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Sgt Grit Newsletter - 26 NOV 2015

In this issue:
• Pith Helmets
• My Favorite Culinary Delights
• Forged On The Anvil Of Discipline

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Sgt Grit and Staff would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! As we reflect upon the many things that we are grateful for this year, let us not forget our forward deployed Marines and Corpsmen in the snow of far-off northern lands or in sunny tropic scenes. May they also enjoy a hearty meal today as they honor us with their global vigilance, battlefield superiority and honorable service. We Thank You For Your Service!

Semper Fi

USMC Birthday At A Retirement Home

Lakeline Oaks Retirement Community
Cedar Park, Texas
November 10, 2015

Sometime in October, Lakeline Oaks Retirement Community residents Jim Taylor and Tom Sewell were reminiscing about past Marine Corps celebrations commemorating the birthday of our Corps.

The Lakeline Oaks facility is located in Cedar Park, a small community north of Austin, Texas. As the only Marines within the community of 200 or so residents, both had fond memories of the past Marine birthday festivities and sadly had not participated in years. Jim was hoping to surprise his 91 year old Iwo Marine friend with a function they would both be proud of.

As a former Marine Security Guard, Jim was also a member of the Marine Embassy Guard Association and sought help there from Stu Grant and fellow Texan, Joe Mitchell to help produce "their own private ball". Joe then set into motion a project which culminated in a "Birthday Ball" style dinner hosted by the Lakeline Oaks Dining Staff.

Jack McGarry crafted an invitation, and guests were presented formal copies of the Commandant's birthday message, General LeJeune's birthday message and the Marines' Hymn.

To enhance the ceremony, Denny Krause recruited a MEGA key donor, "Sgt. Grit" who gladly provided materials to dress up the occasion.

On November 10th, 2015, Sgt. Jim Taylor and his guests (Ms. Carolyn Taylor & Ms. Jan Carter) along with Cpl. Tom Sewell and his guests (Mr. Scott Sewell, and Ms. Linda Sewell) joined thousands of other Marines around the world in honoring all who have served and serve in the United States Marine Corps.

Pith Helmet

I keep hearing about the Marine Drill Instructors wearing the felt campaign hat sometimes called a smokey bear hat or Stetson. In the summer of 1952 when I was in boot camp at MCRD San Diego (yes a Hollywood Marine and proud of it) our Drill Instructors wore a pith helmet. The only exception I recall was on special occasions and on graduation day. The only other time I saw a Marine wear a pith helmet was when I was in the FMAW H&HS radio shop in Korea. My Sergeant wore one on really hot days. I never asked him where or how he got it.

Sgt. (E4) T. W. Stewart
USMC 1952 - 1955

My Favorite Culinary Delights

It was interesting to read of another Marine's feelings toward one of my favorite culinary delights in the last newsletter. John Wear, my dear friend, you may be an accomplished artist, a successful marketer, a good friend and a true, blue Marine (esp. one with a tanker's background) but, kind Sir, I take issue with your dislike of Beans and MoFos. Of all the garbage in those neat little brown cans, I loved the beans and ham and beans and weenies. The rest of those horrible C-rats I wouldn't have fed to wharf rats residing in landfills. To each his own, right? You're still a good tomadachi, John.

Semper Fi,
Chris Vail

Forged On The Anvil Of Discipline

Sgt Grit,

I read the article in this weeks edition titled "Underdogs" from "Your Bud Carl" in which he stated "there are no ex-Marines, only Marines and former Marines". I disagree - there ARE 2 kinds of Marines - but they are those currently on active duty and we NOLOAD Marines - NO Longer On Active Duty. Once a Marine, ALWAYS a Marine - the "former" is the civilian you once were, and can never be again - once you have been forged on the anvil of discipline and earned the title of United States Marine!

Semper Fi,
Captain Jinx

Chowda Society

Sgt Grit,

I look forward to your weekly News Letter and all info, but I believe I have never seen any article(s) on "The Chowda Society". I could be wrong, (the brain housing group gets a little fuzzy at times). It has to do with Victor Krulak, who was the father of The CMC, and a group of politicians that tried to eliminate The Marine Corps.

Semper Fi,
Jim Angelo 1959-1965


In answer to the question by L/Cpl H Young '64-'69, "I remember drilling with both M-1 and M-14... Maybe M-14 at MCRD, and M-1 at ITR..." the answer is yes.

Series 144, MCRD San Diego in 1962 was one of the first Series to be issued the M-14. The weapons were still in cosmoline and we had to clean it off. G.I. cans with immersion heaters were set up over by the wash racks. We dipped the rifles (minus stocks) in the boiling water and then finished cleaning them while sitting on our buckets on the platoon street. That's when we learned to disassemble and reassemble them. I recall a recruit from one of the series who started boot camp just before us, writing in to say they were issued M-1's but turned them in after a short time and got M-14's. Once we graduated and got to 2nd ITR, we were issued M-1s. (So east coast was what, 1st ITR?) I can't speak for anyone else but once I got out of school and out into the fleet... it was M-14's for the rest of my enlistment.

Wishing everyone a happy & safe Thanksgiving!

Semper Fi.

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

Navajo Code Talkers

Semper Fi. Has anyone ever mentioned our U.S. Marine Navajo Code Talkers? Has anyone heard Joe Kellwood sing the Marine's Hymn in his Navajo language?

The Marines' Hymn sung in Navajo by Code Talker Joe Kellwood

Wallace Pfeifer
USMC 1948-1950

In The Old Corps

Sgt Grit & Staff,

This is a reply to one of your readers on his first Marine Corps Birthday.

Everyone knows that The United States Marine Corps was born at Tun Tavern. But, as the scuttlebutt has it; The first man to be "drafted" was given a pint of lager and one coin, and was told to sit by the fireplace, (they even had a "hurry up & wait" back then).

When the second drafted man was sworn in, he was given two pints and two coins and was told to take his place at the fireplace. As he sat down, the first recruit looked at him, spat into the fire, and said, "In The Old Corps...".

So even back then, we were taught about "The Old Corps"!

Jim Angelo

P.S. You can edit this as you see fit... the only problem is... I could not verify the originality of the story.

A New Twist On Posers

I have a new twist on Posers. Today, 19NOV2015, I was standing in line at the travel voucher office, at the V.A., I noticed a man standing, in the same line, with a USMC sweatshirt, and USMC cap. I naturally caught his attention and asked the age old question "what outfit did you serve with in Viet Nam. He answered" the 1st Marine Air Force. I responded that I had served with 2nd Bn, 3rd Marines in '66/'67. He said his tour was in '68/'69, and that when he returned stateside, he was transferred to the 3rd Marine Division in Cuba, until his enlistment was over. He had to have served with some branch of service, to be at the V.A., but certainly not with the Air Wing, or the 3rd Marine Division.

Cpl LeRoy A. Townsend
2nd Bn 3rd Marines
Viet Nam '66/'67

I Wonder Why

Sgt. Grit,

While in Viet Nam, (first you must understand I was not an 0300 but a 2100) I went on a trip to Saigon, whether a test or a mission I am not sure of today. We went to a Lake in Saigon and I volunteered or was voluteered to strip off my Flak Jacket and my dungaree jacket. I turned the pistol belt so the pistol was in the middle of my back instead of at my hip. I swam out to an island (I believe, memory is a bit sketchy) and looked around (I would guess) for enemy presence. It was dark and so I was swimming in the dark, something I hadn't done for some time. First Sergeant Otis Barker was the leader and I was following his instructions. I was taking a nap in my chair (something I do a bit of) when the memory of this came back.

Today I don't know if this was a test or a mission. But, the night swim and the diddly-bopping around an island in the dark where any member of the population could be a Vietnamese Communist and anxious to put an American on his list of enemy killed, has me wondering why? Top Barker died a while ago or I could have asked him.

I was over forty years old at the time and wonder why. But hell, there's a lot of "I Wonder Why's" when you have served 20 odd years during WWII, Korea and Vietnam. But I'm not the only one I'm sure, that wonders why he did this or that during his service. Hell, that was then, this is now, if this old Hat remembers more of his service during those years that might be interesting, I'll send it along.

GySgt. F. L. Rousseau, USMC Retired

America The Beautiful

Three version going back to 1893, check it out.

America the Beautiful

Ham And Slimeys

To L/Cpl Young, you were correct in that the M14 was used in Boot Camp and the M-1 in ITR. I was in Boot Camp in March 1965 and we used the M-14 for drill and at the range, but in ITR we were issued the M-1, except for me, the smallest guy. I carried the BAR. I loved it though. That was a fun weapon to use. As far as Ham and Slimeys, I liked them. We used to fight to eat C-rats instead of the Mess Hall at Chu Lai in '66, bugs in the bread and powdered milk. Except on, I think, Thursday when they would BBQ steaks. Some interesting memories. Thanks for the reminder.

Former Cpl, Always a Marine.

Pat Lally

It's A Thousand Ohms

In response to the articles regarding electronic resistors. First, while he and I have never met, nor are we related, I consider Robert A Hall to be a good friend, a gentleman, and an outstanding Marine.

My HS offered an electronics class in addition to the normal auto, wood, and metal shop classes. I attended the electronics class, which helped me score well on my ASVAB test. As a result, following boot camp in 1968, I was assigned to MCRD San Diego for electronics training. Following completion of the Basic Electronics course, several of us were transferred to MCB Twenty-Nine Palms for basic radar, then AN/UPS-1 training.

Anyway, we newbies reported to the elecs class for our first day of training. Uniform of the day was khakis. The class building was in one of the old two story buildings right across the street from the ceremonial cannons. We students were all present when an instructor walked in and marched to the front of the classroom. He stopped and came to attention with his back to we students. He came to attention, then executed a perfect "About Face". After briefly studying us, he threw an object (a resistor) into the middle of we students, and yelled, "Watch out, it's a thousand ohms." Bodies were flying everywhere as most of the new students were trying to find cover under their wooden desks. Except me. I already knew there was no danger because of my previous education. The instructor made a comment to that effect. While I was feeling smug and smart, those ceremonial cannons across the street let go as part of morning colors. While the whole building was shaking, I joined my fellow students in looking for cover. My feeling of superiority had vanished. Took me right back to ground zero.

As our old friend, Bob Hope would say, "Thanks for the memories."

Always, Aye,
Semper Fidelis
Lee Hall, USMC
'68 - '88

Stainless Steel Gordian Knot

Add to the shower routine... especially for the first one, evening of 'pick-up day'... One DI climbs up, shuts off the hot water feed line, leaving only the cold. Platoon circling under the blasting shower heads on three walls, towel is thrown on deck drain to slow drainage... and at this point, the third DI shows up with a stainless steel Gordian Knot... which kinda resembles the shiny new Master combination padlocks... that had been left unlocked in the Quonsets, and were now locked together in a ball... which is tossed into the water, for the owners to remember their combinations, etc. Considering the stress under which these combinations were finally burned into mushy brains, it is no wonder that we occasionally hear from someone who remembers (and may still have) that combination and lock... Long shank locks came along later...

Bucket issue included more than one white towel... we always saved the towel from the first shave event (double-edge Shick 'safety' (lol) razors)... these were torn into quarters, stacked in the platoon classroom Quonset (when we had one...) and became the rag supply... since they would be too blood-stained to be hung on the bunks for inspection. MCRD SD, '62-'64 (went to Motivation Plt as a plank holder early '64)...


Neatly Packed Footlocker

Just finished reading WWII veteran Bob Kline's letter about carrying dress blues around the Pacific theater and was reminded of an incident my late brother-in-law told me. In 1958, he was a SSGT in the 10th Marines and his battery was put on stand-by to mount out. He called his wife (my sister) to pack his foot locker and bring it to him in the battery area. My sister filled his trunk and brought it to him. After some hugs and kisses he decided to check the trunk before my sister left. When he opened the lid the first thing he saw was the blood stripes on his blues trousers! The rest of the neatly packed footlocker consisted of greens and khaki uniforms. Finding his C.O. he somehow got permission to leave base and pack the correct gear. He could laugh when he told me the story, but I could visualize him going ashore in Beirut wearing his dress blues and waving his sword. He told me he thought his wife knew what 782 gear was.

Arty MGySgt

Naming Of The KA-BAR

I noticed your comment on the naming of the KA-BAR. When I was at Parris Island in Feb 1954 we went through some demos with the Browning Automatic Rifle. Because of the bipod the BAR had no facility for a bayonet for use in close hand-to-hand. We were told they made the Knife Accessory Browning Automatic Rifle, called the KA-BAR. It was issued to those of the fire team who carried the BAR, they also made that as a knife issued to those who were issued hand guns.

Those who had the M1 Garand had the standard rifle bayonet and were not issued a KA-BAR.

I was also given this version while at Camp Geiger. I'll admit, the killed a bear is more colorful.

Semper Fi,
Jim Borgman

Short Rounds

In response to LCpl Young's questions about rifles in 1964 at MCRD and ITR:

Yes, we were issued the M-14 at MCRD and qualified with it. We were issued M-1s at ITR at CamPen. The story we were told at ITR is that we had millions and millions of rounds of 30.06 ammo that had to be disposed of and that was why we had to use the M-1 there. When transferred to the FMF afterwards we were issued the M-14 again until they were replaced with the M-16.

Michael Hackett

In response to the question about having the M-14 in boot camp and M-1 at ITR. Our platoon 3005, fall of 1965 had M-14's while at MCRD San Diego. We received M-1's when we reported in for ITR. After that I did not see an M-1 until I reported into CAP. Our PF's (local Vietnamese) carried them along with other left over weapons from WWII.

Tom Mosher
I 3/3 and CAP Hotel 8
1966 and 1967

I enlisted in 1963. We had M14's at MCRD and M1's at in ITR.

Tom R.
Sgt '63-'67
RVN '65-'66


Gary Nash was correct that the Commandant in 1965 was General Wallace Green, who by the way was the C.G. of P.I. when I went through Boot Camp in 1956. The mistake was mine as all took place in 1964 while General David Shoup was Commandant. Gen. Green took command on 1 January, 1965. Sure was honored to meet the Commandant and especially a Medal of Honor winner.

Cliff Jobes


"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
--Will Rogers

"The end of the law is, not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom."
--John Locke, The Second Treatise of Civil Government [1690]


"The wonderful love of a beautiful maid,
The love of a staunch true man,
The love of a baby, unafraid,
Have existed since time began."

"But the greatest of loves,
The quintessence of loves,
Even greater than that of a mother,
Is the tender, passionate, infinite love,
Of one drunken Marine for another.

"Semper Fidelis!"

--General Louis H. Wilson, Commandant of the Marine Corps; Toast given at 203rd Marine Corps Birthday Ball Camp Lejueune, N.C. 1978

"Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck."
--Thomas Jefferson, 1822

"Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!"
--George Washington (1799)

"The deadliest weapon in the world is a MARINE and his rifle!"
--Gen. John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, US Army

"I do recommend and assign Thursday ... next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be."
--George Washington, 1789

"If we weren't already crazy we would go insane!"

"May God Bless All Marines. Those That Were, Those That Are And Those That Will Be."


Semper Fi!
Gung Ho!
Sgt Grit

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