On 19 June 2014, Cpl William Kyle Carpenter, USMC (Ret.) was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions on 21 November 2010 while serving as an Automatic Rifleman with F Co, 2d Bn, 9th Marines, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st MarDiv (fwd), I MEF (fwd), in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Cpl. Carpenter is a shining example of what it means to be a United States Marine. Upholding Marine Corps customs, courtesies, and traditions that are the fabric of our illustrious history that is best defined by our core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13, KJV).
Job well done Marine. As every Marine knows, just as our title and rank are earned, so too are our awards and decorations.
Semper Fidelis CMOH Marine!
(Photo taken by Cpl. Michael C. Guinto)
Ddick: Once again Ddick has become my Muse regarding Amtrack operations off an LST. The one part of the launch he doesn't mention (because it's not apparent to those riding inside is the "deep six" portion which involves the tractor accelerating down the ramp and actually going 5 or 6 feet under water before bobbing to the surface (hopefully) and heading for the rendezvous circle. This is a little intimidating the first couple of times its done, but being Marines we would see how deep we could go. I think I've related this story before but here it is again. A second LT. platoon leader pulled me aside and asked where the driest place was inside when we launched because the cargo doors on top of the tractor weren't water tight and became a torrent while getting off the ship. I assured him that the driest place would be sitting on the machine gun platform in the front. Just above the platform was the machine gun turret with the gun taken out, it was rotated to the rear and a redwood plug was inserted where the barrel went. I told my crewman to rotate the turret to the front and remove the plug. As we "deep sixed" off the ramp a solid stream of cold seawater shot from the hole into the chest of the 2nd. LT. I kept my eyes glued to my vision block but snuck a peep to see how it went. He was staring at me with fire in his eyes but I'm sure he never asked to be kept dry while part of his platoon was getting wet. Ya gotta love 'em!
Ddick is right on the traffic signals on LST's, the older ships had them mounted horizontally over the ramp door. On the newer (post Korea) ships it was on the driver's side and mounted vertically. The WWII LST's had no turn table so you had to drive the tractor just in front of the ramp where a sailor would heave a "monkey fist" connected to a throw line that was in turn connected to two haul lines that the Amtrack crew would place on the rear cleats. You were then literally hauled to the ramp by the ship's crew until contact was made with the ramp and you reversed aboard. The newer ships had "turn tables". You drove straight up the ramp, through the bow doors and onto the "turn table". The table turned the tractor around and you backed into your slot on the tank deck. We carried "Grunts", chow, Artillery, Mortars anything that needed to go ashore. The picture is for SGT. GRIT, the cannon cocker.
Liberty May Commence
Thursday was field day in the barracks. After work at the hangar everybody had to turn to and clean the barracks. No liberty allowed until the OD inspected and approved the field day. Thursday was also linen survey day when we turned in our old sheets and pillow cases. It usually lasted about an hour, but one day we had a particularly chickensh-t OD who walked into each squad bay wearing white gloves. He raised one white gloved index finger, swiped it as if testing the air, and declared the barracks filthy. "Do it over" he said, turned around and left the barracks, telling the duty NCO to call him when he thought it was clean enough and not to issue liberty cards until he approved of the field day. This had the natural effect of p-ssing off the troops, but one of the guys took it to the next level. He went outside and collected palm branches and cut some twigs and vines from the foliage in the yard and wove them together making a green garland several yards in length. Then he strewed this over the wall lockers and racks in his cubicle just before the OD came back for another inspection. When the OD (a fresh lieutenant) got to his cubicle he just stood there for a minute or so, almost apoplectic, and stammering. Our hero just stood by his rack at ease. Luckily, this time around the Lt. was accompanied by our Maintenance officer, a mustang Major who was older and wiser. The Major was a former enlisted man who appreciated the humor of the situation and got a great laugh out of it. He declared field day over and liberty may commence.
Cpl. Norm Spilleth
1960 - 1964
We All Marched A Little Differently
The story told by Cpl. Bender of a recruit getting some encouragement in rope climbing at the point of a bayonet reminded me of an incident that happened while I was in boot camp at San Diego.
My platoon had a similar sh-tbird who was not able to do anything correctly except shoot. After the rifle range where he shot the highest score of anyone he was given a lot of slack by the DIs. During our final PT test we were to climb a thick rope that had knots in it. We also wore a full field combat pack, carried an M-1 rifle & wore a helmet. When you get to the top you hit the cross bar with your hand and then climb down within a given time. When our platoon sh-tbird tried, he got near the top and we were all yelling at him to hit the cross bar. He did, but he used both hands. This caused him to slide down the rope causing each knot to hit his jewels. He was unconscious when he hit the bottom. The Corpsmen took him to the hospital where he stayed for a couple of days. Upon his return we were all concerned and even the DIs took a "little" pity upon him. That night, when we took our showers, we could not help but notice the black & blue sack that was the same size as you would see on a bull used for breeding. When we marched back to our platoon area I think we all marched a little differently so we could give our jewels a little extra room.
He was a good person, never once dropped out of anything, always gave a full measure. Like many of us he was overweight. But unlike the rest of us, he never lost any weight. He was uncoordinated and a can or two short of a six-pack, but he was a near perfect shot with an M-1. He shot in the high 270s out of 300. A perfect Marine rifleman.
Jim Brower - 1977---
High Frequency Sound Hearing Loss
I was a rifle range coach and block NCO from the fall of 1955 until the spring of 1957 at Camp Lejeune (yes, back in those days, coaches wore campaign hats just like the DIs). The only thing we had to protect our hearing back then was cotton and sometimes that wasn't available. From the fall of 1957 until the spring of 1958 I was a member of the Third Marine Division Rifle and Pistol Team. Once again I was around rifle and pistol fire every day with no good way to protect my hearing. Suffice it to say I developed a hearing loss (inability to hear higher frequency sounds). I really wasn't aware of it because it only affected me at certain times. After four years of active duty and eight years of active Reserve time the problem became more apparent, but no Corpsman ever raised the issue with me.
Beginning in 1964 most of us expected to be activated for Viet Nam just as the Reserves were for Korea in 1950 but we never were. Secretary of Defense McNamara apparently decided against calling up the Reserves for fear that the American public might think we were in a real war. I often wondered if we had been activated how I would have fared with my hearing loss in a combat situation. Of course, I'll never know. I felt grateful for the GI Bill which gave me the opportunity for a successful career in higher education and my disability did not especially hinder me in my work. Hearing aids would have been of no help since they only amplified the low frequency sounds I already could hear fine. Of course I frequently had to ask people to repeat what they said and that usually made them angry.
At a party with a lot of background noise I could hardly hear anything someone was telling me and usually that just meant nodding affirmatively to whatever was said. But sometimes the person really didn't want me to agree with what he/she said (i.e. "I guess I'm just a no-good SOB" to which I would nod affirmatively). I was just wondering if anyone who was a coach or a team shooter during the 1960s or 1970s might have had similar experiences.
Paul E. Gill
It is called Tinnitus. Not much they can do for it. I have it also, from artillery, and constant radio squelch in the ear when on watch. I have been going to the VA for 40 years every few years to have my ears checked. Nothing new to correct or abate.
This is from my Vietnam tank company 1st Sgt.
A MARINE can build a house from the roof down.
When Alexander Bell invented the telephone he had 3 missed calls from a MARINE.
Fear of spiders is arachnophobia, fear of tight spaces is claustrophobia, fear of MARINES is called Logic.
A MARINE doesn't call the wrong number. You answered the wrong phone.
There used to be a street named after the MARINES, but it was changed because nobody crosses the MARINES and lives.
Most Marines have a grizzly bear carpet in their room. The bear isn't dead it is just afraid to move.
The MARINES have already been to Mars; that's why there are no signs of life.
Some magicians can walk on water, MARINES can swim through land.
Ghosts sit around the campfire and tell MARINE CORPS stories.
A MARINE and Superman once fought each other on a bet. The loser had to start wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants.
A MARINE can cut through a hot knife with butter.
A MARINE once urinated in a semi truck's gas tank as a joke... that truck is now known as Optimus Prime.
A MARINE doesn't flush the toilet, he scares the sh-t out of it.
Death once had a near-MARINE experience.
A MARINE counted to infinity â€“ twice.
The MARINES are the reason why Waldo is hiding.
A MARINE won American Idol using only sign language.
Once the cop pulled over A MARINE... the cop was lucky to leave with a warning.
A MARINE can slam a revolving door.
A MARINE won the World Series of Poker using Pokemon cards.
When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for US MARINES.
A MARINE will never have a heart attack. His heart isn't nearly foolish enough to attack him.
A MARINE can win a game of Connect Four in only three moves.
A MARINE once kicked a horse in the chin. Its descendants are known today as Giraffes.
A MARINE once got bit by a rattle snake... After three days of pain and agony... the rattle snake died.
There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of animals The MARINES allows to live.
When A MARINE does a pushup, he isn't lifting himself up, he's pushing the Earth down.
A MARINE can light a fire by rubbing two ice-cubes together.
A MARINES' hand is the only hand that can beat a Royal Flush.
A MARINE doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
When a MARINE throws you into a bottomless pit, you hit the bottom.
A MARINE doesn't wear a watch. HE decides what time it is.
A MARINE does not sleep. He waits.
A MARINE once made a Happy Meal cry.
Prisons don't keep society safe from criminals. Prisons keep criminals safe from the MARINES, for now.
Outer space exists because it's afraid to be on the same planet with US MARINES.
When a MARINE is born, the only person crying was the doctor. You NEVER slap a MARINE.
If A Marine's weapon were to ever run out of ammo, his weapon would continue to fire out of fear of disappointing the MARINE.
A MARINE called 911 to order Chinese food and got it.
Guns are warned not to play with the MARINES.
A MARINE runs until the treadmill gets tired.
A MARINE doesn't mow his lawn, he dares his grass to grow.
A MARINE can give aspirin a headache.
Sgt John Wear
First lieutenant Daniel Robert Brophy
First lieutenant Daniel Robert Brophy earned the Silver Star medal while flying as an Aerial Observer with the 11th Marines on the morning of 23 February, 1969. He was flying aboard an Army helicopter when he distinguished himself on a dangerous recon mission. I have a copy of the citation and his name appears in my latest book about Marines in Vietnam entitled "Marines, Medal's and Vietnam".
William L. "Billy" Myers 1906xxx
I read with interest Doug Helmers story about Lt. Brophy. Could Lt. Brophy have been a drill instructor in 1963 at San Diego? We had a Sgt. Brophy. I saw him later in 1967 with 1st Lt. bars on him at Camp Pendleton. I heard later from a former drill instructor friend of mine that he thought Lt. Brophy was injured badly in Vietnam.
I remember Sgt. Brophy had us recruits hold our M-14's out in front of us with both arms extended, while he held out an M-14 with just one arm extended. He held it out until all of us dropped our arms. He was tough.
Sgt. C. Jones 1963-67
Marine Corps Beer Bottle Art
Old Japanese Zero Pilot
I have been a collector of Military stuff for a lot of years, before I retired, and remembering some of the stuff I worked with I wish I had saved some of the stuff I've been issued, like the Khaki uniform Blouse. After I retired I collected some Marine Corps Items at Gun shows and Military Shows.
At one of the Gun Shows years ago I met a Japanese Military Collector who had been a Zero Pilot during the War. Now I gotta tell you that when we were going to Korea, the ship dumped us in Japan and we took a train to the Japanese coast closest to Korea and during that two week period in Japan, waiting and riding the train, I met all kinds of Japanese that told me they had been Zero Pilots. Even one of the Conductors on the train said he had been a Zero Pilot and I am always suspicious of a Japanese who says he was a Zero Pilot, but Kelly Okha had been and I saw lots of things that showed me he had been what he said, he even flew a plane in the movie "Tora, Tora, Tora".
Kelly Okha (my wife always called him Mr. Okha because he always looked so distinguished) collected Military items including some very valuable items, like he had a NIB "Nambu" pistol. Kelly and I had a friendship going back many years and during the gun shows he would come to our table and rest and sometimes leave stuff under our table so he didn't have to carry it. At one Gun Show Pappy Boyington was there selling his Book, I watched two old pilots chatting up a storm, who could interrupt that?
A few years back Kelly called me and asked me to meet him at his storage locker. When I got there he looked a bit tired, he said, "Frank I want you to sell some of my Military stuff, I've got to get rid of some of these items." In the next few weeks I sold a lot of his collection of American, Japanese and German Military gear. I sold several Japanese Pilot Uniforms (Made with rabbit fur), guns, even ejection seats from more modern aircraft.
He called one day at my house and said he had some more stuff for me to pick up could I come over. I told him I would be there the next day, but when I got there I found he had died the night before. I had met only a son and for just a moment, so didn't know his family and I was really down about it. My Wife said, "What did you do when you lost a friend before, do it again." So, I saluted his memory and have it tucked into my mind about an Old Japanese Zero Pilot who became my Very Good Friend.
Let Out A Whoop
Dear Sgt. Grit,
Worked in HDQRS MC, Wash. DC a long time ago it seems. The Marines had a way to get things done - maybe not completely orthodox - but do-able just the same. We would load up a truck for supplies for various destinations Monday to Friday - as each day was a different location - and the system worked for us Marines - we also received deliveries from various civilian shippers as well. A happy harmony was met with the two opposite ends of our society.
Unfortunately both went out of kilter at the increase of escalation for the situation in Vietnam here in the states - we had emergency situations even in our supply chain?
First the Civilian end - Jacobs Transfer had a motto - "We will transfer anything - anywhere at any time?" One driver told me when he started his run in Baltimore, Md. one morning with a loaded truck - and 5 stops - the last for us - all went well until the truck swayed and almost turned over on the Beltway! He looked in the back of the truck and saw an elephant struggling with being chained to the sides of the truck?
We in the Marines had a lesser problem - but a serious problem as well - We had REMF - toadies - asz kissers - promising the world to all senior to them - and we the low NCO's had to deal with unusual aftermath as well. We had a schedule and the system worked - as we went to the Naval Weapons Plant one day - one day Henderson Hall - and the rest of the week we delivered to the Naval Annex - but our asz kissing retired Master Sgt. promised the world to everyone and screwed up our system? Hey, we even went to the Pentagon on occasion - and caused an incident as well - The Secretary of the Navy wanted a new chair with his new desk - sooooo we Marines had to pick up the old chair and deliver a new one the same day? It screwed up our schedule that day - but RHIP (rank has its privileges) A Navy Captain rode our aszes from the delivery dock to the office of (His Highness).
We delivered the chair and a Captain even sat in it behind the desk and had us adjust the settings on the chair. We left with an escort of some entourage of an Ensign and a petty officer who were afraid we would tell someone that the SECNAV got a new chair? Well my fellow Marines I was with Crazy Willard Ranson - and my fellow Marine decided that he would like to ride the chair down one of the Rings or sloped walkways between levels? He Jumped In The Chair and Let Out A Whoop - and pushed my hands away and went barreling down the sloped walkway - the Ensign and the petty officer went apesh-t, and I was laughing my asz off - Willie almost took out a few senior civilians as well as some officers and one pretty Wave? The MP's escorted us out of the Pentagon to our truck - and the Ensign (who was a cool guy - told us not to worry) he would take care of us - but in the future I was told leave Willie at home for the next visit!
As I said in prior articles, You can't make this SH-T up. Hope you enjoyed this and I know all of us have funny incidents to relate about our experiences as well!
CPL 1963- 1967
Vietnam Era Marine
Here is your intrepid editor standing watch at one of the IOD sites 40+ years ago. I don't remember which one. Actually I don't remember the names of any of them. I visited all of them over a 4 week period to help with comm issues. Does anyone remember the names of these hills with the IODs. There would be 8-10 grunts, a Sgt or SSgt and a Lt. Usually a couple of 60's and a .50 Cal., that was it.
The Korean War, in which the Marine Corps fought and won some of its most brutal battles, was not without its gallows humor.
During one such conflict a ROK (Republic of Korea) commander, whose unit was fighting along with the Marines, called legendary Marine General Chesty Puller, to report a major Chinese attack in his sector. "How many Chinese are attacking you?" asked Puller." Many, many Chinese!" replied the excited Korean officer.
General Puller asked for another count and got the same answer, "Many, many, many Chinese!"
"X*#dammit!" swore Puller, "Put my Marine liaison officer on the radio."
In a minute, an American voice came over the air: "Yes sir?"
"Lieutenant," growled Chesty, "exactly how many Chinese you got up there?"
"General, we got a whole sh-t load of Chinese up here!"
"Thank God." exclaimed Puller, "At least there's someone up there who knows how to count."
'63 - '89
Great Mustang Officer
The best Mustang, and best officer for that matter, that I ever worked for (on Okinawa) was Gary O. Thompson. When I first met him, he was a Warrant Officer and we all called him "WOGOT" (except when the higher brass was around). Then, when he was commissioned, we called him "LiTGOT". And when he made Captain, we called him "CAPGOT". But, when he made Major, nobody ever dreamed of calling him "MAGOT"!
Another great Mustang officer that I worked with, not for, at Pendleton, was a female LT named Linda. I can't recall her last name at the moment. She was extremely intelligent (our computer security officer), beautiful (she had been a winner in the miss Florida beauty contest), and one heck of a quarterback for our weekend flag football group. And, with a great personality as well, this lady had it all!
Phil "Akabu" Coffman
Sgt '72 - '82
A Very Sad Story
I heard a very, very sad story at Camp Lejeune during one of my stints there. I ran into a guy at a slop chute who was called to his draft center. He, along with many others, were sitting in a large room when an Army Sergeant walked in and earnestly asked, "Is there anybody here who really doesn't want to be in the Army?"
He and five others raised their hands. "Come with me. You six are now in the Marine Corps."
Rick Feinstein, Sgt USMCR '63â€”'69
I was in platoon 1006, formed July 6, 1969, at PI. One of my junior DI's was a Sgt McKeon. He was a helo mech and wore combat air crew wings. This meant a lot to me because I had joined as an aviation Marine. One night, Sgt. McKeon told us the story of his father, the famous SSgt McKeon who led the Ribbon Creek night patrol, in 1956, which resulted in the drowning of 6 recruits. He said Chesty Puller was a character witness at his father's court martial. This only endeared this DI to me even more.
That is my close encounter with Chesty Puller.
Goodnight, Chesty, wherever you are.
Sgt - USMC 1969-1973
The DISBURSING CHIEF
(Vol #6, #4)
I got out of the car and went around to open her door. She got out and her son had climbed over the back of the front seat to follow her. I closed the door. They were standing on the sidewalk. I walked over and picked her son up and tossed him onto my shoulders. He started laughing and she gave me a rather peculiar look. We headed for the restaurant and I told S: to lean down. I ducked down, too, so he would not bump his head. As soon as we entered a hostess said to S: "I see your Dad is giving you a ride." 'Kitty' laughed at that. She asked if we preferred a table or a booth. I answered "A booth please." She led us to a booth. 'Miss Kitty' sat down first and her son sat next to her. I sat facing them. The waitress said "Our specialty is Burgers and Fries and tonight we do have AUCE Fish and Chips - or we have a full menu if you prefer." Kitty asked for a menu. Her son said "I want the Burger and Fries." She looked at the childrens part of the menu and said "Wouldn't you rather have Mac and Cheese?" He said "Oh, yes, I'll have that." She chose a Turkey Club on white toast. And the waitress looked at me. I said "The Calves Liver sounds good. How much would I get?" She said "We have two sizes, a lunch portion is 8oz with bacon OR onions and mashed potatoes for $2.25 or a dinner portion is 12 oz with bacon AND onions and mashed potatoes for $2.75." I said "I'll have the dinner portion." We had two iced teas and a small Pepsi. But no desserts.
While we were waiting for our food she asked me "What is the reason you go to Washington every weekend?" I responded "I'll let you in on a secret. I don't go to Washington every weekend - but I tell everyone I do because that is as far as we are supposed to go on a regular weekend. My home is 140 miles further in New Jersey. But even that is not the end of the line. My high school sweetheart, with whom I have been going steady for 4 years, is a model in New York City - another 88 miles - and I get there at 0200 every Saturday morning. And then at 0600 we drive south 88 miles to our homes. We reverse this at 1400 on Sunday. I drive 1500 miles each weekend." She was absolutely amazed at this.
Our food arrived. While eating, she said "You must have a picture of your girlfriend?" I said "Yes" and I took out my wallet to show her. She gave her the once over and said "She sure is pretty - isn't she" - as she showed the picture to her son. He was only 5 but said "Wow! Yes!" I said "I've shown you my pictures. Now you show me yours. She took out her wallet and showed me pictures of her sisters. She had three of them. I looked at them closely and said "This one is of you." She said "No. That is my twin sister. I just looked at her for a moment or so and said "Can you look me straight in the eye and tell me that there really is another woman on this planet as beautiful as yourself?"
See you next week. The old, real old, real, real old (85) Master Gunny.
Harold T. Freas, Sr.
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #9, #7 (Jul, 2019)
I had already planned on stopping here and not doing any more copies of "the Flight Line" when I received the latest issue of the Sgt. Grit Newsletter. After one of the most recent issues there was a note from him (Sgt. Grit) that indicated that he'd like to have some different stories about MARINES that had help shape their lives and he was looking for other then D.I.'s. I really didn't think anymore about it until in the next few days I got an E-mail from an old Squadron Mate and it eluded to the feats and attitudes of the Navy Corpsman assigned to our units. Now, these E-mails were of a general nature and no specific names (just two) were given. Plus, they were in circulation with a picture of a Corpsman and under it was the caption "Corpsman" because, "Bad Mother Fâ€”k-r" isn't an official job title in the Navy.
Well, that got me to thinking. Those Corpsmen that I served and flew with were without a doubt, angles that were assigned to watch over all the MARINES that they could. I don't have to tell any of you that you could always count on the "Doc" to take care of you when things didn't go the way that they were planned. He'd be right there by your side thru the whole ordeal, and he'd find you, and stay with you, when you needed him most. Now, I was fortunate enough never to need the services that "The Doc" provided, but I've seen them perform their magic on the many unfortunate souls that I transported during Med-e-vacs. These guy's should all be given the highest awards that there are, just for doing their job. I also remember when I was on Recruiting Duty I had one young man came into the office and all he wanted to be was a MARINE Medic like his friend was. But, little did he know that we didn't have MARINE MEDICS, instead, we had Navy Corpsman. Now, once he found that out, he wasn't as enthused as he was in the beginning. But, we later got him hooked up with our sister service Recruiter (Navy), and all was well after that. I talked to him later when he was on leave and he did get assigned to the Field Medic Course at Camp Del Mar and later became one of the most called upon guy's in the unit. But, that's what he wanted to do, why not... I'm also sure he made a good "Doc". It seems that they all do.
Now, in my 20 years in the Corps you'd think that I'd remember at least one of the "Doc's" that I served with, but I've shaken the ole "Brain Bucket" and there has been not one name that has surfaced. All that I remember is that you always want one of these angles near you when "that famous brown commodity hits the whirling blades".
I'd like to close this by saying that I and many like me feel that the CORPS and it's Corpsmen are the team to beat, but you'd better be ready for a hell-of-a fight. Many a MARINE will say Thank GOD For NAVY CORPSMEN! An asset to any unit, and the CORPS.
Oblate Spheroid Reproductive Organs
About 1960 (and for a few years thereafter) there was a small Marine Barracks, attached to a Naval Air Facility which was on an Air Force Base on Okinawa... Naha, specifically. (We also had an Army Nike missile battery aboard... gotta remember, this was at the height of the Cold War.) We Marines, 57 in all, were there to guard the Navy's nuclear weapons, stored on a small island just off the southwest corner of the runway. The island, Senaga Shima by name, could ordinarily be accessed by either of two slightly elevated causeways that ran across the coral tidal flats from the main part of the base, meeting in a 90 degree corner just at the corner of the Navy ammunition storage area. This area contained the AUW shop (Atomic Underwater Weapons... tricky name, huh?. At the time, the US more or less owned the island, and we really didn't care, only 15 years after the end of WWII, whether the Japanese knew we had nukes there or not... (we did... I think... never actually saw one during a 18-month tour). Along with the AUW shop, there was a magazine area, which looked a great deal like one of those self-storage rental places... flat roof, roll-up garage type doors... and two small buildings for the sentries use. The sentry building at the gate was two story, had bullet-proof glass and steel doors. The sentry on the topside post locked himself in, had both a radio and a telephone, and a pretty snazzy alarm panel that could indicate the presence of an intruder within ten feet of the electric fence that ran around the whole place. The sentry on the deck worked the sally port and the main gate... after you presented your magic ID, along with the day's password. He would walk back inside to check the ID under a special light, then 'buzz' you in.
Duty was four on, eight off, day on, day off, with the guard sections being the Port and Starboard sections. Each of the three reliefs consisted of four (later five, when an outside post was added) sentries, a supernuts (supernumerary) and a Corporal of the Guard. In a rather unusual arrangement, the Corporal of the Guard would muster his relief, then drive them from the barracks (actually a collection of six Quonset huts, one being the head/showers) to the island, relieve the preceding watch, then return the three miles or so to the guard shack to man his desk, where he had a radio and a telephone. The island checked in every fifteen minutes, alternating between the radio and the landline. If they missed, or were late, the Corporal of the Guard triggered an alarm in the duty section barracks... this caused an azzhole and elbows evolution, whereby the other two reliefs and the Sergeant of the Guard grabbed their weapons... M1's, and for the SOG, the .45 he wore, along with a big box, somewhat like a carpenter's tool box, full of ammo, piled into the relief trucks and headed out to reinforce the on-watch relief. There were two routes to get there... one around the north end of the runway, the other parallel to the flight line, base headquarters, etc. and across the shorter causeway. Both entries to the causeways had gates, which were manned by Okinawan civilian guards... in uniform, armed with a .30 caliber carbine... and a big, toothy German Shepard. Routinely, the vehicle stopped, and all hands displayed their passes, and the guard would open the gate. They were trained to just open the gate and get out of the way if the approaching vehicle was running its roof-mounted rotating red light. One of the vehicles was a Dodge van (no side windows) with bench seats along both sides, and the other was a Suburban type with 3 rows of seats. The SOG had a '58 Chevy half-ton pickup. There would be the occasional report of the lights having been turned on for no reason other than messing with the gate guard... usually resulted in a threat of office hours and a lecture from the Gunny...
We would periodically have reaction drills... and when it was a drill, even with the lights on, the speed limit was 35MPH. The fact that it was a drill and not Mongol Hordes coming across the tidal flats and up the seawall, was not known until the trucks were loaded... when we'd be advised over the radio, and then proceed (at 35 MPH) to the island, take up defensive positions, etc.
Starboard section was 'on' one fine day, and Cpl (E-3) Keefe and his relief had the 8 to 12, when the Guard Officer walked into the guard shack and told Keefe to sound the alarm for a drill... so he did... but... he neglected to advise the trucks that it was a drill!... The drivers chose the shorter route... right past the Base HQ, just as the AF Colonel who owned the joint happened to be walking out, in time to see two Navy gray trucks with gumball machines alight, pass him at an oblate spheroid reproductive organs against the vertical bulkhead speed. This seemed to pique his curiosity... so he walked back inside, grabbed a phone, and called the Marine Barracks. Keefe, being on duty, got the phone call... and, shifting the roughly half-package of Red Man to the other cheek, of course, answered "Marine Barracks... Corporal Keefe speaking, Sir"... the Colonel identified himself, and inquired as to what was going on? (I don't think AF Colonels use the same kind of language in those situations as a Marine Colonel might... but I digress)... Keefe, nonchalantly confident that 'his boys' had things well under control, said "Oh, it's just a drill, sir"...
The Colonels' next call was to our CO... have never seen a Major doing a rug dance in front of a Colonel, much less an Air Force type... but I'm sure it wasn't pretty...
Keefe survived... and fortunately for me, the Port Section Leader, he, and the other culprits, were in Starboard section... my counterpart, CPL (E-4) Roy Knight's section... and the weapons were still secure.
We never want to forget our POW/MIAs. Since 1990 I've worn a POW/MIA bracelet - 1st LT William C. Ryan Jr., MIA 11 May 1969. Time passes & things fade away. Just want to remind everyone not to forget these men. Semper Fi.
Glenn A. Shaw
Sgt USMC 1966 - 1970
Viet Nam 1968 - 1969
The USS Constellation (CVA-64) is to be taken out of the mothball fleet and disassembled for scrap. I was aboard this ship from March 23, 1963 to Sept 17, 1963. This was the first WestPac Cruise for the Constellation. I was TAD from Torii Station, Okinawa. (Naval Security Group, Communications).
I boarded her at Subic Bay, P.I. and stayed aboard until she docked in San Diego at the end of the cruise. Just a note to all the Marines that served aboard her.
Cpl J.W. Riner
Morning fellow Marines. This might read like a losing battle, but that never stopped us before. Well, because of going home on emergency leave during my tour in VN. 1966, Chu Lai, I left my seabags with my unit, security platoon, 5th Marines. It's been bugging me for years, What Happened To Unclaimed Seabags Left With The Corps? Please don't laugh, any ideas? Let me know please.
Cpl. J. Velazuez, Jr.
I remember you from the Last Supper... good duty.
Do you remember Christ saying, "All you guys get on this side of the table. Michelangelo is going to take our picture?"
I was at MCRD San Diego in early 1957. Sgt. Grube (the bad DI) would always say to one of us who screwed up: "I'm tired of your cheap civilian bullsh-t." I still use that term today and chuckle over it. For all of his hardazsed bearing, he had a sense of humor.
James V. Merl
"In every battle there comes a time when both sides consider themselves beaten, then he who continues the attack wins."
--Ulysses S. Grant
"So they've got us surrounded, good! Now we can fire in any direction, those bast-rds won't get away this time!"
--Chesty Puller, USMC
"We have two companies of MARINES running all over this island and thousands of ARMY troops doing nothing!"
--GEN. John Vessey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs
"Retreat h-ll! We just got here!"
--CAPT. Lloyd Williams, USMC
"I've surveyed more sea bags than you've surveyed socks.
My first office hours was for buffalo sh-t on my spear.
Is that your service (or serial) number... or the national debt?"
"When the Lord said let there be light, I was the firewatch (who turned them on)."
"I've used more ink signing payrolls than you've drunk coffee in the mess hall."
Morning formation: "two dead, one in the head, and I wouldn't be here if I could get special liberty... all present and accounted for..."
"Fall in, alphabetically, by rank."
"Smmeeedly!" (DI's cry for the recruit messman who waited on DI's at recruit messhalls... tough job...).
Fair winds and following seas.