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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 11 JUN 2015

In this issue:
• Late Arrival At MCRDSD
• 50 Years To The Day
• Had To Go To Sick Bay

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Sgt Grit,

Kristy probably told you I had a stroke on March 21. Hit so hard it blew the capillaries in my right eye. I was lucky. My wife, Karlotta, drove me down to the VA ER as soon as she saw what was happening. Every veteran who thinks they are invincible should heed this warning. If you even think you're having a heart attack or stroke, get help. Within 2 hours of my stroke the staff had sent me for my CT scans and done the neurological assessment in order to determine which type of stroke I had suffered. Then I was given 100mg of a clot buster in an IV.

I spent 3 days in the VA ICU being treated like a king while I regained my speech, strength and mental capacities. Because my wife and VA staff didn't write off a stroke I am able to write to you and plead with other vets to watch the warning signs and if you're unsure, have them checked out in an ER... 4 hours is the time frame for a clot buster and it makes all the difference in the world. Thanks and Semper Fi!

Julian Etheridge

P.S. Karlotta had me order the Tough Marine t-shirt and mug. When I asked why, she said, "You survived the Marine Corps, the El Ray Tornado and a stroke!" Dang, I wasn't keeping score. Besides growing older isn't for the faint of heart. Have a great weekend!

Reading His Favorite Catalog

What a pleasure it is to know Korean War Marine MSgt Burris and really his entire family. When MSgt gets a visit from his granddaughter, Amanda, we are sure to see him here at Sgt Grit. He knows his way around our store. He goes right to the products he wants to see, he stops and visits the desks of the employees that he has not seen since his last visit and he is sure to stop in and line out Sgt Grit for a moment. There is nothing like watching two Marines rib each other all in good fun and camaraderie. We are missing MSgt Burris already and we count the days until he visits us again. A big Semper Fi to you MSgt Burris! Come see us.

Late Arrival At MCRDSD

All the letters about boot camp and DI's have me on memory lane of late. Of course my favorite is waking up after the late arrival at MCRDSD. I'm guessing we hit the rack about 3:00 AM and reveille was at 4:00 AM. My first thought upon waking was I've really messed up this time, only messed up was not the exact term I used. Funny, I remember thinking the same thought before we hit the rack.

The DI's lined us up in platoon columns and we half azsed marched over to this little yellow building where the DI's stopped us. The platoon discovered that this building will be forever known as the head. The command that the DI gave will forever be engrained in my brain. "Platoon 3059 get in the sh-tter" I don't think it registered with us right away but after the usual "Sir, Platoon 3059, get in the sh-tter, aye, aye sir" (which we screwed up a few times before we could say it in unison). Suddenly 75 guys are sprinting to the head, trying like h-ll to fit the entire platoon into those double doors. Ramming and jamming each other we were on a very urgent #1 or #2 mission.

Finally, we were all inside for maybe 20 seconds trying to complete our mission when we heard a call from the DI outside "Platoon 3059, get out of the sh-tter". We looked at each other with that WTF look on our faces as half of the guys hadn't gotten their mission accomplished. Again, 75 guys ramming and jamming through those double doors to get into formation.

That, my Marine friends will recall, was the start of the first day of 8 weeks of an experience we will never forget.

Kim B. Swanson
9th MAB
RVN '67-'68

Don't Thank Me

I don't remember pay calls at Parris Island [10/57-12/57] or Camp Gieger [1/58-2/58] However, at my permanent duty station Marine Barracks Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, VA, we had a 1stLt who conducted most of the pay calls. It went like this, after you presented yourself and he counted out your pay, you responded "Thank You Sir" and he always said in reply "Don't thank me Marine, YOU EARNED IT". Needless to say he was one of the most respected officers in the command.

Bob Lake LCpl
Active Duty 10/1/57 - 9/30/60
Honorable Discharge 9/30/63

50 Years To The Day

This picture was taken in front of the 1st Recruit Training Battalion Headquarters, On May, 19th, 2015, fifty years to the day, that I graduated Boot Camp. SgtMaj Molina, (3rd from left), the SgtMaj of 1st Bn., had the D.I.s from Charlie Co. (that was my company in P.I. with Plt 119) take this picture with me, 1stSgt Lytle, the 1stSgt of Charlie Co. is on the end, he's holding my platoon graduation book. Plus me being a Viet Nam Vet, I was treated with the utmost respect. The SgtMaj, made a copy of my platoon's graduation picture, and hung it up in the Battalion conference room, so, if anyone from Plt 119, goes to visit Parris Island, and goes to the 1st Bn HQ, they'll see our Platoon Picture on the wall.

I shared some boot camp stories with the D.I.s over a couple beers at a place called, Brig and Brew, fifty years ago, it was the Parris Island Brig, now its a "slop chute" where everyone drinks together, there's E4's drinking with E8's and E9's. I had a great time, met some great people, and had some laughs. I even had my picture taken with L/Cpl Legend, the Bulldog, that's the depot mascot. Going back to Parris Island was a very moving experience for me, I recommend it for everyone.

Semper Fi
Dick Martell
Cpl 2141xxx

Windward Marine 15 June 1962

A little history from the "Windward Marine" the base newspaper for Kaneohe MCAS. I was stationed there in VMA 212 from 1961 to 1963.

Norm Spilleth
1960 - 1964

I Learned Something That Day

Sgt. Grit,

All this clatter about wearing a cover. Well, this is what I learned about proper cover etiquette.

Basic training MCRD San Diego, California (1968). Just been there a short time and received the usual verbal instructions about why we were wearing a cover and not a hat or cap or anything else that our fouled up brain could conceive of calling it (bla, bla, bla). Being 19 years old – that's what I heard.

One beautiful sun shiny day in July I was called with 2 other maggots to report to sick bay or dental for some reason. As we marched away from our platoon in the Quonset Hut area going toward our destination over near the theater somewhere, we had to pass several other platoons going about their business. We were marching as instructed (2 Privates following orders as the other Private gave orders and called cadence – not real good – but at least we looked like we were in some sort of military). Oh, I forgot to mention our "commander" (the other Private) had lost his cover and was walking with his big ole bone white skull blazing about like a beacon for everyone we passed on our way to sick bay. I guess all Drill Instructors went to the same school and learned the same basic training techniques. So as we passed by one platoon the Drill Instructor ordered us to halt so he could cousel the "commander" about his cover.

"Where's your cover?"

"Lost it!"

Boom – a punch straight in the nose. Sure was a lot of blood. The Drill Instructor took his right hand and placed it on top of his head and told him to leave it there while he was outside. He used his other hand to hold his nose and somewhat control the bleeding. Our "commander" came back and proceeded to march us to sick bay, muttering and cussing under his breath the whole time.

I learned something that day!

Semper Fi,
R Anderson 2414XXX

Listen up maggots!
Listen up girls!
Listen up ladies!
Listen up &%$#

Ahhh yes, those were the days. Now that I have your attention. Take a look at the links below. We have a bunch, a lot, beaucoup, many many, mucho, items. You have to dig a bit to find it all. The below links are samples of what we can do at Sgt Grit that you might not be aware of. So take a look, surf, browse, click, your way to new ways to show your Marine pride.

Marine Corps Golf Shirts

Marine Corps Unit Gear

USMC Engraveable Coins

India 3/9

To Joe "Doc" Garcia and David "Geronimo" Groncki, I also was a member of India 3/9, but during the years '84-'88. Just letting you know that Impact India was still rockin' 'n rollin', kickin' azz and takin' names during those years! Do you Marines know that the 9th Marine Regiment has been deactivated? Each batallion cased their colors separately and 2/9 was the most recent/last to be deactivated. They are all now in the category of "break glass in case of war". Good times were had with that rifle company!

Semper Fi!
SSgt Bob Tollison

Had To Go To Sick Bay

I had a similar experience at P.I. to the six D.I.'s. Arrived at Parris Island in February, 1961, and went to Third Battalion, Platoon 311. I don't remember my DI's names. On the morning of the 15 day test, I was very sick, and had to go to sick bay. I was admitted, and stayed for five days. I was set back, (sh-t canned) and went to the rifle range to a platoon fresh out of forming. It was Plt. 113, C Co., 1st RTBn. My DI's were: SSgt. W. Grabenbauer, SSgt. W. Noland, Gy.Sgt. Caskey (Old Corps Gunny stripes). Caskey soon got his own platoon, and was replaced by SSgt. D. Drew. So, I agree that some of us may have it special. Or did we?

Tom Balash
Corporal of Marines
1961 - 1964

Dog Tags Returned

I have just removed Sgt Karibo's dog tags from the AR -15 to hand back to his daughter on the right and former wife on the left.

GySgt Paul Reyes

Post Traumatic Growth

Destroying the PTSD Victim Myth
By William Treseder
Military 1 Advisor

"You've been told that you're broken," said Mattis, "That you're damaged goods". The truth, instead, is that we are the only folks with the skills, determination, and values to ensure American dominance in this chaotic world.

"There is also Post-Traumatic Growth," Mattis told the crowd. "You come back from war stronger and more sure of who you are."

Leaders like General Mattis are challenging us to find a voice, and tell America who we really are - proud of our service, not defined by it.

Read more at:
General Mattis' Next Mission: Destroying the PTSD Victim Myth

Attitude Is Everything Day 34

Here 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:

Vern Hoke - If a Marine isn't b-tching they're not happy.

Ron Jaworski - Couldn't say it better.

Joseph Neacy - It's when we are quiet... then watch ur ass! Semper Fi!

Rodney P. Schropp - That would be a badass tattoo.

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

But No One Relieved Me

While stationed at Marine Barracks Pearl Harbor in Security Company, waiting to turn 18 to be shipped off to Viet Nam, I was selected to be transferred to the other Marine Barracks Security Detachment at a location called Wahiawa-Kunia. I learned upon checking in that this (in 1966) served as the central communications network for the entire Pacific. One of the posts guarded the entrance to a mountain in the area with many levels.

While being so far from Honolulu and the beach, since it was located just about the center of the island of Oahu, there wasn't much an enlisted person could do without transportation, especially if you were 17. The base was surrounded, for the most part by pineapple fields. And that made it interesting when the pineapples were being harvested because of all the small black winged bugs that permeated nearly everything.

So, not having anything but time on my hands, I met a Sailor in the transportation department and he ended up qualifying me to drive everything in the Motor Pool. The opportunity to use this came sooner than expected.

A few weeks later, the only other Marine to have a military drivers license was transferred, leaving me as the only other choice, except for the Navy Motor Pool personnel. The skipper didn't want the Navy to have all the duty, so they assigned me as the Duty Driver. 48 hours on, and 48 hours off. We had a truck that contained a 6 passenger compartment plus an abbreviated pickup area. The Navy handled the other 48 hours, until we could get someone trained from our detachment. It was pretty much considered skate duty, because all you had to wear was starched utilities, whereas the rest of the relief had to wear the Uniform of the Day, plus all the web gear (white) and Barracks Cover.

Things rocked along fairly well, delivering the relief to the base posts, then driving off base to the posts that were at the mountain. I also had to be responsible for getting mid-rats for the group at the mountain.

One night, while driving to the section at the mountain, I was descending the hill that led to the entrance for the turn off to the guard house which lay at the base of the mountain. It was a half moon that night, and it must have been the midnight shift, because there was virtually no traffic encountered after leaving the town of Wahiawa. All of a sudden at the top of the hill I see what appears to be some type of truck barrelling down the hill coming straight for me, without his lights on, and hauling what appears to be a house. So I yell to the Marine sitting next to me for him to confirm what I am seeing. So he says "nah, you're seeing things". I take a second glance to confirm and only have enough time after that to slide into the ditch beside the road. They heard it go by, but never confirmed what they saw. Well, I got the relief posted, and the next one, then had Office Hours in the morning. Reduction in rank to PFC, but no time to serve as I had orders to report to Camp Pendleton for further training and shipment to Viet Nam. I sometimes wonder what would have happened had I not seen that.

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

Fog Of Time

For the most part, I enjoy reading the various posts from our fellow Marines, even though there have been some that tend to push their "war stories" a bit too far at times. This story is one of those that I'm having difficulty swallowing. Firstly, the subject title set of my b/s alarms right away. Sgt. Sanders claims that as a young PFC, he was "filling a Staff position", and that he "would be treated as a Staff Sergeant, but would not be able to draw the pay or wear the rank". Never, in my 23 year career, have I ever heard of such an assignment. Sanders claims to have been a "Cartographer" which would have been an entry level 0261 Geographic Intelligence Specialist (Pvt-MSgt) -- a topographic map guy. As such, the "staff" position that he was filling, simply means that he was part of the 1st MarDiv G-2 staff of personnel -- in the rear with the beer. Claiming anything else is simply pretentious.

He also states that his assignment took him to the division headquarters in Chu Lai. I find that part strange as well, because I remember that during one of my earlier tours in the SE Asian War Games, while I was serving with 3rd Marine Regt, that the 3rd MarDiv headquarters moved out of Da Nang, and up to Phu Bai (3rd MarDiv - Rear) and Dong Ha (3rd MarDiv - Fwd). This occurred in the early fall of 1966 -- right at the tail end of Operation Hastings, and at the beginning of Operation Prairie I. 1st MarDiv headquarters moved out of Chu Lai at that time, and assumed the 3rd MarDiv CP on the hill just west of the Hill 327 Freedom Hill PX. They remained there until the division re-deployed back to Camp Pendelton in the spring of 1971. Considering his duty assignment, I also wonder about the circumstances of his two "combat promotions". Lastly, there is his claim of receiving a Navy-Marine Corps Achievement Medal with a "Combat Star". There is no such device (see SecNavInst 1650.1H) The only time a star is added to the medal is when a 5/16" star is added for a subsequent award. There is however, another device that may be awarded with the medal which is called a "Combat Distinguishing Device" -- also known as the "Combat V". Could it be that the fog of time has clouded his memories somewhat, and that this is what Sgt. Sanders may be referring to?

Jim Mackin
MGySgt - USMC (Ret)
1964 - 1987

Re Sgt. Sanders posting in your latest newsletter. Perhaps the then PFC. should refresh his memory or get his story straight. No Marine was ever processed at Dog Patch in Danang. Moreover, 1st Marine Division Hq. was not in Chu Lai in 1970. Try Danang!

H. Harrison Conover, Capt., USMCR, Ret.

No matter what billet he was filling he would not be given privileges of a SNCO, thirdly-combat promotions were given for valor in combat not filling a desk position and lastly, what is a Navy Achievement Medal with a Combat Star? I have a NAM with Combat V. I hope he is just confused but I would think you'll be getting some mail about this.

Semper Fi,

Ask Any Corpsman

To Donnie Lee '72 and all, I graduated Corps school from Balboa N.H. as we were gearing up in Nam... both companies were sent directly to Pendelton, we had gotten two days off in the past 16 weeks. The FBI was sent to arrest me for draft evasion, there's a story... and one of the proudest days of my life I earned the FMF. I think if you ask any Corpsman who has been there... when you go green... it is hard to go back.

To that very elite group who serve the best, Marines... Recon, and Navy SEALS... AWESOME! And to those Corpsmen who serve every where THANK YOU, my son, a Marine, was guarded by you.

HM3/2 'DOC' Wes '64-'69

Where The Money Went

To answer St. PARKER's question as to where the money went. (May 28th news letter) We had the same set up in front of our Quonset hut at Camp Hague, 1956/57 for pay day. AT the end of the table was that 782 gear bucket. Should you not decide to drop some MPC into the bucket you would not receive a liberty pass that night. The money went to Navy Relief

Gene Lang
H & S, 1/12, Hague
Paris Island Marine

Calling For Sgt York

I was stationed at Camp Pendleton, K Co, 3rd Bn, 1st Marines in September of 1962 when I spent 5 days on the Henerico for a training exercise off the coast of Camp Pendleton. I was a PFC and this was my first time on a navy ship. I spent most of my time in chow lines, 3 times a day and sea sick for the rest of the time.

That ship was old and rocked like a babies craddle!

Of all the time I spent on ships of the navy that was the one I will always remember as heaving my guts out calling for Sgt York!

Robert P. Mc Leod
Sgt Maj USMC (Ret)

So Both Of Us Will Remember

I had mentioned that I was sworn in on 10NOV56 and just learned the other day that my grandson is being accepted in the NAVY on 10NOV15 so both of us have reason to remember 10NOV...

Don't know if I (sure someone has) ever related the tale of "Tun Tavern" or How 'traditions start' - A young man walked into Tun Tavern and a couple of people were sitting in a rear booth and beckoned him over. Seems they were trying to sign people up for something called the Marine Corps.

Young man listened, was impressed and joined on the spot. They handed him a contract, and a chit, telling him to go to the bar and wait, the chit was good for two beers.

Man sitting there couple of minutes and another young guy came from 'the table' sat down next to him and said he just joined something called the Marine Corps.

They shook hands and the second guy said 'not bad, get paid and also got a chit for A free beer.

The first guy said..."Well, in the Old Corps we got two beers for enlisting."


Lost And Found

Anyone from Plt 342 PISC, Jul/Sep 1965... Gimme a shout at chickster48[at]live.com.

Chick Harmon
Cpl 1965-1969


"Our group of Marines all just got back from our Parris Island Reunion at the end of April 2015. Had another good turn out with about 27 Marines from PLTS 236-237-238 and 239 from L Company 2nd BN. We arrived at P.I. on June 15th and Out Posted on Sept 13th, 1962. After P.I. we then all when to Camp Geiger ITR to Hotel Company. I still have my Company picture of that group of Hotel Company. Then we all went to our assigned MOS's. This is the 2nd Reunion we have held. The first was in 2013 and was our first trip back since 1962 as a group. I am so sorry to see that our old wooden barracks have been replaced with brick ones. We have had a great time at each of these Reunions. They just get better each time we do a Reunion... This year we opened the Reunion for other Marines that wanted to come and got 1 that had been at the Island in 1968 also. He fit right in with our group of Marines.

It has been about 53 years and when a new Marine shows up to a Reunion it is like he never missed a beat. It was like we had never been separated from each other. We have made contact with 2 Marines from Plt 351 3rd BN/1962 Parris island(one saw a posting on Sgt Grit) and they have joined our email list and are welcome to come to our next Reunion. We have ordered Covers in 2013 and Covers and Shirts in 2015 from Sgt Grit. The work was Outstanding on these items and got to us in time for our Marines to wear. Some of the best embroidery work you could ask for on these items. Sgt Grit away treat you right on the cost of these items.

Attached is a couple of pictures of our 2015 Group at a P.I. graduation and then of a Flag Raising with our Marines CG in there new Covers and Shirts at the Bluffton, S.C. Police Dept. This was to honor all our past Brothers who are not guarding Heavens Gates! We have also posted about 4 Videos on You Tube. If you wish to see them then go to You Tube and type in Ben Mashburn and they should come right up for you. I am still looking for more Marines from our 1962 Series L Company. I have found 151 Marines from this company, some of these Marines have passed away, but still over 100 living. If you have not had a reunion, you have no idea what you are missing! Don't let time pass you by... keep in touch with your Brothers and enjoy the old times again... Keep up the good work Sgt Grit.

Court Conkwright
Plt 238, L Company 1962
Sgt E-5


This is a notice for the 3rd 155 MM Gun Btry (SP) and the 3rd 175 MM Gun Btry (SP) REUNION!

This is our 5th REUNION and will be held on October, 1, 2, 3, in San Diego, Ca. If you were a member of the battery please attend and celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the battery arriving in Vietnam. (August, 1965). This is no better time to plain a great vacation in San Diego and to reunite with your comrades from your battery. For information and any questions about the BATTERY and REUNION please contact Ed Kirby, tel: 978-987-1920 or email: ed-kirby[at]comcast.net.

Short Rounds

He may be able to obtain a replacement Purple Heart certificate by contacting Medals Section, Decorations and Medals Branch, HQMC.

Boarded the Henrico in San Diego 1950, seventeen days and two storms later landed Kobe, Japan. Boarded an LST to Korea. I could find no difference in the discomfort of either ship. I think the Captain and crew were the only ones aborad that weren't sea sick.

S/Sgt. M.L.Gregor, USMC


"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
--President Ronald Reagan

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived."
--General George S Patton Jr., (1885 - 1945)

"Either some Caesar or Napoleon will seize the reins of government with a strong hand, or your republic will be as fearfully plundered and laid waste by barbarians in the twentieth century as the Roman Empire was in the fifth, with this difference, that the Huns and Vandals who ravaged the Roman Empire came from without, and that your Huns and Vandals will have been engendered within your own country by your own institutions."
--Thomas Babington Macaulay, Letter to Henry Stephens Randall [May 23, 1857]

"So they've got us surrounded, good! Now we can fire in any direction, those bastards won't get away this time!"
--LtGen Chesty Puller, USMC

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

"In a time of universally blind conformity, independent thought is a revolutionary act."
--George Orwell

"Responsibility, not to a superior, but to one's conscience, the awareness of a duty not exacted by compulsion, the necessity to decide which of the things one values are to be sacrificed to others, and to bear the consequences of one's own decision, are the very essence of any morals which deserve the name."
--Friedrich A. Hayek, The Road to Serfdom [1944]

"Teufelhunde! (Devil Dogs)"
--German Soliders, WWI at Belleau Wood

"We have two companies of MARINES running all over this island and thousands of ARMY troops doing nothing!"
--Gen. John Vessey, Chairman of Joint Chiefs

"Carry On, Marine!"

"Stay Motivated Marine!"

"Semper Fi - Do or die!"

Fair winds and following seas!
God Bless the Marine Corps!
Sgt Grit

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