A recent motorcycle accident claimed the life of our dear friend and customer GySgt Kevin Kyle. This Marine left us too soon at the age of 50. Gunny Kyle served in Desert Storm, Afghanistan, Iraq and other combat operations. He was an avid shopper at Sgt Grit. Anytime Gunny walked into the showroom, I always made my way over to speak with him for a bit. That was a treat for me. This Marine was just awesome. When I first met him, he had just got off the plane at Will Rogers Airport here in OKC from Iraq. We were having morning chow that day at Sgt Grit for the Marine Corps Birthday. He came straight over to us that morning and had breakfast with his brothers and sisters. He said, that is where he needed to be. That was a special morning. Unknowingly to all of us, he became the "guest of honor" quite literally. It was an honor to have him home and there with all of us. Gunny was a really neat guy. He always had a smile on his face and he always made you feel that he was really happy to see you that day. He would do that with anyone. He will be missed by all.
Prayers for his wife Jodie.
Sgt Grit C.O.O.
March Into The Fence
I thought your readers might enjoy the Before and After photos from my Boot camp Graduation Book, Platoon 304, graduation date 6 March 1967, MCRDSD. S/Sgt. W. Zeiferts was Platoon Commander. He smacked me once on the Big Grinder because I was stupid enough to question a drill command. Sgt. R. Ramos was the Drill Instructor. He would take off his web belt and throw it in the air when we screwed up. It was scary and funny at the same time.
I won't mention the other Drill Instructor's name but he was (apparently) right out of DI School. He used to march us into the fence at the small grinder by the airport runway.
1963 JFK Visit To MCRD San Diego
These are a family heirloom and rarely seen. I figure why not share with whomever. When I sent these to the MCRD Museum they were able to tell me that these were taken in 1963 & that's about all I know as my father died when I was 11 so I have no other info.
PS: Love your store & products!
Dirty, Green Humanoids
In the early sixties the aircraft carriers at Pearl Harbor docked at the old Battle Ship Row in front of the Arizona Memorial on Ford Island. I was a plane captain on A4Ds in VMA-212 based at Kaneohe Bay on the other side of Oahu from '61 to '63. On return from one of these qualification cruises and after 20 or 30 hours of constant flight quarters, without a break, we plane captains were tired and dirty and taking a break on the hangar deck in the number two elevator opening. The elevator being up gave a huge picture window to the passing scene as we passed down the "slot" around Ford Island. Somebody broke out a deck of cards and several of us were playing eucre on an overturned box. The ships' crew had been ordered into dress whites and lined the flight deck, shoulder to shoulder. As we passed outgoing ships the Captain would announce "Attention to Port", or "Attention to Starboard" and all the swabbies rendered hand salutes to the outgoing ships, which did the same in response with their crews. Needless to say, a bunch of dirty, tired Marines looking at these passing swabbies all spit shined and rested did not appreciate the tradition we were observing. We had our own version of the hand salute that got passed to the outgoing vessels. This made for very astonished expressions from one sub as I recall. Sailors in a row, from fore to aft and up the conning tower, mouths agape at the dirty, green humanoids disrespecting their ship.
Anyway, as we rounded Ford Island preparing to dock, the captain announced, "Attention to Port", and there coming into view was the new (at the time) Arizona Memorial, flying the stars and stripes as a still commissioned ship of the Navy. Every man jack one of us stood at attention and saluted that beautiful flag and as we passed slowly by and into the slip just in front of the memorial. No way could we not honor those brave men. Still brings a tear to my eye remembering.
Cpl. Norm Spilleth
1960 to 1964
My third tour in Vietnam was with the 11th Marines at An Hoa. I served in the 5th Marines FSCC and when the 7th Marines stood down and returned to the states we moved to LZ Baldy and as Dale Rueber wrote in the 3 June issue, we were paid once a month at Sick Bay. One time a Corpsman was at the door and asked us how much we were getting paid. I told him and he counted out Monopoly money and handed it to me, after getting my real pay (MPC) I returned to my hooch and told a Marine the story. The Regimental Kit Carson Scout heard part of my story and saw the Monopoly money. He grabbed his pistol and took off like a race horse out of our billet. I asked the Intel Chief Gysgt Nichols what was that about and he laughed and said he thinks they are changing the MPC so he is going to town to tell all his friends. Normally the base was locked down when they changed an MPC series and there was a limited time period in which to make the change for the new series.
I don't recall any further issues about the MPC but I would guess the KCS stayed away from the ville for a while.
My Memories Of Boot Camp
I would like to add my memories of boot camp which took place from November 1961 - February 1962. Most of it is just a blur, but I do remember three things:
1. I did not have a bowel movement for the first week.
2. In that 12-weeks of boot camp I cannot remember ever having an erection. At the age of 20, I was the old man in my platoon, but even at this age you'll get hard when the wind blows, except in boot camp.
3. We had one recruit (supposedly 17) who went through puberty. When his voice changed, the DI's sure gave him a bad time.
Age 74 and still a Marine!
Jim Brower - 1977XXX
Due West Into The Sun
Tom Balash... who was at Parris Island in February, 1961 originally in Platoon 311. Was "set back" as a result of 5 days in sick bay. I was in Platoon 311. DI's were SSgt. J.W. Lawrence, Sgt. P.P. Sauger and Sgt. J.F. Farrell. All three hard Corps guys!
Following Camp Geiger, many in the Platoon, me included, were assigned to 1/5 at Pendleton. Eighteen months later we shipped out to Okinawa and became 2/3. On August 2, 1964 we were "on float" aboard the U.S.S. Valley Forge LPH 25 in Subic Bay. The Battalion was ashore doing survival/live off the land training in the bush. Second day of a scheduled 5 day training the choppers came and "hurry your azzes on board!" Flight back to Subic I looked down but Valley Forge is not at the pier. We fly another 10 minutes and land on the flight deck and the ship is shuttering it's going so fast... heading due west into the sun. An hour later, once the rest of the battalion was on board, the Captain comes on the P.A. system and announces that North Vietnamese patrol boats had attacked two U.S. Destroyers and we are now heading to Vietnam. The next morning we are a mile off the coast. Ten days later "The Gulf of Tonkin" resolution was authorized by Congress. And as they say... "The Rest is History".
Corporal of Marines
Charlie 1/5, Golf 2/3
Pliable Enough To Do The Job
One thing that stands out in my mind about boot camp was the Sunday morning head call at the rifle range at Camp Matthews in early 1957. While there always seemed to be enough toilet paper (for those more refined, tissue) through the week. On Sunday mornings, there would be scores of boots left without any TP. If there wasn't any newspaper around, you were SOL. To make do, we had to crumple the newsprint until it was pliable enough to do the job. You would have thought the base plumbers would have had one h-ll of a job cleaning up that mess. However, I never heard anyone ever saying the toilets were stopped up.
I've heard that Camp Matthews was sold and is now part of San Diego State University. If so, some archaeology students are probably wondering why there were so many copies of the San Diego Union (if they didn't bio-degrade) in their "digs".
James V. Merl
San Onofre ITR and 3rd MarDiv Disbursing
Felt No Pity
1954... USS Wisconsin Mar Det... got $40 every two weeks, was having $50 per month sent home to pay for a car (l953 Merc 2 door)... which incidentally I never saw. Came down from topside and found my wall locker open and my $40 gone. Went to guy before and after me in pay line and got serial numbers from their bills. So I knew what my missing money was marked. The money was found on another Marine who was Court Martialed... his story was he got them from the Ships store in change... from what I never knew... court found him innocent which I never understood but there was no appeal. There was no need to lock your comb lock wall locker... virtually everyone could open any of them in 10 seconds or less. Luckily the guy was outed by this act and everyone pretty much shunned him from then on. Felt no pity at all...
Good Conduct Medal With A Bar
BACKGROUND: My name is Barry D. Farris and I served on active duty from 8 July 1955 through 7 July 1959, 15 XX XXX. Since I lived in Colorado I went to boot camp at MCRD San Diego. afterwards I went to Camp Pendleton for Infantry training and cold weather training at Pickle Meadows. In those days everyone got to go to Okinawa by troop ship. I shipped out of San Diego on December 31, 1955. I returned in March 1957 and after a 30 day leave, I reported to the MCSC in Barstow, CA on 23 April 1957. Being in the Infantry, 0311, I was assigned to Guard Company. After firing high shooter with a score of 230 (Expert) with the M1 Garand, I was reassigned on 9 January 1958 to the Rifle Range as a coach and was authorized to wear the coveted campaign hat. I was promoted to Sergeant "Permanent" on 1 September 1958 and was one of those E-4's who was able to wear his 3 stripes until my release date and transfer to Marine Corps Reserves.
In those days the DD Form 214 were woefully incomplete as far as Decorations, Medal, Badges and Campaign Ribbons were concerned. My USMC Good Conduct Medal was the only thing listed. I did not have much, but my Expert Rifle and Pistol badges were not listed nor was the National Defense Service Medal. I never intended to make the military a career, but I joined the Army on May 31,1960 as a PFC E-3 and went straight into jump school at Ft Campbell, made SFC E-7 in Germany and got my Warrant Officer appointment in 1966. I retired as a CW4 (Personnel Officer) on 31 January 1980. I am a Life Member of the Marine Corps League and a member of Pikes Peak Chapter 29. When asked I tell people that I am a Marine but retired from the Army.
MARINE CORPS GOOD CONDUCT MEDAL: I have attended many Marine Corps Balls in my time and always wear my Army dress blues with full size medals. This year one of my friends in the Marine Corps League made a comment about my Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal. He commented that he had never seen one like mine with the U.S. Marine Corps bar at the top. I said "this is the medal they issued me". I later checked the internet and found that medals issued during WWII had the bar but that those issued afterward did not. I had never given it a thought and never noticed that some did not have the bar. I guess it does not surprise me since just about everything we had from equipment to C-rations were from WWII. I would be interested to know if any other Marines from my era also received a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal left over from WWII. I can't believe I am the only one.
Barry D. Farris
Take Us To Inchon
I see quite a few Marines have stories about Henrico. I shipped on Henrico July 12,1950 bound for Korea with 1/5. We left San Diego, rendezvoused with the rest of the Brigade around San Clemente Island, then disaster struck. Henrico broke down. The other ships continued on. Henrico limped up the coast to Mare Island. Took us 2 or 3 days as I recall. I remember we looked over the side each day to see if we were moving. We were, barely. Took a day or two to repair the ship, then we slipped under the Golden Gate. We caught up to the rest of the Brigade at Pusan.
About one month later, she was back to take us to Inchon. She had been cleaned and painted. Didn't stay clean for long.
I had a little different experience from the normal 'pay guard'. My first duty station was MarBrks, Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, NH. Our normal duties were manning the two gates, the Locked Ward at the hospital and chasing prisoners from our small brig. At least a couple of times a month, two members of the off-watch guard would be detailed to Payroll Guard by 'Riding Shotgun for Wells Fargo'. We would draw a shotgun and climb into the back of a Wells Fargo truck. The truck would go the bank in Portsmouth, and back onto the curb. One of us would stay by the truck allowing no one to approach, the other would escort the two Wells Fargo men in and out of the bank as they transferred the money bags into the truck. When finished, we then rode back to the base sitting on the bags. It was a huge amount of cash. I recall on one run they told us it was about $8 million. This was civilian payroll. There was a very large work-force at the Yard. Fantastic experience for 17-18 year-old Marines.
GySgt. Paul Santiago
Fifty Years Ago
On 6 May 1965, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines embarked aboard the USS Breckinridge as a trans-placement Battalion to Okinawa: upon arrival on 22 May, the Battalion was designated as the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines - My Company becoming Echo Company. After forty-one days of training on the island, the Battalion walked up the gangplanks of the USS Pickaway on 3 July in route to Vietnam, seven days later on 7 July 1965, we stormed ashore in an amphibious landing at Red Beach, Da Nang, Vietnam. (Chronicles of a Marine Rifleman).
This 4th of July, the Marines of Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines will be celebrating their 50th anniversary of their landing at Da Nang, Vietnam, on 7 July 1965. It will be our 50th, and for the next ten years there will be hundreds more military reunions to come. Until 15 May 2025. The war did not end with Operation Frequent Wind, the evacuation of Saigon Vietnam: It officially came to an end off the southwest coast of Cambodia, on a small island called Koh Tang. One of the worst military intelligent blunders of the Vietnam War, costing the lives of forty-one U. S. servicemen.
During the conclusion of the battle LCPL Ashton Loney's was declared KIA, and his body was left on the island as unrecoverable. The last three names on the Wall are LCPL Gary Hall, PFC Joseph Hargrove, and PVT Danny Marshall who were mistakenly left behind during the evacuation. They presumably were captured and executed by the Khmer Rouge.
There were fifteen military personnel killed during the battle, and another twenty-three killed in support of the operation. About fifty were wounded, and five still remain unaccounted for. Major General K. J. Houghton who commanded 3rd Marine Division at the time summed it up like this, "It was screwed up": Interpretation Required.
This Fourth of July, we will not only be celebrating our 50th, but honoring our fellow Marines of 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines who died during the war, and but mostly the four Marines of Echo and Gulf Company, left behind on Koh Tang Island (KIA and MIA). You see it was our battalion who brought the war to a close on 15 May 1975.
This 4th of July, we Marines of A/1/5, and E/2/9 salute all the veterans of foreign wars who gave their all to defend our nation's freedom and way of life.
"A few good men can't do their job if you don't give them a few good facts."
Staff Ranked Marine... Follow-up
When I wrote my piece on my being treated like a "Staff ranked Marine" I did so after going through my memorabilia to refresh my memory. The Dog Patch processing center was between the Air Base in Da Nang and Freedom Hill and it was were this Marine was processed. My military specialty was 1431 Cartographer with as "ALL Marines" a 0311 secondary. I totally remember the 6 weeks of infantry training I had at Pendleton. Part after boot camp and part before I shipped out to "WestPac". If the doubters spent a few minutes looking up the history of the First Marine Division they would find that the 1st Marine Division moved to Chu Lai in 1967. Also if they looked at a map they would discover that Chu Lai is in U.S. terms a suburb of Da Nang. It is on the west side of Da Nang. 1st Marine Recon was also at this site as well as an Army transportation base. History shows the 1st Marine Division combat units returning to Camp Pendleton in April 1971, but as my DD214 shows I left country on May 29, 1971 and the 1st Marine Division Flag still flew at our basecamp in Chu Lai.
I will concede that I was mistaken and stand corrected, as the certificate for my Navy Achievement Medal does state "with combat V" not a star. The star was on my Vietnam Service medal for subsequent service. Lastly yes I was in the rear with the beer, but did see combat and saw several of my friends sent home maimed or in body bags. Those that served in the rear "in country" have the same "Combat" related issues as our Marine brothers that served in the field and thus deserve to be treated with the same respect.
No Foggy memories here.
Sgt. Wayne Sanders
Marine through and through.
â€‹1st MarDiv moved FROM Chu Lai to DaNang. I was there from Mar69 to Oct70. 11th Marines HQ Btty.
At the bottom of the hill below 1stMarDiv HQ, 11 Motors across the road, 1st Recon across the rice paddies, Med battalion and helicopter pads down the road a bit. Chu Lai (see above map) is not a suburb of DaNang and it is south of DaNang, not west see map above.
1stMarDiv was at Chu Lai first, but later moved to DaNang.
I will print your story next week if you want. But you will get much the same as I have described above.
Let me know.
You can let it go as it is really not worth the hassle to listen to the "bull from the doubters"... But if you look at a map of Da Nang there is also a Chu Lai in the Da Nang Area. As I was am a trained Cartographer (map Guy) I can not only read maps I can make them.
Replacing Purple Heart Citation
In the 4 June issue, Sgt. Ron Myers, a Vietnam veteran, inquired about getting a replacement Purple Heart citation. I contacted Mr. Mosley at Headquarters, Marine Corps. Here is his response:
Yes, this is a service that MMMA-3 can provide for the veteran, please have him to submit a signed request and we will be able to assist him in getting a replacement certificate.
Have the veteran submit the following items to the address listed below:
1. Signed request to MMMA-3 - Requesting a replacement certificate for the Purple Heart.
2. DD214, service number or social security number so we can order his official records.
3. Have the veteran mail his request to the following address:
HEADQUARTERS US MARINE CORPS
MANPOWER MANAGEMENT DIVISION MMMA
2008 ELLIOT ROAD
QUANTICO VA 22134-5030
Once we receive the signed request MMMA-3 will do the following:
1. Order the veteran official records from Nation Personnel Records Center.
2. Review his records to adjudicate the circumstances surrounding the awarding of the purple heart during his tour in Vietnam.
3. Once adjudicated the certificate will be completed and forwarded to the veteran.
4. The veteran personnel records will be updated to reflect the awarding of the purple heart certificate.
Sir, as soon as we get the request we will order his records, but depending how long it takes to receive the records this adjudication process could take up to six months.
SgtMaj USMC (Ret.)
Attitude Is Everything Day 37
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:
K Otto Phillips - Coming from a SEAL, that's a compliment, and I've heard Special Forces guys say they'd rather have Marines providing their security than soldiers because of their attitude and discipline.
James Breslin - I don't need Chris Kyle telling me what I am or am not! USMC 1966 - 69 / RVN 1968 - 69 / DAV 1969 - Present.
Christopher Benes - Dont be a tw-t. The man stated his obvious respect for who we are. Semper Fi.
Kevin Dutch Wittbrodt - What you guys don't understand is these SEALS have only been around for a few decades, and we've been doing it for hundreds of years!
Richard Matthews - Always ready for some hooking and jabbing :).
William Atte Wode - I notice this is the G-rated version of the quote. Still awesome either way.
Check daily to see what the next quote or saying of the day will be on the Sgt Grit Facebook page.
WWII Peleliu Marines
Marine Pfc. Douglas Lightheart (right) cradles his .30 caliber M1919 Browning machine gun in his lap, while he and Marine Pfc. Gerald Thursby Sr. take a cigarette break, during mopping up operations on Peleliu on 14th September 1944.
(Colorized by Paul Reynolds)
The Old Corps
The toilet was "The Head"
A drinking fountain was "The Scuttlebut"
A door was not slightly open it was "Ajar"
The uniform for going on a hike was "Spats, Gats and Tin Hats"
There were khakis, greens, and blues Some of you (not all) won't recall a great portion of this but if you do, so be it. If you don't, you missed a good time! The following is a page found in the book "Green Side Out" by Major H.G.Duncan, USMC (Ret) and Captain W.T. Moore, Jr., USMC (Ret).
You kept your rifle in the barracks.
Your 782 gear did not wear out.
Mess halls were mess halls (NOT dining facilities).
No vandalism wrecked the barracks.
Everyone was a Marine and his ethnic background was unimportant.
We had heroes.
Chaplains didn't teach leadership to the experts.
Getting high meant getting drunk.
Beer was 25 cents at the slop chute.
Skivvies had tie-ties.
We starched our khakis and looked like h-ll after sitting down the first time.
We wore the short green jacket with the winter uniform.
We wore Sam Browne belts and sharpened one edge of the buckle for the bad fights.
We kept our packs made up and hanging on the edge of the rack.
We spit-shined shoes.
Brownbaggers' first concern was the Marine Corps.
Generals paid more attention to the Marine Corps than to politics.
UA meant being a few minutes late from a great liberty, and only happened once per career.
Brigs were truly "correctional" facilities.
Sergeants were gods.
The tips of the index and middle fingers of one hand were constantly black from Kiwi shoe polish.
We scrubbed the wooden decks of the barracks with creosote.
We had wooden barracks.
Privates made less than $100.00 a month.
Privates always had money.
You weren't transported to war by Trans World or Pan American airlines.
Barracks violence was a fight between two buddies who were buddies when it was over.
Larceny was a civilian crime.
Every trooper had all his gear.
Marines had more uniforms than civilian clothes.
Country and western music did not start race riots in the clubs.
We had no race riots because we had no recognition of races.
Marine Corps birthdays were celebrated on 10 November no matter what day of the week it may have been (except Sunday).
Support units supported.
The supply tail did not wag the maintenance dog.
The 734 form was the only supply document.
You did your own laundry, including ironing.
You aired bedding.
Daily police of outside areas was held although they were always clean.
Field stripping of cigarette butts was required.
Everyone helped at field day.
A tour as Duty NCO was an honor.
Everyone got up a reveille.
We had bugle calls.
Movies were free.
PX items were bargains.
Parking was the least of problems.
Troops couldn't afford cars.
You weren't married unless you could afford it.
Courts-martial orders were read in battalion formations.
We had the "Rocks and Shoals."
Courts-martial were a rarity.
Marines receiving BCDs were drummed out the gate.
NCOs and officers were not required to be psychologists.
The mission was the most important thing.
Marines could shoot.
Marines had a decent rifle.
The BAR was the mainstay of the fire team.
Machine gunnery was an art.
Maggie's drawers meant a miss and was considered demeaning as h-ll to the dignity of the shooter.
Carbide lamps blackened sights.
We wore leggings.
We wore herringbone utilities.
We had machine gun carts.
We mixed target paste in the butts.
We had to take and pass promotion tests.
We really had equal opportunity.
Sickbays gave APCs for all ailments.
We had short-arm inspections.
The flame tank was in the arsenal of weapons.
We had unit parties overseas with warm beer and no drugs.
Marines got haircuts.
Non-judicial punishment was non-judicial.
The squad bay rich guy was the only one with a radio.
If a Marine couldn't make it on a hike, his buddies carried his gear and helped him stumble along so that he wouldn't have to fall out.
The base legal section was one or two clerks and a lawyer.
We had oval dog tags.
Marines wore dog tags all the time.
We spit-shined shoes and BRUSH-shined boots.
We wore boondockers.
We starched field scarves.
We worked a five and one-half day week.
Everyone attended unit parties.
In the field we used straddle trenches instead of "Porta-Potties."
Hitch-hiking was an offense.
We used Morse Code for difficult transmissions.
The oil burning tent stove was the center of social activity in the tent.
We had unit mail call.
We carried swagger sticks.
We had Chesty Puller.
Greater privileges for NCOs were not a "right".
EM Clubs were where you felt at home... and safe.
We sailed on troopships.
We rode troop trains.
Sentries had some authority.
Warrant Officers were not in their teens.
Mess hall "Southern cooking" was not called "soul food."
Marines went to chapel on Sundays.
Weekend liberty to a distant place was a rarity.
The color of a Marine's skin was of no consequence.
The Marine Corps was a big team made up of thousands of little teams.
We landed in LCVPs and always got wet.
We debarked from ship by means of nets over the side.
We had parades.
We had pride.
We had Esprit de Corps.
Field scarves (neckties) were made of the same material as shirts, and had the same consistencies as a wet noodle. There was no tie clasp to keep it from flapping in the breeze.
Shirts were tailored and spit-shined.
Khakis were heavily starched, and you had to run your arm through the pants leg to open them up. Shirt pockets could not be opened and you carried cigarettes in your socks.
There were no back pockets in uniform trousers.
Buttons on your "Blues" were really brass, and you shined them using jewelers rouge and a button shield.
Piss-cutters had a single dip in the rear.
"Saepius Exertus, Semper Fidelis, Frater Infinitas"
"Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever"
United States Marines
My 'two cents worth' re: "Fog of Time".
I left an LST, went to Submarine School â€“ where I 'flunked' out medically as my sinus 'broke' in the 105' free ascent tank. From there I was ordered to OPNAV COMM in the Pentagon.
I was given the duty and title of 'Midnight Router' so I had the task of taking the incoming traffic and making the proper people designated addressees. The billet was for an RMC (CPO (E7)) and I was an RM2 (E5).
Although I asked, there was NO extra pay, the other CPO's wouldn't let me in 'the Club' and I still had to wear my 'Dixie Cup' and 13 button Bell Bottom Trousers. The Navy, at Quarters K (Across the street from the Pentagon) was ahead of its time as the 'slop chute' was for E1-E6, with a separate 'Acey Duecey (E5/E6) club but the head was in the middle of the EM Club (below E5) portion. I and several of my colleagues pushed and fought for a Head to be installed in 'our side'. I actually spent about the same amount of time at the Henderson Hall NCO Club. I think the only restriction being they preferred we (USN) wear civvies. I was OK (at least with my USMC peers as they didn't really 'mind' us PHIBPAC swabbies being there as we did work together with the Marines.) Naturally we didn't get anywhere near the 'ride' the Corpsmen got, but we were granted a lot of 'screw up room'...
RM2 (E5) USN 1956-64
Sgt John Basilone Foundation
John Basilone is one of my favorite Marines. PTSD is one of my favorite things to support. Take a look at the two web pages below. You can also buy a t-shirt and support the foundation.
Sgt John Basilone Foundation | Wounded Veteran | Wounded Warrior Project
Call Sgt John Basilone Foundation at (908) 328-2944 for information for veterans suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), Wounded Veteran, Wounded Warrior Project, New York.
John Basilone Inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame 2011 (Accepted by Diane Basilone Hawkins)
Windward Marine 22 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.
1960 - 1964
Never Been That Scared
I remember back in October, 1965 when my father sent me off to boot he gave me two dollars and said, "The Marine Corps will provide any thing you need for a while." So, as we got off the plane at the San Diego airport and walked into the terminal down that covered archway I was in front with the paperwork for the recruits from Dallas, Texas. I had been chewing a piece of gum to help pop my ears during the descent of the plane, and as I entered the terminal a really TALL Marine in blue trousers and a tropical shirt leaned over me (I was really short) and said, "You better get that gum out yer mouth, Azshole, before you get lockjaw!" I immediately swallowed the gum and instinctively said, "Yes Sir!" Then he gathered us all up and stood us on the curb in front of the terminal after admonishing us to "Look straight ahead and do NOT move!" I distinctly remember a billboard across the street advertising you could "Rent a Volkswagen for $5.00 a Day!" I was almost crying, thinking "H-ll I can't even do that! I am truly screwed and stuck here for the near future!" I swear, I have never been that scared before or since! Even Viet Nam didn't scare me as bad as that first taste of the Corps' D.I.'s. Terrifying! LOL!
Sgt. of Marines
Viet Nam '68-'70
Sgt Grit Reunites Young Love
I'll attempt to make this short, but it will be however it unfolds. Harken back to June of 1966 - the train ride we all took (well some of us anyway) from our hometown to face the greatest challenge we would ever face - Marine Corps Boot Camp. A young, very unworldly, 17 year old striking off to be counted as one of THE FEW.
Somewhere along the trip from Dallas to San Diego I meet up with one of the nicest young ladies that a young man could ever hope to meet, also traveling west to visit family in Anaheim. It seemed to us that we had found our soulmates and spent many hours talking about what the future might hold for us together. Then at one point in the very late hours I told her that I had one of the biggest days in my life about to dawn, and it would probably be wise to get a few hours sleep. We debated her going back with me, but I esteemed her a lot more than that, and I didn't want to share her with anyone. Nor did I want any comments made that would spoil such a beautiful time together. So I went back to the sleeping car with all the other recruits and service men traveling to San Diego and points south, and she went back to the family she was traveling with. Unbeknownst to me the train made a switching stop in Barstow and sent her party on north to LA and Anaheim.
The very first thing I did upon awakening was to look for her and hope that we might spend a few more stolen minutes before we had to depart for who knew how long. I couldn't search for too long as I had to get ready to debark soon in San Diego. It wasn't until some time later, while in Boot Camp, that her letters explained what happened. Obviously the first weeks are the most tortuous, and it was a credit to her and the remembrances of that train ride that helped me maintain a grasp on my former self.
The one part to this is that while I was waiting to turn 18, as my MOS is 0311, so I would have a further vacation in Southeast Asia, I was stationed at Marine Barracks Pearl Harbor in the Security Detachment, providing security for the various access gates and office buildings. Each of us were assigned to Mess Duty to complement the mess section, and it was during this time one of her letters reached me, with about 10 mail forwarding stamps. I couldn't believe it! After all the Boot Camp letters we shared, I had lost her address, and the efficiency of the military mail system was able to locate me. I had taken a break outside of the mess hall and was sitting on the envelope reading her mail, and the Gunny yelled at me about getting back to work. Of course you know what happens when the Gunny speaks. I hauled my butt back to the serving line, completely forgetting to stuff the letter back in the envelope, and lost her address forever. That is until she found me. Yet my recollections still remain vivid to this day. She found me through the Sgt. Grit website, and my post included my email address. After all those years we recently reconnected and semi caught up with how each of our lives went. She ended up marrying a Soldier (well at least she married a Viet Nam vet) and has been married all these years.
I wonder sometime how it may have been had I paid attention to that one NOW HUGE detail of saving the letter AND the envelope.
Echo 2/9 1969
But The Smells
This old Hat remembers the ships in WWII and arriving on Guam before it was secured. As I was young (and looked it) and Dumb (and showed it) I was sent to unload supplies where you could hear the war going on out there with rumbles and bombs bursting. When it was over we all scrounged around for souveniers. There were guys (recently from the lines selling Japanese stuff and money was not what was wanted but cigarettes). My memory is so good I can still remember the smells but the smells of Vietnam are the worst.
So I end up in the hospital getting a Pace Maker so I can go about business at a slower pace and nothing exciting. Life is still exciting but at a lower scale, Cop shows and violent stuff on TV is not to happen, so last night on TV I'm watching an old movie called "Soldiers Three" a Rudyard Kipling story put on screen in the 1930's. I always loved these movies when I was a kid and last night they had the story of Mogli doing his bit in the jungle. Remembering these movies when I was a Kid made it a pleasant experience after getting out of the hospital. Hell I'm not complaining but enjoying whatever time is left, at 88 years it shant be much but it'll be good.
GySgt. F. L. Rousseau
That picture of the remaining head at MCRD SD sure tickled some 50 year old memories... (Lima Co, 3rd RT BN... '62-'64). Lima was quartered in Quonsets at the southeast corner of the sea of huts, next to what was known as 'The Little Grinder", a fairly sizable area paved in asphalt, bordered on one side by the chain link airport fence. The heads and the showers (separate buildings, but externally the same size/style) were in parallel rows, and divided Lima's area from India's. A main street (foot traffic only) ran along the rows on each side. Platoons would return from drill or class on those streets, with the platoon street and huts being at right angles from there...
"Toon... Halt! Whoa, girls! Hippty-hop, stop!... IIIIIIIIN Place, double time, march!"... after sufficient time to get their attention, it would be "'Toon, Halt!... you people got three minutes to make a head call and get back on the platoon street" (obviously, the time allotted was not sufficient for 75 post-puberty postulates to attend to all natural functions with 20 commodes, 4 trough urinals, and eight (single) sinks (might have only been four sinks... they were adjacent to the doors at each end... and I don't recall the presence of soap dispensers at any of them...) but the need for speed was obvious... and boosted by the (forlorn) hope that maybe, just maybe, the Drill Instructor would light the smoking lamp (note I said 'forlorn hope").
The platoon would disappear through the double doors at either end in a flurry of elbows... and the DI would saunter on down the street, and, once out of sight, would double back and stand outside, between the head and India's row of heads... and listen.
Once the platoon was back in the platoon street, the DI would appear from the general direction of the Drill Instructor's Lounge (a Quonset hut, home to a coffee pot and a pool table, and not much else), mount the platform, and advise, by name, those who were planning some evil, such as sneaking a smoke after taps, that their evening plans were ill-advised. I was once told, years later, by one of 'mine', that they had actually climbed up into the overhead, searching for hidden microphones...
1967... Seabees from NMCB-4's detachment at Khe Sanh constructed bunkers, artillery positions, and ammunition pits for Marines defending Hill 881.
"Sir, I think we have a serious morale problem."
"Why is that Marine?"
"Nobody is complaining about anything Sir."
Pete Dahlstrom '68-'74
"Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread."
--Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography 
"Definition of A veteran - Someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America' for an amount of 'up to and including their life.'"
"Retreat hell! We just got here!"
--Capt. Lloyd Williams, USMC
"The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of MARINES. LORD, how they could fight!"
--Maj. Gen. Frank Lowe, U.S. Army
"No guts no glory, ooh rah!"
"Liberty is sounded for NCOs and PFCs with hashmarks! Good night!"
"Rough seas, headwinds and a bunk in the bilge."