Sgt Grit Newsletter - 07 MAY 2015

In this issue:
• A Bit of Good Judgement
• Threw My Rifle Back
• This Is Juan A. Bee

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Luke in his Sgt Grit Semper Fi bodysuit

This little Devil Pup, Luke, is just too cool. He is sporting his Sgt Grit gear as he prepares for Operation Let's Roll Out. Luke is the son of Christine and Marine Veteran Cpl Lee Pilkovsky. Cpl Pilkovsky was with 8th Communications Battalion and he was attached to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Semper Fi, Little Guy!

Get your Devil Pup this body suit at:

Semper Fi Little Guy Black/Red Body Suit

Semper Fi Little Guy Black/Red Body Suit

Well Son Of A Gun

GySgt Berg as a Corporal receiving receiving a NAM from MGen Peterson

Corporal, 1981. Had received a Navy Achievement Medal for performance as a member of 6th Marines Rifle Squad. Did not have a Good Conduct Medal yet. 1982, Did a lat move to 0231 Intelligence Specialist, got assigned to 1/6. Spent a year busting my b-tt for that Bn under the direction of LtCol Fox. When I got my orders to go to Oki, the S-2 wrote me up for another NAM. Deploy to 1st MAW HQ on Okinawa. Working in the G-2 as the daily briefer for the CG, MGen Peterson. I get called out one day to go receive my award. Well son of a gun if it was for a Navy Commendation Medal. He pinned it on proudly, and I was just as proud that it was him doing it.

For the next several years I got the strangest looks from Officers and SNCOs for being a Sergeant wearing a NCM, NAM, and GCM.

Semper Fi.

GySgt Bob Berg

Snody Administrator Skeleton KaBar Neck Knife

Life Of Its Own

Jeez, I didn't mean to start anything by remembering my M1 s/n, but it's amazing how something gets a life of its own (grin). Also amazing is how attached a Marine gets to his rifle, he even sleeps with it, or very nearby. "The most dangerous thing in the world is a Marine and his rifle... unless he married a WM like I did!"

Congrats to all Marines who remember their rifle s/n's, even after 50 years... Now if I can only remember my wife's name (also a Marine)... Maybe a Post-it on her forehead?

George Engel
Cpl, '54-'57​

Throwback NAM Magazines

Here is a picture of my 'NAM and Semper Fi magazines that I have collected over the years. Do any of you gents have have some of these?

Sgt Grit

Sgt Grit's collection of NAM and Semper Fi magazines

Explained In Fairly Concise Terms

Oh don't know how many other young Lieutenants had the duty of Paymaster for their unit, but it came to me several times during my time at 2nd Tank Bn from 1958-1960.

You had to report to the Dispersing Office where you were given an envelope of money and a list of all the members of the Battalion. You sat down at a desk and counted out the money from largest to smallest (as far as I can remember), and checked it against the roster. Then it was back to the Battalion and tables had been set up. You were armed with a 1911 M1A1 .45 cal, semi automatic and 5 rounds.

The men (no women in FMF at that time) presented their IDs. You verified the name and the face, then carefully counted out the money, all the time with 'the man' watching. Then they signed for the pay.

I went through this procedure several different times before hitting a problem. I finished paying the last man, and still had quite some money left over. I again went over the roster two more times, but still came up with an overage and all the men had been paid. I verified with the Battalion Sgt. Maj. that no one was absent and still had this surplus.

The rules stated that if you were short, you had to pay the difference out of your pocket, but nothing covered an overage. Finally I returned to the Dispersing Office and confessed that I had an overage, and the exact amount. With that the I handed the money to the Sgt behind the counter. He counted it and then pulled out a clipboard, and put a checkmark beside my name. I was now furious and demanded to know what that was all about. He explained they do this some times to make sure of the honesty of the men paying out the money, but not to worry, I had passed.

With that, all the frustration and pent up anger exploded, and I explained the meaning of an Officer's words as being his bond, and that I didn't appreciate the implication. A Captain came over, and I also explained in fairly concise terms my anger, before I left. I then returned to the Battalion and went to Maj. Joe Malcom's office, the Bn. XO, still fuming. He had already had a call from Dispersing. He backed me up, and informed them that this was never to be done again. To my knowledge, it never was.

Semper Fi​

Marines Nike Dri-FIT 1/4 Zip Long Sleeve Special

A Bit Of Good Judgement

Sgt Grit,

January 1969, MCRD San Diego. Dropped from platoon with compound heal contusions on both ankles. Sent to MRP (medical rehabilitation platoon). Every morning for a week I had to present myself to the base sick bay to soak my feet in a hot whirl pool for 30 minutes. One morning while waiting my turn in the tub, I ventured down the main breezeway along the grinder, seeking a head to relieve myself. When located, I discovered two other sick bay recruits there already, and having a smoke (a serious rule infraction punishable by death). I thought a few puffs would be OK also, so I lit one too, but for some unknown reason, I used a bit of good judgement and stepped into one of the stalls with the door closed behind me. The other unauthorized smokers were standing in front of the sinks. A moment later upon hearing the door of the head open, I for some unknown reason dropped my cig in the toilet and flushed just as all the screaming commenced. The next thing I knew the stall door jerked open and a drill instructor looked in to see if I was participating in the smoke fest. Satisfied that I wasn't because I had disposed of the evidence, the two drill instructors unceremoniously dragged the other two guilty parties outside to meet there fate. Two days later, just before being reassigned to another platoon, I was assigned guard duty in CC (they used MRP recruits for this type of stuff). I think the two smokers had arrived before me on a more unpleasant assignment. The next day, two fat farm grads and I showed up for duty at Platoon 3011 and got to meet SSgt Blankenship. But that is another story.

Deck, A.C.
NCOAD (not currently on active duty)

Threw My Rifle Back

P I Oct 1958, about the third week our senior drill instructor SSGT. Tommy Truax was doing rifle inspection and when he came up to me, I smartly came to present arms, thumbed back the bolt. He grasped the M 1 and demanded my serial number.

I rattled off my Marine serial number as 169xxxx while he was looking at the receiver group which read 1116895. I thought I was going to be doing push ups all day. He then asked for my rifle serial number which I replied. He threw my rifle back to me and went on to the next inspection.

Cpl. David LeVine
169xxxx, 2531
PI Dec 59, Plt 347, 3rd. Btl.

I Slept Better

I just read the 3/30 newsletter article about the Marines record collection and music of the various wars. I had an old guitar that was passed along from one Marine to another for several tours. It never left the living area although some of my buddies suggested that I take it with me on guard duty to scare away the enemy. Apparently the VC had no taste in music. I pulled guard duty on New Year's eve on a bunker off the runway at Chu Lai, listening to AFR count down the year's hits. At midnight I got a great fireworks show as flares, rockets, tracer rounds and all sorts of ordnance was fired off for about 10 minutes. I slept better at night after seeing that display.

Eric Tipton
Sgt. Vietnam 68/69

Attitude Is Everything Day 9

Attitude Is Everything Quote day 9

Herer is this week's most popular Marine Corps quote that was posted on Sgt Grit's Facebook Page. The replies are nothing short of what you would expect from our fellow Marine brothers and sister, or Marine family members.

Here are a few of their comments:

Dale Kuhle -

USMC ball bearings

Matt Mollett - shined up with never-dull!

Joe Centeno - God BLESS the Marine Corps, Semper Fi Marines, get some!

Check daily to see what the next quote or saying of the day will be on the Sgt Grit Facebook page.

Two-Hole Tags

In the 30 April 15 Newsletter, SSGT Ferguson inquires about WWII tags seen at his local Costco store. The two-hole tags date to WWII and the right index fingerprint was acid-etched onto the tag's reverse side. Although officially discontinued in 1942, these have been documented being issued as late as February, 1944.

The tag referenced by SSGT Ferguson might be dated using the tetanus date [T-date] stamped or engraved on the tag.

It's noteworthy that the USMC has used numerous styles, materials, and formats for Identification Tags ['dogtags'] since adoption in 1916. The classic 'notched' oval tag wasn't adopted until 1948.

C. 'Stoney' Brook
11th & 12th Marines

To SSgt Ferguson who wanted to know how they got the fingerprint on the back of the old dog tags.

I have my grandfathers dog tag with his fingerprint on the back. As it was explained to me. The tag was coated in wax with the etched information on it, and then had the Marine press his thumb onto the back. The whole thing was then dipped into acid which caused the info and thumbprint to be etched into the metal.

Hope this helps.

J.E. Smith
SSgt USMC (Ret)
"Dignity does not consist in the possession of honors; rather in the deserving of them."

Hills 200 & 244​

To Paul Culliton:

Referring to your post of 30-April-2015 if those hills you're referring to are Hills 200 & 244 then it's true about seeing the rounds flying overhead. We were there March '67 to April '68. WE were a couple of guys with Motor T attached to the radio relay platoon and had gone to .50 caliber school at 29 Stumps before arriving in country. Good/Bad memories. If these are the hills you're referring to I would imagine the places had not changed that much by the time you got there. If they are not, I would love to hear from anyone who was there.

Semper Fi / Do or Die

Proud Of The Marines

Dear Sgt Grit,

I have to say from my heart that I am d-mn proud of the Marines and my nephew who just made Marine officer. He's training in VA and he want's to be a pilot. I have to tell you that the t-shirt about the flag and the wind don't blow it, a Marine does with his breath made my eyes water up. You see Sgt Grit, I am d-mn proud of our flag and I hate anyone putting her down and burning her too. Also my Marine hero was Pappy Boyington of the Blacksheep 214. Thank you and may god bless all!


P.S. Sgt Grit it would be an honor to wear one of your t-shirts!

Missed This Recruit

In June of 1957 about 15 seniors graduated T.C. Howe high school in Indianapolis, In. They went down to enlist in the Marine Corps into a battalion to be made up of the famous Ernie Pyle journalist battalion. Fred Spaulding, was too small at 5'6" and skinny. The I&I Sgt. said no-way as he did not think Fred could complete boot camp. The Army took Fred--Put him through Airborne. Two years later he was 6'2" and 220 lbs. While serving in Vietnam as a Sergeant he earned a battlefield commission and finished his career as a Lt. Col. He was awarded The Silver Star. The recruiting Sergeant missed this recruit big time.

Cpl. David LeVine
169xxxx, 2531, PI 1958

November, 1944 Was A Busy Month

Sgt. Grit,

I know you are aware of how Marines hold the birthday of the Corps in such high regard. In November 1944, I looked at a notice of the celebration to be held at the Marine Barracks in Pearl Harbor. To this day my memory recalls the invitation stating: Those eligible to attend, Officers and their Ladies, enlisted Men and their Wives. After all of these years, I still get a feeling of resentment.

November, 1944 was a busy month. I accompanied WO George Young to Pearl Harbor to get $400,000 in currency for the Island Paymaster on Guam. We were taken to a vault containing bundles of money stacked from floor to ceiling. I had never seen so much money. Each bill had "HAWAII" printed on it in case any of our money was lost to the Japanese in which case it could be declared worthless.

The Navy Disbursing Officer on Guam learned of our mission and requested $25,000 in coins be added to our responsibility. The extra weight resulted in our having to wait until a plane was available to carry the weight. This meant we were stranded for ten days at Pearl and Honolulu. What to do with all that money? We took it to the brig and had it locked in a cell for safekeeping. I don't recall if we told the guards at the brig what they had locked up.

Before we left Guam a Gunny in supply told me to contact a certain Gunny in supply at Pearl and ask him for a watch. The Gunny in Pearl asked me how many watches I wanted and I told him three. I put one on my wrist, packed one to take back to Guam, and gave one to WO Young who asked me how I got it as he had requested one and had been told there were none available. Nuff said!

The international date line does strange things to us. We left Guam at noon, spent 20 hours in the air, stopped at two islands and arrived at Pearl Harbor thirty minutes before we left Guam. Part of my job was paying officers on inspection trips their per diem allowances. Many of the trips jumped back and forth across the date line and their orders were endorsed using the date and time at the stations involved. Twenty minutes in the air would show up as a difference of a whole day. Often drove me up a wall.

Bob Gaston, StfSgt

This is Juan A. Bee

Juan A. Bee at a local event

Juan A. Bee's list of medals, ribbons, and badges

He goes on the road for booths and exhibits. He's a real ladies man. (Fifty Shades of Gray, Bert and Ernie version, in the right pocket.) That rifle has an authentic Star Wars laser sight. We do guns shows, so all weapon chambers are empty, nytied for safety. Bayonet is strapped to the left leg. His DD214 shows Medal of Honor (authentic, real case.) It's backed by not one, but TWO police badges. He does carry a few extras in the helmet bag... "Purple Heart" cap and another, "USN, Black Shoe soldier." Some peanut butter MRE's and a Sheriff's badge too. His 12 USMC sleeve chevrons will go on before his next trip. Air Force Mini Medals topped by a Trident opposite that gorgeous ribbon rack.

My thanks to good friend Britt Taylor Collins,, the crew at SGT GRIT,, and Barb Riggle for contributions to his spring wardrobe. A big thank you to Scott Pritchett for the original concept... now our FWP logo.

Must say - last booth set-up in Jacksonville, AR a few weeks ago - a wife looked at her (alleged Vietnam Veteran) husband (she and I had been talking, he walked up) and asked him, "What's wrong with him?"

He said, "I don't see anything wrong."

Draw your own conclusions.

Mary Schantag, Chairman

​Lima Company Marine

Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, commanded by Capt. William F. Lee, USMC, relieved Bravo Company 3/9 Marines. The XO was 1st Lt. Farro, USMC, and First Sergeant was SGT. Hunsburger. "B" Company numbered about 180 Marines. They lived in NMCB-11's camp and were the reaction force for the Marble Mountain Military Complex; 1st Platoon was atop Monkey Mountain; 2nd Platoon was at NSA; and 3rd Platoon remained in the Seabee camp. A sign at the entrance to Lima Company read as follows:

"A Lima Marine is a can fed, sweat cooled, guts operated, more or less flat trajectory weapon, that has never been known to have a stoppage."

That says it all!

John Ratomski

Covers Indoors

Sgt Grit,

I think some of this talk about wearing a cover indoors is getting a little silly. We all know as Marines we don't wear covers while in uniform inside any building unless we are under arms. As far as civilian clothes go, I never wear my Vietnam Veteran cover inside a church or restaurant or function where it would be inappropriate. But consider this: as a proud member of the Marine Corps League, we always wear our covers indoors before, during and after the meeting. The same is true of the VFW, American Legion, Military Order of the Purple Heart and the DAV. We only remove them during the meetings when there is an opening or closing prayer. So be forewarned, don't stop me inside McDonalds, Burger King or in any casual attire restaurant to tell me I need to remove my Sgt. Grit Semper Fi Vietnam Veteran cover or the fight will begin! Let's get over the Petty sh-t.

Semper Fi,
Master Sergeant of Marines
Gene Hays
MSgt, USMC Retired
Author and Historian

At The Railroad Trestles

Back in 1969 - 1971 I was attached to the MP Company in Camp Pendleton. Once in a while on weekends this Sergeant who guards the frontier of Pendleton would ask me if I wanted to go patrolling. Usually I would say yes because there isn't much to do on $100 a month salary, and we didn't have to dress up because we patrolled in boots and utilities. So off we go armed with long riot batons and .45's. While traversing the hills, he gets a call on the radio that some surfers are out at the railroad trestles surfing. Back in the old days the place was Marine Corps property and the only way the surfers got there was to be dropped off on I-5, then cross the fence to one of the best surfing waves this side of southern California. That's what I was told and I'm sticking by it; the surfing thing.

We arrived to witness a squad of MP's with their spit shined shoes and tropical class "C" uniforms standing morosely p-ssed off on the hot sand looking at surfers who managed to escape to the sea. "Screw you jarheads," or something like that can be overheard over the breaking waves as they taunted the Marines. As soon as we parked the pickup MP truck, smart me was thinking, "where the h-ll is their gear," like towels, pants, money, beers and the accoutrements that go along on a beach party with Annette Funicello.

Looking around the beach I noticed little sticks protruding from little sand mounds. I started digging with my riot baton and sure as sh-t there's their stuff! "Well now, this is getting pretty good," I thought. Then I saw a log and I said to myself, "Self, that'll be a good place to hide stuff." So I dug with my three foot riot baton on the end of the log and I discovered more stuff! Pretty soon the squad of astonished MP's figured out what the h-ll I was doing and began to dig also. Marine training digging for land mines came in handy. Then I heard someone flicking his Zippo and a bonfire got started. Marines like bonfires on beaches dreaming of Annette, and clothes and stuff began to be weeny roasted.

The surfers' tones somehow changed from happy "screw you jarheads" to something like a higher pitched "screw you jarheads". Of course they didn't say screw you but more like a surfers' idiom of their profession and with bad feelings and an emphasis on the "F" word.

Corporal Batayola of the Marines

God Bless Bob Hope

​This is some priceless footage. It makes me thankful that I am old enough to have lived in the time of Bob Hope.

Bob Hope Christmas

Short Rounds

Was on a med cruise and went on liberty in Barcelona, Spain sometime in July 1959. Myself and a couple of other Marines had a few at the local bars and decided to come back to the ship the USS Taconic AGC-17. Walking up the gang plank and reaching the top was the Officer of the Day, a young Ensign and one of my buddies said "request to cross your patio dadio", and the next morning at Captain's Mast was restricted to any more Liberty for 2 weeks.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. A fellow vet bought it out during our substance abuse therapy at Daytona, VA.

David Creighton wanted to know if any evac occurred in 1976.

I just watched a PBS Documentary about Vietnam and the evacuation. The evacuation was in April 1975. The last American to leave Vietnam was a Marine. So the individual you talked to must have been a wantabe.

Paul DeLaricheliere
CWO3 Retired

Responding to the question regarding a "1976 evacuation of Da Nang".

That is a poser. Even if it was the best kept secret of the war, that "young Marine" would have to be no younger than 55-56 today (well, compared to me that IS young).

The big news then was the founding of a Technical College in the city.

Pete Dahlstrom '68 - '74
Marine Corps!


Quote by General James Mattis

"When I was a young officer in 1979, I toured what was known as "The Killing Fields" in Cambodia. This is the area where the Khmer Rouge killed off nearly a quarter of the Cambodian population, something like 1.9 million people in just a few years. My guide told me that they started by rounding up all of the teachers. They wanted to extinguish free thought, and the spark of questioning and dissent. Because, to a Totalitarian dictator, an open and inquisitive mind is more dangerous even than a Marine with a rifle."
--General James Mattis

"But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever."
--John Adams, 1775

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom."
--Benjamin Franklin, 1787​

"Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die. And it is youth who must inherit the tribulation, the sorrow, and the triumphs that are the aftermath of war."
--Herbert Hoover, [1944]

"Your love of liberty — your respect for the laws — your habits of industry — and your practice of the moral and religious obligations, are the strongest claims to national and individual happiness."
--George Washington, 1789

a quote about the American Marine

"The American Marine will march down the barrel of an enemy rifle for you. It continually has amazed me over the years just how good the individual Marine can be."
--Captain Paul Goodwin, USMC, No Shining Armor, 1992

"Today is a good day to die!"

"As You Were..."

"I'll be out of the area all day!"

​Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

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