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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 04 NOV 2015

In this issue:
• 191st Marine Corps Birthday
• Semper Fidelis Marines
• A Walk Through Memory Lane

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Sgt Grit and Staff would would like to wish all Marines a very Happy 240th Birthday! May we all remember the selflessness and devotion to duty of the Marines that came before, the valor of the Marines serving today, and standards that must be maintained by the Marines of tomorrow. Hand salute to another 240 years of being America's Elite Fighting Force! Semper Fidelis!

The 37th Commandant's Birthday Message

191st Marine Corps Birthday

Sgt Grit,

I came across a photo taken on the 191st Marine Corps Birthday, November 10, 1966 at the 1st Marine Regiment HQ compound about 10 miles southwest of DaNang. It has Col. Radics, front left and Lt Gen Nickerson, front right. I am on rear left and Cpl Rodriguez is in rear right. We were both assigned to S-2. I am also enclosing the menu.

Semper Fi,
J Kanavy, Cpl.

Semper Fidelis Marines

Happy Birthday to all of you Marines out there. Especially our former Corpsman, and more Marine than Most... Doc Erasmos Riojas a beloved "Doc" in Korea and now Navy SEAL ret'd, also to the Members of the 49th Marines (all those living above the 49th Parallel). This video is available for your viewing pleasure men. Enjoy and Semper Fidelis Marines... Hand Salute to ALL of our veterans and allied veterans...

Parris Island: Cradle of the Corps

Check out the last photo and just think of being Canadian, having the last name of "Flowers" and being told I would never survive this ordeal on the island. They sure fooled me.

Gerry Flowers
USMC 0311 / 8654
Commander "Theodore H. Snow" Post, #75 CDN, Am/Legion
Past President Vietnam Veterans in Canada, Est. 1986
Past V.P. U.S. Naval School, Underwater Swimmers
Life Member Military Order, Purple Heart
Life Member Vietnam Veterans of America, #165
Life Member D.A.V.
Member 49th Marines, Mission. B.C.
Member F/O U.S.Naval School, Underwater Swimmers
Member Vietnam Veterans in Canada, Est. 1986
Past Member UDT / SEAL Association, Sponsored

Russian Naval Vessel

November 10th, 1982. We had been relieved by the 24th MAU and on the water between Morocco and Rota. We were on the deck of the USS Nashville near sunset in formation ready to celebrate our birthday when coming up the port side, a Russian naval vessel with their liberty lights on, and standing at attention, were Russian soldiers/sailors in what, I can only assume, was a show of respect to us Marines, on what I have to also assume, they must've known to be the most important day of the year to us. I will never forget this moment. Uniformed warriors. Opposing views. During the cold war. A moment of respect. Semper Fi my brothers and sisters, past and present!

Cpl Jerry Tomaschik
Motor T Maintenance Platoon
32ND MAU (The last of the 30 series MAU's)
USMC - '81-'85

Without Noticing My Table Mate

I was doing the traditional 2 week stint at Treasure Island in 1967. They kept returnees from RVN there for a coupl of weeks to see if it was safe to put us into a civilian population. My utilities pockets were jammed with cash, so every morning I went to the PX cafeteria to eat breakfast and read the newspaper. It was so jammed, we just sat wherever we could find a seat. I sat down without noticing my table mate and began to eat and read the paper and drink my orange juice. Soon a voice said to me, "Are you enjoying my orange juice, Sergeant?" I looked up startled to see I was sitting with a Lieutenant General and drinking his orange juice. My jaw dropped and he roared with laughter until he leaked tears and had to hold his sides. So did everyone else in the cafeteria. I made everyone's day... and I bought him a new orange juice. Best d-mn juice I ever drank.

Sgt. Ari Maayan
MATCU - 1960-1967

A Walk Through Memory Lane

Here's a short walk through memory lane for those of us that were at MCAF Marble Mountain on 28 October 1965... Ron Jennings and George DeChant were both wounded in the Ready Room (Operations?) Tent by a Sapper. Our Corpsman (actor Tab Hunter's brother) was blown up in the MedEvac bird and a few more squadron mates were killed or wounded. I have a sh-t pot full of colored slides with better shots of the whole scene including dead Charlies stacked in trucks with some missing their faces. They patched Jennings up in Japan (Yokuska) with humorous tale about his "adventures" in the Ville... Last photo was leftover Charlie grenades.

A Tribute to Vietnam Veterans Featuring the Voice of Mr. Sam Elliott

Jim McCallum
The Ole Gunny

Celebrate the Marine Corps Birthday with us!

Stop by our showroom in Oklahoma City next Tuesday, November 10th, to celebrate two hundred and forty years of the United States Marine Corps with some birthday cake and refreshments! We'll also be giving double the stamps on your in-store punch card, and if you fill up your card, you'll receive $10 off your order or get a free t-shirt ($18.99 value).

Don't forget to try out our Pull-Up challenge to win a free T-shirt!

Mnemonic Contest

Howzabout a mnemonic contest? Things or acronyms we learned (had pounded into our brains?) to aid in memorizing actions to be taken, etc? Some will be dated, or reflect the submitor's era of service, others, e.g., "BRASS" are probably in contemporary use. (BRASS is/was for use on the firing line: Breathe, Relax, Aim, Slack (take it up...) Squeeze... First up is one from M1 Garand days... describes the steps in the rearward movement of the operating rod: IAMUWEECAT (I am a wee cat). I will pay Grit for an embroidered cover of choice of the antiquated broken-down coot (takes one to know one...) who can first correctly fill out the words that go with each letter. There is also a shorter one, describing what happens on the forward movement... but I forgot it. East coast types (the ones who went to boot camp with girls) couldn't reasonably be expected to know "Camp Pendleton Schools Make Fighting Infantrymen Smart"... but that one involves a patrol order. Similar, and maybe replaced by "BAMCISS" (have no friggin' idea...) was "SMEAC". This might have been used in the vicinity of the FEBA... Korea vintage (you listening, Gunny R?) types would know MLR, and MSR, and for those with disdain for another branch, the "BOR". I will bet that the air wing maintainers had some of their own to help recall that all threaded fasteners (bolts), go 'in, down, or aft'... or that tools are counted out of the box, and counted back in at the end of the job. Others, definitely not official, might describe life in the barracks... "FIGMO"... That would end 'Got My Orders'... and if you can't figure out the first two letters of that one... you're probably on the wrong web site... For the beasts of burdens (mortar men... espially 81MM types), there was "DEED", having to do with deflection and elevation... on a particular device, in a specific order... that first one goes: Ignition of the cartridge, Action of the gas on the piston, Movement of the operating rod towards the rear, Unlocking of the bolt, Withdrawal of the firing pin, Extraction, Ejection, Cocking of the hammer, Action of the follower, Termination of rearward movement)... have had that one in my brain housing group for 58 years... in 1957 you might be asked that little ditty during a weapons inspection...


Spot On

Sgt. Williams,

Your response to Mrs. Torres regarding the loss of her son L/Cpl. Seth D. Henderson, in the last Newsletter, was very touching and well said, not to mention, spot on. There is no reason for me to comment anymore, other than the Brotherhood of the MARINE CORPS is alive and well and, you have just proven it! Mrs. Torres should know that we all share in her and, her families loss, and grief and, can be called on anytime to assist a fallen Fellow MARINE or, his family.

Mrs. Torres, PLEASE accept our heartfelt sorrow for your son's untimely demise in service for OUR Country. God Bless You and Yours and, all that have gone before him!


Jim McCallum
Gy/Sgt. Retired

Divested Of All Things, However

Sgt Grit,

Sgt Morenz commented on our wearing greens at P.I. It's been 60 plus years so I don't recall exact time references, but I do know that the first week or so, we wore nothing but utilities with the cover pulled down over our heads, with black, ankle high, Ked Sneaks with round logos on the ankles and thick white soles. When our six long sleeved khaki shirts came from the laundry or tailor, we were instructed to cut the cardboard from a shirt into an octagonal shape to fit inside the top of our utility covers. They were not stitched or had bones as the later units have. We then also started wearing our ankle high field shoes, smooth inside, rough exterior. This was only 5 years after WWII and surplus uniforms. Then we started feeling a little less like recruits. It was a short time later that we started wearing greens to evening and Sunday Chow.

Regarding the camera. I know that I had a Kodak 35 mm camera and I guess I must have taken it with me. The first day we were divested of all things civilian and the stuff shipped home. However, I know that some people had after shave lotion given to them that last day or so, so I guess some of our personal gear like wallets and the camera, were kept in a locker for us. I distinctly recall the DI commenting and comparing the odor from the after shave to a bordello. I have seven other photos, some taken on Sunday and a couple outside the barracks as we started to leisurely assemble for graduation a day or so later. I assure you that during the eight weeks we were there, we had no access or time for picture taking. There were about 40 of us from Trenton, NJ area and a PI photographer was taking pictures of us all through the 8 weeks for the home town paper. That may have been a reason for the DI to allow it to stay. Fortunately my mother clipped and saved all of the photos.

Semper Fi,
Jim Black

The Emblem

Thank you for your interest in my emblem. I have always been gung ho for The Corps with clothes, covers, flags and all. I know know that I am Marine all the way. My wife and I went on vacation and a friend was going to redo my sunroom floor. Well he got together with my wife about my service and decided to do this to surprise me. Wonderful surprise. It's not painted. He used colored cement and did a beautiful job. I was in Vietnam in '66/'67 and received two Purple Hearts, and on good days I get things done and on bad days I am 100% disabled. I thank God that I am in as good a shape as I am. God, Country, Corps! With PTSD I really put my wife thru h-ll but she loves me and saw me thru it for 46 years. God could not have given me a better wife. It took 40 years to get the VA to accept a claim and then they only went back to my last claim submission. Forget about the last 40 years of pain and Drs. and confusion. But as I said, God gave me my wife who has kept me up and going. Thru it all we have adapted and overcame. Semper Fi.

Gary Robison USMC

Happy Halloween

My grandson Charlie at 2yrs/3mos.

Rusty DeRoma
A Co 1 AT Bn (ONTOS)
RVN '67-'68

Browser our Kids category and find the most outstanding gear to get your Devil Pup squared away!

We Were The First

In response to the Camp Matthews/Edson Range issue:

I was a member of Platoon 361 at MCRD, beginning on 7 July 1964. We were taken by cattle cars from MCRD and marched a few miles north along the beach to what was then called Stuart Mesa for range training. We were told by our Drill Instructors at the time that we were the first platoon and series to do our marksmanship training at the new facility. I don't remember seeing any other recruits when we arrived and therefore suspect what we were told was the truth. If we were, in fact, the first, then other lower numbered platoons must have been at Camp Matthews.

Michael Hackett
SSgt USMC 1964-1969

The Next Thing I Knew

While serving at 29 Palms with the 1st LAMM Bn. In 1965 we were scheduled for a Hawk Missile shoot for the Commandant (David Shoup) and various Congressmen and dignitaries. All was ready for the missile firing and the siren sounded for a hot run. We obtained target lock and the Firing Officer in the BCC pushed the Fire button. However, he did not take into consideration that when the missile receives the fire command, it computes Lead Angle and Super Elevation. In the Launcher there are clips installed to interrupt the Fire Pulse so that the Bird does not go out of the determined Firing Range. The Launcher position was in the Clips and the Fire Pulse was interrupted and as prior to leaving the launcher Hydraulic Arming occurs and what we had is called a Blowdown. The Maintenance Officer and I went to the Launcher to remove the Safety and Arming device, which contains ten pounds of TNT! We were on either side of the device, straddled on the missile.

Unbeknownst to us, to keep the audience entertained, it was decided to fire a group volley of Self Propelled 155s. When the volley went off the Maintenance Officer and I knew we were both dead. The next thing I knew I was on the ground with absolutely no knowledge as to how I got there. The stands where the officials were erupted with laughter. The Bn. Co. came out laughing to the launcher, and I told him, Sir, please check the missile as it might be colored brown.

What we did not realize at the time, with the frequent Mount Outs and Firing Missions, the Bn. was being prepared to deploy to Viet Nam.

Semper Fi
Clifford Jobes

Fire On The Flight Line

JP4 jet fuel used in Naval Aviation was so volatile we used it as fuel for our Zippos. Sometime in the early "60's" the Navy switched to JP5 which was less volatile and thus much safer on carriers. After the switch to JP5 we had to go back to PX lighter fluid because the JP5 mix needed more than a spark from a flint to light the flame. The jet fuel was delivered to our flight line in 8,000 gallon tanker trucks full of JP4 on the night of the fire on the VMA 212 flight line.

I was a plane captain on A4D's in VMA-212 at Kaneohe Bay from '61 to '63. One night in '62 during the refuel process the pump that supplied pressure to the fuel hose caught fire. This pump was located in the space between the cab and the tank. The fuel hose was connected to one of our A4's and fuel was being pumped into the A4 under pressure. I was a couple airplanes down the line when I noticed flames shooting up from the truck. Eight thousand gallons of highly volatile JP4 was about to blow up and wipe out most of our squadron, everyone on the flight line and probably a hangar or two.

The line chief on duty that night was Sgt. Ralph Strickland and the plane captain closest to the fire was L/Cpl "Dink" Davis. Dink grabbed an extinguisher and climbed up on the truck above the fire with one foot on the cab and the other on the tank, flames shooting up around him, and discharging the extinguisher into the spreading fire. The fuel hose was still connected to the airplane when Sgt. Strickland ran from the hangar, jumped into the now vacant driver's seat and commenced to drive the truck away from the line towards the bay. The fuel hose ripped off the airplane and Dink was riding the top, still fighting the flames, as the truck sped towards the bay. Just seconds before crashing into Kaneohe Bay, Dink had the fire out and Sgt. Strickland stopped the truck. The heroic actions of these two saved a lot of lives and airplanes that night. Both were recognized for their bravery with a meritorious mast by the C.O. of the squadron. Attached are articles from the base paper at the time, the "Windward Marine" that don't tell the full story.

The caption under Strickland is incorrect. He was in 212 and LeFaivre was our CO.

Norm Spilleth
Cpl. E4, 1960-1964

Call Ghostbusters

The car is a Mercedes ML430! We live here in Sussex Co off Gilliam rd. We have a 68 acre farm. With all that's going on against police these days I wanted people to know how important Law Enforcement and our troops are! I was a Marine in Vietnam and was badly treated when I got home!

I've gotten a lot of nice comments and a few not so nice! On the not so nice ones I ask if they have children and they say yes. Then I ask them if someone kidnapped one who were they going to call... Ghostbusters? That brought them back to the real world.

Dr. Dan Hale

Still The Same

Sgt. Grit,

This is how it went for me... "Sir, my rifle number is 58....9, sir!" Actually, this is the serial number of my current M1, purchased from CMP, in Anniston, AL. Near as I can find out, it was manufactured by Springfield Armory, in 1956.

The M1 that I was issued in boot camp came out of WWII; the serial number started with a "2". Having been in the USMCR for over 2 years by the time I hit MCRDep, SDiego, I was already familiar with the .30 cal. Carbine, and M1. Vague memories of rapid fire, offhand, at 100 yards, with the Carbine, at Camp Lejeune, in 1949.

By the time the platoon got to Camp Matthews for qualification, in 1951, there was more than one "M1 thumb" among the recruits; thankfully not mine though.

Even after 15 years, in 1965, when I fired with the MCAS, Yuma, AZ rifle team, it was always, "with a clip of 2 rounds, lock and load... watch your targets!". I have a few "dust collectors" from the 1,000 yard range at Black Canyon, Phoenix, AZ. As recently as 2012, I have fired at the TVA Steam Plant range in Gallatin, TN, and the range commands are still the same.

Semper Fi, y'all...

JimMc, GySgt
Hendersonville, TN


Sgt Grit,

How many of my Marine Brothers and sisters remember using Autovon? If you don't know what that is you probably never used it. We didn't have it in Chu Lai 1967-1968 when I was there but I do remember we had it in Iwakuni when I was there 1973-1974. In Vietnam I would go to MCB-40 (Seabees) and placed three-minute calls through our MARS station who would normally connect with another MARS station in Hawaii or California depending on the weather conditions. From Japan with Autovon you could call another Autovon number in the states and try to talk the person on the other line to forward your call to a private number. In today's age of Internet I wonder if there still is a government phone network?

Semper Fi,
Gene Hays
MSgt, USMC Retired

Apprentices Of War: Memoir Of A Marine Grunt

Apprentices of War: Memoir of a Marine Grunt is a book by Gary Tornes, who served as a United States Marine during the Vietnam War. He tells a vivid and memorable account of military life and the struggles of the foot Marine in Viet Nam. His story illustrates the timeless tragedy of combat that faced the American Marine of that generation. It reveals an emotional and compelling side to what a grunt's life was like on a daily basis in the jungles of Nam. And while Gary takes his readers into the combat zone of that particular war, and tells how the average Marine tried to survive the bloody and brutal challenges in southeast Asia, it's a story that any Marine from any conflict can relate to. The power packed, in-depth, detailed action of Apprentices of War will give you an insight into what he and his fellow Marines encountered and makes Gary's book hard to put down.

Get your hardback copy today at aowllc.net.​

Short Rounds

The guys "with a clip and two rounds" were close but the correct order in 1959 was "with a clip and two LOOSE rounds, lock and load."

Cpl. C.E.Walters

Oorah! My order arrived today! Outstanding gear! A cap and mug for me, and a cap and mug for my buddy Dick, down in Maryland. You all did a super job. Now... someone go wake up Grit.

Chris Stohldrier, Sgt, '62-'68-now...
Recon... Amtracs... Artillery.

Azzholes to elbows... I remember Azzholes to bellybuttons...


Enjoy all the great stories. My Navy years were made better by caring for and rehabilitating the BEST men I ever knew. Now 45 years later. A retired nurse.

Doc "Ski" Rlewandowski HM2

Sgt. Grit,

I believe that it was "Close it up. Move it. Azzholes to belly buttons."

Rich Robbins
Santa Rosa, CA

An Alphabetical Listing of United States Marines - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

While most of us are aware of some of these Marines, there were a lot of surprises in the list also. And guess what? I didn't see your name there.


"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child..." 1 Cor. 13:11 KJV. "But now here I stand as a Marine... I speak like a Marine, I walk like a Marine, I comprehend like a Marine, and I will always think like a Marine!"

"Liberty must at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it, derived from our Maker. But if we had not, our fathers have earned and bought it for us, at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasure, and their blood."
--John Adams, 1765

"We're not accustomed to occupying defensive positions. It's destructive to morale."
--LtGen H. M. "Howlin' Mad" Smith, Iwo Jima, 1945, quoted to Walter Karig

"I want you boys to hurry up and whip these Germans so we can get out to the Pacific to kick the s*** out of those purple-pissing Japanese, before the goddamned Marines get all the credit!"
--LtGen George Patton, USA, 1945

"We fight not for glory, nor for riches, nor for honour, but only and alone for Freedom, which no good man lays down but with his life."
--Declaration of Arbroath, Scotland, 1320

"Athens had reached the point of rejecting independence, and the freedom she now wanted was freedom from responsibility. There could be only one result... If men insisted on being free from the burden of a life that was self-dependent and also responsible for the common good, they would cease to be free at all. Responsibility was the price every man must pay for freedom. It was to be had on no other terms."
--Edith Hamilton, "The Echo of Greece"

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

"The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war."

"Dinosaur Rule"... "Adapt or Die!" "You will adapt, or you will answer to me. Do you understand you bunch of low-life roots?"

Fair winds and following seas.
Semper Fi!
Sgt Grit

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