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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 23 APR 2015

In this issue:
• Lock And Load
• Guard Duty
• A Private-Proof Tool

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I saw an AK-47 while in Vietnam and it had a 30 round magazine. So I cut the top and bottom off of a couple of M-14 Magazines and welded them together and made a "40" Round magazine for my M-14. It really didn't work very well when test firing it, several of the last rounds would not chamber with only two springs. So I put "three" springs into the magazine, but then I could only load a little over 30 rounds. There just wasn't enough room for three springs and 40 Full Metal Jacket rounds in that magazine. I sure received some strange looks while walking around with my 40 round magazine.

Semper Fi,

Lock And Load

Range Officer:

"With a clip and two rounds, lock and load."
"Ready on the Left."
"Ready on the right."
"All ready on the firing line."
"Watch your targets."

Hit the deck, prone position, squeeze off two rounds, bam, bam. Empty clip ejects, pull full eight round clip from cartridge belt, tap on helmet to seat short rounds, insert in breech, lock and load, squeeze off eight more, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam ,bam, bam, bam, 10 rounds on target in less than a minute.

"The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle."

Norm Spilleth
Cpl. 1960-1964​

Jerk The Tail

When I was stationed at 8th & I with the U.S. Marine Band, "The President's Own", one of it's members, a MGySgt was retiring. He had been in the island campaigns of WWII before eventually becoming a Marine Bandsman. I was a SSgt (crossed rifles) at the time and the Band's PIO and we had struck up a friendship. He came to me and showed me an M1 Rifle in beautiful condition. He then showed me the original issue slip that used to be given to the Marine when the rifle was assigned to him and he signed the other half which was retained by the armory. Well, it looked old so I looked closer at it, and d-mn if it hadn't been issued in the early part of WWII! I was blown away! He smiled and asked me how bad I thought it was going to gum up the works when he turned it in?

He went over to the Barracks Armory and presented the M1 Rifle and the issue slip and asked for them to sign off he had turned it in properly and clear him off the books as possessor of that rifle. The young armor, a new Cpl quickly called his Sgt. The Sgt asked the MGySgt if he was pulling a joke and he assured them he wasn't and they needed to clear him properly of possession of that rifle. The Sgt quickly went up to his Boss the Co Gunny who looked at the slip and sent him over to a MGySgt in supply at the Barracks. He looked at it and said he hadn't seen one of those slips since WWII and didn't have a clue about how to handle it. He called his counterpart over at HQMC. HQMC "suggested" that perhaps the MGySgt with the rifle might just like to keep it as a souvenir and not create a major problem for the supply network. Back down the line this same and of course the retiring MGySgt looked at them and said, "NO!" "I'm turning in my rifle per regulations and you'll have to properly relieve me of it!" Boy did that ever create a cluster F-ck at HQMC! The next day at lunch in the SNCO Mess the Bks SgtMaj sat down at my table. After some pleasantries he asked me if I thought the Band MGySgt with the M1 could be talked out of turning it in? I told the SgtMaj that I didn't think there was a remote possibility of that happening. He said, "Oh well, I tried!" and that was that! It took HQMC over a week to work out how to handle it and properly sign for the return of the weapon. They couldn't even find a record of the Corps ever having had possessed that rifle! So, records were created, and the MGySgt got his properly signed receipt, clearing him of possession of the weapon! I believe the Marine Corps Museum eventually got the weapon for it's use.

The MGySgt Bandsman would drop by my office daily telling me the latest problems that had arisen. He said after over 30 years in the Corps it was finally his turn to jerk the tail of the Corps instead of them jerking his!

Semper Fi,
DB Wright

Huge Sigh Of Relief

Sgt. Grit,

In the newsletter of April 16, you asked for some stories from veterans of WWII. My wife warns me to watch out as I can ruin a whole afternoon by not knowing when to stop my stories.

In the last few months of 1942 I was assigned duty at the residence of Vice Admiral Andrews, Commandant of the Eastern Frontier. He had two automobiles at his disposal. One was a large Packard driven by a chief water tender who had driven the Admiral for over fifteen years. The other was a custom built Dodge which was given to the Navy by Major Bowes the host of the very popular radio program Major Bowes' Amateur Hour.

A new driver was selected to drive the Dodge. One evening the Admiral and his wife wanted to see a program at a theater on Times Square. The driver was to see that a hood was placed over stars on the front of car as they wanted to be as inconspicuous as possible. As luck would have it just as they were pulling up to the front of the theater the foot of the new driver slipped and landed on the button which set off a loud howl from the siren. Poor fellow spent eight hours each day for the next three weeks polishing that Dodge.

About four months out of boot camp I found myself as orderly to Vice Admiral Andrews, Commandant of the Eastern Frontier. My station was on the bottom level of his quarters. I had never been upstairs so I had no idea what things were like up there. About midnight my phone rang. The operator said for me to tell the Admiral that his 'command phone' was off the hook. I took my flashlight and started for the top floor. Not knowing where anybody was located, I knocked on the first door I found. Luckily Mrs. Andrews answered and thanked me for delivering my message. This buck private breathed a huge sigh of relief and hurried back down to his post. Wonder if I was half as scared when I hit island beaches later.

One evening in the Fall of 1942, Admiral Andrews called me, as his orderly, up to the main floor of quarters and told me to call for the President's car and to stay with him until he had driven away. I phoned the garage for the car and then went up to the porch overlooking the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I had no idea who to expect as my chow relief had been on duty earlier. I waited on the porch for several minutes until Herbert Hoover came out to chat until the car arrived. Quite a surprise for me.

StfSgt Bob Gaston

All Time Classic

Sgt. Grit,

Each week I look forward to the newsletter and crack up laughing at a number of the stories, many of which take me back to my time in the Corps. All of us have names that we were called in boot camp by our DI's and I have a few that are personal favorites, but the most favorite name was one that I (we) were called after boot camp. I never heard this name before or since, but it was used regularly by one Gunny Silas (sp) when I reported to Lima 3/8 out of ITS in December of 1981. The good Gunny was a Viet Nam vet I believe and a former recon Marine and at some point a DI I think, but not completely sure of that. I do know that he was a little squared away spitfire, dynamo that took sh-t from no one. He was "in your face" just to let you know that he was watching you. My very first company formation with Lima was on a cold December, North Carolina morning and he called out those of us who had just reported to the unit and referred to us as "broke d-cks" who had better not ease up just because we were out of boot camp and f-ck up his company. If not still too scared to do so, I would have busted out laughing when I heard the term "broke d-cks", but I had already been forewarned that the Gunny did not mess around. This was a bit of a shock to me because ITS was a breeze compared to Parris Island and without all the DI's games and drama, so when I heard Gunny Silas tee off like that I started to think that I was back at Parris Island again.

He was of Japanese descent I believe and was only about 5'5" tall, but what I recall most about him from that first meeting was that his cammies were pressed so well and the pockets on the blouse were so flat that the blouse looked like it would have stood up on its own. His boots had that ripple sole on them and I remember thinking how neat they looked. I immediately took a pair of mine to one of those silver warehouse like buildings on Camp Geiger that shipped the boots off to a cobbler to have them resoled. If I recall correctly, we only did a few field ops with the Gunny before he moved back to Recon, but his force marches were azs kickers. Gunny Backus took over from Gunny Silas just before we headed out on a Med and eventually to Beirut. But after Gunny Silas left, I never heard the term broke d-ck again and that's a shame because I regard that as an all time "classic".

Semper Fi,
Mike Kunkel
Cpl 0331
Lima 3/8, Weapons Plt


One of my custom coin customers visited Louis Zamperini before his passing. This is a picture of them all together. Louis Silvie "Louie" Zamperini was an American prisoner of war survivor in World War II, a Christian inspirational speaker, and an Olympic distance runner. Zamperini is the subject of two biographies and the 2014 film "Unbroken".

Becca Casey
Sgt Grit Custom Orders Specialist

Rifle Serial Numbers

Sgt. Grit,

Re: Still Remember My Rifle Number by George Engel.

I still remember my 'best friend' in North Korea, M1 rifle number 698627.

Sgt. Max Sarazin 1194xxx

The Marine from 12/54 who still remembers his rifle number. I thought I remembered mine but a few years ago, I checked my discharge papers to make sure and found my rifle #2561020 was indeed as I remembered. San Diego 6/54.

Semper Fi,
Ron S.​

United States Rifle, caliber .30, M-1, 2229569.

5 December 1959
MCRD San Diego
David W. Long​

Regarding rifle serial numbers, I too remember my rifle serial number. Imprinted on my brain for ever, by a couple of really disciplined Drill Instructors. My rifle was a Winchester, serial number 1036301, same forward and backward. Issued to me in San Diego November 1954.

D. L. Meenach 1511XXX​

Guard Duty

It was late 1971 and I was newly assigned to the 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Mar Div, at Camp Pendleton, California as a Field Radio Operator. Being a private and new to the battalion, it didn't take long until I was assigned guard duty. Camp Pendleton is right on the coast and during the winter there's always a cold breeze at night. Quickly I found out walking guard wearing a set of thermal underwear under my utilities and field jacket was barely enough to ward off the cold. It seemed I was always assigned night shift and guarded the tank ramp.

Our tanks were parked side by side down a long concrete slab, across the end, and back up the other side facing each other. Around the perimeter of the parked tanks were a few tall lamp posts which cast a feeble light on everything. At the near end was a ramp that led up a small incline to a work area. One tank was parked on this ramp.

About 0-Dark-Thirty I began to occasionally hear a metallic creaking sound but couldn't determine just where it was coming from. It wasn't constant, just now and then.

When my round brought me to the base of the ramp I heard it again, and looking up, noticed the tank was slowly inching down the ramp on its own. Not good. So I called the Sgt of the Guard and informed him of the situation. He came out and verified it and went back to the guard shack. It wasn't long before a group of tankers were rousted out of their sacks and sent out to deal with it. I was glad to see them.

Things quieted down and got boring again, but not for long. As I paused and looked down the ramp, a large owl slowly flew by about 20 feet off the ground hunting in the dim light. He got to the end of the ramp, turned around and flew back again, all without making any sound at all. Then he flew away. I was totally amazed by his silent flight.

The rest of the shift passed quickly without more excitement, but I never forgot that night of guard duty.

Rodger Childs
Formerly, Corporal of Marines

Semper Fi Marine

Today I stopped at Woodman's Grocery Store, here in Rockford, IL, to restock the pantry shelves. I had just finished checking out and was heading towards the door when I noticed a gentleman wearing a Marine Corps jacket. With my ice cream melting, I waited for him to finish his own check out and gave him my standard "Semper Fi Marine". I asked when he was in and if he got his jacket at Sgt Grits and he gave me dates in the late '90s/early 2000s (my memory sucks), then said he did get the jacket at Sgt Grits. This is the jacket he had on. It's pretty spectacular in person.

Fifty years ago, on or about April 18th, Bravo Battery 3rd LAAM Bn, MCAS Cherry Point NC loaded our entire Battery including all gear and personnel on C-130s bound for Vieques Island Puerto Rico for a two week firing exercise. My first time in the Caribbean and I loved it. We were fortunate enough to get overnight liberty in San Juan the next weekend and enjoyed that immensely. Had my first glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and it ruined me for life for anything less. We no sooner returned from liberty on Sunday afternoon than the word was passed that a crisis had broken out on The Dominican Republic. Of course the rumors flew fast and furious among enlisted personnel that since we were so close we would be going to the D.R. to help manage the situation. NOT In retrospect it didn't make any sense because they needed grunts not a bunch of HAWK Marines stumbling around trying to figure out what they should be doing. A bunch of disappointed Marines returned to Cherry Point that next weekend on C-130s leaving our equipment for Charlie Battery to use for their two week FireEx. Good times.

In the 4-15 newsletter, 1st Sgt Brewer said: "There are about a dozen huts left just north of the parade deck, behind the reviewing stand and across the street from recruit receiving center." Actually 1st Sgt, we had a 48 year Platoon 145 reunion at MCRD San Diego in September of 2010 and there are 15 quonset huts remaining. In neglected condition (inside) they are used for storage and are directly across the street south of receiving. The reviewing stand is quite a bit west (a little nw) of there in the middle of the south side of the Grinder across from the big flag pole. Pictures on request.

Forged on the anvil of discipline.
The Few. The Proud.
Jerry D.

Get this squared away jacket at:

USMC Black/Digital Desert Twill Jacket

Add My Own

I've been reading all the story's from my Marine Brethren and wanted to add my own.

I'm an Okie from Antlers, OK. I went to the Hotel Black several times to join the service on the "buddy plan". When we all came to OKC to depart in June, they wouldn't take me as I had been in a motorcycle accident. On July 27, 1972, I was finally accepted and traveled to San Diego. We were in the Quonset huts just a short time before we went to the barracks. Company "A", 1st. RTBN, Plt. 1094. Did not meet Drill Instructor Brewer, as we had Sgt. Tingley, Sgt. H. F. Haskins, and Sgt. Navarette.

We were again in Quonset huts in Pendleton, with the "heads" at the end of the aisles.

I was sent to Aberdeen Proving Grounds in November 1972 for Infantry Weapons Training and graduated 2111 (Gunny Rousseau) and sent to Cherry Point, NC. Sent to the armory at 3rd, LAAM Bn. and immediately sent to the Cherry Point rifle range as a armorer and instructor. I spent my weekends as a cross-country prisoner "chaser." I spent 2 years at the range and with a Meritorious Mast and a Meritorious Promotion, went back to 3rd LAAM as a corporal.

I requested orders and was sent to Marine Barracks, USN SubBase, New London, CT. There I completed my obligation, transferred to the active reserves that took me to New Haven (Truck Company), Hartford (Grunts), Alameda, CA (Air Wing) and finally to OKC with the 9" self-propelled artillery.

Dwight Morgan
S/Sgt. USMC​

A Private-Proof Tool

For Herb Brewer... those 16 lb sledgehammers that Correctional Custody used?... they started out, in 1964, being quite ordinary 8 lb sledges. (CC and Motivation both 'stood up' as new units within STB (Special Training Branch) in Feb '64... I was a plankholder in Motivation, across the street from Correctional Custody, which was behind the base theatre and the old swimming pool... there is a 30" diameter pine tree growing now about where our hatch was... the pool, etc. are gone)... We were feeling our way with the programs at the time... from CC, I recall a Gy Humphrys (sp?), (last seen as a retired WO managing a Hardee's in J'ville... circa 1976 or so), Sgt Larry Grubbs, a Sgt Hill (dude had like 20" guns)... the Pvts lived in their skivvies whenever inside the barracks, stripped and folded their bunks at reveille, got a 'ration" at morning chow... one egg, one piece of bacon, one slice of toast, milk, then fell out at 0700 with helmet liners, clip-on safety toes on their boots, safety goggles, and at port sledgehammer for their run out to the back gate to bust concrete... it didn't take the maggots long to figure out that with a judicious 'over-strike', they could bust the wooden handle on the sledge next to the head, making it useless until they returned to the area at noon chow... CC was going through a lot of sledgehammer handles, so Facilities Maintenance figured out that instead of hickory handles, they would just weld a piece of pipe into the head for the handle... which added some weight. It didn't take long for the maggots to figure out that the same over-strike would bend the pipe handle... so Fac Maint, then welded 4" triangles of 1/2" steel plate on both sides of the handle and to the head, producing a Pvt-proof tool. Standard sentence to CC was 3 days... nobody came back for seconds... ever.

Those sledges are probably still around the Depot somewhere... it would take a 10KT nuke to destroy them... Once had a Pettibone field rep come to the Equipment Allowance Pool at the Stumps to put some new rough terrain forklifts into service... I told him that if he had a Marine PFC-Proof piece of equipment there, he really had something. His reply was that Marine PFC's were 'easy'... that the toughest on equipment was the SeaBees... said if you gave them a new anvil, and they couldn't bust it, they'd stand around and pizz on it until it rusted away...​


Lost And Found

It's been a long time, but I had quite a few good times with guys I went to C&E school with: Stan Wheeler, Pete Stratos, (Brian?) Johnson, all 2841s at the time. Would like to get in touch with them if they are so inclined.

Thanks and Semper Fi!

Art Grant

Dear Sgt Grit,

I graduated at Parris Island with Platoon 227, Second Battalion in 1958. My Drill Instructors were Gunny Sgt. Starrett SDI, Jr. D.I.'s Staff Sgt. Dennison and Sgt. Centers. I read that Centers succumbed to agent orange after serving as an officer in Nam. I would love to contact any of them and find out if the story about Centers is true. My e-mail address is: sullyusmc1775[at]aol.com.

Leo J. Sullivan

I entered Boot Camp June 1958, Plt 151 MCRD San Diego. After Boot Camp I attended AV Prep School NAS Jax Fl then Radar Operators School MCRD San Diego the MACS-7 at the Air Fac in New River NC from 59061 until the entire Squadron was transferred to NAS Atsugi Japan After out tour in Japan (18 mo) I was stationed with MACS-1 at MCAF Yuma Az. until Feb '66. While at MACS-1, I was trained as an Air Intercept Controller and was sent to Air Controllers school as a Cpl at FAAWTC, San Diego in 1964 where I was the only Marine in the class and the lowest ranked. In 1965, I was promoted to Sgt.(E-5) and in Feb '66 I was sent to Vietnam where I joined MACS-7 at Chu-Lai and after 3 months there was sent north to their early warning site at Phu-Bai where I was promoted to S/Sgt. In Feb '67 we were mortared in the middle of the night and I was wounded and after a week sent back to Chu-Lai until I returned to CONUS and I&I Duty with MACS-26 at NAS So. Weymouth MA. I was Honorably Discharged. After Discharge I returned to my home state of California an applied to the California Highway Patrol and exactly one year later (Aug 1968) I had graduated form the CHP Academy and reported in to the Oceanside, CA CHP Office where I spent the next 29 years, retiring from the CHP in 1996. I currently live in Roseville, CA and have two grandsons who were and one still is in the Marine Corps. One is Sgt Joe Muslin stationed at Camp LeJuene, NC and was with "E" 2/9 for 2 tours in Afghanistan and currently with the Combat Training School there. The other was Sgt. Sam Muslin who was with HMM-268 at Camp Pendleton CA. I guess what I'm really looking is to find anyone who was with Plt 151 in '58 or MACS-7 in New River or Vietnam or anyone with MACS-1 in Yuma. A few of the names of people I remember are Cpl Michael Boline, Sgt/WO F.O. Moore, Gy/Sgt Piper, Lt. Abernathy (wounded the same night as I) Maj Mel Salter (F-8 pilot pulling a desk job with MACS-1 in Yuma) or anyone else who either knew me or served with me in either of the MACS units.

Gerald (Jerry) Caughman
State Traffic Officer California Highway Patrol (ret)


My father, Sgt. John C. Thrasher Jr., service number 1803xxx, reported to his final duty station yesterday morning (April 16, 2015) at 3:32 am, taking up his post at Heaven's Gate. He served in the Marine Corps from 1958 to 1962 with the 8th Marines, 2nd Marine Division at Camp LeJeune, NC.

I followed in his footsteps, serving our Corps from 1983 to 1989 with the 6th Marines, 2nd Marine Division at Camp LeJeune, NC.

Fair winds and following seas dad. You will be missed.

Semper Fidelis,
Cpl. John C. Thrasher III

Short Rounds

To: GYSGT Archuleta

Did you attend 3MARDIV schools in Camp Mercy Oct or Nov of 1958 with Cpl (then GYSGT) Kearney teaching us cw? Jim Nelson and I were hit by a car inside the gate at Mercy about halfway through school and finished wearing casts on both of our left legs. I was then assigned to Comm Co at Camp Hague. Best messhall in the USMC across the street from our quonset huts. I do not remember any other designation but Comm Co HQ BN 3RD Mar Div. But I left in Nov 1959 and I don't think the USMC uses cw anymore.

I was once a highly motivated, truly dedicated, kickazs little green amphibious monster... but I've ate since then.

I'm so short I can sit on a dime and dangle my legs.

Larry Jenkins

I'm so short, when I fart, I get dust in my eyes.

Steve Stefko

I'm so short, the pizz ants pee on me.

Jacqueline Vick

I remember being so short I had to free fall out of the rack in the mornings!

Steve Fremgen


​"Happy will it be for ourselves, and most honorable for human nature, if we have wisdom and virtue enough to set so glorious an example to mankind!"
--Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 36, [1788]

"Where there is a multitude of specific laws, it is a sign that the state is badly governed."
--Isocrates, Areopagiticus [355 B.C.]

"If I had one more division like this First Marine Division I could win this war."
--General of the Armies Douglas McArthur in Korea, overheard and reported by Marine Staff Sergeant Bill Houghton, Weapons/2/5

"The deadliest weapon in the world is a MARINE and his rifle!"
--Gen. Pershing, US.ARMY

"Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I am attacking!"
--Ferdinand Foch

Microphone clearing sound. Weird whistle.

Then... Now hear this! Now hear this!
All Marines topside go below.
All Marines below go topside.
All Marines forward go aft.
All Marines aft go forward.
All Marines in the middle stand by to direct traffic!
That is all!

"Rise and shine, it's Grunt time."

"Keep your interval!"

Semper Fi, Mac!
Sgt Grit

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