We had a Marine come in to our clinic for a brace to help him walk (he'd had a few strokes and needs one to walk). He brought us one of your t-shirts and asked us if we could build it into his brace. I thought you'd get a kick out of it and also wanted to give you props for such a cool design.
Get this Sgt Grit T-shirt at:
Semper Fi Marines Black T-Shirt
Marine Dress Blues
Greetings Sgt Grit,
I would just like to weigh in on the dress blues conversation currently going on. If it was not for dress blues, I may have never joined our beloved Corps. You see, when I was a young lad of 17 my Dad took me to see the recruiters as I was interested in military service. The first recruiter he took me to was the Navy. We went in and discussed things a while and I took a preliminary ASVAB test in the office. I did well on the test and so the recruiter started telling me about the nuclear submarine program. He was pushing it hard. Being 6'1" I had no desire to be cooped up inside of a submarine underwater for months at a time. Incidentally, I have met a number of submariners in my life since that time and I have the greatest of respect for them. One of my regrets in life is that I probably never will be able to bust up through the polar ice cap and walk up at the North pole like most of them end up doing. That has to be one of the coolest things to do.
Upon leaving the Naval recruiters office the Marine Corps recruiters office happened to be across the hallway. It was closed when we first came in and it was now open. We stepped in and I was first introduced to Sgt Anderson (later to be SSgt Anderson) and GySgt Gross. They were in Marine PT gear and greeted me. GySgt Gross started to talk to me as Sgt Anderson slipped into the back area. He gave me some general information about the life of a Marine and all of the opportunities there are. Then Sgt Anderson stepped out and from that moment, I was sold. You see, he had slipped in the back and put on his dress blues. I saw those and I knew what I wanted to be. It didn't matter what the job would be. One of my first dates with my wife of 26 years was in those dress blues. I got married in them and we went to many Marine Corps birthday balls in them. I remember a company Gunny standing in front of a formation exhorting his Marines to go to the birthday ball and one of the things he said was no girl is going to refuse you a date to the Marine Corps birthday in your dress blues. Yes, these and many other reasons are why I love the Marine dress blues. I have enclosed a picture of my beautiful wife and I attending a Marine birthday ball in my dress blues.
About Wearing Blues
Speaking of leggings. These are the leggings and dungaree cap I wore in Korea (1950-51). They're still folded down. Some of us folded them down for comfort, and when the weather permitted, unbloused our trousers. When we went into action as the 1stProvMarBrig, the North Koreans called us 'The Yellow-Legs'. Except for the 'USMC' on our pocket, from a distance they couldn't distinguish us from the Army. We had been ordered to remove our helmet camouflage covers. Surprised the heck out of them.
A little more info about wearing Blues. At Pendleton, back in 1948 or 1949, it was decreed that Marines on liberty north of San Clemente, or it may have been from Clemente northward, had to wear Blues. South of Pendleton, Greens or Khaki were permitted. It certainly got warm in the Summer up around L.A., but it was worth it. The bars were cool anyway.
In Feb 1956 the 3rd Mar Div went and played war games on Iwo Jima. I was with Hq Co Anglico Plt. We went ashore set up radio nets. I was in a radio jeep remoted to the CP. I don't remember it before we played war games, but the pics are Mt Suribachi from below, then from on top looking at the shore line. The last pic is of the monument on top. I was a Pfc. then, was honorably discharged a Cpl Sept. 1957.
Bernie Caldwell 1513313
I love the fact that some people think that if it didn't happen to them it just didn't happen. Sgt. Worth doubts the Commandant ever visited Marine Bases or held Inspections of the Marines stationed there, if he would send an email to Leatherneck Magazine and ask them how many Commandants actually held inspections, he might be wildly surprised. Most of the Commandants when I came in were World War I Veterans, General Cates was a Lieutenant during WWI and sent a Message to Maj. Holcomb (both future Commandants); "I have 2 men from my company, 20 men from another company, no one on my right, a few men on my left. I Will Hold." Now being inspected by such a Hero was an honor even with all the spit and polish.
As for chow I saw Marines in Korea, in rear areas go into an Army Chow Hall and sit at a table for four with a checkered cover and pretty Koreans serving them the same d-mned Chow we got in the Marine Corps, as their eyes looked over the ladies they said; "This is the best chow I ever had."
The Marine Corps had some great little Posts where they only fed a few men, sometimes less than a hundred (like Hunters Point Naval Station Guard Detachment) where chow was outstanding and yet when the IG came someone had to complain about the chow, being a small detachment when he was served the Chief Cook served him, his chow. As for Boon dockers, I still feel that with cushion sole socks, boon dockers were the ultimate in footwear in the field, nothing better.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau
Yesterday I walked up to a guy and told him that the next time he parked in a handicapped spot he needed to display the blue card in his window. He got aggravated and a bit loud and tried to say it wasn't his car. I informed him I seen him park his car and I seen him get out, and since he wanted to blow smoke up my back side I made him go move his car. (I'm a Security Officer where I work). He was pretty hot... When he came back in to finish his coffee I walked by and he called me over. He said were you ever in the military. I said, "Yes." He said what branch. I said, "Marines." He said so was I how long were you in. I said 23 years, he said I did 8 years. I was in the Black Berets. Now I'm really upset, but didn't want to push it since I was on the job. He said yea we used to run 20 miles every day. The Black Berets are the toughest soldiers there ever was... By then I couldn't take anymore of this moron. I leaned in and informed him first that Marines are not soldiers and that if he wanted to be a poser to at least get his sh!t together and not try to convince someone that spent half their life as a Marine that he was something that never existed. He said it was true and that he was in the last platoon of Black Berets and they were disbanded in '68. I said so you did time in Nam huh? He said NO that was over by then. I gave him a few more choice comments and had to walk away before I kicked his asz and got myself fired. My boss thought it was funny when I told him. (I figured I better let him know before someone else told him). Seems he was on my side all the way and was watching me on camera. My boss said I didn't think you were gonna be able to handle that very well as soon as I seen him open his mouth. OK I'm Guilty...
I appreciated GySgt Rousseau's discussion about the merits of several rifles used by Marines, and that all weapons are just an extension of the proud Marine using them. I have fired most of the small arms used by Marines in the early 70's, including the M16. I have also used the M1 and M14. My opinion as to their relative merits: it depends on the situation. All three are fine rifles. For long work, greater than 300 yards, the M1 or M14 would be my preference. I really did not see much difference in accuracy between the two. One thousand yard shots could be made with confidence. For shorter distances and humping through the boonies, the M16 would be my preference. The lighter weight of the rifle, magazines, and ammo; and shear fire power are obvious advantages.
However, if you really wanted to reach out and touch someone, the 175MM gun pictured above was the way to do it. If memory is not too far off the 170 pound projectile could travel about 23 miles, and had an ECR of 200 meters. Great fun shooting!
R Boyer 1970-1975
Above left: San Clemente Island 1974; below right: Twentynine Palms 1972.
Note: I was once told it was 23 miles accurately. 27 miles if you want to 'impress' someone.
Thanks to my Brother Marines for your responses to my diatribe about Dress Blues. Each to his own.
I've also enjoyed the letters about leggings. I was never issued leggings, but nonetheless received 2 pairs of low-cut, rough-finished boondockers in boot camp at PI in June of '59. They were the most comfortable shoes I had ever worn but we drilled so much on the "black top" we had to have the heels replaced twice before the 3 glorious months were over.
When I was transferred to an infantry battalion at Lejeune in '62, I had never bloused my trousers because I didn't have high-tops. A Sergeant ordered me to get some and of course I did. They cost about $12 and the next thing I got was springs to blouse my trousers. I never liked high-tops or blousing my trousers.
My mailing address at Lejeune was H&SCo, BLT 2/6/2, FMF, Camp Lejeune, NC. Does anyone out there know what FMF 'really' means?
Semper Fi and Oohrah.
P.S. Thanks to you, Sgt. Grit and your maggots for what you do.
Alas They No Longer Fit
On the subject of dress blues: I purchased a set when I was at ITR at San Onefre in 1970. I wore them on Easter Sunday while home on leave April of 1970. When I was a C&E BN at San Diego they asked who had dress blues and those who did were part of an honor guard for some Vietnamese General. I wore them to the Marine Corps Ball in San Diego November of 1970 and that's it. I think I paid a total of $50 for them and wore them exactly 3 times while on active duty. The last time I had them on was about a month after I was discharged in December of 1972. I still have them, but alas they no longer fit.
I wouldn't trade them for a million dollars.
Sgt. Jim Grimes
I noticed on your web page was written "The Marines of WWII and Korea were not issued leggings to be worn with utilities." Not so, at least my experience.
My reserve unit was activated in August 1950 and the next month found us at Camp Pendleton, Calif, where we were issued leggings. I have attached a photo showing me and 3 buddies at Tent Camp 2 wearing leggings under our barely visible bloused utilities. From a few photos I have, I am also shown wearing them for formal events with dress greens, but also some times no leggings while in utilities, so I guess they weren't worn for all events.
I don't remember when we stopped wearing leggings, but I don't remember wearing then while in Korea in 1951, nor any time subsequent to the war (I served three tours of duty, to 1959).
Hope this helps.
Victor R. Rolando
Dare To Be Dull Club
It's interesting to see how the tradition of dress blues spans through the generations of Marines. Yes our dress uniform is well... let's say... noticeable. The Marine that felt that it is was gaudy or ostentatious was right... but that's the point. The Marine Corps is not a low profile service, we're the few... the proud and hey check out this uniform, bet you wish you had the intestinal fortitude to earn the right to wear it! Aren't I pretty?
I was in '61-'65. I didn't earn one a set, nor buy a set, like most of the Marines I served with.
Because early on I was a member of the "dare to be dull club". If you invested in a set of Dress Blues it implies you have some place worthy of wearing them e.g. the Marine Corps Ball, a ceremony, something... And you had to store and take care of them. Most of the Marines I knew that had Blues were married and had a home to protect and keep them. Or, they regularly commuted to their homes in the real world. As to barracks... I don't ever remember anyone who had a set of Blues in their lockers. And if you did... would the brass want to inspect them? On top of that they were relatively expensive. So no Blues.
I only regretted it once. I went home to be best man at my best friend's wedding. Nothing fancy, Justice of the Peace approach. But photos were taken after words. I wore a civilian suit which I had from before I enlisted. Afterward he said he thought I'd wear my uniform... and he meant Blues to put some snazziness into the ceremony. I would have, if he'd given me a heads up, but it never occurred to wear a uniform.
Water under that bridge. But somewhat later his sister also got married. This one wasn't the Justice Of The Peace route but a real wedding, with reception. I wasn't in the party, but I thought I'd wear dress blues. I still didn't want to buy them, and after seeing if I could borrow a set that might fit, someone pointed out what should have been obvious. I could rent them. After all Jacksonville is a base town and you can find anything you need.
Time was a wasting by the time I figured this out, and with some p!ss poor prior planning in play, with a dollop of procrastination, I rented a set of blues with E4 stripes in place in the nick of time... which almost did the trick. I thought I tried them on... but when I got up to Jersey the pants fit perfect and the jacket was way too snug. So I made a command decision and declared undress blues OK for the day.
I have one picture in blues other than the one the photographers conjure up when you enlist. I went home with a friend who like I said had blues... at home. Perfect fit for a photo.
By no means am I putting the uniform down. In the minds of the masses when you say "Marine" they see Dress Blues. So did we before we enlisted, seeing ourselves in them.
Cpl Don Harkness
Close To The Runway
Hey Sgt Grit,
After seeing the photo of the plane over MCRDSD, I got to digging in my photos and found one I shot while I was as going through BES/RFS/Ground Radio Repair. I was in C&E Schools Bn. when I took the photo. We were at the north end of MCRD close to the runway. On foggy mornings we would watch for recruits trying to go AWOL across the runway.
Note the runners in the foreground.
Sgt. A. Wong USMCR
What's Up Sarge
One more story: We were in final phase (Plt. 1097 November '71) and on the grinder. We were taking a break(?) and a United 727 roared down the runway and headed up into the sky. Sgt. Rufus Kennedy, our "favorite" DI, followed the plane till it was out of sight. He then turned to us and asked if any of us Privates were from Chicago. A few hands were raised. He gave us his mean little grin and said, "You just missed the 2:25 flight home." Fast forward to 2/12 Battalion Supply Okinawa, 1974. We were shooting the breeze and the conversation turned to Boot Camp, PI vs SD etc. We then tried to decide who had the meanest DI ever. I mentioned Sgt. Kennedy, and this got the attention of our SSgt. He described him to me, and it began to dawn on me that these two Marines knew each other. Not only that, but he was there, in the Regimental S-4 shop! So, I scuffed up my boots, untucked my blouse, jacked my cover to the back of my head, and diddy-bopped into Sgt. Kennedy's office. What's up, Sarge, I said; he looked up, and started laughing. We spent a few minutes getting caught up. He was waiting to get PCSed back to MCRD and go back to the Drill Field as an Instructor at the DI school. We did grab some sake and fried rice one memorable night, and then he was gone. Fast forward AGAIN; it's the early 80's and I am beginning my new career as a Firefighter/EMT in my hometown (Spokane, WA) The crew was gathered around the TV, watching 60 minutes, and there was a story about the racial tension in Hayward,CA, between the mostly white police force and the mostly black citizens there. As the story progressed, it was mentioned that the only friendly face on the force was a black officer named Rufus Kennedy. They put up a photo, and I just about fell out of my chair. My brother firefighters commented that it looked like I seen a ghost. I replied no, just one of my DI's. Rufus, if you're out there somewhere, Semper FI.
USMC 71-75 1/14, 1/5 2/12
Son of Sgt. (E-4) Stew EGGERS USMC '45-'49 (China Marine) RIP 3/12
And Nephew of Col. RF EGGERS '58-'81 (Viet Nam 2 times) RIP 4/10
Changing Places With The Dogs
A Voyage to the land of the big PX Finally! Our two years on the rock were over. Didn't think the day would ever come. Our transport was a converted ocean liner operated by the Merchant Marine sailing from Honolulu to San Francisco in the Land of the Big PX. On board were a few hundred Marines and dependents of the officers and senior non-coms and their pets. The Marines were separated from the dependents on the upper deck by a rope that went from port to starboard through the cabin. Dependents were aft and Marines were in the forward section with the dog kennels and strict orders to stay away from the dependents. The reason for the separation became abundantly clear on that first day on deck when we noticed that the dependents included a whole lot of attractive girls. Several of these beauties would promenade together at certain times of the day walking the circuit from port to starboard through the cabin wearing shorts and slacks that accentuated their comeliness. Word passed quickly amongst the troops of an interesting way to spend our days on the cruise by observing this parade. It started small with just a few Marines gathering first on the port side to witness the "coming" and then running to the starboard side to witness the "going" and remarking on our favorite views. It didn't take long before several hundred Marines were running from port to starboard. This set the ship in a rocking motion that caught the attention of the Captain who warned us that we would be changing places with the dogs if we continued the practice. And so, we spent the rest of the cruise in anticipation of Frisco liberty and our return to the fabled "Land of the Big PX" without the distraction of a rocking and rolling ship.
Cpl. 1960 - 1964
Good Night, Guide
Here are a few things I remember:
Drilling on the parade deck at MCRD San Diego and watching those planes take off from the San Diego airport. That was a heartbreaker, as was being able to look into the surrounding hills and see actual civilian houses where we knew people were doing normal civilian things like eating breakfast while reading a newspaper, drinking beer and watching television in bed.
I also heard my senior Drill Instructor, SSgt. Ponder, tell one particularly f-cked up recruit: "I wish you were in the Russian army so I could shoot you in the head!"
And, at lights out at Edson range:
DI: "Good night, guide."
DI: "Good night, guide!"
DI: "I said good night, guide! Aren't you going to wish me a good night?!"
Guide: "Good night, sir!"
DI: "What! Did you speak after lights out, you sh-tbird?! Get outta that rack! I'm gonna PT you until you know how the f-ck to act!"
Ah, memories. The older we get, the sweeter they are.
Sgt. Bill Federman
I'm proud to be a Marine and I frequently wear the Eagle, Globe and Anchor on articles of clothing and always on my car, but when talking casually about my military service, especially with strangers, I just usually say that I was in the service. It helps to keep the conversation on track, because to say that one served in the Corps, almost always elicits an emotional response, sometimes good, sometimes bad. You know how those other branches of the service are with their self-esteem issues.
Mostly people don't have to ask what branch of the service I was in after getting to know me. It's part of who I am and even at a more advanced age and girth, the Corps shines through.
"Marines show their pride. We were in the Marine Corps, not the service."
USMC '67-'71, RVN '68-'69
All The Trimmings
I remember some yahoo in boot-camp who was asked by the DI in a grab asz session during one of the lighter moments one Sunday - Private - answer me truthfully please as we are at ease for a few moments - private says okay - He asks, "Private what was the best "scr-wing" he ever got - guy thinks for a few moments and says to the DI - "When I joined the Marine Corps Sir!" It really made me laugh for a few minutes and I almost cried laughing so hard!
Once at Henderson Hall - we were getting ready for an inspection and we buffed the linoleum floors - that were old as sh-t naturally. We used an old heavy duty buffer that was a b!tch to control - not brawn but finesse always worked. Needed heavy upper body strength to press down shoulders, while not over-compensating and hitting the bulkheads?
I mastered this by having a light weight Sgt. named Gelb - Jewish guy from NY - sit on the buffer in his jockey shorts as his pant cuffs would get caught in revolving brushes and eat the pant leg up! After a while the buffer got hot and his asz would get burn marks - and he once had to go to sick-bay for ointment to apply to rash like mark. Can't make this up? Guys would bust his shoes in the shower and ask him if he wore his undershorts backwards!
The NCO club had mixed drinks for a quarter - and steaks for a few dollars for steak and fries? The three songs that were played on the juke box were Hang on Sloopy and Jeremiah was a Bullfrog - and Woolly Bully all three all night long. We sang Hang on Pu--y to Hang on Sloopy - and one night in town on the strip off of the base some cracker puts in a few dollars in the old record machine and plays Woolly Bully about 20 times - one Marine pulls the plug on the machine and a fight breaks out - the cracker gets pizsed and says I want to hear my favorite record "Wooly Bully" and the Marine says, "Hey! How about I Wooly Bully your cracker Asz?" Chairs flew and heads got smashed, and I sat at a table laughing and yelling for another beer!
The women at the NCO Club on Saturday nights ordered Singapore Slings - and stuck their tongues out (they turned out real red from contents of drinks). Some of the drunker women (women Marines in civvies and some of the visiting women also stuck out their tongues as well). Some of us lucky Marines would naturally try to l-ck their tongues as they were syrupy and sweet. The Staff NCO who was in charge of the Club - was also the bartender and bouncer - looked like Jim Brown the football player - he finally decided one night as a bartender did not show up on a Saturday Night (busiest night at the bar) he broke the shaker glass and the Singapore Sling fad ended real fast. Bartender Staff NCO was a real nice friendly guy - and one night the friendly bartender tells three Marines arguing - and getting very loud - "Either you get real quiet or someone should call the nearest medical facility as we will need at least 3 racks for you clowns?" It is amazing as how these intoxicated Marines knew to knock it off and leave very quietly.
Usually once a week we had steak and all the trimmings for Supper- juicy steaks and all the trimmings - I never ate a pork chop in my young life until joining the Marines! I do not think I had sausage either - or a host of other foods. A pleasant learning curve ensued! We had cold-cuts... which some Gunny called "Pony Peter". The names that the Staff NCO's came up with was a riot. One L/Cpl was given an assignment to complete and was interested in writing his girl back home on the sly instead of working - the Sgt. told him to get to stepping or "his azs would be grass, and the s/sgt. would be a power mower." Or the time one p!ssed off gunny - told a Navy CPO that he should practice going outside and falling down a few times if he intended to escalate the argument, and also said "If concrete was bullsh!t, you'd be the flight-line."
I entered boot camp at MCRD PI on 15 July 1951 and was issued leggings to be worn over boondockers. It was part of the standard issue, and they were worn in Korea by Marines. Combat boots were not in the USMC system yet.
Do not attack the First Marine Division. Leave the yellow legs alone. Strike the American Army. Orders given to Communist troops in the Korean War; shortly afterward, the Marines were ordered to not wear their khaki leggings.
Being a Marine isn't everything... it's the ONLY thing.
Gerald T. Pothier
Capt. USMC (Ret)
In The Dress
Thought you would get a kick out of this. The guy in the dress is me, the guy in flight gear is my son, LtCol. Jeffries C.O. VMFA-112. The occasion is 112's return from a six month west PAC deployment.
Shot Better Than I Did
It's been some time since my last response to something I've read in your great newsletter. Two articles in this week's edition (16Jan2014) prompted me to reply. A couple of articles involved competitive shooters, and another related to the Marine Raiders. Both topics reminded me of a Marine with whom I served during my last assignment on active duty (January 1968 - May 1969) at HQ Bn, FMFLant, aboard old Camp Elmore--no longer in existence--in Norfolk, VA.
My job during that 17-month assignment was "Assistant S-4/Embarkation Officer." My desk was next to that of the senior SNCO in the "4-Shop," MSgt William Arrington. "Top" Arrington, who happened to be a fellow Texan, and a prolific teller-of-stories, was also a competitive pistol shooter. In addition, he informed me that he had served during WW2 as a member of 2nd Raider Bn (the source of several of his stories).
Regarding his experience as a shooter:
At The Basic School, I had shot "Marksman" with the .45 and "Sharpshooter" with the M-14. I don't remember being required to shoot on a range in RVN. (The first time I shot "Expert" with a rifle was with the M-16, while in the Reserves.) Norfolk was my next assignment after my 'Nam tour. When I had to re-qualify with the .45, "Top" took me "under his wing," He had me come back to the base after-hours and meet him at the indoor pistol range, where he gave me some pointers. (Incidentally, I remember at least one night when my wife accompanied me, and shot better than I did--she had a steadier hand.)
Top gave me a "trick" to practice at home before re-qual:
He had me use a lead pencil with an eraser to make a small black dot on a sheet of white paper and attach the paper to a wall, with the dot at eye-level. I put the pencil into the bore of the unloaded pistol with the eraser against the firing pin, cocked the weapon, and held it in a shooter stance, with the muzzle very close to the paper. I sighted on that black dot, and while focusing on my breathing and sight-picture, I squeeze the trigger. That would propel the pencil forward, making a mark on the paper. The object was to obtain a tight pattern of dots as close as possible to the one I had made on the paper.
On "Qual" Day, my first round was dead-center in the black. Unfortunately, I didn't have the same results with all of the subsequent rounds, but I did manage to score "Sharpshooter".
I have remembered "Top" Arrington often since leaving active duty, and I wonder if any of your readers might have served with him.
Once a Captain, USMCR, always a Marine!
TBS Class 4-66 (Mar-Aug66)
Reserves: Aug69-Oct75 (C & D Cos. 4th Recon Bn, NAS Corpus Christi, TX, later combined and re-designated as C/1/23)
Marines Standing Guard 1911
Here's Marines standing guard, next to a brick wall that had been hit by some sort of explosion, in what appears to be a dress blue uniform. The year was 1911 in Peking, China.
LeRoy A. Townsend
2nd Bn, 3rd Marines
Throw It At The Planes
In regards to the planes at MCRD San Diego, Brennan used to take off his smokey and throw it at the planes that were taking off while he was talking to us. Also Brennan had a 1965 mustang, straight stick and he had 4 turds designated as Pvt Delcos. When he hollered they would run out and push his car down the road and he would drop the clutch when he got going fast enough and drive away, also had Pvt Zippo. When he smoked he would holler Pvt Zippo and 1 pvt would run up and light his cigarette, he had Pvt Bordens and Pvt Sanka.
Being From The Old Corps
Love your "newsletter".
Jack Strumpf, GySgt Rousseau, and maybe some others were talking about the "boondockers" and leggings from the old days.
I enlisted 8 July 1952 in Milwaukee, WI and went to MCRD in San Diego. On or about 12 July 1952 we received our initial clothing issue. When we walked out of there we were a somewhat strange looking bunch as we were not all wearing the same uniforms. Some of us were issued the rough-hewn lower cut "boondockers" while others were issued the taller black smooth leather lace up boots. Some of us received what we were told were old WW2 style dungaree jackets with one large pocket while the rest of us got the newer ones with the four pockets. The same was true with the dungaree trousers, some were the newer style while others got the old ones with the huge "hand grenade" pockets on each side as well as all the way across the back. Some of us were issued six sets of summer Khakis while a few were issued one set of gabardines and four sets of Khakis. Most of us were issued one green wool dress shirt while a very few did not. We were issued one green blouse and one green "Ike" jacket.
Why the difference? We were told it was because they were trying to get rid of all the old stuff and thereafter everyone would be the same. What you got depended upon your size. One recruit asked the Officer in charge, "Where's our dress blues?" To which the Lieutenant replied, "We only issue them to peace time Marines." In three years in the Marine Corps I never got close enough to a Set of Blues to touch them. I also never saw a set of leggings in those same three years.
Our Drill Instructors did not wear the Stetson "smokey the bear" headgear, but instead wore good old fashioned pith helmets. Ever get cracked across the bridge of your nose with a pith helmet? Can put your lights out in the blink of an eye. If you did, you would remember it. Actually there were a few older guys I ran into in Korea who had pith helmets they were issued at one time. They're pretty nice in hot sunny weather.
While in Korea we were told that by the time we got back to CONUS we would have to have our "boondockers" spit shined black. The story going around was that the lower boots were for pilots while the taller ones were for the grunts. I don't ever remember seeing any pilots wearing anything but the shorter boondocker or a dress shoe depending upon which uniform he was wearing.
When we left Korea aboard the USNS General A. W. Brewster we were also told to keep out one winter "dress" uniform. Everyone kept out their Ike jacket and not their blouse. Upon arrival at Treasure Island we were told that Headquarters Marine Corps had banned the wearing of the Ike jacket off base (in public). The Colonel did give the gate guards the order to allow us to go on liberty for the next two days wearing the Ike jacket. Unfortunately some of the Armed Forces Police in San Francisco didn't get the word and some guys had problems with them.
In Sgt Grit's news, web site etc. I see a lot of stuff regarding a KA-BAR. I have guessed, but what the devil is a KA-BAR knife? I never saw one in my three years in the Corps. I also never saw a Gunnery Sergeant nor a Lance Corporal during my three years. They were telling us E-4 Sergeants that we were going to be changed to Lance Corporals, but that did not occur until after I left. There were seven enlisted pay grades then. And two different grades of Warrant Officer. And you don't want to hear about the silly idea they had for "Troop and Stomp". I have to believe the retention rate pretty much went to you know where back then.
But the Corps carried on in spite of all that. I think that based on all this I must qualify as being from the Old Corps.
I must agree with those who have expressed the opinion before, the Marine green dress uniform is a very sharp looking one and gets my vote for the best there is.
Stewart, Terrance W.
Sergeant USMC 1318xxx Sir!
The FLIGHT LINE
Submitted by: Marine Jim McCallum (the old gunny)
Vol. #7, #11 (Nov., 2017)
In this issue of the Flight Line I'm going to cover some of my experiences with the H-43 Husky or the helicopter that the Air Force accepted to do their crash and rescue work on base, and in the close proximity of their bases. It also performed a number of other functions such as search, rescue and Air Ambulance service while at the various air bases around the world. I guess I was one of a very few that had the opportunity to work around this aircraft after I retired and I became pretty proficient at solving some of its design and flight problem, and some I'm still scratching my head about. Thank goodness I had several former Air Force Mechanics that knew their way around this old bird. And, I don't mean me! If you remember, we talked about how we decided on using this aircraft and after we acquired them we pressed forward, but I didn't tell you about some of the problems that we had.
It's hard to pick a starting point, but I'll just jump in and go for it. While this aircraft was in the Government's Inventory there was, or seemed to be an endless supply of new or barely used spare parts. Well, by the time that we got the aircraft into our (the States) inventory we were to learn that most of those spares had either been crushed or sold as scrap at auction. Finding serviceable spare parts was a real challenge. I went all over the country rounding up spares. And, as I said before, rotor blades were a major problem as were a lot of the small parts, such as bearings, etc. Well, we rounded up what we could and then another hiccup entered the playing field. We had a bunch of former Air Force helicopter pilots and they were accustomed to flying a 'perfect bird' while they were in service, but we couldn't always meet those standards. If it wasn't as smooth as silk then they didn't want to fly it. By this, I mean a 'flap bearing' might be a rough, but at least it was doing its designed function. I remember that we had a former MARINE Lt. Col. pilot and he was as good as gold to work with. His aircraft and his his crew were the best. You could at least talk to him to the point of understanding. Our other pilots would get out of the aircraft, and go sit down some place in the hanger. Needless to say, that didn't sit well with the mechanics. I mentioned 'flap bearings' a few sentences back, well, they were the biggest glitch. Flap bearings were always needing replacing. We used to carry an extra one in our pockets because every time we went near the aircraft the pilot would ask if we would replace the 'flap bearings'. If we would replace them that would require 4 bearings at about $65 each. Just for the sake of having a bird that didn't fly as smooth as it used to when they were new.
Remember: Quality, commensurate with cost, and the intended use of the hardware. Using this guideline will help get you to where your going and allow you to arrive there safely.
The Other Colonels Were Amused
Would have been no later than the fall of 1967... having arrived at 29 Palms on Memorial Day, was assigned as the 2nd Lt. OrdO and S-4 gopher in 5th Field Artillery Group... at the time, the Corps was transitioning her larger caliber self-propelled artillery pieces from the M-53 (155MM) and the M-55 (8") to the newer family of open turret SP pieces, and had not yet adopted the 175MM gun, although both the 8" and 175MM used a common chassis. We had part of one battery of new 8" tubes at the Stumps... probably 5th 8", and two of the tubes were elsewhere... probably Hawaii (it's been a long time, and things were changing fairly rapidly at the time)... Anyway, there was a demonstration shoot set up out in what was known as Bravo I and Bravo II area... about where the training village is today, and of course there were stars and eagles on the collars of several of the observers. Nothing fancy, like a canopy with chairs, just a bunch of senior officers standing in the sand to the rear of the firing line. The new howitzer had an aspect in its loading drill that was different from the old... there was a tray, with four handles on it, that was used to carry the projectile to the rear of the piece... and to pick it up and pivot it over to place the projo in position for the power rammer to seat it in the breech, there were two arms, powered by hydraulics, that swung aft, over the recoil spade. The gun bunnies with the projo in the tray would hook the tray onto these arms, and the hydraulics would do the heavy lifting. (a 8' HE round weighed 204 pounds, plus or minus a couple pounds). As the first fire mission was called, the gun bunnies hopped into action, and as they approached from the ready ammo pit, I heard one of the Colonels start to ask a question... which, ever the alert and helpful 2ndLt, assumed to be about the projectile tray... it was, after all, sorta new... so I popped right in there with "Sir, that is the projectile... intending to further elaborate with 'tray' and a short brief on how it would marry up with the loading arms... alas, I got no further than 'projectile'... when the Colonel, who quite likely was a veteran of WWII and Korea, said "Thank you, Lieutenant... I wouldn't have known". The other Colonels were amused... and although I might have found a rock to crawl under, I am sure the ruddy hue of my cheeks would have revealed my position anyway...
Couple days ago was sitting around the country store at morning coffee time... guy I know came in with a younger gentleman, unknown to us, and introduced one of his sons-in-law... who had 'the look'... short hair, strong handshake, polite, and his father-in-law said "He's in the military... an Army Ranger"... so I got to say "well, close, anyway" then having jerked his chain, confessed to my status as USMC, Retired. (uncovered, and wearing a FD sweatshirt) Since most of the regular attendees at the store had a hitch in one of our sister services, I commented that when one encountered a NOLAD Marine, he'd say so... and one who had been in the Army would so state, as would a Sailor claim the Navy... but... guarantee, a USAF blue-suiter will say something along the lines of "well, when I was in the Military..." All hands, including the young Ranger, agreed that they had observed this very thing. We sent the Ranger off with our best wishes... then today, I was in the sauna (you'd expect something different from somebody with 3 tours at the Stumps?) the subject of east coast current weather came up... and sure enough, this guy about 70 said "Well, when I was in the military, up at Dover, New Hampshire"... sure enough, a retired blue-suiter engine mech. He was a little surprised when I said "Pease Air Force Base, right?... used to jog around there when up that way in my civilian job... he said he usually worked in 'transient maintenance'... and was on 24 hours, off 48... like a fireman. (let him slide on that one... am getting soft).
Lost And Found
After reading about the reunion of 1st tanks in the January 22nd newsletter, I got to thinking about a reunion of Marine Corps Flame Tankers. I and my buddy Cpl. Sentell were both in Flame Tanks at Camp Lejeune in 1965-1966. I was also in Flame Tanks in 1st tanks 1963-1964, 3rd tanks in 1964-1965, and 2nd tanks in 1965-1966. I was also in Chu Lai, Vietnam in 1965 on F-13 in 1965. Flame tanks were part of H&S Company in all 3 tank battalions. Just wondering if any Marines out there were a part of this unique group of Marine Tankers. If please let us know.
Cpl. Sentell 1961-1966
Cpl. Andre 1962-1966
Anyone who served with me in H&S Co, 2nd. Bn., 4th. Marines in 1957-1958-1959 please contact.
Cpl. William Krock
I regret to say on 1-17-14 the Marine Corps lost a great Marine. John James McGinty III was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism in Vietnam. He was the last of my three Drill Instructors, as a Sgt. from August til November 1962 Platoon 258. A few years ago I was able to reconnect with McGinty and we had a few phone conversations. My senior Drill Instructor was Sgt. Ogle, he served in Korea and Vietnam and retired as a Sgt. Major with thirty years of service. My other Drill Instructor was Cpl. Taylor, he was killed in Vietnam as a S/Sgt. and was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.
I guess I have to put my two cents in about leggings. In '53 I was issued boon Dockers and leggings. When I returned to Camp Lejeune in '55, I stood a junk on the bunk and got chewed out by the 1stSgt And CO for not having combat boots. Shortly thereafter, I was given the paper work and went to clothing issue and got 2 pairs of combat boots.
E. A. Heisey
Those two fine men were, indeed, Marines. I went through boot camp at 'Diego' in July, August, of 65'. At the end of our training we were marched into the theater, ordered 'seats' and waited for something to happen. After a few minutes out walked the Everly Brothers. They informed us that they also went through MCRD and then proceeded to sign some songs.
That was an example of Marines giving back. I have tried to give back in any way I can since my discharge. Let's help a Marine Vet as we have the ability to do so.
C Co, 1/9
RE: Jack Stumpf; Don't know why in the h-ll those Marine MPs in Seoul ('53) made me and Buddy un-cuff our utilities and blouse them over our leggings... confused.
WaltV USMC '52-'60
A hat has a brim all the way around.
A cap does not.
Both are properly referred to as covers.
Please save your readers time by using the right words.
J S Bonkowski, 1stSgt USMC (Ret)
Issued in WWII and we were still wearing them in Korea in 1951. The word was that the g--ks would avoid contact with "the yellow legs", if possible.
H.J. Sydnam, B-1-5, "The Baker Bandits"
In response to Sgt. J.H. Hardin's "Marine Corpsman" in this week's newsletter. I could not let your Inspirational words and feelings written from the heart go unnoticed... As a Marine Corpsman, Thank you for the recognition and your words you wrote.
Frank "Doc " Morelli
3rd Mar Div Nam '67-'68
I was in the Corps from '47-'52. Got to Korea in Sept '50, came back Nov '51, and we did have leggings in Korea.
One Chinese commander gave orders to his lesser commander "Don't engage the soldiers with the yellow legs". The Chinese knew what the leggings meant.
Cpl George Seper
"It's not the stars or bars you have, not what you wear on your sleeve or shoulder, that determines what you are. It's what you wear on you collar-The Eagle, Globe, and Anchorâ€”that puts you in the brotherhood of the Marines."
--Brigadier General Carl Mundy, USMC
"Honor, worthily obtained, is in its nature a personal thing, and incommunicable to any but those who had some share in obtaining it."
"The first and last thing required of genius is the love of truth."
"The raising of that flag on Suribachi means a Marine Corps for the next five hundred years."
--James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy; 23 February 1945 (the flag-raising on Iwo Jima had been immortalized in a photograph by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal)
"I have just returned from visiting the Marines at the front, and there is not a finer fighting organization in the world!"
--General of the Armies Douglas MacArthur; Korea, 21 September 1950
"Gangway! Make a hole!"
"Stand by to fall out!"
"Aye, aye, sir!"
"Aye, aye, sir!"
"I have worn out more sea-bags than you have socks."
"The Navy was our mother,
The Marine Corps was our father,
They were never married,
I am on proud b-stard!"
Fair winds and following seas.