Sgt Grit Newsletter - 01 JAN 2015

In this issue:
• A White Cluster Christmas
• Our Returning Veterans
• Montford Point

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Sgt Grit New Years 2015 Banner

Sgt Grit and Staff would like to wish all Marines and their families a very blessed and Happy New Year! May this year see many of our deployed Marines return home safely to the company of their loved ones, that of their fellow Marines, and be welcomed home by a grateful nation. Semper Fi brothers and sisters! Another Job Well Done!

A White Cluster Christmas

Marine stockings on mantel

How cool! Angela found these stockings on the Internet and ordered each of us one (including Gisele). It's a White Star Cluster Christmas after all!

Here are some comments left in reference to this post on Facebook.

Andrew - I was most impressed that she ordered something from Sgt Grit. I was like... "How the h-ll do you know about Sgt. Grit?" and she says, "I have a catalog at my office" so I said... "Well Son of a b-tch, I married the right one!"

Pete - You sure did son-in-law!

Tammy - They look awesome! You're wife is brilliant and beautiful! You're a lucky man Andy!

My Battle Jacket

Here is a pic of my MP uniform in my "I Love Me Room". It is from the 60's and all the extra white gear and badge were obtained over a period of years. The Battle Jacket is mine, but as I recall, it couldn't be worn on leave or liberty at the time, only aboard base.

MSgt Tom 1962-1989​

Tom's MP uniform from the 1960's

Sgt Grit Vietnam Veteran Commemorative Pocket Knife

Our Returning Veterans

After spending 6 yrs. in the Corps and doing 2 combat tours in Nam, I got out in 1972 and went to college. At that time vets on campus were about as welcome as a wh-re in church. They were a couple dozen of us vets and we just hung out together and learned to basically ignore the non-vet students. Over time, out of curiosity, I asked a few male students about their anti-war beliefs and protest actions. What I learned from everyone of them was in truth they couldn't care less about Viet Nam as a country; most couldn't find it on a world map. What they really cared about was impressing the college girls and keeping their pink azses off the firing line. While I fully appreciated their first motivation their second was as foreign to me as the Chinese alphabet.

I joined the Corps at the age of 17 precisely because I wanted adventure and to live a man's life. I'm sure most of my fellow Marines felt the same way. Most of us were the sons of WW2 and Korean War vets and learned as children that military service, particularly in the time of war, was expected and a right of passage into manhood. Since the college kids draft avoidance served them well, I'm sure there was no life long pride in it. I would not want to be in a combat situation with people that didn't have the lion's heart to be there. While these types have had no real bearing on my life I've learned to ignore and avoid them. The group that did have a bearing on our lives and who scorned us was our preceding generation. They were in power in the work force with the authority to hire returning vets. Because the media had done such a good job of painting us as baby killers and drug addicts, they turned their backs on us. You quickly learned not to mention your military experience at a job interview. That to me was the hardest part of the Viet Nam experience. It was the catalyst the started many a good vet down the road to ruin.

I hope we as a society have learned from this and take better care of our returning veterans. They are the best of us and deserve our gratitude.

Semper Fi,
Gary Neely / Sgt. of Marines
'66 to '72​

Meritorious Demotion

Lance Corporal rank with 2nd award bar attached

Enlisted ranks through Sergeant then back down Corporal

The result of following the 12th General Order - To walk my post from flank to flank and take to sh-t from any rank!

Noticed And Ig​nored

Semper Fi,

My wife and I recently were traveling north from Florida. We had a great visit at the 8th Air Force Museum, in Pooler, Ga. My dad flew B-17s in WW2 and 29s during Korea. A really great museum. When we got to the Carolinas my wife suggested we stop at PI. Now it was 1600 hrs and around the 4th of July. We stopped at the reception center, made a head call and stepped up to the reception desk. I was wearing a ball cap with EGA [from Sgt Grit] with a PH pin. I wore a 9th Marines tee shirt. We were noticed by the young woman, in utilities, and young man in civvies and ignored. Eventually we left. Now I respect all Vets and those presently serving our country. This bothered me to the point I wrote a letter to the base commander. I never got a response.

Adam "Wally" Mackow
Kilo 3/9 '68-'69

Newsletter Offer

Montford Point

Many Marines don't know this and it should be taught in history classes in the Corps. Montford Point was basic training for black Marines. The only whites on the base were the officers because there were no black officers in the Corps at that time. A black Marine went across the tracks in Jacksonville, North Carolina to visit a wh-re and the white people hung him from the flag pole. The commanding officer heard about this and he went to town to bring the body back to the base and when he tried to lower the body they shot him. He went back to the base and armed all the black Marines with BAR's which was the brownie Automatic Rifle and they all went to town and shot up Jacksonville and brought the body back. Randolph McCall Pate was Commandant and Harry Truman was President, and upon hearing this it was helping their decision to abolish that boot camp and integrate the military. Back then you were not allowed to have civilian clothes on the base and the basic pay was seventy eight dollars a month and was that way when I enlisted in 1961. Back then you didn't enlist for the money or anything other than your love for the Corps. There are good and bad people in all the services, but remember they are not the Corps. The Corps will live on because the United States needs the Corps. Be blessed and Merry Christmas gyrenes...

MSgt Frank Peace

Operation Chinook

Christmas gift from the Corps inside view

Christmas gift from the Corps backside view

Just wondered how many still remember their Christmas Gift from 1966. As I remember we got them sometime in January 1967 after we got in off of Operation Chinook at Camp Evans north of Hue.

Bob Mauney

Radio Telegraph School 1957

Marines in Radio Telegraph School in 1958

Marines of C Company, 1st Recon Battalion in 1959

Sgt. Grit,

I would like to submit two photographs from my time in the Corps. The first one is from Radio Telegraph School at MCRD in San Diego. The photo was taken 7 March 1958 of class 151, which started in the fall of 1957 and ended in spring of 1958. I am hoping that anyone that didn't get a copy, or lost their copy, will see it and have it as a memento again. I am submitting it as a result of seeing Cpl Dick Martell's photo of his Radio Telegraph School class from Christmas of 1965. I noticed that the locale of the two photo's is different. Ours was just outside the classroom.

A side note re: our wearing of class A winter greens in March of 1958 yet. Back then, everyone in the Corps, no matter what part of the world you were stationed, had to wear the same uniform no matter the temperature in your locale. Yes it was a very warm that day for winter greens. I also recall having to wear tropicals or khaki's when the weather turned cold too early, but the calendar said we could not wear winter uniforms yet. I am pretty sure that regulation is long gone and it is up to the post commander to dictate uniform wearing depending on locale climate and temperature.

Some of the names I remember are as follows: Clenin, Johnson, Dobbs, Morris, Dillon, Workman, Sullivan, Sgt. (E-4) Goldstein, Groh, Lore... I believe that except for the one Sgt. Goldstein, everyone was a Pvt or PFC. The Lance Corporal rank (E-3) had not been introduced yet.

Radio Telegraph School, MCRD 7 Mar 1958 RLH

The second photo is from my final unit assignment with 'C' Co., 1st Recon Bn., 1st MarDiv at Camp Pendleton. The same applies here for anyone in the photo from the period 1959-1960 if their copy got lost or mutilated. I am sorry but I only remember, at most, a few of the names of the guys in the photo: Foote, Betts, Goodfield, Wedlake, Priest... all PFC's or L/Cpl's.

1st Recon Bn., 1st MarDiv. RLH 1959-1960

Robert L. Hammershoy, Cpl E-4
1957 – 1960​

Dedicated To 1/9

Mt Whitney ascent in 2014 for Marines of 1/9

Yosemite half dome with Marines with Marines of 23rd Marine Regiment

Sgt Grit,

​First photo is Mt. Whitney ascent in September 2014, 705 ft. short of reaching the summit elevation due to one in our party getting altitude sickness. Hike dedicated to 1/9.

Second photo is in 2013 on sub dome before going up the cables of Half Dome in Yosemite with the colors dedicated to the Marines of 1/9, and I ran into some young active duty current era Marines of the 23rd Marines with their colors.

Semper Fidelis

Tim Haley
Charlie Company 1/9
Vietnam '67-'68
60mm Mortars
Weapons Platoon Sgt

Proudly Served In The Corps

Cpl English and Brandi

Brandi wearing her dress blues

Here I am with Brandi Alexandra, a 6 lb. Reindeer Chihuahua in her Woman Marine Dress Blues. I am a Vietnam Nam Era Veteran who proudly served in the Corps from Nov. '68-'70, at MCRD San Diego,CA. Believe me, I would NEVER change those two years for anything! I was assigned to the Provost Marshals Office where I had the honor of working with GySgt. Jimmy Howard, Medal of Honor recipient, and worked in Casual Company, both H&S Bn. MCRD. San Diego. I Loved My Jobs!

I now serve, along with Brandi, as a member of the 2nd Congressional District Veterans Advisory Council working directly with Congressman Stephen Pearce, Vice-Chair for Women Veterans of New Mexico, Unit 1, Las Cruces and Dona Ana Co., NM, and formerly served as President of Desert Chapter 2, Woman Marine Ass'n. Brandi also serves as unofficial mascot for Women Veterans of NM, Unit 1 and has participated in the Veterans Day Parade in Las Cruces, and has been "Pinned" by Mesilla Valley Hospice for her support of Veterans.

Brandi proudly serves as a Veterans Advocate and is a Federally Certified Medical Alert Service Dog & Therapy Dog. Yes, little critters accomplish BIG things! Semper Fi!

Cpl. Lori English

You're Not Going To Believe This

Snow blankets Camp Pendleton on New Years Eve 2014

Here is a picture of Camp Pendleton on 31 December 2014. Told you that you wouldn't believe this.

The Lady From 29 Palms

Sgt Grit,

In one of my previous submissions I mentioned the loss of my wife, of 56+ years, and how that I now keep my TV (DISH) tuned to the Sirius XM satellite channels. Recently, in one of your newsletters there was mention of 29 Palms; ironically, one of the songs that pops up on the Sirius channel 4 (40s on 4), is "The Lady From 29 Palms", sung by some of the various artists of the 1940s, one of which is the Andrews Sisters. The song has multiple "hits" on YouTube, for anyone wanting to hear how this old WWII song sounds.

Some of the wording of the song could NEVER apply to any Marines stationed there: i.e., "she had 29 Cadillacs, 29 sables from Sachs"... "she was a dynamite kisser"... Can't you just see some old Marine giving a lady a Cadillac, or a sable coat? Well, maybe Gunny Rousseau, or Ddick.

For anyone wanting to hear these old songs, it does require the Sirius XM satellite radio reception. It is listed as "40s on 4". If you can relate to the 1940s, as I can, there are many "tear jerkers" coming out of WWII.

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

Here's a link. There are many versions. Andrew Sister, Doris Day and others.

The Lady From 29 Palms

Cave Hopping

Sgt. Grit,

In the 1960's I was transferred to Nuclear Ordnance. We had just finished the Eastern Marine Corps Matches where I was the Senior Pistol Armorer and I was Hoping for Training at the Colt Factory. I went to Hdqtrs Marine Corps to my Detail Sergeant to see if I could get out of Nuclear Ordnance. It was not to be! Finally after Training we were sent to 29 Palms and a year later I was sent to Okinawa. A short time after arriving in Okinawa I ran into a Friend who was in EOD and I asked him if he ever went Cave Hopping to let me know so I could come along. There was still live Ordnance in some of the Caves and I believed EOD used the Caves as Training for EOD.

One morning about 6AM he showed up and said; "Come on, we're going Cave hopping!" I saw things that blew my mind, like a case of Japanese Hand Grenades that lay open with grenades, some still in their cases, where water had dripped over them for years and the calcium in the water had coated most of the box and some of the grenades. It was marked on a sheet as a "TO DO" and we looked at several Caves some marked as "TO DO" and some sealed up again. However in one cave there were boxes with Human Bones and the Skull sitting on top. I was told these were the bones of Soldiers gathered up some time after the war and placed in caves. It was an interesting day viewing these caves, I wonder if they haven't sealed them all up!. So my tour with Nuclear Ordnance ended on a Positive note; an experience I wouldn't have had otherwise. You never know just what great things might happen with a new Transfer.

Years ago, just before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor I worked for an old Man that rebuilt furniture. In those days they used Excelsior (a shredded wood product) to fill the pillows of the sofa or whatever. I was paid the enormous sum of $2.00 weekly to fluff the excelsior (pull it apart and fluff it the best you could). The man I worked for was a Former Marine Member of the "COOTIE" Club, a part of the VFW that served in the Trenches of Europe during World War I. The Trenches had rooms dug into the sides and man made billets with bunks built into the walls using whatever was convenient to fill the gap between bunk and body. Usually straw or weeds wrapped tightly in a bundle then smashed to fit the Body.

In Europe they had Bed Bugs, (COOTIES as they were called) that infested any bed they could and lived gloriously on good old American Red Blood. So when the Veterans came home from "OVER THERE" after the War they brought home the Cooties with them and families had to work to rid themselves of the "COOTIES". In world War II I remember they (and I even believe during the Korean War) used those bug sprays and spray powders, down your back and front to rid you of the parasites. Warriors have a lot to deal with other then the Enemy. Ain't it a B-tch!

GySgt, F, L, Rousseau, USMC Retired

Gen. Mattis' Next Mission

Destroying the PTSD Victim Myth
By William Treseder
Military 1 Advisor

Retired Marine General Jim Mattis, the most beloved and feared military leader in modern history, is not happy with the state of the nation. Last Wednesday night, at San Francisco's Salute to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, he explained why.

Standing in front of an uproarious crowd in San Francisco, General Mattis spoke from the heart about his country, his Corps, and his fellow veterans. He covered two main topics: the need for America to stay engaged with the rest of the world; and the role of our shrinking military in the 21st century.

There were no wasted words, per usual. General Mattis' sharp mind and quick tongue were on full display. He tore apart the cowards who swell the ranks of Al Qaeda and fund Hezbollah (we're all looking at you, Iran). He described the dedication of our Middle Eastern allies in the fight against extremism, and how we cannot leave them stranded as we finish the drawdown. He lamented the growing national debt that will "enslave future generations." He even stopped long enough during the Q&A to slap down any notion that he supported women in the infantry.

And then he got controversial.

The appropriately nicknamed Mad Dog took aim at a dangerous moving target: Post-Traumatic Stress. "You've been told that you're broken," said Mattis, "That you're damaged goods" and should be labeled victims of two unjust and poorly executed wars. The truth, instead, is that we are the only folks with the skills, determination, and values to ensure American dominance in this chaotic world.

To a now-silent theater full of combat vets he explained how the nation has a "disease orientation" toward combat stress. Mad Dog's death blow was swift: "In America, victimhood is exalted."

So what's the problem? We fought, we got a little screwed-up, and now civilians try to get us to talk about it a lot. Big deal.

Except that it matters to General Mattis, and we should probably care what he thinks because chances are he's right. The problem, he contends, is that eventually we start believing it. We start seeing ourselves as broken. We buy into the myth.

The alternative is something so obvious that it is pathetic we don't talk about it more. "There is also Post-Traumatic Growth," Mattis told the crowd. "You come back from war stronger and more sure of who you are."

This concept resonates strongly with me, and several other combat vets with whom I spoke/mumbled late into the evening over drinks. After all, it's a process we've all been through many times in the military. Growth after trauma is how we train to become physically fit and mentally capable of working together as a combat-effective team.

Break down, repair, break down, repair, break down, repair. It's a natural cycle, which offers a well-trod path to progressive improvement.

So why do we think that the story of our personal development ends when we go to war? The myth of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder tells us that we are now broken and cannot be repaired. We are a threat to ourselves and others. We need medication to be stable. We will be constantly challenged by the civilian world as we stumble along, out of phase with the safe and boring environment back home.

What if instead we could look forward to rapid growth as we heal from our wounds stronger than ever before? What if we could rebuild ourselves, and all we needed was the loving support of those around us and a little bit of time? Progress, evolution, healing, restoration - these are watchwords of Post-Traumatic Growth.

You have not heard the last of this, from General Mattis or others. A new domestic front is opening up for the veteran community even as the final combat operations feebly draw to a close.

We are now fighting to take control of the narrative that will define the collective military and veteran community. Americans who have never served and lack any empathy for us sit on the sidelines, labeling us "heroes" or "broken" or both, depending on their mood or the latest news reports.

Veterans know that we are neither of these things. Leaders like General Mattis are challenging us to find a voice, and tell America who we really are - proud of our service, not defined by it.

Marines Pause With M249 SAWs

Santa droping of Marines on rooftop with M249 SAWs

Up on the rooftop five Marines pause, with their M249 SAW's.

Eric Johnson

Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the Corps
Not a soul had liberty
and all troops were sore.

When out on the grinder
I heard such a clatter
I sprang from my rack
to see what was the matter.

There was the Commandant
in a gold plated tank
Drawn by ten colonels
bucking for rank.

He marched swiftly
past each mans rack
Pouring 20 pounds of sand
into each mans pack.

As he rode off
he exclaimed with a shout
Merry Christmas you bastards
You'll never get out.

J L Stelling

My First Christmas Away

Good morning MARINES and friends,

Many years ago as a young Marine I remember my first Christmas away from home, I spent it in a jungle thousands of miles away from home just like Sgt. Grit. After coming home I realized just how important it was to be close to family and friends.

Over the last few months I have had the pleasure and the honor of working with a particular person there on several purchases. She has been wonderful and has gone as far as becoming a friend to me. She has, I feel, done as all us Marines say and that is "we take care of our own" and I thank her for that.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you and your families a Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year! You Marines are now my Marines and I have your back. All of the rest of you that are not Marines well don't worry as I leave no one behind, so I have your back as well.

Thank you for your service and for the service you now provide as it shows me you are all the BEST of the BEST and this goes double for you Christina! Bet you thought I was not going to mention you by name now did you?

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

Gunny Reyes
RVN '69 – '71
USMC (ret)

​Lasting Art Treasure

Iwo Jima flag raising painting

I thought that you, the crew, and our members might enjoy the attached picture. The work of art was presented to me by the sister of a young man prior to his leaving for PISC to begin his journey in our illustrious Corps. While making the presentation, she indicated that a special addition might be seen right away, but if not it would eventually be identified. Please let me know if you see the overall impact that it can have once seen. Once framed, it was in my office in Levittown, Pa., and has been with me for close to 50 years.

This one-of-a-kind, mixed-media art rendition of Joe Rosenthal's immortal photo of the second flag-raising on Mount Suribachi is, for me, a lasting art treasure.

Happy Holidays
Semper Fi
Ed Duncan, MGySgt (Ret)
'61-'91 Once a Marine, Always a Marine


(Vol #1, #1)

Happy New Year and Semper Fi To All of You Jarheads!

After dinner we sat in the living room and talked - and talked until it was time for me to leave for Camp Lejeune. My Mom asked "Did you call Kitty?" I told her I had not; that I had been going steady with Mary for more than 4 years and I intended to remain true to her. I said "I have a pretty good idea that a call to Kitty might well lead into something I wished to avoid." She said "Don't forget you owe Stevie a trip to the zoo." I said "I'll take care of that in due course." She asked if there was anything she could fix for me to eat on the way back to the base. I told her that I never had anything to eat on the way back to Camp Lejeune. Mary and I would have had a very good meal in N.Y.C. before I started the trip back to CLNC and I didn't need anything more until morning. I left home at 1900 and was at the Servicemen's Lounge in Washington, D.C. just before 2200. There were three Marines standing there. They had missed their rides and were glad to see me. There were the four of us for the remainder of the trip. We arrived at the base just before 0400, right on time. I had them sign me in on my leave papers and was able to get almost an hour of sleep before I had to get up. Boy, did I fill my belly in the chow hall.

When I walked into the Travel Office everyone looked at each other and Louise said "You are not due back until next Monday." I said "I decided to save some of my leave time till Thanksgiving or Christmas - or I would be landlocked here over the holidays." With the Second Marine Division having departed the base, it was a rather quiet time in the Travel Office. Everyone wanted to know all about my leave and I guess I told them everything. I told them about our stay in Ocean City, New Jersey, and having the whole house to ourselves for two weeks. They were quite surprised to hear about Mary going to Earlham when they had sort of expected that we were about to be married. I told them that it was quite a surprise to me, too, but that we had quite a nice trip to Richmond, Indiana, to make up for it. I told them that the hard part for me was that I would not see Mary before Thanksgiving after more than four years of seeing each other almost every weekend. Now it was a 10-week countdown until we could look into each others eyes again.

I returned home on the weekend and every weekend until Thanksgiving week. My next trip home would be on the day before Thanksgiving and believe me I could hardly wait for that day to come. We were still communicating weekly and had already planned what we would do when we reached our homes. We might see each other on Wednesday night but we would stay at our respective homes that night. I would stay with Mary on Friday night and - get this - my Mom and Dad had decided that Mary could stay with me at The Hemlocks on Saturday night. Actually, my Dad thought from day one that it was okay. It was my mother that had taken so long to convince. But she really loved Mary and I think that went a long way towards changing her mind. Incidentally, Mom had taken Dad to the Hollywood Inn almost weekly since I first took her there. They really liked this place and wondered why they had not learned of it before. But that's the way it goes.

Again I wish you all a Happy New Year.

The old, real old, real, real old (85) Master Gunny.

Harold T. Freas, Sr.

Lawd Forbid

Dunno why, but the other day as zipping up my boots (8", side zippers... common style with EMT's, Paramedics, FireFighters, LEO's around here) got to thinking about footwear over the years... started out in the 1957 Corps with 3 pair of issue footwear... one pair of boots, that had eyelets and hooks, one pair of boondockers, which were similar to the boots, only not as tall, and having eyelets only... and one pair of dress shoes. All were brown... and except for the dress shoes, were 'rough-out' leather, meaning that the smooth side of the single thickness of leather was to the inside. Both boots and boondockers had soles and heels of what was known as 'cord'... meaning there were bits of white cord incorporated into the rubber. The construction was what I think is known as 'a GoodYear welt', meaning that the soles were sewn to the uppers... and the heels were nailed to the soles. The dress shoes were similar in construction, but the soles were leather and the heels were rubber. Regardless of the uniform, utilities or service (greens, trops, or kahki), the condition of one's heels were always a matter of considerable interest to any inspecting SNCO or Officer.

At the time, post Korea, pre the Dominican Republic ("DomRep"), in the 1st MarDiv, the boots or boondockers could be turned in to Company Supply, to be sent somewhere 'down Mainside' (Camp Pendleton) to have soles and/or heels replaced... for 'free'... but if a pair had to be replaced... that meant a trip to that Corps version of Jos. A. Banks... known as 'Cash Sales'... nothing free there, although there was something known as "RC, 1/3"... that being "Reduced Cost, One-Third"... where one might, if flush with cash, and if able to find an item that fit, could buy uniform items at one-third of new retail. These items required an SRB entry, as they would have someone else's name stamped in them... which could lead to accusations of theft, if the legal purchase was not documented. These items had come from sources such as punitive or medical discharges those who were not entitled to retain all their uniform items... (The Corps has never understood the difference between 'economical' and 'cheap').

In my first unit, which shall be nameless other than "Charlie Company, First Anti-Tank Battalion, First Marine Division", the uniform of the day, most days, was "U", or Utilities, on the training schedule, and unless otherwise noted, this was understood to mean boots and bloused trousers... no exceptions. So... if the boots had been 'turned in', they weren't likely to be back for a week or more... so that meant boondockers... and the trousers bloused way low... and hoping that the SNCO's wouldn't notice. Just how the troops were expected to be in compliance, considering that most of us made $84/month, and an extra pair of boots purchase made a major dent in scarce liberty money, was never explained...

Later on, after Robert Strange McNamarra (had to love that middle name... it fit!) became the SecDef, and joint purchasing was recommended by his 'Whiz Kid' number crunchers who came from Ford Corporation with him, we had smooth outer, lace-up boots (just like all other branches), and we went from rough-out brown to smooth black... and, so here we are, some fifty-seven years later, back to "brown, rough side out" boots... which can be purchased... lots of ways other than 'Cash Sales'... for what would have been two month's pay, back in the day...

The "Jungle Boot"... molded sole (no stitching on a new one for repair...), nylon canvas sides, couple eyelets" for drainage "at the instep, came about, so far as I know, in the early to mid 1960's... and initially, came with a pair of thin, stainless steel inserts, which were intended as a defense against the dread "punji stick"... these inserts tended to get fatigue cracks in the area of the ball of the foot after a couple zillion flex cycles, and usually got thrown away after not very long. Full disclosure: within six months of the 1965 landings at DaNang, every place and clime in the USMC, including Recruiting Stations, had a "VC village"... which include various nefarious items, like the "Malay Whip", and other booby-trappery, including 'punji pits' (hole in the ground, camouflaged, holding sharpened bamboo stakes, which had been smeared with (insert here four letter word for 'excrement"... intended to inflict a nasty and infected wound.)... Further disclosure: in roughly six months as a Grunt Platoon Sergeant, I saw exactly one of our troops suffer a minor wound from a "Punji"... in this case, it was a steel plate, with a vertical spike, which penetrated his boot, and scratched the inside of his instep... ironically enough, it was not from the VC... but a left-over, in a tree line... placed by the Viet Minh... to wound either a Frenchman, or a Vietnamese soldier in French employ.

The pattern of the lugs on the moulded sole on the jungle boot changed, or at least it was different from some vendor, in 1966... bigge and fewerr lugs, supposedly better at expelling mud, and so on. Had never yet seen these style of soles, until Operation Colorado (Tam Ky area, August of '66). By that time, our boots were like second skins... off at night (maybe), back on when time to walk the line... or something happening... or seeming to happen, but in a way, old friends... scuffed, worn, to the point of being misshapen light gray things down there at the bottom of the trou, maybe with a dog tag laced into the instep (one on the neck, one on a foot... just in case... sounds morbid now, but just the way it was...) I noted the different style first on a couple of pairs of new-looking boots... that were sticking out from under a poncho. The owner, along with too many others in that row, from 1/5, was waiting for a routine, non-emergency medevac. I can still see those boots... and muse about the things that stick in one's mind... and... still have grooves in the lower legs from years of using booby-trap springs as blousing garters... hard to come by, but lasted forever... and sure held the trou... Lawd forbid we should ever adopt the doggie "tuck'em in the boot top" method of 'blousing'...


Lost And Found

Hi my name is Ronald Harris and I'm contacting you about my Grandfather Arthur A Bitle. I recently had family over for a Christmas gathering and heard my grandfather was one of 4 Marines to survive a Japanese attack and found your story the next day. My family doesn't know the details of the story but I thought it would be amazing if your father and my grandfather survived that same patrol Together.

He was stationed in San Diego and was part of 3 invasions, I'm told. He is also in the book "Follow Me", I believe on page 64 washing his socks on Guadalcanal. And we aren't sure if the rifle leaning against the tree next to him in the picture is a Springfield or the Japanese rifle he returned home with.

My grandfather passed December 9th 2002, but my brother, mother and I would love to get anymore information on his service and unit, so I was hoping you could point me in the right direction.

Thank you!
Ron Harris​

Short Rounds

To Peter D,

Peter it was a C47 that started it all, go to and you can get the whole story of the C47 Douglas D C-3 that was known as puff the Magic Dragon or Snoopy. That is what I was told in 1968, the C130 was called Shadow starting as it took over for the C47 but it did continue as a attack/cargo plane as it was called.

Vic DeLeon
Semper Fi

She wondered What makes a Marine do the things they do, such as Dan Daly and John Basilone to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor? Is it adrenalin, fear, or what?

Have her read "I'm staying with my Boys" the life story of John Basilone from childhood, right to where he gets killed on Iwo.

Semper Fi
Rusty Norman
Echo 2/9 1969
USMC 1966-​

COSMOLINE - Manufactured by E F Houghton and Co., Philadelphia. Thought it would never clean off my rifle (ser # 2059XXX). Hated the stuff until 1982 when I was employed by Houghton as a sales engineer. Product put quite a bit of food on the table.

Earl Herrington 1802xxx
8th Engr Bn

It should have been noted that in addition being Marines, those pictured in the "Old Corps Photo" are all Medal of Honor recipients.

R.P. Shannon​

To LtCol. Joe Neff,

​ I never expected to get an answer from an officer of the Corps and I thank you Sir.

Cpl. Vic DeLeon

I was in the Corps from '62 to '66. I did not have to go to Viet Nam and to this day have regrets. I lost a number of friends to the war and try to remember them as often as I can. We had to put up with the media cr-p and anti-war cr-p of the 60's and 70's, and when then Marines came home they were spit on for doing their job. I feel that is the point that the idiots missed they, as the history of the Marine Corps, were doing the job assigned to them and did it with honor!

Semper Fi,
Cpl. '62-'66​

I really enjoy all of the articles that Cpl Bruce Bender sends in. However, I am not in agreeance with the statement Viet Nam Era Marine. I believe you are a Viet Nam Marine veteran or not. I know of retired veterans who served 20-30 years during which there was Viet Nam. Iraq & several conflicts of other consequences, of which they never participated in any. I believe they are called Veterans. Just my take.

Cpl Bill Allen
Rvn 1966 1stBn/5thMar

Dear Sir,

I read with interest Bruce Bender's letter asking what constitutes a Vietnam Veteran. In my opinion, ONLY those men and women who were qualified to wear the Vietnam Service Medal are Vietnam Veterans. All military service is honorable. However, serving DURING Vietnam is in no way comparable to serving IN Vietnam.

Ivan Kass
Corporal, USMC
Chu Lai, Vietnam 1967

In the photo General Vandegrift's name is spelled incorrectly there is no letter "r" before the letter "g" saw the same mistake on signs marking Vandegrift Blvd outside Camp Pendleton Ca. Regarding the comment Luck of the Draw a month or two ago I made a comment regarding a statement by Montel Williams who stated he was a Vietnam veteran. I said he was a Vietnam Era Veteran. There is a difference to most of us who served in country, but still respect those who served.

Semper Fi

In your 25 Dec. Newsletter Marine Edwin O'Keefe, former L/Cpl, said it best with his response to the maggot "Wanna be" by writing "I wear only one stripe, with crossed rifles, and two ribbons with pride, because it is all that I earned." To that I offer a fact: A "Wanna be" will "Never be" a Marine, no matter how many ribbons, stripes and hash marks. Thank you Marine O'Keefe for putting a fine point on the issue of worms and posers.

Former L/Cpl David B. McClellan
'68-'70, RVN '69-'70, An Hoa Basin, I Corps.


"I heard the bullets whistle-and believe me, there is something charming in the sound."
--George Washington

"Don't you forget that you're First Marines! Not all the communists in Hell can overrun you!"
--Col. Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller, USMC rallying his First Marine Regiment near Chosin Reservoir, Korea, December 1950

"Marines die, that's what we're here for. But the Marine Corps lives forever. And that means YOU live forever."
--The mythical GySgt. Hartman, USMC; portrayed by GySgt. R. Lee Ermey, a Marine Corps Drill Instructor using his own choice of words in Full Metal Jacket, 1987

"I have told you people time and time again. Your rifle is your best friend. You let it down and it'll sure let you down."

"There is the right way, the wrong way, and the Marine Corps way."

"You can always tell a Marine, but you can't tell them much."

Happy New Year!
Semper Fi!
Sgt Grit

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