Sgt Grit Newsletter - 08 OCT 2015

In this issue:
• The History Behind These Flags
• DI Goes Through Routine
• Images Of A South Pacific Paradise

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Camp Matthews 1963

MCRD San Diego 1963

I keep reading about people talking about Camp Matthews. I am sending you a picture of the camp in 1963. Also a picture of MCRD San Diego. You still had to ride the ferry to Corondao. It was a lot more fun than the bridge.

Gary L Tryheart
USMC June '63 to June '67

The History Behind These Flags

Honorable flags held by Gene and Jimmy

Sgt Grit,

My name is Gene Crabtree. Retired GySgt (pictured on left). Recently I was asked by Jimmy Dupuy (pictured on right), if I could assist him with folding these two flags. I told him it would be an honor and I would be proud to assist him. He began to tell me the history of these flags. He found these flags in a box that he received after his mother passed away, they were not folded and he wanted to put them in Shadow Boxes. The flag I am holding is his Great-Grandfather's William Curry Chisolm's flag. He served in WWI. This flag has 48 stars, his Great-Grandfather passed away in 1926. The flag that Jimmy is holding is for his Father, Joseph Steven Dupuy. Mr. Jimmy served in the U.S. Marine Corps from '65-'69. I can't tell you the honor that this gave me and the sense of pride to assist in this Flag Folding.

Semper Fi,
Gene Crabtree
GySgt Retired
1981 - 2001

Sgt Grit Exclusive 2015 Christmas T-shirt Special

Campaign Dates

Vietnam Ribbon Cover of MGySgt Hansen

Rank and Vietnam Service Ribbon bumper sticker of MGySgt Hansen

Your site is prized by most Marine veterans that I know. When I wear the cover shown above, I do not do it to have people thank me for my service. That is appreciated; however the reason I wear it is that I get "Semper Fi" and "Ooorah's" from folks I'd never met before and it usually strikes up a good conversation of when they served and where. Many times, they want to know where I got my cover and I am happy to share that it is your website. I personalized my ribbons on my cover by adding campaign stars and my "60-" device to the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon. I got a generic Vietnam Service Ribbon bumper sticker and made a stencil to add my campaign stars with spray paint. I've had a lot of interest in this and usually got some chuckles when I told them how I did it. Feel free to publish the Vietnam Service Medal campaign dates. You might put out some feelers to see if folks might be interested in personalizing their covers or bumper stickers to reflect their time in "the Nam."

Steve Hansen
MGySgt USMC (Long Ret.)

Get your own cover/hat at:

Vietnam Ribbon Cover/Hat

Vietnam Ribbon Cover/Hat

Boot Camp Books

Many times in your newsletter, there are requests from Marines looking for copies of Boot Camp Year Books.

A source that should not be overlooked are the local Good-Will stores, however, many people do not know that Good-Will also has a web site that links 100's of stores from around the country to the internet.

Over that past few years, I have seen numerous USMC yearbooks listed for sale. Since it is unlikely that someone could find the yearbook they are by searching for locally, a visit to this site might prove productive.

The site address is:, and a simple search will find all things related to USMC, Marine Corps, etc....

USMC '69-'71
3rd MAR
Greg Scher

Tactical Christmas Stocking with MOLLE Webbing

Thanksgiving 1956 PISC

Thanksgiving Menu Cover PISC 1956

Thanksgiving Menu PISC 1956

Thanksgiving 1956 menu recruit messhall. Hope you can use it for your salute to 100 years of PISC or your Thanksgiving issue.

Mil Oakes, CWO4 USMC Retired


I was a cook in Chu Lai in '68... the 88 men in "B" Brty, 2nd LAAMBS treated me like I was made of GOLD, being a cook I never had to stand guard... but I made sure those that did come for MID-RATS, were happy when they left my cook tent... ham/bologna, with a slice of cheese, lettuce, tomato - if I had them, koolaid or coffee, a piece of fruit AND a dessert, a piece of cobbler, or brownie or cake or cookies... so I did a little extra for those that stood guard at the wire.

I have pictures of some of them, I wish I could remember their names, I would love to say Hey!

L/Cpl Mark Gallant
Chu Lai... March - August '68

C-130 Hercules Phu Bai, RVN

NMCB-133 resurfaces the runway at Phu Bai, RVN, as a C-130 Hercules aircraft takes off from the completed end of the runway.

John Ratomski

C-130 taking off in Phu Bai, Vietnam

No Field Days

I was stationed at Camp Hague/Napunja in 1958-59. We would always tell the cab driver "Napunja" as our destination when we were in the "vil" or someplace else on Okinawa and wanted to return to base. The little village outside the base was called Chibana. Our quonset huts were painted a dark green and were pretty old and sometimes rusted. I don't know what the other writer was referring to when he indicated it was being built. Camp Hague, when I was there, was home to the 12th Marines and other supporting artillery units. The 9th Marines were mainly at Camp Sukiran/Fort Buckner. I believe the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines were at Camp Bishigawa. A lot of the 3rd Marines were at Camp Kinser across the street from Camp Hague.

A friend of mine from high school had a very cushy job and was billeted at Camp Hague where they stored the booze to be delivered to the Marine EM clubs on the island. He was the driver and his bunk was in the back room of the warehouse quonset. His grandson is Gordon Hayward who plays for the Utah Jazz of the NBA. The best club on the island for E4s and below was at Kadena AFB.

The football team at Hague was named the Royals. The Kinser team was named the Streaks.

Some of the aura of being a Marine on Okinawa was diminished when they built Camp Schwab at the north end of the island. For the most part, my three years in the Corps was mainly working in and sleeping in quonset huts. The great upside of that was no "field days".

James V. Merl

Sacred Duty

In the last newsletter there was a piece about if it is your business if you meet a poser or a fake service member. Mike Kunkel is correct, it is his business.

When a Recruit earns the right to wear the uniform and be called Marine, his life can be taken at any time, by any person, at any location. Regardless of the MOS any Marine is a basic rifleman and he or she has taken a oath and honors that commitment throughout his or her lifetime. Many Marines over the past 240 years have given all without question.

To allow some ignorant fool to pose and take credit for a Marine's hard work and sacrifice is absolutely wrong. Posers are so easy to identify it's ridiculous.

Many times I see a Marine wearing a cover with the EGA or someone will notice my shirts or shorts with the emblem, one will always say Semper Fi or some other greeting. Then they proceed to talk about duty stations or time in Viet Nam or some other thing. Then the wife says come on lets go and we say "in a minute". Words like Top, Gunny, Gunner, house mouse, Dufus Mother F'r, MOS and so on seem to flow like water. Viet Nam vets are like me with more hair on their chins than on their head and the color of choice is white.

Posers will not engage you for any reason. If they do they say they are with Black Ops, Red Berets, Recon Seals, or the classic "I am not at liberty to discuss". They do not look you in the eye and they do not walk, talk, or act like some Drill Instructor has ever taught them Respect.

I think it's a sacred duty to embarrass posers and correct their thinking.

P.S. My mid-rats just had soggy bread, horse co... I mean bologna, and a dollop of mustard.

DI Goes Through Routine

Leaving the 200 yd firing line we were not marching as a platoon but as a herd, per our unhappy DI, so we turned our covers backward, slung M-14s over our back, got on hands and knees and mooed all the way back to the road in front if the range barracks.

Air raid and flood game with one hit of the DI's baton a flood and 2 hits an air raid. All foot lockers, shoes and boots and both of us on the top rack; same but under the bottom rack for air raid. Heaven help you if you assume alternating flood-air raid and make the wrong move, i.e., you are under flood and DI hits once and you move.

Close order drill while just going 'lights out' and you are at attention on your back on your rack. DI goes through routine left face, right face and so on. Getting too routine and while at parade rest, you hear a right face and the lights come on when the telltale bed spring sounds. Only to attention from parade rest.

Found memories!

Mike Blackwell
MCRDPI, 1st Battalion,
Bravo Company, Platoon 160
July-September 1964
RVN 1967-1968


Wingo needed a Plane Ticket home and the closest Travel Agency was located at MCRD Parris Island. We were both LCpls completing our "Plane Captain" MOS On The Job Training attached to VMFA-451 out of Beaufort, South Carolina.

When we walked into the Travel Office there was a Platoon of Recruits picking up their Plane Tickets to their next Duty Station/Leave. Positioned by the door was the Guide and he hollered "Gangway". The Recruits hugged the walls and Wingo walked right up to the counter. After Wingo purchased his Plane Ticket we pulled one Recruit to the side and asked him what his MOS was. He stated 0311 and we told him ours was 6014.

We were talking to him standing there with unpolished Flight Boots, Trousers Unbloused and mine were dirty from changing a Main Tire on a F4-J Phantom that morning. Our Blouses had been starched and Militarily Creased during the Kennedy Administration and our Covers Starched when Chesty was at the helm. But there was no way that this "Hard Charging Recruit", soon to become a "Marine", was going to listen to what he must of thought were a couple of "Rejects from the Stone Age". When we tried to tell him that the "Airwing" was the way to go he stood his ground. I imagine me and Wingo had a few laughs on the "Road Trip" back to Beaufort that afternoon.

"Hollywood", "Paradise Island" or the Hills of Quantico, we all had to be broke down and rebuilt some place. I salute those of you that spent your entire training on an island. And congratulate each and every one that passed through the gate at MCRD Parris Island on this the start of the Anniversary Celebration of 100 years of it's existence.

LCpl C. Edwards
Semper Fi
Plane Captain
'77 - '82

First Night Of Tet In The MACV Tower

MACV Post 2 Hue

A few nights after the start of Tet

MACV Tower Account (with Frank Doezema Jr, Bob Robertson, Bobby Hull).

This is an eyewitness account used with permission from our friend Bob Robertson from the night of January 31st, 1968 the first night of The Battle of Hue...

Michael and I were assigned to Marine Security Detachment MACV Advisory Team #3 in Hue RVN. Though we had seen both Frank and Bobby Hull around the Compound on numerous occasions we had never been formally introduced nor spoken at length with either one until we were brought together to go through what would prove to be a life changing ordeal for everyone involved. We had no way of knowing at the time but we were only going to know Frank for six hours of his life, but I cannot think of any other type of situation one could go through where it would be possible to learn more quickly the make up of a mans character or what's in his heart than what the four of us would go through in the six hours to come. As a result I think there are probably things the four of us know about each other that many lifelong friends wouldn't know.

Michael's assigned post for that night 30-31 Jan. was post #2 which was the observation tower in the northeast corner of the compound. My duties were to insure that each man on watch was alert and familiar with all weapons on his post. Every man in the compound was assigned a post or specific assembly point to go to in case the compound came under attack. As Michael and I soon learned Frank and Bobby Hull had been assigned to the tower. When I began my rounds to check posts shortly past midnight on the 31st I stopped at the main gate, delivered coffee, checked on the men, and went on to post #2. I had just given Michael a cup of coffee and he only had time to burn his lips when the first rocket hit in the street between the main gate and the tower. Michael dropped his cup and was up the ladder, I dropped the coffee pot and was right behind him, we were in the tower before all the shrapnel from the first round had hit the ground, and more rounds started hitting all over the compound. I looked at my watch and the time was 15 minutes after midnight. That was the last time I would look at my watch until long after we had come down out of that tower. Everything that happened in the next six hours seemed to be happening for the most part while time was standing still, and the time was not a priority so all estimates of time are approximations.

Within the next ten minutes Frank came running through the exploding rocket and mortar rounds and climbed into the tower, followed shortly by Bobby Hull. The introductions were short, an exchange of names, as the next few minutes were busily spent preparing all weapons and carefully watching for the ground assault that was sure to come. The skies were completely overcast and the night was pitch black, so the only light we had initially was from the exploding rounds. We had a land line telephone so we started with the ability to contact other posts on the compound. We all soon learned that Michael had excellent night vision and recovery as he was the first to see the enemy troops moving toward us and the fire fight began. We could hear the rounds coming through the tower and see the tracers as they passed. Though I think military training is very important I don't think that any amount of training could have fully prepared us for what was coming. Though I had been exposed to rocket and mortar fire hitting very closely on numerous occasions before I hadn't heard anything like what we were going to hear.

Somewhere around 2:30 I heard the loudest noise I had ever heard in my life, and the four of us were knocked to the floor unconscious from the blast of the B40 rocket that had hit and blown off much of the roof of the tower. Being the first to regain consciousness, the first thing I had to do was clear my head, figure out where I was and assess the situation we were in, and it was back to the wall immediately to return the incoming fire. It's hard to relate what goes through your head at a time like this, there are numerous things that you need to be concentrating on but you can only have one thought at a time. The most pressing matter was the enemy that was trying to get into our compound. I knew without help this would be very difficult, so while firing with one hand I reached out with the other grabbing at flak jackets and shaking. As I recall Frank was the first to get back up followed by Bobby and Michael, and they were right back up to the wall firing. I don't know how long we were unconscious but it could not have been more than a few seconds, as the enemy coming at us had not advanced more than a few yards in the time we were out. I know that anyone who witnessed the blast from the round hitting the tower would probably have thought that there was no way anyone could survive a hit like that, but they could not have known about all the forces at work here.

The most disconcerting thing for me at the time was the fact that we were totally deaf. Although we knew our weapons were firing and we could see the muzzle flashes, it was as though we had been placed in a sound proof booth, and all sound had been removed. It was about 15 to 20 minutes before I began to hear what sounded like very distant gunfire, and the hearing slowly began to return. When I had already gotten an acknowledgment from Frank and Bobby that they were okay and tried to question Michael he began to yell that he couldn't hear and it was evident that he was not in a good state. As I thought about our overall situation the thought came to me that even though we had all four been knocked out and round 1 was over, the fight was not. I began to laugh. Then Frank started to laugh, then Bobby. As Michael started to regain his hearing, the first thing he heard was the three of us laughing and he began to laugh too. (I didn't know until Michael told me 38-1/2 years later that the laughter was the only thing that kept him from flipping out on us and from that point he was able to stay focused.) We found out the land line was no longer working, and we began to hear someone from the bunker in back of the quarters behind the tower yelling for us to get out of there. A quick vote and it was unanimously decided that if they really wanted us out, let them come up and get us.

As I became more aware of the blood running down my back from the shrapnel in my head and arms I knew the others all had shrapnel wounds as well, but not one of them said a word other than they were okay. It was about this time that we began to get illumination from flares launched from the main gate thanks to the efforts of Joe Vasquez, from Marine Security, who lost part of his hand and was evacuated before we had a chance to thank him. I think it was while the first or second flare was burning that the big white goose came waddling and quacking up the road right through the exploding mortar rounds. With a quick glance back to see it, we had another quick laugh and kept firing.

At approximately 3:30 the second B40 hit the back side of the opening in the floor. It knocked us into the front sandbag wall and we dropped to the floor. The recovery time from that round probably took a little longer as more of that blast was contained by the sandbag walls all around. The head clearing didn't take as long that time as we were more familiar with what had just happened to us. Just as before I was firing with one hand to answer the incoming fire and stop the advance of enemy troops, and with the other I was reaching for flak jackets to help revive the men. All three men were soon back up on the wall. As we could not yet hear, the questions about their condition were asked in silence and the answers were three nods that they were okay. If we had any new shrapnel wounds from that round it wasn't much, I think it was mostly cuts from the force of the blast.

I knew all three of these men were hurt, but they were not going to give up as long as they could get back up and fight. I also knew that if I had known in advance what we were going to have to go through, and had been given an opportunity to hand pick three men to go through it with, that I would not have made one change.

Hearing started to return for me between 20 and 25 minutes after that round hit, and for the others soon after. There had been four more knockouts and round two was over, but the fight still was not. We had another good round of laughter and maintained our focus. We could now hear the demands from the bunker that we get down out of the tower. After another quick vote and again a unanimous decision, we were not ready to give up the vantage point we had, so if they wanted us out let them come up and get us.

When I saw Michael move to the left side of the tower with his rifle to his shoulder ready to start shooting toward the police station across the street, I grabbed his arm and questioned whether we really needed to get into a fire fight with the cops, but before he even responded we began to receive fire from the top of that building. It was evident that they had already overrun the police station. We now had to cover to the front and to the left. I would not doubt Michael's eyesight again.

I had by now come to realize that it was a great honor to be in the position I was in with these three men. Though it is impossible to know the thoughts in another man's head, I had no doubt that no matter what was racing through their minds, they did not allow anything to distract them from focusing on the reality of our situation, and doing whatever necessary to keep the forces coming at us from getting into the wire. It was not possible to count the number of times that all three men stood up exposing themselves to rounds coming through in order to get a better angle to fire from or launch a grenade. Thoughts had crossed my mind of many places I would rather have been, and even thoughts of just lying down and waiting for this to pass. But the reality was that, that would only have made matters worse. If we didn't stop that attack right there the whole compound was in trouble.

It was instantly clear when the third round hit that it was different. Though I would not have thought it possible, the blast was louder and the flash was almost blinding. Before I lost consciousness I felt my body being thrown back from the front wall and slammed to the floor. When I regained consciousness the first image I had on my way back up to the wall was Frank and I knew that I could not try to even move him without hurting him more than he already was. I would have to have help for that. I knew the laughter in that tower was over. (When Michael and I spoke on the phone in Sept. one of the first things he asked me was if I remembered us all laughing together in the tower, and I laughed immediately. How could I have possibly forgotten that? But for 38-1/2 years those thoughts had not once entered my mind. I will not forget again. One of my most treasured memories will always be that no matter how dark the situation Frank, Michael, Bobby, and I were in, we still managed to share a few good laughs.) I couldn't get the .30 Cal. Machine Gun to fire so I picked up an M-16 and began firing, while reaching out for Michael and Bobby with my other hand. When they were both back up and we were fairly confident we had stopped any advance toward us, we all three dropped back and stretched Frank out and made him as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. We used the field dressings we had to try to stop the bleeding, and got right back to the wall as the incoming rounds had begun to increase. Though we could not yet hear we had already begun to yell for a medic.

I don't know how long it had been since the third round hit, but I had started to regain my hearing when Frank regained consciousness. From the corner of my vision I saw him pushing himself up off the floor to try to get back up on the wall to help us. As severely wounded as he was he was not willing to give up. We turned back to lay him back down on the floor and I told him that we could handle whatever we had left to do. He said "It's pretty bad isn't it?" I told him we would get some help as soon as we could and he was going to be all right. He fell back into unconsciousness again and we concentrated on stopping the attack. We had no way of knowing how long they would keep coming.

When I heard Frank again he had asked if we could raise his legs up off the rough oak floor. Thankfully I do not remember who gave up their flak jacket, but we picked up his legs and stretched the flak jacket out under the lower half of his body. By now we knew that if another B40 hit, whatever physical protection we had would not stop it anyway. But we owed Frank whatever protection and comfort we could give him. Frank would not speak directly to the three of us again.

I don't know how much time passed, but when I heard Frank speaking again he was praying, not for himself but for help and protection for the three men up there with him. It took me many years to realize it, but he was not praying to some God way up in Heaven, but to the living God who was right there holding his hand, waiting to take him Home.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. St. John 10:27

28 And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's Hand. 30 I and my Father are one.

Franks prayers were being answered and the attack had started to slow. Bobby Hull dropped down out of the tower and went back into the compound to get a medic. He came back shortly with two medics that had brought up a basket that we carefully strapped Frank into, and we lowered him over the back wall of the tower to the ground. As we were now getting some covering fire we picked up the weapons and what ammo we had left and got down out of there.

Though it was eventually rebuilt and again used as a guard post after I left Hue in late Apr. '68, Michael nor I would ever go back up into that tower again. Nor did we even discuss what had happened up there until after the events that led us to get in touch with each other in Sept. '06. For all these years the accounts of what happened were based on misinformation. My sincere hope is that this info helps to bring out the truth. For 15 years I suppose that I was angry with God that a good man like Frank had died and three hell raisers like Michael, Bobby, and I had walked away with minor wounds. After being saved and becoming a Christian in '83, I began to understand that Frank was ready to go and we were not. God had some work to do on the three of us.

Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken and we are escaped. Psalm 124:7

Over the years I have heard many prayers, some very eloquent and some by people a lot smarter and who know a lot more about God and his ways than I do, but none have had any more impact on my life than the simple prayers of a brave young man who knew he was dying as he lay on the floor of an observation tower half way around the world from his family and friends. Frank Doezema Jr. was never alone in that tower. He would not have been alone if Michael, Bobby, and I had not even been there. Although Frank was the only one aware of it at the time, there weren't just four of us up there, there were five!

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. St. John 15:13

I look forward to the day when I will once again meet Frank.


P.S. Sadly Bob Robertson has since passed away, but I am thankful I was blessed to be reunited with Bob and share our story with the family of Frank Doezema Jr. This is the true story of what happened that night, unlike the story by another man who received honor for something he did not do.

Semper Fi,
Michael (Mish) Mishler

What's A Cannoncocker

Wow, talk about bringing up "old memories". When the Sr. Drill Instructor read off mos's, I thought to myself "What's a cannoncocker, and where the h-ll is Okinawa." I arrived in Dec. 1960 going to Camp Napunja (Camp Hague). Assigned to 4th Bn., 12th Mar, Kilo Battery. "Big Red" Ebert was the Bn. SgtMaj., also in the Bn. was Gysgt Al Wilson (earlier in his Marine carrer he was a boxer). Our first weekend was the last of overnight liberty, after that it was "cinderella liberty" for Cpls and below.

I haven't thought of Camp Hague in over 35 yrs. Cpl Karl Henry "Thanks for bringing up the memories".

Jim Leonard
SSgt USMC (ret)

Roving Patrol

Sgt Grit,

Re the story of Camp Geiger Mid-Rats. I was at Geiger from 1956 to '58 with 8th Motors. We drove jeeps as Roving Patrol armed with a .45 with 3 rounds of ammo. There was still racial segregation at that time. One night I had a partner riding shotgun, we wandered into the boonies to goof off as it was quiet, 6 or 8 African American Marines from our company staggered out of the boonies and ask for a ride to the company area as they went to the segregated section of Jville... I wish I had a camera to take the picture of the people hanging on the jeep. We usually patrolled the ITR area looking for fresh out of Parris Island boots leaving the Quonset huts crossing the street to the head in their skivvies. We would pick them up and take them to the OD who would chew their b-tts for being out of uniform. Your articles bring back some great memories, thanks.

Cpl Rowe

I Had The Upper Hand

I arrived on Parris Island, SC in July 1963 and the first person that came onto the bus was a Marine in a smokey bear hat yelling and screaming at us to get off the bus. That was a real eye opener for me. I had two brothers that had served in the Marines and they told me a lot of stories about boot camp. I thought that I had the upper hand until that first day. You really cannot understand how you are going to react to that kind of situation. Well after 13 weeks of training I graduated from boot camp and to this day I can remember my DIs by name and I would like to thank them for making me a man. If some of the young people today would join the Corps they to would be thankful also. To bad it is not a requirement. This country would be a lot better off.


Before You Take A Bite

Mid-Rats? Upon my arrival at CamPen from Vietnam (via the army hospital on Okinawa) I was still on limited duty. No one seemed to know where I should be sent, so they threw me in the brig as an Asst Warden. I was a SSgt then and SSgts and GySgts stood Officer of the Day. I don't know the policy now but back then, when standing as OOD all of the troops, permanent personnel included had to salute and refer to you as Sir. Come midnight, one of the guards delivered our sandwiches to myself and other personnel on duty. I was sitting behind a desk in the guard shack with a Cpl who was on phone watch. As I started to unwrap my goodies, the Cpl said SIR, before you take a bite, open the sandwich and look inside, after all, the prisoners on mess duty make those sandwiches. I removed the top slice of bread and sure enough! Someone had coughed up a great big green goober on top of the lettuce. Shortly thereafter, I was sent back to the drill field for a second tour, but I could not look at a sandwich even if it was made at Jack in the Box for a full year. Then for couple of more years I opened a sandwich and peered inside even if my wife made it for me.

J L Stelling

A-10 Warthog

After watching the A-10s use in Irag, Afghanistan, and other zones in Europe, and the unwillingness of the USAF to continue its use, my thought was that the Marines could seriously use it for close air support. Remove the wings and reassemble it when an airfield or road is setup for it to take off. Maybe the pilots would like to join the Marines and fly their A-10's. I like the words "the enemy shook in their shoes when they heard the A-10 engines overhead". Think what the Chinese and North Koreans, etc., hear the same engines over their heads and the machine guns and rockets blasting away at them and their equipment. Sure would be fun to see them crying when the A-10 blasts them to pieces.


Sgt. Grit,

In the 1 Oct. 2015 news letter, CRD Womack asked why the Marines did not get the A-10. I don't know about now but we would have used them during Viet Nam and after, but for two things. No wing fold and the associated gear to make it shipboard compliant. The other is the political powers that be.

"Do you like me maggot. You better not like me for liking leads to loving and... Well I just don't know how to clean that one up?!

Joe Barlow Jr.
Ret. GySgt.

Images Of A South Pacific Paradise

Per your request in this week's newsletter, here's one story about Parris Island I can't shake from my memory, even after 63 years:

Being from Vermont when I joined the Corps in Sept. 1952, I joined a bunch of other recruits (not called poolees in those days) in New York City for the two day train ride to Parris Island (a name that elicits mental images of a South Pacific paradise). Three NCOs, all dressed in white covers, blue trousers and khaki shirts rode with us to hand out meal chits and maintain some semblence of order and discipline during the trip. I don't recall them engaging us in many conversations, but I do recall that they acted polite, professional and kind. At least, there was no profanity, yelling, or other sorts of inhuman behavior that many of us had been warned about. The train ride in other words, was kind of nice.

Until the train pulled into Yemmassee, South Carolina at 0600 on or about 23 Sept. 1952.

At that time, a voice, more like a roar than a voice, entered the car ahead of mine shouting such words as sh-tbirds, maggots, and Lord only knows what else as all forms of decency, humanity and self-confidence dissipated into thin air. Fear took over; dreadful fear at that. To this day, I can hear that monster's verbal destruction of young men willing to go to war in Korea who suddenly started having second thoughts about our decision to become Marines. As I looked around for help from one or all of those nice NCOs who delivered us into this H-ll, there was no sign of them anywhere.

Although we all boarded the train in New York City as individuals, we left the train as one big blob of scared-to-death, newly-created non-entities. Cpl. Monster (while well deserved, that was not his real name) led us across the street to the Yemmassee Restaurant where a cold breakfast was awaiting us, one which we were expected to consume in a matter of five minutes before boarding the cattle trucks to the Island.

Upon arrival at Parris Island after the short twenty or so minute ride in cattle trucks while being thoroughly convinced we were no longer human beings, we off-loaded in the receiving area that at that time was near the Iron Mike statue. And no, we did not have yellow footprints in those days. I do not remember at what point in this process the ogre left us and our Senior DI picked us up and herded us to our 2nd Bn. barracks. For whatever the reason(s), Cpl. Badass was gone, never to be seen again (thank God!) and our Sr. DI, SSgt. W. S. Johnson, a great DI who, despite his deep, threatening voice, was hard as nails and as fair as a new born baby, took over and twelve weeks later, Plt. 529 graduated as Post Honor Platoon.

Chris Vail
Sgt., 1952 - 1958

Getting The Hell Out


During World War II, a while before we got involved in World War II there was the Evacuation of Dunkirk. There are great stories and pictures on the web. When I served at Bermuda the British held what they called a "TATOO" which was a demonstration of British forces marching the Slow March and the various British forces. We invited some of the traveling British Marines to our house for dinner and rest.

Two of the Marines had been at Dunkirk, Dunkirk was a disaster, the British Forces were forced to retreat and they did so by dumping their rifles and equipment on the beaches and taking any boat home. The British citizens reacted as any population would and every boat of any size that could make the trip would go to Dunkirk and pickup what ever men they could. I remember now that the British left their guns, actually throwing their rifles away and getting the H-ll out of there. What's not remembered here is that there was a call for weapons for the British and American's sent their hunting rifles and such to Britain. Some very special Rifles that had won at Camp Perry National Matches were sent, after the war they tried to retrieve the rifles and found they had all been destroyed by the British Government because they don't want their people to have weapons without permission (which is hard to get). There are pictures of the weapons gathered from the British People after the War piled up awaiting destruction. I'm glad I live in America where I can own a gun or some guns.

Gunnery Sergeant F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired


Today, September 30, 2015, at 2359 UTC a friend of Marines will pass away into oblivion, not to be seen or heard from again. This friend was born in November, 1948; and has kept Marines in touch with their families whenever they were deployed, TAD or PCS. In combat areas and peace keeping duties, this friend was always there. Whether by a simple "Over" or a phone call from this friend, the families and loved ones always were in contact. Yet another way for keeping contact was by a "modified" telegram that was delivered by phone call or by hand and face to face with the families.

I speak of the Marine Corps-Navy MARS radio program. MARS standing for Military Affiliate Radio System. Through radio operators at Marine bases or detachments, and volunteer civilian amateur radio operators stateside, phone-patches were made to the families. The Marine would be talking on the radio, and the family would be on a phone that was "patched" into the amateur radio operator's ham radio. At the end of each exchange, one side would say "Over" and the radio operator would flip the switch so the other side could talk. While usually limited to 3 minutes, time seemed to stop and ended up at 5 or 6 or 7 minutes before the patch ended. It was a great morale booster for the Marines to be able to talk to their families while thousands of miles away.

If a phone patch wasn't possible, the Marine, or his family members, would fill out a MARSgram, similar to a regular telegram of Western Union, and that would be transmitted over the air by RTTY (radio teletype). The local MARS operator then would call and read the message to the family. If a response was made, then the process would be reversed.

This was in the days before the internet, iPhones, cell phones and satellite connections. Slowly the mission of MARS changed to ECOM, or Emergency Communications, support for natural and other disasters. Landslides in western Washington, forest fire support on the West coast, hurricane relief effort communications, etc. Now, according to the powers that be, we are "no longer needed, or viable". The same powers though say that the Air Force and Army MARS are mission critical so they will remain. Looks to me that the Marines and Navy have been short-changed again by the politicians.

Fair winds, following seas, and RIP to the MARS system we supported and enjoyed!

Bill Wilson
USMC Ret'd.
NNN0ZSJ MARS operator Washington state
"Proudly serving those that serve"

Lost And Found

I am looking for anyone belonging to 3rd Battalion, Platoon 394 M.C.R.D. Parris Island S.C.. Drill Instructors were Sgt. Hilton, Sgt. Payne, and Sgt. Thornton. We graduated 2-Dec-1965.

Y. D. Hodge (AKA Wayne)
Former Sgt. Always a Marine.
7th Comm. Battalion, RVN. 1967/1968

Short Rounds

Here is something that always chaps my fanny when I hear it: "Former veteran". If I am close enough to the person that said it, I correct them but the other night I heard Bill O'Reilly (a long time national broadcaster and teacher) say it and I would love to ask, just exactly how does one become a "Former Veteran"?

USMC (Ret)

I thought of this recently while watching my grandkids playing.

Heard on the b.s. freq one night.

"eeny meeny miny moe, can you hear my radio?"


"fe fi fo fum, loud and clear with a little hum!"


MCRD Parris Island. What the h-ll is that. It is Parris Island, nuff said. The name speaks for itself. No more of this MCRD stuff.

MGySgt Walter Miles

Sir! Yes sir, Thanx! I had to get on your email site as my three grandsons always rummaged through my catalogues before they gave'm to me with their favorite items torn out. At 14, 12 and 10 you'll eventually see them on those yellow footprints as they can already recite the military code of justice.


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."

"I love the Corps for those intangible possessions that cannot be issued: pride, honor, integrity, and being able to carry on the traditions for generations of warriors past."
--Cpl. Jeff Sornig, USMC; in Navy Times, November 1994

"It [the State] has taken on a vast mass of new duties and responsibilities; it has spread out its powers until they penetrate to every act of the citizen, however secret; it has begun to throw around its operations the high dignity and impeccability of a State religion; its agents become a separate and superior caste, with authority to bind and loose, and their thumbs in every pot. But it still remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious and decent men."
--H.L. Mencken [1926]

"A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired."
--Alexander Hamilton (1775)

"The great principles of right and wrong are legible to every reader; to pursue them requires not the aid of many counselors. The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest. Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail."
--Thomas Jefferson, 1775

"If you were not there, you could not understand. If you were there, it is impossible to explain."

"You look like Alley Oop with a head full of hair-er!"

"Are you looking at me boy?"
"Yeah you are, I think you like me!"
"Do you like me boy?"
(no good answer here so you say YES SIR)
"You like me!"
"Liken' leads to lovin' and lovin' leads to f-ck'n." "You want to f-ck me boy?" (And around we go)

Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

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