These photos were sent in by one of our long time customers, Grace Washburn. The pictured Devil Pup is Bruce The Moose... Showing off his Marine Corps attitude and his dress blues.
Customer Service Rep
What's The Odds
Had a girlfriend Pricilla before entering boot camp at PI in April 1958. One morning at formation in front of 2nd Battalion barracks I was called out in front of the platoon. While standing there trembling and eyes locked forward, my peripheral vision picked up another DI standing beside our platoon 246, junior DI, Sgt. Breedlowe Reeves. Nothing was said to me, I was just being looked over and then told to return to the formation. Turns out that the mystery DI's name was Sgt. Gleason of Platoon 247 in the same company barracks. He was, I found out later, the brother of my girl Pricilla. What's the odds, eh?
Anyone out there from Plt. 246 gimme a shout:
Cpl. J Bolan 1560XXX
God Bless all Marines
Ernie Cheatham was the CO of Task Force X-ray... the entire organization of Marines that were tasked to clear the City of Hue during the 1968 Tet "celebration". I do not know where he was during the first few days of the fighting... but suffice it to say that our four tanks spent the vast majority of our time serving as a shield for the hapless Marine grunts who were thrown into the meat grinder and with carrying the wounded to be medivaced or their lifeless bodies to Grave Registration. See the attached photos...
When Ernie showed his sorry azs inside of the city limits, he screamed over the radios, "Get those big f-cking, noisy RPG magnets away from my men!"
He did not care that we "saved the day" more often that he could ever imagine.
Ours is not to wonder why. Ours is to do or die.
Is My Team Alright
Hello Sgt. Grit,
This year just like last year you were gracious enough to forward us a large box of merchandise for our raffle at our annual Veterans Appreciation Picnic! Everything went well and the items you sent us were snatched up almost immediately.
I had contacted the local Marine Corps Recruiting station and advised them that we would like them to join us as we were honoring "one of our own". The SNCOIC, SSGT Lariosa didn't even hesitate he said "My MARINES will be there sir!" When the 3 young MARINES arrived I found it hard to believe that they came in dress blues. When I asked them why one of them said "You did say we were honoring one of our own didn't you Gunny?" They all looked like baby's but then I remember all those years ago where the same was said about us.
The young man we were honoring was Cpl of Marines Joshua Hotaling. In 2012 as a 20 year old Marine he was doing "Sweeper Duty", looking for IED's and any other unexploded ordinance that could hurt him or his fellow Marines. Well sure as h-ll he missed one. Joshua lost both of his legs and had severe and traumatic injuries to his arms, chest, and hands! His mother told me that when he came to, two weeks later in a hospital in Germany his first words were "Is my team alright?" Spoken like a true MARINE! I have to tell you that as I told his story I had to really fight the emotions.
As you can see by the pictures, I have included he gets around pretty well but still has his days as he calls them. Ever since meeting this young man I have said that I wish I could meet the creators of the cartoon G.I Joe Greatest American Hero because I would certainly would have brought them to this picnic and introduced them to a "Real American Hero!
In closing I again thank you for all that you have done to help make our picnic great and we hope to speak with you when we start getting ready for next year's picnic! Oh and by the way, I asked Cpl Hotaling if he really had a disability and he said "No sir Gunny, just an inconvenience." The tears then really flowed!
Wasn't In The Bag
I was medivaced from VietNam in Dec. of '66 to the Philippines for the night. It was the first time I had seen real food in a while, so I was fairly excited. After about two bites of food and one COLD chocolate milk, I was stuffed! The next day I was sent to Yokosuta, Japan. I didn't have anything but the clothes on my back. It's funny about money, I had left all my money on the books except $10.00 a month. Upon arrival I had to have a razor and toothbrush, etc., so I got them from the red cross. I was given a slip like a grocery slip with the charges on it, so I had to pay for these things. I had to pay for it when I got my money coming in. Now for the subject of this email. Four years after I was released from the Navy, a Mistletoe Express truck pulled to my house with the missing bags. Inside were two or three pair of OD green skivvies, a VC wood chopping Knife, out cover, which was an Australian bush hat and a letter from Terry Gee about my stripes (because I had made E5, He made E4, so he took mine) and about some money that people owed me. Terry said he gathered up the money and got a money order, but the money order wasn't in the bag, ha ha.
HM4 (Doc) Jerry Huckleberry
1st Mar Div Recon
Chu Lai, Vietnam
While reading the last newsletter, I noted several book recommendations by readers. One about Carlson's Raiders and another about Iwo.
I would like to add one more, which I consider one of the best narratives of the exploits (Guadalcanal, Tulai, Savo, etc.) of Edson's 1st Raider Battalion. The book is: Edson's Raiders: The 1st Marine Raider Battalion in World War II.
The story of the remarkable men of 1st Marine Raider Battalion, known by the name of its founding commander, the legendary jungle fighter Merritt A. "Red Mike" Edson. My Dad, Warren Morse served as machine gunner and later as platoon sergeant. He is now at his permanent duty station guarding the streets of Heaven (2001) Ron Morse (Sgt USMC, class of 69).
Find the mentioned book at Edson's Raiders: The 1st Marine Raider Battalion in World War II.
VMA(AW)533 celebrated a 45 year reunion, celebrating the last combat mission flown by VMA(AW)533, September 27,1969, out of Chu Lai. It was a tremendous reunion held at Cherry Point, that included a base tour sponsored by the base, a wonderful steak fry sponsored by VFW Post 7315 and banquet held at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center.
Special thanks to Kristy from Sgt Grit for sending a care package full of wonderful items from the catalog.
SEMPER FI, '67-'71
Falling And Rising
Eugene Stoner was certainly a savvy arms designer. I share this story because when I recall it, I smile. In 1983 or 1984, Stoner came to Quantico with his new squad automatic weapon. The DevCtr asked then - Major Larry Livingston to meet Mr. Stoner on one of our Basic School ranges, and to assess the weapon for its utility in fire and maneuver. Larry was the Tactics Group Chief and he invited me, the Combined Arms Group Chief to accompany him for the evaluation. Stoner fired the SAW first, moving forward rapidly, falling into the prone position and engaging targets about 150m out, rising and moving, falling and shooting. The funny part is that Stoner's DevCtr project assistant, a Master Sergeant whose name I cannot recall, ran alongside him â€” falling and rising as did Stoner â€” and used his utility cap to catch the disintegrating links from the hand-belted ammo. It seems Stoner had fabricated about five hundred links for such demonstrations, and had to reuse them many times. Major Livingston and I then had the opportunity to do the same fire-and-maneuver drill. We both thought the AR was a little heavy and awkward to lift when leaving one prone position to run to the next, but aside from that, we were both quite impressed with the SAW, and happy that at last the rifle squad would have a true AR and common ammunition that could be readily redistributed at the final coordination line as required in the attack. Such was not the case with the BAR.
Tom Harleman, LtCol (Ret), Ph.D.
You Can Figure Out The Results
I was thinking about my entry into World War II. After Boot Camp and Training, I was loaded onto an AP (AP's were like an APA but I don't think they had as many landing Craft an APA had). I was dumped as Casual onto Guam about five days after the island was secured, there were six of us. I don't know why but soon we were put on a plane and flown to Ulithi.
Somehow, somewhere, our Records were lost and the six of us had to smoke C-Ration Cigarettes as we had no money to buy cigarettes. We were transferred from Pillar to post because no one knew what the H-ll to do with us. We borrowed $5.00 monthly, "Health & Comfort" money from the Red Cross. Finally we found a home and they had to start New Record books and Pay Records for us. We were paid and ushered into the CO's Office (tent) where a Red Cross Guy (with Malaria so bad he was sweating up a storm) was entering a bad Debt Charge against us for not Paying the Red Cross back. We had only received our Pay a few hours before!
My Total Pay at the time was less than $20.00 Monthly. (My base pay was $50 and I was sending home $25 to my Mother and paying $5.35 for my NSLI Insurance). So I gave the Red Cross guy $15.00 from total of about $50.00 (I received for 3 months back Pay) and by the time I paid back all the money I borrowed I had nothing much left.
I received a bunch of Mail with a letter from my Mother that said she had received a Telegram from Washington, that I was missing in Action, but she knew it wasn't true because she had received mail from me dating after I was declared Missing. I have been trying to find those letters but the one who got all the boxes of stuff from Mother, had left them somewhere.
That's the problem with staying in the Marine Corps and traveling, all the stuff is left with others and what's important to you isn't to them so some of it isn't saved. Now after 26 Years of service and over 65 years Retired, most of my immediate family are somewhere else and so is the stuff that was sent home during World War II.
During World War II you were required to have NSLI (National Service Life Insurance) which cost us $5.35 Monthly. During the Korean War, Insurance was Free but they didn't pay your Heir Cash, only monthly payments. So I had kept my NSLI Insurance, making sure my Wife would get 10 Grand Cash, better than about a hundred dollars a month. I still have my NSLI Insurance and pay something better than $10.00 a month and they have cut in Half what my wife will receive... BUT... all these years I have been getting an NSLI Dividend check which has been Used as Christmas Money.
I have to say something here. A lot of your readers think some of this is Hooey or Bull Cr-p, but you gotta remember the 1939 Marine Corps was suddenly boasted from about 19,000 (more cops in NYC than U.S. Marines) to a top of 750,000 Marines in 1945. You can figure out the results.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau
Showing Off Sgt Grit Swag
I bought the "get off my asz" sticker so I wouldn't have to worry about other drivers tailgating us. It makes me nervous when I have my girls in the truck. Sometimes it works. But I bought the pole holder off amazon. When I went to Home Depot. I met a young man with autism. It was his idea to not cut the 10 foot pipe. I agreed. He said two flags are more to see. When he saw the flags I put up. He gave me a hug. I will fly the flags I bought from you proudly. Thank you. I will send photos in November they go up with a new Autism awareness flag. Thank you again.
The Dougherty-Gomes Family
Browse our wide selection of Flags and Bumper Stickers.
2/4, 1/7, 106's
Read your piece concerning the battalion's original sign at the entrance to 2/4. I was with 1/7, January '66 to February '67. Spent my time on various hills around Chu Lai, from the mouth of the Song Tra Bong river (Lantry Hill) to PF Hill (about a mile from Highway 1). I recall hearing that 2/7's area started on the other side of Highway 1. I assume we were based around Chu Lai, which I only saw upon arrival in January and upon departure in February. I recall going to "Regiment" by 6-By once, to mail a package home.
Since I was with 106's, a section (2) 106's were attached to each of the line companies, we pretty much operated without direction from our platoon commander or platoon sergeant. Never really knew where "on the map" I was.
Just wondered where 2/4 was situated? You may have participated in Operations Piranha or Starlite which occurred prior to my arrival.
Hard to believe that we were there so long ago. Can never forget the brothers lost in Operation Indiana, may they be with the Lord.
Sgt Juan Reyna
1965 - 1968
1973 - 1987
Not Trying To Kill You
A letter of encouragement I wrote to a young lady I know. She's currently enjoying a few months at MCRD, Parris Island, SC.
By now, some of what you were told previously is starting to become painfully obvious. You're no longer the free-spirited high-school cadet we all knew. You've been immersed into a culture totally foreign to anything you've encountered before. You're a recruit attempting to earn our cherished EGA. Each day you wake up and wonder what challenges are ahead, and each night you lie in your rack with doubts. No worries, we've all gone through the same mental process. Countless other young people have taken the same steps... have stood on the hallowed yellow footprints and shouldered the proud heritage and traditions of our beloved Marine Corps. Not all have made it, but all have been changed by the experience.
Don't think you're going through this mental and physical torture alone. You're not. Look around you. You're in the midst of other young recruits all attempting to climb the same mountain. They're part of your fire team, your squad... your platoon. They're your team mates, your comrades, and someday they might be the Marines on your right and on your left. Look to them for support, for help, for assistance. But above all, be there for them. Remember the Corps is a living organism. It has many parts and many functions, but as a team we move forward to reach the objective collectively. You'll see this unity come to fruition when you face the Crucible together. Have heart! Have confidence! Believe in yourself! Believe in your fellow recruits! Believe in your Drill Instructors! Believe in your training!
Speaking of your Drill Instructors, just know they're there to guide you as well. Despite all appearances, they're not trying to kill you. They've been tasked, and have accepted, the supreme challenge of molding a gaggle of brats into a finely-tuned platoon of basically-trained Marines. Their assignment is the very foundation of our Corps, for without well-trained Marines our Corps would be short lived. They'll instill in each of their charges the proud history of our Corps. They'll teach you our storied heritage, and traditions. They'll infuse each of you with our proud ethos. And when you stand at attention and receive your EGA, you'll understand the role they played. They'll be a part of you forever.
We at the VFW and Marine Corps League know you'll be successful. We're confident in you! Take each day's challenges with the knowledge that we old Marines know you're in good hands, and that our Corps has many glorious chapters yet to write. You and your fellow recruits will take your place amongst our ranks. When we see you again, you'll be a MARINE!
J. H. Hardin
'78 â€“ '84
Garage Sale Treasure
I found this great matchbook at a garage sale.
Sgt. C. Jones
Dear Sgt Grit,
We all received letters from our girlfriends in boot camp! I was dating a sweet girl, a little nuts, but fun, and I was just only 18 and in love. This zany chick has 2 dogs and they were adorable and friendly. Their names were Princess and Pogo - let me go into greater detail as I never thought that she or those dogs could get a recruit into such deep doodoo as it was a nightmare. Her name was Jackie and she was tall - her parents divorced and she had a wealthy background. I wrote her a real fast one page letter saying that I would like to hear from her and I was lonely for her smile and missed her friendship. (big big mistake) the DI always ragged on the ones who received packages and overweight letters. Some clown got cookies from grandma - and the DI made him open the tin - and made him eat all the inserts from the tin (cardboard and paper that the cookies were wrapped in) ERGO - no more cookies from Grandma!
My little lovely sent me a 25 page letter (both sides) about how she missed me and included some things that the DI had me read out loud - embarrassing the sh-t out of me. He even wanted me to go into great detail about what was between the lines - I refused and then had to do 100 sit-ups and pull-ups and deep knee bends - then when exhausted the DI told me - "night tonight Dear - you have an important engagement in the morning - you are leading the morning run Sweet Heart!" That night he made me read all 25 pages to the platoon - and he made me crawl around the squad bay barking like a dog - and made me eat one page a night - and told me write that crazy New York lunatic and tell her no more 25 page letters or he would shove it my Azs! The envelope was covered with pictures of dogs and each page of the letter were cartoon characters. This gal was very artistic and talented and landed me in a world of trouble.
The best part was after I graduated the 3 DI's made me laugh about it and all was good. The Drill Instructors could make you a world of pain - or make you laugh so hard your sides hurt. Ergo - they were only human with a tremendous undertaking to make us Marines.
Time marches on - the girl Jackie - was seen by me once after I left the Marines - amazing when you leave the Marines with a pair of B-lls - or maybe wiser ones - you are a different person.
Vietnam Era Marine
Special Marine Corps Birthday 240th Bash
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USMC T-shirt With Rifles On It
Hi. As I had told you in a previous email, I was upset that a Marine was asked to leave an amusement park because he had a USMC shirt on and it had rifles on it. Well, I ordered a shirt from you folks with 2 rifles on it as well as a skull to wear the day I was going to this very same park. I was asked to step aside at the entry gate of Great Adventure, 6 Flags, NJ, by the ticket taker/security guard. I asked why I was being pulled to the side and all he said was have a nice day sir and to wait here. I knew exactly what was happening and I was so excited. LOL - with that 4 security guards who are actually 6 Flags police Officers approached me and started examining my shirt. I looked at them and smiled. Then I simply warned them "if you think I'm leaving this park for wearing a USMC tee shirt, you're mistaken and I assure you I am more scary than any of your roller coasters." LMAO - They couldn't believe it and then I said "what are we doing here?" I was politely told to proceed into the park and have a great day.
These guys "got it" and I am sure they don't agree with the policy either. I then heard a woman behind me telling them that they should give me a free ticket and a waffle cone? LOL - Semper Fi!
I had to chuckle at SWAK on envelope. When I was at MCRD in 1958 my girl sent me a letter with a stick of gum in it. When S/Sgt Lawler felt the gum he called me up front and said, aw his main squeeze sent him some pogey bait, here chew it. As I started to open the envelope, he said did I say you could open the letter, I said chew the gum. I have often wondered, as the entire letter passed through my digestive system what the letter said, and it didn't taste very good.
L/Cpl Cary Proffitt
'58 to '63
Crossed Or Not Crossed
Hey Sgt. Grit,
In regards to Russ Hagerthey's comment "If you have crossed rifles on your chevron's you were not in the Old Corps."
Well, try telling that to Marines like Gunny Rousseau, and many other WWII, Korea, and Vietnam Vets, including me.
I served from July 1951, through September 1961, and am a Korea Vet (August 1952 Through September 1953). Was a Buck Sergeant twice, E-4 then promoted to Sergeant E-5 on the first change over in 1958.
Old Corps is relative to when you were in versus when another person was in, e.g., Boot verses Old Salt.
Semper Fi Marines!
Old Corps, New Corps, Boots, and Old Salts.
John Vogel, Sgt. w/crossed rifles
The Company Commander
This was posted on the Sgt Grit Facebook page on 17 September 2014. The picture shows a Marine Lance Corporal being inspected by a Marine Captain while on float. The text on the picture reads, "The way the Company Commander looks when he inspects a Lance Corporal with a ribbon stack that is bigger than his... Priceless..."
Here are a few of the comments left in reference to the picture.
J. Hunter - Let's see; Capt needs a shave, the L/Cpl he is inspecting needs to square away that p-ss cutter he is wearing; he is wearing it like he is flippin' burgers at a Steak n Shake.
D. Miller Jr. - Listen up ya bunch of land luving, pantie twisting, muffler s-cking, elbow digging, mother eyeballing, mouth breathers you know if you put your uniform on you would like a wiener dog stuck in a paper towel roll, but thats not the point. The point is we are and always will be... Marines! Semper Fi ya bunch of pit digging, powder burning Jarheads! OOO RAH
C. Cassio - that happen to me, a retread PFC, my section leader gave a similar look. He said that those ribbons better be in my SRB. He was corrected by our Company Gunny after formation.
R. Eggert - Something like this happened when we got a new Captain on board. We had a Cpl. who had ribbons up to his shoulder. Capt. asked if he should check the Cpl's SRB to verify that he was entitled to all of them. Cpl got a little nervous and said no sir. Capt asked why. Best answer yet, Cpl told him he'd find a few more that he doesn't have room for. Capt lost color and moved on. Very hard to keep from cracking up.
Read more of the comments that were left on the Sgt Grit Facebook page.
Gung Ho SeaBag
Just reading your latest newsletter and have a few comments. Bill McDermont on Gung-Ho Lt.Col. Carlson was not just visiting the Chinese, He was embedded and fought with the Chinese Nationalist against the Chinese Communist as a China Marine who used the GUNG-ho (All Together).
I guess some things never change, the dock works and airport baggage works over the years certainly must have a lot of souvenir's. My Sea Bag and Locker Box never was found when I came back from the Pacific in 1945 along with a lot of other Marines. Same thing happened when I returned from Korea in 1952. Security both times I assume was no longer a top priority.
Semper-Fi & Gung-Ho
MGYSGT W Schroeder
Keep the Great News Letter coming
Thanks Grit & Staff
The Chosen One
Hey, Sgt. Grit! And "OooRah!" to all my fellow Marines.
I joined our mighty Corps in July 1969, as a matter of fact, our series were one of the last to stay in the old "Quonset Huts" at MCRD. Anyway, toward the end of our training, we were moved to the newly built air conditioned barracks, which in comparison was like staying at a Hilton Hotel.
I have read a few stories of boot camp letters to a few unfortunate souls that were singled out by their DI. Well, my story does not have any DI reference, other than the fact that when you heard a command from your DI, you had better be quick to fall in!
It was a Sunday morning, and after returning from church service, we were given a couple of hours of personal time to catch up of laundry, cleaning your M14 for the next inspection, or polishing your brass. I pretty much kept my gear squared away, and decided to use the time to write letters to my sweethearts. I use the plural because I made the mistake of leaving two girlfriends back home. I preaddressed each letter to save time, and began to write each girl a heartfelt letter with all the sweet wording a young boot could muster. (As you know, we weren't officially "Marines" til after graduation.) I was thoroughly consumed with my last letter, when our DI came out of the duty hut and ordered us to put up all materials, and get ready to go out for drill. Needless to say, everyone was running around in a panic, and in the same panic mood, I put away my letter writing material, and placed each letter in the envelopes. It wasn't until two weeks later that I found out that I had placed each letter in the wrong envelopes. The two girls knew of each other, and got together to compare letters, and both gave me the ultimatum of choosing. One of the girls was more consistent in writing than the other, and chose her. Soon after, I completed my ITR training, specialty training, and off to Vietnam. Consistently writing to the one girl I had chosen. After being in country a little over 2 months, I received that one dreaded letter that every Marine dreads... the infamous "Dear John" letter from the one girl I thought would wait for me. But it just goes to show... "what goes around, comes around!"
Cpl. A.P. Cruz
8 Months After
I returned from Vietnam in Aug of '68. One of my, nearly empty sea bags came with me. My sea bag with all of my gear and some souvenirs that I had bought in Vietnam and Okinawa. My top stayed on my azs for the time I was stationed at Alvin Chandler NAS until I was Honorable Discharged in June of '69.
About 8 months after I got home my sea bag arrived. There was a few uniforms and Not One Of My Souvenirs was in the sea bag. I hope that the person or persons enjoyed them.
Marine Corps Life, Marine Corps Style
This was posted on the Sgt Grit Facebook page on 16 September 2014. The picture shows Marines during an onstage hypnotism. The text on the picture reads, "Gunny told the Plt Sgt that the SACO lecture was at 0700... The Plt Sgt wanted everyone seated by 0600... Sgt Hardknocks had you at the chow hall by 0500... Cpl Awesome had you in PT formation at 0400... LCpl Schmuckatelli (was on barracks duty) sounded Reveille at 0300... Your Plt got in from a night on the town at 0200... Out-frickin'-standing!"
Here are a few of the comments left in reference to the picture.
A. Cook - Dragging your b-tt in just in time for PT formation, Oh I miss those days!
C. Hatch - yep; we all could write our own chapter and publish a book about those moments.
K. Smith - I'm sorry, but I think that is Soooo cute! Our boys go through this, and still defend our country! Semper Fi! Men, the "average" person would have run away crying and complaining! The Marine don't play that.
G. Davidson - Ha ha! I was the SACO, so I rolled in at 0645.
L.J. Deguzman - And the busted down Pfc is in formation at 0400 going "we probably don't have to be there till 0700."
D. Avelar - To be a young Marine again...
Read more of the comments that were left on the Sgt Grit Facebook page.
Camouflaged F4 Phantoms
Did the Marines ever have camouflaged F4 Phantoms?
I just finished reading a book written by a Viet Nam veteran Marine that referred to a camouflage painted Marine F4 Phantom that flew close air support for his unit. I know the Navy did not have camo Phantoms but the Air Force did. Can't recall ever seeing a camo Marine aircraft.
Cpl J.W. Riner - 2575... M14 era
I could use a little help. I was at a group event for vets suffering from PTSD. All ages were there from Korean Vets to Iraq and Afghan Vets. At the meeting was a man describing himself as a Marine Nam veteran. A former chopper pilot.
His story was that as part of his officer contract, he could go off in the jungle by himself and stalk the NVA/VC. According to this man, he would go out on his own, find some sad azs VC that was sleeping on post and put a white feather on the VC's chest. It was his own form of psy/op warfare. My bullsh-t detector immediately went on high alert. I told the man I had never heard of this kind of action.
Then he pulled out a board he had made that had all his combat ribbons arranged like one would have on their chest. Surprise, surprise, surprise he had a POW ribbon. Yes, he had been captured and escaped. OK, my BS detector is going red line. The final insult to me was his Silver Star ribbon was subordinate to his Bronze Star ribbon. He didn't even know which ribbon was which. That was enough for me. I went nuclear. I told him he was full of sh-t. That he needed to immediately stop being a Marine impostor or I was going to mess up his health record. That was the end of that nonsense. I see this man in town occasionally. As far as I know, he doesn't tell that story anymore.
It amazes me how many Marine want to be's are out there.
Has anyone heard anything anymore preposterous?
Charlie 1/5, 1970
Reunited With Three Of My Vietnam Marine Brothers
Dear Sgt. Grit,
Last month on August 14th I had the honor and privilege to reunite with three of my Vietnam Marine brothers in Tomball, Texas. We had not seen each other in 46 years! We traveled from Connecticut, Michigan, California, and Texas. After a few tears and mighty bear hugs we started jowl jacking like it had only been a week since we last met. We laughed and told stories about the funny stuff and practical jokes we did to each other in Chu Lai in 1967 and 1968.
We laughed and lied about who saved who for four wonderful days. I gave each one of my brothers a Sgt. Grit metal sign that read, "Warning. This House Is Protected By The Good Lord And A U. S. Marine." We all participated on August 16th in the "Run For The Fallen" in Hempstead, Texas. Every military service member from Texas who gave the ultimate sacrifice was honored. Each name was read by volunteers. Governor Perry gave permission for the flags in the town square to be flown at half-mast while the names were being read.
The "Run For the Fallen" is the most patriotic, reverent, and uplifting event I have ever seen. I give many thanks and props to "Operation Military Embrace", operationmilitaryembrace.com, a 501C3 organization that put the event together for the fifth year in a row with help from many sponsors and the great city of Hempstead. OME gives 100% of every donated dollar to wounded service members and their families. Everyone working for OME is a volunteer and they work to honor our service members and to give them and their families a hand up in their time of need.
Thank you Sgt. Grit for all that you do for our military service members.
SSgt "Tee" Turner
RVN Nov. '67 - Nov. '68
The DISBURSING CHIEF
(Vol #10, #1)
I returned to the hotel and laid down for a while. I skipped dinner. I called the front desk and asked if there might be a TV available for the evening. They said there was but there would be a charge for it. Then they said there would not be a charge because I had been there for three nights. It arrived as before and was set up. I recall watching parts of a roller derby show and Frank Sinatra on another channel. I didn't think much of either of them. I took a shower and went to sleep. I awoke at the usual time, about 5:00 AM. I laid there and mulled over my plans for the day. I got up and did a few exercises for the first time in three weeks. I took a shower and shaved and went to the dining room for a brunch. I returned to the room and rested for a few minutes. Then I got up and put on my Dress Blues and headed for Earlham to surprise 'the love of my life'. I timed it right and passed through the gate at exactly 1:00. I drove to her housing unit (I cannot for the life of me recall the name of that building), parked the car and walked into the lounge. There must have been about 50 people there. I did not see Mary among them. I went up to the desk and asked a young lady if she would do me a favor. She said "Gladly. What would you like?" I said "Please do not tell her who is here - but call Room #8 and tell Mary she is wanted in the lounge." She picked up the phone and did just that. Fortunately, Mary was in the room. She answered and said "I'll be right down." The room was rather quiet for one with so many people in it. I watched the place where she would enter. All of a sudden she was there. She spotted me instantly and pressed her hands over her mouth to keep from screaming out loud. She ran to me and wrapped her arms around my neck. I wrapped my arms around her and we had another of those lovely kisses - but not as long as yesterday. As if we had been apart for ages she said "Oh, it's so good to see you! What a surprise! How long can you stay?" I told her "We have 'til 5:00, when visiting hours are over."
Everybody in the lounge, it seemed, had their eyes on us. I asked her "Would you like to go into Richmond?" She said "Can we?" I told her to ask the girl at the desk. She did. Her file was checked and she was told "If this is Sgt. Freas, yes, you can leave the campus - but make sure you are back by 5:00." As usual, she was dressed to the nines. She looked like a million dollars. She said "Let me get my purse - and my I.D. - and change my shoes. I'll be right back." She was back in a couple of minutes and we headed for the gate. The guard asked for her I.D. and checked it against his file. He did not ask for mine. He said "I checked his a few minutes ago. "I am sure he is your escort. Have fun."
We went down to the park and walked around the lake. Then we went to a soda shop for a huge milkshake which we shared. We took our time. Everyone was looking at us. And the 'blues' were hot. We returned to the campus and drove slowly all over the place. We returned to her housing unit just before 5:00, went inside, held hands for a few minutes, kissed and exchanged 'I love yous' and I left her again.
'til next week. The old, real old, real, real old (85) Master Gunny.
Harold T. Freas Sr.
But It Didn't Happen
Noted the editorial note about the squid recruits being across the creek at MCRD SD in the sixties... might point out that between the grinder and that channel of water is one headquarters building, and a whole bunch of lawn and some officer quarters... if y'all saw squidlets, you had to have been (for some reason...?) down around the automotive hobby shop or on a run dog leg at the west end of the Lindbergh Field runway (airport long since extended)... a common run went along the airfield fence, left at the end, out to the chained/padlocked chain link fencing gate at Harbor Drive, U-turn, and back, etc. At the point, there was only a chain link fence separating MCRD, and NTC (Naval Training Center)... and you might see 'companies' of squidlets marching with their dummy rifles (somewhat like those used by high school marching bands/flag girls etc... looked like M1903 Springfields)... This area also had an old concrete loading dock, and circa 1964-1965, was where Facility Maintenance would dump concrete rubble. Said rubble was part of the plan of the day for Correctional Custody Platoon, as they would reduce the concrete (and the loading dock) back into aggregate... with sledgehammers. Once in a while, the DI's from CC would apprehend a Navy recruit who had made it over the fence, probably waiting for darkness to get further AWOL. This poor soul would be invited to join the Marine recruits... knew of one who was 'retained' in CC for a couple of days, with the knowledge and connivance of his 'Company Commander'... probably a Chief Petty Officer, who had spent some time in 'gator freighters' (amphibious shipping... APAs, LSTs, etc.) and knew about Marines... the recruit reportedly was very happy to return to NTC when his Company Commander came to get him... For the two years that I know of, following the inception of CC and (across the street, Motivation), the recidivism rate was 0... sentence was three days, no marks in the SRB... and nobody wanted seconds... ever... and there was no maltreatment (hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, etc... just some real professionals... intensely demanding... one of them was responsible for introducing She Who Must Be Obeyed to me... have long since forgiven him...).
Earlier had commented ('the vision thing') about one of our flankers finding a NVA Bn cache of packs (Hastings, July of '66)... have forgotten the LCPL's name, but he recently portrayed a DA in a TV drama... (gonna have to e-mail his squad leader... "Sprinks"... or Eddie Sinkfield... to overcome that brain fart... and if that label for flatus offends you... you're definitely on the wrong website...)... anyway, having found the cooking gear and moved on until told to hold up by the CP group, we were doing the usual... standing around, waiting, watching... it was at least just hot, if shady, when the LCPL said "hey, SSGT D... come look at this"... he had found a mound of packs, covered with recently cut vegetation... upon further exploration of the area, we found four or five more such mounds... all new gear. This pretty much assured that we had gone as far as we were going that day, as this find had to be exploited for intel. I recall that we took two or three fart sacks (mattress covers) full of documents, papers, etc. out of those piles... never did know where the fart sacks came from, but they were flown to Division G-2 for analysis. Most packs had a pair of new 'Ho Chi Minh' sandals (made from car or truck tires and inner tubes... like 'flip flops', and brand new blue sweat shirts, that had oval labels, printed in English, that read "Made In Hanoi"... uniform items, letters, pictures, small bundles of ammo wrapped in paper and tied with twine, with Chinese characters, caps similar to later USMC boonie hats, etc. We were surprised to find some of the pictures were of NVA soldiers with their girlfriends... a strip of four pictures... as if they had put $.50 in a Greyhound bus station photo booth. Since all we had known since coming ashore on this and other operations was enervating heat/humidity we were really puzzled at the sweatshirts... but a couple of days later, we were considerably higher on that mountain... and understood maybe why they had included those in their kit. Officer map cases (my assumption) had fountain pens and colored pencils... two colours, one at each end, stamped in English 'made in Hanoi" (I still have a couple... along with a map case, some ammo, a machete, and a haversack that I carried instead of our M1941 issue pack on later operations... good design, simple, plenty capacity, and light...) The stuff all had a faint odor of NVA rations... which, from best guess, was a mixture of rice, millet, and garlic powder...
On the subject of Lucky Strike Green... like those who are absolutely now convinced, having told the same story for forty plus years about receiving 1943 C-rations... I know that by now, in your heart of hearts, that you believe it... but it didn't happen. (trust me... or do the research on your own... the MCI, Meal, Combat, Individual, did not exist until the 1960s... nor did the four-pack of Luckies with green ink exist... older C-rats, circa 1950's, had an entire pack of cigarettes... not a four pack and they were mostly white with the circular logo BT,DT). There was an advertising slogan in the early 1940's about "Lucky Strike Green has gone to war"... the green ink, for some reason, was critical to the war effort... and Lucky Strike went from green to white packaging. I did once see some of the WWII green ink... FLSG-B at Dong Ha and Quang Tri in 1969 had an XO who was generally suspected of being senile, or close to it... among other things, he had a mannerism when smoking that was a real affectation... and he had little to do... but one morning at the daily staff meeting he reported that the previous day he had been at what passed for a PX, and that there was no soap (Dial, Irish Spring, whatever) there for the troops to buy!... since this sorta coincided with the 3rd Mar Div units pulling out and retrograding up to Okinawa... (4th Marines had just come off Mutter's Ridge, as I recall)... we kinda had bigger fish to fry. However, the next morning Captain Tommy Thompson, a Mustang supply officer, came to the staff meeting with a case of salt-water soap... (WWII vintage)... that had Lucky Strike Green triangles on all eight corners... and told the Lt Col he had that problem handled. It was a big joke for everybody but the XO... who didn't get it. For those who have never had to shower with salt-water soap... be thankful. I suspect that in today's modern Navy, that 'water hours' and 'salt-water showers' are a thing of the past... or as we used to joke "Navy shower? can of Right Guard and clean skivvies..."
Lost And Found
Looking for anyone who remembers serving with 84 year old Sgt Byron Coley. Byron doesn't own a computer. He is the step father to a friend of mine. Any messages for him can be sent to me at: usmc7280[at]yahoo.com, and I will forward them to his stepdaughter.
Cards or letters can be sent to:
953 Long Pond Rd
Long Pond Twp., ME 04945
To answer Dan Campbell's question on the spelling of Presley O'Bannon's last name as O'Banion, my half-brother is a direct descendent of Presley O'Bannon and during his genealogy research found that was just a variation of the spelling, especially back during that era. The correct spelling is indeed O'Bannon...
The stories that come with my Marine magazine are very funny, touching and sentimental it always takes me back to (boot camp 1967, plt 1041).
Keep up the great job, I will keep ordering and passing your magazine to other Marines who do not know about you. God Bless Semper Fi...
Pfc A.R. Hernandez
Plt 1041 Honor Man
Thank you Gunny Padilla, Staff Sgt Warner, Sgt Shearer...
In response to this week's newsletter, OUTSTANDING!
"You have to poke 'em and stroke 'em" LtCol Joe Wilson, CO 4/14, on leadership, during the battalion MCCRES at Fort Pickett, VA, July 1983, as told to Maj Joe Kerke, CO K-4/14.
If you are wanting to "blow smoke" up someone's azs. This is not the place. These guys can spot a phony a mile away.
May '67-June '68
Thank you Olivia, and to all the Sgt. Grit Staff. In my 25 years or so fo doing business with "The Gritster" he and his staff have always made things right. Outstanding job today as yesterday.
Pvt. James Hattabaugh
Ammo Co - 3rd Marine Amphibious Force
3rd Mar Div - Quang Nam, Province - I-Corps
Just finished reading this week's newsletter and would like to comment on your article about the Navy boot camp across the fence from the Marine boot camp in San Diego. I was in platoon 2039, June thru August 1966. Our DI would march us to the fence on Sunday and while all the Navy boots were outside milling around and smoking, he would call us to attention and tell us to sing the Marine Corps him. We would all yell at the top of our lungs "him, him, f--k him"
Ed Gruener, SSgt
"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
--President Ronald Reagan
"Thus after successively taken each member of the community in its powerful grasp and fashioned him at will, the supreme power then extends its arm over the whole community. It covers the surface of society with a network of small, complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate to rise above the crowd, The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent and guided: men are seldom forced by it to act, but are constantly restrained from acting. Such power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd."
--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (Vol. II, Book 4, Chapter 6)
"I want you boys to hurry up and whip these Germans so we can get out to the Pacific to kick the sh-t out of those purple-p-ssing Japanese, before the godd-mned Marines get all the credit!"
--LtGen George Patton, USA, 1945
"And once by God, I was a Marine!"
--Actor Lee Marvin, Circa, 1967, about serving in WW II
"If you were not there, you could not understand. If you were there, it is impossible to explain."
"Let us therefore animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world that a Freeman, contending for liberty on his own ground, is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth."
--George Washington, 1776
"The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained."
--George Washington, First Inaugural Address, 1789
"I am convinced there is no smarter, handier or more adaptable body of troops (U.S. Marines) in the worldâ€¦Always spick and span, ready at an instant's notice for duty, the nation owes them a great debt."
--American novelist Winston Churchill, 1917
"Pvt sh-t stain, if u don't get squared away, I'm gonna recycle your azz back to the block, and you'll be suckin' fartz outta hospital sheets for a livin."
"Private, you got a Maggie's Drawers."
Semper Fi, Mac!