retired Marines will gather at Semper Fidelis Memorial Park at the National Museum of the Marine Corps (NMMC), located just south of the main gate to Marine Corps Base, Quantico on US 1. Their mission will be to dedicate a monument that will serve as a tribute and memorial for all past and present USMC engineers and related occupational specialties. It is fitting to dedicate the monument because Marine Corps engineers have been serving for over 100 years since establishing our first organization, Company H, 1st Regiment, 1st Advance Base Brigade, formed in 1913. Marine engineers have served well and faithfully from then, up to and including recent service in Iraq, Afghanistan and recent disaster relief operations in the Philippines.
The monument has been a three-year project of the Marine Corps Engineer Association (MCEA), a non-profit organization founded in 1991 and sanctioned by Headquarters Marine Corps. The objectives of MCEA are to promote Marine Corps engineering by:
- Renewing and perpetuating fellowship/camaraderie among retired, former and current military men and women who served with, or were attached to, USMC engineer units;
- Locating those who served and preserving their legacy;
- Preserving an accurate historical record of USMC engineers and units, especially those conducted during combat operations; and
- Fostering solidarity among Marine Corps engineers.
MCEA also recognizes the superior achievement of active duty and reserve Marines at an annual awards banquet.
The monument, in final stages of construction, will be formally "donated" to the NMMC in May. The MCEA began raising funds for the monument project in 2012 and has collected the $65,000 total required. For anyone interested, it is still possible to contribute to this effort by going to the MCEA website. All contributors will be listed on the website as well as in the dedication ceremony program; copies will be provided to all contributors and attendees. Additionally, contributors will receive unique monument mementos commemorating the occasion. Everyone interested in attending the monument dedication on 14 May, 2014 or needing more information should contact Ken Frantz at email: execdir[at]marcorengasn.org, or by phone: (936) 273-4830.
You're more freaked up than a Chinese fire drill.
You could screw up a one car funeral procession.
Where is the stick? Sir, what stick sir? The stick you stirred this sh-t with private!
Cpl. McKee '59-'63
Aloha, Sgt. Grit,
I went through BC at MCRD starting in June of '63 and was issued brown leather. After ITR, I was sent back to MCRD, assigned to Schools Battalion (about October) and noticed Marines on base wearing black leather. Sometime before I left MCRD in November, '64 we had all made the change. I don't know if this coincided with Marines stationed elsewhere, but I still remember those spit-shined brown dress shoes and I never, subsequently, ever had any shoes so squared away!
Semper Fi & God Bless,
Will Pendragon, Ewa Beach, HI
Good morn' Sgt. Grit,
Theodore (Ted) Williams. Besides being a United States Marine Aviator, Ted was The last 400 (avg) hitter in Major League Baseball.
'59 - '65
P.S. From Boston where We Pak The Cas down by the Watta to Watch The Shaks...
I remember working with "Texas Pete" out in the hills. "Comprise" guns!
J. M. "Mike" Jeffries
Capt. USMC Ret.
On July 15, 1948, I was issued one Green Blouse, one Green & on Khaki Battle Jacket. On Graduation Day in early Sept 1948, we wore the Khaki Battle Jacket with our Barracks cap, with the Khaki cover.
SSgt J.P. Brancati (1948-52)
"It was the Americans who lived and kept their fighting spirit through the hard and bitter times that followed every surge of prosperity, it was men and women who cared enough for their own personal freedom to take the risks of self-reliance and starve if they could not feed themselves, who created our country, the free country, the richest and the happiest country in the world."
--Rose Wilder Lane
"I can't say enough about the two Marine divisions. If I use words like 'brilliant', it would really be an under description of the absolutely superb job that they did in breaching the so-called 'impenetrable barrier'. It was a classic - absolutely classic - military breaching of a very very tough minefield, barbed wire, fire trenches-type barrier."
--Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, U. S. Army Commander, Operation Desert Storm, February 1991
"I am convinced that there is no smarter, handier, or more adaptable body of troops in the world."
--Prime Minister of Britain, Sir Winston Churchill
"The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle."
--Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing, U.S. Army Commander of American Forces in World War I
"Saepius Exertus, Semper Fidelis, Frater Infinitas Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever."
"We're only six clicks from our destination!"
"Keep your powder dry."
"Keep kicking at darkness until it bleeds light popping smoke!"