Sgt Grit Newsletter - 31 July 2014

In this issue:
• Mother Mattis
• Necessity Is the Mother Of Invention
• The Marine Corps Also Changed

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Korean Era Ka-Bar, 1911A1 Pistol, 1911R1 BB Pistol

Sgt Grit,

Thought you may be interested in these items; Ka-bar from 1950s, Korean era; Springfield Armory 1911A1 w/USMC grips; lower pistol Remington 1911R1 (actually a CO2 powered BB automatic, fires full magazine of 18 BBs as fast as you can pull the trigger).

Semper Fi,
James R. McMahon
GySgt of Marines (1949-1970)

Dramatically Different Lifestyle

Sgt. Grit,

I have just finished reading your latest newsletter. As usual, it was exceptional. Your newsletters continues to stimulate my memories.

In this latest newsletter, Jack W. wrote, "Oh, dear God, what have I done." when the receiving Drill Instructor yelled, "Get off My F'ing bus."

As a former Drill Instructor, I can testify that every recruit I ever trained asked himself that same question at some point during training. Most recruits ask themselves that question sometime the first week or so. I have had some recruits who didn't ask themselves that question until second phase or early third phase. Asking yourself that question is, in fact, a transition that takes you from the scuzzy civilian life to accepting where you are now and doing your best to meet the requirements to graduate recruit training.

Most recruits get past that transition on their own without much help. On the other hand, some need encouragement such as incentive PT. The recruits who don't get through the transition are the recruits who don't successfully complete recruit training. And there is almost nothing a Drill Instructor can do to help recruits who can't or won't make that transition. The answer to that question is absolutely unimportant, if there truly is an answer. What's actually important is getting past the question and accepting the dramatically different lifestyle. Those men become Marines.

Semper Fi!

A Former Hat
GySgt, USMC, (Ret)

USMC 239th Birthday KA-BAR

Mother Mattis

I read your latest newsletter containing quite a few quotes attributed to General Mattis. I had the pleasure of meeting the General a few years ago at a Rotary Club luncheon in Richland, Washington. I have a friend, Phil Lemlely, who not only volunteers with me at the food bank, but is a veteran Marine and a Richland city councilman. Phil was the Rotary Club program chairman with responsibility for arranging guest speakers at these luncheons. Phil knew that General Mattis had family in the Richland area, but no idea who or where. Phil tried contacting the General thru the Yakima Reserve Unit and Marine headquarters in Washington, D.C. He received no response in either case. One day Phil was going door to door campaigning for re-election to the Richland city council and came upon a home with a Marine Corps logo on the door. He was greeted by an elderly lady and when he asked about the logo, she replied that her son was in the Marine Corps. Phil told her that he had been in the Marine Corps 40 years ago. She said her son has been in the Marine Corps for almost 40 years. Phil asked the lady for the name of her son. She said Mattis. So you are the General's mother and she replied yes. After a few minutes, Phil explained how he had made many attempts to contact the General to have him speak at a Rotary Club luncheon. Phil thanked Mrs. Mattis and thought that was the end of it.

He left his city business card with her. Several weeks later Phil received an email from the General indicating when he would be visiting Richland and would gladly speak to the Rotary club. I attended the speech and was amazed how much information he imparted to the attendees about events in Iraq. The speech took around 45 minutes to an hour without a teleprompter and sans any "ers" or "ahs". The General also returned a second time to speak at the Rotary Club annual district 5080 conference. Phil had an opportunity to sit and talk to the General at his mom's home. He said, for an old non-com, it was an amazing experience. The memory of the General standing in front of him in his dress uniform with the stars and ribbons still sends a chill up Phil's spine. Phil still communicates with the General by email. I have urged Phil to get signed up for your newsletter and he promised to do so.

Dan Suter

Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention

M1903 Springfield

Sgt Grit,

In reading some of the past articles concerning Marines making various modifications to equipment to suit their needs, I recalled a couple of small things my Dad told me when I was a teen-ager. Dad was a Pfc. with the 3rd Special Weapons Battalion, 9th Marines, 3rd Marine Division.

Growing up in Wyoming, big game hunting was an accepted way of life, especially in small towns. My first deer-hunting rifle was an old military surplus M1903 Springfield still packed in cosmoline. I think I paid a whopping $20 for it back in 1958. Dad and I sat outside his shop next to the house with a cleaning kit, rags, brushes and a large pan of gasoline (anyone who has ever gotten a rifle packed in cosmoline knows that gasoline is about the only sure way of getting all that heavy grease out). He showed me how to strip the '03 all the way down and thoroughly clean each part. This chore must have triggered some memories for as we were sitting there cleaning, he began reminiscing.

He said that on Guadalcanal in 1943, several of the Marines had removed the Springfield's floor plate and spot-soldered a BAR magazine where the floor plate was, giving them 25 rounds instead of the usual five-round clips.

On Guam in 1944, he said, many of the Japanese were drunk during their banzai attacks as the Japanese military had a vast store of liquor on Guam. With the lethal combination of extreme Japanese fanaticism as well as a belly full of liquor, they were harder to stop during an attack even after being hit. Many of the Marines took wire cutters and clipped the tips off the full metal jacket cartridges making them into "dum-dum" rounds. He said that beyond a hundred yards or so they weren't very accurate but God help anything within that range. Modifying rifle cartridges into dum-dum rounds was forbidden by the Rules of the Geneva Convention. However, the Marines agreed that none of the officials in the Geneva Convention were on Guam facing banzai attacks of screaming hordes of drunken Japanese soldiers.

Today's Marines probably wouldn't be all that interested in what our fellow Marines did 70 years ago, but it's a small part of our heritage.

Jack Wise

The Marine Corps Also Changed

Sgt. Grit,

When I enlisted we wore Leather Belts on our Greens (I think I still have mine somewhere) and after the War was over, sometime in the late 1940's they started issuing the cloth belts. I went home on leave about 1949 and a guy, a WWII Marine Vet, asked me why I was wearing an Officers belt on my Greens. I told him the sorry facts that with the changing world the Marine Corps also changed.

What was neat however, the Blues now had pockets on them but like my Greens Pockets I had them sewed up, (there were no rear pockets on the greens). Now I had a slim figure of a Marine, no bulges. We carried our cigarettes in one sock and our billfold in the other sock.

Funny thing after the War, don't remember exactly when but only the Corporal of the Guard and Sgt. of the Guard carried pistols, the rest of us carried cigarettes in our beautifully polished holsters. Night Sticks were carried on Guard Duty and usually they had to be in their carrier on the pistol belt.

I was doing Sentry Duty at SF Naval Shipyards at the time, a Prisoner took a Shotgun from his Marine Guard, knocked him down aimed the shotgun at his face, worked the slide and pulled the trigger with only a click coming from the shotgun.

We were then armed with pistols and shotguns and went to YBI to help chase down the armed prisoner. We found the reason the shotgun didn't go off was because of the Brass shotgun shells that are unloaded and reloaded with every changing of the Guard, the Brass shotgun shells were so bent they wouldn't function in the pump shotgun. The Prisoner was locked in Solitary Cell at Yerba Buena Naval Brig, Treasure Island, California, later sent to a Prison closest to his home.

So many prisoners were in Naval Prisons, they closed some Naval Prisons and shipped Prisoners to State Prisons near their home of record. Some interesting stories are to be had from transporting Prisoners cross country on Trains with leg irons and handcuffs, being waltzed to the Mess Car for their meals through cars with Moms and Dads holding their children away from the center aisle.

To get these prisoners transferred, Marines were sent from duty stations such as Naval Base's, places where they could adjust the Guard Roster. These were the days when our old Friend Harry Truman showed what he thought about the Marines and tried to get Congress to have only the U.S. Armed Forces which would effectively get rid of his Despised Marines. But the Commandant, a Guadalcanal Marine, made a speech that cut that cr-p off. BUT they did get the Marine Corps set at only 75,000 men could serve in our Corps at that time.

Then the North Korean's worked Old Harry over when they charged across the 38th Parallel and General MacArthur asked for a Brigade of Marines. Again the Naval Bases were stripped of Marine Guards and sent to Camp Pendleton to form the 1st Marine Brigade. Interesting also was the fact that the AWOL rate went up all over the East Coast with AWOL Marines turning themselves in at Camp Pendleton for duty with the 1st Marine Brigade.

All this happened in a space of a few years, Marines did as they have always done. Come forward to help dim the Chaos.

Is it any wonder we are admired by the World!

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired


About disrespect; I was in Nam in '68 , got out of the Corps in Jan '69, started college in 1970 at Broward Community in Ft Lauderdale. I attempted to get into a study group when some guy asked about my history. As soon as I told them, I was told NOT to get near their tables in the student union again. They said I could hang with my own kind at a table of veterans, of which there was about 5 guys at the Vets table. The other students would not talk or even acknowledge us. It got to the point where we got a kick out of saying hello to them, and having them report us to some kind of student hierarchy... screw 'em!

About 6 months later I started at The Forest Ranger School in Lake City, Florida. There were only 6 Vets in the Forestry school, we didn't fare any better there with the Community College kids. But we stuck together and held our heads high... Army, Navy and Marines. The rest of the guys in the forestry program, held us in high esteem.

Mark Gallant
USMC '66-'69
Chu Lai '68
VA Army Nat Guard '76-'79
US Army Medical Retired '80-'82
Rated 100% with the VA.

My mother was in a shopping Mall in Oklahoma City about 1969. She was approached by a young girl to sign an anti-war petition. My mother said she would not do it, her son was in Vietnam right now. The girl spit in her face. A man, a stranger, saw what happened and offered his handkerchief to help my Mom clean up.

I was in college on the GI Bill. This was early 1971. It was some kind of required social studies class. The professor asked us to fill out a personal info sheet. Military etc. was asked. I was picked to be on a 5 person panel about some non-military topic. I was set up! When the professor got to me she immediately went to Vietnam, Marine Corps etc. Interesting times, my poor mother did not deserve to be treated like that.

Sgt Grit

My Wife Quit Going

I joined the Corps in Sept 1958. I had been something of a "Smart Azs" during the 3 years I spent in High School and was "Encouraged" to consider joining the Marines, which I had the good sense to do. It's all a long story that I won't get into here. I was sworn in on 5 Sept 1958 for a 4-Year stint. I have three vivid memories of that day: The first was being one of five guys standing in front of a Marine Captain desk holding up my right arm and swearing to be a Good Marine or some such. The second was of eating my last civilian meal in a Waffle House in Macon, Georgia, where I was sworn in. The third was when our bus pulled into Parris Island around midnight that night. Three screaming guys wearing Smokey the Bear hats climbed onto the bus and started screaming their heads off at us to get off the bus QUICK! They beat the backs of the seats with their night sticks to encourage us to move rapidly. I recall that as I was stumbling off the bus I multiplied 365 times 4 and wondered what I had gotten into.

Fast forward to 2014: I go to the local Waffle House every Sept 5 or as close to that date as I can and reminisce about that fateful day in 1958. My wife quit going with me a long time ago but that's OK. She wouldn't have had anything much to do with me back in my Marine days either.

Bob M.
Sgt E-5, USMC
Sept 1958 to March 1963

Superb Actors

The X-1 and X-2 tests were questions about everything recruits had learned so far in their training. The X-1 was given at the end of the third week and the X-2 was given near the end of either the 8th week of training or 12th week of training.(Depending on the length of boot camp at the time). The questions were about the M-14, M-16, History and Traditions, First Aid, etc., etc. I don't believe the tests have the same name any more.

Almost every DI, including myself, would have each Private memorize a question when they were finished with the test because the questions were changed or re-worded all the time.

When you are finished with the test PRIVATE A--you will memorize question number one--PRIVATE B you will memorize question number 2 and so on before raising your hand to say you are finished with the test. The DI would then make copies of the new questions, provide the correct answers and give a copy to the secretary or Guide to read to the platoon whenever possible.

All recruits were supposed to be up-dated on current events and were given the time to read a Sunday newspaper during Free Time. During my second tour in 1967. The Company Commander held the first formal (third week) inspection. The C.O. stepped in front of Pvt numbnuts and asked a question about current events. Pvt numbnuts answered correctly. The C.O. then stepped in front of Pvt S---Bird and asked him who was Presley O'Bannon. The answer: Sir, I dunno, I only read the funny papers. Yes, DI's have to become superb actors to keep from laughing.

J L Stelling

You are correct, the X-1 and X-2 are no longer the name of the test given at boot camp. I am not for sure if it has changed since I went through MCRD San Diego in 2000, but during my training it was called PracApp (Practical Application).

It covered Marine Corps history and traditions, first aid, Marine Corps marksmanship history, Marine Corps and Navy ranks, General Orders, etc. The recruits that scored well on the intial PracApp test became know as our Knowledge recruits. They help everyone else in the platoon learn and memorize the material covered.

During our inspections (Company Commander, Battalion Commander) we normally we asked General Order, Marine Corps history, and Chain of Command questions. I don't recall current events being a read about or questioned.

If a recruit failed to pass the PracApp on the second go round then they would basically be tutored by the highest scoring recruits for a day or so, and then they would go back and test for a third time. I am not for sure what happened if they failed a third time... but the ever present threat from the Drill Instructors was that if you didn't pass then you would be recycled one week to another platoon. In my platoon, 2070 (Hotel Co), we all passed by the second test... no one wanted to stay any longer than they had to.

J. Williams

R&R Times Three Plus One

During Vietnam you got one R&R per tour. If you extended for 6 months you could come home for a month then return to do your next 6 months in country. I got 3 plus 1. I took my first R&R to Sydney, Australia. I extended, but instead of going home I asked if I could take another R&R, so I went back to Sydney. For my extension I got my third R&R, I went to Bangkok, Thailand. The plus one came in Okinawa. A Gunny from 11th Marines put a working party together to go to Okinawa and stage all the gear for the return of the 1stMarDiv sometime in '71. The gear was the seabags we each left there before getting on the bird to DaNang. So the Gunny, me a Sgt, and a working party of about 8 others was formed. We got on a C130 to Okinawa. We landed and the Gunny goes off to do what Gunny's do. He returns and says the work has been done. We can get back on the C130 we just got off of and return to DaNang, OR we can spend the allotted week in Okinawa with one stipulation. That I call him every morning at 8am with a head count that all is well. I look at my 8 Marine working party, they look like bobble head dolls nodding yes. So off we went for a free week in Okinawa.

Sgt Grit

HMR-161 and VMO-6

To GySgt. Jim McCallum:

I have been reading all your Posts on Sgt. Grit for the last two years. I thought you should get the correct info on the Marine Helicopter Squadrons such as HMR-161 and VMO-6. Due to the fact that I was in HMR-161 in Korea 1952 to 1953. VMO-6 was just down the road from HMR-161. HMR-161 was T.A.D. to the First Marine Division at that time. The fact was that we were trying to experiment with Vertical Envelopment at that time. We flew HRS-1&2 at that time. Now Helicopters are Organic to every Marine Division. HMR-161 is now HMM-161, I also was in HMM-261 at Cherry Point.

If you have any questions please contact me thru Sgt. Grit. Oh, by the way we did fly wounded to the Hospital, Repose around the clock with no GPS. at that time & flew replacements to the MLR. We supplied out Posts Vegas, Carson, & Reno also!

S/SGT. George S. Archie

Marine Tattoo Of The Week

Eagle, Globe, and Anchor Half Sleeve Tattoo

Eagle Globe and Anchor tattoo by artist David Mushaney.


(Vol #7, #5)

In the last paragraph of my letter of July 10th, 4th and 5th line, I said "We had a very nice conversation all the way." What I failed to tell you was that during that session she told me "My husband and I were separated in mid-June 1949 'military style'. I asked "What do you mean when you say 'military style'?" She was surprised that I did not know of this term. She said "If I had taken my son and departed, all of our friends and neighbors would have known of the split and it might have had a detrimental effect on his career. We moved into separate bedrooms, and this way nobody was the wiser. My husband will report in at his next duty station as a bachelor. My attorney filed a divorce action on the 1st of August. Now it's a countdown for two years."

Now back to my returning to the hotel. I asked the desk clerk if he had a room close to #912. He replied "Next door in 910 or 914 or across the hall?" I said "914 is okay." He said "The military rate is $10." (Kitty was quoted $20.) I told him that Mrs. C:_ had a military I.D. He pulled her chart and made a notation on it. He said she will get a credit when she checks out. I went up to #914. It was more than an hour since I left her and I knew she may have gone to sleep. But I wanted to talk with her. I dialed '912'. Her line was busy. I waited about 5 minutes and tried again. Her line was still busy. I waited another 5 minutes. Her line was still busy. I called the desk and said "Mrs. C:_ line has been busy since I got into my room. Can you cut in and tell her that she has an incoming call? He said "I can" - and he did. My phone rang and I picked it up. I said "Sgt Freas speaking." She asked "Where are you?" I told her what had happened and asked if she would care to continue our conversation. There was a long pause and then "I - don't - think - so!" I told her "Tell S: I will come by some weekend to take him to the zoo." She said "Oh, he will love that!" And as for you, Beautiful, you take good care of yourself." I told her "I am going to take a shower and do my teeth and hit the rack - that I would be dead to the world in an instant. I will leave my door unlocked. Should you change your mind you are welcome to come on over. You will have to shake me to get me awake. Good night." Within about 5 minutes I was under the covers and sawing wood.

I did not hear her open the door - or close it. I did not hear her get on the bed. But I felt something on my ear and started to open my eyes. I smelled that lovely Shalimar perfume. I looked up into those beautiful eyes. She was diagonally across the bed and kissed me on my ear. She was still wearing that white golf outfit. I got awake.

'til next week. The old, real old, real, real old (85) Master Gunny.

Harold T. Freas, Sr.


Submitted By: MARINE Jim McCallum (the ole gunny)
Vol. #9, #12 (Dec. 2019)

Part #5: (VMO-6, cont.)

The Monument in the SEMPER FIDELIS Park is shaped like an airfoils cross section and has the sixty-six (66) names on the squadron mates lost during conflicts and figures of the seven (7) different types of aircraft used by VMO-6 etched into it. The design is the work of Wayne Wright who incorporated the airfoil because it is essential to flight and it represents the core and the vitality of the squadron. The wing has been severed at it's tip and rests on edge rising from the ground. This is meant to depict the disruption of flight, the loss of life, and our eventual fall back to a place of rest, on earth. While the base of the wing is earthbound, it's tip is projected skyward suggesting the desire to rise again to the heavens. And so, through this structure we honor those squadron members who have fallen to rest on earth, but in memory and spirit still soar above the earth. A blessing was given by Chaplain Hannigan, and a wreath was laid next to the monument. A MARINE Buglar played Taps from afar, followed by a Bag Piped version of the MARINE CORPS hymn. Shortly after this a formation of three helicopters flew over the assembly, low and loud. The familiar "wop,wop,wop" of huey rotor blades brought back memories, some with smiles and some with tears.

The striking black VMO-6 monument that was dedicated during May's ceremony stands in the SEMPER FIDELIS Park at Quantico, Virginia, near the birthplace of the squadron more then 90 years prior. It represents a small but, very important part of VMO-6's history. The squadron soldiers were at the forefront of many MARINE Aviation firsts, from supplying ground forces during the Nicaraguan Campaign in the 1920's to Med-e-Vac operations in World War II. Squadron members employed MARINE helicopters tactically for the time during the Korean War, and then their armed helicopter escort operations in Vietnam paved the way for today's tactics. Although the VMO-6 squadron is inactive today, the people and their deeds haven't been forgotten.

Submitters Comments:

PLEASE remember, that I didn't write this article, I just submitted it because I thought there should be some recognition given. That credit should go to Gy/Sgt Paul Moore. Now, having said that, I might add that he gave his blessings for me to submit this to Sgt. Grit. Again, I'd like to take a minute to THANK HIM and all the members of VMO type units, plus anyone who served in one for making my job easier when I was fixing, and flying. Sometimes, we just don't get the opportunity to say THANKS enough!

In The Military

Happened to be at a wrap-up dinner for a state conference of Fire Chiefs (room, other than for the ladies, looked like a South American General's convention... one thing you can say about uniforms is that they aren't...) The usual hotel meeting room set up... head table on the dais, lectern for the speaker(s), and round tables of ten seats for the attendees... convivial group, and as usual, self-introductions to others at the table. The Chief seated to my right, sharp-looking young guy (at my age, most of the world looks 'young' to me...) gave his name, allowed that he had come into the Fire Service after a 21-year career "in the military" without mentioning branch. I smiled at him and said "you know that's a dead giveaway, don't you?... Air Force, right?" He had done that 21 years in AF crash crews (the guys who put on the Reynolds Wrap suits and walk into pools of burning jet fuel...). He admitted that indeed he had been a blue-suiter... have never seen it fail. If you were in the Army, you would say "well, I was in the Army for..." or, likewise, "when I was in the Navy" (no need to discuss Marines... if there's one in the room, he'll tell... if it's not obvious to begin with)... but AF vets invariably start out with "I was in the military"... bears truth to the saying "there's only two branches of the military... the Army and the Navy... the Air Force is a corporation, and the Marine Corps is a cult"... works for me...


Upcoming Events

Yountville BBQ Flier

Yountville BBQ Map

On Sunday, 21 September 2014, the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Northern California holds its annual YOUNTVILLE "ALL MARINE DAY" BBQ AND PICNIC. It is a free event to all Marines, Marine Veterans, FMF Corpsmen, their Families and Guests in camaraderie and brotherhood.

Please see our PDF of the event and map.

The Veterans Home of California, founded in 1884, is located in the heart of scenic wine country of Napa Valley; famous for its many wineries and vineyards. (Napa Sonoma Mendocino Wineries).

If you plan on attending all we ask is to let us know you will be coming and the number in your party for sufficient food supplies.

- BBQ Tri Tip/Chicken Meal & Drinks Awards and Prizes!
- 14-Piece Live Swing Band – 40's Music
- USMC Vehicle & Weapons Display

Please contact: Using Subject Line: YOUNTVILLE "ALL MARINE DAY" BBQ AND PICNIC.

Point of Contact emails:

Short Rounds

Jack W. responded to the question by a young man "What kinda guys get to go in the Marines?" with the truth, "Son, they were the best of the very best." Jack took me on a journey back to August,1968 where my adventure into the unknown began, MCRD, Parris Island. By pondering the question, Jack gave a well-reasoned response for an impressionable young man, and future Marine, to consider.

Thank you, Jack, for the truth. Former LCpl, Forever Marine, Vietnam Veteran, David B. MCClellan. Frater Infinitas.

Mike Rummel, 2377xx, Platoon 363, MCRD San Diego, SGT - USMC - 2881. I read your story and looked up some information for you. Try looking up Battle of Chapultepec they have two pages of the battle this may help you.

CPL Lutz
USMC 1960-1964


"Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them."
--Albert Einstein

"The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanest bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!"
--Eleanor Roosevelt, 1945.

"Be not intimidated... nor suffer yourselves to be wheedled out of your liberties by any pretense of politeness, delicacy, or decency. These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery and cowardice."
--John Adams (1765)

"Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They're aggressive on the attack and tenacious on the defense. They've got really short hair and they always go for the throat."
--RAdm. Jay R. Stark, U.S. Navy

"Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."
--Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)

"I have been made victorious through terror."

"If I were King, I'd close Army entry training and send all future Infantry grunts to the Marines. The Corps still produces trained and disciplined soldiers who still know how to fight and make it on a killing field."
--Col. David Hackworth, USA Army (Ret), one of America's most highly decorated soldiers

"The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind."
--New Hampshire Constitution

"This food isn't fit for human consumption, but it is fit for United States Marines!"

"If we weren't already crazy we would go insane!"

"May God Bless All Marines. Those That Were, Those That Are And Those That Will Be."

Fair Winds and Following Seas!
Sgt Grit

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