Attached is a picture of a bench that my son, Antonio made for me. He put a lot of heart and soul into making this. He did this to show his appreciation for all that I have done for him. Just thought I would share this with my fellow Marines.
Cpl, Native Marine, '85-'89
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WWII Marines Don't Get Old... They Get Gritty
The Greatest Generation just keeps amazing...
I have an update for you and your readers about my Uncle Marvin, the WWII Pacific grunt. He celebrated his 90th birthday in June... his son and sister-in-law planned a surprise party for him. Had to make it 3 days after his actual birthday though, it was the first opening in his social calendar! He still works full time too... has to have "play money" for all that socializing!
I have included a couple pics from two of the occasions. He is always accompanied by "his Lovely Lady Sophia", his friend and companion.
Uncle Marvin asked me a favor for his 100th birthday, "sure, anything you want"... he wants to go skydiving... HUH?! He is the only person on the face of the planet that could get me to step out of a perfectly good airplane, but if he wants to do it, I'll go! Well..3 weeks ago he decided he better practice and went for a test dive! His evaluation... "It was a rush!" He was quick to tell me it was a "real dive too... 14,000 feet with 2000 feet free fall"... Grinning all the way!
WWII Marines don't get old... They get Gritty!
Who knows what he'll do for 95!
Love the newsletter! Thanks for your continued service!
Charlita (Proud Marine wife / niece)
Don't Mess With Mother Nature
Below is a letter a good Marine friend wanted to send to you but didn't quite know how. I told him I would give it a try as we are both close to 80 and don't know that much about computers. If you need his e-mail I will send it ASAP. Semper Fi!
G.R. Archuleta, GySgt
Never Retired, Always a Marine
In 1956 on Okinawa, I was with Weapons Company, 1st Bn 9th Marines, 3rdMarDiv. The Bn was training on the northern end of Okinawa which I believe is now called NTA. Word came down that a typhoon was heading towards the Island. The Bn. Commander, can't remember his name, informed Hq. 3drMarDiv that we would ride out the storm in the field (yea, right). We started getting ready as best we could lashing down our shelter halves and whatever using communication wire we got from the wiremen. Three of us put our shelter halves together to what we thought would stand up to the typhoon (yea, right again). Our shelter lasted longer than most others but when it went, it went. I was on my rubber mattress getting the h-ll beat up by the sides of the shelter when suddenly I was flipped off and that air mattress took off like it had after burners.
It's still daylight with the wind blowing so hard you can't stand up. Rain was coming down like maybe God was sending another big flood. The only tent or shelter still standing was the Colonel's. But then, there it went and a roar from the Marines could be heard all the way to Naha. The next day I believe, the Pioneers got some of their big trucks up and running and transported us back to camp in an area called Napunja. I believe later on it was called Camp Hauge which I have been told is gone also. And if I remember right, supply tried to make us pay for all the 782 gear we lost and we lost everything. I was humping a radio for a FO of the 81mm Plt so I was carrying a .45 pistol and no rifle. All I had left was my poncho, cartridge belt, canteen and helmet. Thank heaven I still had my pistol. Don't remember the outcome of paying for the gear.
Moral of the story is don't mess with Mother Nature as one Lt. Col. can contest to. Semper Fi.
Where Are The Palms
That Look In His Eyes
I want to tell you about this gentleman I was talking to in Sunday Class the other week. I had been attending this class for about 5 months and found myself next to Bob for the first time. He was telling a story about coming to the aide of a young lady who had her bag stolen from her. He ran after this idiot. Apparently, this person stopped running and confronted Bob---this is where the story took a turn. Bob explained that this fool didn't realize that he was about to "get the dog sh-t" beat out of him by a Marine Veteran. What Me Too! After the Semper Fi and hand shake, Bob proceeded to tell me about his service during WWII. He remembered his MOS was a field radio operator and told me about some of his training. He explained that he was a F.O. during the battle on Okinawa. Bob started telling me about some of his experiences and things he saw in that battle. It seemed like Bob needed to relate some of this to me but suddenly he stopped talking and got that look in his eyes---the one a lot of us see when we look into the mirror after a bad night. Bob is 91 years old and his battle was over 70 years ago. If I may be so bold to suggest the lesson for those of us who are re-experiencing such memoirs like Bob's. We need to find a way to make those experiences a thing of the past and not a bag (burden) we carry around with us everyday and relationships we have now.
Thank you for letting me sound off. It's been 45 years and I'm just starting to let those ghosts go---drop that bag as it were.
Semper Fi Friends. May God bless you and the ones you love.
Golf Co. 2/5 (out of An Hoa) 1970
Curious. The exact same thing happened to me back in about March of 1957 in a civilian movie theater in Kinston, NC, when I was a 17 and a half year old Private in Charlie Battery, 10th Marines at Camp LeJeune. It was my first off-base liberty and I took a bus to Kinston by myself. As far as I was concerned, it was a million miles from the Marine Corps on a Saturday afternoon in an almost empty theater. The actual loud comment after that scene was "Shooters, police up your brass and move back to the 300". I've told that story a lot of times... and I was there! I can still accurately describe that particular scene. Pretty amazing coincidence.
Mustang Major of Marines, Ret.
Air Raid, Then Flood
I just finished reading the "First 24 Hours" article by Ed Dodd, 1st LT USMC in 1954 while at training at Quantico. During my basic training at Parris Island, S.C. in July 1961 our Senior DI, SSgt. E.F. Gregor, gave us the same drill. "Air Raid"... locker boxes on the floor plus get under the bunks, then "Flood"... locker boxes on top of the bunks with you & the other guy up top. There was a lot of hustle, bumps, bruises with only about 3 ft. between the metal bunk beds in the barracks. The DI of course yelling "Air Raid", then "Flood" faster than we were able respond or to complete the change. It was a real work out for all 80 of us in barracks that day. Thanks for the memories 54 years ago at Parris Island. I still have a USMC green locker box with some of my gear in it. Believe it is the one that came back by ship from Okinawa.
Semper Fi Marines.
Cpl. G. Bradshaw
1961 - 1965
Here In Texas
I just finished reading this week's issue of your newsletter.
In the 'Short Rounds' section a writer was all excited about getting his new license plate with the Marine Corps emblem on it. He mentioned that he got out his DD-214 and went down to prove that he had indeed been a veteran and was told surprisingly that it wasn't needed to get the plate. I guess that Arizona has a much more lax requirement on getting 'prestige plates' like this than the state of Texas does. Here in Texas you must give a copy of your DD-214 to the DMV in order to get the tags with your choice of branch of service. The DD-214 must also state that your type of discharge is Honorable. No other type of discharge would be accepted here. At one time there was an extra fee attached when one bought plates like this. However, in the past few years that fee has been waived. So now all you have to pay is whatever the fee is for your license plate on the registration form. Also, that plate can be transferred to any new vehicle you happen to buy from then on. Seems that the plate is actually listed in your name and not just the vehicle. I think this is really cool also.
Another type of military plate we have here in Texas is for the woman veteran. It doesn't list her branch of service but just says Woman Veteran across the bottom and has a silhouette of a woman on the left side of the plate.
Sgt of Marines
1968 - 1975
Black Smoke Occurrences
Just memories popping up regarding Cherry Point. I was stationed there as a radio operator (2533) on the flight line In 1956 and '57. Was in MAB 24, MAG 24. We considered the pilots and Crash Crew the important Marines on base. Jet fighters had been used in Korea from 1950-'53. Yet there was many a fighter plane flame out and crashes in those two years... especially on take offs and landing. The pilots earned their pay. Saw many a black smoke occurrences rising near us. After cush duty in the 2nd Marine air wing on to the 3rd Marines as a grunt in the Pacific. Those were quiet years because the Marines had quelled the Korean "police action" and Nam wasn't really hot until 1965.
"Once a Marine, always a Marine".
Sgt USMC 1955-59
I believe the CWO pilot that Bob Foley is mentioning in the Sept. 2, 2015 newsletter would be CWO4 Henry Wildfang. CWO4 Wildfang received the Gray Eagle Award, August 31, 1977 and held it until retirement, May 31, 1978. He was the last Gray Eagle with a Naval Aviator number. The numbers were not issued after the beginning of WWII.
He is also the pilot of the VMGR 152 C-130 that while on approach at Khe Sanh, February 10, 1968 with a load of much needed fuel was hit and caught fire. With two explosions in the air and a third at touchdown, he managed to land the "fireball" and helped save 3 of the crew.
I met him several times around '73 - '74. He was attached to VMGR 252 and my Squadron VMFA 312 shared the double blimp hanger at Cherry Point.
The C-130 driver was CWO4 Wildfang. Spelling is probably off. He had the honor having the first and only C-130 shot down. I am sure everybody saw the picture of the burning C-130 at the end of the Khe San runway. CWO4 Wildfang was the last of the CWO pilots. I'm not sure, but I believe he is the only pilot to land a C-130 on a carrier.
I hope I'm right about the carrier. My Memory is not what it used to be.
SGT Dan (Bear) Smith
NAM 1970-71 HML -367
1971-72 VMGR-252, Cherry Point, NC
I read Bob Foley's article in the newsletter that came to my in box today. The name of the CWO pilot he referred to is Henry "Bud" Wildfang. I had the honor of flying on a KC130 commanded by Gunner Wildfang on a trans Atlantic movement with VMFA-112 in 1975 or 76. I was a power plant mech with VMFA-112. He was the Grey Eagle aviator when I met him. That title went to the naval aviator who had served the longest on continuous active duty. I read Gunner Wildfang's obituary tonight. He passed away in June of this year at age 99. Flew in WWII through Vietnam as an enlisted pilot.
For Bob Foley
If you are speaking of the very well respected CWO Henry Wildfang, you might want to have a look at this link to Marine Air Transporter April 2003. It's great article!
Marine Air Transporter: Henry "Bud" Wildfang
VMFA-542 Danang 1968 & 1969
Bob Foley, wrote in your 3 September letter of a CWO C130 pilot who he thought was named was "Wolf", or had Wolf in it. The pilot was Henry Wildfang. Henry, was also one of the Flying Sergeants of Old Corps fame. His flying skills were unequaled. He flew many missions into Khe Sahn before being shot down. He still managee to land his bird and get out, suffering severe burns to his hands. Hope this sheds some light on the subject.
CWO-4 Walter D. Perry USMC (RET)
In 1977 we were one of the first Phantom squadrons to begin year-long unit rotations to WestPac. At each leg of the TransPac we briefed with the tankers and pathfinder so we'd all be on the same page for radio freq's, timing to rendezvous and so forth. At one of the briefings I recall a tanker pilot who was a CWO and was apparently one of the longest experienced KC-130 drivers in the military. I do not exactly recall his name or call sign, but something like Wolfgang? Something with Wolf... in it.
Regarding Bob Foley's post about the CWO KC 130 pilot, he was Henry Wildfang. Mr. Wildfang recently passed away. He was a h-ll of a pilot and a h-ll of a Marine and I was proud to fly with him.
Sgt. Gary Jarboe
My Days At Pendleton
As my foggy mind goes back to my days at Pendleton in '66 - '68 the all night theaters had "sticky floors" and p-rn movies. Which was a good training flick for a 17 year old. Then I went to 27th Marines in January '68... met you fine young men in June '68. Back to the states in Oct. '69 to Treasure Island where the base flick was "Deep Throat". I don't know if you could play the theme song to it on a Ukelele! I was also invited to a "friendly family" Thanksgiving of 67 and all they did was ask why we joined the Corps and why we wanted to hurt people. We ate and got the heck out of there asap. Wishing everyone a safe Labor Day weekend.
I read Fred Vogel's article "My Own View", in the most recent issue of SGT GRIT, concerning rear area military personnel with great interest. I have to say that I agree with him 100%, especially when it comes to Marines.
I served with the 7th Combat Engineer Battalion in 'Nam. Each week a new "Reactionary Platoon" roster was published an posted, reflecting the names of the engineers, supply guys, clerks, truck drivers, etc who would stand reactionary that night, ready to go like firemen to the aid of any other unit at a moment's notice.
Corporal of Marines '67-'70
MCRD San Diego, Platoon 2030
Major, U.S. Army (ret)
Sparked A Memory
As I started reading your latest newsletter, the story "First 24 Hours" sparked a memory. I joined our Corps as a PLC officer candidate in the summer of 1963. In a discussion with my civilian barber, he informed me that he had also been in that program a few years earlier. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to become an officer, I thnk he said, because he had to drop out of college to get married. During the course of one of my visits, he told me of his experience with the "Air Raid and Flood Drill" that 1stLt. Ed Dodd recounted in his story. Until now, I have never heard anyone else mention that particular exercise.
Tom Downey, Once a Captain, USMCR, Always a Marine
Viet Nam 4Dec66-18Dec67: first assignment--6 months as "Arty" FO for Lima 3/7 from India 3/11
My Father's Advice
My father's advice was: join the Air Force, instead I fortunately ended up flying in the back seat of USMC Phantoms for 7 years. My Dad's recommendation was not frivolous or without merit. He was a WWII Army volunteer who landed in Normandy on D-Day as an Army combat engineer. He got to see the USAF in its early days in action not involving combat.
As they fought and built their way across Europe, he recalled the way the war went on as the tide turned and victory came into sight. As the combat engineers built the bridges and airfields across France and into Germany ahead of the bulk of the combat troops, one recollection always made him smile.
As the engineers proficiency at building expeditionary airfields improved and the AirCorps became more confident, the upper brass started directing the combat engineer activities when a new, forward airfield was to be built. It didn't take long for the Army combat engineers to figure out the plan directed by the AirCorps brass.
Set up your operations, pitch your tents to live in, then get on with building wooden officer quarters, the O'club, and oh yeah, once you get that done, don't forget we need a runway or two. I guess that happened over and over. The combat engineers got to live in tents, build and leave unoccupied wooden quarters they built, not allowed in the clubs then in a big rush, hurry up and build a runway for the advancing Army Air Corps fighters. The AirCorps troops never had to live in tents. They didn't move to the airfield until the quarters were completed.
Seems the stories I heard from veterans of the subsequent conflicts are about the same theme when dealing with the USAF.
Ddick Where Were You
The blurb from Gary Heflen reminded me of my own incident a few weeks ago; on Wednesday night, I had put some eggs on to boil, but forgot about them when I left for church! Needless to say, the pot boiled dry, filled the house with smoke, tripped the smoke alarm; the security company called the house, no answer, then called my cell phone (I didn't recognize the number, in church, so I didn't answer); next call was to my grandson, who came to church and got me then.
By the time I left the church parking lot and got to the first intersection on the way home, I was hitting 100 MPH. My grandson and his wife following, in her Mustang, said that I was running away from them. When I got home, the Shackle Island Volunteer Fire Department had the house opened and fans going to clear out the smoke; even today, maybe 4 weeks later, there is a whiff of smoke every now and then.
BUT... all of my Sgt. Grit magnets stayed on the car!
BTW... Ddick, where were you and the Chief that day?
James R. McMahon
GySgt of Marines (1949-1970)
While I enjoyed Mike Kunkel's letter in your August 20th edition very much... I would like to make a slight correction. Gen. Puller's chest of well earned medals may have enhanced the use of the nickname "Chesty" while referring to him, but it was not the origin of the epithet. Louis B. Puller was pigeon/barrel chested from childhood and afflicted with asthma while growing up. You can ask any allergist and they will tell you those two conditions go hand-in-hand with some children. I've never read of General Puller being bothered with asthma after he entered adulthood, but the barrel chest remained. It's pretty well known that the nickname came from that physical condition.
Sgt. of Marines
1952 - 1955
Ran To The Nearest Bunker
Responding to Sgt Leonard, Cpl Sikes:
I too was at Camp Books. I remember SeaBee base but not the Army. I have never met anyone from FLC FSR Trk Co who I was with in April '68 to Nov. '68. The SeaBee's base I remember very well. I was on call and while I drove down the road the base got hit with rockets. I went through the gate, parked across, grabbed my weapon, ran to the nearest bunker with a SeaBee manning the bunker, and watched the Camp getting hit hard. I stayed until the all clear sign.
My MOS was 3513, 3531 and I had some welding. I drove in convoys north and south of Da Nang. Anyway, you two are the only ones that I know of who were in the rear like myself. It's cool to find out someone was there too, lol, I hope you two see this!
Lost And Found
Looking for my old platoon brothers, 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Tanks, 1st Marine Division.
Jimmy Ramirez Sr.
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Nov. 10, 1954 I was 1st. Plt. Sgt. MCI detachment Marine Barracks 8th & I, S.E. Washington D.C. We left the barracks early that morning for Arlington in cattle cars. It was bitterly cold but what we were about to do raised our spirits and temperature. Dedicate the Iwo memorial. Somewhere down the line it was changed to War Memorial.
OUTSTANDING newsletter this week.
Just got off work and sat down at the computer to relax. What a way to do it.
Thank you for the great and wonderful work.
Sorry, Mr. Foley, but 1977 was way late for TransPac'ing Phantoms.
June, 1964, VMFA-531 became the first F-4 outfit to fly completely from Cherry Point to NAS Atsugi without going aboard ship.
I know, because I spent two glorious weeks on Wake Island as part of the recovery team in case any of the a/c had problems! (They didn't). 531 later was part of 9th MEB into DaNang, also ahead of all the other Phantom squadrons!
Still love the stories!
"The essence of government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse."
--James Madison, speech in the Virginia constitutional convention, 1829
"You can take a man out of the Marine Corps; you will never take the Marine Corps out of the man."
"I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I am pleading with you with tears in my eyes: If you f-ck with me, I'll kill you all."
--Marine General James Mattis, to Iraqi tribal leaders
"What we have here people is a Sh-t Sandwich, and everyon is gonna have to take a bite!"
"Green Side Out... Belay That... Brown Side Out!"
"Your other left, Sh-t head!"
Semper Fi, Mac!