Sgt Grit Newsletter - 19 FEB 2015

In this issue:
• L/Cpl James Fuller
• USNS Lewis B. Puller Christened
• Patron Saint Of Artillery

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Interview of MOH recipient Hershel Woody Williams

Sgt Grit,

Hope that you enjoy, just a little insight into "Woody". The awesome story of Hershel Woody Williams, the last living recipient of the Medal Of Honor from the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War 2. A Medal Of Honor recipient, a family man, and an all-around awesome person!

Watch the interview of the Super Awesome: Hershel Woody Williams.

Semper Fi,
R.L. "Rick" Given
Board of Trustee's
Hershel "Woody" Williams Medal of Honor Foundation


Silence

Cpl Gregory in the seat of A6A

The attached picture was taken at MCAS Iwakuni in 1970. That's me in the B/N seat of a VMA(aw)533 A6A. After I posted this picture to my Facebook page, my daughter posted "My Dad's cooler than your dad!" One of her friends replied, "My Dad was a pilot (Vietnam)." My daughter's response, "My Dad is a Marine." Her friends response, silence!

Cpl. Gregory Hockenberry
1967 - 1971
VMA(aw)533 '69-'70


L/Cpl James Fuller

L/Cpl Fuller, Cpl Gugliotta, Sgt Whitton, and SSgt Huntsinger

It is with a heavy heart that I must advise all of the passing of L/Cpl James Fuller. He was a proud member of the 11th Marine Regiment serving in the Republic of Vietnam in 1969 and 1970. He has left behind two grieving families, The Fuller family and our Marine Corps Family.

I would like to address the Marine Corps Family and our brothers, Our Corpsmen.

To those Marines of the past, know that their legacy was always remembered by L/Cpl Fuller. Names like Santo Domingo, Belleau Wood, Verdun, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Bougainville, Saipan, Peleliu, Chosin Reservoir, and so many more were studied and honored by L/Cpl Fuller. He would always stop and say hello to older Marines that preceded him in the Corps. Their legacy was secure.

To the Marines of the Vietnam era, L/Cpl Fuller would always stop and chat. Welcome home was said daily to a vet and always with sincerity and a smile. Although he did not hear it often enough, he would always add "great job". Places like Hue and Khe Sanh were always spoken of with reverence. Operations named Oklahoma Hills, Taylor Common, Arizona were always remembered with a prayer. His service in that conflict was a source of pride that lasted to the last breath. Three of his fellow 11th Marines were honored to see L/Cpl Fuller shortly before his passing. Cpl Gugliotta, Sgt Whitton, and S/Sgt Huntsinger reminisced about at the end of every conversation he would always say: "I love you Buddy". At the time of his passing, His watch partner at 11th Marines, and also his best friend, Cpl John Gugliotta was at his side.

To the Marines serving in this era under the names Operation Desert Shield, Somalia, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Provide Comfort, Operation Enduring Freedom, and so many others that tested the resolve of our Corps; know that each and every day you were prayed for and supported without hesitation or reservation by L/Cpl Fuller.

Finally, to those young men and women who have not earned the title United States Marine, know that the words Semper Fidelis are not a motto or a catch phrase. Those words are a lifestyle. The words Honor, Courage, and Commitment are not goals. Those words are what defines a Marine. If you want to have the privilege of wearing the uniform and earning the title, look at the life of L/Cpl Fuller. He is your guide. He is a Marine.

(Pictured from L-R: Cpl Gugliotta, SSgt Huntsinger, Sgt Whitton (Sgt Grit), and L/Cpl Fuller)

Semper Fi!
S/Sgt Huntsinger


Images Of DaNang Part 1

Navy bar in DaNang

Highlight of the week

Provided by Marine Corps Veteran Doug Hancock.


Made Me Smile

Song sung to the tune of MTA

I was part of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Princeton when HMM 163 came aboard in the early 1960's. As I recall, they were in WestPac with us and they never left. We got to return and HMM 163 stayed on. As part of ship's company, we were responsible for the maintenance of certain areas of the ship... our Division (OS) had the responsibility of maintaining a couple of troop compartments... one of them was the compartment that housed HMM 163... while cleaning up, I picked up the attached... not sure who wrote it, but, it made me laugh and I must have put it in my pocket... I was cleaning out my seabag (getting ready to toss all of my "junk"), when I ran across this and it still made me smile! Remember the song, "MTA"? Poor ole Charlie!

Howard Hada
#19898xxx


Not As Lean Long Sleeve Pocket Tee


P.O.W. Network

P.O.W. Network Juanabee display

Our friends at the P.O.W. Network have assisted us for years on determining the actual validity of decorated Marine Corps veterans from the posers seeking to benefit from Stolen Valor. Recently, we received a picture from the network Chairman, Mary Schantag, showing a display of what a poser may look like. Semper Fi ladies and gents.

Find out more about the P.O.W. Network at:

P.O.W. Network

Think that you know a poser? Visit the Fake Warriors website at:

Fake Warriors


Old Corps Shooting Badge

In the 12 Feb 15 edition, Sgt George Cale provided a picture of an Old Corps (shooting) badge. This was commonly called the Basic (Weapons Qualification) Badge and was adopted about 1937 and used until approx. 1959-60 (sources vary).

The badge had suspended bars - worn 'ladder style' - for a variety of weapons, such as TSMG (Thompson Submachine Gun), BAR (Browning Auto Rifle), hand grenades, bayonet, pistol, several artillery pieces, and such. There were bars marked for Ex, SS and MM. For Reserves, some weapons had a 'B' suffix for the B Course of Fire used by Reserves.

Many WWII photos show veterans wearing these Basic Badges to the left of their primary shooting badge on the green or blue blouse.

Prior to 1937 the Marines used a US Army style shooting badge, much like those worn today by Doggies.

C. Stoney Brook
Old 782 Gear
1961-65


USNS Lewis B. Puller Christened

USNS Lewis B. Puller

Chesty's daughter Martha Puller Downs christening father's ship

General Dynamics NASSCO, on Saturday christened the U.S. Navy's newest ship, the USNS Lewis B. Puller (MLP-3 AFSB). The ship is named in honor of the late U.S. Marine Corps Lieutenant General Lewis "Chesty" Puller, the most decorated Marine and the only one to be awarded five Navy Crosses.

The Saturday morning christening ceremony took place at NASSCO's San Diego shipyard with the commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., as the ceremony's principal speaker. Ms. Martha Puller Downs, daughter of General Puller, served as the ship's sponsor. She christened the ship by breaking the traditional bottle of champagne against the vessel's hull.

"Today was a proud moment for the thousands of men and women involved with the design and construction of the USNS Lewis B. Puller," said Kevin M. Graney, vice president and general manager of the General Dynamics NASSCO shipyard. "Like its namesake, Lieutenant General Lewis B. Puller, the ship signifies strength and increased mobility and capability to support a variety of missions carried out by the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy."

This third Mobile Landing Platform (MLP) is the first ship of the class to be configured as an Afloat Forward Staging Base (AFSB), adding a flight deck, berthing, fuel storage, equipment storage, repair spaces, and accommodations for up to 250 personnel. The ship is capable of supporting missions including counter-piracy operations, maritime security operations, humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions and Marine Corps crisis response.

USNS Lewis B. Puller will be delivered to the Navy in the second quarter of 2015.


I Volunteered

To all Marines who wonder if they are Nam vets (or era). I volunteered for the Marine Corps in 1969 when there was a draft. I had around six months of training all in Calif. Got orders for Camp Lejeune, N.C. I advised them that I joined to go to Nam and I got my wish. Bravo 1/11 1st Mar. Div. I was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon plus others. Plt. 3118 San Diego. So some of you say "I was not ordered to Nam," I say "I Volunteered!"

L/CPL Corrales, C.E.
El Paso, Texas​


Seeing Of The Light

Sgt. Grit,

I was in from 1963 to 1967 - and the Drill Instructors sometimes manhandled you back then - they had a short time during training to whip you into shape as a unit - and sometimes had to do what was needed to instill the - "Seeing of the Light" for inspiration?

One guy was a wimp - (or not as squared away as others) a slow learner and scared of the Drill Instructor - and literally was SCARED SH-TLESS - when singled out. One day we were doing an exercise called the "Rocker" and the D I was annoyed at some of our responses to getting it the right way. The D I went to this guy and used his foot to correct the recruit - but something went wrong and the recruit hit his chin wrong and started bleeding heavily - he was taken to the hospital and questioned by the series commander - guy was told to tell the truth and nothing would happen to him - as he would be placed in another platoon and lose no time in training either. Recruit said he was a clutz and it was his own fault for not properly listening to D I? Series Commander was p-ssed - and sent him back to platoon. Guy was a hero after that - and the other guys helped him overcome any difficulties in the future. We were a team of recruits and hoped to be Marines eventually. It molded the group.

We all got love taps for one reason or another. I spoke to our New Corps - and they say the D I cannot use their hands to emphasize a point any more. Hey, I think we were better off then then now - we were in Vietnam then and mistakes would cost lives back then.

Amazed at the gear we carry into combat today - and how much gear is needed in the field today. Heavier rifles - that can shot bullets or mini grenades - more than one weapon for each Marine - ammo - etc. I was not a big dude - but we all carried our own weight back then - and we went to the gym - and had weights in the squad bay - but a new respect for the new Marines - was working at a facility and was asked when I was in by a big guy - huge shoulders - tats - and a very friendly Marine - (served in Afghanistan ).

ONE DAY - even had 4 Marines in Dress Blues ask me for directions during lunch in New York City - there was (1) Gunny - (2) S/SGT's and a M/SGT - (they looked so young with all that rank) but us old salts can say - we've been there and done that too!

What are our Brothers comments on this!

Bruce Bender
1963-1967 CPL.


Spreading The Love

Even Cupid's little helper shops at Sgt Grit!

Cupid's little helper


Patron Saint Of Artillery

'Harassing and Interdiction", or "H&I" fires (by artillery) as they were known before somebody decided 'Terrain Denial Mission' was nicer, were pretty common in Viet Nam... on both sides, come to think of it, although Charlie (the VC), and the NVA didn't, to my limited knowledge, use ammo to deny us the use of an area for staging... or farming, as we did to them. H&I might be observed fire... or just pre-planned into an area where the bad guys might be known or suspected to use, any time of the night or day. Most of the 'incoming' mortars and/or rockets I happened to be in the area of in two years was indeed harassing... could mess up your whole day, but not even at Khe Sanh (I was never there...) did it totally interdict (stop) the accomplishment of the mission.

There are lots of adages (don't say "old adage"... that's redundant... to be an adage, it has to be old, and don't make me repeat myself again) about incoming rounds, some probably dating back to the time when Saint Barbara (Patron Saint of Artillery) had yet to come up with the recipe for that swill known as 'Artillery Punch'... it will be a minority of readers who have never heard "you never hear the one that gets you"... or, "I'm not worried about the one with my name on it, but there sure seems to be a lot of them addressed 'to whom it may concern'"... and others.

Depending on your unit, and its locale during the time you were there, what you got shot at with was kinda like Grandpa's underwear... 'all depends'... but the most common denominator would have been mortars... either a 60 or 82MM type. In the northern parts, the NVA had some big-azz towed pieces with a pretty good range on them. 152MM, Russian design, might have been either Russian or Chinese built. Some of these, (two, I think) were captured by the Ninth Marines during Dewey Canyon, and brought back to the land of the big PX. Just to make sure that credit went where credit was due, it was directed that the pertinent info would be welded onto the trails... and so it was done.

Any decent stick welder can write with his arc, leaving a bead of steel standing an eighth of an inch or so proud of the base metal... and even if that is ground off (by a jealous sister service type... won't name names, but it begins with an 'A')... the heat-affected zone in the base metal can still be discerned. Dong Ha complex, home to Force Logistics Support Group Bravo... 'Floosie B', at one time was within range of NVA artillery... and there was a story about an Engineer (or maybe a communicator, wireman), who was headed for office hours, because instead of running to a bunker when incoming was coming in, used his pole-climbing equipment, and climbed to the top of a utility pole... his reasoning being that in that fashion, he would present the smallest possible target... made sense to me...

Charlie's version of H&I by 1970 consisted of two versions of a Russian/ChiCom rocket... a 120MM and a 140MM. These were hardly pin-point accuracy missiles, but an excellent choice for 'harassment'. The launchers were two boards, arranged in a "V", and those were propped against a paddy dike, adjusted for launch angle by adding or removing dirt, and fired by a time delay device. The CPE, or Circular Probable Error for these things was 'one grid square'... meaning that on a good day, the thing would come down somewhere within an area 1,000 meters on a side. The time delay device might be a can or bucket filled with water, having an electrical wire attached to the bottom, with another attached to a nail driven through a board floating on the water... punch a hole in the can, and after the water has slowly trickled out, the board and nail would have sunk enough to make contact and complete the circuit, firing the rocket(s). By this time, Ol' Charlie, having used the cool of the morning to hump these things out to the paddy and set them up, has long since repaired to his hooch, and is trying to convince his spouse that it is a good time for some 'afternoon delight'... and a long way from any 'counter-battery fire' coming in...

The 175MM gun battery at An Hoa during my vacation there, got to shoot a lot of H&I... they could reach a loooooong way out there, and did... almost always with 72 round missions... I finally asked the Battery XO, why it always seemed to be 72 rounds? His reply was 'it's simple... six rounds per pallet, two pallets per gun (there were six in position)... 72... makes the book keeping easier... Since they were almost always shooting over the cantonment, out to the south and south west, a lot of those rounds went over my hooch... 'Whap' (the round going overhead) followed by 'boom'... the muzzle report... absolutely harrassment!... I couldn't keep a 100watt light bulb more than a day or two... either the whap or the boom would take'm out, every time.

BTW... incoming?... you might think that among the 'safest' MOS's, would be 'rations clerk'... wrong, REMF breath... had three medevacs from a mortar round, and the LSU-1 Gunny was WIANE from a piece of that...

​ Ddick


We Don't Like To Sugarcoat Things

The Marine Corps doesn't like to make promises that would keep people from enlisting. They would rather wait until you arrive at MCRD San Diego or Parris Island.

Marine Corps recruiting poster


No Disrespect Intended

No disrespect intended to Navy Seal Sniper Chris Kyle... but where's the movie about Marine Sniper Carlos Hathcock?

Navy Seal Sniper Chris Kyle and Marine Sniper Carlos Hathcock


Chicken Fat

I was there! I was in Kilo Company! Weapons Platoon... 0331... Because I had a set of Dress Blues (Sea Duty), I escorted Vicki Carr down the "red carpet" as she sang, "You're a Grand Old Flag"... as memory serves me, we filmed this on the roof of CBS Studios...

This was a special program for physical fitness (Remember doing pushups and side straddle hops in the parking lot of CBS Studios?). Our President, John F. Kennedy was pushing physical fitness for the youth of America at the time... The program was a Meredith Wison production called, "Chicken Fat"...

This song should trigger some memories for you... I know it certainly did for me!

Listen the song "Chicken Fat".

Howard Hada
1989xxx


Vietnam Era

I've been reading all of the discussion about whether or not a Marine, or any one for that matter, that served in the Service during the Vietnam War, but didn't go to Vietnam is to be considered a Vietnam War Veteran. Here is my take on the issue.

I joined our beloved Corps in June of 1968 and went to MCRDSD right out of high school. Upon completion of boot and ITR at Camp Pendleton I received orders to report to MCDEC Quantico, VA. There I was to become an armorer, or 2111. After school, I was given orders for MCB 29 Palms, California. I served there for about a year and then went to Marine Barracks, Rodman Canal Zone in Panama and served there for 13 months before returning to MCB Quantico. My final duty station was at MCAS El Toro, California. Where I served until April 1st 1975. While at MCAS El Toro, I became the NCOIC of the pistol range and really enjoyed serving there. That MOS was 8531 according to my SRB which I earned by way of OJT.

As you can see by the above I never made it to Vietnam during my tour of duty. I would have gone had I ever gotten the orders to go. I guess that the Marine Corps felt I was needed here in the states and in Panama instead. I am proud of my service and would gladly do it again if given the opportunity.

Since becoming a NOLOAD (no longer on active duty) Marine I have been able to join the American Legion and The Vietnam Veterans of America here in Texas. I am not eligible to join the VFW however since I did not serve overseas in a combat area. I first went to a VVA meeting at the request of an Army Vietnam Veteran who had informed me that anyone who served and was discharged honorably from the service could join no matter where they served in the world. I found this fact rather interesting and went to a couple of meetings before joining and eventually became a life member. The men of the chapter welcomed me as their brother. They all know that I and several other members are not actual combat veterans and that's cool with them. Women veterans may also join the VVA as full fledged members as long as they too were discharged honorably. Just check your area for a local VVA chapter for details.

However, the guys also know that I will not wear any cap or badge that states that I am a Vietnam War Veteran. What I am referring to here is the caps that show the ribbons that 'Nam Vets got for being in country. I do however wear a cap that says I am a Vietnam Era Veteran.

Just my two cents worth here.

Semper Fi,
Carl Conkling
Sgt of Marines
1968 - 1975​


Heavy Shooting

One of the tough, unpublicized jobs of the Pacific campaign has been that of picked teams of Marines and Seabees assigned to mop-up work on the tiny coral islands which surround larger, already captured atolls.

The assignment calls for many miniature invasions. Like their larger counterpart, each follows a familiar pattern. The islands are shelled in advance; H-Hour sees the initial wave swarming over the beaches, and each Jap fights to the death.

"You've heard what it's like to go through an invasion," says James R. Williams, CM2c, who Participated in one of these missions, "Well, multiply one of them by ten, and youll have an idea of how we felt after the last Jap outpost was cleaned out."

"And do our Marines go in for heavy shooting," the Seabee said sorrowfully, "I know... I carried the ammunition!"

John Ratomski


Lost And Found

Platoon 1114/ 1966

I'm front row, six in from the left. Anybody out there remember? If so drop me a line and let me know how you are doing.

Larry Curry
lcjp2340[at]aol.com

USMC Platoon 1114 in 1966


Short Rounds

Sgt. Grit,

Do you or any of our brother Marines know when the rank L/Cpl came to be? In 1958 I was an E3 Cpl. I left active duty April 1959 and when I received my DD214 my rank was listed as E3 L/Cpl. A rank that I never held and no one ever wore at that time. When I received my Honorable Discharge my rank was listed as E3 Cpl. I have since all these years have past, heard that in the transition period to L/Cpl that E3 Cpl's, E4Sgt's and up would hold their rank until promoted to E4 Cpl or E5 Sgt and so on. I would like to know if there is any information on this out there.

Semper Fi,
Cpl E Heyl 1612xxx


Sgt. Grit,

I got a nice surprise today, My (2) Jackets I ordered over the weekend came to my back door. Sure was delighted to get them [since they were my valentines day gift]... wife said order them, so like a good Marine I obeyed. I know I will be getting some great compliments on them, I'll let you all know what the Army says.

Thanks,
Sgt. Larry Walker
Nam '67-'70​


In boot in the '60s, I qualified as Marksman with M1 and B.A.R. Was awarded Rifle Marksman badge and B.A.R. 'bar' above it. Later, I qual'ed 'Expert' with the .45 and rec'd the pistol badge. Have looked and looked but cannot find B.A.R. 'bar' today. Looks like they had qual'd for bayonet and grenade as well at some point.


No changes, just keep it comin' every Thursday morning, so I can have my fix of USMC in my life. Gung Ho!

​Paul Cole


Quotes

"You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth - and the amusing thing about it is that they are."
--Father Kevin Keaney, 1st Marine Division Chaplain, Korean War


"There was always talk of espirit de corps, of being gung ho, and that must have been a part of it. Better, tougher training, more marksmanship on the firing range, the instant obedience to orders seared into men in boot camp."
--James Brady, columnist, novelist, Press Secretary to President Reagan, television personality and Marine


"A Marine will dive into the Jaws of Death and bring back the Jaw Bone."
--(WWII era Commedian whose Brother was a Marine)


"He shows the Resolute countenence of a Marine who just went through Hell and has lit his cigarette on the tines of the Devils pitchfork."
--(A Marine Serving in Iraq or Afganistan)


"Head and eyes straight to the front, heels together, feet at a 45 degree angle and thumbs along the seams of your trousers. Suck in that gut."

"What's your ninth general order, maggot?"

"A Marine recruit is a green amphibious animal that thrives on Horse Sh-t!"

Fair winds and following seas.
Sgt Grit

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