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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 12 FEB 2015

In this issue:
• My Jacket Honors My Service
• Camouflage Combat Uniforms
• Sillyvilian Asked

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Sgt Grit,

My wife had our barn roof painted to salute the Ospreys as the fly over our property. We live about 80 miles south of New River Air Station, Camp Lejeune, NC and the Ospreys do touch-and-go training exercises at our local airport.

Cpl David Dorsett, RVN 1965, USMC


One Of The Guys

One of the guys from the fire hall bought this motor home and this mural was on the back. I thought it looked good.

​ Cpl Jerry Knavel
11th Marines '69-'70


2nd Battalion, 1st Marines

Got my 2/1 shirt today from Sgt Grit Marine Specialties. Thanks for another great product Sgt Grit and Staff. Semper Fi!

Scott Yoder

Browse all of our Marine Corps Unit Apparel!


Hands In The Pockets

All I can say is it must have been a rought day! The picture is cool, 1942 and all, and it was a relaxed moment. But all I can think about is how many times I was asked if I was in the Airwing. Mind you, I was a P.F.C. several times and my time in was 1975 to 1979. No war, no sweat, but hey peacetime could be rough. The lifers bored sh-tless and us sh-tbirds just trying to get by without being dressed down that day. Amtrackers ain't known to be the poster Marine type, but hands in the pockets? Come on! I guess there wasn't a broom handy!

Semper Fi - Do or Die,
LCpl McChesney
2nd Amtrac Bn
Courthouse Bay, N.C.


My Jacket Honors My Service

In your last newsletter you had a Fire Fighter and a Marine with 'follow your dreams'. I was a Fire Fighter for 36 years in Rochester New York and in the Marine Reserve for 6 years. I had a jacket made up to honor both. The front of the jacket has a Maltese Cross with 9-11 on the inside and Never Forget for the Twin Towers. The other side the Eagle Globe and Anchor with Semper Fidelis. On the back it says it all. The Jacket is worn by my son Cameron for the picture.

Cpl. Girvin
USMCR xxxx872


Old Corps Badge

Here is something that I've never seen before. I was talking with this woman who was giving haircuts and she said her dad served in the Marines in the WWII. She then brought out his ribbons and medals. Wow, it was something to see something that I've never seen before. I took a few pictures so I could pass it along. Enjoy!

Sgt George E. Cale III
'71 - '74


Grunt Cheerleaders

Dear fellow Jarheads,

Here with my granddaughters Morgan (age 5, on left) and Madison (age 4) in their Grunt cheerleader outfits you recently sent me. They indeed will make beautiful WMs in about 16 years.

Larry Schnabel
USMCR-R 1963-1966

Get this for your Devil Pup at:

USMC Toddler Jersey Cheer Dress


Feel More Alive

I just read Cpl Eric Stump's letter and it brought back many memories. When he mentioned the rain and mud I thought about the times I laid in that soup in Vietnam so many years ago. However the thing that stuck out in the letter was when he said, "... after all my years of service, training to fight and fighting on our nation's behalf of freedom and safety I found myself not in service to my true calling, my obligation, my oath to protect this nation. I found myself laying on my barracks room floor, wishing I was still in Afghanistan." I know I had and still have those feelings of wanting to be back there. I think most, if not all who served in combat have those feelings.

I may be wrong but I think the reason for this is many; First, and above all, being that close to death makes you feel more alive then anything else in life. Second, it was a simpler time. You knew what had to be done almost without thinking about it. You didn't have to think about what to wear, what to eat, what your buddies were up to, or the thousands of things that life dumps on you every day. Third, the friendships you formed were the strongest you well ever make in life. Fourth, is just what was stated in the letter. It was what we trained for from the minute we entered to Corps and now it's over. I think everyone who retires or hangs up their jersey for the last time has those feelings as well.

And so, what can one do about it? The thing is, not everything you learned in the Corps will carry over into your new life. However, some things will and you need to set down with a paper and pencil and write down everything the Marines taught you. Some will carry forward into your new life. It's been almost 50 years since I fought in Vietnam and now I'm 75 pounds heavier then when I came back from there. I wish there would have been someone who would have had a Marine Corps type of exercise program to keep us in shape. Maybe you are the one to start that. I also spent several years writing a book about my time in Vietnam that I hope others will learn from. Maybe before those things escape you, you may want to try that. It is also a great way to deal with what you have gone through.

It can be a bright new world out there for you... go for the gold... attack the day, don't let the day just happen to you.

Semper Fi Brother,
Ron Hoffman USMC
Charlie Battery 1/13
RVN 1966-'67​


Camouflage Combat Uniforms

In the previous Sgt. Grit Newsletter, we outlined the basic utility uniforms worn by Marines from pre-WWII through Vietnam.

​As far back as 1940, the Marines considered camouflage combat uniforms but the first recorded use was by Carlson's Raiders (2nd Raider Battalion) in August, 1942. For the Makin Island raid, some of the Marines dyed their khaki uniforms black.

The first officially adopted uniform was the Model (M) 1942 one-piece reversible Jungle Suit as used by the US Army. This had a multi-shade green mottled 'cloud' (called 'frogskin') pattern that reversed to mottled brown/tan 'clouds.' Very awkward to use when nature called - especially under fire - and quite hot in tropics, it wasn't too popular.

In May, 1942, the Marines adopted a two-piece camouflage suit modeled after the P41 sage green utility uniform, with multi-green 'frogskin' reversing to brown/tan. Unlike the P41 utilities, the camo uniform used the Army herringbone twill material. The jacket has the USMC/EGA stenciled on the left breast pocket and displayed on both sides. Unlike other Marine utilities, this has domed snap fastener closure instead of the bronze/steel riveted version marked 'US Marine Corps'. This uniform remained in use into the Korean War and photos suggest some were still in use by Recon units even later.

NOTE: Over the years (1940-present), Marines have used specialized camo, like white parkas for artic conditions or Ghillie sniper suits. Those variants won't be addressed here.

In late 1942 the Marines adopted the classic camouflage helmet cover, using the same reversible 'frogskin' pattern in cotton twill. This helmet cover became the icon of Marines fighting in the Pacific and was worn through the Korean War (1950-53) era. The Marines (and Navy shore parties) received a reversible camo poncho in this same 'frogskin' pattern, with Marines also being issued a shelter half and securing straps to match. The shelter half is seen in many films and photos, worn rolled horseshoe-style over the Marine field marching/transport pack.

In 1959 the 'Mitchell' camouflage pattern helmet cover was adopted. This used a three tone green 'wine leaf' and red-brown 'branches' design, with a hint of yellow, interspersed on a light green background, and reversed to a brown/tan/sand mottled 'cloud' pattern. A matching 'Mitchell' shelter half was provided, although not as widely issued as a simple olive green [OD] version. The shelter halves had matching straps to secure the rolled shelter, blanket, tent pins & rope together, them using web straps, affixed horseshoe-style over the haversack.

The Mitchell pattern was used for US Marine and US Army helmet covers throughout the Vietnam War and into the mid-1970s when the Woodland pattern was adopted.

NOTE: The author has owned several in-country made full suits or jackets, dating to1960-61, created from the Mitchell pattern shelter halves (actually too hot to be practical) and commercially made hunting suits/jackets using a lighter weight cotton in this pattern. The author recalls seat and windshield covers for the M422 "Mighty Mite" (the USMC's AMC Jeep substitute) made on Okinawa from Mitchell shelter halves.

The commercial Mitchell pattern, along with a cloud-based pattern commonly called 'duck hunter' in shades of greens or browns, was used by early US Marine and Army Special Forces advisors in Vietnam.

With the US entry into the Vietnam War, US Marine Corps advisors assigned to the South Vietnamese Marine Corps [SVNMC] often wore the tiger stripe 'sea wave' pattern uniform of that service with a 'US Marines' embroidered tape worn over the left breast pocket. The SVNMC adopted this style uniform in 1956 and its use continued through 1972.

As mentioned in Part 1, the Marines used the ERDL camouflage Tropical Combat rip-stop cotton poplin utility uniform, based on the Third Pattern OG107 (olive green) uniform, circa 1968. This uniform was issued in either lime-green and brown-dominate patterns to better match the various micro-climates of Vietnam (mountains/jungle or coastal). There was a matching full-brim 'boonie' hat provided but no helmet cover. Although issued unmarked, documented examples show the EGA iron-on transfer on the left breast pocket flap and USMC on the gusseted pocket.

In the late 1970's (post-Vietnam War), the services began to adopt the Woodland pattern utility uniform. Made of cotton/poly blends, it used a pattern of green, black and tans to provide camo under varied situations. During the next few years, the uniform was modified several times by changing materials, pocket design, and other features. The author has observed no less than six variations dated from 1974 to 1985. The USMC/EGA was applied to the left breast pocket using an iron-on transfer and an embroidered name tape applied over the right breast pocket.

In the mid-1980's, the Battle Dress Utility uniform [BDU] using a cotton/poly blend material was adopted. In 1989, the uniform was also made in rip-stop cotton. This camo pattern was 1.6 times larger than the earlier Woodland pattern and used special dyes to reduce infrared signature. Again, several variants of this uniform exist. This pattern used the sewn-on name tape (right breast) and a 'US Marines' tape over the left breast.

In 1990, the six-color [browns/tan/black/white] Desert Battle Dress Utility uniform (called the 'chocolate chip' pattern) was adopted, along with a Nighttime Desert Grid pattern. This was the uniform commonly worn during the (First) Gulf War of August 1990 to February 1991.

In 1992, the simplified three-color [browns/black] Desert Combat Uniform (called the 'coffee stain' pattern) was adopted. Both Desert uniform designs used sewn-on name tapes and branch of service tapes.

The Desert Combat Uniform [DCU] 'coffee stain' was used in the early years of the Iraq War (2003-05) until phased out for the MARPAT uniform.

Circa 2004-05, the Marine Corps discarded the all-services BDU/DCUs in favor of the MARPAT digital design. This uses a unique pattern of greens (tropical) or browns (arid) computer-designed grids to create a camouflage effect. Official USMC utilities have a small EGA/USMC icon imbedded randomly throughout the design. Like the previous uniforms, sewn-on name tapes and US Marine tapes are used. This pattern is currently in use.

For future articles, we'll describe the evolution of Marine Corps '782 gear'... What did the Marines do differently than the Doggies for web gear and why is it called '782 gear'?

Semper Fi,
C. 'Stoney' Brook
11th & 12th Marines
1961-65


No Thanks

I got this story second hand (third?) from my daughter who got it from a teacher. At the school complex that encloses three separate schools, (elementary, middle and high school) my eight year old granddaughter was attending a presentation by mixed service representatives that did NOT include any Marines. They had a jet to display, much talk, etc. She raised her hand and when recognized asked, "When are the Marines going to be here?". One of the servicemen replied that "we represent all services." She came back with, "So, no Marines are going to be here?" He said, "no, but we can help you with your questions." She simply replied, "No thanks." and turned away. I understand every adult present fell out laughing! I would LOVE to have seen it!

Ron Perkins
Sgt. '65-'74
Nam '68-'70


Sillyvilian​ Asked

Hot dang!... finally, something that I know something about!... that being the 175... supported them at An Hoa for about six months in '70... and had staff cognizance (was the Ordnance Ossifer at higher) over a couple batteries at 29 Palms in the mid-70's... First and Third batteries, from fuzzy memory... three tours in that particular sand pile can affect the brain... Regarding barrel life... this can get a bit complicated, so bear with me. The early barrels had an "EFC" or Effective Full Charge life of 375 rounds. There were three different charges... charge 3 was an Effective Full Charge. Beyond that, arithmetic came in... if they were shooting closer in, with, for example, charge 1, it took three rounds to equal one Effective Full Charge... or, maybe a charge 1 for a mission, followed by a charge two... equaling an EFC. Keeping accurate log books was important, as reaching the 375 EFC total meant a barrel change... which was not a task you were going to accomplish with the $49.95 hundred piece tool set from Sears. Our cannon mech crew at LSU-1 an An Hoa usually did the swap with one M543 5-ton truck wrecker, and a borrowed LVT-R1 (amtrack maintenance version... had a boom on it that could handle the weight.) Gunny Flannagan and his crew once pulled off a swap in less than an hour from parking the carriage until it drove away. Bear in mind that the swap also meant that the breech mechanism had to come off the old barrel and be threaded onto a new one, along with disconnecting and reconnecting the recoil mechanism. Later barrels, known as "auto-frettage" barrels, had a much longer EFC life... not real sure, but it may have been as high as a thousand EFC rounds. Shipping the things meant a tractor-trailer, which could carry two... they didn't always make it back to Da Nang and the Defense Property Disposal lot (run by Dept of the Army Civilians)... I think we may have buried a couple at An Hoa, for lack of retrograde shipping. Besides the EFC count, there were a couple other ways that a barrel might be condemmed. Artillery (and tank main guns) were subjected to periodic inspection by borescope, and 'pull-over' gauge. The borescope came in several sections that screwed together, took 110V power for the built-in light, and had optics and a angled mirror that allowed the operator to visually inspect the length of the bore for heat checking, cracks, erosion, etc. (If you saw this monster, you would complain less about a colonoscopy...).

The pull-over gauge was a flat plate with a vernier scale on it, with a sliding section, and two toggles. It would be inserted, folded nearly flat, and as it was 'pulled-over' past center, would measure the interior diameter of the bore at specific distances from the breech. During my time at An Hoa, 3rd Guns had two in-bore premature detonations... the first splintered the barrel (we lost some infantry Marines in their tent) on that one, and the second one cut the barrel neatly in two, with the b-tt falling on the transmission cover... the aluminum valve body on top of the tranny looked like a hot spoon had scooped through a pound of butter.

Aberdeen Proving Grounds flew a civilian expert all the way from Maryland to look at the problem... he really, really didn't want to be there. The VIP helo landed close to the gun position, and the blades were still turning, when the sillyvilian asked "ever had this before?"... Battery XO said, yeah, once... couple months ago. With that the expert said "I dunno what you had before, but you got it again... ship all the pieces to Aberdeen"... and went an got back in the Huey.

I think that if you look it up, you will find that the muzzle velocity of the 175, fired at charge 3, is the same as an M-16 firing ball... and the obturator pad, AKA 'gas check pad' in the breech assembly of a 175, also fits the 8". Long story to go with that, for another time.

Ddick


Vicariously Relive​

50 years ago today, I was on mess duty at MCAS Cherry Point and next month would extend my tour of active duty by three months so I could go to Viet Nam with Bravo Battery 3rd LAAM Bn. At the time, I had no appreciation for what I had because I was a rebellious individual and bridled at authority. To this day, I say the Corps and I were incompatible and it's true. It took me almost 50 years to gain appreciation for that period of my life. I've always been proud of being a Marine but never had the inclination to go back and do it again. All that has changed in the Fall of my life. On the occasions when I'm told, "Thank you for your service." I usually reply, "It was my pleasure. I'd go back and do it again but I get to be 17 years old again." and incompatible or not, I mean it. Thank you Sgt. Grit for allowing me to vicariously relive that most important part of my life through your weekly newsletters. I appreciate the newsletter and the Marines who contribute to it, more than you will ever know.

Semper Fi,
Cpl. Jerry D.
USMC 1962-1966
RVN 1965-1966


A Jarhead's Journey

I am a decorated combat veteran that served as an adviser to the 1st Division of ARVN along the DMZ in 1965 and 1966. I take the most pride in one thing along with my brothers and sisters who served in the Corps: War or peace time, combat or combat support (1) we all signed that blank check, (2) earned the title of Marine, and (3) paid that check in full with an honorable discharge. Semper Fi!

(Capt.) Jim Lowe

Available in paperback form at "A Jarhead's Journey".

All royalties donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.


Old WWI Vet

Sgt. Grit,

Some years ago I was visiting an Old WWI Vet. We talked about our wars and he said, one of the biggest problems of WWI was the "COOTIE's" which were lice. He showed me the outfit he made to help remove cooties which was much like the one I have shown here, the date on this cartridge head is 1917. When they were relieved from the front lines and moved to the rear area they started big fires and got great pots of water boiling. They took their clothes off and dropped them in the boiling water, while the clothes were boiling they bathed usually like I did in my three wars, in a small basin (helmet) of water. The clothes were taken out dried and put on again free of "Cooties". The VFW even had a "COOTIE" Club after the war for the guys that served in the trenches and suffered "COOTIE's". The club was phased out after some of the other wars we had to fight. I would imagine that Iran and Iraq have some dandy bugs.

Gy. Sgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired


Boot Camp Buddies

Hi Sgt Grit,

In March of 2012 I submitted a story about my foolish act at MCRDPI rifle range back in 1958, which appeared in Sgt Grit newsletter of April 5, 2012. Surprisingly, another member of my boot camp Platoon 281 happened to see it and requested my contact info. After receiving notice from Sgt Grit I promptly and eagerly replied and days later I received an email from that Parris Island "boot camp buddy" Richard "Rich" Robbins on the west coast. We both thought it a little amazing, that after 56 years, we once youthful, 17 year old Marine recruits, now 73 and 74 year old senior (Marine) citizens, were suddenly re-connected by an electronic device called email. Needless to say, this mutually unexpected reunion has been enjoyable for both of us, engaging in nostalgic boot camp recollections and typical USMC scuttlebutt. Comparing notes we find our civilian lives and interests have many similarities, plus we both still adhere to certain Marine Corps habits, such as grabbing our shirt-sides, pulling them tightly-in backward then stuffing them into the backside of our trousers and also, aligning the edges of our shirt-front, belt buckle and zipper flap of our trousers. And don't even think of stepping on our shined (for the most part) shoes.

Both Rich and I hail from different parts of eastern Massachusetts but while I still live here Rich (smartly) relocated to California in the early 80's. We didn't know each other at the time of our individual enlistments but assuredly, we must have been on the same train that July of 1958 from Boston to Yemassee, and on that nice bus to PI. We ended up in the same platoon for those 13 awesome weeks of hell and graduation day of October 1958 was the last time we would muster together, until June of 2014.

We both pulled the same duty station, 1st Mar. Div., Camp Pendleton but as typical, our paths never again crossed (including ITR Camp Geiger at Lejeune). Rich was assigned to 3rd Amtrac Bn (Camp Del Mar) for a year then to electronics schooling at TI and San Diego after which he was sent to 1st Marine Brigade (Airwing) FMF at Kanehoe. I went to 1st Bn 9th Marines (then based at Camp San Mateo) for a little over a year before shipping out to 1st Bn 3rd Marines, 3rd Mar. Div. FMF (then based on Okinawa). While in SE Asia in 1961 our separate units were summoned to readiness to respond to Pathet Lao communist aggression in that country of Laos, but which our orders would be recalled. We would both make it to Cpl-E4 before completing of our four years.

Since our initial emails of 2012 Rich and I have stayed in touch and plan to carry it on. And as luck would have it, we had the opportunity and pleasure to meet in person last June when Rich happened to travel to Mass. for another purpose. We met for lunch in Plymouth, which by-the-way is hometown to his Pilgrim ancestors, securing his membership in the Mayflower Society (I hope he doesn't mind me taking the liberty to mention this personal, but rather interesting fact. If he does, guess I'll have to get down and give him fifty). I'll go further to say that he's also a dedicated member of his local chapter of The Marine Corps League, which he proudly and effectively serves.

Anyway Sgt Grit, thanks to you and to your dedicated staff for your superb website and products catalog, which caters specifically to Marines and especially for your newsletter, which provides a convenient path in helping make these kind of unexpected reunions possible.

Lastly, for a grin, I've attached two different sets of photos of Rich and myself: one of "then" from our 1958 MCRDPI book and the other of "now" from our 2014 lunch reunion. Regardless of the space in time and age, I think we all share the same passion for our great United States Marine Corps and always will... so here we both stand, Recruits then, Marines still.

Semper Fi, even after we die,
Lionel "Leo" Caldeira 1958-1962

"Once a Marine, Always a Marine"​


I Don't Feel So Bad

"This is NOT a problem, but a thank you for the speed in which my order was filled & shipped. I ordered the Marine Corps cane & the John Wayne coffee mug. I love the cane. I was upset when my doctor told me I had to start using a cane, but now that I have this Marine Corps cane, I don't feel so bad. Fedex delivered my box with three of four sides ripped and taped up. Luckily nothing was damaged. The funny thing is the rips were right at the 'Fragile Handle with Care' sticker.

Again, thanks.​


Providing Support

Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation

Established in 2012, is a charitable 501c.3, not-for-profit organization that pursues specific endeavors and goals through the vision of Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipient Hershel "Woody" Williams. The Foundation is carrying out his vision to honor and recognize Gold Star Families by establishing permanent memorial monuments in communities throughout our country.

Our Goals:

- Educate and raise awareness in the American public about Gold Star Families and the sacrifices that they have made for the freedoms we enjoy every day as Americans, through outreach, education, and example.

- To assist in the promotion, creation, and implementation of Gold Star Families Memorial Monuments in every state throughout the country, and in many communities.

Donations can be made at Hershel Woody Williams Medal of Honor Foundation.


Short Rounds

Lance Corporal has more letters than most of the other ranks, so Lance Corporals must be more important.

LCpl Fuller


The greatest customer service ever. Far beyond expectations, but came as no suprise. Semper Fidelis Marines!

Hector Lopez, D.D.S.
Family Dentistry


Glad to be part of the Greatest Brotherhood in the World!

Sgt. Thomas J. Murphy (Ret.)


Cpl. Stumps letter needs to be posted and read at every VA hospital, all Marine Corps League meetings. He may get his wish and save some lives.

Bailey, CPL '62-'66


All Marines should try to get a copy of the most recent Leatherneck February 2015. It has an outstanding story "10 Days on Iwo Jima" reprinted from May 1945. This is the 70th Anniversary.

What is really gripping is the sermon given by the 5th MarDiv Chaplin at a religious service dedicating the 5thMarDiv cemetery on Iwo 21 Mar 1945.

That's WHY WE FIGHT.

JM Stone, LCpl, '65-'69


Sgt Grit,

I want to say the suicide letter by Cpl Eric Stump, USMC, 0311/0351 was OUTSTANDING!

J Kanavy,Cpl​


Quotes

"In my experience, Marines are gung ho no matter what. They will all fight to the death. Every one of them just wants to get out there and kill. They are bad-azs, hard-charging mothers."
--From the book "American Sniper" by Chris Kyle​


"A Marine should be sworn to the patient endurance of hardships, like the ancient knights; and it is not the least of these necessary hardships to have to serve with sailors."
--Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery


"Lying offshore, ready to act, the presence of ships and Marines sometimes means much more than just having air power or ship's fire, when it comes to deterring a crisis. And the ships and Marines may not have to do anything but lie offshore. It is hard to lie offshore with a C-141 or C-130 full of airborne troops."
--Gen. Colin Powell, U. S. Army Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff During Operation Desert Storm


"Get on line with two sheets and a blanket... move!"

"Get on my quarterdeck... NOW!"

"Scuz brush bulkhead... move!​"

Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

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